Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I just got home from a family quilt retreat this weekend.  This is our annual Family Pieces event that I have told you about before.   My sister Margaret and I along with our girls were in charge this year.  (This rotates around.)  We decided to use the theme of "Mission Impossible" for the retreat.

That really got our ideas pumping.  We came up with all kinds of "spy" stuff for our event.  First of all, the invitation.  It had to be covert, of course, and highly technical.  So we sent a "TOP SECRET" envelope to each "agent" in the family.  Inside the envelope was a thumb drive, and nothing else.

When the "agent" received the drive, she plugged it into her computer and this video came up:

There was a downloadable registration form with all the special ops information on it.

Next, we prepared for the retreat.  We planned our quilt project--more about that later--and the food and the classes and all the little extras that make it fun.  When the agents arrived at the cabin, they checked the FPI (Family Pieces Intelligence) Bulletin to get a room assignment and table spot to set up.

Notice the picture of "M" on the left.  Mom was always so great to participate at quilt retreat.  We had to include her even if just "in spirit!"  (We also thought about making JoJo "Q" since he is into gadgets, but we didn't get around to it.)  Yes, I realize that we are mixing spy movies here, but hey, it's our party, so we can!

The training agents really put on a fun, but challenging retreat.  Let's just say we won't soon forget the 2013 retreat!

After everyone was checked in, we all met in the "briefing room" for an orientation.  We had 28 agents this year.  Some of them were working on special ops, so we only did 21 quilts.

Each agent was given a brief case filled with important spy stuff,  First, there's your passport so you can fulfill your missions.  Then you will need to know who is on your team--so you have an Agent Dossier for each member.  There were 5 teams.  Our agenda was written in code, and you will need a color evaluator to read it.  Then of course there were the spy sunglasses, to keep us incognito.  Top it off with a coupon for a quilt shop and some candy (I ate most of mine already).

Then we went to work.  We sewed and we sewed.  Our team had to make  2037 diamond blocks!  
I know.  Well, NOW I know.

 I didn't really think about how long it would take when we were planning it. (Note to self:  Maybe I should have considered that.)

We had 6 quilters on our team, and we DID IT!!  We did get some help from other teams when they finished.  Overall, we figured that we sewed a total of 24,004 pieces!  And we cut them, too!!   We had a bit of dissension in the ranks during the mission, but we were able to complete it anyway.  I believe this was one of our most ambitious projects.

We made all the blocks for 21 quilts.  We didn't have time to put them together (no, really?) but the majority of the work is done, so we can sew them up on our own.  We had two color-ways:  The fresh scrappy, (like mine) and a gray and white.  I think the gray and white will be stunning.  Can't wait to see it.

One of the first things I did when I got home Sunday night was to pin up some of my blocks on my design wall to see what it will look like.   I can't wait to get it sewn together!!  This is about a quarter of the quilt.  Storm at Sea has been on my bucket list for a while, and soon I will have it done!  (Just give me another 3 solid days of quilting with no interruptions.)


Jean(ie) said...

Oh I love this!!!!!

I gotta figure out a way to do this for my guild! This would be so much fun!

Barbara Sindlinger said...

What a great idea. And a productive retreat too.

Boo McCready said...

Ahhhhh....that's the stuff memories are made of!

Amy said...

I think that these retreats sound like SO MUCH fun! I'd love to try and host one myself- thanks for sharing!

Deborah said...

I love the idea of your family quilt retreat and how fun that each person will end up with a quilt made by all of you! Love your quilt and would also like to see a picture of how the gray and white turns out.