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Retreat Report: Teaching Improv at Camp Stitchalot

You guyyyys!!!!   I had so much fun at Camp Stitchalot!

First of all, I managed to pace myself and not get tired until Sunday.  Which was, of course, when we decided to do pictures of the teachers.

The teachers and the host at Camp Stitchalot - August 2013

That’s me in the middle wearing my tired and puffy face.  Oh, puffy face, I love you.

That’s Brenda our host and owner of Pink Castle Fabrics on the left, then Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts, me, then Jacquie Gering of Tallgrass Prairie Studio, and Dan Rouse of Piece and Press.

Okay, more reasons that I had fun:

(2) Design walls everywhere I looked.

Camp Stitchalot August 2013-10


Camp Stitchalot August 2013-07


Camp Stitchalot August 2013-06

The design walls filled up with patchwork, cleared, and then filled up again.  Like a tide of awesome hitting the walls and then pulling back just to hit it again!

(3) The Campers

Camp Stitchalot August 2013-18

I really enjoyed getting to know everyone at camp and watching them get to know each other.  A fair amount of our campers come on their own and then there are also some who come with a friend or two and everybody is just so pleasant and respectful and welcoming that I just want to shout, “WE ALL GREW UP!!!”  Because isn’t this what all of our parents and kindergarten teachers were ever trying to teach us?  Just to find happiness and get along even when it comes to divisive issues like quilts and country music?   Plus, we had some amazing repeat campers and some friends from the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild so I felt like I was in very good company all weekend long.

(4) The Classes
In the classes, I did my best to stick to the teacher’s instructions.  I figure it’s like cooking a recipe for the first time, I follow it to the letter and then after eating it, think about how I might alter it to suit my tastes.  So, I held back on the wabi sabi for the more precise methods!

Amanda Jean taught us all the “slab” method from her book Sunday Morning Quilts
I had a big adjustment right at the outset: she cuts the curves off of her scraps!   I love lightly curving scraps, but I also learned a lot from sticking to her method and trimming as she does and also planning as she does.

Camp Stitchalot August 2013-02
Jacquie taught us the “slice and insert” method she used in her book Quilting Modern
Here my challenge was to keep that perfect 1/4″ seam going for a long stretch even on the bias.  Usually, I’d just let my patchwork wonk if it wanted to wonk, but I was very strict and precise for Jacquie’s class!
Camp Stitchalot August 2013-08

And Dan taught us how he cuts and sews (and recuts and resews) his curves.  This was more my usual pace, so I jammed through this without much reprogramming.  Which is good, because Dan’s was the last class and I was getting weary!

Camp Stitchalot August 2013-13

I had this by the end of classes:

My patchwork from Camp TStitchalot

And I had to laugh at how many people asked if I was using Kona Curry (my favorite solid) or knowing that this color wasn’t Curry (it’s Moda Bella Citrine) asked if my love for Curry persists (it does!)

Of course, my patchwork doesn’t show any pebbles becuase I was busy teaching during that class, not sewing.  Which brings us to…

(5) Teaching
Oh, I do love to teach.  And this was no exception.
Camp Stitchalot August 2013-03
Look at all the fantastic pebbles!  Well, of course, not all are “pebbles” because people took the technique and went in their own directions with it–circles, skulls, circus peanuts, and more!  I loved that!  I also loved hearing that they *thought* it would be hard to understand or accomplish, but were pleased with how easy it is and all the ideas they got from playing with it.

It was fun, for the campers whose styles I know, to see how they made things their own.
Check out Amanda Jean’s block:
Camp Stitchalot August 2013-04
Perfectly her, right?  She’s blogged about Camp Stitchalot already on her blog if you want to read her account.

(6) Free sewing time.
I love being away from my computer, and my mess, and all demands except sewing and then just sitting and sewing as part of a community.

Sewn at Camp Stitchalot

I did all the blocks for two large quilts in my free time!  I’ll post more about these another day.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. sounds FAB! Next time it needs to be in North London. Do you think you could have a word with Brenda on that for me? There's a biscuit in it for you 😉

  2. I agree! It was wonderful and I learned a tremendous amount! Thanks for sharing your experience, inspirations and creations. I am anxious to see what you make with all your class projects. Was excited to see myself in the pic of the dining room talking with Tammy from Buffalo, NY and finding out we are both from MN. She was telling me all about QuiltCon and showing all the quilts she snapped photos of.
    I would love to be a camper at Camp StitchALot again. Especially in London! 🙂

  3. Rossie,
    Thanks again for the wonderful class – I am looking forward to sewing with more circles, you really helped take out some of the mystery and my block turned out much better than expected. I am planning to attend camp next year. I now officially have too many projects in the works.

  4. i'm just reading your post about camp stitch a lot…shameful, I know! it was SUCH a fun weekend, wasn't it? I did a lot of happy sighing as I read through your recap. I loved your class and I am blogging about my finished project today. yippee!

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