It’s that time of year again…Maple Beach here we come! Can’t believe we’ve been doing this for 12 years! In my books there’s nothing better than the sand and sea to inspire creativity or rejuvenate the body!
Our first gathering took place in September 2003 and most attending were just learning to quilt. In those early days I didn’t accomplish too much as I was busy teaching.
Small projects were the order of the weekend: quilted clutch bags from a Ghee’s 1988 pattern with straight hex-open frames, log cabin chicken pincushions & pillows. Great way to learn techniques.
In 2004 Donna found this wall hanging pattern for Daisy Garden (sorry, can’t find the publisher). We all pooled and swapped scraps to make the background canvas and then the creativity began. The pattern called for applique flowers but we decided to make ours 3-d and added embellishments. It was also small enough to complete over the weekend…Pat and I stitched the binding while crossing the Salish Sea back home. Surprise of the weekend was a visit from Laurette all the way from Ontario to participate!
The year 2005 was an excellent year! It started with a surprise red hat party thrown for my 50th birthday. Wanda and I took a trip east to visit Laurette and purchased a Red Hat Day tote bag pattern by Cotton Way in St Jacobs. That is the project we did together this year. And of course we all had our red hats and toured around Point Robert’s in Joan’s convertible…such fun! We all participated in making green and blue log cabin blocks to sew into a charity quilt, our first one. This was to raise funds for a new projector at a Vernon senior’s facility where Donna worked, theirs had been stolen!
In 2006 we decided to make another charity quilt, this time to donate to Powell River Therapeutic Riding Association. We brought yellow and brown snails trail blocks to the retreat. Not sure why that colour combo was chosen but in the end we got it done and the winner was thrilled with it. We also played around with making postcards and mini monthly quilts (pumpkins-October, Christmas, etc) It was pretty cool to see how everyone was creating without a lot of help!
Our 5th annual retreat! We decided to celebrate. Donna made us all Button Bags from This & That. We each made something for everyone attending: luggage tags, quilted pins (Lynn’s Pins by Cindi Edgerton), log cabin cow pincushion (the Cow Came Home by Piecemakers), sand filled strawberry pincushion and quilting cards. This year Joan taught the mile-a-minute technique. A great weekend had by all…so much fun, so much loot too!
It’s the year 2008…every weekend we are here we decorate the front porch with quilts we’ve made during the year. The backyard clothes line holds flimsies…maybe the next year they’ll adorn the front porch. We have locals in the area waiting for “quilt show.” We’ve had people ask to come in and see what we’re doing too. We made our 3rd charity quilt this year as well. A scrappy friendship star quilt for a breast cancer fundraiser, Friends for a Cure.
Joan got hooked on felting during 2009 and brought along the technique to share. Lots of felt monkeys were made…so cute. We are lucky to have musicians among us. Kadi and John serenade us on a regular basis…in the backyard when the sun shines or the front porch if it rains. All is good. We are also starting to get day trippers/quilters coming to see what all the fun is about. I think this is when other quilters began to suspect I was just there for the ambiance.
2010 was another fabulous year. For me it started with celebrating my 55th birthday at Canadian Molson Hockey House during the Vancouver Olympics. This entire month inspired my “favourite memory” quilt challenge to the Neighbours in the Hood. I was also on the move. I arrived at the retreat with my car loaded with things I’d need to move to Mill Bay while going back to VIU in Duncan. Lots of back and forth, hence my fine idea to just stop and smell the salt air and enjoy the ambiance. During this weekend we decided to make a 10th anniversary quilt. We would need to make blocks depicting what we loved about our retreat. We would then bring them to the 2011 retreat to share with the others.
The 2011 year flies by and we’re back with blocks and the plan to each have a quilt assembled for the 10th retreat. Ideas abound and we can’t wait for the reveal. And, really, what’s the point of writing about the retreat without talking about food! Donna spoiled us rotten with all the wonderful food she made. Breakfast on the porch is the best! Mimosas by Wanda are another tradition.
Lots of planning went into our 10th annual retreat. We held an open house for all our friends and family and anyone walking down the street. It was an awesome day. Not only did Kadi and John sing for us we had two of the Sojourners singing as well. Great food, great wine and even greater times.
This was also the year that the two most used phrases were “WTF” and “Where are my glasses!” Seems that our memories and eyes are no longer what they used to be.
Last year, 2013, was a little different for us. Kadi was away at Queen’s University but we were able to Facetime with her. Merle was home recovering from her cancer treatments and I was still in recovery mode from mine. There was a lot more “enjoying the ambiance” by everyone, including a romp along the seawall in a storm.
We are all chomping at the bit to get this one started…Maple Beach here we come! Here’s wishing everyone an opportunity to spend time making memories and being inspired by time with your friends and family.
Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye