quilt retreat: day one
By Patricia Belyea
UNION WA After one year of planning and promoting, I’m finally experiencing the Okan Arts Quilt Retreat with Joe Cunningham. The venue on the Hood Canal, Saint Andrew’s House, is more than spectacular. It’s caring and cosy and particularly charming with its big beams and log walls. And the view looking north is breath-taking water and mountains!
Our retreat participants self-selected this opportunity. Let me just say that they’re accomplished, eager and all-together a wonderful bunch of humanity.
Joe dreamed up a new Rock the Block variation for the first day. The inspiration came on a walk up the hill behind the Saint Andrews with his morning coffee. I didn’t follow his instructions exactly so I’m struggling a bit. (I know I will resolve my layout soon). During lulls in his compelling stories or his non-stop encouragement, Joe regaled us with folksy songs on his guitar.
In the final hour of the day before dinner, many happy quilters gravitated towards the hand-quilting frame we had set up the night before. My efforts were unsatisfactory to me but Joe continually said “You can only get better.” I guess that’s why we’re all here.
After a roast turkey dinner with cranberries, mashed potatoes with parsnips, spagetti squash, baby green salad and two pumpkin desserts, we headed to the main hall for Show and Tell. This session revealed to us what an amazing group had gathered.
I returned to the sewing room to see if I could make a few more blocks before my day was done. There were a handful of us late-night quilters. Then at 11pm I knew I needed to go to bed. Only one person was left sewing when I said Good Night.