quilt retreat: day one :: Okan Arts
quilt retreat: day one

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!Quilt Retreat with Joe Cunningham

Our retreat participants self-selected this opportunity. Let me just say that they’re accomplished, eager and all-together a wonderful bunch of humanity.

Quilt Retreat with Joe Cunningham

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.Quilt Retreat with Joe Cunningham

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.

Quilt Retreat with Joe CunninghamAfter 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.

Quilt Retreat with Joe Cunningham

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.

Quilt Retreat with Joe Cunningham

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One Response to “quilt retreat: day one”

  1. Peggy williams says:

    Why I love Indigo. Well, first of all, it is blue – my favorite color. But it is also a great part of my childhood. We were a farm family, so there were overalls and jeans and jean jackets in my life when this clothing was not “in.” My mother made quilts out of the least worn parts of the overalls and jackets and jeans – the insides of the fronts of bib overalls or the less worn parts of a jacket – perhaps the yoke, the inside of pockets. These pieces challenged the quilt maker because of shape and size. And the quilts were heavy. To this day, I am happy to be under a heavy quilt in cold weather. Later I learned the history of indigo itself, and the importance of it as a cash crop in many countries. I spent time in dying sessions and began to appreciate the unique qualities of what has become an eponymous presence throughout the world. I find it very gratifying to engage with a fabric that is such an important part of the clothing of many work persons throughout history.