Quilt retreat is really a women’s slumber party

Two things happened last weekend I never thought to hear.

Fellow quilters applauded – not a lot, but enough – my finished quilt and I was told I had very tight abs.

Only that wasn’t a good thing. When a massage therapist calls you tight, it’s just not a good thing.

Part of the Fort Dodge Area Quilters “Cabin Fever” retreat at Twin Lakes, I finished a quilt I’d been working on for a few weeks. Actually working on – I’d designed it months ago with help from my sister Cindy. When it was finished and she and Mary Almond flipped it over the balcony railing for all to see, I was – I can’t even think what I was. It seemed like magic.

A quilt retreat is little more than a slumber party for women. Sleep is a matter of personal preference, and some of the women actually keep regular hours, but mostly it’s a mutual admiration society. When whole quilts, or even partial quilts, get hung along the wall, it’s an impressive sight. No two are alike, and each gets its few minutes to shine.

Not everything goes well, however. I’m thinking someone put a dot of glue in my sewing machine needle. I tried for five minutes to thread that thing, then left to look at quilts more closely. When I came back, the thread slid through the needle on the first try.

When I complained about that, Maddy Haverkamp stopped at my machine, waved her hands a bit, and the machine threaded itself. Who knew? See – it’s magic.

Maddy is Bev Buske’s sister. She drives to Dodge from Remsen, and the two quilt or go shopping for fabric or go on retreats. The three of us shared a table setup at the retreat. That’s how you get to know one another better.

If we hadn’t been talking, I’d never have known Maddy would like to see a pussycat postage stamp. Odd, perhaps, but everybody has a wish.

Though I admire the work of other quilters, they still make me nuts. Even quilters fall into that acronym parlance. They’d know, for instance, what it would mean if I said I take my DSM to work on my BOM using a D4P or perhaps a DNP, trying hard to stay away from Frog Stitching. With a new PIM, my PHD gets forgotten. Must be QADD. My WIP actually is WISP so my SABLE doesn’t disappear quickly.

Don’t even try to figure it out for yourself. The paragraph says: I take my domestic sewing machine to work on my block of the month using a disappearing four patch or a disappearing nine patch, trying hard to stay away from ripping out stitches. With a new project in mind, my project half done gets forgotten. Must be quilter’s attention deficit disorder. My work in progress actually is work in slow progress so my stash accumulation beyond life expectancy doesn’t disappear quickly.

Sometimes it’s just easier to smile, nod your head and reach for another snack. Quilters do like their snacks.

So long friends, until the next time when we’re together.

Sandy Mickelson, retired lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at mcsalt@frontiernet.net.