I don't know about anyone else, but I had an awesome weekend. It was that time of year again: Spring Quilt Retreat. And the weather was the best it has been so far this year: in the low 70's! Mind blowing right.
The plan was for several of us quilters to meet up at Camp Freidenswald around 11 am and then carpool to Shipshewanna (a.k.a. quilt shop nirvana). So, I got up early Friday morning, finished gathering my supplies, cloths, bedding, packed the car and left town around 8:30 am. Camp Freidenswald is only 1/2 hour from my house near Union, MI however, I decided I would take a slight detour to Calico Point in Wakarusa, IN first. I was looking for several fabrics for 2 different projects and her prices are right up my alley; usually between $4.50-$6.99 for quality name brand fabrics like Northcott, Hoffman, Clothworks, Batiks. While I like the fabric stores in Shipshewanna (Lolly's and Yoders) and they have a lot better selection because they are bigger, I would rather spend less for my fabric. I ended up getting 6 different fabrics totalling 8 yards for $50. That's at least $20 cheaper than what I would have spent in Shipshe. Then I headed back north to meet up with everyone at the Camp.
After dropping off our food and several items to make room in Lu's van for everyone (Elaine, Ruth, Sarah and myself), we were on our way. It was so much fun. Our first stop was at Lolly's Fabric Store. Talk about fabric overload! I hit the basement first, where they have the discounted fabrics. I found a pink flowered fabric to go along with one of my projects. Then it was back upstairs to the regular show room to browse. I couldn't believe how busy the store was, but then I thought 'look how awesome the weather was, of course people would be out and about'. That of course was one reason, however there was also a quilt retreat going on in Shipshe, another quilt guild was meeting up there, plus several people had stopped by on their way to the Chicago International Quilt Show. Of course they were from Wisconsin, so I'm not too sure how Shipshewanna, IN was on their way to Chicago, IL? But hey it's their story and they can justify it any way they want right!?! I also spoke to several women from Toronto, who were in town for the Retreat. Actually, they were oohing and aahing over a sample quilt that was hanging up near the fabric table. I made the mistake of stopping to see what had caught their attention and fell in love!! It was a braided quilt made from one of those jelly roll things. I have been wanting to purchase one, but never quite found one that just jumped up and shouted 'BUY ME!' Well that one did. It was an oriental jelly roll in blues, greens and browns. But not just any blue, kind of a mix between teal and aqua. Oh it was lovely. Of course then I had to have coordinating fabric to go with it, because it was just such an odd fabric color that it would be hard to match at a later date. You know I'm right!?! Also, the jelly roll wasn't marked, so I wasn't sure who the manufacturer was. When I asked, I found out that Lolly's employs a women full time to make their own jelly rolls and other fabric kits. The pattern they used was the Friendship Braid. It was in a book they had for sale next to the sample. The patterns in the book were all geared towards using jelly rolls (sorry can't remember the name). Since I liked quite a few of the patterns, I decided to buy it also. Not mentioning any numbers, but lets just say I did my part to stimulate the economy this weekend.
Midway through our trek around Lolly's, Kathy showed up. She moved to Oottlewah, Tennessee last year, but came back up to visit for retreat. I've driven to Lafayette, IN for a retreat, which is 2 hours away, but she drove 10 hours to get to ours. Well she spent several days in Indy visiting her nephew Baby Jack before she came up to retreat, but still that's 3 hours away. Anyway, it was really nice to see her.
From Lolly's, we headed to the Blue Gate Restaurant to meet up with Cheryl and have lunch. I had never been there, but was warned to leave room for PIE. The Blue Gate is Amish run and has excellent food and AWESOME pies. I had a half chicken salad sandwich, potato soup and strawberry rhubarb pie. One of my favorites! Was a little on the sweet side, I like mine tart, but was still very good. Oh and lest I forget, the waitress brought out a loaf of bread and on the table was a container of home-made apple butter (Yum) and home-made peanut butter. I had never had the peanut butter, but I was urged to try it because it was supposedly very good. Personally I was looking forward to the apple butter, because I hadn't had it in so long. Little did I know that the home-made peanut butter would taste like... like... like... Jeez, I can't even think of a word to describe it, other than to say it was VERY Good. And that doesn't seem adequate. Smooth. Creamy. YUM. Oh man was it good. They had some for sale in their bakery, so I purchased a small container to bring home. And I'm not sharing! It's all MINE.
After lunch, we headed for Yoders Department Store for more fabric shopping. After the damage I did at Lolly's I feeling a little more picky. I actually didn't find a thing to buy. Who hoo the wallet was a bit exhausted anyway. From there, we decided to make our way back to Camp via Middlebury. I wanted to stop at the cheese factory from some fresh cheese curds. To my disappointment, they no longer sold the cheese curds. Boo! I loved the way the fresh curds would squeak against your teeth when you chewed them. Elaine asked Lu to stop at Gohn's Deparment store in downtown Middlebury, where they sell...you guessed it more fabric plus Amish cloths. They actually make the clothes upstairs and sometimes you can hear the machines going. A couple of bolts of fabric fell off the shelf as I walked by and I had no choice but to pick them up and take them along with me. :o) I just hate it when fabric gets a mind of its own and does that. Don't you?
I was so exhausted by all the shopping that I didn't actually do any sewing on Friday night. I just visited with friends and checked out their projects. Really, I just wasn't in the mood to work on the baby quilt project that I had planned to work on. On Saturday, I started cutting out my Oceans quilt. It was a free pattern sent out by McCalls Quilting Magazine when they were trying to get you to buy their magazine. I have a white-on-white background, 8 different Batik Type fabrics in lime, blue, fuchsia, orange, aqua, peach, purple, yellow/green and a dark lime Sea Turtle Batik that gets fussy cut and appliqued between the blocks. I purchased the Batik Type fabric from Hobby Lobby, but the funny thing is that they are 100% cotton handkerchiefs and they were on sale for 99 cents each, oh about 5 years ago. They are 20" squares, which calculates out to roughly the size of a fat quarter. At first I was going to use Thangles to make all the triangles, but after careful consideration, I thought I would just cut them out using my Easy Angle Triangular Ruler. More precise with less wastage. I wanted to make sure I had enough. I did, but just barely. Not a lot of room for error, so I'm glad I was careful cutting. The only downside to this method is that I need 728 colored 2.5" triangles, just as many white one and 104 6.5" white triangles and 13 from each of the 8 colors. That's a lot of cutting. I didn't get them all cut out, but at least half. I also got 4 blocks finished. Only 140 more to go!
OK, those were the highs for the weekend. Now comes the lows.
I had to work on Sunday, so I had to leave retreat early in order to get there on time. I did a little sewing and piecing, then packed up and headed out. I did not get too far, before I realized there was something wrong with my car. The transmission would not shift gears. Freak out time! I was a mile or so down the road. So I stopped, put the car in reverse and backup down the road back to the camp. I didn't really want to wait on the side of the road. I called my Dad, then called work to let them know I would be late. Once we figured out what to do about my car, my Mom was going to let me borrow her car so I could get to work. Dad gets to the camp (thank god they only lived 30 minutes away!) drives my car down the road and back. The @#$@ was shifting fine he said, only there was a blinking indicator light on the dash. OK that hadn't been on when I drove it. I got out the book and looked up the light. It was for 'Transaxle Error" and read "Car may be experiencing trouble shifting gears (Duh). Please see a service tech immediately." I turn off the car, so we can all go inside the camp facilities to wash our hands and use the bathroom. (Why is it that after standing in the cold you always have to pee?) Anyway, then we all get in our respective cars Me, Mom, then Dad bringing up the rear and drive back to my house. Once again, the car would not shift gears and to top it of the speedometer wasn't working either. The indicator light had gone off also. What is it about our Dad's or men in general that make the car work for them when it won't work for us??? I'm really curious, does anyone know this? I pull over, discuss the situation with Dad and decide to drive home in first gear going what 15 mph the whole way. Crap! But about 5-10 miles down the road, the Transaxle Indicator light pops on and Wow the car actually starts shifting again. Yeah I actually got to accelerate. Of course since the speedometer wasn't working I wasn't sure how fast I was going, but hey I know it was faster than 15 mph and less than 60 mph. I got to work just shy of 2 hours late and was pretty much bummed the rest of the day.
I took my car into the shop on Monday morning and they are looking it over. I got a call this morning that some critter had made a nest in my engine and chewed the hell out of one of the wiring harnesses. Bob the Tech was a little embarrassed when I told I loved him after he told me it looked like my transmission was OK. They'll know for sure one the wiring harness is repaired and they can clear the computer codes. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.