Fireside Retreat Day One

Ah - there's nothing like great weather for a drive up north to the retreat house. I'm not sure how many retreats I've been on, but a LOT over the last 10+ years. We're now up to FOUR retreats per year. Isn't that obscene? Well, one of the reasons I like retreats at Fireside Retreat House is that the price is extremely reasonable. Over the years, we've decided that a weekend was NOT enough. Then we added a day. That still wasn't enough and now our retreats are five days/four nights. That's just the right length. You have time to goof off if you want (it's a vacation after all), or you can sew like mad. Your choice.

There are no meals included at Fireside Retreat, although you could have them catered if you wanted. But we each make one meal and it works out perfectly. Keeps the cost down and I love the intimate setting of only eight of us.

Trust me, I had thoughts (lots of them) of stealing away in the night and going to the retreat house regardless of the LAWS that are in existence at the moment. Yes - you can get fined $750 for being in a group greater than five. However, common sense prevailed and we all decided to hold the retreat virtually.

So - I really took that to heart. I have packed more carefully than I ever did which is hilarious considering that if I wanted something, I could just go and get it. But no - I like "pretend" and I wanted this to be as real as possible.

Here we go - here's what happened yesterday.

Here's the door that I would have LOVED to be walking through for the retreat.

The door to Fireside Retreat

Instead, I walked through this door. Notice that I didn't bring a lot of stuff with me. I really, really tried!!!

The door to Studio U

I was wishing that we could sew in this gorgeous sewing room.

The sewing room at Fireside Retreat

But alas, I was sewing here.

Studio U

OK --- I shouldn't complain one little bit. That's a pretty decent room to sew in. Loads of space, well equipped, and loads of light. The only problem - I was alone!!!!

Here's my cutting table. And I must compare the height of this one to the one in Studio B. This one seems a wee bit lower and I like it! It comes equipped with all those mats and rulers so there's no need to share! I set it up that way! Way before I needed to host myself in a virtual retreat.

The cutting table A nice ironing surface with a NEW ironing board cover. How nice is that? It's about time.

New ironing board cover

One thing I'll say for Reliable is that their ironing board covers last FOREVER. I bought that ironing board years ago. I mean years - probably more than 10. This is the FIRST time I'm replacing the cover.

While it was dirty, there was only ONE hole in it - a small one and there was a cut that I accidentally made with a rotary cutter. I see the new ones are black to show the stains less. The padding is still very much intact. Could I remake an ironing board cover and use that padding. Oh for god's sake - stop with the pioneer traits!!

The old ironing board cover

Since I had loads of room, I quickly unpacked all my stuff. Normally, I keep it all tucked into the bags I bring. With eight people in the same room, it can get messy very quickly. But I have room so I'm spreading out.

These are the projects from the panic packing bag I brought. Small stuff.

Some of the projects spread out

My sewing machine - gosh - it kind of clashes with the colors of the room. But it's certainly BRIGHT just like the room.

My sewing machine

There's a gorgeous window seat and I laid out the projects from the laundry basket on it. Probably NOT a good idea since the sun comes in there. But it's only for a couple of days - it should be fine. 

Projects from the laundry basket on the window seat

And I set up my portable office.

The portable office  I started out by cleaning the sewing machine, winding five bobbins and inserting a new needle. I'll confess that there was a sewing machine already in this room and I'm using that one for the moment. When I work on my backpack, I'll use the Designer EPIC 2.

I had to go to Studio B only once. The only thing I was missing was a cone holder for the cone of thread. I could have wound the bobbins on the other machine or I could have used a spool of thread. So far so good with the packing.

As I was sitting there, I decided that I no longer needed this radio that has resided beside the sewing machine. It's now on the doorstep (outside the door) to be donated when I'm back! Actually, it'll just go in the donation box and whenever the donation centers reopen, I can drop off a box. Did you hear that people were just dumping boxes and bags of clothing even though the donation centers are closed?? People do NOT think beyond their immediate little world. That's so sad.

The radio is now gone
I actually like it without the radio as I can put some of the current pieces that I'm working on in that space.

I had to laugh at one point in the day. I'm working on a string quilt with some of the scraps from the community projects. I would sew on a strip and then swivel slightly and fling the block onto the ironing board. Then when I had gone through the entire pile, I would press all the seams and start again. It was glorious!! 

The ironing board is very handy to the sewing machine
YES -- that bookcase in the back belongs to M and is filled with her stuff. I'd love to get rid of it, but alas, that's not going to happen for a while. Not to worry - everything is neat and tidy and in reality, she only has a closet full of stuff and two bookcases. I'm very lucky as I know others who still have tons of their kid's stuff. Not happening in our house!!! Not when I'm trying to get rid of my own stuff.

As soon as I had a string block completed, I would trim it. I found that one of my foundations was a bit too small, so I have to remake that one today. But I filled the trimming basket.

The trimming basket is full
But at the end of the day, I had 23 blocks with the diagonal seams to the left and four with the seams to the right. I need 48 in total.

STring blocks - all in a day's work
I'm thrilled with my progress but it just goes to show you that you don't get as much done in a day as you would expect. But I have a good part of the other blocks completed and so I hope to finish the quilt today.

My work station as I left it last night. With the strings on the left and the partially completed blocks on the right.

Ready for this morning
We had one video call. For some reason, only four of us attended. I'm not sure where the rest of the lollygaggers were. And then we "conversed" over our chat group during the day. It was great fun as we got to share pictures of what we were doing. Come to think of it - there wasn't a whole lot of sewing going on. Except at my house. Ronda had chosen to save her vacation days until we go on the real retreat so she was working, but did manage to get the binding on a table runner when she was finished work. You have to love the commute times these days. And gas - how much are we all saving on gas?

Ronda's table runner with the binding attached

I think some of the others were working on jigsaw puzzles, cleaning up their sewing spaces (they certainly weren't prepared!), watching movies, visiting with family (maintaining physical distances) and walking. It's all good - but I'm determined to make this retreat REAL. At least for me. DH is playing along which helps and asked when I was coming home! I love it.

I managed to keep up my walking yesterday and did over 18,000 steps. Those girls are NOT going to be happy when the walks get a wee bit shorter and I'm back at the gym. OR - I might just keep this up since it's so nice out and who wants to be in a stuffy gym when you can be outside.

On that note, I'm out of here. I promised myself that I'd hit the sewing machine at 9 AM which is about the time, I get around to it at the retreat.

Here's a video on how to choose serger thread. It's quite good. Have a listen.

Have a super day!!!!

Ciao!!! #FiresideRetreat #StudioU #VirtualRetreat #StringPiecing
FiresideRetreat StudioU VirtualRetreat StringPiecing