Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Much Needed Quilt Retreat

Once upon a time many, many years ago 9 quilters from across the United States met online in a Yahoo group called Quilting on the Side. They branched off from that one and started their own called Country Quilters USA.  They stayed friends throughout the years as their children grew, graduated high school, got married, went on mission trips, had children and not all in that order either.  Some even went through some pretty horrible life struggles along the way that these 9 quilters shared with each other because they needed to have that support of prayer or just knowing that they were all there for her.  

They stayed in touch through that Yahoo group, but then Facebook appeared on the scene and they all moved over to Facebook.  They have shared life with each other through pictures, posts, emails and Facebook messenger with a couple of them even meeting face to face at one time or another.

One day they all decided that they must get together for a retreat, so that way they could all meet face to face and sew together.  They started planning the day it would happen and started looking for a place to have this retreat that was in the middle of the US.  This way it wasn't too far for one person to get there.

The weekend was decided.  

July 14 - 17, 2016

The place was decided.  

Log Cabin Quilting
Exira, IA

The quilting retreat place was on the second floor and was the most awesome place and comfortable place for a quilting retreat.

The stairs going up to the retreat had all the quilters having buns of steel by the end of the weekend. 

And all the quilters started making plans to be there.  It was months away and talk was sort of slow at first about it, but as the months went by and it got closer they all started getting very excited.  Then they all started to really decide to make this happen!!!  Some booked airline tickets while others started planning on what they would bring to share with those who had to fly in, because they weren't able to bring their own sewing machines.  We all know us quilters love to share and make their quilting sisters feel loved.  A document was created in their secret Facebook group to start planning meals while at the retreat and it took it about 15 minutes to plan on who was making what on what day.  We all know quilters love to eat good food too!!!  

The first of July got here and they all started counting down the days and the excitement grew as each day passed.  The retreat was to start on a Thursday, but a few were flying in on Wednesday and a couple of them had decided that they could drive in on Wednesday as well.  There was only one out of the 9 who could not make it at all and we all were heartbroken for her as we all knew she wanted to be there so bad but just couldn't. 

The day came that they were all to be in one place at one time and none of them could control their excitement! 

As they all started seeing each other in person there were no need for introductions of who was who because they all "knew" each other from pictures they had shared.  There were warm hugs for each of them as they arrived.  They came from California, Washington, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Florida. 

They sewed each day they were there.  And one of them taught the others how to do one of her patterns she had brought for them to make.  

Others worked on other projects they had brought as well. 

There was a lot of sewing going on, BUT there was a lot of laughing and sharing of life stories going on as well.  

(This picture was captured by one of the quilters that shows the fun that they were always having.)

At night after sewing all day long they would all gather around the couch and recliner and eat chocolate or popcorn and laugh until the early morning hours!!!  Laughter would come with laughing so hard they were crying and couldn't catch their breath even. 

They even had a party one night with even a "cake"!!!  And gifts that were wrapped in "padded" gift wrap!!!! 

On the last night they were there they went out to eat instead of someone fixing a meal for them all. They went to this small place about 5 miles down the road that served the most awesome steaks. They filled the place with laughter with everyone around them wishing they were sitting out their table joining in on what they were all laughing about. 

Throughout the weekend what was really shown was this was a family who got together for a weekend to calm their souls and escape from reality for a few days while being around their "sisters." (most had no cell service while there and it was nice!)  

They are a family of women who just happen to love quilting, but who have grown close over the years over the internet.  They love each other and encourage each other and even pick on each other just like a real family does. They know what is going on in each other's lives and always check on each other to make sure they are doing okay as well. 

The last day of the retreat came way too soon for all of them.  It was hard to pack up their belongs and load them back in their cars without tears falling, but somehow they all did it.  Hugs were had again from everyone as they started to leave.  Tears fell as they parted ways, but it was decided that this would happen again next year.  This was not the end of their getting together for a retreat, it was only the beginning. 

And the best part about this whole story is I am one of those 9 women. And that weekend retreat was exactly what I needed! I met my "sisters" that weekend and we played and we had fun and we ate too much and we laughed so hard that we all needed to wear Depends if we didn't watch it and we shared life.  They all hold a very special part in my heart now bigger than before and they will all be known as my sisters from here on out.  I wasn't blessed with a sister growing up, only brothers, but if I had to choose who I wanted to be my sisters, these ladies would be it!!!  Some of them are quiet, some are loud, some talk a lot, but they all fit together to make up a group who are the most awesome women I have ever had the pleasure to be around! I can't wait until we get together again!!!! 

Love and hugs to them all!!!