Happy Stitches

Keep your stitches smiling!

Gwen Marston’s Quilt Camp September 14, 2012

Filed under: books,Quilting,Travels — happystitches @ 20:18

This camp was an entirely new experience for me, not just because I usually give rather than attend camps. I have never quite considered myself a quilter: a fabric piecer perhaps, but not a real quilter. However, I really wanted to meet the author of Liberated Quiltmaking 2 and Liberated Medallion Quilts (and many other titles) who had revolutionized my stitching life with her statement (roughly paraphrased) “If it’s too big, cut it smaller, if it’s too small, sew something else on.” I bravely signed up to go to camp with real quilters.
White Birch Lodge was fabulous. Gwen has been holding her camps here for the last 10 plus years (this was her 29th camp season).
We were warmly greeted by the owner, and shown where to set up for quilting, and introduced to their generous housekeeping arrangements.The Antrim chain of lakes have white sandy bottoms reflecting an amazing blue through the crystal clear waters. There we were, right on the shore of enchanting Elk Lake.
We gathered to launch the event with the other 29 participants and prepared for sewing at full tilt in the morning. This year’s theme was the medallion quilt: we were starting with an inspiring center panel and building the quilt outwards from there as mood or fabric dictated. With this gentle application of encouragement, the sewing machines were revved up.
It was a real luxury to be able to sew all day, for days. Some sewists had incredible stamina – from before daylight until the sun set. I pushed my envelope with something new every day; one day I even had wiggly seams. Gwen was a delight, a warm and encouraging teacher with delightfully unstructured classes. Nothing was overly complex and the perceived obstacles of bias and wrinkles are more in the mind than in reality!
The results were hugely diverse and amazing. Since I’m not sure about the legality of showing other people’s work, here are my two pieces thus far and the work of a friend.
Having experienced this retreat, I do now feel that what I like to do with bits of fabric does almost qualify as quilting (or quasi-quilting at the very least). There is a huge body of work of immense complexity out there, but I’m happy with my small explosion-of-colour experiments!

“Embrace the pucker.” is a useful phrase for both quilting and life.

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2 Responses to “Gwen Marston’s Quilt Camp”

  1. Jackie’s quilt has a lovely spontaneous feel about it. It takes a lot of letting go to make something like that if you’re accustomed to more traditional styles. I’d like to try something like that.

  2. Clare Says:

    Wow! I came across your blog on a Gwen Marston search. There is a massive Gwen Marston blogging community. You might like to check out the Liberated Quilters web ring (start with my blog) and the Yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Lib-Quilters/.

    Your Medallion is gorgeous.


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