My retreat in Texas was so awesome! I was a little nervous about it on a lot of levels. I didn't know anyone else who was going to be there. I was going to a part of the country I was pretty much completely unfamiliar with. And I have a fairly bad track record with classes - as in, I drop out of a lot of them even if I'm really excited initially. But this was great on so many levels.
I flew into San Antonio, stayed overnight at a hotel and then drove myself out to Camp Wood where the retreat took place. It was a different world than my urban Seattle existence, but the random people I interacted with were really friendly and my good ol' Google Maps and my podcasts kept me company on the drive. I got to the retreat center, put down my stuff in my room and went out to the classroom to choose a table - we had tons of space to work which was nice. Within the first 30 minutes or so, I felt like one of the gang with the women I was sitting by. People in Texas really like to talk and everyone was so warm and welcoming.
Our first night's event was a trunk show by Jen Kingwell. I can't believe I haven't mentioned Jen yet. To be honest, I felt like such a fangirl when I first met her, but she is incredibly nice and super down to earth. And she is an amazing talent when it comes to quilts. Her quilts are even more amazing in person - I did what I could to try to capture Jen's artistry in the photo above. She uses so many different fabrics in her quilts and it gives them such depth in person. Also she encouraged us to touch and examine the quilts - she isn't overly precious about them which I appreciated.
The next day, we started hand piecing. Jen has the most ingenious little tool for tracing pattern pieces. We did straight pieces and curves and applique... and I seriously feel like I can do anything now. I feel like learning from Jen filled in the holes in my quilting skill set. I'm looking at quilting so differently now. I don't know what else to say about the class days except that they were great! Jen is the real deal - she knows what she's talking about and doesn't overcomplicate or oversimplify things.
All too quickly, the retreat was over. I was sad to leave my quilting guru and my new friends. A few of us stopped in the cutest quilt shop in Kerrville on the way back to San Antonio. And then I boarded a flight home. I miss all of my Texas friends (and the Louisiana girls) and I hope we can do it again next year when Jen is in Texas for quilt market. I placed an order for some of Jen's templates from Amitie (her quilt shop in Melbourne, Australia) and I've been impatiently checking my mailbox every day.