Pet Mosaic Retreat

This past weekend I attended a Pet Mosaic Retreat with my favorite sister-in-law, Carolyn. Perhaps you are familiar with her blog:

Anyway, back to the retreat!  Last year, I saw a post from Cheryl Lynch about her recent group who had come to her lakeside cottage and done a project together.  Cheryl was already gearing up for this year, and I convinced Carolyn that we should attend.  So, Carolyn booked a flight from California, and arrived on Sunday, prior to the retreat.  We had a wonderful few days of visiting my newest granddaughter, and  all things quilty, before we headed up to Pennsylvania to Cheryl’s cottage.

We arrived about 5 pm on Thursday, and were able to get our sewing equipment unloaded and set up before dinner time. We had our pick of rooms! Yes, we got to sleep under quilts!   We enjoyed the one on one time that Cheryl provided at this retreat. She is set up for 4 quilters, so it is a small intimate group.  The wonderful food was prepped by her husband and finished by Cheryl and we always had way more to eat than possible.  We sat out on the dock to eat lunch and dinner on Friday.  The weather was so beautiful, we almost  forgot we were there to sew!

Lunch on the dock

The view out the windows that surrounded the room where we sewed was spectacular!  We made sure our design walls did not block it!

across the lake

Our project preparation included bringing a large piece of flannel or felt (in a contrasting color) and affixing it to the styro board that Cheryl provided.  She also had available a large AccuQuilt cutting machine for us to use.  We cut LOTS of 2″ squares on Thursday evening.  (I do wish that I had planned better and cut some at home before I left, so my time was more efficiently spent on the project!)  Each project takes 1296 two inch squares.  Carolyn and I were sharing the grey and the black.

We started right in designing our project after our early morning walk and breakfast of baked French toast and fruit.

Cheryl had given us a “grid” that went over our photo that we are working on.  In the photo below you see that I have blocked out with post-it notes all but the area I wanted to concentrate on.

Beginning the project

My project had an “ear” in the top left corner, so pretty quickly I was making color & shape choices.  The first section has 81 pieces.  I used those great marking pins that I made last year for the first section.

Ear  is formed

In order for the piece not to look like “pixels”, Cheryl helped us to create the angles in the pieces that would help give the proper shape.  In the above picture, you can see where I had to make several angles, and there are “pieces” tossed on the bottom of the board that had “been discarded” because my angle was not “exactly” what I wanted.  Funny thing is, I ended up pulling some of those “discards” off the bottom of the board for other spots.  At this point we are pinning right into the stryo board behind the felt. Much easier to “rearrange” if the pins are straight in.

Here you can see where I am working on the 2nd ear, and a photo of my subject (MITTENS).

2nd ear

I keep moving my “post-it notes” around on the gridded photo so I can stay focused.

By Saturday, I had progressed to the point where I could really “see” his ears, and had the first 4 sections arranged on the design wall. There were some pieces on that board that I ended up “drawing on paper” and paper piecing up to 5 fabrics to get all the angles “just right”.  I only did that a couple of times.

Mittens ears

Next up was sewing the first “section” together.  Cheryl has such great techniques to share and methods to keep us from getting pieces “confused” while we sew.  My angles were not “perfect” but I am not taking it apart! (Well, not today anyway)……

Section one

And the second section –

Mittens Mosaic

This was a fun project to work on, and Cheryl was available whenever we needed help!  She let us “design”, but was right there whenever a consultation was needed, and made wonderful suggestions on how to achieve the look we were after.  We did lots of pinning and numbering to keep things in order. Here is a “close up” that really helps you to see how the shading is taking place, and how much “space” is lost to the seam allowances.

the ear

As with any retreat, there is much laughter, talking, food, fun, wine and sewing.  I just started joining the third section on Sunday morning before it was time to think about packing up for departure after lunch.  Carolyn and I had stacks of 2″ squares everywhere on our tables.  So, I spent about an hour folding uncut fabric and sorting and stacking by “color” so it would be easier to deal with when we got home.  I “should have” thought ahead and brought small baskets/storage boxes so we could keep things organized during the retreat. Cheryl was sweet to let us “raid” her cabinets and pull out bowls and bakeware to keep things in.  Somehow, we managed to get it all home with out it becoming a jumble!

The weekend went so fast, but what can you do?  Sit on the dock and eat dinner, and enjoy the sunset!

Sunset over the lake


Next post I will share a few photo’s of Carolyn’s project.

Meanwhile, if you would like a preview – Cheryl has posted about our retreat weekend –   While you are on Cheryl’s blog, be sure to check out her specialty ruler- Curvalicious .  There is also information about her upcoming retreats!  I am so glad we signed up and spent a wonderful weekend learning a new technique.  I promised her that I would get my project finished and ready in time for a “group exhibit” in 2018.  A lofty goal she has given us!!!

I have lots of other projects in the works, and today will be my first day in over  7 weeks without travel or company……..but the sun is shining, the lawn needs cut, the pool needs cleaned and all I want to do is sew!

More later, as the day is already halfway gone!