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A Retreat big enough for Texas...

A Retreat big enough for Texas...

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Do you remember the television commercials for the now-long-gone department store that had a customer standing at the door, peering in, saying "open open open"?

Quiltstock 2018.  The Magnolia Park Cities Hotel in Dallas, Texas.  Coincidentally, during a spell of record-setting heat.  Not that that deterred anybody from having a whole lot of fun.

So what is - was - Quiltstock?  It was the first-ever retreat created for quilters and retail customers by Martingale Publishing and Moda Fabrics.  Over 100 fabric-mad, gotta-make-something-now creatives gathered from all over the United States for four days of fun.  

Five if they had signed up for the Shopportunity Event - a trip to Magnolia Market in Waco.  There were two buses - quickly named Joanna and Chip.  Box lunches were Joanna's justifiably famous Chicken Salad Sandwiches, provided by The Magnolia Table restaurant - a first-ever project for them.

Now that the retreat is over, the dust has settled, the suitcases and boxes have been unpacked... and the surprises have been sprung, we can share some of the goings-on.  You know... should you want to attend Quiltstock 2.

The event was preceded by a retreat for shop owners, that ended Sunday morning.  Some stayed for the trip to Waco, and others arrived.  That trip was Monday, July 23rd.  

But on Sunday night... the room was readied for Monday.

It felt a little like waiting for the curtain to rise at a show.

Quiltstock participants had their official Registration and Check-In on Monday afternoon.  Lanyards and badges were dispensed, kits provided and a swag-goodie bag was waiting at each work station. 

An Opening Reception began at 7:00 pm with introductions of staff and teachers, and a few special guests - Mark Dunn, the Founder and Owner of Moda Fabrics, and various Directors at Moda Fabrics, including Josh Dunn, Cheryl Freydberg, David Beadle and Lissa Alexander.

That's Mr. Dunn with Roseanne Meehan Kermes - shop-owner, author, event-planner, organizer and awesome person extraordinaire.  

The Mistress of Ceremonies at the Opening Reception - and for much of the event - was Martingale's CVO Jennifer Keltner.

That's Jennifer on the left with Karen Johnson, Martingale's Director of Marketing.  They're smiling because after well over a year in planning, they're about to get the party retreat started.  

After reminding us to play, to have fun and be creative, we were off to the main Ballroom and the sewing machines.  While a few people brought their own machines, most used one of the terrific machines provided by Baby Lock USA and Tacony.

They provided almost 150 sewing machines for the event - their Rachel and Katherine models - and each and every one worked beautifully.  It goes without saying that this retreat could not - would not - have happened without their support and generosity.

So a huge "Thank you" to Victor Del Moral, the Regional Manager at Baby Lock USA and Rick from the Plano Sewing Center.

Terry Atkinson's Traveling Totes pattern was the "activity du jour" - a simple project that allowed everyone to become familiar with their machines.  

On Tuesday, the fun started.  The group was divided into four "pods" and each pod had two classes on Tuesday.

Lisa Bongean taught everyone about starching fabric, triangle paper and teeny, tiny piecing with her Forever Friends mini quilt from the Moda All-Stars: Lucky Charm Quilts book.  Barb and Mary of Me & My Sister Designs shared some Flower Power from Easy Layer-Cake QuiltsKathy Schmitz?  She shared the Nutty's Nest Notion Keeper from Stitches from the Harvest, and her spectacular embroidery secrets with a rapt audience.  Me?  I drove people crazy by asking them to make 1200 flying geese in four hours.  (You think I'm kidding?!?)

Upon returning to their machines after every break or meal, there were gifts left for each person.  From notebooks to zipper bags, bookmarks to a pincushion, the goal of the staffs from Martingale and Moda was to make everyone feel special and appreciated.

If you're wondering how a hotel ballroom was turned into a terrific quilting classroom - heavy-duty foam core boards.  They measure 4' x 8' x 1" thick.  

But for some things, a more hands-on approach and demo is required.  Two sisters-teachers?  Twice the knowledge!

That is not Lisa's class project but after being asked to share the project she was stitching during breaks, Lisa happily shared her knowledge.  If you had a chance to learn wool appliqué from a master-craftswoman, I think you'd be asking too.

The block is from Twilight Garden - it is made with neutral wools appliquéd on a deep Navy blue background.  This is the 2018 Summer Block of the Week for Lisa's shop, Primitive Gatherings. 

Wednesday morning was Open Sewing - because, well, 1200 flying geese.  After another mouth-watering, plate-cleaning buffet lunch, the afternoon was spent with Session 3 of the classes.

Kathy Schmitz.  Did you know she's a lefty?  Me either.  She was asked to sign a lot of books.  

Thursday was flipped - a class session in the morning and Open Sewing after lunch and dinner.  

The pods!

There were four groups - The Churn Dash Chicks, the Outa-Sight Hourglasses, the Far-Out Four-Patches and the Piece-nik Pinwheels. 

One of the giveaways involved each group selecting a Representative.  Think a cross between The Price is Right and Let's Make A Deal... the representative had to choose a number, essentially guessing which bag of goodies was the one most desired by their group.  

Guess what?  Everybody was thrilled with what they won!

There were also individual giveaways from our amazing, spectacular, super-generous sponsors.  These are the companies that shared their time, products and resources with our retreat attendees:

  • Baby Lock USA and Tacony
  • Olfa
  • Allary Corporation
  • American Patchwork & Quilting
  • American Quilt Retailer
  • Artbin
  • Aurifil
  • Bloc Loc
  • Clover
  • Daylight Company
  • Deb Tucker's Studio 180 Design
  • Dritz
  • Fabric Fanatics
  • Jillily Studio
  • KLIPit
  • Lecien
  • Madeira
  • Pilot
  • Punch Studio
  • Rosebud's Cottage
  • Schmetz Needles

Seriously... if you left home without it, you were covered.  (Thank you Olfa!)

There were mini trunk shows in the evening by the teachers at retreat and by Moda's own Director of Marketing, Lissa Alexander.  You have seen her terrific book Oh, Scrap!, right?  

There was a pop-up shop because shopping is part of the retreat experience!  (And yes, shipping boxes were made available for purchase and Moda had the boxes shipped home the week after retreat.)

A few people may have needed two boxes.  Just saying.

On Friday morning, we made pillowcases for charity.  Moda provided pre-cut kits and in a little over one hour, 126 pillowcases were finished.  They have been delivered to the Scottish Rite Hospital, a non-profit, pediatric, orthopedic hospital in Dallas.  

That's when it was time for Jennifer to return to the podium and say a few closing words - ending with a HUGE thank you to everyone who attended, worked, supported the event, shared goodies, etc.  Good-byes were said, contact information exchanged, and lots of pictures were taken.

And we must also thank the entire staff of the Magnolia Park Cities Hotel for taking such good care of us.  Their kindness, courtesy and "please let us know if there anything you need" spirit was a big reason why everyone had such a great time.

Seriously.  Cold milk and fresh-baked cookies every night.  (And the cookies were big!)

Discussions have already begun about Quiltstock 2.  We don't know when or where it will be but rest assured that as soon as we have details, we'll share it with you.

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