Expecting chaos, running feet and squeals, hugs, and a wild unpacking of bags, I opened the door. Silence. The guinea pigs mournfully squeaked from the sitting room, offering some measure of welcome to the Tired But Happy Quilter coming home. In the absence of Mama, the rest of the family had — quite sensibly — sought refuge with the ever-wonderful and hospitable Oma and Opa, on the outskirts of town. So, rather than hugs, I had a bath. Did the washing. Unpacked. Made tea. Stared out of the window.
It was, in fact, the perfect return home, easing into normality after a frantic, furious and fantastic weekend up sewing in the mountains.
I had just about finished a quilt top on the Sunday morning, sewing seams like a lunatic as others cleared up and packed. In the end, it was just me and my little white sewing table, all alone in an empty room. As I switched off the machine, Miss M, our “Pressing Fairy”, picked up the top and so, so kindly went to iron it. I finally packed up my bags. It would have been difficult to make better use of the time available. I picked up my new patchwork bag, hair-clips covered in fabric flowers (the famous scrap mystery-project for this retreat), little triangular Japanese scrap purses (thank you Miss J for a great pattern!), two quilt tops, a nice pile of yet-to-be-completed bright 16-patches, a new thread box and rather too many indispensable odds and ends from the on-site shop. My pretty nails were shining gold (thank you Miss C, manicurist and quilteuse extraordinaire!). My back and neck was freed from some sewing-and-worklife-induced-tension after being happily pummeled on a massage table the day before (thank you Miss B!). My swimming costume was still wet from the hot tub. It was time to return to the real world.
The number of thread pieces fused into the sitting room carpet was quite impressive when we finally all left. The wooden door banged shut. The building must be getting used to having sewing machines purring in it twice a year, and the ghosts of the nuns who used to live here must surely approve. Or perhaps they heave a sigh of relief that the giggling and whirring of machines will finally die down, and they can return to their contemplative, if ghostly, life.
Now that I am back home in Geneva, and have pinned the quilt top on the wall, I can finally see the bits still missing. I’m not sure I really like it and the rude name it aquired in a fit of womanly giggles has something to do with that… Still, considering we were only meant to make two of these blocks in the appliqué class Miss E was teaching, I am quite pleased. It can stay there until I have some more time to sew. This week at work is going to be pretty frantic, so that won’t be anytime soon.
It was certainly the first time I attempted an appliqué project on such a large scale, and I had fun using those decorative stitches modern machines come with — and that I never use. I doubt I will use them again, but it was fun to experiment. Every piece is appliquéed with different stitches, in three different colours. The background whites are pretty much all different, adding to the unplanned scrappy look (which is really due to just rushing and not planning the putting-together-stage!).
Now to hang up the washing, awaiting the patter of little feet who will soon come home, back from their own adventures.
Happy sewing! JJ