Sunday, October 2, 2011

Back from BIQR!

WOW!  What a wonderful week I just had at the Beaver Island Quilt Retreat at the White Birch Lodge in Elk Rapids, MI with Gwen Marston!  I went with veteran BIQRers, Carol and Christine--it was their 4th retreat with Gwen and my first. I took 519 pictures in 6 days and it will take me a while to share everything I did at the retreat with you so this post will just be a brief introduction...

We arrived on a beautiful sunny day...

This is the main building where we sewed each day. It was just a short walk from the townhouse where we slept (for a short time) each night.

The lodge faced Elk Lake and, of course, there were lots of birch trees around!  This table top design would make a great quilt...

When we arrived, we dropped off our machines and bins of fabrics and sewing tools in the sewing room where we were greeted by this inspirational gallery of Gwen's "37 Sketches".  That evening, Gwen met briefly with us before supper so we could all introduce ourselves and tell everyone where we were from--there were 4 people from Canada, and the rest were from the USA including North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Washington State, Oregon, Minnesota... etc. The previous week, there had been some quilters there from Australia and next week, there will be two from the Netherlands!
Most of us sewed that evening but Gwen did not present her sketches to us officially until the next morning.

She showed us her new book "37 Sketches" (I bought a copy!) and explained her journey as she created these little works of art. She used her sweater as her "design wall" to show us the various elements she included in her quilts.

Gwen was a totally delightful teacher--she has a wonderful sense of humour and had all of us laughing often!  After her introduction to the quilts, she did several demos on how to create these elements in our own quilts. The hardest part of making one of these little quilts is getting started--her advice was to just jump in, pick some fabrics to use in our piece and then just start making an element. This was much harder than it sounds!

Here is a picture of Gwen with her new book. I have already read it twice and studied the pictures several times. It is available now on her website for $29.95 and I would highly recommend this book to any quilter--liberated or "wanna be" liberated, or just interested in getting into the mind of the "Queen of Liberated Quilts!" Gwen even signed my copy.

Gwen and I in front of her display of her "37 Sketches".
Keep coming back for more posts about the retreat. We had a wonderful show and tell and we all did lots of sewing...

A little give-away contest for you...

The first person to correctly tell me what these are will be the recipient of a liberated basket fabric postcard made by me!  Just leave a comment with your guess.

By the way, Gwen sews with her shoe off...


  1. It sounds like you had a lot of fun I have never retreated but would like to sometime.

  2. What fun this looks like! Love your picture with the famous Gwen. I'm guessing that picture is the hub of wagon wheels? I've seen them before, but never so many ~

  3. Lobster traps, perhaps? Great pictures, and lovely crestions, too!

  4. Pokey is correct! They are wagon wheel hubs!

  5. Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

  6. Thanks for sharing all the great photos. I would have to agree that they are wagon wheel hubs. I've only seen one or two not attached to the wheel. This is an amazing collection of so many of them.