Sunday, January 29, 2023


Recently, I taught for the Needlechasers Guild of Iuka, MS at their winter retreat. This was the fourth time I have been to their guild over 15 years so it's like going to a family reunion. 

I have been teaching locally for 35 years and on the national circuit for almost 10 years. Eventually, that will stop--travel is tiring. But for now, when I have an experience as great as this one, I know I am doing what I should with my time.

Held at Pickwick State Park in Counce, TN, the Lodge is a lovely facility with a great staff, good food, and very nice rooms. An easy 2.5 hour drive for me, I was checked in by 3 pm on travel day. The view from my room:

The class sample doubles as my bedding on these trips: 

This group wisely chose Western Sun as a two-day class. We started getting things set up about 8 am for class to start at 9:30. It takes time to get almost 30 students set up, and another dozen or so who were just attending to "retreat", not take the class. More tables and chairs had to be brought in quickly but all was well by class time and we got started.

It makes me laugh to see what dedicated "retreaters" bring to these events. I wish I had better photos. Many brought their own sewing chair. All brought their own little table with a small iron and wool pressing mat. The jumble of electric cords running in all directions gave me pause and I made several announcements to "mind the cords!" We didn't blow the power and that's a very good thing:

I love this quilt and I love to teach this class. See these posts for more details about Western Sun:

Big Circles

There are a few new techniques for most students to learn for this particular quilt. But I want to to teach more than just the specific project. For me, it is a successful class if EACH student, regardless of skill level, leaves class saying "I learned MORE than I thought I would." 

Teaching is my legacy for the future of quilting. I share tips and tricks for successful piecing: the cutting, the sewing, the pressing and, other steps if there are any. Like drawing diagonal lines on the back of fabric. Or making big circles. Hand or machine applique that big circle to the block with it's secret part that holds it all together. There is so much to learn. 

Class is run with military precision as you might imagine. Having two days to teach all I want to share with this quilt was a luxury. I wasn't the only one tired at the end of the day. About half the students had their first block on the wall at the end of Day 1:

I was thrilled to be greeted with THIS wall when I came to class the morning of Day 2. They stayed up sewing for quite a while:

Here are just some more photos to give you an idea of the fun we had along with the work put out by the students. I regret I didn't get a photo of all the people standing together but they were just so BUSY!

The young'uns, Marcella and Shelby, good friends who only get to spend time together at retreat. They learned a few things. I love having "young" women in class, meaning at least 25 years younger than me. These women let me know the future of quilting is bright:

Kathy Y told me at breakfast Day 2 she had 5 blocks done. I was blown away she made them all the same. I LOVE when a student makes the quilt her own so she got her own wall: 

Day 2 was dedicated to making Flying Geese sashing, learning several ways to do that. Freezer paper foundation, newsprint foundation, four flying geese at once, a couple other methods. I loved the scrappiness of this set of FG sashing:

There has to be Show and Tell. Lynn B has an excellent sense of color and design. She is close to retiring from her day job and we talked a bit about how she can move into teaching classes. She has a lot to share: 

Lynn B showed me this "work in progress" long in the making  It is a Sue Garman pattern, Pennsylvania Stars. I have the pattern for "someday" and would be delighted to take a class with Lynn to get started. Those are SMALL geese, 2" wide x 1" high: 

On Day 3 I stopped in the classroom to say goodbye. Some of the women were still hard at work: 

I loved how free with color and fabric this student is. She is not afraid to mix it up and use what she has:  

The fog rolled in after an evening rain the last night. I delayed my departure a bit until it lifted: 

The roaring gas fireplace in the lobby made a nice place to gather.  Pickwick Landing State Park Lodge

 All in all, this was a very nice location for a Retreat and/or classes. Being off-season, made the cost reasonable too:

Many of these women are also  members of the Cross City Piecemakers guild of Corinth, MS, where I will be teaching in July 2023. They think they may have to plan for 50 students--my maximum. Everyone who saw that class project said "Sign me up!"

I had such a wonderful time, and was rewarded with so many lovely thoughts, comments and thanks by everyone. When I get tired of traveling to teach, I will think of the Needlechasers and our time together this past weekend. Ladies, I will come back to you any time. Thank you so much for trusting me with your time!  

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you can see some of their "testimonials" about the Retreat from their perspective. Some told me this was their first class ever. One was making her first quilt. Three women who follow my blog joined the guild that week so they could take the class. And some are very experienced quiltmakers. We all had fun, and learned a lot. 

Let's quilt.



  1. You are an excellent teacher. I was at that retreat and it was wonderful.

  2. Hopefully I can come to the July retreat in Corinth. I'll see if I can get more details at a meeting next week. What will you be teaching?

    1. Southern Super Star. Type that in the Search box above left to see a variety of them

  3. Looks like such a lovely place to retreat. And what a wonderful project! I love that quilt.

  4. So many pretty quilts. And good visiting with quilting friends. Tennessee is a beautiful state for sure too.