Sunshine Retreat 2017

Two years ago, the Sunshine Online Group (a Yahoo group that makes quilts for children in mostly third world countries having cleft palate surgery by the Rotary Rotoplast project and orphans around the world) had its first retreat. Soon after it was over, a second was planned near Omaha, NE. In the year before the second event, online members made piles and piles of blocks and sent them to the organizers. Some, like me, cut the parts and brought them.

Seventeen members gathered at the Carol Joy Hollings Retreat center and over the weekend finished 184 tops. These were then distributed to members who had offered to quilt and bind them. People at home also sewed tops during the weekend, but I don’t have that tally yet (I know of 6 so far).


This photo is from about 3/4 of the way into the weekend when we had just surpassed 150. I didn’t jump up fast enough to get that photo-op moment.

As usual, I designed from a design bed. Other more agile folk designed from the floor.

OM-design bed

I would take 30 or so blocks up to my room so I could switch in and out as necessary to get the final 24, mark the rows and return to the sewing room, return the unused blocks and start sewing up the selected. You can see the main block we used. They measure 10 1/2 inches unfinished. We also had star and pinwheel and crumb blocks to work with. And blender fabric.

Most finished tops measure 40 X 60.


This is the only top I made that I got a photo of for myself. The leaders took photos of all 184 tops and they are posted on our Yahoo group page. There are many interesting settings possible with the block; however, by the end I went with the simplest so I had more freedom to move blocks around for color interest.

A couple of us got there before the official opening time. We had breakfast at a local coffee house in Ashland, Cheri O’s, with nice coffee shop atmosphere and great food.

Cheri O's sculpture

I especially liked the wall 3D sculptures.

And being near Lincoln, we visited the International Quilt Study Center and Museum. I found it amusing that I went to Nebraska to see exhibited some of the collection of a local Portland quilt collector, Bill Volckening.

These are from the 70s. Note how modern the first one looks–or does that mean “modern” is really an old concept? And as for the hexagon diamond quilt–if all you have is double knit, double knit is what you will make your quilts from!

There were other exhibits as well: a Studio Art Quilt Association (SAQA) show, Layered Voices, (the link should take you to a description of the exhibit from which you can click on slide show), Elizabeth Ingraham’s Regarding Nebraska (link takes you to description–I didn’t see a link to quilts, though there is one to the website), and Sacred Spaces, quilts from Central Asia, where they have made patchwork for over a millenium (the link leads to the quilts). I could have spent a whole day there, but it was time for lunch and for beginning our sewing marathon.

I’ll be linking to Finished or Not Friday (button in sidebar).





Filed under quilting

6 responses to “Sunshine Retreat 2017

  1. What a wonderful work of love from everyone! A truly impressive total, and that pile of finished tops is a riot of gorgeous colour. It’s great that you all enjoyed the retreat as well as achieving such a fantastic result.

  2. Betty Colburn

    Hi Clare- I am reading your post at my Airbnb in Lincoln NE. I’m going to Featherweight Frenzy at Quilt House today and will see Bill’s quilts tomorrow. Thank you for your lovely post. I use design beds too but never realized that was their official name.

  3. I was hoping you would post about your retreat! You are doing the kind of stuff I totally want to do when I retire someday, you are the role model for giving back via quilting! 🙂

  4. magpiesue

    What a great way to spend time in Nebraska!

  5. dezertsuz

    It was certainly a productive few days! Thanks for sharing the pictures. How wonderful to get to go to the museum! I’m so glad you got to go.

  6. Sounds like fun! And those old double knit quilts never wear out 😆

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