For those of you not familiar with this fun retreat; Ocean Waves Quilt Camp just celebrated its 25th year. It is a yearly retreat organized by Jane Wise and staff of Jane’s Fabric Patch in Tillamook Oregon. Jane’s shop features perhaps the most fabric per square foot ratio I’ve seen in many a quilt shop along with a good selection of other non-necessarily-quilting sewing stuff (the nearest JoAnn’s is a long drive so she tries to serve more than just the quilting community).
I have been an instructor for this retreat going on several years now and with each passing year I see the ‘regulars’ as well as many new faces; I look forward to this every year now. Jane always selects a good cadre of teachers covering a wide range of projects and quilting styles, this year her teachers included Victoria Jones, Linda Peck, Peggy Gelbrich, Ardis Weir, Mimi Shimp and Kennette Blotzer in addition to myself.
The accommodations are somewhat rustic – it is held at Twin Rocks Friends Camp which is a more or less traditional ‘camp’ setting; but there are amenities such as an espresso bar that is open a few hours each day and Jane spoils us with a luscious selection of Tillamook Ice cream (12 half-gallons this year) in the basement classroom freezer and if you have time to walk off the ice cream before or after a class, there is a lovely bridge that crosses the highway and gives good access to the beach.
I offered three classes this year – Thread Painting, Migrating Geese and Magic Squares. The last two classes pretty much filled to capacity, if I had gotten any more students than the 18 I had for each class, I don’t know where I would have put them. The Thread Painting class had a lower attendance but that also meant that the students could spread out a bit more and get more one-on-one attention if they needed it (plus – we were located in the basement classroom – the one with all the Ice Cream!)
Most of the students in Thread Painting were novices at this, one told me she had taken classes and explored this before but it had been many years since she had tried it. Some struggled with the method more than others and in some cases it was a reluctant sewing machine that was to blame. The choice of patterns was a bird or a butterfly with the butterfly being a simpler project for a beginner. Despite that, several students chose a bird and a couple of them went out on a limb (no pun intended) and designed their own bird – a bold move that I admired greatly. One novice student chose the butterfly and proceeded to stitch such a lovely winged miracle that I compared it to the embroidered butterflies I have seen on classic Japanese silk scrolls. She later told me it brought tears to her eyes to receive that praise on her first attempt. Thread Painting a a slow labor intensive process and no one actually completed the project in class but I did get some pictures of nearly completed projects plus one that I just receive via email yesterday. These are pictured below.
My ‘Migrating Geese’ class filled to capacity. In this class, I teach students how to create undulating bands of Flying Geese that can weave and ‘migrate’ across a quilt. These bands can be a focal point in themselves or be laid over another quilt pattern to add visual interest. Some of my students opted to design their own bands of geese rather than follow a simple pattern I had supplied for those who didn’t want to attempt the drafting part of this project; one student decided to make a larger project designed as a sort of ‘Advent Calendar’ to countdown the months left until her retirement; she is planning to hang this in her office and mark off each goose with a pin, button or other marker as each month goes by (the creativity of quilters never ceases to amaze me). There were many color schemes and various backdrops chosen for the geese, some students even played with transitioning colors for the geese with stunning results.
My final class was Magic Squares, a 3-D optical illusion quilt I designed and have been teaching for years. I finally published the pattern a few years ago through Story Quilts (which is under new ownership and continuing to sell my patterns) and this has always been a popular class. The 3-D illusion relies on careful control of color values but it is astounding how different the quilt can look with subtle variations in color and value. It is particularly attractive when rendered in Batiks and absolutely stunning when made from Northcott Fabric’s Stonehenge line of fabrics as several students chose to do. I have a fairly good selection of these fabrics in my stash but the manufacturer keeps coming out with new colors and design variations – seeing what some of the students used necessitated a stop at Jane’s shop on my way home to add to my collection.
One of the really nice aspects of the constantly returning attendees at Quilt Camp is that many of them will bring projects they completed from the previous years for show & tell so I was also able to get a few pictures of completed projects from last year.
This was the 25th year of Quilt Camp – a milestone to be celebrated! For four days there were mystery gifts left on Jane’s podium at each meal – all of them PINK! For those who have not visited Jane’s shop in Tillamook it is famous for being located in a shocking pink house at the south end of town. Jane received pink shower puffs, pink hand lotion… even a pink extension cord (guaranteed to keep your husband from stealing it from your tool kit). In the end, it turned out these gifts were being left by a group that has been attending camp since pretty much the beginning, a group Jane calls Pearl’s Girls’ (how Jane can remember everyone’s names – even the newbies, astounds me after the hundreds and hundreds of attendees she has had). There was entertainment at each meal – mainly ‘colorful’ jokes that I help supply and that Jane had to ‘tone down’ a bit once a Christian Family Group attending their own event started sharing the dining hall with us during the last couple of days (she managed quite nicely, not all of the jokes are rated R). The final night’s wrap up was a party as usual but with a special event as Jane was presented with a commemorative quilt with blocks made by as many participants as were able to participate. This project took the better part of the year to coordinate and make (and were in pink and silver – of course) and there were so many blocks that some of the ones later received had to go on the back of the quilt. I do think that Jane was surprised though keeping it a secret from her all year must have been difficult with all the coordination required. There were skits, songs and more humorous gifts and CAKE (though I was a good girl and abstained in consideration of my blood sugar). It was a festive night. All that is behind me for another year though I’m already considering what classes to offer for next fall. If you have never been to it, check on Jane’s Fabric Patch website for updates and consider coming – it’s a blast!