Summer Sewing: Party of One Quilt Retreat

Just a small portion of the items “dumped” in the floor upon my return

Honey, I’m home!

I shared a tad the other day about my “party for one” quilt retreat at an undisclosed location (grin). Well, I’m home so now I will backtrack and tell you the rest of the story… Settle in as I ramble on.


Quilt Retreat:

Party for one needs snacks and nourishment – there is actually lunch meat for lettuce wraps under that ice cream, I promise!

Okay, so I stretched it a bit – quilt retreats are generally a gathering of quilting friends with lots of food, laughter, and plenty of sewing. I’ve attended and hosted many a fun-filled adventure with my girlfriends over the years, but it’s been at least two summers since I’ve been on retreat. When my sister-in-law asked if I would house sit and take care of their dog I took it as an opportunity to set up shop (and sew indoors!)

Ask anyone who has been on retreat with me, I don’t pack light! I bring as many UFO’s (UnFinished prOjects) as I think I can do – more actually, just in case I’m not in the “mood” for one of them or in case I forgot a key element. I remember once going on retreat hoping to finish a project that required a specialty ruler only to discover said ruler didn’t get packed and it wasn’t worth the 2-hour drive home to get it, nor did I want to repurchase it at the local quilt shop. So you can see the logic here!

Design wall – foam board covered with a tablecloth

Most quilt retreats have design walls where quilters can audition their block layout or just put up bragging rights of how many units they have pieced. Since this was a house, not a retreat center, I brought my own!

My design walls are simply foam insulation boards, the type you get at a hardware store, with a simple plastic fleece backed tablecloth pined on to hold the fabric pieces. These tablecloths also work well when you go to a class as you can layout your design, roll it up, and take it home. A word to the wise, the “cheap ones” generally show through (like the red one in the photo or the checkered one in later photos). But I’m going for function, not aesthetics!

You can never have too many power strips

Oh, and in addition to all the fabrics, threads, patterns, rulers, rotary cutter, cutting mat, sewing machine, ironing board, iron, and various sewing supplies  one must always remember to bring power strips and if you have the luxury of bringing your own chair and light – well, you be stylin’ my friend!

Also, I must note a very distinguishable difference in a party of one quilt retreat vs a normal quilt retreat (1) the conversation was lacking (2) the food wasn’t what I’m accustomed to! Anyone that knows me well knows that cooking isn’t my first love – on retreats with my girlfriends I am blessed by those who have the gift of culinary delights. Let it be known, in spite of frozen dinners and dominos pizza I was able to sustain life and quilt!

Boone doesn’t seem too impressed with my set up

The Projects:

Only Island Batik fabrics came with me on my Party of One Quilt Retreat

My goal for the week was to play catch up on my Island Batik Ambassador projects, actually to work ahead if I could, as well as I had another deadline “secret sewing” project. I hoped to finish 5 tops but I brought enough for 7 or more projects. I’m known as a “just in-caser” as in I have lots of things just in case (grin).

Stay tuned!

I’m not sharing things in chronological order, that would be too typical and I’m anything but a typical quilt lady!  Technically my first project was my June Island Batik Ambassador (IBA) challenge – which I will blog about later this next week. My second project was the May IBA challenge that I shared in an earlier post, my X’s and O’s – I enjoyed making those pillows! My third project was a “secret sewing” project for a future blog post with the Row Along (the deadline to create my row was 6/15, I designed it and pieced it on 6/14!)

Okay, so if all this stuff is for future posts then you are asking “what the heck are you going to show us now!”  Glad you asked!


UFO no more!

Mint Chocolate Chip, pattern by The Quilt Rambler, now available for purchase

If you’ve been following The Quilt Rambler blog for more than a post or two then I don’t have to tell you about the Island Batik Ambassador program – but in case you are just joining the party…twice a year Island Batik sends fabulous FULL boxes of fabric to their ambassadors in exchange for participating in monthly challenges and sharing our creations. As an ambassador last year our June project was Creative Curves  

Well, last year I had this fabulous idea for my challenge using fabrics from my ambassador box, had it cut out and everything, and then they called for designs to be submitted for consideration for the Fall Market 2017 catalog…you guessed it, my creative curve design was chosen and I was asked not to release the design until it debuted at market. Oh, darn (grin). Here’s the cover of my pattern (hot off the press I might add) of the finished project that started out as a June challenge and ended up a published pattern, Mint Chocolate Chip.

This is a screenshot from my phone’s camera showing my original design – notice the date stamp, I was working ahead for my June project. Also, notice that I had a design floor, not a design wall! Wide back muslin works perfectly!

You guessed it, the time had come to finish up this long overdue quilt project! The fabric is a 10″ stack precut from the Pressed Petals line, companion yardage was provided too. Time for that disclaimer: All fabrics in this project were provided to me by Island Batik as a part of their Ambassador program. Without further ado, here’s Mint Chocolate Chip in an alternate colorway and simplified border treatment.


Fortunately, I had gathered up the block parts and pieces in the order laid out on the design floor back in April 2017 when this became a UFO. This week I was ready to sew “right out of the box”


All that sewing and laying out the blocks on the design wall must have been tiring for good ole Boone


Mint Chocolate Chip variation, pattern by The Quilt Rambler


Tada! I was so proud of myself for piecing this all in one day. And then I noticed it….and I ate a little humble pie…and had to frog (rip it rip it).

Thee’ a hole in my quilt top!

Let me tell you, despite the late hour in the day I wasn’t going to let this beat me! I took that seam ripper and showed that wayward block just who was boss!

Ah, that’s better. Presenting Mint Chocolate Chip (variation) by Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler. Pattern Available!

But Wait! There’s More!

Of course there is! But this rambler is ready to find the floor in an effort to find the path to the bed (remember I’m living in a 26 foot RV so when I say I need to find the floor it is a matter of safety! ha!)

Here’s what’s in store in upcoming blogs….my June 2018 Island Batik project pieced while on “retreat”, photos from a class I taught today…ah heck, why wait on that! Here are photos from the class I taught today (grin)


Love Links Quilting Class

Love Links (there’s an Island Batik Ambassador story with this one), A Studio 180 Design pattern using Deb Tucker’s Wing Clipper tool to make flying geese. Taught at TEO’s Treasures Quilt Shop.

Yep – twins!
Love Links Class 6.16.18 We had sew much fun learning how to make flying geese the Deb Tucker way!


Okay, that’s all folks…until next time…here’s a sneak preview of the fabrics in the upcoming quilt top I will share next! Stay tuned!

More curved piecing, this time with leftover fabrics from the cover quilt Mint Chocolate Chip in Northern Woods fabric collection

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, thankful that I had such wonderful students who “listened” while they worked – this rambler has been at her party of one way too long!

PS – Mint Chocolate Chip is constructed using AccuQuilt Go Cutter dies but can also be made with Drunkard’s Path templets. I’m still working on adding an online shopping experience, but in the meantime, you can contact me to order the pattern AND/or fabric kit…thank you!

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5 thoughts on “Summer Sewing: Party of One Quilt Retreat

    • TheQuiltRambler says:

      It’s a fun and versatile design element – kinda like the log cabin or hunter’s star blocks – so many different ways to arrange a layout. I do hope you will try it! And perhaps consider my pattern “Mint Chocolate Chip” which can be made either with the go cutter or templets! Here’s to adding to your bucket list!

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