The fire was roaring, the soft salty sea air felt wonderful on my wintry dry skin last week at Empty Spools Seminars, held at the amazing California state park, "Asilomar," or Refuge by the Sea. And refuge it was. Right on the coastline near Monterey, it takes you back in time as you live, eat, and work in the historic buildings scattered through the acres, deer freely roaming, surf booming in the distance. Huge Monterey pines and natural vegetation frame the ocean views. Delicious food three times a day, and fun and laughter with all who are there in the various classes. And quilts, quilts, everywhere.
My class, "A Quilting Journey," was all about free motion machine quilting on a home sewing machine, and my 24 intrepid quilters did great. We worked very hard but were relaxed and had a good time as well.
My trip out there had a few glitches, one which involved 12 hours in Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix. It was after 8 hours that I noticed the carpet, below, was a funky rendition of my "Celtic Bubbles" design I teach, only this one had little jet airplanes sprinkled throughout.
Our small prop jet plane ( 8 rows, noisy) left Phoenix at 9 p.m.-ish, and did ok until it met the high winds in California and along the coast. The turbulence was terrible, still have bruises from that, and for the first time I turned green from airsickness but managed to refrain from throwing up on the handsome man seated next to me.
In the pitch dark night we were told the loud noises we heard were just chunks of ice being thrown off by the propellers and were hitting the plane. Eek.
Then amidst the turbulence the pilot announced we would have to land in Fresno as we were almost out of fuel. Double Eek.
At least the buffeting ended when we landed for fuel, and I chewed a Tums. Ground felt so good, but soon we were up again and more turbulence. The clouds cleared, and Monterey Bay was spread out below us like jewels in the clear night air. I arrived at Asilomar and my lovely room around 3 a.m. Whew. Sometimes I wonder why I teach quilting!
Above, the deer were my view out of my sleeping room, so gentle and pretty.
My class began the next day, 24 quilters who rose to every single challenge I threw at them. We laughed, had fun, were serious about our work, but could also smile when things didn't go that well. In the end, I think everyone improved and some were sailing free with their quilting. It was very rewarding for me, but some gremlins took time to sum up my teaching and the class on the board one evening, below. And if it is too fuzzy to read, that's fine too. I think they hit all the salient points of my barking at them for 5 days!
Special thanks to Toyo and Evette, who helped with the class and did a terrific job, and Jan and Helen-Mary, who let me demo on their machines.
Next blog post I'll give a summation of things we learned in class.
Meanwhile, Oliver was ecstatic to see me and climbed in my carry-on of quilts when I was unpacking. He is just now truly believing I am back for good and is thrilled his two "people" are together again, just for him.
Keep quilting! Your work gets better every day.
More to come,