Mother’s Day Retreat 2016

“Why Glue?” Response

I just want to take a moment to thank all my readers for making last week’s blog post, “Why Glue?” such a success. It was by far my most popular post ever. The blog averages around 1,000 views per week. So far this week, “Why Glue?” has racked up more than 4,000 views.

My previous blog about using glue in fabric collage was the most viewed ever.

It also received the most comments of any blog post, which is interesting because “Why Glue?” was inspired by a comment by a reader who wanted to know how and why I use glue in the construction of fabric collage quilts.

So please ask questions! I need to know what readers are most curious or confused about. I will do my best to answer your questions, either in the comments section or as a future blog post.

Oh, and I did want to emphasize that the glue I use is only a final solution as long as the quilt isn’t washed. If you plan to wash your quilt, then this glue is a temporary hold until you finish it off in a way other than what I do.

Spring at the Harpswell Inn where I recently held my Mother’s Day Quilt Retreat.

Harpswell, Maine Retreats

Spring hearkens many things: daffodils, peepers (tiny tree frogs), lilacs. It is also the beginning of my Maine quilting retreats. Back in Spring of 2011, I hosted a two-day retreat at a local inn here in my hometown of Harpswell, Maine. I took 20 students, and the space was packed.

The next year, I scheduled the class on the Friday and Saturday prior to Mother’s Day so that moms (like me!) could still spend Sunday with their families. I decided that the space I was using could comfortably handle only 12 students, an ideal class size as far as I’m concerned. I also added a 4-day Summer retreat complete with lobster dinner. We live on the coast after all. Both retreats proved to be fun and successful.

View from the lawn of the Harpswell Inn during an October Leaf Peepers Retreat.

Over the following five years, these retreats have expanded. This year I have three retreats—the two-day Mother’s Day retreat, and four-day retreats in June and October. All of them are full with waiting lists. Next year, I plan to host (at least) five retreats, two here in Harpswell and three at a hotel in the Old Port area of nearby Portland, Maine’s largest city and a hotel shuttle ride from the Portland airport. (If they all fill, I may add another October retreat.)

This coming week I will be finalizing my Maine Quilting Retreat dates for 2017. Stay tuned for an announcement in my email newsletter, and then again in this blog. (By the way, if you want to receive my newsletter, which contains information on how to sign up for my classes, my teaching schedule, and other upcoming events, visit my website and click on the Sign Up Now button:

Day two and my students are hard at work.

Mother’s Day Quilt Retreat 2016

This past Mother’s Day weekend, I hosted my first Harpswell retreat of 2016. Typically, students travel from all over the country to take the class. That was true this year as well, with students from Atlanta and Virginia, even from Prince Edward Island in Canada. And there were a few “local” Maine residents as well.

Since I haven’t talked about my retreats before on this blog, I’ll take a minute to describe them. I hold classes at the iconic Harpswell Inn, a large white New Englander overlooking a working fishing wharf and Casco Bay, with views both north and south. The spot isn’t called Lookout Point for nothing. Students either commute or stay at the inn itself or other local lodging. Class is held from 9:00 until 4:00 with an hour break for lunch. What a pleasure it is to have lunch prepared for you at the inn, leave the dishes where they are, then take a short walk to Casco Bay before heading back to work. One dinner is also served at the inn. Other dinners are open for students to explore restaurants in Harpswell or in nearby Brunswick.

A lunchtime stroll to the shores of Casco Bay.
Lunch in the inn’s dining room.

The class size is limited to 12, both by the space available and by choice. When I teach at conferences or guilds, I usually have 20 people in my classes, though I prefer to teach smaller groups. It’s a treat for me to be able to give more individual attention within the time allotted.

A highlight for students is a pre-dinner visit to my studio, which is within pleasant walking distance of the inn. Students say that they really appreciate seeing where I work. This past week, it was also a happy coincidence that my quilt “Crocodylus Smylus” returned in the nick of time from its trip to Australia. Stevie the croc was proudly hanging on my pinning wall, all twenty feet of her. Students waited patiently, taking turns having their pictures taken with the smiling reptile. I provide treats during the visit. This year we had wild Maine blueberry poundcake (baked by my husband, Tom) and “Happy Cookies” (made by my mama, Meta). These vegan cookies are so popular I often get asked for the recipe, so I have provided it below. My mom seems to vary the ingredients a little each time (different flours, nuts, or fruit) and the cookies are still always yummy.

Welcome to my studio. (Thanks for the photos, Joyce!)
Stevie the croc is the center of attention during the studio visit Q&A.

The retreat was all over very quickly. It hardly seems like we’re getting started before we’re packing up again, though as one student remarked, “(it was) amazing how much you covered in two days!”. Except for three returning students who were working on previously started pieces, this was a fish, bug, butterfly class. These are simpler subject matter, so good progress can be made in the two days, as you’ll see in the slide show below.

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Walnut Maple Cookies (aka “Oma’s Happy Cookies”)

2½ cups walnuts, ground in food processor
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup flax seed meal
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla

  1. In a small bowl, add all the ingredients in the given order. Mix well.
  2. Spray a large cookie sheet and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Drop dough onto cookie sheet with spoon and flatten with fork.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown, checking often to prevent burning. The cookies can burn easily and become hard if too dark. Use a double insulated cookie sheet for baking and bake in the middle rack of the oven.
  5. Let cool before removing from the cookie sheet. Makes 1 dozen.

From “Kitchens of Nature’s Harvest” reprinted with permission from Mary Penner


5 thoughts on “Mother’s Day Retreat 2016

  1. I attended the Mother’s Day retreat with Susan in Harpswell and loved every minute of it. Susan is such a great teacher, with lots of patience and wonderful suggestions to create the flow of one fabric into another. And the visit to her studio was one of the many highlights of the retreat. To see Stevie in all her glory on the wall, along with many of Susan’s other artworks was so inspirational. The rooms at Harpswell Inn, the homecooked meals and all the goodies were great too! Thanks again Susan!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OH MY! What a GREAT weekend!!!
    Fun, laughter, fabulous food, making new friends, concentration, creating, thinking outside the box, pushing the limits of fabric designs, and best of all…an AMAZING teacher! The Harpswell Inn is right on the water, gorgeous sunrise and sunsets! It was such a treat to watch all these fish, butterflies, bees, and cats, to go from a blank fabric, add the outline, then brought to LIFE with fabrics! With Susan’s guidance, each of us really understood the concept.
    I’m SO glad I treated myself to this wonderful weekend!

    Nina Clotfelter


  3. I’m registered for the fall retreat and am already counting the days. Planning a composite of 3 photos/views of my pug for my quilt subject matter. Between looking forward to this class, my first trip to Maine, and getting my newly purchased longarm set up this weekend – I have an exciting year to look forward to! See you in October, Susan!


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