Wow. I got a lot more interest in a retreat than I was expecting, and it looks like Nashville is the big winner, followed by Maryland. Now, let me repeat what I said in the original post: this was all just speculative and I am not laying down a deposit anywhere yet. Honestly, I don't even know if I can manage to arrange it this year. I was thinking of shooting for 2012 because that would give everyone, including me, time to save up money and block off calendar time, but then again, waiting so long leaves open the very real possibility that within a year you all will have no desire to do ANYTHING that I am involved in.
As far as Nashville goes, I had discovered (and someone mentioned) a retreat place in Franklin called the Butterfly Meadows Inn that caters to quilters. I wonder if someplace like this would be better than just a hotel, since it is already set up for quilting and because we could cook our own food in the kitchen (to keep things cheaper for all of us). At the same time, having perused the website and from the knowledge gained from my research on retreats for a QH article last year, I'm wondering if the people who run the Butterfly Inn would be the sort who would ban us from ever coming back if we brought lots of alcoholic beverages, swore like sailors, and admitted out loud that some of us occasionally have sex for reasons other than procreation. How do you even approach that when calling or emailing for a quote? "Hi, I'm interested in booking a three-day retreat and, by the way, are you offended by EVERYTHING?" One assumes the nice people at the Holiday Inn Express wouldn't care, but then there could be things going on there that would offend ME. Like teenagers. I have a bad record of staying in hotels where a bunch of teenagers have decided to book a couple rooms and spend the entire night slamming the doors and running up and down the halls. And yes, I actually find that behavior more offensive than whatever they are surely doing inside the rooms. "You know what? Get shitfaced and hump each other all you want, kids, but SLAM THAT DOOR ONE MORE TIME..."
So, I have some things to consider, and I may need to ask the advice of some seasoned retreat organizers (Marge?), and then work on transforming myself into someone who is organized and pro-active. That could be a while.
In the meantime, I have been paper piecing. Successfully. I KNOW. My sister has done the certification workshops with Judy Niemeyer and has shown me what's involved and how easy it actually is, but seeing your quilt whiz sister do it and actually putting needle to paper without someone on hand to spot you are two different things. I had found a block pattern in the new issue of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, but it turned out that the pattern itself, printed on one of those big fold-out sheets with all the other patterns and templates from that issue, was too big to fit on my scanner for copying. MAJOR FAIL, QUILTMAKER. If I can't make the copies at home, I'm not going to do it. I would rather stab myself in the eye than go to Kinko's or Office Depot to use one of the copy machines there. I hate having to use an unfamiliar piece of machinery in public. I'll take on anything in the privacy of my own home: Ikea furniture, computer accessories, a do-it-yourself android love slave kit. I can figure out any kind of program or software or anything else you throw at me - as long as there are not other people around. Stand me in front of a simple copy machine in the middle of a big box store sales floor, and I suddenly lose my ability to reason. I'll end up with 800 messed up copies that I can't use before I finally give up and slink out, defeated and pattern-less.
So, I looked around online and finally found the Etsy shop Piece By Number, where you can get individual patterns as PDF downloads. I got this and this. Here is what I made from the first pattern:
I'm planning to make a third block with a dark blue background and lighter blues and purples for the star, and then make a wall hanging from them. I'm going to call it Boobs and Vampires 2: Electric Boogaloo.