Retreat Memories

Browse our galleries of quilters, friends, and teachers past and present - and let us know if you've got contributions to add to our collection of photographs. We'd love to share yours here.

  • Old Nova Scotian Quilts
    Old Nova Scotian Quilts
    by Scott Robson, Sharon MacDonald
  • Visual Coloring: A Foolproof Approach to Color-Rich Quilts
    Visual Coloring: A Foolproof Approach to Color-Rich Quilts
    by Joen Wolfrom
  • A Garden Party of Quilts: 7 Pieced Projects for Flower Lovers
    A Garden Party of Quilts: 7 Pieced Projects for Flower Lovers
    by Joen Wolfrom
  • Points of View: Landscape Quilts to Stitch and Embellish (That Patchwork Place)
    Points of View: Landscape Quilts to Stitch and Embellish (That Patchwork Place)
    by Valerie Hearder
  • Fat Quarter Frenzy Two
    Fat Quarter Frenzy Two
    by Susan Purney-Mark, Daphne Greig
  • Simple Stained Glass Quilts
    Simple Stained Glass Quilts
    by Daphne Greig, Susan Purney Mark
  • Fat Quarter Frenzy
    Fat Quarter Frenzy
    by Susan Purney-Mark, Daphne Greig
  • The Quilted Garden: Design and Make Nature Inspired Quilts
    The Quilted Garden: Design and Make Nature Inspired Quilts
    by Jane Sassaman
  • A Month of Sundays - Family, Friends, Food & Quilts: Slow Down & Sew - 16 Projects, Precut Friendly
    A Month of Sundays - Family, Friends, Food & Quilts: Slow Down & Sew - 16 Projects, Precut Friendly
    by Cheryl Arkison
  • Sunday Morning Quilts: 16 Modern Scrap Projects Sort, Store, and Use Every Last Bit of Your Treasured Fabrics
    Sunday Morning Quilts: 16 Modern Scrap Projects Sort, Store, and Use Every Last Bit of Your Treasured Fabrics
    by Amanda Jean Nyberg, Cheryl Arkison
  • Canadian Heritage Quilting: Quick Creative Designs
    Canadian Heritage Quilting: Quick Creative Designs
    by Karen Neary, Diane Shink
  • Japanese Garden Quilt: 12 Circle Blocks to Hand or Machine Applique
    Japanese Garden Quilt: 12 Circle Blocks to Hand or Machine Applique
    by Karen Kay Buckley
  • The Joy of quilting.
    The Joy of quilting.
    by Swim. Laurie.

The Quilters Retreat 2011

Well, another Retreat is under our belt and I must say, it was one of the best yet. Little did I know when we started this after Quilt Canada '84 in Halifax that we would still be having a Quilters Retreat in 2011 almost 27 years later! The weather, the quilters, the teachers and the staff at Pictou Lodge were all terrific, wonderful and amazing! There just aren't enough words to describe the experience.

It didn't take long for the quilters to arrive and settle in. Soon we gathered in the bar for our usual welcome and dinner and then the fun began with our auction. Many thanks to all the quilters who donated fabric, books, magazines, preserves, notions and all sorts of other goodies. The PDQ's (Paradise District Quilters from the Annapolis Valley) were once again our able auction specialists. Lots of fun and bargains!

Linda, Ruth & Ruth had a great time at the auction!

Faye, Debbie and Sharon with the Pictou Lodge quilt.

We were thrilled to present to Pictou Lodge a quilt to hang in the main dining room, a thank you from all the quilters who have been at the Retreat over the years, it is the frst thing you see when you look into the diningroom. Thanks to Faye Palmeter who pieced and donated the top, to Debbie Vermeulen who did the applique and the machine quilting (be sure and look for the PEI ferry crossing the Northumberland Strait in the quilting) and to Ann Carmichael who did the binding. We hope that the staff and guests will enjoy it for many years.

 Daphne Greig's class at work.

Jackie & Lois at work in Jane Sassaman's class.

Patsy at work in Elaine Quehl's class.

Patricia & Bernie hard at work in the "Hermits" classroom.

The workshops started bright and early Thursday morning with Daphne Greig, Elaine Quehl and Jane Sassaman. Each quilter spent 3 days with one teacher, a great indepth way to really learn something. The staff at Pictou Lodge bent over backwards to accommodate us and our unique needs. We aren't their usual conference setup!

Sharon & Mary's room.

Jerri minds the fort!

Ginny's New York Beauty.

A few of the PDQ's, Joan, Isabel and Rosemary.

Anne's wonderful and unusual plants quilt.

After dinner Thursday night we were joined by some of the local quilters as went went around from cabin to cabin on our "Progressive Show and Tell", kind of like Hallowe'en for quilters. There was lots of variety, lots of different techniques and some pretty incredible quilts, large and small. Be sure and check out our photo link on the right hand side to see lots more pictures.

Lorna shops at our merchant Timeless Stitches in River John, thanks to Sandy Rice for bringing her shop to us!

We had some incredible support from our many donors for door prizes which were given out each night. Please see the donor list link on the right hand side for a complete list.

Friday night we had a free night with a couple of options for those with the energy! Classrooms were open for those who wanted to sew, Teri hosted a wine and cheese reception for SAQA and had a travelling show of members works to share with us and many quilters chose to relax in their cabins with new friends and old!

Saturday night was our closing banquet, highlighted by the "Mug Rug" challenge. I must say I was thrilled with the results! Our quilters certainly rose to the challenge and came up with some wonderful, creative and useful mug rugs. A spontaneous auction was held for those mug rugs donated to the cause and several hundred dollars was raised! Thanks to all who participated and to Elaine, Daphne and Jane for being our very able judges!

The Silent Auction of special items was held in the lobby and even the staff got into some pretty competetive bidding! Thanks to all who dontaed items and all who made the successful bids. (see our quilt hanging in the background!)

Many thanks to our fantastic teachers who helped to make our Retreat so special.

Jane Sassaman, Daphne Greig and Elaine Quehl.

Plans are well underway for our 14th Quilters Retreat at Pictou Lodge, mark your calendars for September 25-29, 2013. Keep an eye on this blog for the announcement of who the teachers will be and important dates for registration etc.

Special thanks to the Retreat Committee who are the best and who give so much to make this event the success that it is. Thanks to Meredith, Ann, Sandra, Faye, Fiona, Barb B and especially to Marie who is "retiring" from the committee. we will all miss you Marie!


Almost There and Looking Back

My husband has been scanning slides and making digital images of about 40 years worth of slides. A lot of them are my quilt slides and many are from all the Retreats up until 2003 when I got a digital camera. A couple of the pictures are a little fuzzy but I just had to include them. It has been great fun to look at them all, remember quilting friends who are no longer with us, remember the great laughs we have had at the Retreats. Good friends, good food and quilting - what more could you ask for to have a good time?

 We love the creative way quilters get to the Retreat. Betsy was determined to get to the Retreat and then there was the quilters from Ontario...

We never know what the weather will be like except wait a minute is going to change!

Ruth, Agnes, Madge, Lenore and Betty relaxing in the bar.

And at the Progressive Show and Tell, you never know who will have something to share. This is chef John at the '91 Retreat with a quilt he was making from ties from Frenchy's. I wonder if he ever finished it?

The great "Let's See Who Can Hang a Spoon" demo! Jennifer, Anne, Sally, Anne, Tina, Barb, Maggie and Marilyn.

Some people get up to a few hijinks, Debbie and Anne.

Some get creative with their challenge.

Others go swimming and some have even swam in the ocean.

One thing is a guarantee, the sunsets are fantastic!

See you soon!


A Retreat Tradition - The Challenge

Since we began the Mayflower Quilters Retreat at Pictou Lodge in 1987 we have had various challenges over the years. Some have taken the format of "getting to know each other", others have been team challenges at the Retreat that also fit in with the "getting to know each other" theme. We've had group quilts being made over the 5 days of the Retreat, we've had scavenger hunts but in the most recent Retreats we have had a challenge that are made ahead of time and then they are paraded on the last night, at the closing banquet.

Debbie's creative use of toilet plungers! At the closing banquet, there was a spontaneous auction, Debbie's creation has resurfaced at several Retreats! I wonder if it will be back this year?

The challenge usually has either a theme or a must use object such as the toilet plunger! And I must say quilters are the most creative when it comes to challenges. We have had bibs and then apron themes...

Bibs from 2007.

Marie and Fiona and their aprons from 2009.

Quilters get creative with the apron theme!

This year the theme is a "mug rug", I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with. This is totally an optional challenge and often it results in a spontaneous auction to raise funds for the next Retreat.

The mug rugs should be approximately 6"x10", they will be judged by our teachers with suitable prizes awarded to "the most absorbent", "the best beverage related" and the "most snack friendly"...honourable mentions will be awarded at the judges discretion. Have fun!


An Alphabet of Quilters

Long time Quilters Retreat attendee and former Quilters Retreat teacher Anne Morrell Robinson has just published a wonderful quilters' address book  An Alphabet of Quilters.

"The Alphabet of Quilters draws its inspiration from the many characters that Anne has met over the years while attending shows, teaching workshops and visiting fabric stores.

Like a children's book, each letter of the alphabet describes a different quilters' personality.

Anne conceived of the work and composed the poems, and hired Ingrid Schipper-Ross to make the original sketches. After years of collecting the right fabrics, Anne transformed them into patterns for the quilt itself.

Widely exhibited since it was made in 2002, The Alphabet of Quilters has delighted and insprired viewers. While reading the poems and discovering the work's subtle and humourous details, quilters recognize themselves and their friends depicted there.Many enthusiastic artists and acquaintances encouraged Anne to transform the piece into a book - one that would represent the beauty and complexity of the quilt itself, and help us to consider the ways quilt making enriches our lives." (reprinted with permission)

 Autographed copies of An Alphabet of Quilters will be available for purchase from Anne at the Quilters Retreat for $30. If you aren't attending the Retreat you can order copies of the book from Anne by writing to

A wonderful gift for yourself or your quilting friends!


Ready and Waiting...

The Retreat Committee had a meeting at Pictou Lodge with Amanda, the events manager, yesterday. This is her first Retreat and I think she is looking forward to it as much as we are! We had lots to do, plans to be made, meals to choose etc. It felt so good to be back. We saw lots of familiar faces and had a wonderful lunch in the Rotunda overlooking the Northumberland Strait.

We toured the workshop rooms, made decisions as to where each workshop would be, where our merchant, Timeless Stitches would be. We will have 60 quilters plus the 3 teachers with us this year, many are returning and some will be with us for their first time.  

We realized that in just 3 short months we would be there, sewing, quilting, talking, eating...

Let's hope the weather will co-operate! We never kow what to expect! We have had snow (once!), hurricanes (remember Juan!) and simply wonderful warm weather, warm enough on many occasions for our quilters to swim in the ocean.

The chairs await, we are looking forward to seeing everyone again from far and near!


Quilters Quarters House Tour 2011

The Retreat Committee decided to resurrect the Quilters Quarters House Tour this year as a fundraiser for the Retreat in September. We have done this 4 times in the past for previous Retreats and it always was a successful day.

Five quilters, Laureen, Meredith, Alex, Vivien and Kate, were asked to open up their homes, share their quilts and their space where they make their quilts. All were very different, all were inspiring.


Quilts were in the gardens, on the walls and on kitchen tables. Almost 75 quilters and friends (and a few husbands) trekked about the city for 3 hours on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Tips and tricks were shared, many photos were taken. It was really quite the feast for the eyes.

The Retreat Committee is very grateful to those who opened their homes and to those who bought tickets to go on the tour. Thank you so much. We hope to have another Quilters Quarters House Tour in 2013, just before the next Retreat. Check out the pictures in the QQ House Tour 2011 in the Photo Albums section on the sidebar.



Our three teachers this year all have a blogs. A great way to stay in touch and keep up to date with their travels, teachings and their quilt projects. Be sure and take a look, stay for a visit and say hello to them on the comments section. Non of them have ever been to the Retreat or as far as I know teach in Nova Scotia so let's make them feel welcome. It's easy, just click on their name and off you go to their blog...

Daphne Greig

Elaine Quehl

Jane Sassaman

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