Our hotel provides us transportation to the HQ site each day. The driver today took us for a little side trip up and down the mountains to see some of the homes and views. She got in a little trouble for getting us there late but we did enjoy the scenery.
The class for this AM was taught by Suzanne Hyland who is Mark's wife and a VERY talented quilter. She is also the inventer of the gloves for machine quilting called Machingers. We all brought quilt tops for her suggestions of how to quilt them. She had to think long and hard about a couple of them and others chimed in on their suggestions. Very good information. I bought 3 DVDs by her all about my machine and quilting from the front.
I had my video filmed while the class was going on. This was not hard for me after 2 years of being a historical interpreter and having to talk in front or cameras or groups of people. We also gave out tips for other quilters.
Then we had another delicious lunch and people started departing for the airport. Us East Coast gals were not leaving until the butt crack of dawn the next day so we relaxed for a bit until going back to the hotel.
The lack of sleep was catching up with me but I knew that would go on another night. When I have to get up early for a flight, I wake up constantly looking at the clock. But I will be able to sleep at home for sure.
After we finished our free motion class, it was time to head to a local Quilt Shop. Imagine our surpirse when we went out front and there was a HUGE LIMO. We had a ball inside calling our families and taking each others photos.
We arrived at the quilt shop and were in for another surprise and gift. Mark had a $30 gift card for all of us to spend. He also arranged for a 10 per cent discount from the store. So we headed inside for some fun shopping.
We had a wonderful lunch put on by the folks at HQ. They also have snacks for us to munch on and a refrigerator full of sodas and juice. Such wonderful folks.
The afternoon class was all about free motion designs from the front of the machine. This is what I do all the time. I tried pantos once and hated them. I thought it would be super simple. NOT That is a whole other skill and one that will require more time than I want to give it right now.
I practiced my designs with King Tut thread and just love it. It is quite pricey and I would save it for a part of the quilt where it would really show off. I have a lovely practice sandwich to remember all the new things I learned at school there.
After we settled down from our wonderful tour, we were ready for our first class. This was held in a huge room full of beautiful quilts and lots of machines.....Pure Nirvana.
I must confess to a dirty little secret first. I have had my machine since March and NEVER changed the needle. I change mine all the time on my Janome but I was afraid I would never get it right in the big one right. And every quilt---all 50 or so of them----had been just fine. What a machine.
Out comes the biggest needle in the world. We proceeded to learn all about needles and I found out I would HAVE to change it on the machine. But there were several educators with us so I knew I would be in capable hands to learn this.
I found out I am doing my bobbin tension right. I think my problem might be due to a rusty tension assembly and I bought a new one there. I am not touching my machine until I get the new one installed.
We were given a baggie full of different thread and I had a ball trying them all out. But first I changed the needle with one of the educators and it was not hard at all.
After we all recovered from our greeting we were given a tour of this fabulous facility. It was so interesting to see how our machines are made. And one of the very best parts is MADE IN THE USA.
I am going to insert the youtube video so you can join me on this tour.
I love my machine and every day am grateful that I have her. BUT--having said that--I must admit I did lust after the new Fusion. HHHHHHHHMMMMMMMMMMMMM now how can I figure out a way to get that. It will be back to getting on Oprah for the reunion of the soldier, nurse and me from the magic letter. Guess it is back to emailing her. I KNOW it would be a fabulous show.
I forgot to add that we all received a wonderful bag from HQ with lots of goodies inside. There was a HUGE pair of batting scissors. I could not figure out how to get them past security at the airport as I only brought one suitcase for carry on to save money. Not to worry---they would mail our things home. I think airport security would blow every whistle and have a myriad of officers ready to arrest this little ole lady if they ever saw those scissors.
The hotel had a lovely breakfast including the neatest waffle maker. You just pour in a little container of the batter and soon you have a waffle. I had no idea how to work this but another quilter showed me. This group was wonderful.
We set off in transport to the HQ headquarters. It is a beautiful building in an industrial park. Mark came outside to greet us and hold open the door. When we went inside we were in for a HUGE surprise. Every single employee was lined up on the stairs and balloons were tied everywhere. They were all clapping and cheering. To add to the fun----out came cans of silly string.
I think it was about this time when I began to realize this was really a BIG DEAL for us and them. An enormous time and energy had gone into this ad campaign and we were the main stars.
I have struggled how to share my wonderful story about the HQ Retreat. The only way I can figure out how to do that is a little at a time. So today will be just that.
The flights were just fine and it was so much fun traveling with the other lady who won the contest. Her name is Mary and she lives outside of Baltimore. I drove to her house, left my car and her husband kindly drove us to the airport. Quilters are not strangers when we meet each other.
Most of the other winners were sitting outside the hotel on the porch when we arrived. It was fabulous meeting and sharing a little of our lives.
HQ had a great southwest dinner catered at the hotel that evening. Mark---CEO----Brenda in charge of market (if you ever want something organized perfectly---get her) were there to talk to us a bit. We LOVED putting a face to her as she was the email contact. Mark is just such a great guy and so NORMAL for a CEO. This company is really like family as we will find out later in the trip.
We settled into our rooms after a long day of airports. Little did we know we were in for the adventure of a lifetime.
This picture is across the street from out hotel. I did not know the mountains were so close.
It will take me a little time to write about the marvelous time I had on this retreat. These people know how to do it right. But as a teaser here is how we got to the quilt shop and the CEO's house for dinner. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhh