Monday, October 23, 2006

Weekend at White Oak


I spent the past weekend in one of my favorite places: The White Oak Bed and Breakfast in Lancaster County, PA. Twice each year, a dozen of us take over the B&B for the weekend and sew to our hearts' content. This time it was a Baker's Dozen, and we had a glorious time.
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We arrived at White Oak around 5 o'clock on Friday, just as Rob was setting out the wine and cheese. Honna and I had left home about 1:30 in the midst of a serious storm with even more serious wind. We could actually feel the wind blowing the car when we first got on the turnpike. Not a good feeling. We pressed on, however, and by Valley Forge, it was better. We stopped at The Old Country Store in Intercourse where I bought some Civil War fabric to set my basket blocks, and Honna picked up some supplies for the Lutheran World Relief sewing kits we were going to put together. We stopped again at the bakery in Bird in Hand for pie to bring home. And then we drove to White Oak.
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The others arrived soon, and we sipped wine and caught up with each other (many of us are from the same church; others are people we've brought ino the group over the years, and there is always a little variation since there are about 15 of us and only 13 spots maximum for each of the retreats), and then it was time for our Amish dinner. By the time we were finished, we were just itching to sew.
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The house used to be owned by an Amish family; all of the land surrounding the house is owned by the Amish farmers nextdoor. Since Amish homes have to hold church every so often, the floorplan is distinct and spacious. There is a great big room, large enough to hold a small congregation, that has couches and chairs. Then there is the dining area, also very, very large, that has two tables that each can seat eight people. That's where we sew, once the Friday dinner is cleared. We have lots of space to set up cutting tables, which Rob provides, as well as ironing stations. And we sew, and we sew, and we sew.
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Upstairs there are four bedrooms, not fancy, but so comfortable and hospitable. Carol and Rob live in the "grossdaddy" part of the house, on the other side of the big sunny kitchen. That part is off limits to us. The view is gorgeous, and sometimes on Saturday the Amish women from nextdoor will come by to get something out of the freezer that they keep in Carol's basement.
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Breakfast and lunch on Saturday are provided by Carol, who is a wonderful cook. We don't clean up the sewing tables, but rather balance our plates on our laps or, if the weather is fittin', we'll go out and eat at the picnic table. Saturday night we either go out to dinner or send someone out to bring dinner in. We're not there to eat; we're there to sew. We finish sometime after Sunday brunch and are usually on our way home before two o'clock.
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Some of us are on the early shift, going to bed between 10 and 11:30 and getting up around 7; others are owls, staying up until the wee hours and dragging selves out for breakfast in the morning. We try to assign rooms to those with compatible sleeping habits. As the night progresses, we put on old Kingston Trio CDs and sing along; Marsha introduced the group one night to a favorite of hers called "Viagra in the Water," and now that is part of the Saturday night ritual. It's just grand.
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This weekend I made a couple of odd blocks that I owed people -- a lotto block, a couple of birthday blocks, a couple of teensy 4.5" blocks that I'm swapping monthly with Jan -- thasswhat I did on Friday night. Saturday I got out the Autumn Mosaic project that I'd shown in an earlier post and started working on the mosaic blocks -- each has 81 squares that finish at one inch. Got them all made and had the entire top together by the time I needed to go to bed on Saturday night. Today I found the perfect fabric for the border in the Hancocks of Paducah catalog and ordered it. I have a date with the machine quilter for the second weekend of November and, by golly, this will be the project to send her.
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Sunday morning I cut and bonded some woolly applique blocks to have on hand for evenings in front of the TV with Joe. So I really accomplished a lot, in the best of company, in the nicest of places.
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Sue had this idea that we should do a charity project, so each of us brought the findings for a Sewing Kit for Lutheran World Relief: three yards of cotton fabric, a spool of thread, a card of buttons, and a pack of needles. We had pretty many complete kits and some left over supplies for next time.
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It was just wonderful. Can't wait until March for the next time!

2 comments:

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Sounds like y'all had a wonderful, productive time. I am going to a similar retreat in Black Mountain, NC Nov. 10,11 and 12; can't wait. I will post more quilt pictures soon, finishing one for my MIL is all-consuming now. We've never done the LWR sewing kits, we've always concentrated on the health and school kits. I'll bet our quilt ministry would really get behind the sewing kits next year, though!

Ms. Jan said...

What a great trip, Nancy. The White Oak is so nice and sewing with your pals is always a good thing!