The Bloomin Inn

Longarming + Sue Patten + Dusty Farrell =  one heckofa busy retreat at the Bloomin Inn!

The Bloomin Inn

Bradie and Matt of the Sparrow Quilt Company put together longarm classes in a retreat setting - IN ALBERTA - and I couldn't resist signing on!

Dusty's Class
The classrooms were rarely empty - I must have taken this at noon when everyone bolted for the dining room!
Anyway, this was Dusty's space for the duration.


We were divided into two groups - my group worked with Dusty first. We did four sessions over the course of two days before switching and doing the same with Sue.

I can't remember Dusty's session names, but they were things like "Bread N Butter Quilting", "Good Feathers Gone Bad", "Filigree Feathers" and the like. This is a little taste of my work on Day One.

Day one at the frame

Feathers got fancier as the day went on.

Trying new shapes

And then we got into ruler work and templates - and that was pretty fun, too!

Using Dusty's tools

Here's Dusty showing his process at the white board. He would also draw on fabric for people to trace, which explains the marker tucked over his ear.

It was also a great mental exercise to watch him quilt. I liked to see how he would handle awkward areas with grace, and how he filled up the space.

Dusty Farrell

Show and Tell!
We enjoyed a trunk show one evening. The quilts were passed around, and we were welcome to take photos. There's nothing better than a close look at the quilting!

Cute, right??? I believe this is Sue's work.
Sue and Dusty presented the trunk show together, but I'm pretty sure I can tell their work apart.

And, I believe this is Dusty's super cool work.
Sue is holding one of her whole cloth quilts, below. (Who needs to piece when you can quilt like that?)

Sue Patten

Another of Sue's whole cloth quilts, below. Even though Sue hates this quilt (there's a back story), it's an award winner for good reason. The stitching is beautiful.

Sue's thread work

Below is a close up of some of Dusty's thread work.
He made a quilt for the Sparrows depicting an angel and a devil (both sparrows, of course!). Bradie says that CLEARLY this guy represents Matt, which means she must be the angel. I will (wisely) leave it to them to sort that out on their own! Ha!

Dusty's thread work

Sue's turn!
Four sessions on various topics whizzed by with Sue, too. We used stencils in inventive ways and learned to stretch, tweak, flip, combine, and change designs to fit every space on a quilt.

Sue at the white board

Sue's designs were less familiar, so they took extra thought on my part. And scribbling. Lots of scribbling!
(Brain training!)

Once I had a shape figured out, tracing it over and over helped train my brain!

Once I started getting the hang of things, the shapes were really fun to stitch! (Remember, we were learning on the fly - tidiness was the last thing on my mind!)

Feather variations

We also learned how Sue uses rulers in her work, and played with even more variations (size, shapes, fillers, spines, and so on).

Dressing up geometric "bones"

While I can't show you everything we learned in our classes, I can show you how we all felt by the end of day four.
Not kidding!

Catchin' some zzzz's

The Inn
The following photos hint at the artful displays of collectibles at the retreat center. Every nook and cranny was bursting with bits of history.

In the dining room:

 On the way in the door of "the barn" where the classrooms and some of the bedrooms are housed:

One corner in Sue's classroom (the view in every direction had more, More, MORE!)

Out on the deck:

I don't even remember where this was taken!

Entry to the house:

It's fascinating - but I sure am glad I don't have to dust!!!

Home, Sweet Home
Now I'm home and excited to make good use of the things I've learned!

Try, Learn, & Grow!


  1. Neat! I'm sure you'll use it well what you learned!

  2. Dusting, that is exactly what I was thinking!
    I am so glad you took this class to prepare to quilt my big hexie quilt! :)

  3. I've taken a class from Sue before, but it was a basic beginners class. That one sounds fun - her quilting can be awesome. And Dusty spent time with me in his booth at HMQS one year - he'd be fun to take a class from. Great time spent for you!

  4. Wow! That must have been incredible. Their work is exquisite and I love seeing what you did.

  5. Sue has some spectacular pieces, she did a trunk show at my guild last year.

  6. Sounds like a really productive and fun 4 days!

  7. That retreat looks like so much fun Carole! Both with the instructors and the setting. I love seeing the examples of your experiments. The feather variations are really interesting. There is a lot here to get excited about and I'm glad you had such a great time!

  8. That sounds like a fabulous time. Your quilting is so pretty. Sue Patten is coming to Utah in the spring. I hope to take a class from her.

  9. Beautiful setting for a retreat. Looks like you had a fun four days and learned a lot. Lara B. told me about your site.

  10. How awesome Carole to attend that workshop! I did watch the trunk show online - wow! As for all those antiques, they would be definite distraction of the nicest kind!

    Thanks for sharing some of your highlights.


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