The Heart Circle Quilter's Retreat
Mt. Shasta & Redding, California

Here's some pictures from the October 14th - 19th, 2004 retreat held for a visiting group of Japanese quilters. It started with a workshop at the Sew Unique quilt shop in Mt. Shasta and ended at the Holiday Inn in Redding. An article about this Retreat has appeared in a spring 2005 issue of Patchwork Quilt Tsushin, a very popular quilting magazine in Japan.

Laurie Short (retreat coordinator), Roberta Merkle (Laurie's assistant), Jean Keyes (Japanese interpreter) and Scarlett Rose (block exchange chairman) were the welcoming committee at the airport, eager to greet the 11 Japanese quilters who arrived at 1:15pm Thursday afternoon. It was sunny and hot in Redding that day!

A stop was made at the Fabric Train in Dunsmuir for shopping. After checking in at the motel, dinner was eaten at the Black Bear Diner in Mt. Shasta. Almost everyone had BBQ ribs! All day Friday was spent in Deanna Charlton's Mosaic Tile workshop, held in Sew Unique. Dinner was at the Piedmont Italian Restaurant.

Here's Jean Keyes (interpreter) with Deanna Charlton (teacher) demonstrating to Michiko Shima and Toshiko Sakamoto how to make their fabric tiles.

Deanna, with Jean assisting, helping Misako Misaki with her background fabric.

Michiko Shima working on her mosiac tile project. Michiko is the author of the Quick Bias Quilt Book.

Jean is sharing a picture with the Japanese quilters as they work on their mosiac tile projects.

These pictures were taken by Deanna Charlton on Saturday morning, the second day of the Mosaic Tile workshop.

L to R: Kazuyo Akitsu, Michiko Shima, Toshiko Sakamoto, Shizuko Murayama, Misako Misaki

L to R: Masako Sakata, Tamae Sato, Kumiko Matsuda, Michiyo Okumoto, Kei Teranishi

Tomoyo Kitagawa

The afternoon was spent walking down Main Street in Mt. Shasta, for more shopping. For more information about Mt. Shasta, California, please visit this site:

On Saturday evening, the group headed to McCloud to ride on the Shasta Sunset Dinner Train.

Veronica Nurmi (professional machine quilter) and Tina Seres (owner of Sew Unique) joined us for the Dinner Train.

Tamae Sato and Shizuko Murayama are enjoying their dinner and train ride.

Misako Misaki and Roberta Merkle look like they're also enjoying the train ride.

On Sunday morning, everyone got into the vans and headed out of Mt.Shasta to visit the McCloud Presbyterian Church, which dates from 1943. Then onwards to Burney Falls. It sure rained hard!

McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, California

Sunday dinner at the Holiday Inn was a very exciting event. We had show & tell and exchanged friendship blocks! There were 12 American quilters who made blocks to trade with 12 Japanese quilters. One Japanese and two Americans weren't able to attend, but those who attended had a fabulous time. Each Japanese quilter brought a quilt to share and their quilts were hung around the dining room for all to enjoy. The American quilters each showed off one of their quilts in turn.

Heather Rose, wearing a yukata that she made herself, gives her Heart Circle block to Kazuyo Akitsu. Each quilter, American and Japanese, drew a name out of a Halloween pumpkin so that lucky person received their block.

The block pattern used for the friendship exchange is the Heart Medallion block from a book by Pepper Cory & Susan McKelvey, called "The Signature Quilt: Traditions, Techniques and The Signature Block Collection". Unfortunately, this book is out of print, but may still be available through Amazon, used book dealers or eBay.

Shizuko Murayama made this quilt and brought it as her show and tell. The flowers are from page 73 of Baskets: Celtic Style by Scarlett Rose. The Celtic blocks and interlaced border really make this quilt look wonderful!

Monday morning was rainy and predicted to get even more stormy, so the trip to Lake Shasta Caverns was cancelled. Instead, the group toured the Turtle Bay Museum and walked across the new Sundial Bridge.

Sundial Bridge by Santiago Calatrava in Redding, California

Turtle Bay Museum in Redding, California

Monday afternoon was spent learning about the Cascade Theatre, a newly restored Art Deco building in downtown Redding. Then a last shopping expedition to Sew Simple, one of Redding's two quilt shops.

Cascade Theatre in Redding, California - restored to original 1935 appearance.

Monday night dinner was at Chevy's Mexican Restaurant and a good time was had by all. We even sang "Sukiyaki"! If you don't know or recognize the song, here's a site with a bunch of MP3 versions, including the original by Kyu Sakamoto:

Tuesday was the end of the retreat, a very tearful occasion even with a flight delay. A last meal was eaten, lunch at Peter Chu's, a Chinese restaurant in the Redding airport.

Here's a group picture of the four American quilters with the eleven Japanese quilters.

There was much last minute picture taking, plenty of hugs and waving goodbye as the Japanese quilters went through the checkpoint and boarded their plane to head to San Francisco.

As they headed out to the plane, a few last waves were seen. We went out into the parking lot and watched their plane take off before we returned to our van to head home. A truly memorable experience for all of us!

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