by Christine Barnes
Oh my, I had quite the adventure this past week, traveling to Westchester County, NY, to lecture and teach for the Northern Star Quilters’ Guild. The weather was lovely—cool and crisp—and the rain was a real treat for this California girl. Thank you, ladies, for your enthusiasm and your hospitality. You are one lively bunch of quilters!
In between all the fun, we had time to explore the role of value and intensity in creating transparency. For my “Transparent Squares” quilt, it takes two groups of fabrics, eight lights and eight darks. To “fool the eye” into seeing transparent color, you need fabrics that are similarly intense; for example, all muted or all bright, or all somewhere in between. This is one color concept ideally suited to collections because the fabrics in collections tend to have a similar intensity.
For example, Yvonne used all Peppered Cottons for her blocks, below. Aren’t they yummy? (That’s Caryl, student extraordinaire, sitting at her machine in the background. Pay no attention to the figure in the corner—tis the season.)
Carol used her collection of Cherrywood hand-dyes, below, to make her suede-like blocks. Slight variations in value (the orange fabric, for example, is more medium than dark) make the blocks more interesting. Once the units are joined, the transparency “snaps” into place.Chris, below, came with all Shot Cottons by Kaffe Fassett. The see-through center units seem to magically float above the darker background pieces. The block construction for this quilt couldn’t be simpler: you sew eight different “basic blocks,” each consisting of one lighter-value center square surrounded by four strips of a darker-value fabric. Then you “whack” the blocks off-center and recombine the units to make seemingly complex blocks. She’ll add borders of my favorite gray ombré to complete her quilt.
Judy was so kind to take me back to the hotel after the class. We took the scenic route so I could see more of the area, and I loved the fall colors, beautiful homes, and stone walls. Well, we got to talking and laughing so much that we strayed a bit. Judy stopped at a cute inn, below, for some quick directions. I was delighted to have the “extended tour.” Thank you, Judy. And many thanks to those students not pictured; you made my trip memorable.
Finally, had the weather been a bit more cooperative, I would have taken more pics of this charming part of New York state. But in their place, here’s the brick school where my local guild, Pine Tree Quilt Guild, meets every month. Not New York, but very fall-like.