by Christine Barnes

24 Stitch copyI had the BEST time a few weeks ago at the Four Corners Quilt Gathering in Durango, Colorado. Five guilds take part in this annual get-together, and that makes for five times the fun. Without further ado, here’s how my visit unfolded, starting at the beginning . . .

If you haven’t been to Durango, you must go. I loved the open skies and the high-desert landscape. One of my “minders,” Jill, picked me up at the local airport and took me to The General Palmer Hotel, built in 1898 in the historic district. It was delightful and oh-so comfy.44a General Palmer50 my hhotelNext door was the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. I checked it out several times during my stay. (That’s called “local research.”)46 chocolate sign48, choco storeBack to business. . . Our first workshop was “Modern Color,” my current favorite class to teach. We had a big group, and the ladies kept me hopping. I love the quirkiness of this “King’s Crown” block. This student got extra credit, of course, for using a Jane Sassaman stripe in the corners.2 Kings“Party Hat” is a traditional star block that looks very modern made in contemporary fabrics. The challenge is to use eight different star points surrounding a black-and-white or other neutral center. Well done, ladies—there’s definitely a party going on here.10 starsThe Japanese X and Plus block is popular for modern quilts, and wow, isn’t it great with a stylized print?! We’ll work with this block in my retreat class, “It’s All About Color!”  19 x plus tradThe next day I spoke at the luncheon (delicious) and watched a fabulous show-and-tell. Check out the centerpieces—color wheels held together with spools of thread. Many thanks to Linda, Fran, Eileen, and Shirley of the Pagosa Springs Piecemakers for creating the perfect table decorations. I brought mine home 🙂21 lunchThat afternoon we went to Stitch, a destination quilt shop for sure. There’s another great quilt shop, Durango Quilt Company, which is on my to-do list for a future visit. Below are my minders Barb Morgan and Jill Fischer, with Stitch owner LeAnn Vallejos in the middle. 23a Stitch, Leann, Barb, jillI had to take a shot of the chairs and pillows because they were so cool. Love this quilt too!26 StitchI could live in this shop.24 Stitch23 StitchThe third day was all about circles, “Elegant Circles,” that is. Here’s Fran cutting her fabrics.30a circles, who is that??Ruth plays with the possibilities. Notice the Hawaiian print on the table.32 circle, ruthLook how great that fabric is in a circles block, below left. The block on the right shows how versatile the basic design is. Who says your background triangles can’t be cut from a striped fabric?33 circles, 2A window template makes it easy to isolate the area you want to feature.36 circles, audition auditionBatiks are the perfect background for a “feathered” circle.00 feathersLynn decides how to distribute the colors and patterns of her circles.29 circles, lynnMachine appliqué makes it easy to sew the shadow, followed by the circle. Don’t you love the green/orange triangle under the black shadow?38 circles stitchingAboriginal fabrics make great circles, too. So many delicious choices.37 aboriginal fabs, DianeAnd they pair so nicely with ombré fabrics. Here, one square is folded back to audition the combination.42 single aborig circleAnother “stripe” and a gray ombré make an elegant background. Just add shadows, and wow!36c circles block placement, LynnAnd then it was time to head home. The morning I left, Jill drove me north to see the snow-capped mountains and stands of bare aspen. I can now say I’ve been to Purgatory (yes, it’s on the map) and back.52 to purgatoryWe stopped at Pinkerton Hot Springs to see nature’s amazing colors. The second photo is looking down into a shallow pool of clear water. Mineral colors are like no other.54c spring colors54d spring slimeAnd that, ladies and gentlemen, was my excellent adventure in Durango. Thanks for reading and looking this far. And thank you, thank you to Barb and Jill and all the Four Corners quilters. I made new friends and saw so many new things, and I can’t wait to return someday.

Finally, don’t forget our quilt show this weekend in Grass Valley, “Springtime in the Pines,” at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, voted one of the ten prettiest county fairgrounds in California. And please stop by our Artistic Alchemy booth so we can meet you and chat!

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