by Christine Barnes
Forgive this brief post (or maybe you’re thankful it’s short). For the next few weeks, it’s all about the retreat, making samples, printing exercises, “hunting and gathering” fabrics for my students to use. I can’t wait! What else is on my mind . . . ?
As I’ve been gathering and sorting fabrics, I’ve come to realize that my taste in fabric changes in the summer. It’s as if I crave lighter, brighter, “sweeter” colors and patterns. Here are two Rolling Stone blocks, one of the exercises for my retreat workshop. I’m calling the version below “Birthday Cake” because it reminds me of a celebration, and I’m giving myself extra credit for using not one, but two, stripes. (My students get “extra credit” for using stripes. They’re a great counterpoint to more organic patterns, like the one in the center of this block. Dots do much the same thing.)
I’ve named the block below “Samba!” in honor of the Rio Olympics. You can see that I’m a serious stripe-aholic—with no hope or desire for rehabilitation. I love the white-with-black background fabric, which one of my students introduced me to at last year’s retreat. (Thanks for sending me two yards, Linda!)
For those who also receive my color newsletter, forgive this repeat. “Spumoni,” below, is my take on the Japanese X and Plus block. This is one of the project possibilities in my workshop, so hopefully you’ll see pics of students’ quilts in later posts. When I joined the blocks, I knew it needed “something else,” but I didn’t want to add traditional borders. I lucked out and had the perfect large-scale, black-and-white dot (different from the dot in the birthday-cake block). The X and Plus block is so much fun to plan and a breeze to sew.
There’s a subtle color lesson in these blocks, too. Value, the lightness or darkness of color, separates pieces in a block or quilt and establishes the design of the block. But when the values are similar—which often happens because 80% of the fabric we buy is medium in value—variations in color and pattern will differentiate the pieces. Some of my blocks read better than others, and I like the “color chaos” in those that don’t.
Changing gears, if you follow Heidi on Instagram, you know that our county fair was last week. You should plan to come sometime because the Nevada County fairgrounds were named one of the 10 prettiest in the state. I usually forget to enter, but this year I remembered, and my Turkish Delight Vest and Swizzle Sticks quilt got red ribbons. Who won the blue ribbon and Best of Division in Wearable Art? Our own Mary Boalt, for her amazing linen coat. Congrats, Mary!
I’m going to deliver on my promise of a short-and-sweet post and sign off. To all of our retreat students, safe travels, and see you at the lake soon!