What a Week!

by Christine Barnes

Retreat 2017 is now history, and what a great week it was. Let me begin with my intrepid, up-for-anything students—you were wonderful, one of the best classes I’ve ever had, and your blocks and projects prove it. You were fun and brave and always cheerful. Allow me to show off your work!

We began with four mock-block exercises that illustrate the adage that “Value does all of the work, and color gets all of the credit.” Contrasts in value create two important effects in quilt design: 1) they add a sense of depth (dark shapes seem closer, lighter shapes farther away) and 2) they establish the design (a dark star shows up on a light background).

When the values (lights, mediums, and darks) are somewhat similar, differences in pattern and color can differentiate the shapes, as in these Boy’s Nonsense mock-blocks. Paula combined two very different patterns to establish the design.Barb’s modern background fabric makes her block light and lively.Marti’s intense center square contrasts with the somewhat duller ombré rectangles.The Granny Square block is a great format for playing with light, medium, and dark values. In Lisa’s block, there’s even “accidental transparency.”The way in which Patti used the linear prints is smashing. (I want this block. 🙂Gale had an assist from her sister Mukhya in pasting up her Best Friends block. A bright print for the outer triangles makes the design even bolder. See how well the dark skinny triangles stand out against the red-orange half-square triangles.A busy Alice in Wonderland print separates nicely from the background and the dark skinny triangles in Susan’s block.An op-art, black-and-white print gives Gail’s block movement.I’m loving the vintage/modern vibe here, with contemporary fabrics and a Featherweight machine. Yes!Color therapy!Gail auditions fabrics for Laurie’s Spumoni blocks.That’s Susan behind her Urban Sunsets quilt top. It’s difficult to see in this shot, but the black-and-white swizzle sticks have an undulating design (check out the upper right block).Jane’s Urban Sunsets units are wonderfully different in value, color, and pattern.Variations in value, color, and pattern make for an elegant, minimal design. Lisa’s block, I believe.Cindy working on her Urban Sunsets blocks.Another one of Cindy’s blocks in progress. She’s bordering her center units with a green Gelato ombré instead of the gray. (I can’t wait to show you the finished quilt!)Gail went to town with Kaffe fabrics for Spumoni. See how the different values affect the look of each block.Isn’t our class wall colorful??? There was even more to see, on moveable design boards.These Farmer’s Wife blocks, done the morning of the last full day, really show the growth in everyone’s work. Well done, ladies!

Green Grunge triangles flank the nine-patch unit in Ellen’s block. Dark-value corner squares advance and give the design a strong sense of dimension.Though there is some blending in the nine-patch unit, I’m loving the colors and prints in Gale’s version.

Lisa’s clicked when she positioned the leafy squares in the nine-patch unit so the values contrast with the greeny-brown triangles.The color in Laurie’s block is a bit off in this photo, but wow, it sure works! The nine-patch unit advances because the values are darker than the gold triangles.OK, not our best look, but hey, it’s the last morning and we were weary. We had 12 students in all (Gale, Patti, Susan, Ellen, and Jane are missing from this pic). This photo, taken by our phenomenal assistant Kathy, says it all. There is no other place on the planet like Lake Tahoe.But wait, there’s more! Gail and Laurie, my students from the Dakotas, rode around the lake, all 72 miles of it, in the “Tour de Tahoe” on Sunday. Congrats, ladies, on ending your week with a bang. I told my young hair stylist about your ambitious ride, and she paused and said, “Well, that sure changes my idea of what quilters are like.” Too funny!With that I’ll sign off. Thank you for looking at my students’ amazing work. And thanks to my students for making my week so memorable. As I’ve said many, many times, “You make this job so rewarding and so much fun!”

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12 thoughts on “What a Week!

  1. Your photos are so inspiring! And your “instruction” at the beginning gives me hope for my fabric selection (that is hard for me). Thank you all for sharing.

    • Thanks for your comment, Jayne. The basics of value are simple, but they really come to life when you make mock blocks. I almost always make them before diving into a project. It’s amazing what does and doesn’t work!

  2. Christine, I’m thrilled to see the pictures you’ve posted. So nice to see a few familiar faces too (Hi Cindy!). It’s so obvious the amount of work you put into teaching your classes. Love the fabric choices. Inspiring for sure. Thank you so much for sharing with all of us.

    • Hi Rejeanne! So nice to hear from you, always! We missed having you and Gene at the retreat this year. Your name came up more than a few times. Thank you for your thoughtful comment about my teaching–I love giving quilters as much info and inspiration as I can. And then I come home and veg for a week. 😌

    • Thanks for your comment, Terrie. I’m afraid I don’t have a quick answer because I am always “on the hunt” for wonderful fabrics. I have favorite shops in the SF Bay Area (Cotton patch, Bay Quilts, Broadway Quilts), and I get many of my favorite fabrics at shows, where there are many vendors, especially the big regional shows. When I see a great fabric in a student’s stash in a class I’m teaching, I’ll search it out on the Internet, and there are many great sources. Two of my faves are fabric.com and fabricdepot.com. So the answer is that I find great fabrics everywhere!

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