Is That a BEAR?- Exciting and Creative Times at our Artistic Alchemy Retreat 2017

September 4th-8th, I was busy, busy,  at Zephyr Point, Lake Tahoe.  Two mornings into the retreat, my friend from Portland, Oregon, Linda & I were enjoying our early morning coffee (7:15a.m.) at the edge of Lake Tahoe. I turned to see another student about 20 ft. away. Started to say hi, and saw a bear about 20 ft. behind her. OMG!!!!! Wha’ do we do? Wha’ do we do? The pictures of the teenage bear are courtesy of Marti (another student at her second floor window). We took off at a very, very, fast walk and so DID THE BEAR! We have lived to tell the tale. And I didn’t spill a drop of coffee in the race to the door to get inside. Ha, ha, ha. In fact, I didn’t need anymore coffee the rest of the day!

The clearing where we were enjoying the view. The bear entered, stage right, from behind the boulder. We were to the left of the “Portal of Prayer” sign (my prayers were short, and to the point, “Dear Lord, HELP!). 

Now,back to some creative fun. Candace, one of my students,  was very productive. In fact, she was the first of ALL the students in the whole retreat who started and completed her first project, less than half way through the 3 full days retreat! She even brought her serger to speed things along.

My workshop was called “Pick a Pattern.” Each student brought two different patterns from my collection, or my new book. We discussed fabrics for each project via emails. My students had so much creativity on their own. I was there to help with fit and design ideas that would make it, their very own “Art to Wear” piece. Candace’s first piece was the Rafiki Skirt.

We hung her Rafiki skirt on the design wall and after an afternoon swim, she got started on a second project, Whisper Blouse.

Each one of my students gave me, GREAT ideas that I had NEVER thought of.  Candace had a marvelous way of putting the tie into the skirt. A buttonhole goes in the front. Make the tie belt and thread each end in the buttonhole. 

The tie belt must be threaded in a circle first. The circle fits right under the top edge that will be folded down to form the casing.

She folds the casing right over the tie making certain that the piece is out of the way when she stitches down the casing all the way around the skirt. Sooo simple! Thank you Candace.

Here is Patty, another student. Patty wanted to create her own “Earthy colored” Terrific Tabard vest for her first project.

Patty has been ALL OVER THE WORLD! She has amazing stories to tell. She has promised to show me her photo albums. I love seeing and traveling with others through pictures and stories. When we spoke about her fabric choices she said, “Oh, I have silks from my travels to India, Vietnam, Asia, and I just picked up a beautiful batik when I was in Morocco.” WOW, wow, let’s see what she creates. 

Isn’t it beautiful? She was very happy with her creation. Patty celebrated by going for an early afternoon kayaking break. When she returned she whipped out the cutest purse with her vest scraps.

Oh, then she decided to make the cutest fabric earrings  from more scraps. Silk is perfect for these “frayed” earrings.

Carol, another one of my creative students wanted to use a picture panel that she had saved for something special. She decided to make my “Simply Super Vest” pattern from my new book, Fashion Quilted Accessories. This is the pattern,on the cover. It is a unique way to use your favorite picture panel piece. 

Here’s Carol with the back of the vest and one front piece up on her design board. 

I encourage everyone to get their projects up on a design board and stand back to get a good view of what they are creating. Carol has such a good eye for placement. She tells me that she used to teach math and it shows in the great care she took in measuring and placement.

This vest is really coming along……then her trusty, older Singer started giving her problems. And then she began suffering from a terrible case of Vertigo. In spite of how badly she felt, she was determined to continue to work on her vest AND wanted to discuss her second project, her version of Rafiki skirt.  

Below is Candace’s second project (almost done out of silks that a family member brought back from Hong Kong 30+ years ago). 

We also had lightening, thunder, and rain almost every afternoon. After all the heat we had all suffered through, the rain, oh the blessed rain, and drop in temperature was such a relief. 

Here are the teachers from another successful year of workshops at our annual Artistic Alchemy Retreat. From the left, Mary Boalt, Sandra Bruce, me, Heidi Emmett, and Christine Barnes. 

Maybe YOU will attend next year! Please visit and sign up for my personal blog: Designsbyheidi.wordpress.com  for more creative ideas,  My mantra, “Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!” Hugs, Heidi

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Running Hot and Cold!

by Heidi Emmett

“Kaffe Fassett Extravaganza!” That is the name of our Trunk Show. Christine Barnes and I have long had an interest in all things Kaffe, from fabric to his knitwear, to his needlepoint, mosaics, and of course, quilts. So we were off to Merced for Trunk Show # 1, this past Monday. Below is the coolest Mosaic in the hottest part of the day, 108 degrees! I saw this as part of a wall to sit on. That streak of white is the blazing sun.  The A.C. was on and the quilt guild in Merced was a hot group! They were such a creative, lively, and nice group.
And look what Lora Wheeler made, her own Mommy & Me vest! I love it. She bought the pattern at our Artistic Alchemy Booth at the Pine Tree Quilt Show back in May in Grass Valley, CA. It is always so fun to see what you all create with one of my patterns. She used a fabulous puckery type of rayon. I thought it was silk.

I just love what you did Lora. You were thinking outside the box! I sure wish I could come back and take your “upcycling” workshop-taking four shirts to create one.

On to San Francisco! It was 63 degrees when we arrived! Ahhhhhhh, so refreshing. As soon as we got to our hotel, I took a walk across the street to Sutro Park. It has tons of Nasturtiums, they are such a happy plant. Great colors.

I came close to the edge of a trail and stopped in my tracks! Yes, this was my view. It is just astonishing! That large green patch is the beginning of Golden Gate Park! Did you know that it is 3 1/2 miles long and 1/2 mile wide? Wow. And check out that HUGE beach area.  A lovely rose. Sutro park is 128 acres of loveliness. Adolph Sutro purchased that acreage in 1881 and built a Mansion, Conservatory, and a Parapette. When he passed, the whole place went to ruin. All the buildings were torn down but all the foliage stayed. It is now a city park within San Francisco.   

These homes border the park on one side.These home owners can walk down the hill to the Cliff House restaurant.  Don’t they look like places on the Cote d’Azure in France?  Succulents in front of the hotel, Seal Rock Inn. Cool and crisp looking.  There it is, Seal Rock Inn from Sutro park. 

The ladies of the S.F. Quilt Guild were also a delight. We had a great time telling them  some things they didn’t know about Kaffe Fassett. He grew up at Nepenthe which is near Big Sur, just down Highway One, south of San Francisco. Thank you Cathy and Laura, you were great hostesses.

No, NO! Christine and I didn’t want to leave. A 63 degree high, I had to dig through my Kaffe samples and find my Kaffe Alpaca sweater to wear. Who knew?  

Thanks for stopping by. At our Artistic Alchemy Retreat in September, my workshop, “Pick a Pattern”(Designs by Heidi patterns) is still taking students. Maybe you will want to design and create your own Mommy & Me Vest. I would love to have you in my workshop. I will help you fit whichever pattern you choose. Let’s all get our creative going. Hugs, Heidi

 

“Off The Grid” Vest Pattern—How it Came to Be!”

by Heidi Emmett

Once upon a time, I took the Urban Ombre’s quilt class from Christine. It was great fun. It was the first time I had seen the Diawabo ombre’ from E.E. Schneck in grey or is it gray?Throughout the class I kept thinking, all these fabrics together would make the coolest vest. But what design? So, I took my blocks, along with everyone’s scraps (I ASKED them first), and put them on my design board and began to think.

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Later, Christine said she was doing a lecture at the E.E. Schenck Trends Show (a show for shop owners from western states and the Asian Pacific The show is located in Porland, OR). Since Schenck sells the grey background fabric Christine was showing her quilt and then she said, hey, that vest idea you had, that would be great, I’ll take that too, so we can get your name out there. O.K., that sounds good, when is it? 

In a month. Whaaaaattt?! I have done NOTHING! The little pieces were falling off the design board, or covered by other projects that were creeping in.

An hour later, I stood at my ironing board, fabrics spread out and I said a prayer. I had a nice chat with God and said, Help!! I walked over to my little garment rack of purchased pieces (whether from a “Real” store or the thrift shop)all for ideas for future project. I pulled out a super short jacket that had bad fabric and design, but the collar!! and while that jacket had a skinny front band, I liked how it connected to the collar.  

I whipped out my sketch pad and started with rectangles. I knew I wanted a long, lean, look to this vest pattern. The rectangles kept coming to mind. 

I also wanted to showcase the interesting fabrics on the front, so I made the front panels really wide . Those pieces, the rectangle  shaped log cabin blocks, and the “sticks” (remember those pieces people discarded?), again they are all rectangle shapes.  

It all came together so smoothly (remember that prayer at the ironing board?). I was sewing up a storm and it was time to add the front panel pieces. WAIT A MINUTE!! They are too short at the bottom, no, no, NO! (Oh, dear, I just told the world that I made a major measuring mistake). And NO TIME to make new front panel pieces. 

Upon further trying it on, looking, thinking, I came to the conclusion that I LIKED it that way! Who knew? I like it being “off” at the bottom edges (hint, hint, Off the Grid).  You will be happy to know that yes, I finished it in time for Christine to take up to the Portland show. She said it was a big hit. Yea….

I use Terial Magic on the strips used for the blocks and sticks. I love how this product keeps things from fraying while I”m raw edge stitching them down.

It’s so fun to use Marcia Derse prints, and other ombre’ fabrics. The blocks have their edges turned under and are edge stitched to the gray ombre’ background fabric. 

I use glue (the bottle in the picture is basting glue), but I also use basic school glue (like Elmer’s). You can see the subtle change in the background fabric. I really enjoy turning it this way and that, darker portions verses lighter sections. It’ what YOU like. That’s why I call for 3 yds. for the background (room to play). 

Notice please that I use a zig zag stitch (rectangles again), and it also encases the raw edge of the fabric. 

And I do, what I call, “Shadow quilting.” They are always done in a rectangle shape . I like the look and it adds more quilting to the piece. 

I do any all over quilting in gentle curves because it’s easier on the eyes (if they were straight it’s too hard to sew perfectly straight) and adds movement. 

Look at the SUPER COOL necklace my 93 year young friend, Lila Sugg made for me (she is a MASTER sewist). It is so perfect with my vest (a secret, shhh…the gorgeous chunks of turquoise are made from potatoes).  Google that one, people! 

My workshop is called “Pick a Pattern.” I have at least 9 patterns to choose from or you could pick some from my NEW book! It’s out now! Buy it from me, your quilt shop, or Amazon. I’d love to see YOU in my workshop this September at Zephyr Point.

And listen to this, E.E.Schenck now carries my patterns and my book! And I have been asked to come to the next Trends Show and present a trunk show on my Art to Wear patterns and book. Sharon, the buyer, said that “Art to Wear” is coming back in a big way in the quilting world and I’ll be right there!  Hugs, Heidi