Zephyr on My Mind (Still) + a Look to Next Year

by Christine Barnes

I love October! My favorite poem when I was twelve was “October’s Bright Blue Weather,” by Helen Hunt Jackson. The last stanza reads:

O sun and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October’s bright blue weather.

At Zephyr we had both bright blue weather and bright blue water. The changing colors of the lake (sometimes you see bands of different blues, almost like an ombré) made it magical.

The retreat was magical, too. By now you’ve read the post-retreat thoughts of Heidi and Sandra. I heartily second their enthusiastic accounts of our time there. Lest my students feel left out, here are some images from my Luminosity and Luster workshop:

First, she who brings the most fabric . . . has the most to work with.

F Karen's tableBelow are some of the blocks Karen made with her yummy selection of fabrics. Note the “swizzle stick” borders, narrow strips of fabric inserted between the block segments.D1 Karens blocks copyLuster exercises, starting with strips of gray ombré that I provided. How different the blocks look, depending on the choice of fabrics for the center units. Compare the lower left and lower right blocks, for example.A luster ex, largerEileen worked with a pattern she brought, with the idea of creating luminosity. C Eileen's blocksAs she played with her options, it became apparent that she was also creating transparency, almost by accident. A few days after the retreat ended, Eileen sent me a pic of her quilt top:K Eileen's finished top, transAren’t the bands of lighter-value yellow running horizontally through the quilt cool? She gets extra credit, for sure!

Nancy was also working with luminosity, and I’ll show you her finished quilt in a future post (no pressure, Nancy). Here she’s just relaxing. See how neatly her fabrics are piled at the front of her table? More extra credit. The fabrics choices pinned to the wall are Noelle’s, for her Sassy Circles quilt, but she somehow escaped the camera.I Nancy at her tableHere, Teresa begins to work with Serenity ombrés, Kaffe Fassett stripes, and Marcia Derse prints.G Teresa works with ombresAnd her blocks take shape. Note the center squares, cut on the bias. They’re a bit harder to work with, but they certainly add movement to the blocks.E Teresa's blocksMany thanks to Noelle, Nancy, Nora, Teresa, Karen, Jackie, Eileen, and Cindy. I can’t imagine my time there without you. (I wish I had taken more pics!) I really enjoyed meeting the students in the other classes and seeing their amazing work.

I’m adding this pic of the back of my vest because so many asked me about it. I pieced the vest back, with a green hand-dye on the outside and yellow-green osnaburg on the inside. What you see are the seam allowances, which I purposely put on the outside. The raw edges are bound with 1-inch strips of a Kaffe stripe cut on the bias. This technique is called the Hong Kong seam finish, and if you Google it, you’ll find plenty of videos and still tutorials.J back of my vestWe’re working on plans for next year, and we’re very hopeful that we’ll be able to add that extra sewing day. I’m thinking about transparency, one of my favorite light effects. There are two kinds: parent/child and layered. Here’s an example of layered transparency, the illusion that lighter see-through shapes float above darker shapes. There will be a variety of exercises and three or four quilt design options.L Trans squares, bound-1Finally, I left Zephyr and headed home up the west side of the lake. A stop at the Emerald Bay lookout is almost mandatory. Talk about “bright blue water,” with bits of greener blue.H Emerald BayUntil next time, enjoy these glorious October days and keep scheming and sewing. Is there anything better?!


A Mind on Fire + Lustrous News

by Christine Barnes

Greetings, all! My mind is on fire with new ideas, the result of an inspiring five-day workshop with Rosalie Dace at Empty Spools Seminars, which are held at Asilomar, a conference center in Pacific Grove, CA. I’ll share that experience in my next post, once I’ve sorted my photos and and organized my thoughts. Amazing, just amazing!

But for this time, I’d like to share my completed “Brushed Metal” quilt and some fabulous fabric news. First, the news: The Gelato gray ombré, colorway 714, is back.

714a gray copy

This is the fabric I used in “Urban Ombrés,” below, one of the project quilts at our Zephyr retreat. Kits of the gray and all other fabrics except the black-and-white will be available.

Urban Om quilted 2 copy

The gray ombré had been discontinued, so I mounted a very small but very passionate email campaign, thanks to Heidi and Sandra, and guess what? E.E. Schenck decided to reprint it. Hooray! My web developer will have it back in my Store in the next few days.

Plans for the retreat are coming together nicely. I still have openings, and there are still lake-view rooms. “Brushed Metal” is another possible project for the retreat. It’s an example of luster, the illusion of light striking and bouncing off the surface. I used six Serenity ombrés, shown below. (The far left fabric is not in the quilt.)

Serenity kit for supp list copy

I oriented the ombré strips in each block so the light ends are going in different directions, to suggest the movement of light.

brushed metal MF lecture copy

Using the six ombrés, I designed three different blocks and made three of each. I also used Kaffe stripes and Marcia Derse prints. Many of these will also be available at the retreat. Here’s the quilt, beautifully quilted by Sandra:

Brushed metal for HOME quilted 10 at 72

I have a limited supply of the Serenity ombrés, but I’m setting aside enough kits of 10-inch strips for retreat students. If you’re not coming to the retreat and but are interested in the fabrics, let me know and I’ll put you on a list for any kits that are left over.

I only wish I had that amazing sashing fabric. It’s Japanese, from Back Porch Fabrics in Pacific Grove, and alas, it is long gone. Which leads me to my tip of the day, as if you needed to be told: When you see a fabulous fabric but have no idea how you will use it, buy it anyway. After all, we need to be prepared in case of a world-wide fabric famine!

So long for now. And do write with questions or comments. We love hearing from you. Christine