Thursday, November 12, 2009

AAQ Retreats, Livermore CA (Session 1, Day 1)

We had a little bit of rain in the forecast this morning -- in the desert, if it says we have a 20% chance, we get really excited -- so I was thinking that I might see some rain on the drive up to Livermore. All of us who come to retreat remember the years where it poured; it seemed like it was always just as we were either arriving or departing, so we knew we were going to get soaked either loading or unloading the car!

Today I lucked out, hitting rain on Interstate 5 (our main north/south artery; Californians just call it "the 5") just north of Bakersfield. It rained for about 100 miles and then the sun broke through somewhere between Harris Ranch (a yummy restaurant, especially if you like beef) and the town of Santa Nella. A quick nip into Starbucks in Westley and then I was ready to get to the Hilton Garden Inn.

Almost all of the people who join us here have come for at least three years and we have several who have come for all nine years since Alex started the retreats in 2001. We had two new people join us this session and it was fun meeting them and widening our circle of friends.

Alex always does a trunk show the first evening; my job is to hold up the other side of the quilt and to occasionally provide commentary if I have done the quilting. Tonight's main topic was applique, with other subjects touched on as we talked about what we might do next year....

Alex has a new book out from C&T Publishing called "Alex Anderson's Hand and Machine Applique", so a number of these quilts are from this book. This one was fun to quilt -- all ice cream cones and a very fun fabric in the border. I have done a lot of machine quilting for Alex over the years, so instead of telling you that I have quilted something, I'll tell you if I didn't....

One of the things I have always loved about Alex's quilts is the way she puts fabrics and colors together -- I wish I had that talent! I'm sure this has a better name -- in my notes, I scribbled "swags & flowers"....

This is a smaller quilt with fun leaves and flowers appliqued on a "piano key" pieced border.

A couple of smaller quilts; I did not quilt these and I believe they were appliqued by hand.

I've always really liked this one -- of course, it's PINK! The combination of piecing and applique really work well together and there is feather quilting in the border.

Each year Alex and I each teach a 1-2 hour class in a hand or machine technique.

Here are two quilts featuring the isoceles triangle shape that Alex will be teaching in her breakout session tomorrow. There were a few groans when she said she was starting at 9:30 -- someone said, "In the morning?"

I don't think I quilted either of these....

Alex and I have already been discussing what we will teach next year and she decided on "curves and circles". She showed this quilt where she used her pieced circles technique in the "body" of the quilt and another curved piecing technique to set in the "squiggles" in the border.

This is the quilt that Alex made for her son Joey and his wife Shelley to celebrate their wedding. She uses her pieced "squiggles" along with some piecing of both small and large squares that is embellished with embroidery of a Bible verse, their names and wedding date. I quilted this entirely freehand with a Tree of Life motif, curving the branches and tree trunk based on her squiggly insets....

I really wish you could see the piecing and quilting on this -- we both think it is the best quilt we have ever done as a team!

Tomorrow Alex does her breakout session and then everyone takes off in the afternoon to go shopping!!!

1 comment:

  1. How fun is this! Paula, you look great, as usual! Thanks for sharing.


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