Friday, November 13, 2009

AAQ Retreats, Livermore CA (Session 1, Day 2)

Today was our second day of retreat and, especially fun for me, my birthday! So at brunch, the group gave me flowers and a card and sang the birthday song. I had already loaded up this morning on all the good birthday wishes sent my way on Facebook -- thanks, everybody!

We usually start around 9 and do our breakout sessions around 9:30. Alex's session was today so I snuck to the side of the room and took a couple of pictures.

To the left is Alex being serious -- she's holding her hands pretty far apart for isoceles triangle instruction, don't you think?

Below, after the magic words, "Look up!" That's Karen from Greenville SC also looking up with a big smile....

Carolie Hensley sets up a mini-store at the retreat where sewers can buy fabrics, needles, thread, gifts and all sorts of goodies they may have either left at home or not realized they needed. Two packs of note cards just threw themselves off the table into my hands as I walked by the table -- had to buy 'em!

Carolie owns The Cotton Patch in Lafayette CA; it's definitely worth a trip to see all the fabrics, the quilts on the walls, the gifts, the gadgets, the books (she is also a major force -- the "C" -- in C&T Publishing) and the large classroom where it seems there is a workshop going on just about every day. I was on C&T's website today and noticed that there is also a blog that looks like fun to read. To get to the blog, click here.

In the classroom today, there seemed to be a whole design wall devoted to baskets. The ones on the left were made by Joyce, who wasn't able to quite sneak out of the picture, and her daughter-in-law, Julie.

The blue basket block (I'm sort of cheating with this picture because I took it early in the day; she had at least five by the end of the afternoon) was pieced by Dawna, one of my best friends and the owner, with her sister Fay, of Bolts in the Bathtub in Lancaster CA.

If you missed my previous post on their shop, click here.

A lot of us drifted over to this side of the room when Danelle put this up on the wall. Each block is the same pattern, made of a lot of small pieces and then rotated before sewing the blocks together so that all those seams don't have to be matched. What really makes this quilt, in my opinion, is the beautiful, rich autumn fabrics. I could see this as a pieced background for applique or embroidery....

The retreats are basically independent study with both Alex and me on tap, but each year there are a couple of techniques taught and some people work with that. Alex taught this tree block this morning and here are a couple of interpretations:

Red tree/black & white background? Black and white tree/red background? Decisions, decisions.....why not both?

In the blocks below, Cindy chose black and white backgrounds with a number of different shades of green for her trees.

While taking pictures, I was distracted by this spool of variegated thread from Aurifil on one of the machines. I didn't know Aurifil made variegated -- so it's either new or I've not been paying enough attention....

And, in this corner, we have stars! Sheila is making the red/black/white star quilt for her daughter, Caitlin.

If this were the Olympics, Linda would get extra credit for difficulty level -- you know, like gymnasts! She always has the smallest and greatest number of pieces in any given project....

There will be a lot more blocks on those design boards tomorrow!

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