Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Nope, I just spent a half hour rescuing my small trees and bushes, like this poor Japanese maple. I went around shaking out the snow from all the branches. I was soaking wet when I was done, I had to throw my pants in the dryer afterwards!
We're supposed to get more snow overnight and then it will all melt by the afternoon! Yay! I'm not ready!!!
Friday, October 24, 2008
We went out for dinner to the Fish n Shanty with Gwen and MJ; excellent food! Apparently, new name, new owners, but the same chef!
It's time for the good-byes!
Anyway, that concludes my awesome experience at Gwen Marston's Beaver Island Quilt Retreat in Elk Rapids, Michigan. She's posted the dates for next year's retreat Mixing it up! Quilts that combine Piecing and Applique. Sign up now!!!! I highly recommend any of Gwen Marston's Retreats, because you get way more than you paid for! You learn so much!
Christy, below, is proud of her liberated flower, she spent a lot of time on other projects, but on the last day spent time on this beauty! She had a lovely machine that did embroidery, too. She designs her own patterns. She designed a really neat Beaver Island Retreat pattern, and put them on t-shirts (as seen below) as a surprise for sister-and-mother-in-laws, with whom she attended the retreat.
Not everyone made liberated patterns, a few took store bought patterns and used solids with stunning results. The following is a Maple Island BQ Quilt pattern.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
That night at bed time, I went through Gwen's book before I slept, Mexican Hat Dance was a favourite of mine, I knew I would have to try that block, even if I only made 4 of them. I chose random colours. I mixed them up,
Eventually, I thought it needed a frame around it and made a blue inner border, that didn't go right so I added a red border, and from the left over pieces from the Mexican Hat Dance blocks I made a couple of sawtooth borders...that wasn't my idea...I stole it from someone in the middle of the room...can't remember who...
Anyway, I got stuck here I needed more fabric, didn't have the right colour to frame it...So it was time for a trip to the fabric store. Found what I needed at the cute store in Elk Rapids and what a deal, many of the quilt stores gave discounts to Retreat participants. It's a deep plum colour.
I added Gwen's serpentine borders and appliqued some circles...one of those circles, is strategically placed to cover a tiny error... of which will remain nameless.
I haven't decided what to call this piece yet, it reminds me of a test pattern on a TV, and since it is a bit of a sampler...I tried out many of the tutorials Gwen gave...maybe Test Pattern is a good name, or maybe Do not Adjust your Set, This is just a Test.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I finally got to meet MJ in Michigan in person, I had met her in Lazy Gal's First Ever On-Line Class. She took what she practiced there and applied to Gwen's Liberated Baskets and came up with this beauty:
Joyce insisted she had failed liberated baskets and when she got home she took hers apart and created this lovely folk art piece dedicated to her grandson. Her grandson is blind and says frequently, "Can you hear the birds?"
If I remember the story correctly, Sylvia had quite a few of these large basket blocks and didn't know what to do with them. Gwen's retreat inspired this arrangement, front:
more Liberated baskets:
OK, the next one wasn't from a Gwen retreat, but you know how I like quilts and things made from t-shirts and it does contain some liberated piecing...This one was made for a husband out of his racing t-shirts, and do you know what his reaction was? " Don't you know, hon, you can't mix Formula One and Nascar!"
Next post: Creating with Solids
Saturday, October 11, 2008
She showed all of the quilts in her book and then some! I will not bore you (as if you can get bored looking at Gwen's quilts) with a photo of each one that appears in the book, Gregory's photos do it better justice, of course, but will focus on some of the bonuses. I have to tell you, every night before I turned off the light I journeyed through that book and still do since I've been home. Of course each photo has a memory attached and that is something I cannot give to you, you'll have to meet Gwen and her quilts in person for that!
This was one of her first quilts using her "Tulip Block". She gave demos in the making of this block. I knew I would be putting some of these in my piece, since Mexican Hat Dance (the one on the cover of her book) was one of my favourite pieces! This is a fun block to play with, above with sashing and she showed how you could put stems and on them to create another block.
She says that quilts stitched in solids, are more like contemporary art. Your solids are your colour palette. Instead of the patterns being in the fabric, you have to create the pattern with the fabric and the stitching. Definitely, hand quilting shows up more effectively on solids than on prints. And solids are not dated....you like those prints and colours now, but will you still, 10 years from now?
I just love the hand quilting in this piece and had to take close ups.
After the trunk show, the quilts were laid out on the counter and stayed there the whole time, so we could visit, hug, fondle, drool, (no skip that, there was absolutely no drooling), yearn, peruse, take photos of her quilts for ideas. "it starts with an idea, plant a seed and let it grow."
Just go ahead and sew blocks, "arranging them is like jigsaw puzzles", she says. Each block does not have to be an exact duplicate of the last one, these differences are "what holds people's interest longer and takes it out of the predictable."
This is one quilt not in the book, where she just added liberated triangles at the ends of sashing to create the stars. Here she added interest in the centre blocks. The next pic is of Gwen's pinwheels, this quilt can be found in her Liberated Quiltmaking book. She says they look like Jacks and we were calling them Jacks blocks. It was a favourite and she gave a demo on that block too.
Here is another surprise quilt she showed, she was very enamoured with those Cherrywood fabrics. A few of the students also had those fabrics, "Luscious" as Karin liked to say!
She then told us about floor scrap quilts. "Don't worry about cleaning up your scraps", she said, because after each week of retreats she collects the floor scraps and makes quilts out of them. She encouraged us to do the same. It was funny, as many of us were searching the aisles for floor scraps. Our end of the room was much messier than the other end for some reason.
Another surprise, she showed us this basket quilt she made with 219, 4 inch blocks! Rumour has it, this will be appearing in an upcoming book by 2 Toronto ladies, Biz Storm and Mary Elizabeth Kinch, called Small Blocks, Stunning Quilts, due out in December.
Next Post: Meet and Greet, Show and Tell. Stay Tuned!