I used to go to a quilters retreat every February in Phoenix until I went back to work and got so busy. Now that I am back to working part time I reconnected with my quilting friends and went to the retreat last weekend after a three year absence. It was so wonderful to just be around quilters and not have anything else to do for three days but work on projects, visit and go shop hopping. I really got inspired to begin working on some older UFOs that had been put in boxes and were stacked out in the shed.
I finished my Improv III top but did not take a photo. That is the only regret about the retreat, not taking enough pictures. I did take some which is good. I liked the Improv III so much in the cool colors that I had precut another group of 9 fabrics in oranges and blues. I made the first two blocks at the retreat and love this colorway!
When deciding what to work on at the retreat I pulled out blocks I had done on an internet swap quite a few years ago. The theme was to make 12" blocks with stars that had to have more than about 14 pieces. The background had to be Kona cotton in black and the other fabrics had to be at least two different colors of Fossil Fern. I took all my black Kona cotton, the stack of 20 pieces of Fossil Fern fabrics in my stash in a rainbow of colors and the stars. I decided I would figure out what to do at the retreat. I found a design wall all the way across the very large room. This turned out to be a good thing because I could see the impact from a distance. The first thing was to put up the blocks. I was going to do a simple black sashing but decided the quilt needed more so I set to work making sashing useing the variety of Fossil Ferns. I also decided to make the cornerstones 3" nine patches. I had no idea from the onset that I needed a total of 80 sashings and 40 nine patches. I only have about half pieced as of this morning. You can see the photo of the beginings of the sashing and nine patches on the design wall at the retreat. I think I am really going to love this quilt when it is done.
My friend Suze took a class at the Road to California on painting with Tsukineko fabric inks. She brought her inks and some PFD fabric to the retreat so we could play with them. She had some coloring book outlines which we put underneath the fabrics. I love the technique and will definitely be getting some of the inks for myself. I made this cute little chipmunk painting. I think that the inks will work very well for some future pictorial quilts I have planned.
Since I drove to the retreat I decided on a whim to take this old sewing machine that I got at a yard sale for about $5-$15 in the 1980's. I have been dragging it around for about 30 years now and have never done anything with it. My friend Nyla works on old sewing machines and I wanted her to have a look at it. She gave me some advice on how to clean it up, and get it in working order. I just love the squared off left side and the vine pattern with the gold and green leaves. It will be fun to see if I can actually get her sewing again.