A Home Retreat

This fall I considered going on a self-retreat. I usually go up to Lake Tahoe. The prices are reasonable in the fall, and it is one of my favorite places to visit. But for some reason I really didn’t want to leave home for a week. So I decided to do a home retreat. This takes a bit of discipline and preparation. I try to cook food ahead of time so I don’t have to spend time cooking. I also make a schedule for myself, and try to stick to that schedule to accomplish what I want to do during the retreat. The purpose of this retreat was both spiritual and creative. My goal was to spend a couple of hours in the morning reading and praying, and then work on a specific project in the afternoon. The project I chose was  what I call “the water quilt.” Remember when I dyed all that silk organza? I had the idea that it might be used to represent water. I already had a verse chosen for it. It amazes me how much I got done by limiting myself to one project for that week!

Here is the water quilt.

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After I took this picture, I washed and blocked it. This technique I learned from a collage quilt artist a long time ago. You do tight stitches around the border of each component, and then sometimes a nice velvety looking fringe appears. I thought that might add to the look of the rocks. Here are the pictures after it was washed:

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All in all, it was a very successful home retreat!

Here are a couple of other things I was doing before the retreat–I finished another quilt top, and I have been spinning quite a bit of fiber. So fun!

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I hope you all have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

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Art Quilt Tahoe

It was a kind of spur of the moment kind of decision. I read something somewhere about going on a retreat, and that made me look up Art Quilt Tahoe, and I saw a teacher I had never heard of, and I loved her work. She was working with silk gauze, and I have been thinking about working with silk organza for quiet a while, so… I signed up!

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First, let me just sing the praises of the teacher, Michelle Mischkulnig. She was a lovely person, with a great sense of humor, and gave individual attention to every person in class. I think this made for a great class atmosphere, and I have never been in a class so full of nice people!

Michelle had a definitive project for us to work on, and provided a kit with most of the materials needed. Well before the retreat started, she sent us an email so that we could choose the colors of silk gauze that we wanted to work with. Here’s the colors that I chose.

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Michelle had us lay out our gauze on a base of muslin, with a layer of batting below that. And then we added accents of silk top (unspun silk.)

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Then we covered the whole thing with a piece of water soluble something or other, and machine quilted the heck out of it. I think we drew our design on there first. The dark brown spots on there is some wool felt that I added to define the branch. The quilting took all of the first day, and much of the second day. She had us mark an X through the leaves that we would remove. (Oh, and I added a bird to mine)

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Then we cut out the leaves.

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And somehow, by magic, we used water soluble fusible and we stitched madly and created see-through leaves.

And then we took it outside and squished it around in soapy water, and ta da! All the fusible melted away, and there was our composition!

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THEN, we used another piece of silk, and more fusible stuff, and we painted leaves.

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And then we embellished them with yarn and velvet and felt, and then carefully cut them out and sewed them on to our piece.

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And here is what my piece looked like at the end of day four.  (We also made those “3D” leaves out of more felt and sewed them onto the main piece.) I made my bird out of silk and velvet and some silk gauze.

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I tend to get tired and then negative at quilting retreats. So I was very happy to see that when I got home and put this piece on my design wall, I actually like it. There is a lot more I want to add to it, including adding more details to the bird.

I think you can see that there were a lot of techniques taught in this class, many of which I had never done before. I would thoroughly recommend taking a class from Michelle if the opportunity ever presented itself. She is from Australia, and she said she does not have plans to come back to the states next year. So just keep her in mind, in case her name pops up, and sign up for her class!