Finished!

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When I returned home from Empty Spools, I had a couple of projects that I had left mid-stream, and I went back to work on those. Once those were well under way, I went back, determined to finish my project from Katie’s Artful Log Cabins class. Yesterday I finished the piecing and made the quilt sandwich, and today I completed the quilting, and put the binding on. Gotta love a 30″ X 40″ quilt. Even with dense quilting, it moved right along.

I don’t think its a masterpiece, but I am pleased with the finished product. I think it reflects my garden well, and I will enjoy looking at it for a while.

I did try Katie’s method of grid quilting block by block, and I did enjoy that.

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I am especially pleased that I made the decision to change the quilting in two areas–the reflective opening of the imaginary cathedral window, and pebble quilting to imitate the flower shapes of the white flowers. Oh, and you might notice that I circled the one little ladybug that showed up on the quilt 🙂

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I had enough pre-cut strips to use as the binding! And, I definitely over-cut the amount of strips I needed for class. I am thinking about making some regular  log cabin blocks with the leftovers. It might be fun to experiment with them.

Artful Log Cabins at Empty Spools

Well, here goes! Empty Spools Seminars started on Sunday afternoon. I checked into my room, unpacked my suitcases quickly, and then walked over to check into the Seminar (they have a beautiful huge hall (Merrill Hall) that is headquarters for all the goings on all week.) And then I drove straight over to Katie Pasquini Masopust’s classroom because we were supposed to have an hour and a half intro to the class. And indeed, it was an intro Plus! Katie shared with us quite a few of her artful log cabin quilts along with the inspiration photo for each of them.  Then Katie had each of us (there were 18 in our class) show our inspiration pictures (here’s the blog where I shared the pictures I had chosen.) I did discuss the little waterfall picture with her, and she agreed that there wasn’t enough contrast in it to do this technique. So I did use the same picture that I had chosen. The finished quilts are supposed to be more abstract than representational.

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And then Katie had us take out our tracing paper and draw several grids over the inspiration photo! That was more than I had thought we would do on this  first afternoon! But I had been thinking about how I would do this particular photo, and I liked the very first grid I drew. Katie approved.

And then it was on to dinner and after dinner back to Merrill Hall for  a presentation by the  Artist in Residence. Empty Spools has been running for 30 years, and pretty much everything about it was very well organized. I appreciated that each evening session started exactly on time, and usually lasted about 45 minutes. It was fun having the evening sessions, because at Asilomar, there are no TV’s in the rooms!

And the next morning, bright and early, we were back at work. Katie had us finalize our grids, and then trace them onto acetate. Then we taped the acetate to a white paper backing so that she could take them and have them enlarged at Kinko’s.

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Each person decided how large they wanted their final quilt to be. So my grid, which was based on my 8X10 photograph, was enlarged 400%, which made my quilt about 36X40″. Katie had two enlargements made–one for your placement grid, and the second so that you could cut each piece out and use it as a template. I think that this is the first time I have used this method, and I do think that it could be very useful in other applications.

When Katie returned with our full size grids, we were ready to start our log cabin blocks. Each block was started with the original little block from the 8X10 drawing (we used the tracing paper pattern and cut each of fabric from that pattern, including a 1/4″ edge.)

We put the acetate back over the photograph, and used that for color placement in constructing each block. I forgot to tell you that Katie had instructed us to pre-cut our strips before we came. I was VERY happy that I had done that, as it saved a lot of time in the workshop.

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And even with saving that time, I still did not finish my quilt. Katie had instructed us to bring batting and backing with us, and several women got to that point, and completely quilted their pieces. Here is my piece so far:

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One of the most interesting things I learned from Katie was that even though she does most of these quilts with intense grid quilting, she quilts each block separately. Which seems so much easier than running long grid lines the entire length of the quilt! If you are interested in seeing more of the workshop photos, you can visit Katie’s FB page.

A little more about Asilomar and the whole Empty Spools experience. The food was very good, served cafeteria style. There were always several selections for each meal. And there were always vegetables and salad available at each meal. There was an evening program each night except Wednesday (which I was very grateful to have that night off.) But I enjoyed all the programs. Each evening there was show and tell from the students. Most of the students were showing work that they had completed a previous year at Empty Spools. Each teacher spoke, about 3 or 4 each night. Some of them had a slide show, and others showed real quilts. Katie was on her way (after Empty Spools) to do a one-woman show in Spain, and so she brought all thirty of the quilts for that show with her. It was a real privilege to be able to see her work so close-up and  to hear about the way she constructs her quilts.

Another thing that was very nice was that the quilt shop in Pacific Grove (Back Porch Fabrics) provided a shuttle van from 4-6pm each night, so you didn’t even have to drive into town and find a parking space! There was also a tour of the 17-Mile Drive. I did not do that, but heard about it from one of my table mates. And of course, there were miles of beautiful walking paths and the ocean, and they even had bikes to rent, which I would have loved, except all my energies were focused on quilting!

And then I came home and started working on and finishing projects that I had left off before I left for Empty Spools. I am planning to get back to my Log Cabin project tomorrow!

Empty Spools!

Empty Spools Seminars has been running for 30 years! It is a well-oiled machine, but still has a nice informal atmosphere. I have looked at their brochures and online offerings for years, and was very excited to attend this year. I chose Katie Pasquini Masopust’s Artful Log Cabins for two reasons–I admire Katie’s work as an artist, and second…log cabins. It just sounded fun.

But first, I have to tell you about my excellent adventure on my way to Pacific Grove, where  Empty Spools is held. I had read about a new quilt shop, Bay Quilts, somewhere on some blog. It sounded like a great shop, plus it was very near to two places I had enjoyed on a previous trip–Philz Coffee, and Farm Burger.

I drove across the delta–a beautiful drive, and not bad traffic, and started with an early lunch at Farm Burger. Excellent food, and I actually received a burger that was cooked they way I ordered it–medium rare! Then I got a cup of hand-crafted coffee at Philz, and I was on my way to Bay Quilts.

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See that blue cart? They provide those so you can put all the bolts of fabric in there as you walk around!

This is my new favorite quilt store! My pictures don’t do it justice. The owner told me that very soon they plan to have a virtual tour on their website and FB page, so check there if you are interested. But I can just tell you that they have a FULL line of about every solid fabric you can think of, as well as some hand dyes and specialty fabrics, and a good assortment of newer prints. And the service was just the way I like it. They greeted me, but allowed me to wander as long as I wanted, and then when I needed help, they were friendly and quick. Also, the prices were very reasonable.

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The shop owner owned this beautiful Hollis Chatelaine quilt, and very generously hung it at the shop for others to enjoy. It was a privilege to see it up close.

And then it was time to head south to Pacific Grove. Empty Spools is held at Asilomar, an historic campground. It is huge and spread out. I stayed in a group of rooms that had been there since 1913! Very nice and solid, simple but comfortable. Of course, being huge and spread out, there was a LOT of walking. I was so tired, but proud of myself for walking everywhere.

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Yes, this is as close as I got to the ocean…

This post is getting too long, and I want to tell you about my discovery on the way home, so I think I’ll do a separate post about my workshop and the Empty Spools experience. Fast forward to Friday, and I was anxious to get “over the hill” before the commute traffic started. I decided to skip the last lunch, and get started on my journey home.

I had picked up a brochure in the main meeting room for a shop that said they had lots of thread, Madonna Needleworks in Morgan Hill. That was pretty much right on the way home. What can I say? I texted several friends, saying that this shop was “thread heaven.” The owner claims that they carry every single needlepoint thread available. Honestly, it looked like it. Not all, but many of those threads can be used in quilting and embellishing quilts.

Views of the shop:

I ended up choosing a lot of threads from the same line.

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That larger skein of pink is a DMC specialty thread that is equal to two strands of their regular embroidery floss.

And then also chose some pink silks for a new little pink project that I have started.

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I will be back soon. I have so much to write about that it is hard to know where to start!

 

Inspiration

In just a week I am heading to Pacific Grove to attend Empty Spools! I love Pacific Grove (my favorite knitting and quilting shops just a block away from each other) and I have toyed with the idea of attending Empty Spools for a long time. When I saw Katie Pasquini Masopust was going to be teaching, and her topic was Artful Log Cabins, I decided to go for it.

You’re supposed to pick an inspiration picture, and I thought I’d share my inspiration with you. I went back through the millions of photos on my computer, looking for ones that I loved, and that I thought might work for this class.

Summer garden:

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My house (notice the smoky background? this is when I returned home after evacuating during the big Butte fire.)

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My favorite flowering almond bush:

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Flowering cherry tree:

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The “secret garden” at Belknap Hot Springs in central Oregon–one of my favorite places on earth!

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Just a rose at a traffic stop:

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Lantana, another of my favorite flowers:

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The summer garden. Ultimately, I chose this picture, because I thought it had a little more contrast than some of the other pictures, and also because when I saw a thumbprint of it, I thought the light shining on the tree trunk looked like a cathedral window in the middle of a garden.

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I had 8X10’s made of each of these pictures, and I have to say I am enjoying looking at them. I plan to take them with me to get Katie’s input on whether they will work for this technique.

A Great Opportunity!

Earlier this year I watched a webcast on SAQA by Maria Shell. She was so organized and articulate, with lots of great visuals. I was immediately interested in learning more about her. I found her blog, which is an outstanding blog–well written, and with lots of fun and interesting photographs. She even provided a link to some music that I really enjoyed 🙂 And besides all that, she does absolutely wonderful work!

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Maria has studied extensively with Nancy Crow, but has developed her own unique style of quilting and piecing and creating art. She will be speaking several times in Houston, and I am really looking forward to that. But I am even more looking forward to taking a workshop with her in Santa Cruz, CA at the South Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild, “Making Prints out of Solids.” There are still openings in this workshop! I would encourage any of you to take advantage of this opportunity if you are anywhere in California. Maria makes her home in Alaska (part of what makes her blog so interesting!) so this is a rare opportunity to learn with her. I am totally looking forward to a day of cutting fabric into little pieces and sewing them back together 🙂

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(P.S. Many thanks to Maria for graciously allowing me to share photos of her work on my blog!)