Quilt Retreat on Lake Michigan

I spent this Friday and Saturday at my annual quilt retreat along with about 25 other dedicated quilters.  This is our 6th year at the Illinois State Beach Resort in Zion, IL.  Not much swimming going on at this time of year, but it’s pleasurable nonetheless to gaze out on the icy lake as we get our quilting fix.  Warning:  This is a long post–but it’s mostly pictures.

I did a little improvisational piecing this year–no pattern, not much measuring, just fun play with some fabulously colorful materials.  Kind of like painting with fabric. These are a couple of the wonky star blocks I made.  Can you count how many different fabrics are in this one?

improvisational piecing by Pam Schoessow

improvisational piecing by Pam Schoessow

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Many others were more prolific than I.  A lot of other fabulous work got done.

Such happy colors in this finished quilt top.

January 2015

January 2015

Love this romantic table runner.

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Cheryl works on an art quilt.  Can you see the Chicago skyline?IMG_1037

Hanging the pieces up on the wall helps with color placement.IMG_1038

Love these hand appliqued hearts.IMG_1039

Most quilters are strippers at one time or another!

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If you don’t sew, you would be surprised how long it takes to sew all these little pieces together. (And to make all the points and corners match).

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Fun baby quilts

lots of elephants

lots of elephants

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cute fabric!IMG_1080

 

More wonderful piecing.  We all worked very hard.

More stripping!

More stripping!

Everyone does their own thing, so we get quite a variety.

quilting retreat at Illinois State Beach Resort IMG_1068 IMG_1045

Wow!  All those little pieces.  Amazing what you can get done if someone else cooks for you!  Striking!IMG_1081

Bev ( my roomie) models her new apron. IMG_1084

She also finished this small quilt.  It just needs the binding around the edges.

Bev's Quilt

Bev’s Quilt

A more modern slant IMG_1086

So what did I do for two whole days?  Make a big mess, mostly!

Pam's creative workplace

Pam’s creative workplace

I brought a lot of bright, fun fabrics purchased just for the occasion.

Quilter's candy

Quilter’s candy

I don’t need no fancy machine!  I’ve been sewing on this little gem for over 46 years! ( I started in my childhood–I’m not THAT old!)

Pam's Singer Featherweight

Pam’s Singer Featherweight

I did manage to finish 13 star blocks.  Haven’t quite decided how I will put them together.  I just design as I go.

Pam's star block fun

Pam’s star block fun

I put some borders on the 13th block.  I think it will make a fun wallhanging when it is quilted.

Improvisational pieced block by Pam Schoessow

Improvisational pieced block by Pam Schoessow

Well, that’s all folks.  Hope you enjoyed the pics.

 

 

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Gwen Marston Workshop

I’m really fortunate to belong to a quilt guild that brings in fabulous teachers from all around the country.  This week was no exception.  I had the great opportunity to attend a day long workshop with Gwen Marston.  Even though Gwen has been teaching in this industry for 3 decades and has written 26 books, I was surprised to find her techniques to be quite fresh and modern.  I think she has changed my life! (well, my quilting life, anyway).  Her approach to improvisational piecing was truly liberating.  Here are some of the pieces she shared with us.

First, strip piecing with 30’s prints.  Notice how everything doesn’t need to match up exactly.  It’s OK!

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Those black fabrics really give this movement!

 

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It’s the use of solid colored fabrics that really give this a modern feel.

 

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Gwen often takes her inspiration from antique quilts.  Here is a new setting for strip pieced blocks.  

Notice how the borders get chopped off in the seams.  Just like they do with old quilts.  That’s  OK too!

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I really love this one.  Sewing fabric strips together is an old, old idea, but this looks like modern art!Image

 

Even though this one is made from 1890’s reproduction prints, it looks fresh and new.Image

 

 

So I had to try it.  I cut strips  any old shape and size and sewed them back together.   You may notice that                                      my fabric color choices are a lot like my painting color choices.  I do love pink!

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No measuring!  No worrying about points matching or using a perfect quarter inch seam.

I like this “X” block I made for the corners.  This is a 4″ block.  Notice the tiny pieced bits in the “X”.  Those are all different fabrics I sewed together and then cut into strips.  Really not that hard!

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I worked fast as I could to finish this little piece (about 20″ square) before the day is through.

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 I could quilt it now for a little wallhanging, or maybe I will turn it into a larger quilt.   You’ll just have to stay tuned

to see how it all turns out.  Just don’t expect it to be any time soon!