Saturday, April 07, 2007

More life at the ranch

Here are more pictures from the ranch retreat. Sigh. It was such fun.

Here's Mary Lou, relaxing after a long day of sewing, reading the new Quilters Home magazine. Mary Lou comes from Massachusetts for this retreat (and to visit her sister Pat). Mary Lou finished TWO quilt tops during the retreat, so she has earned this little rest.

She made this quilt, a Jan Mullen crazy squares thing. Thanks to her exposure to us Californians, her color choices are getting much, much brighter. She tells us that her quilt guild in Massachusetts doesn't know what to make of her color choices when she shows her work there. Pooey on them, that's what I say.

Oh, here she is at her machine. I mean, MY machine. She uses my elderly Elna so she doesn't have to haul a machine cross-country when she comes.

Here's sister Pat (or Patsy, as she is called by her family), working on assembling a kaleidoscope hexagon. Such concentration!

I was down at the end of the room with Pat (on the left), Mary Lou, and Eleanor. Pat also worked on a Twisted Sister wall quilt (appropriate for two sisters hanging out and quilting together, eh?) before she moved on to the one-block-wonder.

Eleanor, there on the right, has been quilting for a mere 2 years, but she's whipping out amazing work. She was working with some gorgeous Australian fabric, designing as she went. Here's what was up on her wall:

This isn't the best picture of her, but here is my dear friend Janet Shore. Janet is a long time quilter, a founding member of the East Bay Heritage Quilt guild, and an all around treasure. She kept us laughing the whole time, too.

I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I wanted to, due to battery wear-out, so I missed a whole bunch of retreat folk! Sorry about that! But I got some... Here are Angie and Delaine, working away.

Ancella got several projects together, including a colorful one with those big Valerie Wells flower blocks (zinnas? gerberas?)

Show and tell is one of the highlights of the retreat. As always, we gather in the chapel for this event. It's a beautiful space with gorgeous stained glass windows, which makes the lighting not ideal for taking photos. I apologize for the grainy shots, but they're the best I could do.

Oh-- the retreat's official photographer is Angie. But since the woman with the camera isn't in many of the photos, I snapped this one of her:

Okay. On to show and tell.

Some of the members are from the Mt. Tam Quilt Guild, which is based in Marin County just north of San Francisco. Several members made small quilts featuring "Mt. Tam," (Mt. Tamalpais, actually) to be featured on their guild's home page. Here's Sydne's, which shows the frequent fog floating nearby:

Pat D. did one too:
Aren't those both gorgeous? And wasn't that a great idea to make quilts to illustrate their guild's home page? (Ironically, that was the idea of their non-quilting web page designer.)
Pat showed another quilt that brought gasps of pleasure when she revealed it. It's a portrait of her dog Liliuokalani, which she had done for a guild challenge. She based the portrait on a Lance Jackson illustration with his permission. Pat learned that fabulous striped border from Mary Mashuta's book on Stripes in Quilts.

Pat made this quilt to honor the quilt teachers who have inspired her. She took blocks made in a Sue Benner workshop, cut them apart, stamped the names of her teacher/mentors, then attached them together in a colorful memorial. If you look closely, you can pick out some of the names... Freddy, Sylvia, Therese, Ann, Kaffe.... go ahead, see how many you can find!
Delaine made this charming quilt for a new baby in her family. I think she used an American Jane fabric as the starting point.

Here's Delaine with a mystery quilt she made "out of her stash." Some great stash, huh?

This isn't a great picture of Shirley (she' doesn't usually have this expression on her face) OR her charming quilt, but if you look carefully you can see the pieced coneflower blossoms. Very, very pretty in person.

Sally was working on the blocks with these 1930's fabrics last year, and so we were all impressed to see how beautifully she finished this quilt. I just love that scalloped border.

Sue made this little quilt as a donation quilt. So cheerful!

Nancy worked away the whole time on the borders for a Jane Austen quilt. If you like Jane Austen, you should go read about the quilt she made. (Go ahead, I'll wait.) It consists of a zillion pieces (that's the exact number) and the border alone takes a lot of time and patience and precision. We all watched in awe as Nancy spent days cutting strips, piecing them, cutting again, and piecing again. See what's she's holding here? That's 4 solid days of work, my friend.

Angie showed us the sign she's done for her quilting room at home.

Quite a show, eh? There were more gorgeous quilts, but that's what my camera battery allowed me to capture.


Caitlin said...

Wow, great show and tell, thanks Diane! and was that an Elna SU there?

Caitlin said...

Wow, now I wantwantwant the mirrors and book too! your quilt looks stunning!

mathea said...

I can actually "hear" your enthusiasm and the glow of new inspiration in your words! Thank you for sharing so much of your retreat with us! Your pink kaleidoscope blocks look great -
I'm off to play with my mirrors now!

Diane said...

Yes, Caitlin, that's my Elna SU! I bought it brand spanking new in 1979 and it's been a real gem. I love that machine. It still works perfectly! Do you have one?

Dianne said...

Thanks so much for the inspiring look at those wonderful quilts, Diane. Made me QUITE homesick!

Such variety and gorgeousness everywhere. Really getting my creative juices flowing again.

Gerrie said...

Thanks for the ranch pics. I miss the retreats soooo much. I love seeing what the two Pats are doing and Janet's and Pam's precious smiles and Mary Lou, too!

Can't wait to see you all next week!

Caitlin said...

Yes, I do indeed have a trusty Elna SU! My Mum bought hers brand new back when it was Top Of The Line, and it was the only machine that was deemed suitable by my Dad for sewing multiple layers of leather for upholstery in his vintage cars! She made so many clothes for us all on that machine - (with embroidered ducks etc from the cams!) and still has it, even though she has a new Husqie now too. The SU was the first machine I ever sewed on. When an opportunity came up about 15 years ago for me to grab one of my very own, of course I did. Still a fabulous workhorse!

Lily said...

Sounds like you all had a great time and found lots of inspiration. That Jane Austen quilt would do my head in - but I did like the dog portrait! Reminds me I must have a stab at a pieced border one day!