Saturday, April 08, 2006

More from Bishop's Ranch

Some more about the fun and fabulous women at the Bishop's Ranch retreat:

Meet Angie. She's the unofficial "official photographer" of these quilting ranch retreats, and here she is getting ready to document "show and tell." She's been posting her pictures from the quilting retreats on her Community Webshots album for several years now, and the Bishop's Ranch folks report that they get a lot of comments about them. Apparently a Google search for "Bishop's Ranch" pulls Angie's pictures up at the top of the list, so they're seen by quite a few folks.

Angie's lovely. She's got an infectious smile and a happy giggle. She's one of those people who looks calm and relaxed despite the vast array of responsibilities and activities she juggles every day.

Angie is also very knowledgeable about home quilting systems -- you know, the frame systems available to allow folks who want to do something like long-arm quilting without spending $20,000. Angie hosts a Yahoo group on home quilting systems and she can answer pretty much any question about any system. Very impressive. On Angie's Webshot album, she has pictures of her Hinterburg frame and her quilting set-up.

Here she is, head bent in concentration, next to Barbara. (Barbara is also a sweetheart and a wicked dominoes player...more on THAT later!)

Angie finished the prairie points on a small quilt she was making. Now, I'm not a big redwork fan, which is surprising as I adore RED of just about anything. But THIS quilt I like.

And here are Angie and Barbara, showing the quilt tops they'd made in a mini-group swap project. I guess they all made these Notan-style leaf blocks out of batiks and swapped them. Apparently everyone else made small wall hangings, and Angie and Barbara got carried away to bigger things.

By the way...a disclaimer about the above photo and others you see with that purple background wall. On wednesday, we had our group "show and tell" in the ranch's chapel. It's a stunning chappel, very small and intimate. It has these gorgeous, modern stained glass windows over the altar. See?

(Oops, there's a head there...but a better image of the window's design...)

Well, the windows are gorgeous. We all love seeing them. During show and tell, the light in the room is fine, and we admire the quilts happily. But the back-lighting of those windows makes for horrible photographs. In order to get presentable photos to show here, I had to tinker with the brightness a fair amount on Photoshop to get reasonably decent photos. That's why the pictures look horribly grainy. And ladies in the pictures, please excuse me...I always erred on the side of making the QUILT look as good as it did in person...which sometimes meant that the actual person didn't look so good. I assure you that any less-than-stunning portrayals of the people in the pictures was solely the result of strange lighting. They were all flawlessly beautiful in person.
Anyway. Back to the ranch events... On the last afternoon, Angie and Barbara found a very sunny spot to sit and do handwork while the rest of us packed up our assortment of gear. They'd managed to stow their stuff earlier when we weren't looking. Or when we were off nibbling this amazingly gorgeous stilton cheese with apricots in it that someone brought.

See? Doesn't Angie look like someone you'd want to sit and stitch with?

I mentioned Pam earlier. She's a riot. She lives out on a small ranch herself, where she and her her husband keep numerous dogs and horses. She works part-time at a quilting shop in Sonoma, and she's just plain fun to be around. We're trying to push her toward bright colors, but she's resisting mightily.

Here's the community quilt she's donating. She started this on day one, and had finished it by day 2. The fabrics were all these pale turquoise and red and brown cowboy prints, from a Michael Miller line, I think she said.

And she showed this asian horse quilt, made with photo-transfered horse paintings that a friend had found for her.

One of the nice things about these retreats is that you get time with people you know but don't KNOW. Shirley, here, is in my quilt guild and I've known her to say hi to but I never really talked to her. She sat right near me, so we chatted a bit. I teased her that every time I looked up, she had a different assortment of fabric in front of her and was working on a different project. And it's true...I don't know how she did that.

Here she is with a small project she's about to start hand-quilting. I love how the spaces between the stars form those little white squares. This is quite an elegant little block.

She showed a quilt she'd completed since October, from Sandy Cumming's "Thinking Outside the Block."

Oh! You should meet Janelle, the organizer of this retreat. She hangs out in the dining room, usually handquilting.

She was working on this set of miniature Amish quilts.

By the way, I've not raved sufficiently about how good the food at the ranch is. It is marvelous. And not just because someone else cooks it and cleans up after it...It is, on its own, delicious food. The first night there we had pork tenderloin in honey mustard sauce which was by far the best pork I'd ever eaten in my life. Ever. The chefs are very generous and give out their recipes, so guess what I'm cooking tonight? Yep! Roast pork in honey mustard sauce! This is my first experience in brining anything, so I'll report later.

1 comment :

  1. Hey Diane... I almost feel like I've been at the retreat with you. (but then we would have met, wouldn't we have??).

    Listened to Annie's podcast which was almost entirely based upon your email to her!! Fun podcast. I like that she tells us when she's stopped to do something with the dogs... but she says.. "And.." way too much. Like a conversation with a good friend.