Friday, November 3, 2017

Winter Workshop Preparations`

Last week, I got a reminder from the Lake Farmparks Quilt Show coordinator that it was time to submit a supply list for my February workshop and then the brochure arrived for this winter's classes.  Time to drop everything and organize some more for this workshop.  Registration begins on November 13, so there is time to consult your calendar and make plans!  I hope you'll consider joining me to start your own version of Lorena Uriarte's Opal Essence!

My first contact with the pattern was via Instagram when it was first released in Desert to Sea, a compilation of original quilt patterns from 10 Australian designers.  I ordered the book as soon as it was available and have leisurely been making blocks.  This week, I pushed my dodecagon blocks to one side of the design wall and put up the large scale tumbling blocks for Opal Essence!  Lorena made the pattern available this past year as a digital download -- you can order your copy HERE .
I was so inspired by Lorena's color scheme that I'm using it, but there are other possibilities in my head!  At this point, I've decided to make a large lap size quilt using 15 blocks (though it might get larger). With an eye to "what colors are missing", I prepped another stack of pieces yesterday.
Last year when I was re-organizing the studio (again), I set up a hand stitching area with a much loved wooden rocker that fits me perfectly by a window overlooking a little wild area of my yard.
However, since I do most of my hand stitching in the evening in front of television, I have rarely used this cozy corner.  Yesterday, I changed that and spent a happy hour doing the hand applique and enjoying the sounds of a warm fall day. 
Adding the arcs to the diamonds can be machine pieced, but I have decided to ease myself back into hand applique (big project waiting on the "to-do" shelf) so this project is a good preparation.  I'm doing needle-turned applique.  I baste the arcs in position and finger pinch the line before I begin to stitch.
Lorena uses freezer paper templates to prepare her appliques and describes it on her blog HERE
A thimble is a must use tool for me -- I hear lots of protests about the awkwardness of a thimble from new hand stitchers but after pushing the eye end of a needle into my finger many, many years ago, it only took me about 3 weeks of daily practice to fall in love with thimbles!
This is my favorite and it belonged to my husband's grandmother!
I am listening to a book on tape, but I'm not loving the reader of this one, so after about 30 minutes I'm ready to take a break.  I was glad that the weather was warm enough to have the window open and enjoy the sounds of the foraging birds below the window. 
Once the hand stitching is complete, I remove the basting thread and cut out the diamond behind the applique. 
I recently invested in this collection of MasterPiece thread and this is the first time I've used it for applique -- love it!!
No matter what color the fabric is, there is a color in here that will blend nicely. 
Once the applique is finished it takes about two minutes to stitch the block together and of course, I'm applying my "set-in piecing simplified" technique at this point!
Chain-piecing for the quickest most secure assembly of y-seams!
Order my new downloadable version of SET-IN PIECING SIMPLIFIED from my Etsy Shop.
Making a few blocks at a time and adding them to the mix is the best way to maintain color balance.  I've seen other color palettes on Instagram and have an idea in my head to work with a collection of green, aqua, and blue backgrounds with yellow and orange arcs.
You can explore Lorena's students' work on Instagram by searching the hashtag - #opalessencequilt -and I will continue to share my color experiments here on the blog.
I just need one more block and then I can begin to cut the fill-ins for the outer edges.
I'll look at it over the weekend and decide if the size is good before I start the final assembly.
The surprising aspect of this quilt is how easy the block is to construct. 
The scale of the blocks is large so the quilt is coming together faster than I expected!
(Look back up at the picture of the block with my hand on it.)
My Opal Essence Workshop is two days (Friday, 2/16/18 and Saturday 2/17/18 from 9:30 to 4:30) at Lake Metroparks Farmpark during the annual show, Quilts 2018.
The fee is $125 plus you will need to purchase the pattern from Lorena ($12 Australian which is about $9 US).  (If you are looking at the workshop booklet, ordering the pattern yourself is a change since the descriptions were written this summer.) 
 I advocate shopping in your stash for the majority of the fabrics but have determined that one can cut six large diamonds from a fat quarter so thinking some swapping could happen during the workshop to help everyone expand their range of backgrounds.

The website for the show is live so you can review it HERE and has all the information including an entry form if you'd like to show off a quilt, but registration doesn't open until 11/13/2017.
If you live in Northeast Ohio or Western Pennsylvania -- this show is accessible.
For those farther away, I'd be glad to help you find accommodation locally.

Since yesterday might have been our last pleasant day before winter, I headed to the closest woods once I was satisfied with the day's stitching progress.  I often feel a little guilty about these escapes but that evaporated quickly when the first sight waiting for me was this young red-tailed hawk!
I think he was trying to catch a squirrel but the squirrel was too feisty (this time).
We watched one another for about 10 minutes and I hope we'll meet again during the course of the winter.
I hope your weekend includes time with the world around you!!
I'm anticipating the "big leaf drop" any day now and want to be out in it!!
Think yellow leaves falling all around you while scuffling down a trail!



  1. So striking in black and white prints and those splashes of color!

  2. What a cool design and color combo! I never would have guessed the scale. Of course, I see lots of ESF gems in your fabric selections.