Slow Stitching Retreat, Maine :: 2 :: Stitching Small with Chawne Kimber

Day 2 of the Slow Stitching Retreat was with one of my favorite quilt artists of all time, Chawne Kimber.  I had first heard of the retreat on her Instagram feed and when I found the dates would work for me I just had to attend!  Chawne's work is an amazing collection of color and pattern. She does incredible improv work, but can just as easily slip into precise piecing.  This class was all about her current small pieced works.  I've seen many of these in photos, but it is even more incredible in person.  Just look at that pile of goodies!

Chawne's class was called Stitching Small.  For the first part of class we got a show and tell of her tiny piecing.  Some of these pieces start at 5/8" and she regularly works with pieces as small as 1" square.  

On top of that, her seams are usually standard 1/4" seams, as you can see here on the back.  Many of the pieces end up very sturdy since you are piecing into the previous seam allowance.  Occasionally, she will grade her seams or stitch them smaller, always doing what's right for the piece.  

Chawne's use of color is also extraordinary and, of course, I love the heavy use of solids.

These tiny squares fairly dance across the piece because they aren't perfect.  You might not notice that unless you look carefully, but they are improv pieced. 

These two pieces are especially intriguing.  They feel so substantial in hand because they are ones where the seams are stitched through the previous seam allowance. 

Be still my heart!  This once is just fantastic!

Chawne had been working on this triangle piece during the retreat.  I believe the tiniest units are 1/2" square.  Oh, and they are precision pieced.  

It was also a treat to see this pineapple variation quilt.  Just extraordinary!

Well, after that daunting show and tell we got going with our own fabric.  I brought some solid scraps, but had to borrow some pale colors from Chawne (she brought fabric to share- very nice!).  I improv pieced a bunch of triangles to start with.  I put them all together just as if they were regular size pieces, cut off points and all.  I ended up with some truly teeny triangles, but let me tell you it's a lot easier to do that when you are improv piecing, than with precise piecing.  

I added some log cabin piecing and some more, larger triangles.

Another quiet moment on the lake after lunch.

Another quiet moment on the lake after lunch.

After lunch I continued by adding some more log cabin piecing.  I plan to keep going in this manner.  At this point the piece is about 10" square.  

Okay, after all that excitement it was time for a little relaxation on the porch before dinner.

Dinner on the second night was a truly "only in Maine" feast of mussels, corn on the cob and fresh lobster caught off the coast just about 30 minutes away.  I have never eaten mussels and have only had lobster out of the shell before.  It was all new to many other campers too, but it turned out to be the most fun meal of all and I managed to polish off my lobster with the help of Samantha's tutorial for us newbies.  

I found this bottle of wine at the tiny local market in Washington, which is really just a tiny New England village.  The magpies caught my eye, and the title was perfect, but look a the back!  Corvidae Wine Company was just about made for me.  It was really good too!

It's the little things....

It's the little things....

The final group of photos were taken on the third night, which was the last night of the retreat.  We were all realizing that the fun would eventually come to an end and wanting to spend time sewing in the barn together.  Some people worked on their tiny piecing and some did other projects.  I am posting them here because these are tiny piecing examples from other students.

Carolyn and Chawne had some quality time together in which Carolyn did some tiny piecing.

And, this is what a tiny quilt looks like hanging from the barn loft!

Chawne's class description ended with this, "In the end, we'll agree that small piecing can enhance our quilts without terribly increasing our workload."  I have to admit I was skeptical when I first read that, but I have definitely jumped on the Stitching Small bandwagon!  I agree, yes, I do indeed!

SAQA Fiberlandia

Last Thursday I traveled to McMinnville to pick up Chloe at college.  She decided to spend the weekend in Portland with me.  She was able to see some friends, eat great meals on Mom's budget, and get most of her homework done.  I was still recovering from the bronchitis and so Thursday after the long travel time I was wiped out.  We had an early dinner at a food cart, went to Powell's on Hawthorne for a little bit and then retired to the hotel room early.

My artwork (bottom right) in the book, 1000 Quilt Inspirations, at Powell's on Hawthorne.

My artwork (bottom right) in the book, 1000 Quilt Inspirations, at Powell's on Hawthorne.

The SAQA Fiberlandia Conference was a great way to connect with other members and see some great art quilts!  On Friday morning it started off with a presentation by Namita Gupta Wiggers, Quilt: A rose by any other name does not smell as sweet.  This one was about the difference between art and craft and ways to critique art. Following this was the first Breakout Session.  I went to see Sue Reno talk about how to develop and sustain your daily creative practice.  There were some excellent tips here and she gave examples from a range of quilt artists.  

We had a lunch buffet followed by a panel of International Artists including Rosalie Dace (South Africa), Hsin-Chen Lin (Taiwan) Maggie Vanderweit (Canada), Sue Dennis (Australia) and Gul Laporte (France).  This presentation was about keeping balance in an artistic life.

After the International Panel  I went to my second Breakout Session: Carolyn Higgins:  Master Social Media and Rule the World (Or At Least Sell Your Work).  This was a second choice for me as the first choice was cancelled.  This was interesting because even though I know and use most of the online services she talked about I did learn a few things and saw some very entertaining short videos.  My take-away was that I'm doing everything right as far as an online presence.  

On Friday evening Chloe and I joined my friends Marion, Jan and Sheila for a delicious dinner at Pazzo in downtown Portland.  

Tiramisu at Pazzo- YUM!

Tiramisu at Pazzo- YUM!

Saturday's program started off with the best one of all.  I'm not just saying this because Maria Shell is a friend.  Her presentation was titled The Art of the Word- Getting Grants and Other Art Opportunities by Crafting a Well Written Proposal.  Maria's talk was entertaining, well researched, and spot on.  It was really just what I needed and worth the price of the whole conference!

Also on Saturday we had the Student Artist Panel featuring students from the Oregon College of Art and Craft. The panel was moderated by Emily Nachison and is a faculty member at the college.  The students were:  Molly Eno, Melina Bishop, Kaylin Francis, and Tyler Peterson.  These young people are doing some amazingly creative work.  Some are working in the art quilt form, but they are doing much more in the realm of fiber art.  I sort of wished Chloe could have been there for that presentation.  

Saturday afternoon was free time to tour Portland.  Chloe and I joined Marion, Jan and Maria Shell for lunch at Habibi in downtown Portland. After lunch we went to see the Exploring Layers art quilt exhibit at the AIR Gallery in Pioneer Place.  We did a little shopping and made it just in time to see the MIX Fiber Art Group's A Sense of Place: The Allison Inn art quilt exhibit at the Methodist Church.

After a little rest in the hotel, we all went to the Fiberlandia Wild About SAQA Dinner and Spotlight Auction.  This was lots of fun.  I had donated my small quilt, Fanciful Blackbird, to the auction.  I was so pleased to see that it went for at least $200.  There were so many amazing small works of art!  I am showing a few here, but there were many more that I wished I could bid on.  

Fanciful Blackbird by me for the Spotlight Auction

Fanciful Blackbird by me for the Spotlight Auction

Artwork by Terry Grant

Artwork by Terry Grant

Artwork by Heather Debreuil

Artwork by Heather Debreuil

Artwork by Diane M. Wright

Artwork by Diane M. Wright

On Sunday morning I saw part of the presentation about the Quilt Visions show that takes place in the San Diego area every year.  The final presentation was the Local Artist Panel.  The panel was moderated by Jeannette Di Nicolis Meyer and the artists were Sidnee Snell, Jean Wells, Sheila Finzer and Bonnie Bucknam.  This was the only part of the conference were I managed to bring my big camera and the only one where the artists showed their work in person.  The photos of their artwork and the panel can be seen below.  It's always great to hear artists talk about their work and how it has developed over the years.

Local Artist Panel: Sidnee Snell, Jean Wells, Sheila Finzer, Bonnie Bucknam, Jeanette Di Nicolis Meyer

Local Artist Panel: Sidnee Snell, Jean Wells, Sheila Finzer, Bonnie Bucknam, Jeanette Di Nicolis Meyer

Artwork by Sidnee Snell

Artwork by Sidnee Snell

Artwork by Jean Wells

Artwork by Jean Wells

Artwork by Sheila Finzer

Artwork by Sheila Finzer

Artwork by Sheila Finzer

Artwork by Sheila Finzer

Artwork by Bonnie Bucknam

Artwork by Bonnie Bucknam

Chloe and I left the hotel right after this presentation and went to lunch at my favorite cafe in the Pearl District- Lovejoy Bakers.  Then I went to Powell's for a bit while Chloe did homework in Starbucks.  I drove her back to school and made the long trek home.  

Lovejoy Bakers Egg Salad Tartine- more YUM!

Lovejoy Bakers Egg Salad Tartine- more YUM!

I picked up this book at Powell's.  It's a great one!  Marion has a quilt in it!

I picked up this book at Powell's.  It's a great one!  Marion has a quilt in it!

The student at work.

The student at work.

What a great weekend!

What a great weekend!

The big news of yesterday is that Chloe got her dream job in Portland at Oregon Health & Science University!  She will be a research assistant in an addiction studies lab.  She's very excited.  The next step is finding housing while she tries to finish up the semester, graduate, and goes to New York City to present a poster at the Psychology conference there.  It's going to be a busy few weeks!

Proud mom and daughter on the campus of Linfield College.

Proud mom and daughter on the campus of Linfield College.

A Digression :: Maple Pepper Pecans

Gifts for Neighbors

Are you enjoying the holidays?  I love Christmas and have music playing whenever possible.  I have been busy as a bee this past week.  Thankfully, the shopping is done, cards are sent, and these lovely little packages are ready to gift to the neighbors.  I thought I'd also post the recipe here if you'd like to try making these sweet and spicy pecans (see below).  Beware, they are addictive!  They are perfect for a salad with fruit, cheese and mild greens.  They are also great cocktail party nibbles.  Enjoy!

Also, you can see my newest tablerunner on the table. While there's so much I can't show on the blog right now, I'm happy to share this little project that I made a few days ago.  I needed a new Christmas tablerunner and found a little Moda charm pack called 25th and Pine in the stash.  I backed it with a bright red reindeer print, so it's double sided.  Fun!

Christmas Tablerunner (1)This is just a small selection of my Santa collection. Most of them have been hand carved.  All of the small ones here (6) were hand carved by Chloe!  I've done previous posts about them if you'd like to see more.Christmas Tablerunner (10)

Christmas Tablerunner (11)

Christmas Tablerunner (12)

I haven't forgotten my promise to show photos of my quilts that didn't make it into QuiltCon.  In the meantime, go and read what some other bloggers are saying.  I'll be back with that soon.

Quilty Habit

The Silly Boodilly

Stacey in Stitches

Latifah Saafir

Kristin LaFlamme

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A digression :: Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie  (1)On Monday I had a really great day.  Finally was feeling better and had enough energy to clean the house and rearrange some furniture (thank goodness!) and also needed to make something for my book club that evening.  I decided it was time for the first pumpkin pies of the season.  

My recipe starts with homemade pie crust.  I use the recipe for American Pie Crust in The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook (2001).  You might notice the chunks of butter in the crust. I've been making pie crusts since I was a teenager and I think I make a pretty good crust. I think the key is not overworking and leaving those big chunks of fat.  Fat in the dough = flakiness in the crust. 

Pumpkin Pie  (2)The next thing is the filling.  I use canned pumpkin.  I know others swear by fresh cooked pumpkin, but I've never gotten a good result that way.  In my mind the most important part of the filling is the spice balance.  I grew up with my Mom's recipe (and her mother's before that) and didn't realize until much later that this one is spicier and less sweet than many recipes.  I still remember the magic of pie making with my mom.  I always loved the heavenly scent of the spices and the look of them too.  All those different colors, so pretty!Pumpkin Pie  (3)

Pumpkin Pie  (4)The filling goes into the pie crusts and they head into the oven.  Meanwhile, the house starts to have the most incredible smell.  Mmmmmmm....Pumpkin Pie  (5)The finished pies were fantastic.  I always serve pumpkin pie with real whipped cream, just very lightly sweetened.  The book club ladies loved it and Ryan and I have been eating the leftovers.  

I was born on Thanksgiving and so my birthday is always associated with that holiday.  In the US, it's the fourth Thursday in November so the date changes each year.  Anyway, my birthday "cake" was often a pumpkin pie and I was just fine with that!  I have also grown up with the notion that pumpkin pie for breakfast on the morning after Thanksgiving is the best thing ever and a tradition not to be messed with.   My husband has never, ever liked pumpkin pie, but my kids do, so I'm thrilled to be able to continue the tradition. 

Here's the recipe for those who might want to try it.  I hope this warms your home and fills your senses this autumn! 

Mom’s Pumpkin Pie 

2 eggs, lightly beaten
14 ½ oz can of pumpkin (2 c)
¾ c sugar
½ t salt
1 t each, cinnamon and nutmeg
½ t each, ginger and cloves
1 can evaporated milk (whole milk would probably also be fine)

Mix together.  Pour into 9” unbaked pie shell.  Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then decrease to 350 for 45 minutes.

Living Room Re-do (3)

BIQR Day 3: Charlevoix the Beautiful

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In our effort to see as much of Michigan as we could on this trip, Jan, Marion and I took some time out one afternoon to drive up to Charlevoix.  This quaint lake-side town has a quilt shop and the famous "mushroom" houses which we set out to find. 

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Hearts to Holly is a wonderful quilt shop right in the downtown area.  It has lots of great novelty and modern prints.  I went a little bit overboard here!

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After the shop, we went searching for the "Mushroom" houses.  The architect, Earl Young, built these fabulous creations only in Charlevoix.  We managed to see quite a few on a street that went right along the lake.  Such a pretty area.  

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Afterwards we went out to dinner at the Weathervane Restaurant and only then realized that that building was designed by Earl Young too.  

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We took a walk along the waterfront.

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We saw some more wonderful rock formations.  So many quilt ideas here!

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Last stop was Murdick's fudge, where we treated ourselves to this Michigan delicacy.  They sure do like their fudge there!

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Next post:  The Elk Rapids Farmer's Market and Gwen's favorite antique quilts!