Class with Gwen Marston in San Luis Obispo

NOTE: If you are looking for the Uppercase Magazine and fabric giveaway, it’s *here.*

Gwen_1

Last weekend I had a chance to take a class from Gwen Marston, who is retiring this year.  I have several of her books, and have long been an admirer.  It was held in San Luis Obispo, so my husband brought his bike and came with me to help with the driving and so we could enjoy the town.  It was held at SLO Creative Studio, a place where they hold classes, teach long-arm quilting.  The place was filled with tables and long-arm machines, and touches of Gwen were everywhere, as in the quilt, above.  It was fun to see in person.

Wonky Baskets

Just to show you I’m a bonafide Gwen Fan, here’s the quilt I made, inspired by hers.Gwen_2

She started the class a bit early, telling about where she lived, giving us a couple of stories, then launched into the class, which was sewing traditional small quilts.  It was fun to hear her talk–she’s very entertaining–and of course, I loved all the small quilts.Gwen_3 Gwen_4 Gwen_5 Gwen_6

Here are some students trying to figure out the sizes of pieces.Gwen_6a Gwen_7 Gwen_8 Gwen_9 Gwen_students working

Our charge was to get cutting, get sewing.  She challenged us to use traditional methods, of cutting a bunch of squares, bunch of triangles, saying the new ways didn’t seem to cut much time from the construction.Gwen_student work Gwen_and me Gwen_stack of quilts

The quilts all stacked up.

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A couple of her labels.  She used to roll the fabric down into a typewriter, type out her label, and then sew it on.  Well, they weren’t really labels–they were typing on the sleeve.  I enjoyed working in the traditional methods, but I must admit my eye was drawn to this series of baskets (below), made by a student in the previous day’s class.
Gwen_wonky baskets Gwen_eating lunch

I took my lunch outside to get a break from the classroom.  They had us order in from a local sandwich shop, Ben Franklin’s, which was great.  Then I went back in and I sewed and sewed and pressed and sewed the old fashioned way. Gwen_my little quilt

I can’t say it was any faster, but it didn’t seem to be slower, either.  But I’d have to say it was a more inaccurate to sew together a bunch of squares, than to make strip sets, and measure out my HSTs and know where I was going.  I didn’t true up any squares, but just threw it together, so it’s a bit wonky.  But I did get something done, which is not always possible when sewing away from my usual space. I seem to have patriotic on my mind, as it was Friday, of the 4th of July weekend.

Gwen_BettysFabic

My husband, after enjoying his bike ride, picked me up and we ran an errand to Betty’s Fabrics, a nice shop in town.Gwen_SLO mission

While in SLO (as they abbreviate their town’s name), we also went to their Thursday night Street Market (the night before class) and had barbecue.  After class we visited the San Luis Obispo Mission (above), and tucked into the museum to see their exhibit.  I loved the mixed media piece below.
Gwen_SLO exhibit2 Gwen_SLO exhibit1

And there was a quilt in the exhibit, too!
Gwen_dinner

In the plaza in front of the Mission, a live band was playing (this town has all the fun!).  We were able to get a seat out on the patio at Luna Red next door, and ate our happy hour appetizers while enjoying the music. (Black Bean Hummus, above)Gwen_concert

After, we sat on the bench just outside the Mission, talked about the bikes in the “bike parking lot” out front, and enjoyed the evening.  My husband is most understanding about the quilt passion that seems to leak out of me all the time, as well as being very supportive, which I appreciate more than I can say.  Sitting there on the bench, watching the passers-by and just visiting about nothing much, was the perfect ending to a weekend away.

Sometimes it is the small things that matter most.

Chuck Nohara Blocks This Far

June16Blocks

Well, I’ve finished three of the four June blocks.

June ChuckNohara16block

(a truly hideous nighttime photo)

The last block won’t be finished until July, because I lost my mind and chose something that is insanely complicated.  My block buddies, Susan and Betty didn’t complain at all, even though when they saw it, they must have known I was nuts.  That happens sometimes.
ChuckNoharar June 2016blocks

Here’s all the blocks so far: thirty-two fun little six-inch squares.  Susan chose the heart-in-the-hand block and I love it.UmanaUppercaseQuilts

I was busy the last couple of days making these two small quilts.  They are a combination of masterful creative ideas and talents from Kevin Umaña, and Janine Vangool’s Uppercase fabrics.  I have a post planned next Tuesday showing them off.  I even have a giveaway, courtesy of Ms. Vangool.

ChristmasTreeLogoSM

I’ve also been busy finished the stitching on our Oh Christmas Tree Quilt, which will post on Saturday with the first of the borders — the troublesome red-triangle border. All secrets are revealed that day (and yes, there’s a giveaway that day, too.  These are getting out of hand, I think). . .

Simone's Color Chart

Simone posted her requests for the Oh Spelling Bee and used the above chart to help us reference her colors.  It was too cool to hide, so thank you, Simone.  Some of those color names are awesome: “Papaya Whip,” and “Alice Blue,” and “Old Lace Floral White.”

June block_1

I finished my block for that bee even before June started.  This was for Kerry of PennyDog fame.  I felt so smug as I mailed it off a couple of days early.  Then a friend in the bee reminded me that I hadn’t paid attention to the colors that Kerry wanted.  Smug faded right off my face.  Time for a re-do.  Kerry asked us to do all the names of the Canadian Provinces, as she just immigrated there from England.  (I guess she made it out of Britain before Brexit!)June block_2

Here is the re-do.  She made up her own pixelated alphabet, not using the one the rest of us are (that one is on Quilt Abecedary, if you want it), but the word went together pretty quickly.  I do think this version of the word “Alberta” is easier to read than my first one, so yay.  PressWrap1

I’ve perfected my mailing to Canada: buy some Press N’ Seal, that sticky plastic wrap, and tear off a square.  Fold your stuff-to-mail (just about one block only) the shape of your envelope.PressWrap2

Fold over one side, and smooth the heck out of it.  Make it really flat.  Then smash it some more, scooting all the air bubbles out to the side.PressWrap3

Fold it again and again, smooshing after each fold.  Squish squish squish out all the air bubbles and make it as flat as possible.PressWrap4

Slide into your envelope and mail.  I can send it from the US for a little over a buck.

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I’ll be taking a class with Gwen Marston on Friday, and can’t believe it.  I tried to get into her classes at QuiltCon Pasadena, but they were all sold out even before I could get the log-in code to work. Since she’s retiring in 2017, I feel really fortunate to slide into one of her last classes, held in conjunction with the Seven Sisters Quilt Show.

I’m so excited!