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A Cabin in the Woods: Three Quilters, One Week . . . Paradise!

I’m writing today from the foothills near Yosemite, where I’m enjoying my annual quilting getaway with my friends, Joen Wolfrom and Alex Anderson. It’s hard to believe that this much-anticipated celebration of friendship, rejuvenation, and quilting (of course!) has now entered its second decade. This year, the entire community seemed geared up for our arrival: as we drove into town, we noticed that some of the local businesses were sporting “uptown” versions of the popular barn quilt. Though obviously not just for us, these colorful painted blocks seemed a portent of good times to come.

day 5_%22barn quilts%22_ serendipity

Day 5_%22barn quilt%22 bright colors

Once we’d settled in, the sewfest began! I had arrived with two goals: to assemble a commissioned baby quilt and to complete the Churn Dash quilt top featured in my April 9 and April 12 posts.

First order of business–the baby quilt. When my sister, who commissioned the quilt, told me that the young mother had selected a trendy palette of light and dark gray, lime green, and rich blue for the nursery, I knew exactly the direction I would take. Still charged with creative energy inspired by QuiltCon, the national conference sponsored by the Modern Quilt Guild (and featured in my March 12 and March 15 posts), I decided to try my hand at making a “modern” quilt.

Recently, while surfing the ‘net, I kept zoning in on a particular geometric pattern. Before leaving home, I sketched it out, making a few variations. Now I was ready to go to work. The simple design featured interlocking boxes in contrasting values, so I started by placing the first “layer”–a rich deep gray hand-dyed fabric from Cherrywood Fabrics. Then I added the second layer, a lighter version of that Cherrywood gray.

day 1_dark gray_light gray

Although the contrast in value was there, the combination of the two grays did nothing for me. I decided to go to Plan B, substituting a bright lime green for the lighter gray.

Day 1_dark gray all green

Better, but I felt there were still possibilities to explore. I continued to experiment, this time alternating the light gray and lime.

day 1_dark gray_light gray_green

Third time proved the charm, and by the end of Day 2, the quilt top was finished. I had so much fun making this easy little quilt. I hope the new mom loves it as much as I do. (I’ll include a photo of the finished quilt in a future post, when I’ve finished the quilting and binding. Still thinking about whether to use the dark gray or the lime green. All opinions welcome via comment below.)

Quilt top (35" x 42") made by Darra Williamson

Quilt top (35″ x 42″) made by Darra Williamson

I feel very strongly about giving credit when I use or adapt someone else’s idea, and I searched and searched to find the original version of the pattern that inspired my quilt. I found other quilts made from that source, but couldn’t seem to find the original itself. If you happen to know the name of the designer (and/or the pattern), please leave a comment below and I’ll insert it here.

On to the next project. By the end of Day 4, I had pieced the middle border for my Churn Dash quilt top, and sewn it–bracketed by a narrow inner and somewhat larger outer border–to the quilt center. I’m sure glad I purchased plenty of that setting fabric all those years ago!

Churn Dash quilt top (60" x 78"), made by Darra Williamson...fingers not included!

Churn Dash quilt top (60″ x 78″), made by Darra Williamson…fingers not included!

Having completed my self-imposed assignments, I was now ready to improvise. Here’s what I started last night.

Phase 1 of Darra's third getaway project.

Phase 1 of Darra’s third getaway project.

Watch this space! I’ll give you an update in my Friday post, along with a peek at what Alex and Joen were up to during our wonderful week away.

‘Til then, happy stitching!

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