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Branching Out, A Year Later

I started this post a year ago, December 2019. Wow! That seems like a lifetime ago. So much has happened to all of us in this past year. Some good, some bad, some just downright crazy. It is heartwarming for me to look back at these photos and remember how blessed I am to have so many wonderful friends in the quilting world.

These photos were taken at Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore, CA, on a beautiful fall day in 2019. The venue – Quilting in the Garden – celebrates quilts in a beautiful nursery setting, filled with autumn splendor and showcasing quilts from local artists, whose artwork is hung from majestic, old oak trees. It’s a weekend I never miss. Keeping fingers crossed that it will be on for 2021.

Our quilt group, which we so affectionately call, Opinions are Us, but as Grateful Threads for more serious gatherings, was invited to hold a special exhibit at last year’s Quilting in the Garden. The exhibit focused on celebrating the work that we had created with the mentorship of the amazing Rosalie Dace.

Charlene Dakin and Freddy Moran are also in our group, but were not able to make the opening of the exhibit. Left to Right: Diana McClun, Pauline Pearsal, Laura Nownes, Jennifer Sampou, Sujata Shah, Alex Anderson, Dale Flemming, Denise Killingsworth, Karen McArdle, Tara Faughnan, Alethea Ballard and Pati Fried. Carol Van Zandt joins us in the next photo. I have linked to everyones websites in the caption under their work.

Gosh, I miss all of your smiling faces in person! This was a second photo taken with Carol Van Zandt joining us – she is in the middle in the blue blouse.

In a year’s time, Sujata’s hair has grown back into beautiful curls, Laura has welcomed a new grand baby and I took the trip of a lifetime to India (more on that later!). Other than that, we have been doing what most all of you have been doing – staying home, washing our hands, and quilting like maniacs! I get a bit sentimental looking back in time. Knowing that not long after this, our weekly group meetings would transform into zoom meetings, hugs would turn to heart emojis through text, and a rare meeting outside, would consist of two and not fifteen – masked and 6 feet apart.

So let’s go back in time, to read the post that almost never happened! The exhibit, featured two workshops we had taken over the past few years with Rosalie – Branch Out and Promises and Possibilities. I wanted to focus on the Branch Out exhibit today, and will post photos from Promises and Possibilities in the next blog post.

Branch Out with Rosalie Dace

Celebrating the beauty and diversity of trees, the largest life forms that ever existed.


With NATURE at the forefront of my mind everyday, I no longer behold it’s beauty and grandeur alone, as I once did. It’s BROKEN on the large scale, because of human impact. Worldwide deforestation is just one thing happening at an alarming rate, worse than we realize, especially when you dig in and look at the facts. I donate, make, educate, change habits, worry and speak up to increase awareness. “HOPE”, without “DOING”, means nothing. I am committed to action…What about you?

This quilt is for sale for $400.00, with proceeds contributed to the Sierra Club. Contact Jennifer Sampou at


FIRST SNOW By Alex Anderson

FOREST LIGHT By Carol Van Zandt. Quilted by Alethea Ballard


Images of my garden changing through the seasons symbolize shelter, home, family and the passage of time.


The assignment was to work with a color or colors you don’t typically utilize. Brown is not a color I am drawn to in quilts so I found a metallic brown I could live with and started playing.

BARK By Tara Faughnan




A Tree with Many Branches By Diana McClun. Quilted by Alethea Ballard

I MISS YOU By Denise Killingsworth

My 300 year old oak had to come down two years ago. Imagine a 1.5 inch man in the branches and that will give you an idea how big it was. I loved that tree and miss it. The sky is from a 20 year old hand dye from Dale Fleming. I finally found the right place for it. The tree is reverse appliqué.

POONAM (Full Moon) By Sujata Shah

I dream in colors, especially on a full moon night.

SHINRIN YOKU (Forest bathing) By Charlene Dakin

My second class with Rosalie, Branching Out, was slow to start but after I pinned up tall trees and again Rosalie suggesting that I look into the forest I began to enjoy the journey. The rabbits dancing were on my list of future quilts and they seemed right at home dancing in the forest by starlight.

ILLUMINATION By Laura Nownes. Quilted by Sue Rasmussen

In class I worked on samples using Rosalie’s techniques. I was pleasantly surprised and liked the design that was created using the positive/negative shape of the tree. I used scraps for the small class sample. I didn’t have enough of each fabric to make into a larger quilt. I wanted to keep the original design but rather than change fabrics, I used the leftover pieces but had to fuse the tree shapes rather than use the original reverse applique technique. The end result was the same and the bonus was the unexpected inverted heart shape formed where the branches touch.


A beautiful, old oak graces part of a long driveway before you arrive at my house, with a warm welcoming hug. The branches of the Oak are gnarled and covered in moss and lichen. The background is a forest-like canyon filled with fractures of light that change colors depending on the time of the day. I am so fortunate to have this lovely friend to greet me each day. I wanted to share the joy this Oak tree gives to me.

The exhibit was called Branch Out, but when I look at this group of women, I can’t help but think of the roots of a tree, providing a strong base to support new growth, allowing us to flourish as we continue to Branch Out.

Love these women! I will be back next week with part two of the exhibit.

Pati Fried

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