Hey Everyone, welcome back to Story Time Monday.

A good 6 weeks or more ago I went to Lake Tahoe to take a class from Sandra Bruce called Material Matrix at the Artistic Alchemy Retreat. You may recall the blog post about Being Creative in Lake Tahoe. I had promised to share with you what I created and here it is – finally!

Our classroom was well lit and we had a wonderful wall of windows at the front over looking the lake. I placed my machine facing the windows so I could take a break and look out.

Table with sewing machine and fabric in front of large windows

My work station

The class started out with organizing all of our fabrics on our table – trust me they didn’t stay this neat and tidy. I did bring a few pieces of fabric with me. Thank goodness I only needed small amounts since the technique uses 2 ½″ squares. Variety is the key to making this technique a success although fabrics can be repeated.

A pile of brown, gold, black, green and grey fabrics

My fabrics

This technique is based on a photo that needs to be gridded so you know what each 2 ½″ square will look like. I chose a photo of our dog Soda who passed away almost two years ago but will live on in our hearts forever.

A gridded photo of a dog with red lines and squares

Soda gridded in 2 inch squares

Sandra suggested beginning at the top and working down as well as across to build the project. She also suggested that we create the eye section in class so that she could give us a hand. Eyes and mouths are the hardest.

Our first full day started with a simple block of green squares. I chose to work in a 16 patch block where as others chose to do a 9 patch block. Working in blocks makes it easy to create sections and then rows.

Here’s my first block of green squares.

16 green squares of fabric

The first 16 squares

Then as the day progressed I added in brown and black squares to make a couple more 16 patch blocks.

Green, black and brown squares of fabric

Top row progressing – an ear is emerging

Have I told you how much I really do not like brown. At one point all my fellow students told me to get over it as Soda is brown and I would have to make her brown not a stylized purple, pink or blue but brown. Oh boy, it is a challenge for me to work with brown.

The second full day I just kept adding more squares and creating more 16 patch blocks. By the end of the day I had made an ear or at least part of an ear.

An ear in brown and black amongst green

The ear is getting larger

The last day I finally had to do the eye as I couldn’t put it off any longer. And it turned out okay. Thank goodness the second eye was in a shadow so I only had to make one – boy did I pick the right photo.

Soda with an eye and cheek

The eye is done

So I was very pleased with the progress of my piece in class and how much I accomplished. In total I completed 12 – 16 patch blocks and am well on my way. There is still much to be done as the piece will be 40 x 60 inches when finished. The challenge will be finding a place to hang Soda when she is done.

It was a fabulous class and a fabulous retreat. I am already planning my return next year and have the dates blocked off in my calendar.

Hopefully Soda will be finished and I can take her back for show and tell.

Happy Quilting!

Jen Transparent Signature