Magical Fabrics, Special Effects Retreat Day 1 and 2

Just got back from a 3.5 day Magical Fabrics, Special Effects retreat with Christine Barnes--up in South Lake Tahoe.  It was wonderful being surrounded by so much inspiration:  talented quilters, colorful fabric and truly amazing works in progress.  

Quilting supplies and fabric accounted for the vast majority of packing for this trip:
Suitcase of fabrics around the entire color wheel

Magical Fabrics
Upon arrival to the classroom we were greeted with goodies of all kinds:  a one of a kind thread/scrap catcher, swatch of magical fabric, chocolate and an embellished notebook to jot down notes, inspiration and plans. 
One of the very rare moments my station was tidy!
Sunday afternoon, Christine presented an overview of Magic Fabrics, Special Effects including a ton of great was a feast of gorgeous fabrics and fun effects.  After dinner Kari, one of her friends/assistants gave a workshop on caring for our machines including which needles/threads to use, cleaning out our machines and helping them to run at their peak performance.  She even gave us some new quilting needles to try along with some q-tips to clean our sewing machines.  Afterwards, we walked a few blocks to watch the sun set over Lake Tahoe.

Monday morning we dove into each magical effect principle through the use of mock blocks:  glueing cut pieces of fabric onto a paper pattern.  This way we got a great sense of how the fabrics would play together and the flexibility to easily swap out fabric swatches without the unnecessary task of sewing/unsewing!  
Everyone's Illumination Mock Blocks

My mock block for Illuminaria--love those fireworks!
After each exercise, everyone posted their mock blocks up front for review, feedback and sometimes more manipulation by borrowing others fabric swatches.  It was really interesting to see how everyone tackled each principle using totally different fabrics.
My transparency mock block

All transparency blocks
Transparency can be difficult to achieve using fabrics...but once you find a successful match it really does appear to look like two bars of fabric overlaying each other resulting in a really exciting center square!

After all these exercises--I was mentally drained!  But nothing charged me more than a fun visit to Fabrics Unlimited for some fabric shopping and a fun champagne reception featuring champagne, wine and every imaginable chocolate treat:  cake, chocolates and chocolate dipped strawberries, marshmellows, pretzels, ritz crackers, pringles chips, and red vines!!  I may have overdosed on chocolate but I did behave myself with fabric shopping and found some cool, dark fabrics to use with creating a larger Illuminaria quilt.  Upon our return we visited the Tahoe beach again just in time to watch the sun set... 
Perfect ending to a day filled with color!