Color and Value: Christine Barnes Visits SHWS – Part 2 & Giveaway

Christine Barnes joins us again today to share her thoughts on the role of color and value in creating the illusion of depth and layering in quilts. Click here if you missed Part 1. 

L: Christine Barnes photo“Value does all of the work, and color gets all of the credit.”

The adage is a bit overstated, but it’s true: We think first of color when planning a quilt, but value is often what makes a quilt successful, or not. In my second guest post, I’d like to show how this basic concept works in my quilts, and encourage you to consider it when working on your own quilt designs.

A bit of background: I majored in design at UC Davis, and I took a color class, but honestly, all I remember was painting a gray scale and making a color wheel out of construction paper. A few years later, when Sunset Books asked me to write a chapter on color for a decorating book, I had a full-blown panic attack. I recovered enough to call my uncle, a Mendocino artist who taught color for years. With intensive instruction from him, I learned not only about color, but that a “good color sense” is more about practice than talent. Fast forward to 2014, sixteen books later (four quilt books and twelve books for Sunset), and I am happily immersed in all things color and quilts.

0a array of folded blocks

Teaching workshops has taught me even more about color, especially the importance of value, the lightness or darkness of color.

Value has two important roles in quilt design: First, it creates a sense of depth. In piecing/patchwork, light values generally recede and dark values advance. The exception is appliqué, where shapes are applied to the surface. What’s on top will probably advance visually, no matter what the value. There are other exceptions, especially in the realm of art quilts.

Second, in a pieced quilt, value establishes the design. You read a dark star on a light background as a star shape because of the contrast in values. If the star and background fabrics were the same value, you’d never see the star.

Enough theory! Here are some quilts in which value does some of the work.

This early quilt, “Puss in the Corner on the Courthouse Steps,” shows how value establishes the design of a block and creates different planes of color. Light- and dark-value pieces make the sixteen-patch blocks read. The blocks advance because the strips surrounding them (blue-violet and orange) are darker in value than the striped background squares. True, the design plays a big part in creating the layered look, but the use of value is just as important. This quilt was inspired by Terry Atkinson’s “Tile Tango.”

Puss in the Corner by Christine Barnes.

Puss in the Corner by Christine Barnes.

 “Brushed Metal” is an example of luster, the illusion of light sweeping across the surface. (See my previous post for two other lustrous quilts.)  The easiest way to achieve this effect is with ombrés, fabrics that gradate in color and/or value. Here I oriented Serenity ombré strips so the light-value ends are on opposite edges of the blocks. Rather than a wash of light in one direction, the effect is more like light and energy flowing in both directions. Together, the three groups of fabrics—ombrés, Kaffe Fassett stripes, and Marcia Derse prints—are darker than the light-value sashing, making the blocks appear suspended.

Brushed Metal by Christine Barnes.

Brushed Metal by Christine Barnes.

Another example of value creating depth is this four-block mock-up, “Colors of Kauai.” Bright Gelato ombrés and multicolored prints from the Kaffe Fassett Collective advance against the open pattern and preponderance of white in the background fabric. (I love and use ombrés so much that I carry them in my website Store.   Talk about temptation!)

Colors of Kauai by Christine Barnes.

Colors of Kauai by Christine Barnes.

Shifting gears to a nonrepresentational quilt, “Earthscape,” I thought about value with every piece of fabric I considered. The upper areas are lighter in value, making them seem distant, while the lower areas read as foreground because they are darker. (The design lines of the fabrics also suggest foreground.) Elin Noble’s hand-painted fabrics are the real gems here—I call them “investment fabrics” because they are magical wherever you use them.

Earthscape by Christine Barnes.

Earthscape by Christine Barnes.

In “Transparent Squares” the illusion of see-through color is all about value. For each block I used lighter and darker values of roughly the same colors (a light blue-green and a darker blue-green, for example). And I attempted to gather light-value fabrics with the same degree of lightness, and dark-value fabrics with the same degree of darkness. I call the effect in this quilt “layered transparency.” Check out my quilt “Galaxy,” which is an example of parent/child transparency, in the Gallery on my site. Value plays a big part in parent/child transparency, too. (The term, which describes the effect perfectly, was coined by Judi Warren Blaydon.)

Transparent Squares by Christine Barnes

Transparent Squares by Christine Barnes

And finally, here’s my latest quilt, “Swizzle Sticks,” so named for the narrow strips I inserted in each block. Again, the sashing is lighter, but in this quilt I wanted to link the blocks using another graphic element. The small four-patches did the trick, anchoring and connecting the blocks. From a distance I also see single diagonal chains that slip beneath the blocks.

Swizzle Sticks by Christine Barnes

Swizzle Sticks by Christine Barnes

Thank you, thank you for allowing me to share my quilts and thoughts on color. Please check out my website, where you can browse the Gallery and Store (books, patterns, fabrics), sign up for “Christine’s Color Connection” (a newsletter on color), follow me on Facebook and Pinterest, and access my series of color lessons on the Classrooms page of “The Quilt Show.” If you see me in the future—at a workshop, guild meeting, or quilt show—please say hello. And for your next quilt, make value “do all of the work”—and you take all of the credit!

Giveaway-GoldHere’s yet another generous giveaway from our lovely guest blogger. Simply post a comment by end of day August 25th for a chance to win one of Christine’s color wheels and four fat quarters of Marcia Derse fabric. 

 

Congratulations to Deborah M. the winner of all the goodies from Christine’s first post.

Until next time, happy creating!

L1-Signature

Posted in Guests | Tagged , , | 26 Comments

Artistic Alchemy Part 1: Quilter Christine Barnes Visits SHWS

Hello readers. We are pleased to welcome our guest blogger this week, Christine Barnes. Christine is a passionate quilter who is an expert in the area of color.  You may remember reading about her in one of our earlier posts. Click here to take another look at some of the work she shared with us in the past. This week she gives us an update of the exciting adventures in her life as well as some new quilts. Please welcome Christine. 

L: Christine Barnes photoIt’s a pleasure and an honor to be a guest blogger for See How We Sew! Many thanks to Laura for the invitation. I’ll be doing two posts this week, about the group I’m a part of, Artistic Alchemy, and about my life as an author, designer, and teacher of color for quilters.

Today, it’s all about AA. No, not that AA, but rather a team of three designers—myself, Sandra Bruce, and Heidi Emmett. More than a year ago we began work on our first Artistic Alchemy retreat at Zephyr Point, South Lake Tahoe, which takes place September 2–5, 2014. It’s been a great experience, with lots of laughter and learning, and we’re eager to welcome our students in a few weeks. You can read all about it on our blog. It’s not too late to sign up for the retreat. If you’ve never been to Zephyr, you’re missing one of the most magical spots on the lake, a real favorite with quilters. We’re already planning another retreat for September 2015.

Sandra Bruce, Christine Barnes and Heidi Emmett.

Sandra Bruce, Christine Barnes and Heidi Emmett.

Artistic Alchemy is a diverse group: I specialize in color, Sandra creates dynamic gridded quilts, and Heidi combines fiber and fabric techniques in her imaginative quilts and wearable art.

I’ll have more to say about my color career in my next post, but here are two quilts I’ll be teaching in my workshop, “Luminosity and Luster: Playing with Color and Light.” An understanding of three simple color concepts makes it possible to achieve both luminosity and luster. However, the easiest way to suggest luster, the illusion of light striking the surface and bouncing off, is with ombrés, fabrics that gradate in color, value, or both.

The blocks in my “Lustrous Squares” quilt use the full width of colorful Gelato ombrés to imply a sweep of light, from the upper right to the lower left. I had so much fun pairing the ombrés with wonderful prints from Kaffe Fassett—they’re a natural together.

Lustrous Squares by Christine Barnes

Lustrous Squares by Christine Barnes

For “Urban Ombrés,” which appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of Modern Patchwork, I used a Gelato gray ombré in combination with richly colored Gradations ombrés and Marcia Derse prints. (All fabrics except the black-and-white will be available as kits at the retreat.) Again, orienting the gray ombré strips with the lighter ends in the upper right of each block and the darker ends in the lower left suggests the diagonal flow of light. Check out my website for more quilts with ombrés, and my books, patterns, and fabrics. My work has also appeared in American Patchwork & QuiltingAmerican Quilter, and McCall’s Quilting You can also access my series of color lessons on The Quilt Show; see the home page of my website for details.

Urban Ombres by Christine Barnes

Urban Ombres by Christine Barnes

Sandra Bruce brings a successful career as an illustrator and letterer to her creative quilting life. Artist Chuck Close was the inspiration for her Material Matrix method, which uses 2-inch finished squares to create graphic quilt designs. Here’s her latest piece, a portrait of her son, Matteo. It just won a blue ribbon and Best of Division at our county fair.

Matteo by Sandra Bruce

Matteo by Sandra Bruce

I was with Sandra when she showed her self-portrait, below, at NCQC last year. There was a collective gasp from the audience, and one woman shouted, “It’s her!” Since then she’s been a teacher in high demand. Sandra also has a thriving long-arm quilting business, has designed fabric using Spoonflower, and creates polymer clay jewelry and buttons. See more of her work on her website.

You may recall Jennifer’s previous post that mentions Sandra Bruce and Spoonflower. 

Self-portrait by Sandra Bruce.

Self-portrait by Sandra Bruce.

An article on Sandra appeared in the April 2014 issue of Quilting Arts. She’s teaching her Material Matrix method at the retreat, based on a photo chosen by each student.

Heidi Emmett owned a full-service fabric store for 15 years, had a successful decorating business, and has taught sewing and other needle arts extensively. She admits that she wants to “do it all,” and she has so many skills and so much creativity that I can’t keep up! She’s teaching “Art to Wear, Art on the Wall” at the retreat, where students will learn an array of original techniques that can be applied to quilts and wearables. Heidi’s motto is “It has to be fun!” so you know her students will have a great time. Below are two versions of her “Skinny Vest” and a closeup.

Skinny Vests by Heidi Emmett

Skinny Vests by Heidi Emmett

 

Detail of Skinny Vest by Heidi Emmett.

Detail of Skinny Vest by Heidi Emmett.

Heidi’s work has appeared in Belle Amoire and Modern Patchwork, and a new project will soon appear in Stitch. Her patterns are available on Craftsy. Click here to follow her blog.

Many thanks to SHWS for allowing me to introduce you to Artistic Alchemy and my colleagues. You might also like to follow our AA blog,  where we take turns writing about the things that inspire us, sharing our creative processes, and showing our latest work. After all, the definition of the word alchemy is “the power or process of transforming individual elements into something special.” Isn’t that what we do when we make a quilt, embellish a garment, or fashion anything from fiber and fabric? Come join in our creative adventure!

Please join us again on Friday for Christine’s post on the role of color and value in creating the illusion of depth and layering in quilts. 

Oh, and before I forget, these three lovely ladies are offering a wonderful giveaway for one lucky reader. Simply post a comment by end of day August 21st for a chance to win a polymer-clay art button from Sandra, a vest pattern from Heidi, and four fat quarters of ombrés from Christine. Wow, thanks ladies!

Congratulations to Tabitha Keener, the winner of one of Lori Lott’s new patterns.

L1-Signature

Posted in Guests | Tagged , | 20 Comments

Quilts by Okan Arts

Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts

Patricia Belyea, a self proclaimed Japanophile, imports vintage yukata cottons. Patricia is the owner of Okan Arts, a design studio and micro quilt shop, in her home in Seattle, Washington.

Hope by Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts

As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, Yukata – The Summer Kimono of Japan , I met Patrica while she was traveling in the San Francisco Bay Area for lectures and workshops. I was not only fascinated with her incredible collection of hand dyed fabrics, I was also inspired to see how she showcased these very special fabrics into the artisan quilts she creates.

Patricia took some time out of her busy travel schedule to answer a few questions that I thought would interest our readers and to share her beautiful work.

Babbling by Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts

What was it that initially attracted you to these fabrics?  I’ve always been a “treasure hunter” when it comes to fabrics. At first, my quilts were made from fabrics found in free boxes at quilting meetings. I’ve also looked for unusual and super-cheap fabrics by the tablecloth section at Goodwill stores. And I’ve bought some vintage fabric on eBay. Once I started to visit Japan regularly, I looked for quilting fabric there. 

Once I discovered vintage hand-dyed yukata cottons, I was hooked. They are so easy to love—good quality cotton that’s a perfect weight for quilting, gorgeous hand-dyed colors, and wonderful patterns. I find the colors and designs inspire my artisan quilt compositions.

How has your involvement with yukata cottons changed your outlook on the Japanese and their culture? Before I ever bought a bolt of yukata cotton, I had been to Japan twice and hosted three Japanese home-stay students. So I already had a real interest in all things Japanese. 

Getting involved with yukata cottons and quilting has changed the focus of my trips to Japan. Now I seek out textile-related experiences—visiting indigo masters, wandering around flea markets, looking for small shops with vintage fabrics, going to museums, and anything else that touches on my interest in Japanese handicrafts, especially textiles.

Tangled by Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts

What do you see for the future of Okan Arts? My petite cottage business called Okan Arts is synonymous with me! I’m a one-woman enterprise who just keeps dreaming up more things to do.

Right now I’m working on a quilting book that combines yukata cottons and commercial solids in improvisational designs.

I just wrote an article for GenerationQ magazine entitled “A Quilter’s Guide to Visiting Japan.” (Look for it in the November/December issue.) I feel a calling to encourage others to visit Japan so I’m putting together a new Japan Travel section on my website as a resource for individual travelers.

As I’m out of town a lot this summer, I set up a pop-up shop with all my inventory in my local quilting store—The Quilting Loft in Seattle. Making my yukata cottons more accessible has been a good move as shoppers can only visit my home-based shop by appointment–I may do that again as I travel so much. – Patricia Belyea.

close up of quilt by Patricia Belyea

Aren’t her quilts amazing? Patricia also enjoys hand-quilting her quilts to add to the artisan feel. Being a big fan of Big Stitch hand quilting, I was immediately drawn to her thread work.  She uses colorful pearl cotton to create interesting shapes and line work. I loved seeing her perspective on applying this technique to the large scale prints and large open spaces of the yukata designs.

close up of quilt by Patricia Belyea         close up of quilt by Patricia Belyea

close up of quilt by Patricia Belyea         close up of quilt by Patricia Belyea

Thank you, Patricia, for a sharing this unique niche in our wonderful world of quilting. It is always fun to see how personal passions can merge with one’s creative interests.

Signature Cropped

Posted in About, Fabric, Guests, Inspiration, Quilts | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Yukata – The Summer Kimono of Japan

bon odori arthur banesAugust is the hottest month of the year in Japan. Not only is the temperature high, so is the humidity. Summer kimonos, known as yukata, are a common sight in Japan during these steamy summer days.

Yukata summer kimonos

Yukata are informal, festive clothing that are worn to outdoor summer events.

Tanabata Celebrated Across JapanYukata are extremely popular today. Perhaps because they reflect a nostalgic reminder of summers past in Japan.

As with kimono, the general rule is that younger people wear bright, vivid colors and bold patterns, while older people wear dark, matured colors and dull patterns.

Summer Kimono Festival In Himeji

A child may wear a multicolored print and a young woman may wear a floral, while an older woman would confine herself to a traditional dark blue with geometric patterns. Men, in general, wear solid dark colors.

478219525

The fabrics are cotton,  beautifully hand stenciled and dyed, with the designs showing on both sides. Traditionally, yukata fabrics were primarily made of indigo-dyed cotton, but today, a wide variety of colors and designs are available. The fabric is a standard kimono width of 14 inches. The fabric has a slightly crisp, but soft touch, and ranges from black to dark navy to indigo for the classic tones. The colors and designs will immediately draw you in!

P1020168     Yukata Fabrics 5

Since the late 1990s, yukata have experienced a revival. Not only with the fashionistas . . .

yukata-1-24

. . . but  with those passionate about unique textiles–including yours truly. Which leads me into my story for this week!

Vintage Japanese Yukata Cotton

Yukata Fabrics        Yukata Fabrics 2

These remarkable fabrics are from Okan Arts of Seattle Washington. My newfound obsession happened while attending a lecture and workshop with Patricia Belyea, owner of Okan Arts. Her 550-bolt-strong collection is a kaleidoscope of vintage Japanese yukata.

Yukata Fabrics 3

The beautiful green roll in the center of the photo above was the one that hooked me. I loved the free flowing brushstrokes of dark indigo, lavender, and gray.

Patricia is making it her mission to share this collection with others. Lucky us!!!

Yukata Fabrics 4

On Friday, I will chat with Patricia about her passion. I will also share a sampling of blocks created in the workshop I attended with her, plus photos of the beautiful quilts she has created to showcase these very special fabrics. Be sure to stop by to meet Patricia!

_________________________________________________________

Correction: A few quilts were forgotten or mislabeled in last week’s post on the Indie Modern Quilters Challenge. I wanted to be sure to share them with you. My apologies for the error.
Tracy Allen Judy Miller Carol Roach Patty Flynn

 See you Friday!

Signature Cropped

Posted in About, Fabric | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Meet Lori Lott: Quilter, Pattern Designer

100_1073  I love hearing success stories of people who find a passion and turn it into a business. I have known Lori Lott for years, but recently had the opportunity of collaborating with her while working on my book, QQQ3. She is a talented stylist and assisted our photographer with room settings. This positive working relationship lead us (Diana McClun and myself) to seek her help again with our book signing party. Lori is extremely organized and brought our vision into fruition. I couldn’t resist asking Lori to consider being the “day of” person for our recent wedding. Fortunately for all of us, she agreed and everything ran smoothly with her behind-the-scenes guidance.

Lori is a also an avid quilter and teaches classes at local quilt shops. Her line of patterns attracted Clothworks Fabrics to her work. Please let me take this opportunity to introduce you to Lori and share some of her work with you. 

Lori started sewing at age 9 while in 4-H. This gave her a foundation for sewing. During this time she was encouraged to model her garments. Walking in front of judges was nerve racking for a 10-year ld girl, says Lori, but it gave her the confidence to keep sewing and hone her skills in clothing construction. She later earned a degree in Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM). She initially worked in the fashion industry and later moved in to Visual Merchandising.

Lori came to quilting through a friend in 2000. Creating her own designs is what inspired her to continue learning about quilting. Although she says it wasn’t an overnight process, she felt she was truly hooked after working with her local community of quilters and being exposed to their amazing work.

Lori was recently approached by Clothworks and her Heartstrings pattern will be featured in one of their new “All My Heart” fabric line by Iron Orchid designs. Click here to view the fabric collection.

Screen shot 2014-08-07 at 4.51.09 PM

When I asked Lori what style of quilt she enjoys making, she told me that her favorite quilts to make are those with traditional piecing using contemporary fabrics. She loves machine piecing and the symmetry that goes into each block that then translates into a finished quilt top. Lori feels that piecing is like solving a puzzle using fabric. “In the end it all has to fit together like a beautiful mosaic. There is gratification in the end result. There is also a Zen quality about piecing. It causes me to focus with my two favorite things:  fabric and my sewing machine.”

Lori’s pattern company is called Uptown Girl Quilts and her patterns are sold on her website. Here are just a few of her designs. Click here to view her full line of patterns. She says she gets her inspiration from many different avenues. Color and shape are the two biggest factors for her. Color dictates emotion for her while she is designing a new quilt. shape and form are the next elements that drive her designs. Here are just a few.

"Sadie Hawkins" by Lori Lott, 70" x 70".

“Sadie Hawkins” by Lori Lott, 70″ x 70″.

 Screen shot 2014-08-07 at 4.53.11 PM

Screen shot 2014-08-07 at 4.52.26 PM

Screen shot 2014-08-07 at 4.53.32 PM

 

Sweet Lola patiently waiting for her morning walk.

Sweet Lola patiently waiting for her morning walk.

Lori says: “I routinely walk my dachshund Lola every morning after we have coffee and toast. It is the highlight of my day (and Lola’s too!). I love clothes and fashion and wish I was a Design apprentice for a haute couture house in Paris like Yves St. Laurent or Givenchy. If I wasn’t a quilt designer I would be an architect, a professional golfer, or fragrance designer. The three love’s of my life are Robert, Andrew and Brian, my family.”

Giveaway-Gold

 

Lori is offering one of her new patterns to a lucky reader. Simply tell us what you would do if not making quilts – astronaut, doctor, scientist?  Submit comments by end of day August 14th. The winner will be announced on August 19th.

As always, thanks for stopping in. Hope you are all enjoying a restful summer. Until next time . . .

L1-Signature

 

Posted in About, Guests | 20 Comments

Organization is Key to a Stress-Free Wedding

flowersAs I write this I am away on a much-needed sewing and quilting retreat in beautiful Tahoe Donner. After several weeks of constant wedding prep, I must say that it is taking some time to ease into a relaxed lifestyle.

If there were just one piece of wedding prep advice I could share with you, I think it would be: get organized. Never did I dream that my years of  working trade shows would serve me well during this time of wedding preparations. Anyone out there looking for a good wedding planner? I think I’ve got this down now . . . just kidding! I’ve got another one coming up next May–it should be a piece of cake.

Fortunately, two weeks before the wedding I asked my daughter the important question of how she planned to get all the “stuff” to the venue; since the wedding was being held in Grass Valley which is two hours away. Is a trailer rental in the game plan, or what?

Just a fraction of the stuff going to the wedding.

Just a fraction of the stuff going to the wedding.

Since neither of us would be available the day of the wedding to assist with set-up, it was important to communicate the design vision clearly for the set-up crew. For the prior two days I had Molly set-up each space (welcome table, head table, cake table, etc) exactly as she wanted it. I took photos and made a list of all the items included at each space. Each space was assigned a letter (A, B, C, etc). Finally, all the items were boxed and assigned the appropriate letter. It was a lot of work, but as a result, everything ran smoothly.

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 12.10.52 PM

We have not yet received all of the photos from the photographer, but I wanted to share a few of them with you today:  1) The sweet flower girl getting ready for her runway walk. The robe was made by yours truly. 2) Princess Brooklyn could not have been more precious. 3) A special father-daughter moment. Laura's collage Here’s one of my favorites:

The setting, the lighting, the couple . . . everything was lovely!

The setting, the lighting, the couple . . . everything was lovely!

Thanks for letting me share this special time in my life. My best to all of you.

L1-Signature

Posted in About | Tagged | 8 Comments

An Indie Modern Quilt Group Takes on a Color Challenge

This gallery contains 18 photos.

As promised in Tuesday’s post, here are the fruits of the recent creative labor of Indie Modern Quilters, Danville, CA. You’ll recall that the group explores modern quilting. Meetings take place every first Thursday of the month at Wooden Gate … Continue reading

| Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Status Update:  Indie Modern Quilters Stretch Their Wings—Maybe You’d Like to As Well?

Some months ago, blogging sis Pati sent out query to quilters in our geographic area to gauge interest in forming an Indie Modern quilting group. As luck would have it, there was an enthusiastic response plus a quilt-shop owner who wanted to host regular get-togethers. We thought it would be a good time to update our readers about their activities—you might find a good model for a starting your own Indie Modern group in your own area.  ♥ Jennifer ♥

Setting Up an Indie Modern Group:  One Group’s Adventure

I have been a member of the East Bay Modern Quilt Guild of the San Francisco Bay Area for a few years now, and one of the things that repeatedly caught my attention was the curiosity and interest in the Modern Quilting movement in its neighboring county, but no resulting push to establish another guild.  Each time someone asked me about my guild, they lost interest when considering traveling to Berkeley or the Peninsula for regular meetings. That all changed once I spoke to Gina Chang, the new owner of Wooden Gate Quilts in Danville, CA.  We decided to create an opportunity to gather enthusiasts once a month and to see where our efforts would lead us. I opted to call the gathering Indie Modern Quilters because I didn’t want to limit the group in any way and to encourage independent thinking and out-of-the-box-creativity.

The turnout was great for that first meeting and for each since! Typically, we start with a social hour/shopping, move on to a member’s tips-and-tricks segment, and then finish with Show-and-Tell.  As a new group, we are having fun creating something that fits everyone’s hopes and interests—and getting to know each other as well. After discussing our preferences, we decided that we don’t want to be a guild or a drop-in, but we would like to meet monthly as a group of like-minded quilters. We are slowly defining what we would like an Indie Modern Quilt Group to be!

2014-07-28 13.23.18

I am excited to announce that Wooden Gate Quilts has scheduled some dates this Fall for Indie Modern Sew Day drop-ins. Other items on our Wish List are field trips and weekend retreat getaways.  And of course, more challenges and projects to explore. Feeling independent? Give our group a spin! – Pati

The first group challenge was to create a small quilt in a modern style using only the colors in a selected paint chip sample, along with one tint + white, as a color palette.

different-colors_300

The little quilts are beautiful! Wooden Gate Quilts graciously offered to host a mini quilt show of the work–they look wonderful hanging together!

2014-07-28 13.23.31

Don’t live in the area? No worries! Stop by SHWS on Friday and we will share all the wonderful quilts from the Indie Modern Color Challenge. For locals, Gina’ll give you a sneak peek if you stop by!

2014-07-28 13.27.35

 

Posted in About, Projects, Quilts | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

He’s Here, He’s Here (Again): It’s Christmas in July at SHWS!

Pattern-J:  Santa Smiles by JenniferSeriously, Jennifer? Christmas in July?  It’s +90º outside!

Yes! It’s time to get started. As I was super late delivering the Santa Smiles Tree Skirt pattern last year, I thought I’d throw this out to you well before the holidays.

Available in Print Today: Santa Smiles!

I’ve finally got the print version of the pattern instructions ready for industrious Christmas elves!  Yeah!

You’ll be delighted to know that the instructions come with a full set of the paper-piecing patterns:  3 Santas + 3 trees!  FYI:  I’ve priced Santa Smiles to include shipping to the U.S., to Canada, and to international quilters wherever you may be.

Click the image below or visit our Pattern Library to learn more.

Pattern-J:  Santa Smiles announcementCheck it Out:  Santa Goes Mod & Shakes Up Christmas Decor

Pattern-J:  Santa Smiles by MarnieLast Christmas, I had an opportunity to teach Santa Smiles at my local quilt shop, Wooden Gate Quilts in Danville, California. It’s always a treat to see how quilters take on one of my patterns and how they express their aesthetic through their fabric choices. Imagine my surprise when an intrepid novice quilt maker flashed an array of charcoals, silvery tones, icy blues, and whites.

Wow! Why didn’t I think of that? I was seriously intrigued by Marnie Durbin’s choices and by Marnie herself. She’d only made one enormous quilt, a minimalist design that she machine pieced and quilted on a smallish sewing machine, before tackling the tree skirt. I tell ya, I was awed by her derring-do, and seriously impressed by her speed, tenacity, and workmanship.

Pattern-J:  Santa Smiles by Marnie

Then, when you put all the silvery blue and gray blocks together, you get a rather fabulous and daring tree skirt.

Pattern-J:  Santa Smiles by Marnie

Can you believe it’s only the second quilted project Marnie’s sewn and machine quilted?Yowza!

I’m throwing in my version below so you can see that Santa Smiles tree skirt can be interpreted in classic and novel ways.

Pattern-J:  Santa Smiles by Jennifer

Giveaway Results Here

Definitely, keep Kleenex handy when you read the comments from my Tuesday post. You are all generous, loving, wonderful quilters and I sniffled my way through all your stories. Do you suppose we could create a peaceful world if we gave handmade quilts to everyone? “Here ya go, wrap up in this beautiful quilt and take it down a notch or three!”

Congratulations to Annette R., Diane Linker, and Sheila at License to Quilt, the winners of the Heart Strings pattern.

Add a stitch for a better world . . . Peace Out! Image-J:  Peace Out

J-Signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Blocks, Patterns, Projects | Tagged , | 4 Comments

See How a Quilt Design Evolves–The Many Faces of “Heartstrings” + Giveaway

Quilt-J:  Original Heart Strings Quilt

Quilt-J:  Heartstrings featured in The Quilt Life1-Giveaway IconNot so long ago I spearheaded a group project for a member of my quilting/dining group–she’d lost her mother and we wanted to give her a quilted hug. It was such a beautiful shared experience that I wrote about it for the February 2012 issue of  The Quilt Life and called the quilt Heart Strings.

 The Other Faces of Heart Strings 

Some time after that, our original SHWS quartet of Christie, Darra, Laura, and I made another version of Heart Strings for our very dear tech-savvy blog helper Michelle. She had had to say good-bye to her mother after a lengthy illness and we wanted to gather her up in a big group hug. It’s difficult to discern from a distance, but Heart Strings #2 is embellished with a stitched tree and flitting hummingbirds, the deft handiwork of long-arm quilter Marla Monson

Quilt-J:  Heart Strings hanging at Quilting in the Garden

Heart Strings #2 featured in the 2012 Quilting in the Garden exhibition, Livermore, California.

Then, just this year, as I was reading the June 2014 issue of The Quilt Life, I found a Letter to the Editor from a reader named Carol Findling who wrote about making a version of Heart Strings with her group for a friend who needed support after losing a daughter. They finished their version in three weeks to surprise her:  Heart Strings #3.

Is there more? Of course. My buddy Cyndy Rymer and I share more than a love of quilting, we also share a gynecologist:  a rare and wonderful physician who dropped the obstetrics end of the business to focus on women of a certain age. I don’t know how many locals she’s pulled from the brink of hormonal madness and other malevolent afflictions, but the numbers are legion and our admiration for her is profound and enduring.

Well, the sad news is that sometimes even healers need healing. She’s closing her practice to undergo intense cancer treatment. Cyndy and I cannot sever our connection to her without expressing our love and heartfelt wishes for her recovery. What else can we do but make her a quilt imbued with positive, healing thoughts?

Quilt-J:  Final stages neutral Heart Strings

Almost done: Heart Strings #4.

Before I stow my damp and crumpled Kleenex and finish today’s theme, I’d like to share one more thought about heartfelt quilts. Sure we make many celebration quilts, but we also make them for poignant reasons. As I tackled this post I was finally able to verbalize the reason I take on these quilts: I want that someone to know that he or she matters! How simple is that?

A Variation on the Heart Strings Theme

1.  Cyndy and I worked on the original Heart Strings and we knew it would work for us, but, to change up things, we went neutral. And, wouldn’t you know, Cyndy just happened to have a stash of unfinished neutral blocks in her UFO pile. We were halfway there without even trying!

Quilt-J:  Neutral Heart Strings

2.  Rather than a string of hearts, we opted for roses for the finishing detail. I turned to one of my own designs, Radically Ruched Roses.  This time I went for a fused spiral rose  rather than ruching bias strips to make the spirals–ruching isn’t fodder for a quickie quilt! After my recent Quilt-Along fusing frenzy it was an easy decision. Head’s up:  Radically Ruched Roses is available as free a downloadable pattern in our Pattern Library!

Quilt-J:  Madly Mod Rosie

3.  The leaves and stems also derive from Radically Ruched Roses–turns out I, too, had leftovers to donate to our cause. I pinned the strips in gentle waves and, before gluing them in place, I auditioned a layout of blossoms and leaves.

Quilt-J:  Neutral Heart Strings Draft Layout

4. Did you notice that the top was layered and quilted before we added the flowers and greenery? Cyndy loaded the quilt onto her long-arm machine and chose a simple floral motif for background quilting.

Quilt-J:  Neutral Heart Strings in Process

5.  Back to the stem strips:  Glue-Baste-It!  Laura recommended the product and it’s a dream for securing the applique pieces before finishing with stitches. I finished the edges with decorative stitches along the outer edges of the stems to give them a slightly thorny look. Then, Cyndy reloaded the quilt on the long-arm and stitched the leaves and roses to the top. The jury is out on whether or not that was a good idea–it wasn’t as much fun as she’d hoped. FYI:  The roses are dimensional appliqué (with an additional thin layer of batting on the back) and the spirals are top stitched.

 

6.  I’ve got the label affixed, stray threads trimmed, and so I think we’re ready to send out our healing quilt.

Heart Strings #4: yes, that is a spaniel sculpture--he wanted to be featured in the photo too! He's supposed to live in the garden as a remembrance of a very dear dog, but this guy likes the hearth.

Heart Strings #4: yes, that is a spaniel sculpture–he wanted to be featured in the photo too! He’s supposed to live in the garden as a remembrance of a very dear dog, but this guy likes the hearth.

Giveaway Details

I happen to have full-color reprints of the Heart Strings article and pattern from The Quilt Life and I’d be happy to share 3 copies with our readers. Leave me a comment by Thursday, July 24 and I will name the winners in my Friday post. Here’s your prompt:  Have you made a heartfelt quilt? Do tune in on Friday for a special edition cuz a seasonal fave will be flying in!

J-Signature

 

Posted in Patterns, Quilts | Tagged , , , , | 40 Comments