A New Look for See How We Sew

We have been crazy busy tweaking and cropping the past few days and are happy to present a new look for See How We Sew!

Take a moment to visit the different pages. We’ve made a few new changes and additions throughout the site. We have also been updating the look of our social media sites, so click away, like us and follow along, because we love our visitors!

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Tidal Lace Blog Hop Tour

All of this has perfect timing to segway into this Friday’s post – which will be our portion of the blog hop showcasing Kim Andersson of  I Adore Patterns, with her new line, Tidal Lace with Windham Fabrics.  Kim was guest a few weeks back with us. You can read her SHWS posts here and here. She is uber talented and. . . We are so excited to be a part of this!!!!

Want a sneak peak? Here is a beautiful photo by Danielle Collins from the Tidal Lace Look Book created specifically for this line.

Beach005 Photography by Danielle Collins

 

If you would like to follow along, here is the schedule and blog links.

Tidal Lace Blog Hop Tour – September 15- 23.

 

Hmmm, I suddenly have an urge to go to the beach.

See you Friday!

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Zombies & Posies–A Peek at Kim Buteau’s Year-Round Halloween Etsy Shop

Happy Friday everyone! The project I shared in  Tuesday’s post was so much fun to make, I think there are a few more ideas brewing in my head. I love making Halloween-themed projects year-round. It’s never the wrong time to work on something for Halloween–at least in my opinion.

boo witch
Many of my closest friends are also obsessed with Halloween and I’ve partnered with one of them, Pam, to start our Etsy Store, Zombies and PosiesI drew a mascot logo and we named her Zweena –it means beautiful woman, which is perfect for a zombie don’t you think???

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Zweena items are still in development; so be sure to add  Zombies and Posies to your “favorite” list on Etsy,  to follow her as she grows.

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Pam and I are both interested in paper arts and have quite a paper stash!  We love to make tags, cards, books, collages . . . the list goes on and on and what better way to share our creations and support our paper habit than to sell our stuff on Etsy, right?  So far we are just starting out and getting our store stocked with items.  Here is a peek of what we have in the shop.

bat kitty

crow tag     ds tags

halloween girls    mix tag group 

witch collage

Be sure to check often–there are new items listed every week. We appreciate you visiting our shop! Thank You! –Kim Buteau

SHWS Guest Kim Buteau Adds Halloween Witch-Craft To Our Quilt-Along

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Zweena, the Zombies and Posies Mascot

I am happy to introduce our guest this week, Kim Buteau. I have known Kim for a few years now. Come to think of it, I believe it was in a class I taught on a Halloween project that I first met Kim. Little did I know what a Halloween fanatic she was! Kim loves, loves, loves, Halloween!!! But her talents run far deeper than spiders and cobwebs. Here is a little more that I know about this creative gal.

Kim started rubber stamping and paper arts in 1990 and then began quilting in 1998. She has always been drawn to bright colors. Each time I see her, she is busy working up a new project in her happy color palette, sometimes paper, sometimes fabric . Her sense of humor tends to peek through her work which I think lands somewhere between whimsical and urban. I am so excited to say she is now sharing these creations in her new Etsy store, ZombieandPosies. But more about that later. Welcome Kim! What have you been working on? – Pati

Hello all in the blog world. I am happy to be the guest blogger for the week here on See How We Sew. My name is Kim and I love Halloween, paper arts, and quilting! When my friend Pati Fried told me about the Quilt-Along, I just had to do something with the theme; but applique just isn’t my thing. So I decided to do something with paper and make it a Halloween theme.

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I used a pine frame mirror I bought at Ikea years ago. I painted it with lime green sparkle paint and then used a darker crackle green paint over the top.

IMG_0541 2I distressed it with black ink along the edges and over the body of the frame.

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I die cut circles and leaves from Halloween themed scrapbook paper and made the flowers. Then I distressed the edges with black ink.

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I adapted the layout of the wreath block to fit onto the square frame format and added a purple spider for some fun!

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Loving Halloween and paper arts has led me to start an Etsy Store called ZombiesandPosies. Join me on Friday and I will show you more of my Halloween creations and a bit about the shop mascot, Zweena Zombie! Link to Etsy Store: ZombiesandPosies.

See you Friday! – Kim Buteau

Blackbirds and Blossoms Oh-La-La!: Embroidery Tips

If you are joining us in making the Quilt-Along, you may find the following tips helpful when attaching the birdhouse opening (circles) and blackbirds to the corner birdhouses.  The template patterns for both shapes are included in the Pattern Pages.  If you are new to our site, it’s not too late to start as you will find all instructions included in the Pattern Pages.

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I used a fusible web product (there are many available) to secure the shape to the background fabric. Then, I stitched around the edges of the shapes and added the details (eyes & wings) with hand embroidery stitches. Either embroidery floss (2 strands) or perle cotton will work well in this application. I opted for perle cotton as I like the heavier look it provides and it also forms a nice edging along the outline of the shapes.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

1/4 yard of fusible web

Embroidery needle

Perle cotton, No. 8 or embroidery floss (I used perle cotton)

Small embroidery scissors

Marking pencil to transfer stitching lines

1. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions that accompany the fusible web to trace, cut, and attach the circles and birds to the Birdhouse blocks.

2. Use a decorative embroidery stitch, such as a blanket stitch, as shown, to secure the edges of the shapes to the background fabric.

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3. Lightly mark the stitching lines onto the right side of the birds. Then stitch along the lines with a decorative stitch such as the stem stitch, as shown here.

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4. The beak, legs, and feather lines were stitched with long basting-type stitches.

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That completes the Birdhouse blocks. Be sure to check back for final assembly instructions.

Just a reminder that Quilting in the Garden at Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore, CA is coming up in just a few short weeks. If you are in the area, sure hope to see you there!

Dates & Places-J:  Quilting in the Garden 2014

Happy stitching everyone!

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Blackbirds and Blossoms Oh-La-La! Quilt-Along: The Birdhouse Blocks

This week it’s my turn to share my contribution to our Quilt-Along project, Blackbirds and Blossoms, Oh-La-La! If you have been following along with us, these pieces will complete the center of the quilt top. If you are newcomer to this fun group project, it’s certainly not too late to start. All of the instructions can be found in our Pattern Pages. Please join the fun!

Birdhouses complete our Quilt-Along.
The Birdhouses to complete our Quilt-Along.

I was given the task of designing a block for the corners of the quilt. The center floral designs seemed to call for the addition of birds. With this in mind, the idea of creating birdhouses to fit into the corners provided the perfect setting for a quartet of simple, whimsical birds. This is a super-easy-to-construct birdhouse block and it adds a nice corner element to the center floral medallion.

Here’s what you will need to make four Birdhouses:

House front: Four 6-1/2″ x 10-1/2″ pieces

House top: One 11-1/4″ square. Cut the square twice into quarters diagonally to yield four triangles.

Roof: Two 1-3/4″ x 42″ strips. Cut the strips to make four 1-3/4″ x 9-1/4″ pieces and four 1-3/4″ x 10-1/4″ pieces.

Background: Two 13″ squares. Cut each square twice into quarters diagonally to yield eight triangles.

Cut pieces for Birdhouses.
Cut pieces for Birdhouses.

Construction:

1. Sew a Background triangle to each short side of the House Front pieces, aligning the bottom edges.

2. Use your cutting tools to remove the excess Background and straighten the top edge, as shown.

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3. Sew a 1-3/4″ x 9-1/4″ piece  of Roof fabric to one short side of the House Top triangle. Then use the 45-degree angle marking on the ruler to cut the excess fabric even with the bottom edge of the House Top.

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4. Sew a 1-3/4″ x 10-1/4″ piece of Roof fabric to the adjoining short side of the House Top triangle. Then use the 45-degree angle marking on the ruler to cut the excess fabric, as shown. This completes the top half of the Birdhouse.

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5. Join the top and bottom sections together, matching seams where the House Front and House Top pieces intersect.

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6. Press the seam in the direction of the bottom half of the birdhouse.

Easy enough? Yes, of course! Please join me on Friday as I give instructions and hints for adding the Birdhouse opening as well as the birds.

Until next time, enjoy!

L1-Signature

 

 

 

 

One Quilter’s Summer Break: Making Colorful Food + An Announcement

Beautiful summer roses, just for fun. Sadly, not from garden but from a friend's.
Beautiful summer roses, just for fun. Sadly, not from garden but from a friend’s.

Other than no rain, which is a real problem here in California, we’re experiencing a beautiful summer:  clear blue skies, mild temperatures, and soft breezes. Sometimes it’s just too pretty outside and I have to stow my tools and ignore my stash (although I’m making serious progress on two simultaneous projects!). Why not? Color play can be found in other venues and I’m open to adventure.

Now this is a weird thing to admit, but I’m prone to color matching my grocery shopping, especially in the produce aisles. Really? I don’t know why, but I just do. It’s an unconscious act–I swear! (I did confess to my foible at the get-go in my first SHWS blog post.)

Just this morning I had another of my moments as I sat at the kitchen table with a cup of tea, yoghurt, and the third installment of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander saga–a real fave to reread especially with the ongoing Starz series. (Love Claire and Jamie!) I glanced from my book to a fruit basket filled with sunny golden apples, ripening Bartlett pears, bright yellow bananas and lemons, and, for contrast, limes and green-black avocados. The red tomatoes were exiled to the kitchen counter because they didn’t make the color cut. Does this quirk bear further examination? Probably not, but it does segue to . . . colorful summertime kitchen adventures!

Inspiration-J:  Raspberries

As it turns out, abundant seasonal fruit has led me to a recent and rather fattening exploration of making gelato from farmers market spoils. My sister gave me a copy of The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto and I’ve been a mad scientist ever since with blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.

Inspiration-J:  Blueberry gelato
Tasting the first batch of blueberry gelato. Lesson learned: strain the fruit for a smoother finish!

At a recent company gathering, I paired my raspberry and blueberry gelatos with fresh peach sorbetto and an orange-blossom-scented olive oil cake (sounds weird, but truly sublime) made by a talented co-worker. Believe me the dessert tasted as wonderful as it looked and it delivers a fabulous color story too. Not only does this image tantalize me with its interesting palette, I’m intrigued with the proportion of the neutral tones to the dessert colors. Excellent quilt design fodder!

Inspiration-J:  Summer dessert
From left to right: fresh peach sorbetto, blueberry and strawberry gelatos.

At the other extreme of summer cooking, I’ve been making gazpacho–gotta to counter the gelato calories somehow. Talk about stupidly easy to make:  throw beautiful summer tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and peppers into a veggie-crushing blender and press start. (Full disclosure:  red wine vinegar, olive oil, good quality vegetable juice, red pepper flakes, and salt & pepper) And, if you are anything like color-mad Jennifer, you select the soup fodder by color:  I’ve made traditional red as well as a range of yellow to orange varieties.

Inspiration-J:  Gazpacho ingredients

These summer days I’m all about throwing back a shot of gazpacho when my energy takes a nosedive or taking a generous cup to work for lunch. The challenge is going to be finding  a fall/winter soup that is as colorful, tasty, and easy to make/store.

Inspiration-J: Gazpacho cocktails
Be on trend with your entertaining: shots of gazpacho!

That’s it from my colorful non-quilting adventures, but I’ve got to wonder: are there others like me out there? Does your passion for crafting crossover in weird ways to other parts of your life?

p.s.  For those of you planning to be in Northern California in late September, a fun event on the horizon, Quilting in the Garden! (Click the image for details.)

Dates & Places-J:  Quilting in the Garden 2014

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Under Wraps: A Peek at a Summertime Fabric Fling

Fabric-J:  Gelato ombre Schenck
A lovely pink ombre from the Gelato series offered by E.E. Schenck.

Like last week’s guest blogger Christine Barnes, I too have a strong liking for ombre fabric. While I absolutely love Christine’s deft hand with color and value play as she builds her blocks, my typical take on ombre is to use it to make flower petals for dimensional applique.

Project-J:  Blossom made of color-changing fabric
I cannot remember where I bought this perfect flower-making print, but I wish I had a bolt!

Clever cuts of fabric can yield petals kissed by sunlight at the tips and darker shadows where the petals grow from the flower stems (or the reverse as shown above). Or, also beguiling, bi-color petals which can be folded and shaped to form realistic flower buds.

Project-J:  Rosebud
Although hard to discern the value differences, this rosebud is made from one ombre fabric.

That’s been my recurring task for much of the summer:  cutting and sewing petals and leaves. No, not 90 days of flower making 24/7–I’m not that insane–a few hours here and there over three months preparing to make a dimensional appliqué floral still life.

Project-J:  Using ombre fabric to make blossoms
Blossoms made from red and pink ombre fabrics–the same pink featured in the rosebud.

Some quilting projects are piecing extravaganzas:  pedal to the metal, innumerable passes of a rotary cutter through fabric, and sweating over a steaming iron. That’s not my way with dimensional appliqué quilts. The grueling part is the preparation–composing the still life is almost anti-climactic. Gotta say I’m about to take on that challenge; after weeks of labor I’m ready to roll.  (But not ready to share yet–stay tuned!)

Congratulations to Monica, the winner of the giveaway goodies from Christine Barnes.

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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

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.

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