Inktense Question- Pigment Sticks

I often receive questions about some of my free tutorials.  I write back to people when internet connection allows, since I am off on new adventures these days (see  Sometimes, my response back may be buried in the old post, or my email reply bounces back to me- both which happened in this case.

inktensedoneHelene wrote a question about using Inktense blocks on her vintage linen:

“Dear Carla, I have some white vintage linen placemats and napkins that are embroidered that I would like to to use the Inktense Fabric Paints on to bring them more to life.  What I have are the blocks not pencils.  Can I still paint using the block sticks and if so, would you recommend using a paintbrush and just wetting it and infusing it with the color from the sticks?”

suppliesHere was my reply:

“Hi Helene, I am not home at the moment, but I happen to have bought some of those Inktense block sticks myself. You can use them on fabric in a number of ways- including if you dip your fine brush in a fabric medium, then onto the pigment ink block, then paint onto the fabric. I suggest you perfect this technique first with scrap fabric until mastered. In other words, your instinct was spot on!

I always like to start with my lightest color and clean the brush for blending with other colors. Play around with diluting the fabric medium just a bit with water for a more sheer look. Again, all experimentation would be with scrap fabric. I would also heat set the colored fabric, but test it first before your main project.

You can also buy a grating jar- which is a jar with both a cover and a grating lid. I bet Derwent has a number of videos to assist you. When I wrote my tutorial many years ago, there were not that many “how to” work with this product on fabric. I get you can find many more now. Good luck!! Carla”

With any project such as this, my only concern is that the technique be perfected before attempting on the vintage linen.  That is the best advice I can provide.  If you use the grating jar, then again, experiment with the saturation of the pigment powder to water or fabric medium.

Regards, Carla

New Designs!

Digitech has some new designs of mine available here.   I thought I would share some of the designs with you.  The first one is called Fiji:


This was inspired by my love of tropical locations.  Next up is a set I designed for my friend, Denise, for her baby quilt:



The next set was created by doodling.  Check out that cool border design:


Last one to share today is a modern design for a quilt, very whimsical:


Hope you have enjoyed this sneak peek into some of my newest designs.  I am still drawing away while I am off sailing.    Regards, Carla

New Blog To Follow Our Adventures!

Wanted to announce the new blog, titled, “Sailing on Mahi,” where you can follow our adventures if you wish.  Basically, we retired early, bought a blue water capable boat, will move aboard and travel the world on board Mahi, our Taswell 43 cutter rigged sailboat.


I also have a Facebook page HERE, too, if you want to see where we are and follow our adventures.  Plan to seek out quilting arts as we travel and write about sewing projects to improve the interiors.  Will also sew on projects above deck, too.  Taking some beading supplies along, too.  You know I just have to create!

Also bringing along the Tablet PC and programs so I can continue to draw designs to be sold at Digitech Patterns.  This gal is going to try to piece and quilt with my industrial strength Sailrite machine.  :-)

I hope you will visit and follow the new blog and “like” my page on Facebook.  Hugs from Carla

Sailboat Quilt Project

One of the hardest things about going traveling by sailboat is missing your dear friends and family.  Barbara Kiehn is one friend I will especially miss.  She and I have collaborated on many award winning quilts over the years, long time blog readers may remember a few of them:

carlainthegarden41egypt6baby tulip2


I decided that Ethan needs a new quilt for his new cabin berth, but time is short, so I asked Barb to help me design and put it together.  Yesterday was our work day at her house, and we were able to finish the sailboat blocks.  Of course, there is more work to do on this scrappy, red, white and blue quilt, so I will work on it whenever I can get a free minute.

Here are a picture of the blocks only, today I cut and fuse the flags at the top of the mast like shown in the top left block:

Sailboat block in progress

Barb and decided to make these topsy turvy sailboats, plus there will be scrappy pieced sashings in between each block.  Here is a sample from Barb’s quilt for what topsy turvy setting looks like:


So that is my WIP sailboat project for the boat.  Thank you shout out to Barb for her help, lunch yesterday, and for being such a wonderful friend.   Regards, Carla

Maze Quilt for Doug

I am busy working on a maze quilt for my friend, Doug.  Here is a picture:

Doug Maze quiltDoug loves it when I quilt quirky things into his quilt.  We decided to play off the mouse in a maze theme for this quilt.  The mice on the quilt are just plastic, but they provide a wealth of inspiration for this quilt.

Note the outer black border fabric which frames the quilt’s edges?  That is what I will design first.

Using Photoshop, I sketch ideas for this border.  I thought it would be interesting to have an overhead perspective of a mouse running around the border.  Once sketched, I redrew in Art & Stitch software for digitizing.  This is my first rough design:

Carla Mouse BorderI am working to a fast deadline, so I needed to get this border quilted up pronto.   This design is easy to place on the quilt and quilts up nicely as shown below.


Here is the mouse design quilted up: BarrettMouseBorder

Note the easy freehand “fingers” quilting on the edge of the quilt to fill the space.  Tip: Just quilt long skinny “U” shapes.  Fast and easy!

Now I am designing the rest of the quilt.  Think mouse traps, cheese, and similar themed motifs.

Hope you have enjoyed a sneak peek into Doug’s quilt.  I need to get this quilt done quickly for a couple of reasons- we have a contract on a boat in FL, and need to fly back there for the survey, sea trial and haul out.  Will be sharing more about the boat after the deal finalizes.

In the meantime, I would love to hear how YOU have been?  Do leave me a comment so we can chat.  Happy quilting, Carla

Boat Search Continues….

perfect-stormThe hunt for the right blue water capable sailboat for our family continues.  What is a blue water sailboat, you might ask?  It is a sailboat designed to cross oceans.  No, make that safely cross oceans.   The “safety” part is real big with my husband and I.   We want a boat that will take whatever Neptune throws at her.  Well, within reason.  I just remembered the end of the movie, The Perfect Storm.  Banish the thought of rouge waves, and let’s get back to the topic of buying the right boat.

11143295_10204312880322603_7261886614980938312_nSo far, our boat search has taken us to Florida for a week long, mad dash around the state looking at all types of potential sailboats.

Then we decided to treat young Ethan to a Disney Cruise from Miami to San Diego by way of the Panama Canal.  Yes, that’s right- Ethan gets Mickey, and we get to experience an engineering wonder.   That was fair.  Plus, we all had a blast on the cruise.  On the right is dear Ethan all dressed up for pirate night.  He makes an adorable pirate I might add.

Once we arrived to San Diego, the Southern Cal part of the boat search began.  We saw one boat we really liked, however, we waited too long to make an offer and someone else bought it the next day.   Oh well, live and learn.

This boat search trip was very helpful despite the disappointment of not acting fast enough and missing out.  This philosopher in me says it wasn’t the right boat for us.  However, we did learn what makes and model of boat we like and dislike for our offshore sailboat.

So what’s next?  We are narrowing down our search, working with our broker, and a trip back to Florida is in my future.    Stay tuned!!  Hugs, Carla

Realizing a Dream

Have you ever had a longtime dream?   Something you planned to accomplish and took tiny steps towards over many years in order to realize.  This could be retirement, or travel, or any number of dreams- both large or small.

capt joeMy dream is to sail the world in a bluewater sailboat.   I love the ocean, tropical islands, traveling, and learning about other cultures.  Sharing this dream with my husband, Joe, was part of the plan, so I gave him a copy of Herb Payson’s entertaining book, Blown Away.  Little did I know that reading Blown Away was all it took to get Joe on board with my idea.  Fabulous, partner with same dream…. check!

IMG_5016Next step is to learn more about “cruising,” which is the sailing term used when you leave home behind and travel by sailboat.  This included taking lots of sailing classes on subjects like how to actually sail, navigation, weather, anchoring, offshore sailing, sail repair, diesel repair, provisioning and outfitting your boat, and my favorite topic, safety.  After all, the goal is to come back alive, right?

Then, you have to think about the financial aspects of cruising, or how to pay for it.  In our case, we paid off our house, saved over a long time, and recently retired early (Joe) or are taking a sabbatical (Carla).  We also saved for our boat, too, which we are now searching for with help of a yacht broker.  Finally, we are at the point where everything is coming together.

bviEthan2aFour years ago, we had an unexpected blip in our sailing plans, the birth of our grandson Ethan. Circumstances led to our caring for him since birth, and finally adopting him last year.  We know many cruising couples who sail with children, so with safety in mind, we decided to include Ethan in our travel plans.   When he gets to school age, we plan to boat school him.  If we stay somewhere for a time (say, for hurricane season), we will place him into a local school in a foreign country.   What a wonderful opportunity he will have.

The topic of safety is hugely important to us.  Trust me, we plan to have every useful safety product sold on board.  More about this topic later, when I develop our sailing blog.  The new blog will be for anyone wanting to follow our sailing adventures.  For readers who enjoy the current blog, I hope to create while we sail, and post to this blog on topics relevant to quilting, beading, mixed media arts and artists I meet.

Once we buy our boat and outfit her, we plan to move aboard and set off.  A decade long dream finally realized.   Do you have a dream to share?  I would love to hear about yours.