Around the World Blog Hop- My Turn!

I was invited to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop by two amazing fiber, art quilt and digital artists, The Pixeladies, also known individually as Deb Cashatt and Kris Sazaki.   Years ago, I was asked to do the quilting on one of their art quilt projects, and through this collaboration, we became friends.  Recently, I visited their studio and got to see all their stunning works in progress.  If you are unfamiliar with their incredible work, and art quilts created with fabric text, click now to visit their gallery page.

The format for the Around the World Blog Hop is a series of questions that I answer, so here we go:

What are you working on right now?  I tend to work on multiple projects at the same time.  On any given day, you will find me machine quilting in my studio, then working on my Tablet PC laptop drawing and designing, and finally, working on a freeform beading or crochet project.  So, in that spirit, here is what I am working on currently:

Quilting by Carla Barrett

Quilting by Carla Barrett

Machine Quilting- I recently borrowed back the above quilt (previously quilted a few months ago, titled Bold Beauty),  to share with students in Australia. The picture above shows you the back of the quilt. This quilt has won many awards in Montana for the owner, Teddie Egeline, including Best of Show and Judges Choice at the Montana State Fair.  Anyway, while in AU, I noticed a couple of places that need fixing, specifically, color repair of some white marking pen oops previously discussed in a post here.

whitemarkI realized that to be more archival, I should have heat set the repair.  So now I will go back over the lines with several shades of Inktense pigment pencils and once dry, heat set them.  After this repair, I plan to work on 2 quilts- one by applique artist Jill Rixman, and also one by my friend, Doug Hodder.


freeforminprogFreeform Beading and Freeform Crochet- Currently, I have two different projects in progress, though both are freeform.

The first one is a freeform beaded purse, so I am working on the freeform peyote embellishment.  I have just started to bead a 18mm Swarovski crystal, which will be a focal point element of this project.  My color palette is magenta, purple and blue.

My current freeform crochet project is a bit different from my usual freeform crochet work.  I like the combination of my random freeform combined with some more traditional freeform scrumbles, so I decided to take a Craftsy Freeform Crochet class with the talented Myra Wood to learn her process.  Below is a picture of my class homework so far.  These are “scrumbles” in progress as I learn her technique.

Scrumbles in Progress

Scrumbles in Progress

How does your work differ from others of its genre?  With regards to my machine quilting work, I plan out my quilting lines using a Tablet PC laptop in Photoshop Elements.  This allows me ease of editing and planning, communicating effectively with collaborators, as well as provide me with a road map to follow during the quilting process.  I also will design a special motif, border or fill to use on each quilt using a digitizing software called Art & Stitch.  I also will use my tablet to draw a quilting cartoon from time to time, too.  See more what you can do with a Tablet in this post here.

10waystabletHow does your creative process work?    As mentioned earlier, I use my Tablet PC to sketch out machine quilting designs (like the example above).  I also use my Tablet PC to create custom quilting designs that I can then stitch out on a quilt.  My process is as follows:

Copyright 2014 Carla Barrett

Copyright 2014 Carla Barrett

First, I draw with my stylist on my Tablet PC monitor in Photoshop Elements.  Once I like the design, I will import my design into Adobe Illustrator and  Art&Stitch digitizing software, converting the artwork from a raster drawing to vector artwork.

On the left is a custom design drawn for Teddie Egeline’s quilt, Bold Beauty.  This is a screenshot taken of the finished vector art.

In Art&Stitch, I finish editing the art, adding stitches and saving it in a computerized quilting format that my system can read- which for my Intelliquilter is “.iqp.”   The design is next imported to my machine and then I further manipulate the design to fit my border.  Here is a screenshot from my Intelliquilter tablet showing you how I used this design to create an interesting custom border:


I love to leave spaces for freemotion quilting because I love the look of freehand work.  The curlycues in the image above will be filled with my freehand feathers.  Once quilted out and the freehand work added, the finished design and border looks like this:


I also used my Scroll-Heart Design in other areas on the quilt, too:


If you have any questions about my process, I would be happy to answer them.  Just leave your question in a comment, below.  If you would like to know more about buying a Tablet, I do have a 4 part series on purchasing a Tablet for artwork here.  If you would like to know more about working and creating with Art & Stitch software, please see this post.

Before I close, I would like to nominate a very talented machine quilting artist for this Around the World Blog Hop:

Judi Madsen, quilting artist, author, teacher and designer.  During my teaching trip to AU earlier this month, I met Judi a couple of times as my class was ending and hers was due to begin.  Her freehand machine quilting work is young, vibrant, and has a modern vibe.  Be sure to visit  Green Fairy Quilts blog to see Judi’s stunning work.

Take care, Carla

Designing a Modern Quilt

I wanted to talk a bit about my design approach to a color blocked modern quilt by a wonderful person named Lyn Baker.  Lyn is the binding queen and personally responsible for improving my binding technique.  Lyn’s quilt may be purchased in kit form from High Sierra Quilters here.  If interested, call Doug at the store and he will help you.

Modern quilts beg to be quilted with a nice mix of geometric, patterns and fun texture quilting.  I see modern quilts as having a more masculine “feel,” though there are certainly some feminine modern quilts being made.  Here is a good visual for how I approached Lyn’s quilt:

modern quilt by Carla Barrett using both freehand and digitized quilting

modern quilt by Carla Barrett using both freehand and digitized quilting

With Lyn’s quilt, I wanted to maintain the color blocked areas and simply enhance this quilt with some fun and interesting texture.  I purposely chose the thread to match each colored fabric area, meaning I had LOTS of thread changing as I worked.  The reason for this is to provide texture and let the geometric visual in the piecing and color become the star of the show.  The quilting merely enhances the piecing and provides a layer of interest to the viewer as they see the quilt up close.   If I had chosen contrasting thread, it would fight the piecing- and in not a good way.  Choosing thread with intent is something I love to do.

Many of the designs you see above are also repeated throughout the quilt, too.  Repeating designs is a great way to bring cohesiveness to your machine quilting designs, especially with modern quilts.

All the quilts I do have a nice mix of freehand designs, usually an original design thrown in, and also some commercial digitized designs.  In this quilt are some wonderful modern digitized designs by a variety of artists, including Janet Lee Santeusanio, Jessica Shick, Krista Withers, Jodi Robinson,  and a few others.

quilting by Carla Barrett

quilting by Carla Barrett

Not every area has to be quilted with fancier texture.  Note the simple freehand quilting in the detail photo, above, in the red and blue areas.  There is also freehand quilting in the black area, light blue, and the green area, as well.

Notice that I also varied my quilting density, though the overall quilting is balanced.  This was done for added interest, as well.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing Lyn’s quilt and hearing some of my thoughts behind why I designed it the way I did.  In my mind’s eye, I see the quilt at a distance, with the bright colored blocks grabbing the viewer’s attention.  As the viewer walks up to the quilt, they see the interesting texture quilting designs in each space.   Happy Quilting!  Carla

Digital Quilts

Whenever I have a free moment, I like to get out my tablet PC and draw class samples.  In this case, I was drawing digital quilt examples for a class I am teaching in AU later in the year.

For technology minded blog readers, I drew and colored the following quilts in Photoshop Elements using my Fujitsu tablet convertible:

digital quilt by Carla Barrett

digital quilt by Carla Barrett


What is nice about Photoshop CS or PSE, is that with a 20 second adjustment, you may audition different color options for your quilt:

Digital Quilt by Carla Barrett

Digital Quilt by Carla Barrett

Digital Quilt by Carla Barrett

Digital Quilt by Carla Barrett

Here is another digital quilt design that I made, too:

digital quilt by Carla Barrett

digital quilt by Carla Barrett

Off to the quilt studio now….  Have fun creating!  Carla




Pixeladies Live Near YOU!

Many of you know  my good friends, The Pixeladies.  Deb Cashatt and Kris Sazaki are amazing artists, authors, and instructors- and they are coming LIVE to a venue near you in 2014.

To refresh your memory about just how cool these two artists are, here is an example of a recent quilt, which was juried into Quilt National this year, appropriately titled, “American Still Life: The Weight of a Nation:”

by The Pixeladies

by The Pixeladies

Check out this wonderful quilt, titled “But What Does It Mean: The Language of Color 3,”  which is on display at Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center until January 5, 2014:

by The Pixeladies

by The Pixeladies

The Pixeladies extensively use Photoshop and technology in their work.   Now you can learn these same skills from them at a workshop.  Can you imagine spending two, three, or four days learning all the great ways you can use Photoshop in your sewing, quilting, and crafting projects –  and with the best two Photoshop instructors available?  Deb and Kris can translate Photoshop speak so you will get the most out of the class.  

The classes are tailored just a bit for each venue, but I’m sure you’ll find a workshop that’s just right for you. Pick from the following classes:

Kona, Hawaii (Feb. 5-7, 2013)  Designing Fabric with Photoshop Elements

New Smyrna Beach, FL (March 12-14, 2014) Photoshop Elements for Fiber Artists and Sewing Enthusiasts

Lake Tahoe, NV   (Nov. 2-7, 2014) Designing Fabric with Photoshop Elements

You can find more details on their website HERE , plus see more of their amazing text quilts, which is a technique unique to The Pixeladies.

Info About Next Session of eClasses

Just a quick message to let everyone know about upcoming eClasses I have scheduled for early 2013.

The following 3 class dates will be announced soon:

Quilt Whisperer eClass by Carla Barrett–  This class is all about learning Carla’s unique approach to how to design quilt tops for machine quilting.  Also learn some of Carla’s favorite quilting designs and how to find your own inspiration!

Fabric Design with Photoshop Elements* by The Pixeladies– The Pixeladies teach you how to design fabric for use in your art, art quilts and pieced quilts.

Tablet Design Class* by Carla Barrett- This eClass is jammed pack with methods for how to effectively use your tablet and PSE to design quilts, quilting, quilting motifs, zen doodle and more!

*this eClass has a prerequisite of Beginning Photoshop Elements eClass OR basic knowledge of Photoshop Elements or PS CS.

Side note- I decided to take a class break for this holiday season 2012 so teachers and students may enjoy their holiday season!  Keep watching for when I finish scheduling the 2013 eClass dates!

Thanks, Carla

Wholecloth Quilt- WIP

Here is my latest WIP (work-in-progress), a wholecloth quilt created using digitized designs:

Of course, the next step is to freehand quilt some fills, which will be the finishing touch for this quilt.  Oh yes, the outside border, too.

I used designs from four designers- center is from Ronda Beyer, triangle design by One Song Needle Art,  border 1 by Lisa Calle, corner motif by Kim Brunner, and outside border by Lisa Calle.  As you can see, I am using my latest tool, (albeit an expensive one) my Intelliquilter, (IQ) and my designing skills with the IQ is improving.  This is actually a trial piece before I do a larger project.

I finished the quilted background for my Autumn quilt.  This is the background layer and I will be adding a top tree layer using fibers, beads and what not.  Here is the overall quilted background, (freehand guided) followed by a close up picture which shows the texture quilting:

That’s all from my studio today.  Happy creating!


Works in Progress

As always, I am working on several creative projects at once.  I am making progress on the art quilt shown in the post below, plus, I have been drawing quilting designs using my Tablet PC- which will be turned into digitized quilting or embroidery designs.    Plus, here are some other projects in the creative phase:

1.) Tree Overlay, made out of fiber, fabric and other embellishments, for my art quilt.

2.) Freeform Beaded leaves for quilt above.

3) Mokuba Freelace scarf. (I do have a tutorial for this project)

4) Wholecloth Series of Quilts.  I am working on several designs on both silk, cotton, and whatever materials I find on hand.


I promise to write about each project as it develops.  Plus, I have some design projects in the works, but I can only share about that when they become available for sale.

Baby-wise, dear little Ethan has been getting over roseola, which is a type of childhood virus featuring several days of a high fever, followed by a rash.  Poor little guy, he has been feeling most crabby, but  thankfully, has had no complications.

What have YOU been up to?  Hugs, Carla

Autumn Art Quilt in Progress

Many years ago,  I was asked to design a custom quilt for a client commemorating a Sacramento, California college anniversary.  This quilt was auctioned off, then donated back to the college.  Last I heard, it was on permanent display in the college library behind glass.  I was very proud of my design, which also won a blue ribbon at the California State Fair.

Loved it so much that I decided to create another for me.  Once again, this quilt features a pieced background quilt layer with an overlay of a large autumn tree.  This tree will be different than the original, as I plan to include some cool fiber art techniques, and of course, some freeform beading elements such as some leaves, bark texture, etc.

Here are some pictures of the bottom quilt layer while it is on my machine quilting table.  Note that the 3-D tree layer will be added last:

Here is a close-up of one of the dozens photo transfer images in the quilt:

I am quilting the quilt portion of the project with some nice texture quilting.  Students from my classes will recognize the freeform freehand quilting shown here:

Feels good to be creating again!  Lots of projects planned, so stay tuned!

Before I sign off, here is an image taken for the gardeners reading my blog- or for people who like pretty images.  It is a dahlia in bloom from my front garden:

Have a great weekend!  Carla

Next Class: Fabric Design with Photoshop Elements

The next class offered on is Fabric Design using Photoshop Elements program taught by The Pixeladies.   Registration is now open for the class running from October 31- November 20, 2011.

Anyway, I have been waiting for a long time to learn the Pixeladies method for designing fabric.  While I am very comfortable with the software, I have long admired the fabric and scarves  that Deb and Kris (aka Pixeladies) have created over the years.

The Pixeladies take a single picture and turn it into a designer scarf, or designer fabric to use in their quilts.  This appeals to the artist/designer in me.  I will take a stab at doing this.  Here is a photo I posted yesterday:

And here is my fabric designed from this photo:

After I take the Pixeladies class, I will show you how improved I am.  LOL  If anyone wants to take the class with me, just click on the links at the top.

Enjoy your day!    Carla

Works In Progress

Thanks for the emails asking me why I have been quiet.  I am working on getting ready for the Phoenix Guild trip, and for the Fall Class schedule.

In Phoenix, I am giving a lecture on Quilt Whispering, followed by a workshop on Doodle Art Fills.  Here is my class logo:

I have expanded this class to a full day workshop, so I have added lots of fun Creative Exercises, including this class sample project:

Last weekend, Joe and I went to Fort Bragg, CA, and of course I went sea glass hunting!  The ocean is so refreshing, I envy the readers who live near the ocean!

Back to work now!  Hugs, Carla