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

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.

Photo Shoot Results

I shared in an earlier post how I always disliked having my photo taken- and challenging oneself to step outside your comfort zone.  I knew I needed some quality photos of myself, so I turned to the amazing and talented Lauren Jaye of Vida Mia Photography Studio in Folsom, California.

I am so glad I did!  Lauren put me at ease and the photo shoot was fun!  Here are just a couple of pictures taken of me by Lauren:

Carla Barrett photo by Lauren Jaye

Carla Barrett photo by Lauren Jaye

I’m wrapped in my award winning quilt, In the Garden, which was designed and pieced by Barb Kiehn and freehand quilted by me.  The setting of the shoot was at my home and in my 5 acre land.  Below, I am standing among the oak trees and native weeds grasses.


photo by Lauren Jaye

photo by Lauren Jaye



I highly recommend Lauren Jaye’s photography skill to any blog readers in Northern California.  She loves to work with artists, musicians, and children, in addition to her fabulous avant-garde photography work.   Go check out her portfolio and facebook page.

Here is another image taken of me standing by the stonework of my front door.  If you look closely, you will spot Ethan’s trike and Sarge’s doggie bed:

Carla Barrett photo by Lauren Jaye

I hope you have enjoyed seeing what I look like since I have been rather camera shy.    Coming up, I have lots of new teaching venues and events planned for the coming year!  I am working on new eClasses  that will be held on iCreateFlix, so have splurged on a new video equipment and editing software to help with that.    I leave you with one last photo- a candid shot of my being myself and laughing.  Those who know me well know how much I love to laugh:Carlasilly

Hugs to you all, from Carla

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

This year I made a decision to accept myself as I am- and to try new things.   Today, I took a big step forward by having a professional photography shoot.  You see, I have always hated pictures taken of myself since I was a teenager, so I ended up being the one capturing images of everyone else. I realize that I am not alone if feeling this way, many women do.

birthday08So it was time to expand my comfort zone.  I started by scheduling a photo shoot with Lauren Jaye from Vida Mia Photography in Folsom, CA.

Lauren’s portfolio is just incredible!  I found out about her from my daughter-in-law, Aimee, who hired Lauren to photograph my grandkids, Jack and Kate.

I was nervous until Lauren came over to my house to look at my work, get to know me, and also plan the session.  Within a few minutes, it felt like we had been friends forever and knew I could trust her completely.  Lauren had a vision for the shoot, so I put myself totally in her hands.  She could choose wardrobe, make up, hair, accessories, etc. and I would “go with the flow” (Note to my friends from other countries- this term is American slang for accepting things as they come.)

I cleaned my studio (well mostly), pulled together a rack of clothes options, organized my make-up, and hung some quilts between the oak trees per Lauren’s direction.  She showed up at 5:00 pm to do my make-up and hair, and then picked my first outfit, a lovely light silver tank with subtle pleats in front with a colorful turquoise jacket, black skinny jeans and black boots.  My main accessory was this jewelry piece I had completed during my college Metal Art class.copperpendant

Following Lauren’s direction, I posed, turned my head and body this way and that, but really- I mostly just laughed and had a great time!  The inside portion of the shoot went by very quickly, then it was time for a fashion change.

This time, I wore a lovely new tank that had patterns of black and white, with a purple shirt jacket, with some fun, funky jewelry to match.  I again wore my favorite skinny black jeans from Chicos and black boot with heels.chicojean

The outdoor session was my favorite!  Lauren showed me some images from her camera and I was blown away at how wonderful the pictures were coming out!  She is a master!

Once again, I laughed and had a great time!  I had some fun ideas about posing with some quilts, and Lauren took my suggestion, ran with it and made it better!

By the end of the photo shoot, my self confidence had soared!  I felt pretty, and fabulous about myself and where I am at this stage in my life.  I can’t wait to show you some of the pictures when they are ready.  I highly recommend Lauren to all my quilt and artist friends.  She is a master at what she does.

Now that I stretched myself by having this photo shoot, taking the risk of seeing myself as others see me, I wonder why I didn’t do it sooner?  Why did I let this hang-up keep me from capturing wonderful images of myself throughout my life?  So, I want to issue this challenge to you- try something that you are afraid of, or you are sensitive about.  It could be wearing sleeveless shirts if you are sensitive about your arms.  Wearing shorts if you don’t like your legs.  Scheduling a photo shoot.  You get the idea.

It would be great to hear your thoughts about this topic.  How do you feel about having your picture taken?  Have you overcome a lifelong hang up- no matter what it is?  Please leave me a comment, I want to hear from YOU!  Hugs, Carla

Featured Quilter: Desley Maisano

I first met Desley Maisano when she took my online Quilt Whisper Class last year.  In this class, students send me quilt top photo to design- and I suggest one or more ways for how I might approach and design the quilt.

Desley, who is an amazing machine quilter from Australia, sent me a photo of this lovely quilt pieced and applique by Anthea Bradley, so I might suggest a quilting design for her.  Here is Anthea’s quilt:

I darkened the photo and then drew my suggested design for Desley, shown below:

Fast forward to last week.  Desley wrote me to share that she had quilted this quilt for Anthea and wanted to share how it turned out.  She also added her own design elements to this quilt, and the results are frankly, stunning!  Love the changes, Desley!  Here is a sneak peek photo, borrowed with permission from her blog, Addicted To Quilts.  To see more photos, please click here.

She did an excellent job on this quilting, don’t you think?  Excellent execution and I predict lots of ribbons for Anthea and Desley for their collaborative quilt.  I hope you will leave a comment for Anthea and Desley to read- or hop on over to Desley’s blog and leave her a comment there.



ReFashioning a T-shirt

I stumbled across the best idea I have seen in a long time from a blog called, “Stop Staring and Start Sewing,” turning an inexpensive t-shirt that I would never, ever wear into a cute top.  Can you believe  this adorable shirt started life as a unflattering tshirt from dare I say… Walmart?

JonaG also offers a mini tutorial on how to refashion this t-shirt.  The only change I would make would be to create buttonholes or use grommets instead of the slits she cut under the chest to gather and tie the center pleat detail.  Anyway, I thought it would be good to share this since I am planning to make one eventually.

While you are visiting this site, be sure to notice all her other tutorials, too.

Carla’s Etsy Find!

On my facebook account, which is listed by my name, Carla Barrett, I had a recent request to be friends from another artist, Puteri Noor.  I accepted, then went to view her work.

Puteri live in Malaysia and does wonderful, stunning silk and batik fabric paintings!  I will admit I loved them so much, I bought 4 pieces from her Etsy shop.   Here is a sampling:

and another:

The colors are so rich!  Here is another silk art:

I visited Puteri’s  Etsy store this morning and noticed that she is currently sold out.  However, be sure to look at her listing of textile art and you can contact her to make a custom piece to add to your quilting.

If you do this, tell her Carla sent you.  🙂   I love to showcase other artists and let my readers see such a rich variety of women creating art in our world.

Cool Finds for Mixed Media Artists!

I have long been a fan of metal artist, Susan Lenart Kazmer.  Her work with metal, resin and found objects are simply unique with a high “cool” factor!  Here is a picture of a classic SLK charm bracelet from the cover of her book, which I own:

Now, you can create her look yourself with many charms, pendants and findings found at your local Michaels Craft Store under the label, Industrial Chic.  Here is a sampling of products:

If you are into this look, now it can be yours for a low price!  I bought about 20 pieces from the collection at 50% off last week, so look for when Michaels runs another sale.  I paid $4 per charm pack or pendant.

Other News:  The countdown has started for my next sailing adventure.  This time, Joe and I are bareboat chartering with talented mixed media artist, Lori Seavey-Christian and her husband, Larry Christian.  Lori and I have been close friends for several decades.  You might recall my past “Carla & Lori’s Creative Adventure Weeks” where Lori and I get together, take over her Living Room, and just create!

Lori & Larry do not sail, so Joe and I are planning to make sailors out of them.  We thought heading back to the BVI would be an excellent place to introduce them to chartering.  Besides, I love the snorkeling there, and visiting all our favorite places again.

I will make a report after we come back.  For obvious reasons, I do not want to advertise the dates we will be gone, even though I have someone to come house sit and babysit the pets when we do this.

Knowing that I needed to find my 1)snorkeling gear, 2)sailing gloves, 3)swimsuits, and other gear;  I decided to clean out my closet.  I don’t know about you, but my house is really clean, EXCEPT for my closets.  You know it becomes bad when your master walk-in closet is no longer a walk-in.  So, fueled with coffee, I decided to tackle it.

Hours later, I had about 6 bags of giveaway or throwaways.  I did find all the items on my list above.  Now my closet is a clean and tidy again, just waiting to slowly revert into its former state.  It is inevitable, so I just learn to appreciate order while it lasts.

I challenge all my readers to think about cleaning out a pantry, drawer or closet.  Nah…. on second hand, I challenge you to just create something.  It’s a lot more fun!  Cheers, Carla

Artist Profile: Nina Lise Moen

Whenever I stumble onto a new blog that I really enjoy, I want to share it with all of you!  Today’s profile is on Nina Lise Moen, from the blog, “Mrs. Moen; The Not-so Secret Life of a Quilter.”

First off, I love blogs that share free tutorials, as I do. (I admit, this is a shameless plug for my free tutorial page)  Here is an example of a free tutorial; how to make a letter:

Here is a heart pattern from her site:

I also love quilty sites that have chicken/bird products to buy, as well.  Combine the two, and you have Mrs. Moen’s delightful Funky Fowl quilt pattern:

With this pattern, you receive 8 birds and 5 quilt designs.  Here are a few more birds:

Here is another birdy:

Be sure to check out her other pattern designs, too.  Here are 2 other bird theme patterns:

This pattern is called, “Sitting There.”  This next pattern is called “Lots of Yellow Ones:”

Q& A with Mrs Moen, aka Nina Lise Moen:

Carla : Tell us a bit about yourself?

Nina: My name is Nina Lise Moen, I’m 48 years old, and live in Stavanger, Norway where I share my life with my husband, our grown up daughter and our soon to be 3 year old grandson. I come from a long line of creative and highly skilled needle workers and seamstresses as both my mother and grandmothers have been avid crafters. I have been knitting, crocheting and embroidering for as long as I can remember, and have made my own designs and knitting patterns since I was a teenager.

Carla:  How long have you been quilting and designing patterns?

Nina: I am first and foremost a quilter and have designed my own quilts since I started quilting a few hundreds of quilts ago. Designing patterns is something I do on the side; I make a quilt and then write a pattern if it’s a design that I think others would like to make. Quilting is my creative outlet, so I try to keep the balance between my art work, quilts I make just for fun, blogging, tutorials, patterns and classes. With a background in finance and the corporate world, my journey into the textile arts has taken my life into a quite different direction.

Carla: What was the first quilt you designed?

Nina: The first quilt I designed for someone else was for a fellow guild member who asked if I could design a quilt for her son’s wedding. Later our guild was hosting a big quilting retreat and I was head of the event. As part of raising funds for the guild, I designed a needle cushion for souvenirs, a small flower bouquet quilt for our teachers and helpers, and a bag block for our raffle quilts. I enjoyed the process, so I designed a few more quilts and wrote patterns that were sold at the retreat.

Carla: How would you describe your style?

Nina: My style is simple, whimsical and fun. Although I use a lot of colour in my work, the designs translate very well into other styles. My patterns are suitable for quilters of all levels, also beginner quilters.

Carla: How long have you been quilting and what attracted you to it?

Nina: I started quilting in December 1998. I found a book about antique quilts while looking for inspiration for my needle point work; my daughter saw the book, wished for “one of those”, and I made one for her that Christmas. I had never seen a quilt before I made that first one. It was love at first try, and with the exception of a couple of breaks, I have been quilting ever since.

What attracted me at first was playing with simple shapes of colours and the soft and comforting result. After I discovered appliqué, I was sold. I love that you can make anything with appliqué, and I do. I took part in an art therapy group in 2002 and learned that I had the ability to express myself through art. Since then I have entered my work into both national and international exhibitions and competitions.

Carla: Besides quilting, what other interests do you have?

Nina: I read books and comics, I exercise several times a week, I still knit, embroider and crochet a little, and I spend a lot of time with my grandson.

Carla: Any other info or tidbits you would like to share?

Nina: After 11 years of quilting, I still find it challenging and fun. There is always something new to figure out and learn. It can be done by anyone anywhere, and you really don’t need much to get started.

I also love the social aspect of quilting, being part of a guild and a small, friendly sewing group, and that we all are connected across ages, styles and level of experience. Teaching classes is also fun; it’s so amazing to see how the different personalities transfer into their work.


I would like to thank Nina for sharing her patterns and designs with the Feathered Fibers blog readers.  I plan to do a funky fowl quilt in the future, which fits in with my love for whimsical birds and chickens.  LOL!

Regards, Carla

Barbara Chainey Stencils

I wanted to share a few of my favorite stencils by Barbara Chainey with you all.  I am a longtime fan of Barbara’s books (including Quilt It!, The Essential Quilter, and  Fast Quilts From Fat Quarters) and also her stencils, too.

Barbara lives in England, and is a noted teacher, author, and designer.  She lives with a batty border collie named Himself, and 3 cats in her home in deepest middle England.

I first “met” Barbara online when I linked to her site from my blog, and then she commented back.  Since that time, I have had the pleasure to get to know her a bit better through emails.  Since I love her stencil designs, sold through Stensource, I thought I would share them with you, too.  It also happens that some of my favorite stencils also happen to be on sale, too, including this favorite stencil:

To my regular blog readers, this design may look very familiar.  Here is a quilt photos where I used this design:

And this variation on Barbara Kiehn’s baby quilt for her cute granddaughter:

What I love about this design is that it is easy to quilt.  On sale at $2.84 US is a bargain!

Next is Barbara’s Scallop Feather border and block design:

You can see the border used on this quilt, with a slight variation:

If you like the design in the middle of this following quilt, Barbara has a stencil for that, too, also on sale for $2.64 US:

You just mark the quilt and then flip it aoroung for the other side to get the 4 feather design.

Here is a stencil that I own, and plan to use the border in the near future.  I love it, even if it is not on sale right now:

There are many more wonderful stencil designs by Barbara, but I thought I would show you just a few.  By the way, I am receiving no compensation to share these designs with you, I just like them and think they are worth sharing about.  Happy Quilting!  Carla