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:

iqpdesign

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:

carladesignboldbeauty

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

scrollhearttri

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

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10 Ways to Create With a Tablet (for Quilters)

10waystabletMy “Digital Quilts” have created lots of interest lately, so I thought I would share 10 ways to create with a Tablet.  This technique is not just for Quilters, it is also perfect for Zen Doodlers, Embroidery artists, and anyone who likes to create.

For the examples shown in this post, you will need a Tablet capable of running Photoshop Elements (PSE), or similar program.  This means that the tablet you use can be a Wacom plug-in type of tablet, a Tablet PC, or a Tablet Slate.  If you have an iPad or Android tablet that uses “Apps,” then watch for a future post dedicated to creating with this type of tablet.  My tablet also has a stylist pen, which I highly recommend.

10 Ways to Create With a Tablet:

1planawcquilt1. Plan out a Whole-cloth Digital Quilt.   This is very rewarding and creative task to do with your tablet and only takes a fraction of time required to make a fabric quilt.  For example, I made the design shown above in about 15 minutes.  It just makes sense to save time planning your design out digitally rather than draw it out on paper or fabric.

Tablets, along with Photoshop Elements, are the perfect tools to draw, copy & paste design in quilt sections in order to make the entire quilt.   Did I mention that creating digital quilts this way is fun, too?

2wholeclothcolor2. Create a Colored Whole-cloth Digital Quilt.

Using a photo editing program like Photoshop Elements, you can quickly color the  whole-cloth quilt.  Best to work out your quilt color combinations digitally rather than start coloring or painting the fabric, only to discover you dislike your color scheme.

Above is an example of what I colored digital quilt looks like.  Here is another colored digital quilt from a recent blog post:

Tablet Quilt by Carla Barrett

Tablet Quilt by Carla Barrett

 

3.  Experiment with Quilt Color Hues/Saturation.  Experimentation with Hues/Tones is very easy to do with a Tablet and takes hardly no time at all to do using a software program like PSE.  Here are 3 different colorways for the quilt shown under #2:

3hues

?'4. Design Your Quilt- Both Pieced and Applique Quilts.

You can also use your tablet to visually design your quilt top.  This method works for both pieced quilts and applique ones.  For instance, after my trip to the South Pacific, I designed this applique quilt with an island flair (shown on the left).

 

 

Below is a collaborative quilt design created with my friend, Lori.  We call it “Hairy Leg Quilt,” because I quilted hair in each block.  This example shows you how the design concept completed with my tablet, and the photo of the finished quilt block.

 

4designyourquilt

 

5. Plan Your Machine Quilting Design.  I have been drawing on quilt photos over the last decade with my tablet in order to plan out what I want to quilt before starting the quilt.

5quiltingdesignThe digital quilting plan becomes my visual road map for the overall design.  This is most helpful since stand-up quilters only work on small sections of the quilt during the quilting process.  It is easy to forget what you quilted at the top of the quilt when you get to the bottom border.

6panto6. Make a Pantograph or Edge-to-Edge design. 

In quilting, we call an edge-to-edge design which is similar across the quilt sandwich a “pantograph” design.   Here is a sample pantograph design drawn with my Tablet:

 

7tracedesign7. Trace a Design to use as a Motif.
A Tablet is also useful for tracing a copyright free image from a clip art book, or from the web.  This is especially useful for quilting themed quilts.  You can also take a picture of any object, or fabric and trace that design, too.  In my example, I took a stock retro image for an Astro themed quilt, traced it, then edited to make it more continuous for quilting.

8practicedrawing

 

8. Practice Drawing Freehand Quilting Designs.  Practice makes perfect, if we take the time to learn and draw new designs.

If you can draw it, you can quilt it, is one of my philosophies.

I use my Tablet to practice new motifs and quilting fills before freehand quilting them out.  Once again, the tablet wins hands down for convenience.

 

9. Create Zen Doodle Designs.  Many fiber artists are combining zen doodling with fabric to create interesting and cool art quilts.  This is another task where the Tablet wins out over paper.  If you slip and make an oops, you simply click the “undo” button and re-draw.  It is also a great way to use all your fabric quilting fill designs, too.  Here are 2 examples- a heart and a birdy head:9zendoodle

colorinspiration

b981c636164529fe75c19fdc540dbd4a10.  Easily Chose Color Palettes For Quilts and Other Projects.

I found this photo of Rarotonga, Cook Island online, and loved the colors.

So I created this custom palette (see below) using my tablet and PSE.  In PSE, you sample color using the eyedropper tool.  This is very easy to do.

colorpalette

 

Next step is to audition it on a quilt or whole cloth quilt design.  You want to experiment ahead of time to ensure you like the colors before putting time and energy into the quilt.

Below is what the quilt might look like using this palette.  If I wanted to change a color, then it is easy to do.

10example copy

 

These are my favorite 10 ways I use my Tablet PC and PSE together in my work.

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into a few of the wonderful things you can do with modern tablet technology combined with quilting.   Part of the photos and ideas are from my Tablet Design Class for Quilters.  Please note that if you live in Australia, I will be teaching this class in person at the AU Machine Quilting Festival in October, 2014.

Author of this post is Carla Barrett, a fiber, quilt and digital artist from Northern California.  Carla owns at least 6 or 7 types of tablets, and is considering her next tablet purchase. 🙂

Carla Digital Tablet Quilt

Here is another one of my digital quilts, drawn and colored using my tablet.  Love taking the time to make one of these- only took an hour from start to finish.

Tablet Quilt by Carla Barrett

Tablet Quilt by Carla Barrett

Here is a slightly different version, with a different center and color way:

design by Carla Barrett

design by Carla Barrett

Take care!  Off to remodel Ethan’s bedroom now.  Did I mention that I am converting his nursery into a sailboat/nautical theme bedroom?    The bed arrived yesterday, here is what it looks like:

sailbed    I plan to make some DIY nautical decor items for his room.  His temporary quilt arrived yesterday, too.  I plan on making his permanent sailboat quilt, but until that day, I resorted to buying one for now.   More later about pulling together his room.    Cheers, 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

 

 

 

Freeform Beaded Necklace

I just finished this beadwoven necklace last night:

freeform beaded necklace by Carla Barrett

freeform beaded necklace by Carla Barrett

In case you are a beader, I used several techniques to create this piece- freeform peyote, ladder stitch, right angle weave (RAW) stitch, fringe, tubular peyote and RAW stitches.

I first started creating the freeform pendant section, which first looked like this:

ffpendantsm

I next created the tubular RAW necklace strap, then decided that the focal point of the pendant was too weak, so then I decided to add some beaded Swarovski rivoli bling as my focal point:

freeform beaded necklace by Carla Barrett

freeform beaded necklace by Carla Barrett

Now I am planning my next one- a class sample beaded piece for my Freeform Beading and Quilting class.

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.

Collector of Art/ Craft Supplies

Ok, I will admit it.  I love to collect & craft t items like a kiln or loom, even when I have no idea how to actually use the item.  This provides fodder and amusement for my husband when he talks to his friends, I recently learned.

But wait!  I know that one day I will take a ceramics course,  or join the local fiber guild and learn to weave.  Really.  Well, it could happen…

XframeSalesPampletsI just could not pass up the opportunity to own a mint condition, wonderful old Gilmore loom.  My friend, Faith’s sister-in-law needed to find it a good home.  All I needed to do was drive to the Silicon Valley and pick it up with my truck.

In my way of thinking, the loom and other items were picked up for free or for minimal investment, so why not have them in case I should want to weave or create pottery or fused glass?  I have always wanted to take art glass classes, or at the very least make glass beads.

This is how I think.  Of course, being married to a practical engineer who desires an empty garage, he approaches it in a whole new light.  Luckily for me, my dear husband knows that the secret to a happy marriage and happy wife is to turn a blind eye when “items” show up.  🙂

Of course, one day I will indeed learn how to weave, and create with glass.  Until then, my loom sits next to my lovely antique card catalog that I picked up from UCLA when they converted to computers, exercise equipment, fabric stash and too many other art/craft supplies to mention.

Am I the only creative soul who buys things for just in case??  C’mon, confessing is good for the soul.    Cheers, Carla