Creating With Art & Stitch

Creating With ANSMany of you know that I love to draw quilting  motifs using Art & Stitch digitizing software for quilters and embroidery artists.  I happen to love this software created by Theo and Loes van der Heijden, who live in the Netherlands.

Learning this software was actually easy to do, especially if you take a class from Theo and Loes, and watch their helpful online videos.  They also have helpful workbooks to aid in learning their program, too.  This year, I decided to challenge myself by designing an original quilting motif for each quilt I do.

For current ANS users, my unique process is to design by drawing with my Tablet PC in Photoshop Elements (PSE), save as a jpg, then import into ANS as a background image to retrace and digitize.  Sometimes, I will also just start with a blank page in ANS, and create a design using the software. How I approach it depends on how complicated the design is.

Let me illustrate my creative process:  I want to draw a feather design similar to the first image, so I break it down to the half of one feather to start, since this will be a mirror design.  The design looks complex, but in reality all I needed to digitize in ANS is half the feather and pumpkin seed shapes, then copy and paste, flip and rotate to get my final design:

ansbarrett1 copy

Obviously, there are more steps to do  like planning how to connect, starts and stops, stitches per inch, etc., but this gives you a basic idea for how I design with this program.  Here are some additional designs drawn in ANS, with the quilt I drew them for.  Btw, some of these designs are available at Digitech Designs, or will be in the future.

Quilt of Honor for Bobbie Jarrett:  Note in the following image that this block has 4 different motifs that were not that difficult to create in ANS:

Quilting Design by Carla Barrett

Quilting Design by Carla Barrett

Here is my corner motif for this quilt.  Notice that I wanted a “freehand quilting” look, so often, I will only digitize the spine, then come back and freehand quilt them in.barrettcornerqoh


tropicalfeather copyDenise’s Baby Quilt-  My friend, Denise, had a baby quilt that I finished for her, so I designed this heart motif for this quilt:

DenisequiltmotifBelow is what this design looks like quilted up.  I used it in all the border corners and block corners on Denise’s baby girl quilt.


Lyn Baker’s Modern Quilt-

While quilting Lyn’s quilt, I knew it was time to create some modern designs, including these two modern designs,  shown below, now available at Digitech:


modern texture by Carla Barrett

modern texture by Carla Barrett

Design by Carla Barrett; available at Digitech Patterns.

Design by Carla Barrett; available at Digitech Patterns.

sprocketquilted Here is what the Sprocket design looks like on Lyn’s quilt- see the red sashing space on the left.

This would also make a wonderful edge-to-edge (e2e) design for the right quilt, too.


scrollheartexampleTeddie’s Quilt-  The last heirloom custom quilt I finished had many digitized patterns created in ANS.  Here are some examples:

This design was my main motif for key locations.  I also added double spine feathers coming off both sides, as shown in the bottom corner of the photo, below.teddie2


Here are just a few more designs I have created recently using this wonderful software:




This design is part of a larger wholecloth quilt I will be quilting up next.  this is the center section of the quilt.

barrettheartfleurmotif2Below is yet another heart design with some pretty scroll work vines:


By now, you get the idea of how powerful this program is for machine quilters who have a computerized system for stitching out what you create.  However, ANS also has an embroidery design feature, too, for all your embroidery artists reading this post.

Once you have drawn a design you like, you apply the quilting stitches (or embroidery stitches), then save it as the original ANS file.  I save it again as an .iqp file extension, since that is the format that my Intelliquilter understands.   This software allows you to save your files in most every major extension.

Hope you have enjoyed this post into how I like to create using ANS program.  Btw, I do not work for this company, nor have received any compensation for writing about the software. I just think that Theo and Loes have an excellent product and I am glad I bought it to use with my tablet PC.  Happy Quilting!  Carla

Sprocket Pattern Release!

Announcing the release of my latest quilting design at Digitech Patterns.  Even better, if you act now, it is 50% off for a short period of time.  Here is the design:

Design by Carla Barrett; available at Digitech Patterns.

Design by Carla Barrett; available at Digitech Patterns.

Regular blog readers may remember the quilt that this design was drawn for:


As you can see, this is the perfect design for modern quilts, Native American, Aztec, also masculine themed quilts, too.  It is one of those very simple to use and forgiving designs for computerized users.  Here, I have drawn it being used as a panto design, too. ( I lifted the picture from an earlier post, hence the wording) :


If you do not have a computerized quilting system, then Digitech also sells this pattern in paper format, too.

I always get so excited when a new design is released.  I have lots more designs coming, plus a wonderful whole cloth design set, too.    Enjoy your weekend!  Carla

Modern Sashing Design “Sprocket”

I thought I would share my modern sashing design for all the freehand quilters out there.  If you do not freehand quilt, but instead have a computerized quilting system, no worries, as  I plan to redraw in Adobe Illustrator to send to my favorite digitizer, the amazing Jessica at Digitech Patterns.

Here is the design,titled “Sprocket,” which is perfect for modern quilts:

design by Carla Barrett

design by Carla Barrett

Here is my visual for how to learn this design.

design by Carla Barrett

design by Carla Barrett

As with any design, practicing is the key to learning.  grab a piece of paper or a tablet, then start sketching!   Here is what it looks like quilted up:

sprocketquiltedHave fun and I hope you enjoy my modern design!  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:


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.

Peyote Necklace to Match Jacket

Here is the second project in my series.  I am creating jewelry pieces out of seed beads, fibers, metal or other beads, to match some of the jackets in my closet.

Here is what this jacket looks like- a colorful blend of fuschia, purple,coral, and orange.


Hard to see the true colors in this jacket picture, but it looks better in person than in the image.  I picked it up at a Chico’s sometime in my past.

The goal was to make a matching jewelry piece that I can wear with this jacket.  So what pattern did I use?

I used my peyote pattern, titled Undulations, from the free tutorial page, to create the necklace, which looks like this:


Here is a close up image of the necklace’s button closure:jacketbuttonclose

I do love that the colors chosen for the necklace mimics the flow of colors in the jackets.  I plan to make a matching bracelet, too.

Here is one last image of my finished creation, next to the jacket:


Recycled T-shirt Scarf Tutorial


I had an hour of free time last night, so I decided to recycle one of Joe’s old t-shirts and make myself a scarf out of it.  This project was fast, easy, and only took me less than an hour start to finish (not counting the paint drying time).

Supply List:  tshirtsupplylist




Tip: Cut off the t-shirt hem and under the arms as directed in the photo above.  Notice how the t-shirt material curls and rolls as you tear?  You will want to paint on the top side, which may mean you turn the shirt inside out before painting

Once the above items were gathered, I laid down the plastic trash bag to protect my kitchen counter and just started painting.  In the photo below, I used some purple, blue and silver metallic fabric paints.  I work very fast, so it took me only 10 minutes to paint the t-shirt.  Note that I used an inexpensive foam paint brush and some fabric paint I had on hand.

tshirtpaintThe painted t-shirt was then taken outside to my garden faucet.  I scrunched up the shirt and lightly soaked it to blend the paint.  I used my fingers to blend any white areas or would simply rub the damp fabric to saturate the t-shirt fabric.  Here is what my painted fabric looks like after wet blending the paint:


Next, I hung up the fabric outside until dry.  Notice that I left the hem on, knowing I would tear it off later.


Tip: Once your fabric is dry, I recommend you heat set it, depending on your brand of fabric paint.  If you are not sure, go ahead and heat set the fabric to prevent color bleed.

The next step is to cut and tear the fabric into strips.  Here is a helpful illustration to show you visually what I plan to do next:


I found that by snipping through the side seam first, then tearing until reaching the other side (about an inch away), you could then use the scissors to cut your t-shirt strips to create a long loop.  Here is another visual for you:



Here is what your loop will look like:


To make the t-shirt fabric roll nicely, you just need to stretch it gently.  Here is what my finished strips looked like once I bundled them together and used other rolled t-shirt strips to tie them into a lovely scarf:


At this point, you could embellish your scarf, add beads or tie charms to it.  Braiding some of the strips is another option to try. Really, how you finish it off is up to you.  I used the leftover strips to make dangling bits and for added texture.

If you make one, I would love to see it!  My contact info is above.  Hope you enjoyed this free tutorial.  If so, go ahead and leave me a comment.  Regards, Carla

Quilt of Honor Finished!

Recently, I finished a special Quilt of Honor for a wonderful Marine who served her country during WWII.  This veteran, Jane Ann Jordan Henderson, is unique in that she served in the US Marine Corps Women’s Auxiliary Reserve between April 1943 to October 1945.

This Quilt of Honor was pieced by Bobbie Jarrett and features a photo transfer onto fabric by The Pixeladies, Deb Cashatt and Kris Sazaki.  This quilt, once bound, will be unveiled at The National Museum of The Marine Corps at Quantico, Virginia later in 2013.

Here is the “Before” picture of this quilt, taken before the machine quilting:

QOH quilt by Bobbie Jarrett and quilting by Carla Barrett

Quilt of Honor by Bobbie Jarrett and quilting by Carla Barrett

The designs for this quilt were digitally drawn out by me especially for this quilt.  Once designed, I imported them into Art & Stitch digitizing software, stitched them out, then added lots of freehand touches:

Quilt of Honor for Jane Ann Jordan Henderson.  Pieced by Bobbie Jarrett and quilted by Carla Barrett.

Quilt of Honor for Jane Ann Jordan Henderson. Pieced by Bobbie Jarrett and quilted by Carla Barrett.

I also want to point out that besides all my designs, I also used a wonderful feather design by Sherry Rogers-Harrison in the 2-toned diamond shapes. To fill the space, I freehanded some curls, as well, in the diamond space.

Here are some additional photos of this quilt, and for any non-quilters, the image below shows you what my longarm quilting machine looks like and how the 3 layers (top,batting, backing) are stitched together to make a quilt.  The 3 layers get attached to rollers, then the quilter only works on a small portion of the quilt at a time:

Quilting by Carla Barrett

Quilting by Carla Barrett

CarlaHeartFeatherBlock design is also my design, as well as the corner design shown in the above photo.

I wanted to quilt something feminine, but with a patriotic flavor, hence the hearts, feathers, stars and stripes.

Here is how I handled the blocks that had embroidery on them:

Quilting Design by Carla Barrett

Quilting Design by Carla Barrett

I am very pleased the quilt turned out so well, and it is off to be bound by Bobbie.  I plan to post some photos from the ceremony at the museum when the quilt is hung.

I will end this post with a personal note to the recipient, Jane Ann Jordan Henderson:

Dear Mrs. Henderson, I want to thank you for your service to our country.  I understand, too, that you also spent several decades teaching children in El Dorado County schools.  This quilt was a wonderful group effort- and I am privileged to have quilted it for you.  Warm Regards, Carla Barrett


Earlier this year, I was approached to teach on a brand new creative website called   After researching the company, I knew I wanted to develop classes, patterns, e-books and tutorials for them.  c50854

Now that I am back home, it is time to get busy with class development!  I promise to let you know when I release any classes, patterns, ebook, or other products.  I have a list of classes I want to teach, but if there is an eClass subject you would like to see from me, I am certainly open to suggestions.  Leave me a comment with your opinions!

Next Post: Studio Tour of French Polynesian Quilt Tifaifai Artist, Miri Vidal.

Feather Heart Design

Here is another in my Art&Stitch Practice Series.  Art&Stitch is a digitizing program found here.

Today, I decided to channel my inner froo-froo, girly side.  I call this design my Heart Feather Series:

quilting design by Carla Barrett

quilting design by Carla Barrett

First, I see this used in a border:

quilting design by Carla Barrett

quilting design by Carla Barrett

Or how about as a wreath design:

quilting design by Carla Barrett

quilting design by Carla Barrett

Here’s a block design, too:

Design by Carla Barrett

Design by Carla Barrett

And, finally, my favorite design- a larger Block Motif:

design by Carla Barrett

design by Carla Barrett

Hope you have enjoyed this series of quilting designs I have created using Art&Stitch design software.  More information on this software is found here.  

Which one is YOUR favorite?




Palm Leaf Quilting Series

Good Day to you!  Today, I have a new group of quilting designs to show you in my Art & Stitch Design Series.  I call the following designs my “Palm Leaf Set.”   If you like it, let me know and I will send it to Jessica to see if she would like to sell it on here website, Digitech Patterns.

First, I drew a single palm leaf design:

quilting design by Carla Barrett

quilting design by Carla Barrett

Next, I wanted to see how it would look as an allover pattern:

quilting design by Carla Barrett

quilting design by Carla Barrett

I could see the allover design pattern being used on a modern quilt or a tropical quilt.  Next is my favorite- what happens when I turn the Palm Leaf into a block motif?

quilting design by Carla Barrett

quilting design by Carla Barrett

I like the above block design and can’t wait to use it when the right quilt comes along!
It took me only a few minutes to create the designs shown here using Art&Stitch program.  It took me longer to copy paste, crop and add the type to the designs using Photoshop.

Can you tell I am having fun?  What are YOU up to creative wise?   Carla