Work in Progress Quilt

I am testing out one of my quilting designs, and decided to pull out my pigment paint to color this quilt.  Here are a series of pictures:

Quilted sample featuring my design in the center:

Starting adding color.  Notice how vibrant the color becomes when I add aloe vera gel to the pigment color?

Now working on the background behind my design:

This center design is available from Digitech Designs located here.  

Back to coloring!  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

Catch Up! And Other Things…

I am pleased to announce that the first online Tablet Design Class was a huge success!  Wait until you see the fantastic homework that was turned in by the students- Wow!!  But, that is a future  post, so I will make you wait.  Here are a  few Creative Exercise samples I drew for the class:

A colored wholecloth quilting design:

A quilting design repeat:

Using colored images to help choose quilt design colors:

Practicing quilting fills:

This is just a sneak peek of a few exercises in the class.  All-in-all, I think I shot and edited over 35 videos for this class!  By the way, the next time I teach it will be in the Fall, 2012.  Post a comment to get on my class interest list.


Freeform Beaded Necklace-  The long awaited blog prize is almost ready to ship to the lucky recipient!!  This turned out very cool, I now need to make a second one for my own portfolio.

Want to see?

OK, here is the finished view of this freeform beaded necklace.  I named it, “Waves of Color:”

Any comments on this latest freeform beaded design?

More to come!  Now that class is over, my creative spirit is unleased!

Hugs, Carla



Bead Soup for Freeform Beading

I thought I would share my process for creating a freeform necklace.  This necklace will be for Jeanne, who recently won a Feathered Fibers Blog Challenge.  I asked Jeanne to choose the color palette she wanted and she picked “jewel-tone” palette.

First step is to organize the beads into 5 jewel-tone colors and make a “bead soup” or collection of similar colored beads.  Here are the first three colors- teal, blue and purple:

(Click for larger image)

For this project, I will start with these 3 colors and create freeform beaded sections using each bead soup shown above.  I plan to share more info later on, so stay posted.  You may also subscribe to my blog so you do not miss the progression of this project.

Anyway, I may extend the palette into the magenta range and adding green-ish blue bead soups.  I thought I would just start with the first three colors and see how the piece evolves and whether I keep the palette simpler.

I often work this way, starting somewhere and adding to it until it “feels” right.  This is a very intuitive way to create, but it seems to work for me.  I would like to know what creative projects you all are working on, too.  Please leave a comment and link, if you wish to share.  Thanks!  Carla

Freeform Beaded Pendant- In Progress

I thought I would show you how I am using the beads previously shown earlier this month on my blog.  This purple & green pendant piece will match my new purple sweater I bought last week.

Here is the beaded jewelry piece created so far:

It still has a ways to go, but I like how it is shaping up.   The way I work is to keep working the piece using alternating colors, until the freeform beading “feels” right.  It is an intuitive process.

I promise to reveal how it turns out in the end.  I am looking forward to wearing it soon.  Anyone want to create a freeform jewelry piece, too?  I do have a free tutorial  if you click the “Free Tutorial” link above or on the right sidebar.

Take care, 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

Freeform Beaded Quilted Bag

I am making samples for classes being taught at International Machine Quilters Showcase  (MQS) in May, 2011.  One of the classes I am teaching is combining beading and quilting.  Here is a small purse sample for the class- one of several I have made:

I still need to sew on the clasp and the focal point for the end of the “V.”  Then the purse will be complete.  I have ordered in several potential large pendants that might complement this small beaded and quilted bag.

Here is a close up of the beading:

My next project is a quilted and beaded necklace to wear to the class.  In the spirit of recycle/reuse, I will even use scraps from my studio to make this.

If you are interested in taking this class at MQS, please note that I am teaching 2 sections of the class, so you have a choice for when to take it.  Last year’s class was a huge success and the students did a wonderful job on their beading!  It is a beginning class on freeform peyote, so no experience needed.

Regards, Carla

New Class Developed!

Hello!  Registration is going great for the new class on how to use Photoshop Elements.  This is a true beginner class taught by the Pixeladies.  Does this program intimidate you?  Sign up now!!  Class starts on March 14, 2011.


I am pleased to announce that while I have been recuperating, I have been busy developing some new classes.  I am finished with the first class, which is all about Doodle Art Fills for Quilters:

This is a class about expanding your quilting fills, and how to combine doodling and quilting.  There is also a section on using fills on your quilts,  digital doodling, also how to create a  stunning art quilt/wholecloth combination!!

I will be teaching this class at International Machine Quilting Showcase (MQS) in May.  I hope you will join me for this class.  You will go home with lots of new ideas and inspirations!!  Just click the link for MQS for more information about this class.

Keep watching, I will be sharing some of my class samples as I make them.   I also will be showcasing some of the other classes I am teaching at MQS in May!

By the way, my class logo was created using Photoshop.  I show you, step by step, how I used Doodle Art Fills to create this small quilt in my class.  It is one of the many creative exercises in my class.

For more information about using Photoshop Elements in your work, see the Beginning Photoshop Elements Class at the top of  this post!  Hugs, Carla

Freeform Winter Necklace

As I have mentioned before, I am honored to be a part of Blogging Designer Program for the last few years.   I love designing and creating bead, fiber, and metal jewelry pieces, and appreciate that I was chosen to participate in their program.

The Challenge was to create a piece inspired by “Winter Enchantment.”  I thought about the words and was immediately inspired by snow, winter and to create a freeform necklace and pendant appropriate for a winter bride:

I knew I wanted a pendant, so I searched the Artbeads website and discovered this lovely Swarovski Crystal Snowflake Pendant:

I next ordered a lovely selection of seed beads in various sizes and shades of white, gold, and silver seed beads and delicas.    I also used some lovely pearls, too, to add to the necklace.

To help ground the piece, I used a spiral Cellini Stitch for the necklace strap.  I thought it would a nice juxtaposition to go from chaos in the freeform work to organized in the spiral Cellini strap.

In the end, I love how the piece came out.   I did change colors in the beginning, but that is a part of the creative process- giving yourself the freedom to change directions.

For the Quilters reading this, please be aware that I will be teaching FreeForm Beading for Quilters at International Machine Quilting Showcase in May, 2011.  No experience needed for this class.

Thanks, once again, to ArtBeads.  Please note that I received some of the products free of charge from ArtBeads, but the company gives me complete freedom to review honestly each of the products received.  I have not been paid for any endorsements.

I hope you enjoy seeing this Winter necklace and pendant!  Hugs, Carla Barrett

Freeform Beading Project

First off, thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts surrounding my spine surgery.  My surgery to have an artificial disc replaced was very successful, thanks to the skill of my wonderful surgeon!  The surgery took place on January 20th, in San Francisco, California.  This xray image shows the artificial disc in place:

Hmmm… looks rather like an Oreo cookie in there, doesn’t it?   LOL!

While I am healing, I will do freeform beadwork, so I won’t go into creative withdrawal.  My first project will be a wearable art necklace and here is my bead palette:

and here is a different project- again, in progress-  for a large purse embellishment.  Notice how different the bead colors are:

On the topic of beads and beading, I want to give a huge  “Thank You” to Barb Kiehn, who so kindly gifted me with this book:

It looks like a wonderful resource book on beading!  It was very thoughtful of Barb to give this to me to enjoy while I’m recuperating!

That’s all for today!  Now I want to hear from YOU!  What are YOU doing to nourish your creative spirit?  Hugs, Carla