Sailboat Quilt Project

One of the hardest things about going traveling by sailboat is missing your dear friends and family.  Barbara Kiehn is one friend I will especially miss.  She and I have collaborated on many award winning quilts over the years, long time blog readers may remember a few of them:

carlainthegarden41egypt6baby tulip2


I decided that Ethan needs a new quilt for his new cabin berth, but time is short, so I asked Barb to help me design and put it together.  Yesterday was our work day at her house, and we were able to finish the sailboat blocks.  Of course, there is more work to do on this scrappy, red, white and blue quilt, so I will work on it whenever I can get a free minute.

Here are a picture of the blocks only, today I cut and fuse the flags at the top of the mast like shown in the top left block:

Sailboat block in progress

Barb and decided to make these topsy turvy sailboats, plus there will be scrappy pieced sashings in between each block.  Here is a sample from Barb’s quilt for what topsy turvy setting looks like:


So that is my WIP sailboat project for the boat.  Thank you shout out to Barb for her help, lunch yesterday, and for being such a wonderful friend.   Regards, Carla

Designing Quilts- Jill’s Applique Quilt

Jill Applique quilt "Before"

Jill Applique quilt “Before”

Thought I would begin a new series on designing quilts for machine quilters, so let’s start with a lovely applique quilt by my friend, Jill.  Jill Rixman, the owner/teacher of the applique pattern business called Artfully Applique, is truly a master applique artist.  She needed a quilt to showcase patterns for sell in her booth at quilt shows, so she brought her quilt to me.

When I first started quilting over 10 years ago, Jill came to me with the first quilt that I quilted for her.  That quilt still hangs in her booth, receives many compliments for her and apparently, sells many patterns.  As a machine quilter, the  first topic to consider is the purpose of the quilt- which in this instance is to sell Jill’s applique patterns.

In keeping with my 2014 goal of drawing (and then digitizing) custom designs for every quilt I work on, I first needed to divide up the quilt into distinct design spaces.  For Jill’s quilt, this was simple.  You have 2 sizes of applique blocks, the inner circle and the negative space between the circle and block.  Then you have the  background fabric space, which will be further divided for interest and to draw the eye inward towards the center.

Let’s start with the center block, which is the focal point of this quilt. Here is my design choice for the center block outside of the circle:

carlablock2jilljillframe2 copy

Since this is my main design, all the other designs in the quilt will relate to this design to ensure quilting design cohesion.

Jill has chosen my circular fill for the inside of each circle and around the applique.  I gave Jill several fill options and this is the one she prefers.  Let’s move onto the small applique block design now.

For the smaller blocks, I wanted to design something similar, yet able to fit inside the smaller dimensions.  This is what I eventually came up with:

carlablock1jillNotice that both designs frame the applique circles.  By choosing to quilt frame designs in the block, this showcases the importance of the applique work.  I will also pick a thread color that will blend into the lighter spaces.  This is because I do not want the quilting to compete with the applique work, instead, I want the quilting to complement.

Obviously, I will also stitch in the ditch the blocks.

Let’s talk about the proposed background design.   To draw the eye inward towards the center, I will add some linear ray lines with freeform fill.  This will provide some nice texture in the background.  Plus I can also add small motifs into the freeform quilting, including butterflies, flowers, leaves etc. along the quilt’s theme.  Once again, I will pick thread that matches the background fabric, I want to provide interest and texture, not compete with the block applique and piecing.

carlablock1My frame designs are actually rather clean and simple.  The reason for this relates to the owner’s quilting design preference.  Jill does not like too much quilting, so I wanted to respect this.

Here are a few sketch designs which did not make the cut, including my favorite one on the left  I think Jill would like this design if I removed the cross-hatching fill in detail.

carlaframe1The next design was discarded as looking as too “alien” like in the corners.  LOL!  Don’t believe me?  Look below:


This gives you an idea for how I design for a quilt- and my thought process as I get ready to quilt it.  I have Jill’s quilt loaded, and will start it after Thanksgiving.

Let me know if you have any questions.  Just leave me a comment and I will write back.

Happy Quilting!  Carla



Birdie From Barb

My friend, Barbara Kiehn, who many of you know from her wonderful pieced quilts, sent me this adorable birdie, who now resides in my quilt studio.  I was taking pictures this weekend, so I decided to take a picture of this bird:

barbbird  Cute, isn’t he?  A huge “thank you” to Barb for her lovely gift!!

Carla Purse

Thought I would show you a purse I made awhile back.  This is a variation from a past Lori and Carla Creative Adventure Week.  My friend, Lori, showed me how to make this bag, and I have made several over the years.

bag by Carla Barrett

bag by Carla Barrett


This bag was made on a DSM machine, but you could make it with a stand up quilting system like a longarm.  This is one of those fun projects that just make you happy to look at.  🙂   Happy sewing!  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.

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

Doug’s Quilt

I am busy working on a quilt for a guy quilting friend named Doug.  Doug owns a local quilt store and he is funny to boot!  He will call me posing as Bill Clinton, and ask me whether the Presidential library should have a condom dispenser in the bathroom or other product?  It helps that his Bill Clinton imitation is spot on.

Doug’s quilt has an overall duck hunting theme.  It also has some lovely applique cattails on the quilt for further visual interest, too.  (I promise to show pictures when finished).  I knew I needed a border design with ducks on it, so I turned to Digitech Patterns to find one.  I eventually found this loon pattern by Denise Schillinger, which fit the bill:


This pattern looks more duck-like than loon-like to me.  Loons swim very low in the water is why I say this.  Anyway, I digress….. here is the finished border design using this design.  Note that I took this picture from the back side of the quilt:

border design

border design

Doug’s quilt has light cornerstones in all four corners, so I wanted to place a related design that would go with the border.  Unfortunately, I could not find one, so it was time to create one using bits and pieces of Denise’s Digitech Pattern design:

Design for a duck quilt by Carla Barrett

Obviously, I still have to add the tight piano keys to the un-quilted side of the block, but I ended up really liking this design and how it looks on Doug’s quilt.  I shared it with him on Facebook, and he was very happy.

Carla Tip: This is my quilting tip of the day- when attempting to locate a complementary design for a quilt, use bits and pieces of an existing design used elsewhere in the quilt- whether it is a stencil design or digitized design.

I am adding some other duck and duck hunter motifs within the body of the quilt, but you will have to wait to see it.  Stay posted!  Hugs, Carla

Molly’s Quilt

I finished Molly’s quilt for her awhile back, but thought I would share the photos here, too.

This was a adorable garden theme quilt, designed by the mother/daughter team, Arlene and Melissa at The Quilt Company.  My friend, Molly Evangelisti pieced the quilt together, and as usual, her piecing skills are excellent!

The name of the pattern is Thyme to Water, and if you are interested in obtaining this pattern, just click on the link above. I knew that Molly wanted to enter this quilt in her guild show, so I did some nice quilting for her. Carla Note: Molly entered this quilt in the CA State Fair, where it earned a first place ribbon.

First, an overall view of the quilt on my table:

quilt pieced by Molly Evangelisti and quilted by Carla Barrett

quilt pieced by Molly Evangelisti and quilted by Carla Barrett

Another view:

quilting by Carla Barrett

quilting by Carla Barrett

quilting by Carla Barrett

quilting by Carla Barrett

Last photo, a close up of my block design you can purchase at Digitech Patterns:

pattern by Carla Barrett carried by Digitech Patterns

pattern by Carla Barrett carried by Digitech Patterns











Block design by Carla Barrett and available at

Block design by Carla Barrett and available at

Hope you have enjoyed this peek at Molly’s quilt.  Now, your turn!  What have you been up to?  Happy Friday, Carla

Remake of the Hairy Leg Quilt

My photo is a bit blurry,  but you can see that I am remaking my Hairy Leg quilt again.  The first one met a tragic end as inky pens and quilt tops do not mix well.  Trust me on that fact!

The history of this quilt is a collaborative effort between dear friend, Lori Seavey-Christian and myself during one of our “Lori & Carla’s Creative Adventure Weeks.”  Way back in the last decade, I decided to teach Lori how to make a quilt.  We decided on a shoe quilt and we both made our matching quilt.

I later quilted Lori’s quilt and decided to have some fun by quilting in legs, hair, tattoo, etc. since I knew Lori would love it. Here is my Hairy Leg quilting on Lori’s quilt:

We had lots of fun and laughter making our quilts.  For the last 5 or 6 years, I have been wanting to make a replacement quilt, so I finally got on the ball and made my own version.  Now I need to decide on a final border.  I am leaning towards the yellow-gold fabric.

Another project is another pigment quilt, this one will feature my Tropical Leaf pattern (available from Digitech patterns):

Next step is to paint the quilt with pigment powdered ink that I bought last year.  I was inspired after seeing a stunning black quilt that Sherry Rogers-Harrison had made and shown on Facebook.  I decided to try out her brand of fabric medium, too, since I have tried every other brand on the market.  Sherry does amazing work and is a nice person, too.  I have forgiven Sherry for teasing me by once asking if “my quilts whisper to me….”  LOL!!

I have done a few more quilts to show you in a later post.  keep watching!    Hugs, Carla