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

frontkimono2kimonoblockkimono2

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:

Topsyturvysailing

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

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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

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

SID For Stand Up Quilters

sidimageStand Up Machine Quilters seem to be divided into 2 camps- those who love to stitch-in-the-ditch  ( SID), and those who dislike it.  My theory about this relates to careful precision work.  Either you are a detail person and do not mind slowing down to quilt exactly in the ditch between two seams, or you feel that life is way too short to be so anal.

When I first bought my longarm machine back in 2004, I tried SIDing a few times and decided I hated it.  If a client was set on having their quilt seams ditched, I would refer them to someone who loved it.  This worked just fine for me, at least until I started doing higher end custom work.  I discovered you really needed to SID, otherwise, the machine quilting judges would correctly point out that the seams needed to lay down crisp and clean when the major seam lines are ditched.  At a large major show, the points lost could cost you the difference between placing or not, if the rest of the quilt is beautifully quilted, pieced and bound.

judge2Which brings me to this cartoon I drew that is on topic.  A well known talented quilter once created a masterful whole cloth quilt for a show competition.  Her constructive feedback comment from the judge is reflected in this cartoon below:

So I forced myself to learn how to SID.  While it is still not my favorite thing to do, I have learned to appreciate how it looks when done correctly.  Because I taught myself this skill, I approach it differently than many other machine quilters.  Here is SID, Carla style.

Supplies: Thread, extended base, rulers.

Thread: Madiera Monolon is my favorite light monofilament thread,  they used to manufacture a smoke colored mono that was wonderful, but it is no longer available.  Superior’s Monopoly is my 2nd favorite brand of mono- both Smoke and Clear.  Both brands are strong to run through large commercial machines and are not “plasticy” looking.

Color of Thread:  Since most monofilament thread comes in two colors- Smoke and Clear.  Be sure to use the clear mono on lighter fabric seams and Smoke mono on darker fabric seams.

Bobbin Thread:  I choose the color of the bobbin thread to match the area I am ditching.  Why?  If you are ditching and you change directions, there is a strong likelihood of the top tension to pull on the bottom thread, making it slightly visible. Since I am sharing what works for me, this is the lesson I learned the hard way on my machine system.  My favorite brand of thread is Superior Thread.

rulermate_a1_upper_front3Extended Metal Ruler Base- This is an add-on metal ruler base that I purchased years ago  is called a Ruler Mate.  This metal base plate really changed my SID life because it does not wobble like my old plastic extended base that shipped with my machine system.  Unfortunately, they are no longer being manufactured, however, look for them on the secondary market.

Ruler- I have a variety of rulers I use for SID, but straightmy favorite one is by Accent in Design called Fine Line Rulers.  They have wonderful pegs on top of the ruler which allow you to have maximum control.  If you happen to have arthritis, or similar issues,  the Fine Line Rulers help you to hold it in place without pain.

By the way, no one paid me to write the above product endorsements, I just love their products.  🙂

How I SID and When– I happen to SID last, after I have quilted the entire quilt.  This is just how I taught myself, and it works for me.  Feel free to SID when you like, so long as you do not quilt pleats or lose control of your quilt sandwich.  (Note: If you are a sit down quilter, then you would SID first to stabilize your quilt sandwich)

Thread Tension: I loosen the top tension considerably, and then test stitch off to the side to ensure that my tension is perfect, both top and bottom.

Slow Down:  I put on my metal extended base, too, and then slow my machine’s “cruise control” on its stitch regulator way down.  I retest the tension, grab my Fine Line Ruler, then I am ready to ditch.

The goal to ditching a quilt is to have it not be seen.  If it is noticeable or wobbly, then I would remove the wayward stitching and start again.  If you slow your machine down, you will gain control and can place the stitch where you want it.

SID example by Carla Barrett

SID example by Carla Barrett

When starting out, you may experience that SID work seems easier when done either vertically or horizontally. With time and practice, you will find you can easily SID in all directions. Here is an example of a well done ditch ( see left image).

SID the Low Side of Seam: Next tip is to carefully pick what side of the ditch you are going to stitch on.  You always want to SID the low side. Look at the photo shown on the left.  On the red/black seam, which I have ditched, the red side is the low side.  In the gold/red seam, the gold section is where I will be stitching as it is the low side of the seam.  I also will use gold thread in the bobbin and monofilament thread on top.

Tips for Precision: I quilt right handed, so another trick is to use your non-dominant hand to open the seam up as you carefully stitch.  Another tip is to use a clamp on magnifying glass to assist that you can easily see the seam.

Not all Quilts Need to Have SID:  Note that there may be a couple of reasons to NOT SID a quilt.  Obviously, if you are doing an Edge-to-Edge design or a pantograph, there is no need to SID.  Also, the quilt top maker’s pressing technique will certainly affect your decision to SID or not. If the seam flips from one side to another while pressing, then this will cause your SID to wobble to the low side.

toniquiltsAnother reason to not SID a quilt is when the pieced seams are not straight and/or if the corners/intersections do not match up.  SID would bring unwelcome attention to the quilt’s imperfections, so best to pick a quilting plan that will draw the eye away from the quilt’s flaws.

In the quilt, shown right,  I intentionally chose to not SID because the quilt was not straight.  Instead, I quilted it freehand style to draw the eye away from the imperfections.  It worked, this quilt won “Best of Show” at the County Fair.  The owner of the quilt was very happy.

To recap, my main tips are to 1) have the right thread and tools at your disposal.  2) if you SID, then take the time to slow down and 3) Do a good job or else remove it and redo, and last, Always SID on the low side of the ditch. 4) Some quilts may not need SID.

Hope you enjoy this post on SID for Stand Up Quilting.  If you would like to see more informative posts, please write and let me know.  🙂  Carla

 

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

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.

Teaching in AU in October 2014!

Hello, I thought I would share the wonderful news that I will be traveling to Australia in October, 2014, to teach 7 classes at the Australian Machine Quilting Festival in North Terrace, Adelaide.   I have always wanted to visit Australia, so I was honored to be asked to teach at this event.

Here are the classes offered at this show:

smallestfrog

Avoiding The Oops! Learn what not to do before an oops- or how to fix the most common issues seen in machine quilting if you do.  After a decade of machine quilting, Carla has either made a mistake, repaired one, or seen issues at quilt shows.  This class is for beginning to intermediate machine quilters who want technical information presented in a fun way.

Freeform beaded purse by Carla Barrett

Freeform beaded purse by Carla Barrett

Freeform Beading for Quilters–  Join Carla Barrett for this innovative, exciting, beading embellishment class that introduces you to freeform beading and how to use this stunning technique for all your quilts!  No prior beading experience is necessary, though a pre-class handout on selecting beads, learning two simple stitches and supply list are provided to a create an optional small purse.  Warning!  This technique is very addictive, fun, and can be used to make jewelry to match, too!

Design for the Foothill Guild's Opportunity quilt by Carla Barrett

Design for the Foothill Guild’s Opportunity quilt by Carla Barrett

Quilt Whispering: Design Basics– If you have ever struggled to design a quilt top, then this is the class for you!  Learn Carla Barrett’s unique approach to more easily design any quilt, tips and tricks of designing, locating inspiration, and becoming a more confident machine quilting designer along the way.     Discover why thousands of students have taken the online version of this class to rave reviews!  Registered students may send a quilt top photo to Carla by September 1st, 2014 to be designed personally by her.

By the way, here is a photo where I have executed the above design:

Quilting by Carla Barrett

Quilting by Carla Barrett

Free motion quilting by Carla Barrett

Free motion quilting by Carla Barrett

Freeform Quilting- This class is for all free motion quilters, no matter which machine system you own or your skill level.  Carla teaches her unique method of Freeform Quilting, which can be successfully used as a fast edge-to-edge design, quick border design, or as a unique fill on any quilt.  This technique is also easily adaptable to match other designs used on the quilt, quilt design, or theme.  Come and discover your own freeform quilting style and how to effectively use it in your quilting!

quilting by Carla Barrett

quilting by Carla Barrett

 

Freeform quilting used as a border design for this oak leaf quilt.  Click to see the quilting design in larger format.

fabric crochet by Carla Barrett

fabric crochet by Carla Barrett

Fabric Crochet for Quilters-   Machine quilting and fabric crochet are a perfect combination!  No crochet experience needed for this class in combining quilting and fabric crochet to make a functional and stunning purse.  In addition, Carla will teach you some simple, yet effective embellishment and quilting ideas for finishing your purse.  Many fabrics and fibers can

Fabric crochet purse detail by Carla Barrett

Fabric crochet purse detail by Carla Barrett

be cut or stripped, then used in this project, including hand-dyed, batik, selvages, and recycled clothing.  Pre-class instruction in how to do two basic crochet stitches- the chain stitch and single crochet stitch will be provided to students, as well as how to choose fabric and what to bring!

 

Free Lace scarf by Carla Barrett

Free Lace scarf by Carla Barrett

Mokuba Free Lace Scarf-  Create a cool artsy scarf you can wear the same day!  This is an exciting project class using Mokuba Free Lace water soluble to make a scarf on a domestic machine, with information provided for how to use this product on longarm machines, too.  The techniques you learn are also transferable for creating 3-dimensional sculptures, wearable art, and art quilt embellishments, too!  Carla Barrett will share several methods for working with this unique product to acheive different looks or effects- from sheer to opaque.

Tablet Design Class project by Carla Barrett

Tablet Design Class project by Carla Barrett

Tablet Design Class for Quilters-  Have a Wacom style of tablet or Tablet PC, and want to learn how to design with it?  This course teaches you several methods of using your tablet, along with Photoshop Elements (version 7-current) to create a wide variety of quilting designs.  Carla will show you how to plan and design your quilt top image, draw quilting motifs, pantograph designs, wholecloth quilts, and more using your tablet device* and Photoshop Elements.

Tablet Design Plan by Carla Barrett

Tablet Design Plan by Carla Barrett

 *To register for this class, you will need is one of the following types of tablets:  a Wacom (or similar) brand of plug-in tablet for your laptop, or a Tablet PC (which is a tablet laptop or slate tablet capable of running Photoshop Elements).   Your tablet set-up must have Photoshop 8,9,10, or 11 installed. Please note that this class is not for iPad or Android tablets.  For more info about tablet types, please visit https://featheredfibers.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/buying-a-new-pc-tablet/

If you live in AU, I hope you will attend this show, take one of more of my classes, and come meet me!

Btw, in 2014, I will also be teaching in the midwest MQX, too.  That is info for a later post.  Have fun creating!  Carla