Back Home From Sailing Adventures!

Been having a great time on our sailboat, but because it is hurricane season, we parked the boat in a safe location and flew home for the summer.  That is a good thing since I have been having withdrawals from my longarm and other art supplies.

I took up photography while we were on the boat, so I wanted to show you a slideshow of few of my favorite images:

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Now I need a good way to organize and stow all the 1,000’s of images I took.  Luckily, my good friends, The Pixeladies, are having an eClass starting soon on organizing all your images using Photoshop Elements.  I am going to take it, and I hope you will join me in this class.  Stay tuned, I will tell you more in tomorrow’s post!

Hugs, Carla

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

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:

alienquiltdesign

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

 

 

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

Back From AU!

I had a blast teaching in Adelaide, AU at their Australian Machine Quilting Festival.  I met so many wonderful quilters and artists while I was there!   Here is where Adelaide is, located in South Australia:

adelaide1 I had several nice flights from my home in Northern CA to Adelaide.  Admittedly, it took me well over a day of travel to get there, but arrived safe and sound to my hotel, which was close to the show venue at the Adelaide Convention Center.

What impressed me the most was how incredibly friendly all the students and people I met were.  Judging by my class feedback, they liked me, too!  🙂  It was fun to meet students I had previously “met” online through social media in person.  I loved teaching at this show, and show owners Tracey Browning and Sharon Parkinson were so welcoming, and frankly amazing women for all their hard work on this show.

It was also a blast seeing friends I hadn’t seen in a few years.  This includes Jamie Wallen, Tracey Browning, and her talented sister, Helen Stubbings.   I also met some other teachers for the first time: Cathy Wiggins, Cristyn Merry, Michelle Pearson, Helen Godden, Vicki Jenkins, and Judi Madsen.

More to follow, including photos of quilts I saw.  There was a special exhibit featuring the amazing work of Pam Holland.  I was blown away by her thread play and creativity, plus her lecture at the Charity Gala was quite inspiring!  Stay Tuned!  Hugs, Carla

 

Carolina Lily Quilt

I get lots of mail about this Carolina Lily antique quilt pattern I quilted back in 2007 for my dear friend, Nancy Gwyn, who sadly passed away in 2011.

quilting by Carla Barrett 2007

quilting by Carla Barrett 2007

This was my old photo taken just after I unloaded it and before the quilt was bound. This quilt later went on to win many awards in both California and North Carolina:

nancyquiltfair Here it won a Best Machine Quilting and a First Place award.  Anyway, back to my mail box.  Since I receive letters asking me about this pattern, I am always on the lookout for a free pattern and instructions.  I finally found one here at Generations Quilt Patternsvintage-carolina-lily-quilt-pattern-21696382:

There is only a slight difference between this pattern and Nancy’s quilt, so just change up the flower stem if you prefer Nancy’s variation.

Otherwise, head on over to the Generations Quilt Pattern site for the free pattern and instructions.  The pattern is even on-point like Nancy’s quilt, too.

Here are some more close up pictures for this quilt:

 

quilting by Carla Barrett 2007

quilting by Carla Barrett 2007

quilting by Carla Barrett 2007

quilting by Carla Barrett 2007

Hope this helps!  Happy Piecing and 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!!