Digital Design Draft

I like to draw on my tablet PC while watching TV in the evenings.  The following designs are first draft, meaning that I will go back and clean them up, and work with them further.

First I drew the center of the design:


Then, I decided to add more framing:


Will let you know how the design progresses and changes as I work with it more.

Take care, Carla

Freeform Frame of Mind

Here is what is catching my attention- beads!  Working on several freeform beading projects at once, including this work-in-progress:

Freeform Work in progress by Carla Barrett

Freeform Work in progress by Carla Barrett

Also working on a few quilting projects, too.  Will show you later, I promise.  🙂

Have a wonderful weekend, Carla

Fabric Crochet Purse

fabric crochet purse / bag by Carla Barrett

fabric crochet purse / bag by Carla Barrett

I created this fabric crochet purse the other day, it was so easy to make.

Obviously, I still need to add a strap, but I like this purse and the fabric strip fringe detail.

My quilting readers will recognize the batik fabric used for this project.

IMG_9985Here is another view of my purse, minus the purse straps.  I created this bag as a class sample for my Fabric Crochet Class I am teaching in a few weeks at the AU Machine Quilting Festival.  You, too, can learn this fun project if you are planning to be at this show.   🙂

I am now making a larger bag, perhaps a backpack crochet bag.  This time, I am using citrus colors of yellow, orange, dark orange and shade of lime green.  Think lemons, oranges, and limes.  Anyway, I love fabric crochet and can’t wait to teach it.


What are YOU creating?   Take care, Carla

Avoiding The Oops Class

oopsclassI’m completing the finishing touches on this new, fun class- which is all about the things that can go wrong while you are quilting. It is a topic near and dear to my heart because, let’s face it, we all make mistakes.  So far, my list of quilting oops has grown to over 155 different things that can go wrong for a machine quilter.

I will be teaching this new class in early October in Adelaide, Australia at the AU Machine Quilting Festival.   If you plan to attend this show, I do hope you will sign up and join me.  🙂  We will be identifying all the things that can go wrong, and teaching ways to avoid the issue and fix it, if it is fixable.  Thankfully, most things can indeed be repaired in machine quilting.

dragonflyquiltThis photo on the left shows a guild opportunity quilt I quilted.  Unfortunately, the oops in this case was a strong volunteer, who while hanging the quilt on a metal frame while selling tickets, caught the quilt on a screw and ripped through all layers.  The beaded/fiber art dragonfly artfully covers the front tear, while the hanging sleeve hides the repair patch on the back.  I made 3 dragonflies for this quilt and turned a disaster around with extra embellishments.

What is your favorite Oops repair?   Happy Quilting, Carla



Tablet Budget Buying Tips – Part 4

Buying a new or refurbished tablet when you have a strict budget can be challenging.  I decided to write about this topic after receiving many requests for help in buying a tablet on a budget, for use in quilting and creative arts.

This post is Part 4 in my Tablet Series.  To start at Part 1, please click here.  Part 2 is here, and click here to see Post 3.  If you are curious as to what you can do with a tablet, please see this post.

Wacom Bamboo or Intuos Option

This option uses/adds on to your existing computer desktop, laptop, notebook or ultrabook that you already own.  If you are currently happy with your computer system, either Mac or PC, then this would be a low cost alternative for you.

Wacom makes several entry level tablet peripherals which are inexpensive choices for occasional tablet users.  These are tablet devices which are either wireless or plug into your USB port on your existing computer and allow you to draw off to one side while looking at the screen.

Drawing in this manner takes lots of practice to do, and can be frustrating if you are used to drawing on a piece of paper.  However, if you are determined, you can master this way of drawing.

Wacom Bamboo

Bamboo USB

Bamboo USB

For only $49 US or 49.90 Euros, you can buy the Bamboo tablet which plugs into your computer by way of USB port.  For $79.00 US or 69.90 Euros, you can purchase the Bamboo wireless model.  I do recommend the wireless model, if it is in your budget, mostly because it is easier to draw while being untethered.

The largest benefit to the Bamboo is the low entry price into tablet drawing.  You may also use it with either a Mac or PC computer system, too.

Bamboo Wireless

Bamboo Wireless

The biggest downside relates to drawing  off to one side while looking at the computer screen, as well as the size of this

tablet, which is small.  When a tablet screen is small, you have to pick up the stylist pen tip and readjust.  You also need a drawing program to use a tablet, but this is true with all tablets.

If you own a Bamboo now, and find that there seems to be a disconnect between what you draw and the lines on the screen, then you will need to re-calibrate your device, also called “mapping”.  Wacom has  helpful how-to support here.

Wacom Intuos

intouslineWacom also makes their Intuos line of tablets, which come in 4 different sizes.  Prices start at $79 US or 69.90 Euros for the smallest Intuos up to  $499 US or  470.90 Euros for the largest size Intuos Tablet.

Pros:  Low, starting price for their smallest tablet, may be used with either a Mac or PC computer system.

The same downside as the Bamboo line applies here.  Drawing “blind” off to the side is not natural if you are used to pen and paper drawing.   I happen to own an XL sized Intuos tablet, an earlier version model that I used once.  Why?  It was a gift from my dear husband, who didn’t know about the “drawing off to one side” aspect- and my particular feelings about it.    However, if your budget is small, and you don’t mind drawing while looking at the screen, then I would recommend the largest size Intuos you can buy with your budget.

There are several Wacom competitors, however, I do not recommend any of them.

Buying Refubished or Discontinued Tablet PC

The other choice available to budget minded tablet buyers are to do your research, and then buy a slightly used, or discontinued Tablet PC.  My favorite place to buy them is on eBay, however, do your research and double check that the seller is legitimate and has a high rating.  I also know of quilters who purchased a used tablet from a local computer store that refurbished models, then sold them with a warranty.  Once again, check to see this store will be around if you have any issues.  Same with shopping on Craigslist.

fujitsuoutletAnother tip for budget tablet buyers are  that computer tablet manufactures often sell refurbished or discontinued models on their eBay page.  Say you buy a tablet, then return it for any reason.  They repair it, then the company may resell on eBay.   Here is a link to the Fujitsu eBay Outlet page.

I decided to run an experiment.  My particular model of Tablet PC Convertible is only about 3 years old, however, I know it is a great machine.  I paid $2000 US when I bought mine new, fully loaded.  I recently found a similar set up on eBay recently for only $500-600 US.    It pays to do the research and buy a slightly older model to get more value per dollar (or currency of your country) .

I hope this post and information contained here will help you to stay on budget.  I love drawing and creating with my Tablet PC convertible, and draw at least once a day, if not more.  I would love to see what YOU create with your tablet, too.

Regards, Carla

Sailboat Themed Bedroom

I mentioned yesterday that I am putting together a new bedroom decor for my 3 year old grandson, Ethan.  He loves boats, so a nautical themed bedroom is what I plan create for him.  Why don’t you come along for the journey?

This decorating adventure should be fun.  I plan to purchase some items, and some decor accessories will be DIY projects.

Pottery Barn Bed

Pottery Barn Bed

Let’s start with the focal point of the room, which is a very cool sailboat bed.  I first saw this Pottery Barn boat bed, however, it does cost between $1500-2000 US, plus $100-200 shipping.  That seems like a lot of money to spend on a child’s bed, so my first goal was to find a more reasonable, less costly alternative.

After an internet search, I found the right bed to meet our needs. bed bed


I found a similar boat bed on for only $395.99 US, shipping included.  Still unique, plus I save oodles of cash.  The mattress is too high in the picture, so will overcome that issue when we put it together.

I happen to already have some twin mattresses from one of my kids, which is in excellent shape, so the mattresses will cost me $0.

I did purchase a couple of items on sale at Pottery Barn- including this fabric nautical map swag valance to hang behind the bedimg90t.   I also found 3 metal anchor hooks- two red and a blue.  I didn’t buy the white one shown in the photo as I felt the light color looked washed out.img94c

Next, I turn my attention to the wall.  I did find this very large nautical map, which would take up pretty much the entire main wall.

Now, let’s move onto accessories and things I plan to make.

The first item I plan to create will be a large sail with appliqued details for the wall just above the bed.  The photo is below.

dc52b2bef34760f191a0941ea9a29d56This is a project found on the Joann’s website, it is amazing all the DIY gems you can find online if you really hunt for them.

Anyway, I thought this would be a fabulous DIY project to make for the room.

Btw ,notice the curved top white treasure chest in the photo, shown left.  I found a similar one and thought it would be fun to paint or add painted details to use as a toy bin.

FlagsI also purchased some decorative sailboat pennant flags, too.  Not sure yet where I will use them in the room, but these are very cool.  Besides hanging them up as pennants, I could also frame some that spell out Ethan’s name, too.

imagesSpeaking of flags, another DIY project would be to paint some wood rectangles  to resemble nautical flags.  il_570xN.431601296_n829

Or, check out this piece of lumber, painted with Latitude and Longitude coordinates?

life-preserver-throw-pillowI have also purchased a number of pillows, but this red life ring one from Land of Nod is my favorite.

il_570xN_353980875_py6fHere is another etsy DIY inspiration.  I think the cleats are a nice touch, too.

As for a quilt, I plan to eventually made a scrappy sail boat quilt for Ethan.  I liked the look of the quilt shown in the bottom photo- which has been pieced by

There is something happy about this cute quilt, I think it works because it is so scrappy.

That should give you idea for what Ethan’s room will look like. Well, at least in theory.  Stay tuned for when this DIY room will be completed!

Malaysian Batik

One of the side benefits to having a husband who travels internationally for work, is you can beg ask him to bring you back interesting items and fabric.batik3

Recently, he traveled to Penang, Malaysia, and the employees in his group were kind enough to scout out a handmade batik place for Joe to visit.  This is a company that does the traditional art of wax resist printing or painting, then dyeing the fabric to create batik.

First rule of thumb when asking for Malaysian batik is the pronunciation.  Here in the US, we pronounce this work as baa (sound a sheep makes) teak’ (like the wood).  The emphasis is on the second syllable.   In Malaysia, they pronounce it Baa’ (sound a sheep makes) tick (as in tick tock).  The emphasis is on the first syllable.

Once we had the correct pronunciation sorted out, the first few times I asked Joe to bring me back some batik, he picked up the imitation batik made for tourists.  The weave of the cotton was very loose, indicating low thread count per inch.  Also, anything with the words, “Malaysia” or “Penang” printed on it was another indication it was not what I wanted.  The last thing to look for is whether the print goes through to both sides or not.  Batik looks the same front and back due to the dying process.  When you work with fabric for a living, you tend to become fabric snobs and desire good quality materials.

This trip, Joe finally was able to find the real deal.   He didn’t know my taste, but what he brought back was fabulous!  Here is a sneak peek at some of the hand made batik he found:batikred

batik2batik4Now that he knows of a good location for batik in Penang, I will have lots of handmade batik prints in my future direct from the artisans who made it!  I will also educate him on choosing designs… the butterflies are great, but the helmet-looking image is odd not my taste.  (Carla note:  Thanks to wonderful blog readers who correctly informed me that the helmet looking image is in fact a “Wau,”  a type of Malaysian kite.)

Hope you have enjoyed this post about Malaysian batik.  Regards, Carla

Birdy Image

Hmmm… cannot find this image on my hard drive, so will post it here.  This is a quilted bird by Jayne M. and I feathered around the applique as shown.  I am including it for my new Workshop eBook, hence this post.birdy1

Carla’s Studio Tour

Gift from Barb Kiehn

Gift from Barb Kiehn

If I am being really honest, my studio looks like a tornado hit it most of the time.  Since I had a photo shoot the other day, I needed to clean it up so it looked good in the photos and created the illusion that my studio was perfectly organized all the time.

Carla Barrett Quilt Studio

Carla Barrett Quilt Studio

While it was still clean yesterday, I decided to take images of my studio to share, and to show you the cool things I have collected.

In the photo on the left, you see the next two quilt tops that I will be working on.  The modern quilt in the foreground is for Lyn B. and the quilt top in the back is for Teddie E.

The brand of longarm I use is by A1 Quilting Machines.

Carla Barrett's sock creatures

Carla Barrett’s sock creatures

Way in the back are 2 sock friends keeping watch on all my activities.

The one on the right was made by me and the one on the left is by artist Darlene Veltman, who teaches classes on creating Silly Sock Creatures.

The sock creatures are sitting on a stunning Tentmaker of Egypt quilt that the wonderful, talented Barbara Chainey picked up for me on her last trip there.

Carla Barrett Studio

Carla Barrett Studio

The next studio picture shows you my desk where I sew, draw, bead and work, that is, when it is not piled high with stuff!  (Click on image to enlarge)

I sew with my 1980’s vintage Bernina.  It is metal, heavy duty, and sews like a charm!  I also own several other machines, including an antique Singer, a Janome 6500, a Viking, and a Bernina Serger.

by Carla Barrett

by Carla Barrett

Here is a close-up of what’s under my needle, and be sure to read the words on the small quilt piece which reads, “Suddenly it was clear, Blondes DO have more fun.”

In case you didn’t know, I have blonde hair!  I’m blonde, but not a dumb blonde- LOL!

In the spirit of “Where’s Waldo,” can you find the following items in the picture below: cartoon by me, Alma Stoller‘s birdie, and beaded beads, felted cupcake by Betz White, Poppy art by Geninne Zlatkis, heart by Mary Stanley, small kitty illustration by Carla Sonheim, part of my sand collection, eraser carved shell by me, my alligator/lizard beaded bracelet, a water powered clock, and a fiber jewel heart pin by Meg Hannan.

Carla Barrett studio

Carla Barrett studio

I love to collect art from other mixed media artists!  Can you tell?

In this picture, I have lots of beads,  or trinkets, plus some projects underway.

bead collage by Carla Barrett

Collections like this make me happy, I just love the visual texture and color!  Below is a shelf series from around the studio:

Carla Barrett Studio detail

Carla Barrett Studio detail

Above, I most love my faux coffee cup, which has a fiber project inside.  I passed these out to other artists one year at ArtFiberFest.

Below, my favorite item is my Fiber Food Round Robin Project.  I picked the theme- which was a Hungary Man TV dinner, and then the recipients put together each section.  You can see what I made for others at this blog post.  Also in the photo, you will find a scissor maiden by Syd McCutcheon.

Carla Barrett Studio detail

Carla Barrett Studio detail



This shelf is rather bare- as compared to other shelves in my studio.  I love the metal coffee cup, the wire chicken, a great book about Frank Lloyd Wright, and a fabulous book on art by Simon Schama, titled Power of Art.  I also love the BBC series by him as well.

That’s my studio tour for today!  Hope you enjoy it- and some of my odds and ends.  Do you have a studio and do you keep mementos around, too?   Carla

Bobbie’s Quilt

Today I bring you a new quilt I am working on-  a quilt for a woman who served in the Marine Corps during WW2.  Here is the entire quilt, pieced by Bobbie Jarrett and Photo Transfer printing by The Pixeladies:

QOV quilt by Bobbie Jarrett and quilting by Carla Barrett

QOV quilt by Bobbie Jarrett and quilting by Carla Barrett

Here are some sections I have designed so far and quilted.  The corner motif is my design, with plans to have Digitech Design sell all the designs later in the year.  I plan to add a couple of stars to the motif below:

Quilting design by Carla Barrett

Quilting design by Carla Barrett

The blank blocks will have this design:


More pictures to come when I am finished.  I am told that this quilt will be unveiled in Wash. DC later in the year at a museum.

Design wise- I decided to make this a lovely patriotic quilt since the recipient is female.  As a nod to her military service, I am quilting stars here and there.  The recipient is also a musician, so I will be adding musical notes and the outside border (not shown) will include piano keys.

I am also using a purchased feather design for the outside diamond spaces- a Sherry Rogers-Harrison feather design from her Lancaster Star Collection (also sold at Digitech Designs.

More to come later…   Hope everyone is well who is reading this.  Would love to hear what YOUR current project is?  Hugs, Carla