Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Show & Tell

I love the internet. Being able to connect with quilters all over the world to share ideas and thoughts is such a thrill for me. It's always fun to know that someone has read my blog or to see what someone has made using one of my patterns.

Here are some of the recent emails that I've received:

Sallie Townsend-Hughes in Florida writes:

I am sending you pictures of a quilt I made using your pattern I've Been Framed. I am calling my version I've Been Framed in Red and it has been juried into the Knoxville AQS show for 2009.

I loved working with your design and you should know that I also found your instructions excellent.

The quilt was quilted on a Gammell by a very talented friend of mine,Natalie Carlton.

I love the red mixed with the neutrals. Being juried into an AQS show is a great accomplishment and real honor. Congratulations, Sallie and Natalie!

Sallie used the quick strip-piecing method to make her I've Been Framed quilt. Here is a version that I made with fussy-cut centers for each block. I used a terrific "Sitka" fabric, making a great Southeast Alaska quilt.

Abby's Reflection, the wonderful little quilt shop here in Sitka, has kits which include the pattern and all the fabrics (except backing) to make this quilt. Please contact Jill at 907-747-3510 or go to her website to order a kit. Wouldn't that make a great Christmas gift for an outdoorsman in your life?

Cynthia Marrs wrote:

I got my first two [Texture Magic Totes] done, (except for the beads/balls). These are addictive. Such great gifts. and I have so much fabric. These give me a chance to use some of it. . .

Love your patterns. I love my over the door wall hanging [made from the Hanging Organizer pattern]. I told you I was making one for my sister. I quilted the back part and did it all in lavender/purple. She'll love it.

Great job on all of those projects, Cynthia. Isn't that Texture Magic fun to play with? You've got one lucky sister! She is going to love having such a great streamlined place to store all her "stuff".

Brenda Miller of Among Brenda's Quilts had a great suggestion after seeing my recent blog, Mother Nature is a Quilter:

Thank you for your update and for suggesting a visit to your blog. I very much enjoyed your postings. Mother Nature is a Quilter could certainly be a great slide show course on the principals of design. Well done!

I think that is a great idea! I've been invited to present a lecture and teach a class to the Greater Quilt Guilds of Houston in June 2010. I've been working on a lot of other ideas, but perhaps this will fit in somewhere, too.

Nedra suggested making that blog post into a book which Jan (the photographer)and I had already been considering. So, who knows where this will go. . . thanks for your input and encouragement.

Nedra has been a busy girl. She came to an Annie's Play Day in May and worked on this cute laptop bag:

Nedra says:
I have always been a little intimidated about putting in zippers and making them look good. Annie taught me a technique that was so easy, and look at the results. Those instructions alone made the class worth it.

A lot of my patterns include zippers and inserting them really is as easy as pie. Watch for an upcoming blog post with pictures showing each step.

Nedra blogged about her experience making the bag. Here's her earlier blog with pictures of some of the other projects we played with that day. Oh, it makes me want to get home to my sewing machine!

Nedra is celebrating her one year "Blogiversary" this week and is having a great giveaway. This is Nedra's 307th post! She's had over 38,000 visits that have included 61,000+ page reviews. Congratulations, Nedra -- that is something to crow about! Be sure to stop by her blog and leave a comment. You might win something wonderful!

I hope you have a great day. I'm off to bake some muffins for breakfast.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mother Nature is a Quilter

There is much that Mother Nature can teach us about quilting and the elements of design — line, shape, form, composition, contrast, and color.

For instance, Mother Nature knows that lines draw the eye in direction in which they travel, pointing the way to an important area of the design. . .

and that a diagonal line can be a very strong, eye-catching element in any design.

She knows that straight lines give a sense of structure and formality. . .

while curving, flowing lines give life and movement to an image.

Straight horizontal lines are restful. . .

while vertical straight lines suggest power or strength.

Curved lines can give a graceful or serene feel.

One can outline an area to emphasize it and root it firmly in the design.

Mother Nature knows that shapes provoke a response in a viewer.

Straight edges, squares, rectangles, and lines appear formal, hard, and direct.

Curves, circles, and undulating edges are softer, more organic, and natural.

Images need a sense of light and shadow to give a 3-D effect.

The importance of contrast is another lesson that Mother Nature shares. She shows us that the effect of contast can exist in many different forms:


Rough with smooth

Shiny with mat


Light with dark

Warm with cool


Contrast can also be created by setting one object against a group. . .

or by using curved lines against straight ones.

Mother Nature helps us study the importance of composition, the arrangement of objects in a design and their relationship with each other and the space they occupy.

She might move an object to one side for more interest.

We learn that leaving slightly more space between the subject and the bottom of an image helps prevent the illusion that the subject is sliding down the background.

Or that an object might fill an area better if placed at an angle.

Mother Nature doesn't forget the importance of color and color relationships.

Green is Mother Nature's neutral. . .

. . . though she also likes black and white.

She knows that contrasting colors work well together. . .

. . . that contrasting colors stand out in a pastel, pale, or neutral scheme. . .

. . . that lack of contrast makes things blend. . .

and that delicate colors can get lost or overpowered when surrounded by dark or bright colors.

Mother Nature knows her techniques:


She works with alternate materials. Is it a whale or a bird?

A butterfly?


She quilts lines and curves. . .

veins. . .

feathers and pebbles.

She loves to stipple.


Look at those french knots!

Crazy Quilting

She embellishes with beads. . .

and bugles. . .

ribbons. . .

braids. . .

and trims. . .

ruffles. . .

lace. . .

and fringe.

She even plays with threads. . .

and Texture Magic!

Yes, Mother Nature is a MASTER quilter!

Special thanks to my friend, Jan Mitchell, for all the wonderful photos used on this blog.

© Janis R. Mitchell and Annette L. Unrein — June 2009. All rights reserved.