This looks like it might be Tumbling Blocks.  What do you think?


Texture Poster

Texture in art engages our sense of touch and sight. It captures the way something should feel when you reach out to touch it. As quilters we are naturally apt to want to reach out and touch a beautiful fabric or quilt. This week we begin studying how you as a quilter can draw viewers in with the use of texture.

Have you ever walked through a fabric store and not actually touched any of the fabrics you are attracted to? Try it sometime, it is harder than you think. Lucy Lamp from Sophia explains texture this way:

"You wake up in the morning, toss back the crisp cotton sheets. Your bare feet move across the polished wood floor. You get into the shower and feel the warm water spalsh against your skin, the soap slide over your arms. You wrap yourself in a soft terry towel. Your clothes provide you with a whole array of textures: silky, starched, velvety, coarse, elastic. Breakfast provides even more: fluffy scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, melted butter dripping off crunchy toast.

You look out the window, and even though you can't touch it, you can see the layers of texture in the leaves of the old oak tree and its gnarly bark, the multicolored aging brick on the building across the street, the gleaming polished surface of a car.

Imagine the world without texture.

Touch is one of our senses. Our hands and skin are equipped with sensitive nerves that distinguish texture. In addition to giving us information about the world around us, our sense of touch gives us pleasure. We find sensual joy in the tactile experience of different surfaces.  It is an essential aspect of visual art for the same reason."

Consider the Sparrows-Matthew 10:29-31 by Randi Swindler

Let's use Consider the Sparrows-Matthew 10:29-31 by Randi Swindler, to find her use of texture to tell a story, while holding the viewers attention.

Consider the Sparrows-Matthew 10:29-31 by Randi Swindler detail

The window frame and ledge are made of wood. Your eyes confirm that it is wood because the stitch lines mimick grain lines we recognize to be found in wood. Notice how the spaces between the lines allow the fabric to puff up slightly making the wood appear to be a bit rough. This is not a smooth window ledge. Maybe this window is on a cabin in the woods?




Consider the Sparrows-Matthew 10:29-31 by Randi Swindler detail


Speaking of window, did you notice that, with the addition of a few smears of paint on a sheer fabric, your eyes tell you that the surfaces are two smooth panes of glass.





Last but not least, each of the birds wears a coat of soft feathers, created using a combination of paint and thread sketching.
The thread sketching gives the suggestion of individual feathers without actually outlining each and every one individually. The birds feel soft and real.
Consider the Sparrows-Matthew 10:29-31 by Randi Swindler detail 

Award winning quilt artist Susan Cleveland (shows 109 & 1001) shares her apporach to texture when it comes to capturing a viewers interest in a quilt.

Flowers & Feathered Frenzy by Susan Cleveland

Susan K Cleveland 

I might approach design a bit differently than others since my degree is not in art or design. I started with very little confidence and very little talent, but a great deal of passion. In grade school and high school, my grades in art classes were based on my enthusiasm and effort and I was fortunate that my little art ego wasn't squashed! My design knowledge has developed as my confidence in quilting has grown.

Oh, I love a variety of textures in quilting! Quilts loaded with texture cause me to pause and take a long look. It seems there are three ways I like to vary textures in my quilts: with fabric, with quilting, and with embellishments.

While commercial solid fabrics look smooth, my favorite hand-dyed solid fabrics have depth. Solid fabrics will show off fine workmanship and allow quilting lines to be more important. Commercial prints are available in any texture you like and can be a simple way to add variety to your quilts. Busy prints hide quilting lines so keep that in mind.

One texture I do not appreciate in quilts is raised seam lines. Yikes! When seams are not ditch quilted, they will seem to float and often don't stay straight as they should. I'm a big promoter of ditch quilting! Quilting in background areas can completely change the look of a quilt.

Flowered & Feathered Frenzy by Susan Cleveland-detail

Background quilting can create a rich, elegant texture or something wild and crazy. While machine quilting creates a flat line and contours between the lines, hand quilting creates texture within its broken line.










Ah, embellishments! Today there is tremendous variety in threads, ribbons, beads, buttons, and baubles of all sorts. I like mixing smooth, shiny threads with more loosely twisted matte threads for contrast in texture. Felted wool balls are among my favorite embellishments. They can be cut and stitched upon or they can simply dangle from a prairie point.

Psychedelic Big Bang by Susan Cleveland  

Of course, for every rule or guideline that exists in design, there are many fantastic examples that break all the rules, so … go figure. Design something and if it pleases you, it's a big success!


Practice Exercise: Finding Texture Around You

(From Sophia)

Go for a walk around your neigborhood, a local park, or a place of interest to you. Be sure to take a camera or cell phone with you. See how many forms of texture you can find. Don't hurry, take your time and look closely around. Remember, you are training yourself to be more observant. Take your photos and upload them to a file or print on a page for your notebook.  These images can later be used for inspiration. Below are examples of texture to get you started.

(All images by Lilo Bowman)

Click here for more topics related to the Design to Quilt program.


Alex spoke with Connie Potter. Connie was responsible for quilting the TQS BOM 2016, "Rajah Revisited" quilt. They discussed how she decided to quilt it knowing there was not much quilting "real estate." They also talked about the fundamentals of longarm quilting when working with a client.


You asked for it and now a new feature is available on TQS. You now have the capability to download any blog as a pdf file. Say you want to keep track of all of the Design to Quilt blogs, you can do it with the push of a button.

Simply go to the upper right corner of the blog where there is a 'pull-down' arrow. Click on it and a menu will appear with PDF as one of the choices. Click on PDF and another window will open with the file in the proper format. This file can then be saved to your hard drive or printed (or both).

Texture Poster




Can't make it to QuiltCon this weekend in Savannah? Why not enjoy quilts from the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase shown in Houston last Fall.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow



~Commemorating His Purple Reign: A Textural Tribute to Prince~

As we near the one-year anniversary of the death of one of Minnesota's most famous sons, the Textile Center will exhibit, Commemorating His Purple Reign: A Textural Tribute to Prince. Juried and curated by Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, it features the work of 24 quilters from around the US, including members of the Women of Color Quilting Network.

March 9 through April 29, 2017
Joan Mondale Gallery
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 9, 6 – 8 pm.

Textile Center - 3000 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55414

An avid quilter, a leading authority on African American quilts and quilt making, and a Bess Lomax Hawes National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow, juror/curator Carolyn Mazloomi will also present a lecture “Building a Legacy: African American Quilt History,” set for 6 pm Saturday, March 11, at the new headquarters of Minnesota Quilters at Recovery Church (235 State Street South) in St. Paul. This event, a co-presentation by Textile Center and Minnesota Quilters, also features jazz performances by singer Dennis W. Spears and The Wolverines Jazz Trio.

Click on Learn More to learn more about the exhibit, see the quilters featured and to learn more about Dr. Mazloomi.

 Commemorating His Purple Reign: A Textural Tribute to Prince


Amy McClellan's "Tessie" has fields full of appliqué flowers that bring springtime into your home and a smile to your face.

Star Members can watch how Amy creates her appliqué in Show 2004: Into the Woods We Go - Embroidery with Whimsy in Stitches.

TessiebyAmyMcClellan - 35 Pieces Non-Rotating

TessiebyAmyMcClellan - 100 Pieces Non-Rotating

TessiebyAmyMcClellan - 300 Pieces Non-Rotating

TessiebyAmyMcClellan - 35 Pieces Rotating

TessiebyAmyMcClellan - 100 Pieces Rotating

TessiebyAmyMcClellan - 300 Pieces Rotating

Puzzle - Tessie by Amy McClellan

Original Photo: Mary Kay Davis


Amy McClellan's "Tessie" has fields full of appliqué flowers that bring springtime into your home and a smile to your face.

Star Members can watch how Amy creates her appliqué in Show 2004: Into the Woods We Go - Embroidery with Whimsy in Stitches.

Tessie - a quilt by Amy McClellan

Original Photo: Mary Kay Davis

Yes, Ricky said it! - "Miss Thing Needs to Shut Her Mouth!"

The creative individual has to fight plenty of self-imposed battles. This is a battle that simply needs to go away. Here is what Ricky has to say during his lecture on the Creative Muse at the new Quilt Luminarium.

Click here to learn more about Quilt Luminarium and see if it's coming to your town.


Quilt Luminarium Logo

Want to attend a Quilt Luminarium and learn more about overcoming obstacles to creativity?

It’s like nothing else in quilting! A comprehensive quilt symposium that demystifies seemingly complex concepts, teaches mastery of unique techniques, and harnesses the power of the ever-elusive muse of creativity.

Click here to learn more about Quilt Luminarium and check below to see if it's coming to your town.






Upcoming cities include:

Dallas, TX

May 12-13, 2017

Tulsa (Glenpool), OK

Sept 15-16, 2017

La Veta, CO

October 13-14, 2017

Henderson, NV

December 1-2, 2017


Ricky wants to go where you want him to come! You can nominate your region. If there are several requests for Quilt Luminarium in a particular region of the US, Ricky will start an online petition.

Once the petition is live, the more signatures he gets, the more likely it will be that he will schedule an event in your region. Remember, these are regional events, not guild-specific or city-specific events. Nominate your REGION by adding a comment below.

Due to all that they bring (driving with a loaded trailer), they can only present Quilt Luminarium (in the lower 48) of the US states. There are other options for international appearances.

Have you seen the latest, greatest EverSewn Sparrow20 for $279.99?

Check out all the EverSewn Sewing Machine Models here!



Take your EverSewn Sewing Machine to class with you, as these are only 16lbs!


Show #1912 - Rosa Rojas 

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Apliquick - 3 Holes Microserrated Scissors



 Apliquick Egonomic Tweezers 

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