Would you list this as a log cabin quilt? Keiko Morita of Japan entered her quilt Prominence, 72" x 87", in the Large Quilts - Stationary Machine Quilted category at Paducah 2017. It is an explosive design, but when we looked closer we began to see the log cabin blocks. The quilting techniques used are listed as Free-Motion Emboidery, Free-Motion Quilting, Machine Piecing, and String Piecing.



What is it about some quilts and their 'spot on' realism that just makes them stand out from the crowd? White Umbrellas by Joan Sowada (on the right) is an excellent example. The shadows on the pavement and one umbrella have been created using a number of fabrics, including darker shades within a color family. 

Whether you are a traditional or art quilter, understanding how and where to add shadows and/or highlights can help you to create more realistic and dynamic quilts.

In her book Color Play, Joen Wolfrom (Show 2101) says that "the secret to making shadows and highlights has everything to do with color, the color scales, and the color wheel...Shadows move down the color wheel toward violet, while highlights move up the color wheel toward yellow. The deepest shadows will be a violet hue (see image below). The brightest highlight will be either a golden yellow (the umbrellas) or a chartreuse hue, depending on the side of the color wheel your color is on."


Let's look at some examples of quilts where shadows and highlight play a big role in creating realism for the viewer:

Joen Wolfrom is back to share the secrets of how to gain a better understanding of shadows and highlights. This knowledge is another valuable tool to add to your quilting toobox of tricks.

Secrets of a Shadow
by Joen Wolfrom

Shadows appear when something blocks light from landing on an object. The three important principles of shadows are:

1.   A shadow’s color is darker than the object. This darkness can range from slight to very pronounced. The amount of darkness depends on your design, your preferences, and the materials available.

2.   A shadow’s color is more toned than the object. There is one exception: A shadow for a pure-colored or deeply-shaded object can be made from a darker shade rather than a tone. 

3.   A shadow’s color is always cooler than the object. This coolness can range from slight to pronounced. Use your color wheel as a reference. Cooler colors move down the color wheel toward violet. If you want to create a slight shadow on your object, select a cooler version of the object’s color. A prominent or deep shadow may come from the “downward” neighboring one or two colors. Rarely will a shadow be as deep as violet unless the object’s color lies near violet on the color wheel.  (For more information, see Let the Colors Flow. - below)






Highlights are the brightening of a color due to extreme light. Highlights are almost always present whenever there are shadows. Highlights work similarly to shadows, except their coloring moves in the opposite direction―upward toward yellow. Here are the three important principles for creating highlights:

1.   A highlight is lighter than the object.

2.   A highlight is warmer than the object.

3.   A highlight is more pure (more intense) in its coloring than the object.



Let the Colors Flow

by Joen Wolfrom

Instead of thinking of the color wheel as only 24 separate colors, think of it as a circle of scores of continuous colors flowing from one tiny variation to another.

To begin, visualize pure warm yellow moving ever so slightly toward chartreuse in minute steps. As the yellow flows toward chartreuse, it becomes a cooler yellow. When yellow and chartreuse intersect, yellow is at its coolest temperature while chartreuse is at its warmest (the closer a hue is to yellow, the warmer it is; the farther away from yellow, the cooler it is). As chartreuse flows from its warm hues to its midpoint color, its temperature becomes neutral (neither warm nor cool). After passing its midpoint color, chartreuse moves to its cooler hues. When chartreuse meets the next color, yellow-green, it is at its coolest stage while yellow-green is at its warmest. This fluidity from color to color with the ebb and flow of temperature continues throughout the half circle until the movement stops at violet, the bottom color.

The colors on the opposite side of the color wheel are equally fluid, each color moving from warm variations to the midpoint neutral position and then to its cooler versions. They, too,  head downward to the next neighboring color, eventually ending at violet.

The 24 colors we see on the color wheel are the 24 midpoint colors that represent their major color sections in this continuous flow of color.  Understanding this fluidity of color will greatly enhance your ability to create shadows and highlights in your designs.  


Illustrations of Shadows and Highlights:

Notice the varying degrees of darkness, grayness, and coolness in the shadows on the hosta leaves and stems. The small shadow on the far right edge is the darkest of all. In contrast, the top two large leaves are in highlight. Their hues are lighter, more intense (more pure), and warmer than the leaf itself.







This park setting provides a great view of nature in both highlight and shadow. The spring-green trees in the park are contrasted with cooler spring-green leaves in light shade. Leaves more hidden from light are in cooler green hues. The tree in complete shade (left back) is filled with blue-green leaves. The grassy shadows vary in the amount of their coolness, darkness, and tonality. The grasses in intense light are in highlight. They are the warmest, purest grassy hues.







Practice Exercise: Finding Shadows and Highlights around You

Go for a walk in the early morning or late afternoon, as this is the time when shadows and highlights will be most pronounced, The walk could be around your neigborhood, a local park, or a place of interest to you. Be sure to take a camera or cell phone with you. 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 several examples of shadows and highlights to get you started.




Wouldn't this block make a great Christmas tree if you used the right fabrics? Find out what it's called when you play the Jinny Beyer Memory Match game.


Tourism Ireland has created a giant woven tapestry which highlights every episode of Game of Thrones in great detail. Over three months in the making, it commemorates the first six seasons of the popular television series by recreating key characters and scenes. By the end of the series it will reach 250 feet in length.
The work is similar to the Bayeux Tapestry except instead of the Duke of Normandy fighting the Battle of Hastings; it's Jon Snow in the Battle of the Bastards. This is one of many scenes filmed in Northern Ireland and one of the reasons the Irish government wants to encourage fans to come and see it.
The tapestry is hand-woven and hand-embroidered on linen from one of Northern Ireland's last surviving linen mills. It is currently displayed at the Ulster Museum in Belfast.
Click here to go to the Tourism Ireland interactive site where  you can browse the entire tapestry.


Follow along with Jen from Shabby Fabrics to learn how to make these must-have trays. The uses are endless!


The 1st Place Award-Winner in the Category Wall Quilts - Modern was Cassandra Ireland Beaver with her quilt Infused Plaid, 61" x 61". It was quilted with a Stationary Machine using Matchstick Quilting and included Machine Piecing. Her thread supplier is a very happy vendor. Take a second look...the thread is supplying most of the color. Cassandra speaks with Bonnie Browning in a video below the quilt pictures about the design inspiration and more.

Did you miss 2nd and 3rd?




I sometimes say “I’ve only stolen one quilt, and this is it!”

In 1998 while teaching at the Maria Peters Quilt Days in Winchester, England, this quilt, "Anasasi Enigma" by Liz Heywood, had won Best of Show. I was living in St. Louis at the time, but something about the Southwestern imagery really captivated me. I was just at the beginning of trying to collect a few quilts and asked Liz if she sold her work and was this quilt for sale. She discussed it with her husband and the following day they offered me the quilt. She told me it would be 200. After a slight pause she said, “Now that’s British pounds.” I tried to keep my cool because I couldn’t believe I could actually acquire this quilt for $350. I told Liz I would treasure it forever and to this day it remains one of my favorites of all time. I love it so much.
For nineteen years I never heard from Liz and really didn’t have a contact for her. I recently went back to Hampshire to participate in a quilt festival in Romsey, England. Knowing I would once again be so close to where Liz might be, I decided to take the quilt back to England with me in hopes that I might be able to reconnect with Liz and allow her to see her quilt once again. It would be like an old friend coming home. Indeed I was able to meet with Liz and she was so surprised that I brought the quilt with me. 
Notice the amazing detail of super tiny prairie points, machine quilting with no obvious starts and stops, and the hand “seed stitching”. 
Now that I live in the the great Southwest this quilt is even more cherished by me.



Ojo de Dios made by Mary Kerr and quilted by Candice West, was part of Mary's Twisted exhibit. This exhibit focused on the incorporation of unfinished vintage textiles into a modern quilt aesthetic. Mary writes, "Scraps of vintage blocks and top fragments have been recycled to create new innovative quilts. These pieces begged to be offered a second chance and they now serve as a bridge between the vintage past and the modern future."

Star Members can watch Mary in Show 2102: Quilts with Vintage Textiles.

OjoDeDiosbyMaryKerr - 35 Pieces Non-Rotating

OjoDeDiosbyMaryKerr - 99 Pieces Non-Rotating

OjoDeDiosbyMaryKerr - 300 Pieces Non-Rotating

OjoDeDiosbyMaryKerr - 35 Pieces Rotating

OjoDeDiosbyMaryKerr - 99 Pieces Rotating

OjoDeDiosbyMaryKerr - 300 Pieces Rotating

Original Photo: Mary Kay Davis


Ojo de Dios made by Mary Kerr and quilted by Candice West, was part of Mary's Twisted exhibit. This exhibit focused on the incorporation of unfinished vintage textiles into a modern quilt aesthetic. Mary writes, "Scraps of vintage blocks and top fragments have been recycled to create new innovative quilts. These pieces begged to be offered a second chance and they now serve as a bridge between the vintage past and the modern future."

Star Members can watch Mary in Show 2102: Quilts with Vintage Textiles.

Original Photo: Mary Kay Davis

According to WeAllSew, "Cutting squares for a nine-patch quilt on-grain will make the pieces easier to sew together, and may create a stronger quilt top overall than cutting the patchwork squares on the bias." This is just one of many tips regarding cotton woven fabric from WeAllSew. They've even included a video tip to learn about the different directions of a woven fabric. Click on "Watch the Video" to read more tips and watch the video.

Show 2101: Joen Wolfrom on Understanding Color in Quilts

We have packaged the Combo Kit for you, which includes -  Essential Color Wheel along with the Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool


Have you seen the latest "HOT" new EverSewn Sparrow30 sewing machine? The Sparrow30 is not just "pink" it comes with an extension table!

All this for only $399.00


Watch Show#1912 (Free) with Rosa Rojas

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Apliquick - 3 Holes Microserrated Scissors



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