Are you staying at home and need a project? Got your scraps assembled? Alex has more great tips for combining those fabrics into a fun, fast quilt.

She will be LIVE Wednesday July 8, 2020 at 10am PST, 1pm EST, and 6pm London for Part 4 of Scrap Quilts.


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We now begin our transition from Elements of Design (Lesson 1) to Principles of Design. Principles of Design includes balance, contrast, movement, rhythm, emphasis, pattern/repetition, as well as unity/variety.

Let's use the example of an upcoming celebration that requires a spectacular dessert, and you want to show off your baking skills. The cake you have selected is an Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Berries and Mascarpone. Think of the Elements as the ingredients you will need (i.e. flour, olive oil, eggs, mascarpone, lemon curd) to make this decadent delight. This is no ordinary mix and dump cake, but one that requires you to prepare a number of items before actual assembly (i.e. making blueberry sauce, the lemon curd and mascarpone filling).

Think of the Principles as the instructions you will follow so that the resulting cake has everything your guests will find tasty and very memorable (i.e. eye appeal, moist texture, and interesting flavor combinations). These same principle holds true for your quilt work. You, as the designer, should be striving to create a piece that holds the viewers interest by incorporating all, if not most, of the elements.

Let's begin with Balance, which is a visual arrangement of elements (color, texture, space, etc.) to create a sense of stability and calm. As in the example above, balance can be horizontal, vertical, symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial. Examples of balance in the quilts below include:


This formal arrangement creates a sense of calm and stability. There is a structured order and no one element is dominating.

Baltimore Squared by Sue Garman (Show 304, Show 503). [Image by TheQuiltShow.com]. Atmospheric Perspective by Joen Wolfrom (Show 103, Show 2101). [Image courtesy of Joen Wolfrom].


The Asymmetrical arrangement is considered informal and requires that elements have equal visual weight. While it may appear easy, it requires the artist pay close attention so that some elements don't look as though they could fall off the quilt. In Maria's Tree the little girl is balanced by the sturdy and solid looking bench, as well as the fragments of letters on the turquoise wall.

The two roses near the bottom of Five Roses are much larger and visually help to weigh down the bouquet.

Maria's Tree by Linda Anderson. (Image Road2CA).

Five Roses by Marilyn Farquhar. (Image AQS)



Vertical designs create a sense of strength, power, dignity, grandeur, and authority.

Unfurling by Frieda Anderson (Show 705) [Image APQ]. Northern Obsession by Christine Perrigo. (Image QuiltCon)

La Vie En Rose by Mie Yamada and Seven Amigas. (Image by AQS)


Horizontal designs expresse a sense of calm, relaxation, balance, stability, and constancy.

Flight by Joanne Baeth. (Image by AQS)

Morning Rain by Sarah Entsminger. (Image by AQS)

Horizontal & Vertical Combined

The comibination of horizontal and vertical designs also express a sense of calm and stablity.


Handloomed by Tara Glastonbury. (Image by QuiltCon). Pole Dance by Claire Victor. (Image by AQS)


Radial designs lead your eyes around the quilt, from the center out or from the outside in.

Round the Garden by Helen Anderson. Pattern designed by Wendy Williams. (Image by TheQuiltShow.com)

Circular Copper Enamel Ammonite by Kim Lacy (Show 2606). [Image by AQS]

Award winning quilt artist Susan K. Cleveland (Show 109, Show 1001, Show 2308, and Show 2510) shares her approach to balance when it comes to capturing a viewer's interest in a quilt.


by Susan K. Cleveland | www.PiecesBeWithYou.com

(All images courtesy of Susan K. Cleveland unless otherwise noted)

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 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.

I like certain elements of my quilts to be noticed from a distance and other elements to be discovered from up close. As I design, I start with major elements (stars or flowers) and place them so that they are distributed somewhat evenly. I don't want one part of the quilt to be visually heavier than another. If a quilt has rows of blocks, I distribute color so the zinger(s) are sprinkled throughout the quilt … but not too evenly spaced. Elements do not need to be perfectly spaced or symmetrical to have balance. It’s all about appealing to the eye. Placing attention-getting pieces diagonally from one another adds movement to a design and causes the eye to travel. After major elements are in place, I scatter details that will only be noticed from up close.

I think it's wise to design with your talent and preferences in mind. Background quilting is my nemesis so I design with little background space. I’m particularly fond of borders, so I plan to have multiple. Mixing appliqué and piecing makes for an interesting design balance of curves and linear elements. Maybe that's why pieced blocks surrounded by curvy appliqué appeals to so many!


I like a balance of wacky and "buttoned up", so often if the center of my quilt is wackadoodle, I design a geometric border of stripes and/or triangles. The reverse is also true.


As my design sense grows, I'm finding I really love adding surprises after I think the base of my design is set. These surprises have helped balance areas where a little something is needed and have added a tremendous.

I know, I know...it is a virtual Quilt Week in Sisters, Oregon...but no one is the boss of us here in quilt country and we are going ahead with a spectacular virtual extravaganza! You have got to check out the happenings on the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show site and the Stitchin' Post. Also, when you are throughly enjoyed yourselves, please go over to The Quilter's Affair and sign up for 2021!!! We are really going to party!!!
I had to stop by the Stitchin' Post because there is a wonderful mother/daughter display, which if you are traveling through town you must stop and see. Jean Wells Keenan started the quilt show 45 years ago with just a handful of quilts...now it has grown into a mega event and her daughter Valori Wells is at the helm of the Stitchin' Post ship. What better way to commemorate the history than by having a display in the Twigs Gallery by both these wonderful artists.
Here are just a few of the pieces you will see when you visit the Stitchin' Post.
Stones Unturned by Jean Wells Keenan
Stones XII by Jean Wells Keenan
Pink Diamonds by Valori Wells
Ganesha by Valori Wells
I hope you enjoyed this peek and that you enjoy the virtual experience of the 2020 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show!
Stay tuned and travel along with us on Quilt Roadies.

Click here for Anna's blog.



Elaine M. Kollmyer-Nixon has been quilting for more than 45 years and still enjoys every minute of it. Once a quilt is finished she feels 'let down' until the next quilt begins. Her quilt, Birds of a Feather, is a stunning pieced and appliquéd celebration of her love of the craft.

Birds of a Feather by Elaine M. Kollmyer-Nixon of Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada was featured in the In the American Tradition Exhibit at Houston 2019.


Lisa Walton, textile artist and past President of SAQA, recently spoke with Jane Sassaman abour her quilt, Johnny Jump Ups.

Learn more about Jane in Show 301.

Click here to see the quilt and learn more.

You can watch Lisa here at TQS in Show 2503.


Do you have some fabric lying around? Do you love to quilt? Are you staying at home and need a project? Alex has more great tips for combining those fabrics into a fun, fast quilt.

She will be LIVE Monday July 6, 2020 at 10am PST, 1pm EST, and 6pm London for Part 3 of Scrap Quilts.



Christine Copenhaver discovered something about herself while working on this beautiful silk appliquéd quilt, Pink Acorns, that she created in the quilt-as-you-go style. What do you suppose it was? Read the sign below to find out.

Pink Acorns by Christine Copenhaver of Boulder, Colorado was featured in the Appliqué, Small category at Houston 2019.


Wish you could go to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show? Now you can because it's going virtual.

Virtual Quilt Show Day happenings:

    1. Visit their Website for a virtual walk-through of the 2020 Reimagined Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: Special Exhibits, Community Highlights, Buy a Storybook Quilt / WISH fabric postcard / quilt, Auction items available

    2. Follow them on social media - Live feeds throughout the day.

      1. Facebook: Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

      2. Instagram: SistersOutdoorQuiltShow

      3. Click here to visit their website.


Laura at SewVeryEasy has a fun way to play with 18 pre-cut 5" squares. Follow along to see what she makes.


Congratulations to the 2013 QuiltWeek - Paducah, Ky. AQS Best of Show winners Renae Haddadin & Karen Kay Buckley for their glorious quilt, Fiesta Mexico!

Would you like to see the back of the quilt? Captain John took some photos just for you!

To see the front of the quilt, scroll down past the back photos.





Fiesta Mexico by Karen Kay Buckley and Renae Haddadin won the Maywood Studio Master Award for Innovative Artistry, one of the top eight awards at the Houston International Quilt Festival.

You can learn appliqué from Karen in our Applique Masterclass Part 1 and Show 2007: From Perfection to Preservation.

To see more of Renae's work, watch Show 703: Tools of the Trade - available to Star Members. To see an up close look at the front of the quilt check it out as a Zoom Quilt.



Top 10 Reasons to Join the Quilt Show!

(Click on the box next to the YouTube logo to enlarge the screen.)

Learn about
Apliquick appliqué tools!

Watch Show 1912
with Rosa Rojas (free!)

Apliquick Rods


Apliquick - 3 Holes Microserrated Scissors


Apliquick Ergonomic Tweezers