Serena Brooks created Imperfect Match as her interpretation of a Double Wedding Ring quilt. Since her style is abstract, she knew it would be difficult for her to make the quilt in the traditional manner. Take a look at how she accomplished her goal.

Imperfect Match by Serena Brooks of the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild was featured in the Modern Traditionalism category, sponsored by Marcus Fabrics | Studio 37 Fabrics, at QuiltCon 2020.

Original Photos by Mary Kay Davis


Here are two skills all quilters will need at some point. Alex has some tips based on real life experiences.

Today June 24, 2020 LIVE on Facebook at 10am PST, 1pm EST, 6pm London Time.



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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."


White Umbrellas by Joan Sowada - Detail (Image Courtesy of Joan Sowada).

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

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered by Sheila Gaquin. (Image AQS.com). Cityscape by Claire Victor. (Image AQS.com)

Heirloom Pumpkins by Susan B. Knapp (Show 901 and Show 1709). [Image courtesy of Susan B. Knapp]. Film Roll by Kate Themel. (Image courtesy of Kate Themel).


















Reflections of Cape Town by Cynthia England (Show 610, Show 1412, and Show 2612). [Image by TheQuiltShow.com]

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 toolbox of tricks.

Secrets of a Shadow
by Joen Wolfrom
(Show 103 and Show 2101)

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 (Lesson 13) 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. (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.



Click here for more topics related to The Art of Quilt Design program.

I was blessed to be able to visit a quilting buddy...although the reality of our present way of life was in place with making sure we socially distanced...no hugging. I could not pass up this visit without checking out her sewing room! OMG!!! I was shocked by the amount of stash she had since the last time I had visited. And, stated that her stash was sooooo much bigger than mine, LOL.
She took offense and said that a lot of this stash was passed on to her by her sister and friends...myself being in the mix. What I know is that she is a prolific quilter, a generous quilter, and a talented artist. With the slow opening of local quilt shops we have been limited in our shopping opportunities, but this quilter didn't have to worry at all! With the variety of fabrics it just takes a bit of creativity, which she does not lack.
What I know...it sometimes takes a Village to support a quilter!
Pattern by Primitive Gatherings (And yes, this quilter even made the village of clay houses!)

Stay tuned and travel along with us on Quilt Roadies.

Click here for Anna's blog.



Isabel Muñoz of Pozuelo de Alarcon, Madrid, Spain, was searching for a new way to bring another dimension to her quilt, a 3rd dimension. We think she found it.

Can You Get Inside? was featured in the Modern Traditionalism category, sponsored by Marcus Fabrics | Studio 37 Fabrics, at QuiltCon 2020.

Original Photos by Mary Kay Davis


Some quilts need a binding that adds to the color story. Alex demonstrates a two-color binding technique that will help make your quilt "pop".

Alex is LIVE Monday, June 22, 2020 at 10am PST, 1pm EST, and 6pm London time.



Kerri Green wanted to create a quilt which she first designed as a paper collage. Once put to paper, transferring the design to fabric made for challenging piecing. And if you've been following along with Alex's demonstrations of straight line quilting, wait until you see the detail in Collage Study 1, exhibited at QuiltCon 2020.

Original Photos by Mary Kay Davis



San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

6/24/2020 at 11am PDT: "The California Art Quilt Revolution: From the Summer of Love to the New Millennium” with Nancy Bavor, presented by San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, along with special guest Alice Beasley, whose work will be on display in Layered & Stitched.

The decades leading up to the emergence of the art quilt in the last quarter of the 20th century portray a complex picture involving the intersection of art, craft, universities, and the traditional American quilt. California played a pivotal role in the development of this new art form. In her lecture, Nancy Bavor will consider the significant cultural and social trends that set the stage for the emergence of art quilts, trace its fifty year history, and highlight works from the exhibition Layered & Stitched: 50 Years of Innovative Art, on view at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles from October 10, 2021 through January 9, 2022. 


Textile Talks features weekly presentations and panel discussions from the International Quilt Museum, the Modern Quilt Guild, Quilt Alliance, San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, Studio Art Quilt Associates, and Surface Design Association.

The lectures will be presented live on Zoom with recordings published on each organization’s Facebook page later. Follow each organization’s page for updates on each of these exciting presentations.


UPDATE: The Blog Tour Starts Today!!

We're so excited at TQS that one of our very own has written her first book. You'll definitely want to get your hands on this one! Congratulations to Lilo, here's what she has to say:

"Hello everyone! This is Lilo. Let me help you discover a new way of working in your creative space that doesn’t involve:

  • Endlessly shifting clutter from one area to another before 'playtime' can actually begin.
  • Thinking of and using your precious space as a storage unit.
  • Spending time hunting for project supplies.
  • Feeling frustrated that you can't see, reach or play the way you used to.

I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to talk about, promote and…share my new book (with C&T Publishing), Love Your Creative Space: A Visual Guide to Creating an Inspiring & Organized Studio Without Breaking the Bank. Look for it in the TQS Shop."

To learn more about how the book came to be, click here.

Want to know about the Blog Tour, check below.

I’m so pleased to have a number of fabulous artists join in to help celebrate the book launch blog tour later this week. Starting TODAY, June 26 and for each of the next 4 days, you will have the opportunity to peek inside the book through the eyes of 8 very diverse makers (including me). I hope you’ll follow along each stop to check out what they find.

Oh, and did I forget to mention, that you’ll also have the opportunity to snag yourself an ecopy of the book from C&T! And, Lilo is giving away a signed copy of the book to two lucky individuals! Be sure to visit each host; comment, share and play along so you can be entered in the chance to win.

Want to know who’s hosting? Here is the complete schedule:

Friday June 26, 2020:

Saturday June 27, 2020:

Sunday June 28, 2020:

Monday June 29, 2020:

Tuesday June 30, 2020:


Cheeky, the local cockatoo up the road from Michelle de Groot's house, is the featured bird in her quilt, The Pirate.

Learn how Michelle makes her quilts in Show 2613.

Original Photo: Mary Kay Davis

Top 10 Reasons to Join the Quilt Show!

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