We continue our feature on quilts from the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) exhibit, Layered & Stitched: Fifty Years of Innovation, as featured at the Texas Quilt Museum. The exhibit is described as:

Studio Art Quilt Associates presents Layered & Stitched: Fifty Years of Innovation at the Texas Quilt Museum in Galleries I and III. These studio art quilts, dating from 1968 to 2016, represent the extraordinary range of talented artists working in contemporary quilt art. Featuring a balance of abstract and representational styles, Layered & Stitched includes several foreign artists, with a wide geographic distribution of makers in general. The curatorial vision of this exhibition embraces diversity and excellence, including three-dimensional works. Juried by Nancy Bavor, Director of the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles; Martha Sielman, Executive Director of SAQA; and Dr. Sandra Sider, Curator of the Texas Quilt Museum, who says, "Jurying this spectacular exhibition was one of the highlights of my career! It is an amazing show of historic significance."

The exhibit has also been collected in a companion book as well, titled Art Quilts Unfolding: 50 Years of Innovation by Nancy Bavor, Lisa Ellis, Martha Sielman, and edited by Sandra Sider. The book is described as:

Published by Schiffer Books, Art Quilts Unfolding offers full-color images of 400 masterpieces along with engaging interviews and profiles of 58 influential artists, key leaders, important events, and significant collections. Organized by decade, an additional 182 international artists' works are featured.
An introduction by Janet Koplos, former senior editor of Art in America, and a conclusion by Ulysses Grant Dietz, emeritus chief curator of the Newark Museum, help us to understand the impact and the future of the art.
The exhibit will be on display at:
(Due to the current situation around the country, dates for the exhibit have changed.)
Ross Art Museum, Delaware, Ohio: May 14, 2021 - July 2, 2021
San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles: October 10, 2021 - January 9, 2022

Please enjoy the fifteenth quilt piece, and first quilt sculpture, from the exhibition by Susan Else.

Title of Quilt: Family Life

Quilter's Name: Susan Else

Photos by Mary Kay Davis


Kathy York designed her quilt, Two Halves, to have each half look beautiful on its own. But it is even more stunning when looked at as a whole.

Two Halves by Kathy York of the Austin 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


What do you get when you combine free-motion stitching with rulers? A beautiful style of quilting made up of precisely shaped patterns designed to fit the space you are quilting. Straight and curved rulers are used in a variety of ways to form patterns such as diamonds, bricks and piano keys as well as clam shells, spirographs, and scalloped motifs. Originally a longarm technique, you can now do ruler work quilting on your home sewing machine. The ruler is placed against the presser foot and the foot follows the edge as the needle stitches. The ruler is then repositioned, so the stitches form the desired patterns.

Free Goodies!

The WeAllSew post by Susan Beck is loaded with free goodies! You get an eBook, a pattern, and loads of videos to show you exactly how to use Adjustable Ruler Foot #72 for beautiful quilting techniques. The first one is the eBook by BERNINA Educator, Nina, and you can click here to download it. It walks you through the ruler quilting process including terminology, machine setup, preparation and tools, and includes table runner instructions so you can practice.

The rest of the goodies are at the end of their post, so click here to keep reading!


The Quilt Alliance is excited to share that their first podcast. "Episode 01, First Quilts" of "Running Stitch, a QSOS Podcast" is now available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.

Also available on Quilt Alliance website.


From the Quilt Alliance:

Running Stitch, A QSOS Podcast is hosted by Janneken Smucker, Professor of History at West Chester University. Join us as we explore quilt stories, revealing the inner thoughts, feelings, and motivations of contemporary quiltmakers by drawing from Quilters' S.O.S. — Save Our Stories, the long running oral history project created by the non-profit Quilt Alliance in 1999.

Quilts and quiltmaking serve as a lens to examine some of today’s most pressing issues, including activism, public health, politics, race, and the economy. We’ll dig into the QSOS archive to listen to excerpts from past interviews, and bring back interviewees to ask them about what they are working on and thinking about presently. Upcoming guests include Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Carolyn Mazloomi, Thomas Knauer, Melanie Testa, and Jinny Beyer.


Alex is sharing your great ideas and answering quilting questions. If you have a question, write it in the comments or come chat at the LIVE event. LIVE happens June 26 @ 10am PST, 1pm EST, and 6pm London time.


Michelle de Groot created the first rendition of Poppy Art as a tribute to her uncle who never came home from the war. This piece is a simplified version of that work that others can create on their own.

Learn the whole story behind the quilt in Show 2613.

Original Photo: Mary Kay Davis


We continue our selection of quilts exhibited in 2019 at the Houston International Quilt Festival as part of their 45th Anniversary, the Sapphire Anniversary. The Sapphire Celebration exhibit is described as:

"Quilters have long used the color blue to symbolize trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven. Sapphire is also the chosen gem to celebrate 45th anniversaries—which International Quilt Festival is doing this year (2019)! These new and antique blue and white quilts will be suspended from the ceiling in a spectacular and unforgettable display."

To be a part of the exhibit, quilts had to fit the following criteria:

  • Entries may be Traditional, Modern or Art.
  • Entries must have been made between 1974 and 2019.
  • The minimum size is 50” x 50”

Please enjoy the nineteenth quilt from the exhibition by Colleen Blanchard.

Title of Quilt: Stars at Night

Quilter's Name: Colleen Blanchard



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.



Three Easy Steps To Save This Lesson As A Pdf:
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-Select the pdf. option. Wait a few minutes. It's a large file due to the number of images.
-Your file should appear with the title of the lesson.

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.



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