"Fill the space, turn the corner, inspiration is everywhere..." In today's Facebook Live, Alex continues her tutorial on quilting design - it's fun AND functional!

Join Alex LIVE today June 15, 2020 at 10am PST, 1pm EST, and 6pm London time.


Be prepared to be knocked off your feet by Numquam Cede, a Baltimore Album quilt by Elisabeth Frolet. She designed the appliqué work herself and included many personal references, spending 3000 hours over a period of three years working on it. And the cherry on top? Elisabeth hand quilted it as well.

Numquam Cede by Elisabeth Frolet of Dunwoody, Georgia won Honorable Mention in the Appliqué, Large category, sponsored by EZ Quilting, at Houston 2019.


A New Machine Quilting Motif!

Anchors Aweigh, Quilters! It’s all hands on-deck as Lori Kennedy at WeAllSew gives you step-by-step instructions for stitching a row of anchors to fill a border. 

Click here for tutorial.


Lisa Walton, textile artist and past President of SAQA, recently sat down with Ricky to talk about the creation of his quilt, Northern Lights , as part of her series of interviews called Quilt Stories . Lisa has been interviewing many interesting quilters about specific quilts and will also be sharing them online. 

You can watch Lisa here at TQS in Show 2503.

Click here for more inspired Quilt Stories.



Hungarian Rhapsody is a special quilt that Ricky has brought new life to. Vibrant and colorful, it is sure to get any quilter excited to start their next piecing venture.

You can learn piecing from Ricky in our Piecing Masterclass Part 2, and Show 804: Create Your Own Rhapsody Quilt - Part 2.

Original Photo by Ricky Tims


Why is it that some quilts never leave the depths of the WIP (Work In Progress) pile? Did you lose interest, or did the fabrics and color choices just not play together well? For the next several lessons we will take a brief pause from our focus on the fundamentals of color, to look at how and what fabric choices you make can result in a flat or less dynamic quilt.

Scale, value, and pattern can make a huge difference when it comes to selecting fabrics for your quilt project. It's one thing to understand the principles of the terms, but another matter when it comes to actually putting a fabric group together.

Let's look at Kissin' Cousins by Susan Carlson. This WIP illustrates the wide array of fabrics Susan has used in her collage work to create depth and realism on the faces of the two children. In the detail of the girl's face below, you will notice the masterful way she combined fabrics with prints of different sizes, themes, and colors to give depth and interest. Susan's skillful use with what many would consider fabrics that absolutely would not play well together, in fact, actually do make for a very harmonious grouping.









Kissin' Cousins by Susan Carlson (Show 801). (Detail)

Another master when it comes to gathering a very diverse fabric collection for quilt projects is Karen K. Stone (Show 1611). Two examples that showcase the vast array of fabrics, patterns, scale, and size she customarily uses in her work are Lilith and Clam Session.

Lilith by Karen K. Stone. (Image by TheQuiltShow.com). Clam Session by Karen K. Stone (Image by TheQuiltShow.com)


But where does one start when it comes to deciding on what fabrics to cull or purchase? As a quilter, your local quilt shop is a great resource. Most shops offer pre-cut designer fabric collection bundles, such as charm squares (5" x 5"), jelly rolls (2 1/2" x 45"), layer cakes (10" x 10"), and fat quarter bundles (9" x 22"). These groupings, usually based on a theme, offer a nice array of fabric prints in one complete collection; or let a favorite fabric be the inspiration for your grouping. And don't forget to check out those colored dots along the selvedge of your inspirational fabric, as they are very useful for matching color.

What if the current collections at your local quilt shop don't make you swoon, or you want to build a fabric group from your own stash? Here are a few basic tips to keep you on track.

The basics for creating interest:

Scale / Size - Include a variety of small, medium, and large prints. By including a mix of the three, your work will have more depth and variety.

Value - Include a wide range of light, medium, and dark to avoid your work from reading flat. Are you not sure about relying on your instincts? Use the Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool to help solve the mystery. Each of the twenty-four pages illustrates the pure color, tints, shades, and tones of a family, allowing you the opportunity to select from a wide array of fabrics to make a quilt more interesting.

In Show 1307, Alex Anderson shares her method for gathering fabrics when beginning a scrap quilt. From selecting a wide range of fabrics, to the role value plays within a star block, diversity of fabric choice can make a huge difference.

In Show 1413Leni Levenson Wiener shows what a difference 'zingers' make when selecting fabrics for her trees.

Becky Goldsmith (Show 611Show 1704, and Show 2401) is an award-winning quilter who teaches both nationally and internationally. She says that, "quilters paint with fabric." And as such the need to understanding how fabric works can mean the difference between a quilt project that is forever doomed to the UFO dungeon or a loved and completed piece.


Working with Predictable vs. Unpredictable Fabrics

by Becky Goldsmith (Show 611, Show 1704, and Show 2401)

Fabric falls into two broad categories: predictable and unpredictable. Predictable fabrics are not ‘better’ than unpredictable fabrics—they just behave differently. When you can see at a glance which category a fabric falls into, it makes choosing fabric for a quilt much easier.

Predictable Fabrics

A predictable fabric can be cut into big or small pieces and it will look the same everywhere it shows up in the quilt. In pieced quilts, that is a very good thing.



Solids are the most predictable fabric.
No matter how you cut them, they always look the same.







Tone-on-tone fabrics usually read as a solid at a distance. Tone-on-tone prints can be quiet or visually active. If the values in the print are close together, the fabric will read more as a solid and be ‘quieter’. The more contrast in the print, the more noticeable and visually active the fabric becomes.

Tone-on-tone prints come in all sizes: small-, medium-, and large-scale.



Small Prints

The motifs and colors in small prints are near enough to each other that when cut into small pieces, they look the same no matter what part of the fabric they are cut from.






Some small prints have motifs that are more widely spaced. The designs in the print won’t be exactly the same in the pieces you cut from the fabric, but the print will retain its character. This antique fabric feels open and airy in both large and small sizes.







Medium Prints

Medium prints have obviously bigger motifs than those you find in small prints, but many are still predictable. Look for designs where the colors in the print are mixed together well across the face of the fabric.




Unpredictable Fabric

Unpredictable fabrics are ones where the motifs are often big and widely spaced. When you cut small pieces from unpredictable fabrics, you can’t predict which color will end up where and that can play havoc in repeating blocks.

Big Prints

Most quilters shy away from big prints because they look hard to use, but I encourage you to give them a try. Big prints have an expansive feeling that can add motion and depth to your quilt.


Big Prints

Most quilters shy away from big prints because they look hard to use, but I encourage you to give them a try. Big prints have an expansive feeling that can add motion and depth to your quilt.


When you cut big prints into small pieces, the design is fragmented.
If you bought the print because you liked it as a whole, this can be disconcerting.


These squares, from the big print above far left, are a good example of that.


Sometimes colors are segregated into discrete areas. For example, if you cut 2” squares from the rainbow dot fabric (designed by Greta Lynn) you will end up with squares that are blue, or red, or yellow, etc. If your pattern calls for mostly blue squares, the others are not going to fit into your design.

That doesn’t mean that these are not good and useful fabrics! One simple example is to combine one of these prints with one solid or near-solid contrasting fabric. Imagine 9-patches made with the rainbow dot against white. You would have a happy and colorful quilt from just these two fabrics.





Predictable Big Prints


Big prints are not always unpredictable and they are well worth using.

This wonderful fabric (on the left) is based on a pieced quilt, Tara’s Fireworks Quilt (fabric from Michael Miller). This cut is roughly fat-quarter-size.

You could use it as is, but it is easier to use in small pieces than you might think. The overall flavor of the print remains the same.




Let’s Compare:


Whether a fabric is predictable or unpredictable, always remember that the color, value, and scale of any print can only be measured against the fabrics they are paired with. A medium-scale print will look big when compared with solids and small prints.






Add an even bigger print, and the relationships change.








Adding prints with lines and stripes can help to visually control big and wild designs.








And, lastly, know that clear colors come forward and gray colors recede. So even though the big print, below, will be noticeable, the clear blues are more dominant.






Let's look at two completed quilts:


The only unpredictable fabric in this quilt is the dark gray/brown big print used in the log cabin centers and in the upper right hand triangles. You can’t see the big kitchen tools, but the shapes are cut big. I was careful to make the log cabin centers dark for continuity. I used a multi-colored stripe for the colorful inner and outer borders.







Improvisation by Becky Goldsmith


There’s a little bit of everything going on in Everyday Best. Many of the border backgrounds are cut from unpredictable fabrics that would not have cut up into consistent colors and/or values.







Everyday Best by Becky Goldsmith



Seeing Stars by Alex Anderson (Image courtesy by C&T Publishing. Free pattern Click Here) Lilith by Karen K. Stone (Image by TheQuiltShow.com)

Practice Exercise: Scrappy Sawtooth Stars
  1. Gather a collection of fabrics together from your stash to include one as the background fabric. Your collection can be totally scrappy as in the case of Alex's quilt, Seeing Stars, on the left above or a more controlled color palate as Karen K. Stone's quilt, Lilith, on the right above.
  2. Using the principles you have learned today, see how dynamic a collection you can pull together by including various print scale/size, patterns, and values.
  3. Using your favorite Sawtooth Star Block pattern method, make at least six different blocks. With each succesive block, try to find a way to make the next block different than the one previous.

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


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 thirteenth quilt from the exhibition. 

Title of Quilt: Listen to Your Mother

Quilter's Name: Jean Ray Laury

Photos by Mary Kay Davis


Ellen Lindner felt her quilt, Jubilation, should represent the bright colors and high energy of the joy that comes with any jubilation. We think she did a great job getting the feeling across.

Jubilation by Ellen Lindner of Melbourne, Florida was featured in the Abstract, Small category at Houston 2019.

Congratulations to Cynthia England for her quilt Reflections of Cape Town (68" x 72"), the Best of Show at Houston 2016.
Cynthia writes about her quilt:
“I was fortunate to teach quilting in South Africa. While there, we took a side to and visited Cape Town. This picture was taken in a fishing village there. I loved the bright colors and the reflections were something I wanted to try to recreate in fabric. I am constantly amazed at the beautiful places where quilting takes me. This quilt took about a year to make and has approximately 8400 individual pattern pieces in it.”

You can learn piecing from Cynthia in our Piecing Masterclass Part 2 and Show 1412: "I Can't Believe It's Pieced!"

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 seventeenth quilt from the exhibition by Eileen Diercks and quilted by Erica Barrett.

Title of Quilt: Starry Night

Quilter's Name: Eileen Diercks

Quilted by Erica Barrett

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