Now that the Kaffe Mystery Quilt class is over, Alex thought it would be a fun idea to see some of the TQS member's finished quilt tops. Check out all of the inventive and creative ways that members interpreted the blocks in their finished tops below, and see more in the forum.

nkettner's Kaffe Mystery Quilt


karonray's Kaffe Mystery Quilt


Sanjo's Kaffe Mystery Quilt


terrils' Kaffe Mystery Quilt


oitsewkay's Kaffe Mystery Quilt


patcee53's Kaffe Mystery Quilt


sundancesassy's Kaffe Mystery Quilt


judysews' Kaffe Mystery Quilt


Lori Kennedy, author of 25 Days to Better Machine Quilting, is back with another step-by-step free-motion quilting tutorial and this time it's butterflies.

Click here for full tutorial.


Not everyone has the space, resources, or desire for a large quilting studio. So how do you make do in a "wee space"? Alex has some examples and some tips for small quilting studios.

Alex is LIVE on Friday, September 11, 2020, at 10am PDT, 1pm EDT, and 6 pm London. All classes are recorded so they can be viewed later.


Showing off the full range of her Ombre fabric line, Hearth by Jennifer Sampou gives off a feeling of home. It is her take on a traditional house block with the star in the middle representing the people who live in the house.

You can learn from Jennifer in Show 2706.

HearthbyJenniferSampou - 35 Pieces Non-Rotating

HearthbyJenniferSampou - 99 Pieces Non-Rotating

HearthbyJenniferSampou - 300 Pieces Non-Rotating

HearthbyJenniferSampou - 35 Pieces Rotating

HearthbyJenniferSampou - 99 Pieces Rotating

HearthbyJenniferSampou - 300 Pieces Rotating

Original Photo: Kristin Goedert


Showing off the full range of her Ombre fabric line, Hearth by Jennifer Sampou gives off a feeling of home. It is her take on a traditional house block with the star in the middle representing the people who live in the house.

Learn from Jennifer in Show 2706.

Original Photos: Kristin Goedert


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 thirtieth quilt from the exhibition by an Unknown Maker.

Title of Quilt: Baskets

Quilter's Name: Unknown Maker


Laura Fogg's Fogged In features a triptych of, what else, fog. A featured characteristic of California weather, Laura wanted her quilt to portray the mysterious beauty of the fog on the coastline of Northern California.

Fogged In by Laura Fogg of Ukiah, California was featured in the Pictorial category at Houston 2019.

See more of Laura's quilts in Show 2005: Free-Form Collage and Embroidery.


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As we near the end of The Art of Quilt Design lessons, we want to add two illuminating (sorry for the pun, we couldn't help it) articles to your already vast library of information we've shared over the past few months. Christine Barnes (Show 1407) is an author, teacher, and contemporary quilter in love with color. Degrees in design and journalism segued into a writing career that has produced more than a dozen decorating, quilting, remodeling, and soft furnishings books.



Elegant Circles by Christine Barnes

Luminosity & Luster

by Christine Barnes (Show 1407)

(All images courtesy of Christine Barnes, unless otherwise noted)

love creating special effects with color that "fool the eye" into seeing light, either from above or below the surface of a quilt. The illusions of luminosity and luster are two of my favorites, and they are surprisingly easy to achieve once you understand three basic color concepts:

Value is about how light or dark a color is.

Temperature is about how warm or cool a color feels.

Intensity is about how bright or dull a color appears.

The terms value and intensity can be confusing at first. Value refers to the degree of lightness or darkness of color—for example, light, medium, or dark green. Intensity, on the other hand, is about how muted or brilliant a color is. Chartreuse is an intense green, while sage is a low-intensity green. Here's the catch: a green that is medium in value might be intense (brilliant) or low-intensity (dull). If you're having trouble discerning the difference, first ask yourself, "Is it light or dark." Then, "Is it bright or dull."

Let's look at ways to create these light effects. Luminosity is the illusion that light and warmth are coming from beneath the surface. I have a recipe for luminosity: When you surround a smaller area of medium-value, warm, intense color with a larger area of darker-value, cooler, less-intense color, the surface will appear to glow.

Like most recipes, you can play with the ingredients in a quilt or block. The medium, warm, intense fabrics can be a bit less intense. The darker, cooler, duller fabrics can be more medium in value, a little warmer, and a bit more intense. The result will be a soft glow.


Like most recipes, you can play with the ingredients in a quilt or block. The medium, warm, intense fabrics can be a bit less intense. The darker, cooler, duller fabrics can be more medium in value, a little warmer, and a bit more intense. The result will be a soft glow.







One-Block Example of Luminosity

Here's a four-block example of luminosity. Note that several of the fabrics don't look that luminous. I think this example makes the point that slight variations keep a quilt from looking formulaic. Batiks, hand-dyes, and woven plaids are some of the most effective fabrics because they are dappled, or in the case of plaids, have shifts in color and value that make them look "alive."







                                                                                                                                      Four-Block Example of Luminosity


With luminosity, the glow comes from beneath the surface. With luster, the light source comes from above or from the side and appears to skip across the surface or give the surface a subtle sheen.

Value and intensity are at work in lustrous effects, too. The values must shift gradually, with no jarring jumps, and the intensities must be similar. In my Color Modules quilt (Modern Patchwork, Fall 2016) I used 12 different gray-and-white prints for the sashing to make it appear lustrous. The arrangement may look random, though in truth I only settled on the pieces after a lot of auditioning.



Color Modules

Ombré fabrics, with their gradual shifts in value and/or color, are a great cheat because they do the work for you. (Who doesn't love that?) In my Urban Sunsets quilt, the gray ombré strips surrounding the center units suggest a light source that starts in the upper right and flows to the lower left.

Take a look at this single block from the quilt: it has both luminosity in the center unit (from the hand-dyed fabric on the left) and luster in the ombré border. Two special effects in one block—that's a bargain.

Urban Sunset


Layered Transparency

by Christine Barnes (Show 1407)

Of all the special effects possible with color, transparency is the one that intrigues everyone. Transparency assumes you can see through colors. One color may appear to lie on top of another, and where they cross, you see a mixture of the colors and their values. This effect is sometimes referred to as parent/child transparency.

There's another version of transparency, where a plane of transparent color seems to be suspended above or below another plane of color. I refer to that as layered transparency, as if there is an "overlay" of see-through color.



Here are a few tips for making layered transparency work:

• The values must vary enough so that the shapes separate. If the fabrics are too close in value, the pieces will blend into one flat surface, and you won't get a sense of layering.

• The colors must be roughly the same intensity. You can't create a convincing transparency with a mix of bright and dull colors—the contrast kills the illusion.

In Pop Beads (Modern Patchwork, Spring 2016) my goal was to suggest a horizontal band of light-value color above or below a large circle of dark-value color. Where the band intersects the circle, you see a medium-value version of the color.


                                                                                                          Pop Beads


Layered transparency calls for two groups of fabrics: one lighter and one darker. The colors can vary a bit in value, as long as they look light overall as a group. The same is true of the darker colors; they can vary a bit in the degree of darkness.  In my Transparent Squares quilt (Modern Patchwork, Spring 2015), I used light and dark values of roughly the same colors. (However, in some blocks, the medium-light yellow-green functions as a light. In other blocks, the same fabric functions as the dark.)





Transparent Squares

In this Bit of Plaid asymmetrical mock-block, the upper left corner appears to be on a different plane than the darker area. Note that the light colors are related to the dark colors they touch; that is, a lighter yellow-green is next to the darker yellow-green. When the light and dark colors are different values of the same or very similar color, the transparency is more convincing.

Asymmetrical block designs offer lots of opportunities for settings. Here, four of the blocks are set with the light-value areas toward the center. The result? A dramatic illusion of layered, transparent color.

Bit of Plaid

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


Alex is back with more fantastic quilting studios and ideas for your studio. Today you'll get a peek at Jean Wells studio, plus a few more surprises.

Jean Wells has been featured on The Quilt Show many times. Learn from her in Show 107: Portraits from Nature, Show 1301: New Directions In Quilting - Embracing the Possibilities, and Show 2513: TQS Quilting Legend - Jean Wells.

Watch Alex LIVE on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 10AM Pacific, 11AM Mountain, Noon Central, 1PM Eastern, and 6pm London.


Based on her experiences scuba diving, Eileen Williams wanted to share the wonders of the underwater world in her quilt Butterfly Reef. Featuring a mix of reality and fantasy in her seascape, Eileen's quilt is sure to pique the interest of any quilter, or scuba diver.

Butterfly Reef by Eileen Williams of Cedar Point, North Carolina was featured in the Pictorial category at Houston 2019.

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