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Bio/Contact Me

My quilting life began when I was eight or nine, with a doll quilt made on my crank Singer sewing machine. I asked my grandmother what was inside a quilt, and she said “cotton.” I stuffed my little quilt with cotton balls—and wondered why it was lumpy.

Fast forward through teenage years happily spent sewing clothes. Degrees in Design and Journalism segued into a full-time job for Sunset Publishing. In 1980 I wrote Quilting, Patchwork & Appliqué, a best seller, thanks to the input from renowned quilter Roberta Horton. I went on to write books on soft furnishings, decorating, and remodeling. I loved my job.

Later, as a free-lance writer, I was assigned to write a chapter on color for another Sunset book. Through exercises and observation, my uncle, an artist in Mendocino, taught me how color works—and ignited a lifelong love of color.

That chapter laid the foundation for two books on color theory for quilters, plus articles for quilt magazines and decades of teaching. My main takeaway? There are classic color concepts—and they work. Whether it’s choosing fabrics for a new quilt, fixing one that’s not working, or attempting an effect like transparency, it all boils down to the basics. What may look like magic is grounded in classic color theory.

Retired from traveling to teach, I do lectures and classes via Zoom. I feel so fortunate to live a life that connects me to quilts and quiltmakers worldwide. And now, my best creative time is spent in my light-filled sewing room, where I am always happy.

To contact me: cebarnes@sbcglobal.net