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Lectures & Workshops

Color: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

This is the lecture I have always wanted to present! How, exactly, do I plan and make a quilt? Which comes first, the design idea or the fabric? How to I "hunt and gather" fabric for a quilt? How does pattern affect color in fabrics? For the first portion of the lecture I show digital step-by-step images and describe my methods of choosing, auditioning, and editing fabrics. A trunk show of quilts and wearables wraps it all up.
One hour. Fee: $475.

A Kaffe Fassett Extravaganza

Join Heidi Emmett and me for a fast-paced, fun-filled lecture on one of the biggest names in quiltmaking. Kaffe's patterned, striped, and shot-cotton fabrics have been favorites with quilters—like us—for decades, but he's just as famous for his knitting, needlepoint, and mosaics. Our program includes a short bio (he's a fascinating artist), two brief video interviews in which he discusses his color philosophy and sources of inspiration, and a trunk show of our quilts and wearables made from his fabrics and yarns.
One hour. Fee: $450.

Magic Fabrics/Special Effects

Put simply, magic fabrics give a quilt light and life. Some suggest light coming from below the surface (luminosity) or bouncing across the surface (luster). Others imply that see-through colors overlap to create new color mixtures (transparency). What constitutes a magic fabric? I describe many as “shot with light.” They usually display variations in value—light areas among darker areas, or light-to-dark gradations—and they typically contain warm colors. Batiks, hand-dyes, and hand-painted fabrics have a dappled quality; some commercial fabrics appear to “smolder,” an illusion that lends depth and warmth to even the simplest quilts.
Twenty-four digital images (I provide the projector), numerous blocks, quilts, garments, and framed pieces. One hour. Fee: $475.

Color! Color! Color! (lecture)

This fast-paced lecture begins with a look at the three color characteristics common to all quilts and garments: value, temperature, and intensity. These terms sound academic, yet they, as much as color itself, are the key to making great quilts. Learn how to use the color wheel to create fresh, unexpected color combinations. Slides of quilts from nationally known quilters are followed by my quilts and a mini fashion show of my garments.
One hour. Slides, color wheel, quilts, and garments. Fee: $475.

Modern Color (workshop)

What is modern color? What kinds of colors/fabrics make a quilt modern? Modern quilts are typically minimal and stylized, with simple, graphic designs. "Modern traditional" combines classic blocks and contemporary colors for a more transitional style. Solids or semi-solids, graphic, stylized, and multi-color prints are embraced by modern quilters; “low-volume” (light-value) fabrics are popular as background pieces or, in larger areas, negative space. Through a series of mock-block (cut-and-paste) exercises, you'll learn basic color concepts (they never change) and explore new ways to use color in your quilts. It's a fresh take on color—and it's fun!
Six hours. Fee: $625. Lab fee: $5.

Modern Color (supply list)


Color Camp: A One-day Retreat (workshop)

Do you stress when it’s time to choose colors and fabrics for a new quilt? Do you wish you had a better “color sense”? You need to go on retreat to gain a new perspective. You need to come to Color Camp!

This no-sew workshop based on Christine's new book, The Quilter's Color Club, consists of cut-and-paste color studies, with lots of help from the teacher and group critique of every block. The first three mock-block exercises focus on value (light and dark), temperature (warm and cool), and intensity (bright and dull). These characteristics, more than color itself, determine the impact of a quilt. An overview of the color wheel and a final exercise expose students to this invaluable (and amazing) tool for quilters. It’s lots of creative fun, and you’ll leave “Color Camp” with fresh ideas for working with color. Six hours. Mini lecture, exercises, and critique; sample blocks, quilts, and garments. Fee: $625. Lab fee: $4.

Color Camp (supply list)

To create the most successful color studies, you'll need a wide variety of fabrics in different colors, values, intensities, and patterns. Bring or buy ¼ yard or larger pieces; scraps are fine if they are at least 9” square.

Bring beautiful fabric! I do not want to hear anyone say, “I didn’t have time, so I just grabbed some fabric from my stash.” You can’t learn about color using a handful of rag-tag fabrics! Spend the time and shop to have a broad selection of great fabrics; you'll have much more fun and success with outstanding fabrics than with ordinary ones. Include both multi-colored prints and fabrics that are predominantly one color, such as tone-on-tone. You can work with solids, but be aware that they don’t always “marry well’ with printed fabrics. Stripes, as you will soon discover, are magical fabrics, so include them too. Also bring a few black-and-white fabrics if you have them.

Hint: I use a lot of mottled or dappled fabrics, especially hand-dyes and batiks, because they add depth and luminosity to a quilt. There are many other fabrics available that are “shot with light,” and they work beautifully.

It's very important to have a good mix of values—lights, mediums, and darks—in colors from all around the color wheel. Most of us have plenty of mediums and darks. Lights are harder to come by. Don't go too dark or too light, however; very dark fabrics often read as black, and very light fabrics read as white.

There are twelve colors on the Prang color wheel. Following is a list of these colors, with just a few common names in parentheses to help you visualize what they look like. (In reality, there are many versions of each color.) Try to bring at least one light, medium, and dark for each color.

Organize your fabrics by color. She who brings the most and best-organized fabric wins! I provide a small “fabric library,” arranged by color, for you to use if you get stuck. But you should still shop for and organize your own fabrics. When in doubt, buy and bring more fabric!

Swizzle Sticks (workshop)

In this modular quilt I combined solids and prints and separated the horizontal rows in each block with "swizzle-stick" strips. There are only three different block designs, each repeated three times, so it's faster than it might look. My quilt features plain solids, but semi-solid fabrics would work just as well. Black-and-white dotted sashing spaces out the blocks, while four patches tie it all together. My technique for adding the skinny strips makes everything lie flat and straight. Six hours. Fee: $625. Pattern: $8. Email me for the supply list.

Urban Sunsets (workshop)

Learn about color, value, and pattern, plus my technique for making super-skinny strips in this modern-quilt workshop. Three related (but not matching) fabrics make up each center unit. Narrow black-and-white strips inserted asymmetrically between the "segments" define and separate the fabrics. You'll also learn how to cut and add the ombré borders to make it appear as if light is sweeping across the surface. (The gray ombré will be available in class.) Six hours. Fee: $625. Pattern required: $15. Email me for the supply list.

Spumoni (workshop)

It was love at first sight—on Pinterest, no less—when I first saw this graphic block, often with the name of Japanese X and Plus block. What an opportunity for creative work with color! Each block is its own cohesive "color story" and could easily stand alone. Put nine different-colored blocks together, and the bold (almost chaotic) pattern comes alive. The workshop begins with the concepts essential to making each block read—color, pattern, and value. I do a demo on cutting and piecing the block, which is a cinch even for beginners. It's fast, and it's fun! Six hours. Fee: $625. Pattern: $8. Email me for the supply list.

Urban Ombrés (workshop)

Ombré fabrics, with their subtle gradations in value and color, suggest luster and light in this minimal quilt, which appeared in the Winter, 2014 issue of Modern Patchwork. (If you don't already have that issue, you'll need to buy it from me the day of the class, $16.) The center units are made with Marcia Derse prints and assorted colored ombrés. The outer strips are cut from a gray ombré. Feel free to “make it your own” by using other prints and solid fabrics. Six hours. Fee: $625.

Urban Ombrés (supply list)

Transparent Squares (workshop)

Layered transparency—the illusion of layers of see-through color—is surprisingly easy to achieve when the values are just right. In this modern minimalist quilt, light center squares seem to float above the darker shapes. Sections of gray ombré appear to flow underneath the blocks, enhancing the sense of light and movement.

Transparent Squares (supply list)

*¼ yard allows for a cutting mistake, but you can get by with 1/8-yard pieces.

I used shot cottons, but you can use plain solids or semi-solid fabrics that have subtle, low-contrast patterns. Highly patterned fabrics aren't effective for transparencies.

It's helpful if you can pair a light value and a darker value of the same or a similar color; for example, a light-value orange (peach) and a darker-value orange (burnt orange). They don't need to be exact; see the blocks in my quilt.

Hint: As much as you can, maintain a consistent intensity among your fabrics. That is, don't mix bright brights and muted colors. Six hours. Fee: $625. Pattern: $10.

Lustrous Squares II (workshop)

Simple blocks with "spinning borders" and red flanges stand out against the highly patterned black-and-white sashing in this quilt. The class begins with a group evaluation of students' fabrics, followed by a demo on adding the borders to the blocks using the partial seam technique. I will also demo my method for adding straight, consistent flanges to the blocks before sewing the sashing. Six hours. Fee: $625. Pattern: $10. Email me for the supply list.

Sassy Circles II (workshop)

Shadowed circles look light-and-airy when framed by sashing. The class begins with a discussion of the role contrast plays in creating successful blocks, followed by a demo on making the shadows and circles, appliquéing the shadows and circles to the background, and stitching accurate sashing. My circles are from Kaffe Fassett prints, but you can use any patterned fabrics. I chose a black-and-white stripe for the shadows (I just couldn't resist) but you can use a solid or patterned black. Six hours. Fee: $625. Pattern (includes template): $12.

Sassy Circles II (supply list)

Black Opals & Ribbon Candy (workshop)

You’ll see the potential for secondary patterns in other traditional quilt designs after making this quilt—guaranteed! The workshop begins with a crash course in color—value, temperature, and intensity—followed by an evaluation of students’ fabrics and step-by-step instructions for making the black-opal units and ribbon-candy segments. We’ll also discuss suitable border fabrics. Six hours. Fee: $600.

Black Opals & Ribbon Candy (supply list)

Luminosity (workshop)

This dazzling special effect is surprisingly easy to achieve, once you understand a few simple concepts: When you surround a relatively small area of warm, intense color with a larger area of cooler, less-intense, darker color, your quilt will appear to glow, as if light and warmth are coming from behind.

This one-day workshop begins with a crash course in color, followed by evaluation of your fabrics to ensure success. Then you’ll begin cutting and piecing your blocks. Along the way, I’ll have lots of tips for making the process easier and more accurate. I’ll also go over how to cut and attach the “spinning” borders. Six hours. Fee: $625 Pattern: $8.

Luminosity (supply list)

Your fabric choices are what make this quilt work. Gather:

Batiks, hand-dyes, and mottled fabrics that appear to be “shot with light” work beautifully. Study the photo of my quilt to help you choose your fabrics. If you look at the image, you’ll see many batiks, but I used a few prints and stripes, too.

For the blocks, you’ll need:

If you want to simplify my quilt, you’ll need ¼ yard each of eight warm, intense fabrics and ¼ yard each of eight cooler, less-intense, darker fabrics. With these amounts, your fabrics will repeat more often in the quilt and the effect will not be as complex.

A very important note: For your cooler, less-intense, darker fabrics, don’t go too dark or too dull. You need a few brighter, medium-dark fabrics to give your quilt life. If your fabrics that surround the center squares are all drab, your quilt will be drab too; this is the most common mistake students make in choosing their fabrics.

For the border and binding, you’ll need


Elegant Circles (workshop)

The workshop begins with a discussion of the role of value in creating depth and volume in a quilt design, followed by an overview of the process for creating the circles, shadows, and background triangle squares. A step-by-step demo of basting the fabric circles using an iron and appliquéing the circles and shadows to the background makes these techniques doable for all skill levels. Six hours. Fee: $625.

Elegant Circles (supply list)