Up to Gnome Good
This quilt finishes around 12 x 17" and will make you smile every time you walk by it 😊😊
It has almost everything you need, including backing and batting (fusible fleece). You will still need fusible web, and a glue stick is optional.
Happy sewing and happy holidays!
$45, click the photo or the name to order
In class this week we are talking about borders. They are something that is familiar to traditional quilters, although not necessarily the way I do them 😂 I use borders as a way to add interest and also make a small quilt larger. They can be a really fun and easy way to add to your art quilt. I had a few examples in my mini series last summer, and here is another unconventional way to add borders. I started with greeting cards, and either placed them on a painted canvas, or made a new quilted piece to go behind the card. On one canvas I added chickadee tracks with a pen, and on the other I painted a simple hill to match the one on the card. It’s a very quick way to turn a quilted card into a little art piece!
If you want to give it a try, we’re doing a ‘buy two, get one free’ sale on card kits this week! Just purchase two card kits, then write in the notes section which one you would like for your free one. Then of course I'd love to see what you do if you do add background/border with one of these methods 😃 Happy Sewing! Beret
I don't do a lot of traditional type quilting/piecing, but when I see a technique like this I have to try it! I actually saw it (and tried it) more than 20 years ago first, no idea where... that was before too much internet was happening! Then a few years ago I set out to make a tutorial, and forgot a couple of the most important photos, and it took until now to make another one. There are lots of other bargello techniques out there too! I like how they can look like northern lights.
It's another 'very little math' way to make a quilt top/background. It always makes me laugh that I have so many of these when I don't mind the math at all 😂 I am pretty impatient though, so that must be why....
Anyway, this is so cool! I learned a few things, which I do every time. So now you have the benefit of me trying this three times, and hopefully working out a few of the bugs!
Super important thing #1: I wanted the light to end up in the middle, so I put the DARK in the middle for this step, it gets reversed! (If you were making a larger quilt, you could do more repetitions of the dark and light, hopefully that will make sense soon.
The first picture below has a few strips in the middle that don't change much, so I scooched a couple of them up a bit. The second has one with too much change, you want matching fabrics to touch at least a little! (from my second version of this technique) Again, this has to do with how you cut the curve in the first place. The first one must have had too much of a flat spot, and the one in the second photo had too steep of a curve. But I just had to scooch one of those also. The third photo shows my first one 20 years ago where I didn't notice until it was too late! Blurry ancient photo, but if you look close you can see at least one spot where the line of purple is interrupted. I did the colors a bit differently on that one also, the method I did this week isn't the only option!
In the last photo in this section, I show how I used chalk pencils to add a couple of registration marks on each pair of strips. This helped tremendously in attaching them together as you can't really go by the ends.
It's an unusual but fun technique, and I'm sure there are lots of ways to vary it. You can piece your original strips if necessary, but then you may have to trim off a bit when cutting vertical strips if a seam lands in an inconvenient place. This is about as wide as you can make it with wof strips though. I'm sure I'll post a picture of the finished quilt, follow my newsletter (sidebar) if you aren't, so you see it!. And let me know if you try it! Happy sewing, Beret
This will be another short one as I have an open house tonight (local people invited, but yeah… several inches of fresh snow…😅), and class starting Monday! Usually at this time of year I’m in the mad rush to make quilted greeting cards for bazaars. It definitely feels weird to not be (just doing the Raven Art Show November 3rd), but I’m also very excited about doing the class instead! But I thought I’d include a link to a gallery of some of my cards from the past. The greeting cards are great for trying a technique, and you end up with something practical too. I think my grand total for 15 years is around 5,500 now! And hundreds of different designs over the years. I think I have 12 kits and maybe another 12 or so patterns, but that’s a drop in the bucket 😂 Many are inspired by a particular fabric, so aren’t really suitable for a pattern. But I hope these give you some ideas and inspiration! I have another batch coming soon, I hope, that will be very different from any previous ones, hmm… 😃
Quilted Greeting Card Gallery
Happy sewing, and local people, enjoy the snow, and if you don’t live too far away, I hope you will still come tonight, 5-8 pm, 2335 Nugget Loop, between Valatta and Ivory Jacks! Beret
When you move to a new studio, you find out just how much stuff you have… I even got rid of a bunch when I moved last time, but it just grows 😂 One of the things that I had even more of than I realized was UFO’s. Those projects that get started and then abandoned for various reasons! I am determined to go through them and see what needs to be finished, and what needs to be let go. But in the meantime, I found a great way to organize them 😂 I had been wanting one of these sheet pan racks for a long time for organizing my quilted greeting card kit parts. They’ve been in tubs, so we have to lay everything out every time we pack one. But with these trays, they can stay set up and all I have to do is grab one, plus another tray for the parts that go in every kit. But I also discovered that it’s great for UFO’s! I have more half sheet pans since this photo, but I still need a few more full sheets for the bigger kits and bigger UFO projects. My previous method was to stack them with foam board sheets, and that also worked pretty well. And I will still need to do that if I have more projects than pans… I even do small projects that I can finish quickly partly to help prevent this, but it still happens for various reasons! Some are potential kits that run into a snag, and some I just get sidetracked, usually by a new idea 😂😛 But it’s also great for projects that I haven’t abandoned, I’m just still in the middle of them. I’m so thankful to finally have space for this unusual piece of ‘furniture’ 😂
How about you? Are you a UFO collector, or do you finish one thing before moving on? Happy sewing! Beret
Have you ever had someone say to you, “Wow, you MADE that'!?” I’ve been thinking a lot about my upcoming Simple Secrets for Starting Art Quilting class, (Live version!), and mostly about what I want YOU to get from it, because that’s kind of the point…😀 There are a lot of benefits to anything you do with your hands and creativity, but I have a few specific goals in mind for my students:
1. I want you to have success quickly, as that motivates you to do more!
2. I want you to feel like you have a clear path to follow.
3. Anything creative involves making a bunch of decisions, which is partly what makes it hard, so I want you to feel more confident in doing that.
4. I want you to have some practical skills for bringing your ideas to life.
5. I want you to have a ‘toolbox’ full of simple concepts that make things look more complicated than they are! (That’s how you get the ‘you made that?!” 😀)
I’m also working on a fun box of goodies for students! I think I will have an extra special box for the first 30 people to sign up 😮 The goody boxes will be about $130 or so value for the first 30 people (a couple of bonus bigger items), and around $60 for everyone else, but still quite fun! Some of the items will be specific for the class, and some just for fun 😀
I’m also working on a special project for the class that will be a way to remember/track what you have learned, which I’m very excited about…hmm…🤭
Registration will open next Wednesday, September 6, at 8:00 am Alaska time and be open for one week. (9:00 Pacific, 10:00 mountain, 11:00 central, noon eastern) I will probably send a few extra email reminders leading up to it, and during the week registration is open! Set a reminder on your phone too 😀
Class dates: October 6, 2023-November 18, 2023
($217 for current students of the self paced version, you will get an email with a code ahead of time)
If you are already in the self paced version, nothing is going to change with that, you will still have the same access indefinitely! The Live version is going to be hosted on a new platform, and will have some new content, plus 6 or more live Zooms. (Which will be recorded if people can’t make it live.) But of course you do not have to take the live one if you don’t want to! The self paced version will still remain available to current members and be available for purchase, at least for awhile. That version is $79.
I’m looking forward to being a part of your art quilting journey! And feel free to ask questions. I will be sending some more informational emails over the next few days as well.
Happy sewing! Beret
We are definitely having a busy week of moving things into the new studio, both from the room in town and our house. Setting up shelves, figuring out where everything will go.... We got the kit packing up first so there would not be interruptions in orders!
I'm also finally nailing down some details for some events this fall this fall. I'd like to have an open house, an in person class or two, and an online but live version of my Simple Secrets class.
Here's the plan so far:
Simple Secrets for Starting Art Quilting, Live Version!
When: October 9-November 17, Six weeks.
What: Each week will have a module/topic/lessons. And each week there will be at least one live Zoom meeting for questions or for me to explain things live. (And hopefully recorded for anyone who can't be there.) I'm busy thinking up some fun surprises to include in this version! And I'm excited to try this format after having only self paced classes so far. More details and registration coming soon. Because it will involve so much of my time, the price will be higher than the self paced version. However, if you are in that one, you will get the entire cost of it deducted from the new one! And, I'm planning a physical box of goodies to go with it!
New Studio Open House
For local people, I'd love to have you come and see my new spot!
When: October 6 (First Friday), 5-8 pm
In person classes
No details for this yet, stay tuned! But I'd love to start doing these regularly. If you are local and have a few friends who would like to do either free motion or wall hangings, (or something else😂) let me know! I probably will only have room for 3-4 people, the first class will be an experiment...
Here are a few pictures of my new place. It's coming together, so I will post more when it's done! Happy sewing, Beret
Well... I'm finally back from my trip, and ready to get back into things! I hope you enjoyed my little mini series on really simple ways to start art quilting, and of course I hope you tried something in there. I'm all about finding ways for you to be successful in your art quilting journey. I have found that in the classes I have been taking recently, I do better with more of a schedule, so I'm still working on a more guided version of my Simple Secrets for Starting Art Quilting class. Details to come, as I came back to a bunch of quilt shop orders, a quick trip to Anchorage, and my news, A NEW STUDIO!!
Yep, after almost exactly three long years, I have space again! It's a cute cabin just down the road from our house, so I will get forced exercise out of the deal too, ha! I will share photos soon, might end up on Instagram first, so look there too! We haven't even started moving in yet, but we'll get started this weekend!
On our trip, I was able to go to the venue where I will be doing my solo art show next summer, in my home town of Grand Marais, MN. It's a beautiful log building on the shore of Lake Superior, so fun! And now I'm very motivated to start making the bazillion art quilts I need to have for that, so I'll probably show some of them here, and maybe even try to make enough to sell a few before then, which I rarely do! But I have so many ideas now 😃
And now for the tip: I always bring some art supplies when I travel. (that's not the tip🤪) I started doing more watercolor painting a few years ago, and it's so portable, so that and a sketchbook are usually what I choose. There are so many portable watercolor sets, but I think I found one of the most, as it's made of paper 😀 But, I'm not that good at painting, so like art quilting, I have found some ways to 'cheat' (it's not cheating!). This time it was using repetition, which, incidentally, is one of the reasons quilters love fabric. Most fabric has a repeating design, and our brains happen to love that! So, if you can only paint a little kindergarten-y flower, just make a whole bunch of them and it's great!
Then I filled in the background with some more repeated simple shapes, and at the end it looks like something 😂 Here is a photo of the outside of the paint I found, and also how much of the water I used from my water brush for this whole painting. Water brushes are the best way to make painting portable!
Bonus tip: I was watching Winnie the Pooh with my granddaughter, and I noticed the background artwork was loose watercolors with minimal details added with black pen. The bushes and branches had a few actual leaf shapes, but mostly just little marks, a few leaves gave the impression of all leaves. I love finding these little tips (still looking for that perfect word/phrase, that implies discovery or surprise as well as a concept, hmm...) I couldn't have painted this before I saw that, and I have gobs of those for art quilting too. Tips to suddenly make something seem more doable!
If you made it this far, stay tuned for more class info, and also photos of my new space! Happy sewing! Beret
So far in this series, we have covered backgrounds, foregrounds, and inspiration. I’ve given you the tip of the iceberg for each of those; there is lots more! I’m always looking for simple ways to help people get over the hurdle of getting started. I definitely like the more advanced techniques too, still gathering ideas for a Simple Secrets class Part Two! Things like creating a pattern from a photo, or using Inktense, the possibilities are endless! But my biggest thing is still getting people over the hurdles of getting started.
Color can definitely be one of those hurdles, right? My kits are popular partly because the fabrics are already chosen for you. (Most are available as pattern only though, if you want to try your own! Still need to work on the collage ones. But they also have loooots of different fabrics, so that’s another reason kits are handy! 😅)
I could probably do a whole class just on color. I love color theory, and learning principles that make it easier to choose them. For this email though, I’m just going to give you a couple of tricks secrets hacks (still need a new word… you guys had some good ideas, but I feel like the perfect one is still out there…🤪) to simplify the process! If you look closely at almost anything I’ve made, you will notice that I like to use gradations of color and value, sometimes both. That basically means that I don’t put anything next to anything else that isn’t similar, except for the main subject; that needs contrast. But for backgrounds, there usually is never a big jump between fabrics, but more of a smooth transition. But even simpler than that is to use either a monochromatic color scheme, or black and white plus a pop of color. All three of these are beginner friendly ways of choosing colors. And they can still look great! All of the ideas I’m giving you are ways to make art quilting easier, but that doesn’t mean not as good. They can still be quite effective. The vast majority of my hundreds of art quilts use these basic principles, including all of the ones that have been in magazines 😊
Here are a few examples of the three methods I mentioned: gradation of color and/or value, monochromatic (shades of one color), and black and white with a pop of another color.
I hope that helps give you some confidence to choose the colors for your next project! Remember, small ones are a great way to try something with little risk of time and materials, although it’s never wasted no matter what. And again, this is just the tip of the iceberg! I’m still working on a plan for a more guided version of my Simple Secrets for Starting Art Quilting class. I’m trying to decide between a concentrated 6 ish weeks or spreading it out over a whole year, with maybe one lesson, a live Zoom, and a project per month. Any opinions?
Still traveling, looking forward to getting back to work soon! (And I’m so thankful I can say that! Mondays are seriously my favorite day of the week, I love this a lot 😂)
Happy sewing! Beret
Ok, it's time for me to tell you about one of my biggest secret weapons: borders. If you have a traditional quilting background, you are probably quite familiar with borders, but maybe not the way I do them 😂 Borders are another kind of 'cheater' method for making art quilts look more complicated than they are. My borders are rarely symmetrical. I often have different colors or sizes on different sides of my quilts. But if you use enough borders, which are more familiar for you traditional quilters, it minimizes the space you have to fill with the 'art' part. How's this for a cheater art quilt? A rubber stamp, about 4 inches tall, (by local Fairbanks artist Maggie Hallam), the rest is basically borders. 😂 (terrible photo though, wow...😭) And a potholder made in a similar way. (Mostly decorative, thanks to all the buttons. They’re metal, and pretty flat though) The crane quilt has asymmetrical borders, with decorations added to some.
Sometimes there's a bit of overlap between what is considered a border and a background, but it doesn't really matter what it's called. It's just another fairly easy way to add size and interest to an otherwise very simple quilt. As usual, this is just the tip of the iceberg for borders, there are lots of other ways to be creative with them! Just another thing for you to consider if you are designing one. I hope you are beginning to see that once you start breaking down the parts, they're not as complicated as they might appear at first.
Next week we'll talk a bit about color, another area that can be either really fun, or really challenging! Happy sewing,
Beret Nelson's On The Trail Creations Blog Page
I am a homeschooling mom of three fun kids, who are now old enough that I have a little time to pursue my passion for sewing! After several years of making quilted cards and art quilts, I'm now designing kits and patterns. Some of my designs have been in Keepsake Quilting and Art Quilting Studios magazine! I teach classes online, and am starting to do more traveling and teaching. I also have many tutorials, including some on YouTube. I am blessed to live in Alaska where I am surrounded by the inspiration provided by the beauty of God's creation!
Free card pattern and also an e-book, and a quilt planning checklist!
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I am also an independent distributor for Plexus supplements, since I credit them with enabling me to be healthy enough to do all these fun things! They target blood sugar and gut health, which are at the root of so many modern health issues. E-mail me for more info, or check out my website! I am as passionate about getting people healthy as I am about getting people creating :-)