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Christine's Color Connection

A newsletter for quilters in love with color

August 2015    

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The Quilter's Color Club has lots of info on every aspect of color. You can find my book on my website  

It's Still Summer!     
But the days are getting shorter and the light softer. And I've shifted into high gear for the Artistic Alchemy retreat in a few weeks. It's been a while since I've written about transparency, the topic of my workshop at Zephyr, so I thought I'd show you some step-by-step photos of the quilt I'm working on. (I took the photo above at the Mendocino Botanical Gardens, where you'll find an amazing display of color in June.)

Serene Circles: Step by Step
Layered transparency is the illusion of see-through color floating above or below another plane of color. It takes just-right fabrics, but when it works, wow, it's so much fun!

For my new quilt I used light, medium, and dark values of related colors for each block. The circles were then appliquéd to the background to make it appear that a horizontal band of lighter color lies on top of a darker circle, making a medium-value band of "transparent" color.

Below are the fabrics I chose for one of the blocks. It would have been better if the fabric on the right were darker, but we're at the mercy of the fabric manufacturers, which is why we need to buy so much fabric. At least that's my excuse :-) 

First I pieced a strip of the light color between two black-and-white prints to make the background, and strips of the medium and darker colors to make the circle. 

My good friend Kari discovered a nifty circle cutter by Martha Stewart at JoAnn.(Save those 50% coupons!) After aligning the marks on the cutter with intersecting lines I drew on freezer paper, I cut an 8-inch circle. (The blade is under the smaller knob.) While the circle was still in place, I also made slits with my rotary cutter where the seams of the fabric circle will fall.

Is this cool, or what?? So perfect, so smooth!


Next I pinned the paper circle, shiny side up, to the wrong side of the pieced unit, with the slits precisely on top of the seams. 

And then trimmed the fabric, leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

I pressed the raw edge over onto the paper circle, aligning each seam with its corresponding slit. (Check out the upper left curve of the paper circle to see a barely visible slit.)

Here you can see the pieced circle and how it relates to the background.

The magic happens when you line up the seams in the circle with the seams in the background. The circle below is just pinned at this point; I'm appliquéing all of my circles by hand because you can manipulate the fabric a bit if necessary to make the seams match.

When the blocks are arranged in rows, they remind me of Pop Beads. Remember those?? 

How about spacing out the blocks with plain alternate squares? Or rotating every other block, as I've done below? Playing with the options is half the fun!

I'll have kits of the 27 colored fabrics you see here at the retreat, and they'll be in my website Store shortly after.

If you aren't receiving our "Artistic Alchemy" blog, you might like to follow us to see what Heidi, Sandra, and I are up to. My most recent post, " Leftovers," is about the circles that were cut away from the back of other quilts I've made. They're little gems just waiting to be used in another project.  
Have a great rest of the summer. For those of you coming to Zephyr, I'll see you soon, very soon!
Lecture and Workshop Schedule 


August 22 and October 10, Grass Valley, CA, "Collage Vest" workshop, Sugar Pine Quilt Shop (530-272-5308)


September 7-11, Artistic Alchemy Retreat, Zephyr Point Conference Center, Lake Tahoe. Click Retreat for info. I will be teaching "Transparency." 


September 26, Roseville, CA, "Color" lecture, Sacramento Chapter of the American Sewing Guild 


October 21-22, Redondo Beach CA, "Buying Fabric with Color in Mind" lecture, "Elegant Circles" workshop, South Bay Quilters Guild



April 15-17, Durango, CO, lecture and workshop TBD, Four Corners Quilt Gathering

May 5-7, Sammamish, WA, lecture and two workshops TBD, Block Party Quilters

June 11-12, Susanville, CA,  two workshops TBD, Susanville Quilt Guild

September 27-28, St. Louis, MO, lecture and workshop TBD, Bits 'n' Pieces quilt guild

October 20-22, Las Vegas, NV, "Color!" lecture, "Modern Color," and "Sassy Circles II" workshops, Desert Quilters of Nevada

About This Newsletter   

If you've received this newsletter, you may have attended one of my workshops or bought one of my books, patterns, or color wheels. It's easy to opt out, below, but I hope you'll stick around to see what's in store. It's all about color, using it, enjoying it, and sharing it with other quilters.


Thank you! 

Contact Info

Christine Barnes