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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.

Buying Fabric with Color in Mind

I’m often asked, “Where do you find these fabulous fabrics?” As quilters we have endless sources, but choosing fabric with color in mind takes an awareness of basic color concepts and the qualities that make fabrics special. In this digital-image presentation and trunk show, you’ll learn how to select fabrics for successful quilts and avoid the pitfalls when building your stash.
Digital images, quilts, garments, and framed pieces. One hour. Fee: $475.

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.

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!

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. Plain solids, shot cottons, and graphic prints are widely used, as are low-volume (light-value) fabrics, which often function as background pieces or, in larger areas, negative space. Through a series of traditional and original cut-and-paste exercises, you'll learn basic color concepts and new strategies, such as my recipe for "asymmetrical color," and discover new ways to work with color in your quilts. (For longer workshops, you'll begin a quilt based on one of my patterns, or a pattern of your choice.) It's a fresh take on color, and it's fun! Six hours. Fee: $625. Lab fee: $4. Email me for the supply list.

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: $8. 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)

Note: You can purchase a kit of the gray ombré, colored ombrés, and Marcia Derse prints from me the day of the class for $45. I'm out of the black-and-white fabrics, and the Marcia Derse prints may vary, depending on availability.

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)

Lustrous Squares (workshop)

Make the most of those amazing ombré (gradated) fabrics with this simple, graphic quilt. You’ll need to purchase the kit of nine ombré fabrics (as 5-inch-wide strips) and the pattern, available in class or in the Store. You supply the multicolored center fabrics and black-and-white border fabric. (I’ll offer tips on how to chose the border fabric.) The block construction couldn’t be simpler—four strips “spin” around the center square—but there’s a trick to adding the strips to create the lustrous look. It’s a super-simple quilt, but it delivers a powerful punch of color! Six hours. Fee: $600.

Lustrous Squares (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.

Luminosity (supply list)

Luminaria pattern ($4.50; available in class)
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)

Happy Jacket (workshop)

The key to happiness in making this sweatshirt jacket is using the right fabrics for your sweatshirt. The class begins with a group evaluation of each student's fabrics to learn what will work, what won't, and why. (You should bring more than the number of fabrics indicated, to have a broad selection to choose from.) Once you settle on the fabrics, you'll cut an assortment of bias strips, glue-baste them to the sweatshirt foundation, and stitch close to the raw edges of each strip. You'll then surface-stitch your sweatshirt as much or as little as you like. Before the class ends, I'll show you how to make the chenille circles and attach the rick-rack and binding. (I'll have the rick-rack, from Rainbow Resource, available at the time of the class; see below.) See Gallery.
Six hours. Fee: $600.

Happy Jacket (supply list)

Note: Do not prewash your sweatshirt or your fabrics. Do remove the ribbing on the sweatshirt, and take it apart at the side and underarm seams so you can lay it flat.

Transparency (workshop)

Amaze your family! Fool your friends! They will be very impressed when you show them a block or quilt that incorporates the illusion of transparent color. In this special effect, one color appears to lie over another, and where the two colors overlap, a third color is formed. It takes "just-right" fabrics for successful transparencies, but when it works, wow! We start with a crash course in color, then make three simple mock-blocks, followed by two more challenging ones. Six hours. Mini-lecture, exercises, critique, sample blocks. Fee: $625. Lab fee: $3.

Transparency (supply list)

Yellow (primary yellow, daffodil)
Yellow-green (olive, apple green)
Green (grass green, mint)
Blue-green (turquoise, teal)
Blue (primary blue, slate)
Blue-violet (periwinkle, iris)
Violet (purple, eggplant)
Red-violet (magenta, fuchsia)
Red (primary red, brick)
Red-orange (terra cotta, salmon)
Orange (pumpkin, spice)
Yellow-orange (mango, cheddar)


I provide the printed sheets for the mock-block exercises and a mini color wheel, or you can buy my color wheel ($13) in class. If you already have a color wheel, bring it. I also provide a “fabric library,” arranged by color, for you to use if you get stuck.

Collage Vest (workshop)

Fabric collage and surface stitching combine to create a sophisticated vest that makes the most of color, pattern, and texture. The workshop begins with examples of harmonious (but not matching) fabrics for collage. Then the fun begins: you'll develop your composition on your foundation fabric, then pin the pieces and anchor the raw edges. I'll demonstrate surface stitching and go over the how-tos of finishing. My Kimono Collage vest pattern will be available in class, or bring your own favorite pattern. Six hours. Fee: $625.

Collage Vest (supply list)

You'll need enough to cut out your vest front and back pieces plus 1/3 yard. (You must cut the foundation pieces with an extra 1 1/2-2 inches on each edge.) Choose a fabric you like a lot because it becomes the inside of your vest. If you plan to buy my pattern, you'll need fabric to total approximately twice the measurement from the high point on your shoulder to your hip bone, plus the 1/3 yard.

Hint: Choose fabrics that contrast with each other. They may have a common color or a similar "feel," but if they are over-coordinated in color, your vest will look like one piece of fabric (and you will be disappointed!). Surface stitching has a tendency to blend and blur the differences, so when in doubt, opt for fabrics with more, rather than less, contrast in:

For your accent scraps, choose fabrics with more intense color.

Reversible Vest with Hong Kong Seam Finish (workshop)

In this color-and-design workshop, students learn how to collage a variety of raw-edge shapes onto a foundation fabric, zig zag the edges lightly with a neutral thread, and surface stitch through all layers to create a new "fabric." You can also do piecing on the right front of your vest (see my vest in the Gallery), or use just one fabric for the right front.” The Hong Kong seam finish makes the vest reversible. Six hours. Fee: $625.

Basic Supplies


You have several options for the outside and the inside of your vest: Think about the outside first:

Now think about the inside of the vest:

Other Fabrics