Note: if My Spoonflower Shop links aren’t working (the system has seemed overloaded at times recently) you can also find me at Spoonflower.com and Roostery.com by searching on “bethannwilliams”)
I haven’t been posting lately, but I HAVE been creating. 🙂
Working on designs for a couple of new fabric collections has made me reflect a bit on previous work. Today I thought it would be fun to revisit the first fabric designs I ever uploaded to my shop on Spoonflower.com.
Around the World and Back Again
This is what I titled my first fabric collection. The original inspiration behind this entire collection is one of my journal quilts, At the Gates of Midnight. The title of the quilt comes from a phrase I once read that stuck with me – “Even at the gates of midnight, still dreaming of the dawn…”
At the Gates of Midnight, journal quilt/art quilt, (C) Beth Ann Williams
Around the World and Back Again is a reference to my personal life, visiting and/or living in 17 countries by the time I graduated college. Most of the fabrics in the center of this quilt are from Africa. In addition to the personal associations, I love the strong graphic quality, vivid colors, and high internal contrast common to many of these fabrics.
I used bits and pieces of the quilt as starting points to create new designs. As I was developing the collection, I also tried to keep in mind practical considerations such as having a variety of colors, values, and scales. And though I have a definite fondness for working with radial symmetry, I also included a few stripes and simpler all-over patterns as well. Continue Reading…
The quilting on my newest Colorwash Bargello quilt is finished!
Cascade II from Colorwash Bargello Quilts by Beth Ann Williams, quilted and pinned to the design wall, ready for a sleeve and binding
It actually only took me about 2 1/2 hours cumulatively to complete the all-over free-motion quilting, but I had to break the time up into smaller increments so as to not overtax my body – taking into account MS, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, chronic pain & peripheral neuropathy (among other things). Whew!
I’ve squared up the quilt and cut off the excess batting and backing fabric. Before I add the binding, I’m going to add a hanging sleeve. Typically, hanging sleeves are at least partially, if not completely, hand-sewn, but I developed my own methods so as to spare some of the wear and tear on my hands. It’s also super quick to do. 🙂
Note: I included this method in my book, Colorwash Bargello Quilts, as well as the more traditional way to add a formal sleeve. I use this easy sleeve on almost all of my quilts, whether they are teaching samples, personal quilts, or art quilts.
Easy (No Hand-Sewing) Sleeve:
- Measure the width of the longest border at the upper end of the quilt (or longest horizontal seam near the top of the quilt). Double this measurement, and add 3/8″ to determine the width of your sleeve. In this case, the border measures 4″ wide, so I’ll cut the sleeve 8 3/8″ wide.
Measuring the width of the upper border (I’m working with the quilt upside-down)
Woman In Motion, journal quilt, (C) Beth Ann Williams
To me, Journal Quilting is a handy shorthand way to describe quilting as a vehicle for personal reflection and expression. Although I impose no size restrictions on myself, the pieces are generally on the smaller side, which better lends itself to a sense of immediacy.
I often incorporate 3 dimensional elements, hand beading, hand painting, or other mixed media elements in these works. Free motion quilting adds addition texture.
Last month, I shared some of the story behind my book, Celtic Quilts: A New Look for Ancient Designs. This month, I would like to share a few of my journal quilts that incorporate Celtic or Celtic-style knotwork in the design. Continue Reading…
My first book Celtic Quilts: A New Look for Ancient Designs was published in 2000 by Martingale & Co.
The following has been excerpted from a lecture/trunk show that I have shared with quilt guilds, quilt show attendees, and various community groups around the country.
I’d like to share with you some of the things in my life that led to my becoming a quiltmaker, and ultimately to the writing of my Celtic book. I’m also going to try to answer some of the questions I’m asked most often. So please be patient with me – we are going to tiptoe down what might seem to be a couple of rabbit trails; but I promise that they do, in fact, bring us back to where we want to be.
It is my hope that even if you don’t have any interest whatsoever in Celtic designs (how could that be??) Or if you never even look at any of my books, we can find some common ground – it always amazes me how quilters can be so different from each other, and yet again still so much alike.
We make quilts because we love to. We need to. It’s not just about keeping warm – it’s about creativity, self-expression, comfort, healing (sometimes even grieving) and expressing love.
My own journey has encompassed all of these things.
As you will see, my quilts are not intended to be the ultimate in Celtic design. Instead, they are meant to reflect both my own heritage and my fascination with color and line. My book is meant to be a good starting point for anyone who is interested in making their own Celtic inspired quilts – especially those with limited time on their hands who would still like to achieve an heirloom look.
The quilts, table runner, pillows and wall hangings shown in this post are all from my Celtic Quilts book. Complete patterns for all but the final quilt shown are included in the book.
Section of a silk scarf from Dharma Trading Co., painted with Jacquard Dye-na-Flow fabric paints by Beth Ann Williams.
It’s important to think about how you expect to use your fabric. If you intend to create “art cloth” to mat and frame like a painting, or to serve as the main focal point of a quilt or wall hanging, your needs may be quite different than they would be if you intend to create yardage to be used in more supporting or background roles.
In some cases, you may wish to use your paints toward the end of the construction process, rather than at the beginning. Fabric can be painted, stamped, or otherwise embellished after it has been appliquéd onto, or sewn into, a quilt, quilt top, wall hanging, garment, accessory or other fabric project.
My preferred fabric paints are unique in that they do not require the addition of textile medium, and they generally cause little to no change in the hand of the fabric. Continue Reading…
Do you ever struggle with something you are creating, just knowing that something is off or missing, but not sure what it is? Both from personal experience and from that as a long-time instructor, I find that quite often this has to do with color and value choices.
Color theory to the rescue! But sometimes color theory on its own isn’t enough help…
Color Theory Infographic from paper-leaf.com – a great overview!
I’ve always been fascinated with the interplay of color, value and visual texture of mosaics, especially those created by artists such as Sonia King. Back in 1997, a book called Machine Embroidery: Stitched Patterns by Valerie Campbell-Harding was published by Quilters’ Resource Inc. The cover photos fascinated me – mosaics in fabric!
There wasn’t a lot of info about this specific technique in the book – the emphasis is on giving TONS of inspiration and jumping-off points for further exploration – but there was enough to point me in the right direction. I’ve been playing with what I refer to as “Mosaic Fabric” off and on ever since. Continue Reading…