Tag Archives: workshop

repetition and rhythm

Repetition and Rhythm Add Comfort and Excitement

Today I want to focus on the design concepts of repetition & rhythm, and how we can put these to work in our quilts. This content was covered in the last session of my Color & Composition class.  If you are interested in joining us for future sessions,  I’ll put a link at the bottom, but for now…

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Repetition is about using a design element over and over.    A repeated element gives a sense of familiarity and comfort. This could be a repeating line, shape, or pattern.

Repetition is something that we are naturally drawn to;  something we bring into our world. Here are some examples that I found in my own environment.

repetition of design in furniture drawers and hardware

multiple drawers with repeating hardware

example of repetition in design

Repetition in the stair railing.

repetition as design element in hand woven rug

repeating design in a rug

Many artists will repeat an element in every piece.

elements of my art extend beyond the edge.

Beyond the Edge: My Signature Move

It becomes their signature move, something that makes their work easily recognizable to viewers, and fans. My signature move is to take an element off the edge of my work. See more examples in my genre gallery.

Within a composition, repetition can be as simple as repeating a line, shape, color, texture.  

As I’ve been working in recent months to update the  online galleries for the Border Wall Quilt Project, I’ve found many wonderful examples of repetition.  Here are a few.

BWQP brick by LK

Repeating element-hearts. Brick by L K.

BWQP brick by Cynthia Catlin

Repeating element – woman. Brick by Cynthia Catlin.

BWQP brick by Cynthia Catlin

Repeating element – brick. Brick by Cynthia Catlin.

Pattern is created when more than one element is combined and repeated.

Here are examples from the BWQP where I think this idea of pattern is used effectively.

BWQP brick by Maude Wallace Haeger

Pattern of repeating vertical and diagonal lines. Brick by Maude Wallace Haeger.

Repeating pattern of stripes and coffins. Brick by Karen Sullivan



Rhythm,     Rhythm,          Rhythm,     Rhythm

Conversely,  Rhythm is about the space between repeating elements. It adds interest and excitement..Today, let’s look at 5 types of Rhythm:

  1.  Random Rhythm has no regular interval between repetitions. They can be all over the place.

    BWQP by Ramona Bates

    Random Rhythm. Brick by Ramona Bates.

2.  Regular Rhythm occurs when the interval between repetitions is the same.  For example, your heartbeat is a regular rhythm, or, at least it should be.  Here is a quilted example.

 BWQP brick by Price & Pampusch

Regular Rhythm. Brick by Price & Pampusch.

3.  Alternating Rhythm is the switching back and forth between 2 regular rhythms. Chess board is a simple example. However, these rhythms can be much more complex.

BWQP brick by Ramona Bates,

Alternating Rhythm. Brick by Ramona Bates,

4.  Flowing Rhythm exists when repeated elements follow a curved or undulating line. Here are some examples.

BWQP brick by Carol D Chewning

Flowing Rhythm. Brick Carol Chewning.

  5. Progressive Rhythm results from changing a characteristic of an element as it is repeated. These next examples show different ways that rhythm can progresses.

This sample shows an increase in size and color change.

BWQP brick by Lourdes Cruz

Progressive rhythm. Brick by Lourdes Cruz, Mexico.

This next brick shows multiple scenes of a story.  This is called simultaneous narrative.

BWQP brick by Sheryl D Rodda

example of progressive rhythm with simultaneous narrative. Brick by Sheryl D Rodda

Put Yourself to the Test

Look at the examples below and identify the type of rhythm in each.  The answer key is below.


Brick by Sally Maxwell


BWQP brick by Pat Hilderbrand

Brick by Pat Hilderbrand.


Brick by Linda Laird

Monthly Color & Compositions Class

If you would like to join us, my Color & Composition class is sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum on the 4th Saturday of every month through the end of 2021.  In each session we explore a color scheme, a color concept, and a concept related to composition.  

Sign up here.

Answer Key: 1. alternating, 2. Flowing  and progressive. 3, random 


Fused Applique Portrait Class

My Fused Applique Portrait class at CraftU begins March 7. There is still time to sign up. Here’s a link if you are interested:

Fused Raw-Edge Applique Portraits


 Here are some samples of portraits done with this technique:

portrait-Jim Lea applique portrait


The 2nd Horseman

The horse's patooty is coming off the edge.

The horse’s patooty is coming off the edge.



I’m back at work on the second panel of the 4 Horsemen.  The first dilemma is getting the scale correct. This figure, originally, behind the central figure, will now be in from of him, so he’s got to appear larger. It took some trial and error, but I finally got the size right.  I like an irregular edge, so I’m going to hang the horse’s patooty off the edge.




Continuous background

Continuous background

The key with this composition is to keep some key elements consistent across both panels.  In this case, it is the lines of the background.  As they continue from one panel to the other, they create a cohesive composition. I’m loving this.







Willis to the rescue.

Willis to the rescue.


I’m nervous about the pace of my work being slow, and am considering reducing the scope of this piece to 2, rather than 3 panels.  I really love the title and “The 2 Horsemen” doesn’t have the same appeal. So, when my parents stopped in to visit on their way to ski country,  I put my dad to work in the studio fixing the rollers on one of my chairs.


A Break for Whine & Cheese

While I have made a bit of progress on the Bike Boys this week, I took time out time enjoy a snack of wine a cheese.  It was then, with the help of my dog Coco, that I received the inspiration for my SAQA auction donation:  Whine & Cheese.  

If you are not familiar, Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) is an international organization to which I belong.  Their mission is to promote quilting as an art form.  Each year, in the fall, they hold an online auction fundraising event where they sell 12″ x 12″ square art quilts made by members.  I’m happy to say that, this year, I’ve made my contribution early.  Although, I rather like it and am having second thoughts about giving it away.

Another organization in which I hold membership is the Colorado Quilt Council (CQC).  I’ll be speaking at their monthly meeting in Longmont, CO on March 22.  The title of my presentation is “Making Faces.”  Check out their website for details about time and place.  Come if you can.


Reduce and Recycle: Mittens From Felted Sweaters

1 seam w/ Blanket Stitch

I recently got together with several women to make something useful out of those old wool sweaters that shrink in the wash.  They aren’t ruined. They are raw material for some pretty fancy mittens.  In my felted mittens class, we learned to make patterns to fit our hands and then cut the pieces from old shrunken sweaters.  This technique is great because it can easily be adjusted for various sizes, it uses the ribbing of the sweater to create a ribbed cuff on the mittens, it has only one seam for each mitt, and an opposable thumb.

 The design options are endless.  If using a floral or striped sweater, that can be worked into the design.  If it’s a plain sweater, buttons, sequins, other yarns can be used to add pizzazz.  Take a look at the wonderful creations that we made.



and more mittens!!




Batik class-A day for myself

Suzie sketches her design

This weekend I taught a Batik class through the local Livelong Learning program.  Six ladies came and we had a blast.  In the beginning I always ask, “Why did you take this class?”  The most common

Celeste applies resist.

answers are, “I’ve always wanted to try this,” “I’m looking for a new creative outlet,” or “I needed a day for myself to have fun.”  This group was no exception.

This class was exceptional in their eagerness and ability to open up to the creative process and have fun doing it.  Maybe it was the warm, sunny day.  Maybe it was the right combination of personalities.  I like to think the teacher had something to do with it.  


Nancy goes botanical

We also had an opportunity to share interesting bits and pieces of life outside of class,.   At the end of the day, we had learned about changes to our environment due to the recent  100 year flood, tips for creating botanical note cards, advice on dealing with significant changes in job and family, yes, and steps for creating easy, no mess batik paintings.

Sarah fills in the background

I have to admit, the night before, as I was preparing materials and loading up my car, I’d just finished a week of teaching high school.  It was Friday evening and I was ready for a couple of days off.  In the moment, I was questioning the wisdom of scheduling another class on the weekend.  Materials that had  been ordered did not show up and it was time to make a course change.  It was darkest at 3AM as I was lying awake worrying over the details.  

Kathy paints a landscape

In the light of day, everything fell into place and the day got better and better.  At the end of the day, I felt energized, inspired, and immersed in the creative spirit.  My advice to everyone is to go out and find a class, go to a lecture, or take a guided hike–just for yourself.  Open up to the opportunity, be willing to give and receive, and enjoy.

Deb is near the end

Take a look at what we did.

Click on any photo to see a larger version. 



Look what we did!


Look what we did!


Expanding the Comfort Zone

Painting canvas. Should I add more? Have I gone too far?

I’m home today after a 3-day workshop with Katie Pasquini-Pasopust.  I took the workshop to get out of my comfort zone and it worked.  By the end of the first day, I was anxious and a bit grumpy.  My progress was disappointing and I had no sense of where I was going with the work I was doing.  This is no reflection on Katie.  She runs a great workshop: the pacing, organization, preparation are flawless.  For me, someone who begins with the end in mind, working one step at a time, with no clear vision of what was going to appear at the end was a bit like falling into emotional quicksand.  Then, there is my added expectation that I produce a masterpiece on my first foray, that only added to funk I felt.

Reflection at the end of day 1: This is frustrating.  I feel like a failure. I make crappy art.

Reflection at the end of day 2:  I’m just trying to do someone else’s art. This is not my style. Why I have put myself here?  What can I gain?”  

It was then that the answers began to come and they were pretty simple, “Find a way to blend something that you have learned into your own style.  Don’t try to take it all in, but find pieces that can apply to what you do.”

With that end in mind, a string of conscieousness went something like this:  

I do portrait quilts.  I can use the painted fabrics I’ve made in a portrait.

Coco being cute

I’ve wanted to play with relying on value while abstracting color in a composition.  My blue, green, and yellow-orange canvases will work for this.

I can use the construction techniques I’ve just learned.

I can do a portrait of myself.

I can’t find a good photo of myself.

I’ve been wanting to do a pet portrait.

Here is a great photo of Coco the wonder Dachshund.

I showed up on the final day with a plan.  It was a new twist on an old favorite.  With a lighter heart, I was also determined to salvage something from the work I had done on day 1.   Here are the final results:

Make it work.


Coco Portrait. My art with a twist.















Reflection at the end of day 3: WOW! That was a lot of fun!


Who Has TIme for Art?

 Ah, September, that time of year when I go back to work teaching pubic school and life suddenly gets very hectic.  While I’m doing better this year at parceling out some time each day to devote to my art, I must admit that I’m not actually making art, I just do lots of things related to art.

For example, this morning I’m writing a blog about not doing art. Yesterday, I got up and had a lovely phone conversation about my experience at the Surface Design Conference in 2011.  That ended with my promise to write a paragraph testimonial of sorts that I did not get around to doing because I had to race to a yoga class.  After yoga to de-stress, my husband and I engaged in a little home improvement by finishing the last of the stairs that we are covering with bamboo flooring.  Just 4 1/2 hours later, we are in the final phase of our flooring project that is now entering it’s 5th year. Then, the day before that, I drove down to Denver for the regional meeting of SAQA.  It was a great time to get together with other art quilters that I don’t see often enough, but the entire trip was 6 hours, not for the purpose of of doing art, but of talking about doing art.

Suddenly, 2 thoughts have come to me.  First, wouldn’t it be great if yoga came AFTER home improvement.  Second, given the pace of our flooring project, why would I think that art would come any faster.

This coming week, I’ve still got to write that paragraph, pick up a quilt from the photographer, follow up with British customs to try to locate my lost quilt, and attend an open house to encourage folks to sign up for classes I’ll be teaching this fall.  After that, I get ready to attend a 3-day workshop with Katie Pasquini Masopust.  Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to sign up for this workshop 2 months ago, knowing it would be desperately needed. I believe there is a real chance that I will actually DO some art this week.


It Could Happen!

August is coming! For me, that is usually a bittersweet event.  The weather improves here in Colorado, but school starts soon.  This August, however, brings a bit of excitement that tips the scales toward the sweet side. 

My 2-day Portrait Quilt workshop, developed earlier in the summer has been picked up by the Boulder Valley School District for their Lifelong Learning program.  This is a collection of non-credit courses offered evenings and weekends to anyone who wants to come and learn.

 Sometimes opportunities just fall in one’s lap.  This is one of those.  Following my successful test run of the workshop in June, I was looking for another opportunity to teach it.  Coincidentally, I ran into friend I hadn’t seen for years.  We made a lunch date to catch up. I discovered that she was now the Director for the local Community School Program and always on the lookout for new teachers.  It was a perfect match.  She recruited me.  I’ll teach the Portrait Quilt workshop as 4 evening session in October. 

Now, I’m waiting anxiously to see how the class is received.  Will people be interested? Will they sign up?  I need at least 5 for the class to make it.  Sometimes I let my thoughts run wild and imagine that so many people want to take the class that a second one has to be scheduled to accommodate the demand.—Hey, it could happen.

I’m also teaching a couple of 1-day classes on making felted wool mittens and tote bags.

The course catalog goes out this week.  I was given a sneak peak and discovered that mine is a featured course.  Look for it on page 9.


Online registration begins this week.  Fingers are crossed.