Posted by: jbaner | April 15, 2016

Drawing class with Karen Hull

I’m continuing to get better with my drawing skills so that I can translate them into art quilts. Last weekend I spent two days with Karen Hull from Australia who is a master with colored pencils. She shared her techniques for how to make realistic fur on a cat and piercing blue eyes with lots of depth. I knew that layering was important, but didn’t realize just how many layers you can use depending on the drawing “paper” you use. She prefers drafting film which is very smooth and semi-transparent. You can build up layers on both sides of the film to really create depth. So now I’m in love with drawing with colored pencils as well as graphite and thread on fabric. So much to do, so little time!!

I want to share with you the cat that I drew in the class. I was thrilled with the results.

Karen Hull cat1

Here’s a few more photos from the class….one with me and Karen, and a couple of all the students drawings. Some did not finish, but it’s remarkable how different they look with the individual techniques used by each student.

Karen Hull class cats 1

Karen Hull class cats 2

Karen Hull and Jo

Posted by: jbaner | March 21, 2016

And yet one more video!

I made the most of the little table runner I made in making videos for basic quilting techniques. This last one is how to make a simple 4-patch. It includes how I press them to make them lay very flat without the lump in the middle. Check it out!

Posted by: jbaner | March 5, 2016

Another new video!

I been spending time making videos of techniques that people often ask me about. The latest is how to figure out how big to make a square to cut quarter-square triangles from so that you can make setting triangles with the grain or cross grain on the outside edge when setting blocks on point.

Besides being posted here on my blog, I have it on my website under “Tips”, on my Pinterest page, and on my You Tube page. I’m also sharing it on my Quiltography Studios Facebook page, and Twitter!. Whew! So many outlets these days. I hope you enjoyed it.

I plan on making more, so stay tuned!

Posted by: jbaner | February 13, 2016

New Video!

I recently made a new video that I added to my “tips” page on my website. I’m attempting to share my knowledge on how to make quilting easier while keeping this accurate. I find video is so much easier to follow than written instructions. It’s really fun to make the videos, too!

My latest is how to make half-square triangles quickly and easily. If you need a large quantity made from the same two fabrics, this is the way to do it. If you need a specific number of HST from two specific fabrics and more from a different pair of fabrics, you can easily calculate the size of the strips you need to make the number you want. I hope you enjoy my video. If you do, please “like” it on You Tube.


Posted by: jbaner | January 24, 2016

Back to Quilting!

I apologize for not updating this for over 3 months! All of November I was busy quilting to finish up projects for clients prior to surgery I was scheduled for on Dec 2. The surgery went well and my recovery lasted about 4 weeks before I could once again lift my arms to quilt. I was so happy to get back to quilting after New Years! I hope you all had a great holiday season.

I have not been doing much of my own work lately, but I have been doing some client quilts so I’ll show you some that I have done recently.

This first quilt is a Sue Spargo designed quilt pieced by a client with a linen background with wool and cotton applique. This is the second one of this pattern that I’ve done. The other one was all wool. Fun, fun, fun to do!

Crimson Tweed full

More close up details:

Crimson detail 2

Crimson detail 1

Crimson detail 3

Crimson detail 4Crimson detail 5

Next are three baby quilts I did for a client:

baby quilts

back of baby

baby quilts detail

And a lap quilt made from left over blocks from a larger quilt I did last fall for a client:

Mongo baby full

Mongo Baby detail

I also quilted some quilts for my sister-in-law Lori. She’s completing those UFO’s now that she’s retired! This first one is a calendar quilt that I just had to do custom:

Calendar Quilt full

calander quilt detail

And also a colorful little Rail Fence lap quilt:

Rail Fence full

rail fence detail

I hope you liked my little quilt show. It’s so great to be back to quilting full time again. I recently had some work done on my machine and had the guts of it upgraded. It runs so smoothly with beautiful stitches and it’s a joy to use. Here’s a photo of what it looks like now:

finished front

Even though it has a “screen”, it’s not computerized. I still do all my quilting hand guided free motion. Here’s the first quilt I worked on….it’s the rail fence from above. You can see how bright the new lights are. It also has a black light that I can use when quilting white on white:

working on first quilt

Hopefully it won’t be so long before I share more of my work with you. Thanks for taking a look!



Posted by: jbaner | October 26, 2015

Highlights and Shadows

Tonight I’m going to share with you an exercise I’ve been working on for the past 3 months. The instructions were to draw three fire hydrants and have the light source come from about 10am, high noon, and one at night. We needed to choose fabric that included one that was not “plain”. The threads were three different groups: one was black, white, and grays; one was using three colors with their compliments; one was with florescent threads only. We could combine the fabric with whatever thread group and time of day as we wanted. So here’s what I did.

#1 – 10 am on yellow tone on tone fabric using red/green; blue/orange; purple/yellow complimentary threads. I found this one to be extremely difficult because not only using 6 different threads, we had to choose the value of each that was appropriate to portray the shadows and highlights that you would see at around 10am. My stitching is very messy because I was too lazy to pick out stitch direction that did not look correct, but oh well! However, overall I feel it was effective.

10 a.m. using complimentary threads on yellow fabric

10 a.m. using complimentary threads on yellow fabric

#2 – high noon on red high contrast fabric using black, white, and gray threads. I actually did this one first, so I was not sure of stitch direction to make it look dimensional. I felt that even at high noon, there is a bit of a shadow even though it’s close and small to the hydrant. Highlights were fairly easy to show with the white thread.

high noon using b/w/gray threads on high contrast red fabric

high noon using b/w/gray threads on high contrast red fabric

#3 – at night under a full moon medium-low in the sky. Full moons where I live are very bright on a clear night and the shadows are dark and long. This one was using only florescent threads which are only warm colors. I chose a dark batik fabric. My obvious mistake was using too bright of a thread for the “moonlight” hitting the ground and going through the sky. It lightened up the entire piece too much. But I feel the shadows and highlights worked well with the florescent threads.

at night under full moon using florescent threads on dark batik fabric

at night under full moon using florescent threads on dark batik fabric

So much to learn about value and intensity of thread color and how it interacts and actually changes the way the fabric looks! It’s a great lesson. I hope this had been enlightening to you, too!

Happy Quilting!


Posted by: jbaner | October 19, 2015

Thread Painting Class

Last Saturday I taught a class on thread painting at Quality Sewing in Bellingham, WA. I had three very enthusiastic students who jumped right in and did very well. One student had nearly no free motion quilting experience and she did very well! They didn’t finish, but got a lot done in just one day. Here’s a few pictures of our results:

Group photo at end of class

Group photo at end of class

I like that Giuliana went “outside the box” when it came to thread color. Can’t wait to see it finished!

Giuliana's cat

Giuliana’s cat

Kathy had little to no experience with free motion quilting and did quite well.

Kathy's sunflower

Kathy’s sunflower

Jackie came close to finishing her bird in class.

Jackie's toucan

Jackie’s toucan

I thought this might be the last time I teach this class because I only had 3 sign up. But since the class I have received more interest, so perhaps I will do it again in the new year. If you’re interested, either let me know or call Quality Sewing to express your interest so we can find a good time to schedule again. It really is a lot of fun.

Here’s a couple of the “paintings” I have done in the past:

"Bear and Mikkie" A bit of a challenge to do completely black dogs!

“Bear and Mikkie” A bit of a challenge to do completely black dogs!



Elliot the hairless cat

Elliot the hairless cat

The next three quilts were done on my longarm

Aboriginal woman

Aboriginal woman

"Back off Buddy"

“Back off Buddy”

"Ecstasy at Midnight"

“Ecstasy at Midnight”

You don’t need any drawing experience to do this kind of quilting! It’s easy….it’s fun!

Happy quilting!


Posted by: jbaner | September 30, 2015

Fairy Tale Challenge

Last June I was invited to participate in an international challenge. Apparently the challenge is held every year by these organizers. Every year they come up with a theme, then have 30 women from each of the participating countries which include the US, France, and Japan make the quilts which then go on tour. So there are 90 total quilts.

This year’s theme is Fairy Tale Challenge. 30 fairy tales from all three countries were chosen, then one woman from each country does the same fairy tale. We were able to name the top 3 we would like to do and then wait for the assignment. The first two I wanted to do were already taken. So I picked out 3 others and I did get one of them: Beauty and the Beast. I was excited that I got that because I was wanting to paint the faces and then quilt them.

I agonized over the painting technique I would use. I’m very familiar with inks, but not sure if I could get detail with the applicators I had. Then there’s dye painting like Hollis Chatelain does. I long to do that, but for me there are complications with getting the dyes mixed correctly, so I set it aside debating about it. Then I took a class with Susie Soderlund of Marbled Arts using Paintstiks. I’ve used them before, but they are mostly used with stencils, so again I was not sure of the details. However I played around with them during the class and got a few new ideas and found that I could get what I wanted.

So I decided to use the Shiva Oil Paintstiks to do the painting. But first I needed to draw the faces. So I drew them out on paper to size (there was a 50cm square requirement), then transferred that to my white PFD fabric. Not that I needed to use PFD, but it was the best plain white fabric I had.

I’m going to show you my process, although I didn’t really think about taking step by step pictures, but I do have some.

initial drawing

initial drawing

This was my first drawing on paper with colored pencil with the two figures facing each other. Profile is not necessarily the most flattering pose, so I wasn’t happy with it. So I scrapped that drawing and started over and ended up with this next one.

final drawing

final drawing

After getting the details drawn the way I wanted them, then I transferred the drawing to fabric with light valued colored pencils. After that I started with the skin tones. I used stencils brushes, made masks to cover the edges and found ready made stencils that had the right shapes and curves for me to use.

beginning to paint in the skin tones

beginning to paint in the skin tones

Next I added the hair and then on to the clothes.

adding the hair and clothing

adding the hair and clothing

Added the Beast's jacket and horns

Added the Beast’s jacket and horns

Next came the sky and moon which finished the painting portion of this project. I had to wait a good three days to let the oils completely dry. After that the paint is “heat set” with an iron.

Next came the sky and moon

Next came the sky and moon

Then I mounted it on my longarm and quilted the sky and moon first.


quilted the sky and moon first

Then I quilted the hair and clothing on both Beauty and the Beast. After that, I took it off the longarm and did the details on the faces (starting with the Beast) on my Bernina with a smaller needle for which I had more control.

quilted the Beast's face first

quilted the Beast’s face first

close up of the Beast

close up of the Beast

Then I did Beauty’s face. All the fine details on the faces were done with thread rather than paint.

Beauty close up

Beauty close up

The last detail before quilting the lower left jacket was to write in the title in gold metallic thread. After  trimming to the specified size, I added a border of couched heavy metal thread laid on top about 1/2″ from the binding edge.

I wrote in the title very subtly in the corner

I wrote in the title very subtly in the corner

This is the finished piece:

Beauty and the Beast finished!

Beauty and the Beast finished!

I had a blast making this quilt. It’s been sent off to the organizer and I won’t see for another 2 years!

Thanks for taking a look at my process….


Posted by: jbaner | September 29, 2015

EverGreen Quilt Show

I can’t believe it’s been nearly 2 weeks since my guild’s quilt show. I co-chaired it this year and I do believe we pulled off a good one. We got a lot of excellent feedback from our guests. It had over 100 quilts… some traditional and some art quilts. We had a challenge with 14 participants, a raffle quilt, a raffle basket, a white elephant sale, a boutique, great vendors and our Artist in Residence, Patty Mitchell. All contributed to having a successful show. The proceeds fund the guild’s programs which include making small quilts for the at risk babies in the hospital and lap quilts for the patients receiving dialysis at the kidney center. We were blessed with such a great turn out to support us for the next 2 years.

I have a few pictures to share with you. This is our raffle quilt that was won by one of our own members – Carol DeGraf.

Raffle quilt

Raffle quilt

These are all 14 challenge quilts. The theme was “Stars over EverGreen” in honor of Mary Starr Arrington to passed away last year as we were planning the show. They were all wonderful. Congratulations to the three top winners!

All 14 challenge quilts. Theme was "Stars over EverGreen"

All 14 challenge quilts. Theme was “Stars over EverGreen”

1st place - Saralee Schneck

1st place – Saralee Schneck

2nd place Dani Fisk

2nd place Dani Fisk

3rd place - Jan Furrenes

3rd place – Jan Furrenes

We also had a memorial wall in honor of not only Mary Arrington who passed away in 2014, we also had 3 other members pass away this year as well…..Vera Parrish, Joan Adams, and Mary Gischer. They are all missed.

Memorial wall

Memorial wall with some of their quilts displayed beneath it on the table.

We also had attendees vote for their favorite quilt hanging in the show. We had two ties for the top votes. Amazingly the votes were spread out amongst many quilts. Here are the two tied for first: Cherie and myself. Ironically, I also quilted Cherie’s quilt!

Cherie Thomas with "Contessa".

Cherie Thomas with “Contessa”.

Jo Baner (me) with "The '39"

Jo Baner (me) with “The ’39”

The next two also were tied for technically third place: Dianna Sarich and Patty Mitchell.

Dianna Sarich with "Parrots of Belize"

Dianna Sarich with “Parrots of Belize”

Patty Mitchell with "Goin' Slow & Taperin' "

Patty Mitchell with “Goin’ Slow & Taperin’ “

The whole show was very successful. It was a lot of work, but so many wonderful women in this guild came together to make it work smoothly. I personally thank all who participated and all who came to support us. Now on to the next one 2  years from now!

Hope you enjoyed a little part of the show here…..


Posted by: jbaner | September 3, 2015

2015 NW WA Fair in Lynden, WA

Awww….summertime in August and the fair in Lynden rolls around again. One of the women who works at the intake of the needlework barn told the ladies at our guild meeting that there has been a drop off in the number of quilts that are being entered, so she encouraged everyone to enter as many as we could. That can be challenging if the type of quilt you make is the same. But fortunately they have many different lots within the categories so I can usually find a few different ones that I can enter my quilts into.

This year, I ended up entering seven. I won five blues (first place) and a red (second place). They no longer award third place and haven’t for many years. The only reason I know they use to, is that I got one early in my career. I also was awarded a “Best of Wallhangings” for one of my art quilts. I had a few client quilts that also won some ribbons, so kudos to them as well! AND I did another owl drawing this spring, so I entered that in the Art Department, too.

I apologize for the poor photos. I just don’t have the right set up for displaying and lighting them properly, but you get the picture!

This first one is “Splash of Tulips”. It is all done by machine. I constructed the background fabric first with the little yellow inner border. Then I mounted it on my longarm and quilted it with straight vertical lines. Then I laid each tulip with the leaves and stems on individually and appliqued them on the background with the longarm. Then I quilted each tulip. After taking my recent class with Hollis Chatelain, I remounted it and requilted the tulips and leaves with more vibrant colored thread. It really made a difference. This quilt is for sale. Check my website for details.

Splash of Tulips

Splash of Tulips

This is my latest art quilt called “Serenity”. It has only two fabrics: black for the figure appliqued onto my own hand-dyed fabric for the background. All the details are created with thread alone. It was all done on my longarm.



This one is called “The Road Less Traveled” inspired by the poem of Robert Frost. I created this after I had one round of chemotherapy for breast cancer and then opted out for several reasons. So I felt I was walking down the road less traveled. It is all hand painted with watercolor Inktense pencils on white PDF cotton fabric. Again, the details are created by thread. I also wrote in the last few lines of the poem.

The Road Less Traveled

The Road Less Traveled

This is called “Harbinger of Spring”. It was made for the Tulip Festival in LaConner, WA to sell at a local gallery. It was constructed in the same manner as Splash of Tulips. It is also for sale. Check my website.

Harbinger of Spring

Harbinger of Spring

The next one is called “Hurray for Hula Hoops”. This was done as an exercise in my ongoing class with Hollis Chatelain. I first drew it in colored pencils, then followed it up in fabric. It is raw edge applique sewn down by machine. I put it in the fair on a whim, so really surprised it even won anything! It’s 15×13.5″.

Hurray for Hula Hoops

Hurray for Hula Hoops

Here’s the colored pencil drawing of the hula hoops. We were suppose to draw something with movement in it.



This is a baby quilt that I made for a friend, but needed to change the colors, so I created another one for her and kept this one. Again, this was a last minute decision to put into the fair.

Baby Love

Baby Love

This quilt is called “Fireworks” that has been in various stages of completion for over a year. I finally got it finished so I could put it in our upcoming quilt show (more on that in another blog). So I decided to put it into the fair, since they wanted more quilts. Since it had to go into the ‘pieced’ category, there is a lot of competition and this is nothing special so I was not at all surprised at no ribbon on this one. But I do like it and was fun to make. The block was taught by a friend, Dani Fisk. It’s called the Juxtaposition block. Many members of Evergreen guild made quilts from this block, so I’m sure many will be in our quilt show coming up in 2 weeks.



And last, but not least, I entered another owl drawing in the Art Exhibits at the fair. It is a barn owl done in colored pencil on Tan Toned paper. I was thrilled to get a blue ribbon and “Best of Lot” (which was for pencils).

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

So that was a fun August! I always enjoy the fair. I’m already planning my next owl drawing for next year. I seem to be stuck on owls at the moment. They’re really fun to draw. I’m sure by next year I’ll have more quilts done as well.

Thanks for taking a look!


« Newer Posts - Older Posts »