Oct 19 2015

Pacific International Quilt Festival


We enjoy going to quilt shows to see what other people do. Our most recent adventure took us to the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara. It’s an uneven show–some years the show is really good, other years, well, not so much. This was not the best year. Having said that there were some really stunning quilts and some quilts with really interesting quilting.
For me there were a few quilts that caught my eye from a distance, and I was pulled in to look at them closer. Christine Seager’s Bush Fire was the first one. Very simple quilting, but what a wonderful composition. I’m not sure that I saw trees before I read the title, but afterward I could see nothing but fire and trees.

Christing Seager

Christine Seager
Brush Fire

Another stunner was Kimberly Lacy’s Fire in the Stone. It really captured the essence of the rock formations in the southwest desert. I wasn’t disappointed when I stepped in for a closer look.

The third quilt that I kept coming back to was Evelyn Wickham’s Jazz for the Mid-century Modern exhibit. I loved the combination of colors and shapes, the repetition of those shapes, and it truly had that mid-century modern feel. I’m sorry she didn’t win a prize. She would have been my first choice.

Evelyn Wickham

Evelyn Wickham

Then there were the quilts with quilting that spoke to me. Another one of the Mid-century modern quilts, Bev Bird’s White Spaces was one. The artist stated she was inspired by André Courrèges. If you’re not familiar with the name, Google him. If you’re my age, you’ll certainly be familiar with his fashions. I love it when something in a statement leads me to investigate further. After looking up Courrèges, I can’t say I see the connection between Courrèges’ iconical work (not that I’ve seen much of it) and Bird’s, but it does read mid-century. I love the quilting lines! Kris and I use a lot of straight-ish (we call them organic) lines in our text quilts. But Bird takes the lines one step further. She varies the direction, and sometimes the lines intersect. It makes for wonderful texture in the quilt.

Another piece where the quilting lines really made the quilt was Letitia Chung’s Whimsical Logs. Without the quilting, this quilt would have just been another modern take on the traditional log cabin design. It’s the stitching lines that really give this quilt its pizazz!

The next three quilts caught my eye with their circular details. The texture in Jody Robinson’s Keep It Simple was hard not to touch. The pattern of quilted dots turned this simple quilt in to something worthy of its blue ribbon.

Jan Hutchison’s Sunflower Deco, was a visual feast. Lots of stitching and trapunto. But what really caught my attention was the stitching of the stripes at the bottom of the quilt. A simple but effective use of straight lines.

Last, but not least, is Beth Shillig’s Wandering ‘Round My World. You may have seen this quilt in magazines and on other blogs. But in person, it’s just amazing. The quilting, the construction, and the composition make it worthy of its first place ribbon in the innovative category.

I’ll never do the intricate quilting that Beth and some of the other quilters do, but it’s sure fun to see the stitches in person.

Oct 14 2015

Procrastinating in Black and White


I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just need to procrastinate. You know, those times you should be doing something productive, but you’d rather check out all the Facebook posts from the last year. And one post leads you to a website or blog, that leads you to something else, that leads you to something really cool. Well that’s what it was like yesterday. I was testing out links from the SAQA conference page and landed on Maria Shell’s website (because she’s going to be one of the speakers at the SAQA conference in Philadelphia next year). I hadn’t checked out her blog in a while, so I clicked over to Maria Shell’s blog. She was discussing her series of quilts depicting chairs. She gave examples of chairs created by many artists. One of the artists was Wang Huaiqing. Beautiful black and white or grayscale images of chairs. I didn’t know of Wang, so being in procrastination mode, I had to Google him/her. Mr. Wang’s stylized furniture paintings are really worth a look.

Well, that got me thinking about several black and white quilts I had seen in the past month. As with black and white photography, there’s just something appealing about black and white, or black, white and gray quilts. One was Maria Shell’s donation to the 2015 SAQA benefit auction.

Maria C. Shell, Trance

Maria Shell

Then I recalled several black and white quilts that Kris and I saw in Europe. Mirjam Pet-Jacobs posed with Kris in front of her quilt Square City. If you happen to visit Heidelberg, Germany before January 10, 2016, you can see this quilt and many others at The 6th European Quilt Triennale.

Kris Sazaki and Miriam Pet-Jacobs in front of Square City

Kris Sazaki and Miriam Pet-Jacobs
in front of Square City

The European Patchwork Meeting in Ste. Marie aux Mines, France, had a few stunning black and white quilts, too. Among Erica Waaser’s brightly colored quilts was this wonderful piece.

Erica Waaser White Afternoon

Erica Waaser
White Afternoon

Harue Konishi’s piece in the Mixed Media Art Association’s exhibition was also intrigueing. I loved the way she cut apart the work and stitched it back together. It made for a much more interesting quilt.

Sheila Frampton-Cooper’s Untamed Symphony was another black and white piece among an exhibit of her very vivid quilts. Your jaw just drops looking at the stitching.

I really love color, so I’m not sure what made me so hyper-aware of the black and white pieces. Perhaps it was several weeks of looking at half-timbered architecture. (Or maybe it was all that amazing iron work – look at the restaurant sign to the right.)

Half-timber House Neuberg Am Rhein Germany

Half-timber House
Neuberg Am Rhein, Germany

Or loving the pattern in one of our works in progress.

Pixeladies  Work in Progress

Work in Progress

Whatever the reason, I hope you enjoy looking at these pieces as much as I did.

Sep 17 2015

Bid On Our Quilt!


The SAQA Benefit Auction starts tomorrow. We donated this 12″x 12″ quilt to help support this wonderful organization. After all, earth without art is just “eh.”


Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: What It’s Really Like Out There

There are a lot of great quilts available (just in case ours doesn’t strike your fancy). When our #internkelly was doing her internship with the Pixeladies, we all put together our “dream” collections of six quilts each. Take a look:

Deb’s Dream Collection featured this colorful quilt by Tommy Fitzsimmons.


Kris’s Dream Collection featured this striking quilt by Regula Affolter.


#internkelly’s Dream Collection featured this evocative quilt by Maggi Birchenough.


Whatever your personal taste, you will surely find something to bid on. And it’s also fun to watch the bidding. Click here to view the entire auction collection. Good luck!

Aug 25 2015

Tech Tuesday: How to Make an Animated .gif in Photoshop


If you read last week’s Tech Tuesday post, you might remember my “Ode to Adobe Color CC” that I posted in the form of an animated .gif. If you missed it, here it is again:


I could stare at these animated .gifs for hours. They are just so much fun, and the possibilities are endless! In case you are wondering what in the world an animated .gif is, let me explain. An animated .gif is a graphic image that moves. It is made by combining several static images into one .gif file. If this sounds complicated to you, do not fret! The wonderful world of Photoshop has made it very simple for anyone to create an animated .gif.

You’ll notice that the .gif I posted this week does not “jiggle” as much as last week’s. This is because I went back and edited the static images so that they were all cropped to exactly the same size. In this post, I will show you how to make a perfectly framed animated .gif.

First, you will need a series of images you want to animate. The original Adobe Color CC .gif I created was made up of thirty-two screen shots. To save time, I reduced the number of images for the revised .gif in this post to sixteen. As you can see, the fewer images you combine, the choppier your .gif will be. Adding more images will give a smoother effect to your .gif.

Once you have all of your images, your next task is to put them into one file. Open your first two images. At the bottom taskbar, click on Layout > All Column, so you can view both images simultaneously. Select the move tool, and drag one image from one window to the other.


Click on that file, and make sure you have two layers. Once you’ve confirmed this, you can close the other file. With the Move tool selected, move the layer around until you think it fits perfectly over your original image. A true test is to click the little eyeball to the left of your original layer, turning its visibility off. Then, click the little eyeball on your newest layer, turning its visibility on and off a few times. If you can see any movement on the image, then you may need to continue adjusting with the Move tool. Slight to no movement? You are ready to add more layers! Repeat the above with each image, and add each image to that original file so that you will end up with several layers in one individual file. In my case, I had sixteen layers. This is truly the most consuming part of the entire process, so if it starts to feel monotonous, hang in there! A beautiful animated .gif is right around the corner. 🙂

Once you have all of your image layers aligned, named (but Deb never names her layers), and in the right order, take a moment to congratulate yourself. Great job! Now you have to resize your file so that you can animate it later. To do this, go to Image > Resize > Image Size. In the new window, find the Width box and change this number to 800 pixels or less.


Now for the fun part! Go to File > Save as and save your file as a .psd. You never know if you will need to go back and fix some layers. Now save the file again, but this time use File > Save for Web. In the dialog box, select GIF and check the Animate box. At the bottom of the dialog box you will find Looping Options and Frame Delay. Due to the radial nature of my .gif, I chose to loop it Forever, so the colors would continually move and change. Frame Delay refers to the amount of time between each image appearing in the .gif. I chose a very short amount of time (0.2 seconds) because it gives the .gif a smoother motion.


Name your file accordingly and then click Save. To view your .gif, find the file, open it in whichever application you prefer, and celebrate your accomplishment! I took the Pixeladies “PSE Essentials II” class, and that is where I learned how to work with layers, two images at the same time, resizing, and “Save for Web.” I would not have been able to create this animated .gif had I not learned how to do that first. By the way, the Pixeladies are teaching the series again this fall. Click here for more information.

Now I must embark on a brief tangent about the correct pronunciation of the term “.gif.” Since the acronym itself stands for “Graphics Interchange Format,” many people assume that .”gif” is pronounced with a hard G, as in “gift.” After researching the matter for myself, I understand that the correct pronunciation is actually a soft G, as in “jiff” (like the peanut butter). To quote Charlie Reading on The GIF Pronunciation Page, “Choosy programmers choose “GIF.” Ultimately, the creator of the .gif, Steve Wilhite, has the final say in its pronunciation, and he insists on the soft G. If you need definitive proof to put the matter to rest once and for all, watch this video of Steve Wilhite’s acceptance speech at The Webby Awards. That really says it all, doesn’t it? 🙂


Aug 20 2015

#internkelly, Signing Off


Hello friends and followers!

Today will be my last day as an intern here at Pixeladies Studio. Although I will certainly miss “working” (if that’s what you call sitting around, laughing, and having fun) with the wonderful Deb and Kris, I look forward to taking everything I have learned here with me as I continue to pursue my creative endeavors. This internship has taught me an incredible amount about digital design and its application to fiber arts, the endless possibilities of Photoshop, the business, creative, and collaborative aspects of running a design studio, and helped me fine tune my writing and blogging abilities. The thing that will stick with me the most, however, is the way these amazing women handle their day-to-day work with great wit, artistic sensibility, mutual support and appreciation of each other, and a genuine love for what they do. I can only hope to emulate half of the talent and energy they put into their work everyday as I move forward in mine. Thank you all for your kind comments and encouraging words. This won’t be the last you see of me, as I have written the upcoming Tech Tuesday blog post and will be back to do some textile printing in the Fall, so stay tuned!

Until next time,

Intern Kelly


Aug 18 2015

Tech Tuesday: Adobe Color CC


One of my absolute favorite things the Pixeladies have shown me is the Adobe Color CC website (they teach this in their Advanced Photoshop class, but they let me work ahead a little). This site allows you to create your own unique digital color swatches online, which you can then apply to your Photoshop workspace. If you have a paid Creative Cloud membership, you can download your swatches directly from the website into Photoshop. If you have a free Creative Cloud membership (like the Pixeladies and I), you can still load swatches into Photoshop, its just not as simple. In this post, I will show you the “work around” for getting your swatches to load in Photoshop, for my fellow “freebie” lovers out there. 😉

The website (link above) opens right up to a color wheel with a menu of options to its left. Here you can choose what kind of “Color Rules” you would like your swatch to follow. Before you go any further, be sure to sign in with your Adobe ID. Anyone who owns an Adobe product has one, and anyone who doesn’t can make one for free. Once you’re signed in, you are ready to create!



Look at all the fun you can have! (I made this .gif using another free website. Next Tech Tuesday, I will show you how to make your own.)

Okay, back to Adobe Color CC! The first step is, of course, to create your swatch. Simply drag your cursor around the wheel to select a base color, then make minor adjustments using the sliding bars below the color you selected. Warning: Time flies when you are playing with the color wheel. Sometimes I start a swatch, and by the next time I look up, an hour has gone by.


Once you are happy with your swatch, click the blue “Save” button. You will be prompted to name your theme.


Kris and I are listening to Cuban music today in honor of the U.S. Embassy re-opening in Havana, and it’s making us want to go drink and dance, so this theme was inspired by “tequila.” You can choose whether or not you’d like your theme published publicly on the “Explore” page. I keep the box checked because I love browsing through other people’s work.

Now that your theme is saved, it will show up when you click the “My Themes” link. Hover over the theme you want to load into your workspace, and a few options appear.


Click on “Edit Copy,” and you will be taken back into the creative space, where you can scroll down a little to find the HEX code, circled here in white:


This is the magical code that will allow you to find your exact colors in Photoshop. Now go into your Photoshop workspace and double click the Color Picker.


A new window should pop up with a hashtag box somewhere in it. I am using Photoshop Elements 13, and mine is the last row, circled above in red. This is where you will type in your magical HEX code. It may help to adjust your windows so that you can easily navigate back and forth and see the code as you type it. Once you have your exact color selected, click OK, and then go to the “More” icon in the bottom right-hand corner, and a box will pop up. Go to the “Color Swatches” tab, then click the teeny-tiny fly-out menu icon on the upper right of the box. Now select “New Swatch…”


When you click “New Swatch,” you will be prompted to name your colors. I recommend saving numerically (i.e. tequila1, tequila2, etc.) so that they are easier to find later. Repeat this process until all five of your swatches are visible in the Color Swatches tab, always using the “New Swatch” option.


You will notice that the last five color swatches in your Color Swatch tab are the theme you created in Adobe Color CC! You can now work with your swatch in Photoshop. You can also save and share the swatch. To do this, select the first one, then while holding down your Shift key, select the other four. Once you have the five selected, let go of the Shift key and click on the teeny-tiny fly-out menu icon again. This time, go to “Save Swatches…”


… and save your swatch as an ACO file. To load a swatch file into your workspace, go to the “More” icon, “Color Swatches,” fly-out menu, and select “Load Swatches…” A window will pop up where you can select the swatch file you just created.

Swatch responsibly, friends!







Aug 6 2015

Deb’s 2015 SAQA Dream Collection


Every year, SAQA members are invited to choose 6 quilts from the SAQA Benefit Auction they would love to own. Kris’s collection was Kind of Blue. Deb’s choices must have been inspired by the heat on the day she curated her dream collection*. It is called Riot of Color. Here’s the way I would hang the pieces:

Riot of Color Collection

Riot of Color Collection

I thought you might find it interesting to see what I started with.

Down to Sixteen**

Down to Sixteen**

I kept looking at the quilts, taking different ones out, adding them back in, taking them out…

Down to Twelve

Down to Twelve

I thought I had it…

First Collection of 6

First Collection of 6

but when I rearranged the photos I had to change them yet again. Here are the final six quilts with the artists’ names and titles.

Clicking on any image will open the slideshow of all the images, and you’ll be able to see the details better.

* Lest you think I was kidding about the heat here’s the temperature as I was driving home. It was 111 when we started.

Temperature near Folsom, California

Temperature near Folsom, California

** I really can count, you’ll see that I had opened one quilt twice. I think it was a sign. I tried to take dear Brenda’s flowers out of the collection several times, but like the Cat in the Hat, it just kept coming back.

The 2015 SAQA Benefit Auction starts September 18. We hope you take a look at all the art available at the 2015 SAQA Benefit Auction and bid on a piece or two!

Jul 30 2015

Kris’ 2015 SAQA Dream Collection


The 2015 SAQA Benefit Auction starts September 18. Every year, members are invited to select their dream collection. We always have so much fun doing this. Here is Kris’ dream collection. Both Deb and Intern Kelly will pick theirs in the next two weeks. The idea is to curate your own 6-piece collection that you would love to own. My collection is called “Kind of Blue,” and if I had this collection in my home, I would sit back, sip a bourbon, put on some Miles Davis, and just hang with these incredible pieces.

Clicking on any image will open the slideshow of all the images, and you’ll be able to see the details better.

Studio Art Quilt Associates is a 3,ooo+ member organization that promotes the art quilt. The Pixeladies are devoted members (Kris is the current president, and Deb is chair of Special Events). It’s through SAQA that we have met so many amazing artists and have had so many opportunities to develop as professional artists. We hope you take a look at all the art available at the 2015 SAQA Benefit Auction and bid on a piece or two!

Dec 16 2014

The John M. Walsh III Collection Is A Must-See


You have until December 21 to view 54 pieces from the John M. Walsh III Collection on exhibit at the Texas Quilt Museum. If you’re anywhere near La Grange, Texas, make this trip. As a matter of fact, make a point of going. It is the largest exhibition of the Walsh collection ever. Sandra Sider, the curator of the Texas Quilt Museum, has ensured each piece makes its own mark while still showing why it belongs in the collection. No photography is allowed in this exhibition, but we received permission to pose in front of Terrie Hancock Mangat‘s iconic “American Heritage Flea Market.” The exhibition fills all the galleries, providing the viewer plenty of opportunity to look for connections and conversations between the pieces.

Kris, Sandra Sider, Deb

Kris, Sandra Sider, Deb

In collecting quilts, which Jack Walsh has done since 1992, he had the good judgment to engage Penny McMorris as his expert consultant. In looking at the pieces on display at the TQM, it seemed to us that not only did Jack collect influential, pioneering, and emerging artists, but he often seemed to have the best of their work. That is why this collection is so important to view. A few examples of what we mean are Linda Colsh‘s “Cabinet of Curiosities,” Valerie S. Goodwin‘s “Lay of the Land II,” Judith Content‘s “Prism,” and Susan Shie‘s “Savannah: Two of Cups in the Kitchen Tarot.” Some of these were commissions for the collection, but they are all among the best examples of quilt art around. Click on the links provided to learn more about these artists.

Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange

Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange

Jul 15 2014

Tech Tuesdays: The Color Red And Printer Woes


Those of you who follow us on Facebook know that we have been living without a wide-format printer for months now. Our tech guru, Fadi, found us a used Epson 9880. (We highly recommend Fadi and Pacific Office Equipment for those of you in the Sacramento, California area – Tel. 916. 334.7875). All of our dyes printed just fine . . . with the exception of magenta. We knew when we strained our dyes before putting them in the cartridges (yes, we strain our dyes – you never know what you’ll find!) that something was not quite right with magenta. It just didn’t strain easily like all the other colors. Well, to make a long story short, we contacted our supplier, and they’re going to order a new batch of magenta. That should do the trick . . . we hope. Anyway, this whole disaster got me to remembering a great book I read this year (I guess it was just a harbinger of our current color woes):  “A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire,” by Amy Butler Greenfield (2005). It’s almost ten years old, but it’s still a fine read. Greenfield makes history exciting, and I have a new appreciation for dyeing and painting. As Deb likes to say, “Damn those fugitive reds!”


I think the book’s cover says it all. You can still find it online at Powell’s Books.