You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2008.

It has been an interesting few days.

My computer started acting funny.  This is unusual, since this workhorse has not given me a moment of trouble for the past 3 years I owned it.

Long story, short, I turned it off, waited 5 minutes and turned it back on. The instant power hit the computer, a fireball shot out of the back of it!

Okay, it was not this bad, but I thought it was!

My husband, Rick is a computer technician. He diagnosed it as a “dead shot” and guessed the power supply took the hit. We spent the morning driving to the computer store and purchased a new power supply.

Of course, my biggest fear was my information on the computer. Since this computer runs my business, this information needs to be backed up constantly.

Rick has solved that problem. He remotely backs up all our computers to a separate server. This happens several times a day and during the night. The server is also backed up on a separate hard drive. All in all, our information is backed up on three separate places every day.

Is this excessive? No way! I have lost information in a hard drive crash in the past and I never want that to happen again. Rick has solved that. Once we got home, Rick opened up my computer tower  and replaced the power supply.


After a few tense moments, we powered up the computer and all was well. All information was intact and the computer is fine.  Whew!

Now I’m off to back up my laptop!



As a traveling teacher, packing and unpacking are part of my job. As soon as one trip is over, another is upcoming. For the few weeks, I’ve been making lists and packing for Spring Market. Everything has to be shipped tomorrow, so I’m getting down to the wire.

This year Spring Market will be held in Portland, Oregon. It is a beautiful city.  It has a population of over 2 million residents. The city covers 130 miles and is listed as the cleanest city in the U.S. Companies such as Nike, Adidas and Intel fuel the local economy.  Portland is located an hour from the Pacific Ocean and is close to Mount Hood. (Check out the link for the Mount Hood web cam!)

There is always lots to do, to prepare for Market. I’ll be doing two Schoolhouse Sessions: Secrets of the Selvage and Creating Quilts of Illusion.

I will debut new colors in my Gilded Greenery collection.


And my new collection called Nami will also debut.


Often I am asked, “How do you design fabric?” Sometimes I am inspired by a concept, sometimes a texture, sometimes by a need I see as a quilter. Many different things inspire my fabric and quilt designs.

For Nami, I was inspired by antique and traditional Asian textures. To give the collection a clean, yet traditional feel, I used the combinations of indigo/white, black/white, red/white and red/black.

In order to have designs that worked well together, I selected curvilinear designs and geometric designs. These play well off each other and can be used together in a quilt.

The three curvilinear designs are:


The floral designs are inspired from traditional Asian textures. The wave design is inspired from an antique kimono texture.

The three linear designs are:


Each of these designs were directly inspired by traditional Sashiko quilting patterns. In the third design, the stitching lines show.

What is Sashiko?
Early 18th Century, the wives of Japanese farmers, fishermen and lumberjacks made warm garments by stitching     two pieces of heavy fabric together. They used fine running stitches throughout the entire garment. At first, the    stitching was used for reinforcing and repairing damaged fabrics but later became more decorative. The cotton fabric was dyed very dark blue with the root of a native plant. We know this color as indigo.

By the end of the century, this particular style of stitchery was known as “SASHIKO”. Around the late 19th Century, sashiko appeared in cities. The style was adopted for warmth but the stitching designs became more elaborate.

I created this kimono quilt as a free project giveaway for this collection. Be sure to ask for your shops to order Nami and ask for the free project sheet.


 I also played with Nami and Gilded Greenery in this quilt, Celtic Vision from my book, Celtic Pieced Illusions.

 I used the Cinnamon and Saffron colorways from Gilded Greenery and three textures Nami in this quilt. I think it is an amazing combination!

I enjoyed my time in the Denver area. While there, I drove from Denver to Boulder to visit the Celestial Seasonings plant. The view as I drove towards Boulder was beautiful.

As I took this photo, I noticed the ground in front of me was “moving.” As I looked closer, I saw dozens, if not scores of prairie dogs!


I love tea, so I was excited to visit Celestial Seasonings.


They offer a factory tour, so I was off to the Tour Center to book my place in line. The tour was fascinating! We saw how the tea was mixed and packaged. It all happens at this plant. The entire factory smelled wonderful!


After the tour, I visited the Tea Shop and bought lots of tea.  My favorites: Sleepytime, Mandarin Orange Spice and Goji Berry Pomegranate.  Yum!






Denver is a beautiful town. We took some amazing photos!

We were getting hungry, so we decided to have High Tea and the famous Brown Palace Hotel.


It is a beautiful building, built in the 1880’s.


The stained glass ceiling was amazing. Looks like a quilt!


We have a lovely tea, just look at this beautiful plate.



Last stop, the Molly Brown House.



The Unsinkable Molly Brown movie was my favorite as a child. I just had to visit her home.

 The house was closed, but we took lots of photos.



The house is a Queen Ann style and the gingerbread was amazing!


I played with my camera and was able to take a photo of the house in sepia. Looks like the photo was taken 100 years ago! (Can you see me on the stairs?)



While in Denver, I spent some time with my friend, Barbie and her daughter, Courtney. I’ve known Barbie for years and recently she and Courtney have moved to the Denver area.  I was exited to see them! We had a wonderful time, visiting some sights in and around Denver.

I fully believe in “filling the well”, or in other words, take time for yourself and fill your mind with inspiring people, places and things.  We decided to spend time time at the Denver Art Museum. Our first stop, the gift shop:

We found these cool woven place mats.


Some beautiful glass coasters.

I loved the light coming through these vases.


We viewed the new Gee’s Bend Quilts exhibit, an Impressionist exhibit and a small Amish quilt exhibit.



Next, off to walk through downtown Denver. At the capital building, we spotted this engraving, “One Mile Above Sea Level.” Well, we had to get a photo together, a mile high.

There are many sculptures around the city. We found this giant bear peering into the convention center.

More on our visit in my next post!

I’m in Denver, Colorado, having a wonderful time with the Arapaho County Quilters and the Columbine Quilters Guild.

The landscape is beautiful.

Travel is always interesting, you never know what you will see. When I pulled into the hotel parking lot after class, this is what I saw!

Just can’t wait to get on the road again!

All the electronics are charges, quilts are packed, workshop supplies have been shipped, clothes are washed and waiting to be packed and I’m headed back on the road. For the next 11 days, I’ll travel across the country, teaching and lecturing.

My first visit is with the Arapahoe County Quilters and the Columbine Quilt Guild, both in the Denver area.  Thursday night, my lecture at the Arapahoe guild is on  “Quilts of Illusion.”


On Friday, my class is a “Patchwork Illusions”, an easy way to create amazing 3-D quilts.


Next, a visit to the Columbine Quilt Guild. On Saturday, the hands-on workshop will be on the illusion of transparency. This is a fun illusion that uses color to create the illusion of transparency.  


My lecture will also be on Transparency. I’ll show different ways to put this illusion into quilts and will show many different quilts of illusion.


If you are in the area, be sure to stop by and say hello!

My next stop is a cross country flight home, hop in my car and drive to Johnson City, Tennessee for two classes at the Somewhere Sewing quilt shop.

The first class is Celtic Illusions is based on my book, Celtic Pieced Illusions. A fun way to create pieced Celtic quilts.



Christmas Cube is a beautiful 3-D cube and is so fun to create!


While I’m traveling, I will also be starting my “Combing Through Your Scraps”, online class at Quilt University.  For complete information, visit Quilt


Karen Combs is a internationally known quilt teacher, author and fabric designer. Visit her web site at

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