RJR Fabrics What Shade Are You? Blog Hop

Hi all,

I wanted to share that today I am participating in the RJR Fabrics “What Shade Are You” Blog Hop. Every week RJR Fabrics invites a quilter to present a project using their Cotton Supreme Solids fabric line. I got to choose any colors I wanted! My post will be up on their blog (http://quiltwithlove.com/) and will be featured on their Instagram (@rjrfabrics) Check out their instagram feed as well as mine for a special giveaway: a bundle of fat quarters of each of the colors I used in my design!

Here’s my blog entry:

Hi everyone! I’m Kari Anderson and today I get to share my quilt for RJR Fabrics’s “What Shade Are You?” Blog Hop. Glad you are here!

A little about me: I currently live in Los Angeles with my husband and daughter. I’m on instagram and online at @andersondesignworks and andersondesignworks.com. I’ve been making quilts for about five years, however my background is in architecture. My career path has been non-traditional: I worked for others for a short time doing mostly experimental design and furniture scale projects. I then taught architectural design studios for many years, mostly in the first undergrad year. While designing and making quilts has taken over as my creative outlet, my process and interests in design derive from my experiences in architecture. My “go to” design strategy is “repetition and variation.” The repetition always helps me organize the design, the variation brings interest and can provide movement or shifting focus.


I was really excited to be asked to participate in the What Shade Are You Blog. I like to see every new quilt project as an opportunity and a challenge. I always like to explore new things while working within the framework of my ongoing interests. In this case, the opportunity to choose from such a wide range of colors pushed me to work with more colors than I am used to – I usually develop the pattern first and second figure out the color. (Or I just go for black and white!) Since I was given this chance, I decided that color need to be the beginning idea of the design, not an afterthought.


My projects sometimes start as sketches, but they always go into the computer before I start the cutting and sewing. (Ok, not always. I did make one improv quilt!) This quilt started with a sketch – unusually for me, with colored pencils! It was fun and freeing because I was exploring colors first rather than creating a repeating pattern. I debated whether or not to show the original sketch here, but decided that even though the finished quilt doesn’t look like the sketch, it’s good to share the process. My sketches began with a simple idea of shifting colors from one to another. I love love love bright lemon-lime yellow and my daughter happened to have a perfect colored pencil, so I began there, playing with moving it into green and blue.

The sketch helped me choose the colors from the RJR Cotton Supreme color card. (Citron 337, Tourmaline 103, Harlequin 358, Peridot 342, Neon 348, Pistachio 404, Spring 405, Lucky Green 406, Grove 407, Toy Boat 366, Spearmint 389, Emerald City 329, Teal 401, Robin’s Egg 391, Riviera 274, Turks & Caicos 292, Atlantica 374, Lake 427, Royal Blue 126, Electric Blue 296, Denim 106, Navy 30, Medianoche 430)


At the same time I was curious about making big moves with the design. I had the thought of playing with a large and mirrored negative space and infilling it with a repeated unit. My idea was to create the color shift by randomly varying the colors from lightish to darkish. I drew up a pattern in the computer and made simple chipboard templates, as I tend to do.


As always happens in the design process, things didn’t go as planned. The “here-and-there” placement of the colors wasn’t working for me. But the fun part was that through playing around with the fabric pieces, I was noticing exciting interactions of color. This led me to establish repeating rows of paired colors and then I played with the overall order. It no longer transitioned simply from yellow to blue.


And since I can’t leave a repetitive pattern completely alone, I swapped in a few subtle color variations in some of the rows. This may not be immediately obvious but necessitates a closer look – and I hope it adds some depth and intrigue to the overall design.


The last big move that happened somewhere in the process…I turned the whole design upside down. It just works better. It now feels like something bursting up and out. It has movement that it just didn’t have the other way. Sometimes big changes need to happen!


In the end, designs don’t always need an explanation of their development -with all the things-that-didn’t-work and the changes-of-mind that got to the final product, but I think sometimes it is good to share that stuff. As a design teacher, something I tried to communicate to my students was that design takes work, it develops over time, it goes through options and changes, and it most definitely doesn’t spring, perfectly formed, from the heads of a lucky few. Also, everything you make adds to your experience.


Making this quilt and working with color in a deeper way than I have previously has been a fun experience for me. Thanks RJR Fabrics! And now I need to come up with a title.





Dear friends,

Wow, it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted here. It’s about time I gave an update!

When I started this blog I was very excited about sharing my process and making myself explore new ideas in quilt-making. I learned a lot and created an award-winning quilt in the process. My time, however, I have discovered is limited. Go figure. While I still love this idea for a quilting blog, I have decided that I need to transition this space to one that presents my ongoing work in a less regimented way. In the new year I plan to revamp this site and (fingers-crossed) begin writing quilt patterns to sell. I’ll keep you posted! In the meantime I’m adding some photos to the gallery, like this one below. I made this as a gift a number of years ago and over Thanksgiving I was able to take a better picture. Cheers to all!


Architectural Digest and MKCA

Exciting news! I’m thrilled and proud to share than my quilt “The Stars Dream of Snow” is currently featured in a project published online at Architectural Digest. The project: “A Highly Functional 225-Square-Foot Manhattan Micro-Apartment” is designed by my good friend and former business partner, Michael Chen of MKCA (Michael K Chen Architecture). Check it out! image3.png

Note: “The Stars Dream of Snow” was designed and made for the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge for the MQG’s QuiltCon West 2016, where it won first prize in the category. And of course, check out Michael Miller Fabrics.


It is nearing a year since I began this blog and this, my first assignment. When I started I thought it might take me, oh, say three, four months max per project. But a year? No way. Absolutely no way. And yet, well, it did.

That said, I am happy to announce, no, I am TOTALLY THRILLED to announce that this quilt is finished! It is not only finished, but photographed as well!

Title: “The Ground She Moves, Flies”


I’ll explain: working through the words with which I began the project: (Repeated Folding, Angled Sliding, and Rippling), I thought about an ongoing process of form-making, like the geological movements that constantly occur to make the patterns in our earth. Repeated small shifts over time/space make forms and then release those forms as time goes by. Small or large changes occur, each one folding the old patterns into the new formations.


A reading of the textures and patterns in the quilt suggest a timeline: first Repeated Folding occurs. Many little folds within the white fabric develop a fine scale texture that converges with the white and deep purple triangles of Rippling. Finally, a force of Angled Sliding shifts the pattern and the triangles move into or out of alignment. The pattern moves off beyond the boundaries of the quilt suggesting a continuation and the possibility of various other forms.


When taking in the pattern as a whole, I love the interplay between a sense of falling into place, or “grounding” from left to right, and one of “flying” when considered from right to left. Thus the reference to both in the title.


I chose to do a quilting pattern that could trace the movement in a series of stair-step lines. I made these very dense to increase the texture. I am still debating this one. In many ways I love the density of texture, but I also think some of the inherent texture of the folded pieces gets lost.

From a technical standpoint, this quilting was crazy difficult on my old Bernina with a small throat space. This had me dreaming of a Long Arm machine!


And with that, I am pleased to present: “The Ground She Moves, Flies”


Quilt top design (and piecing) complete!

I am thankful every day I get to work on quilt-making. I do have to admit, though, I wish I had more time! This project has been a bit of a beast. My brain is working so much faster than my hands: I’m already three quilts on from this one in my head. I may be doing a little backtracking as I turn my ideas into the assignments I had intended to give to myself for the blog. Well, learning a lot from this experience – both about blogging and about quilt-making!

On to the design of this quilt: in my last post I discussed much of my digital process whereby I drew the blocks and worked with variations of repeats. When I moved onto my design wall I started with one of my favorite options and worked from there. I like this process: the digital work allows for the quick trial of many options. I can incrementally change the pattern and test ideas in a relatively short period of time. It gives me a good base with which to layout the pieces and start sewing. Sometimes when I shift to “the real,” I adjust the layout from the drawing quite a bit as the fabrics, colors, and physical presence of the quilt top come into being. With this quilt, though, I made only very small adjustments to the design.

Rippling Sliding7_ALL

The overall design I feel does bring together those three movement ideas I pulled out of a hat so many months ago: Angles Sliding, Repeated Folding, and [Mirrored] Rippling. Well….the mirrored part didn’t really make it in, but I’m ok with that! The use of a significant amount of white space helps the eye follow the shifting pattern and trace movement in multiple directions: the middle points of the deep purple triangles face left directing the eye up to the corner, but the overall shift of the pattern pulls down to the right guided by the lower points of the deep purple triangles and the middle points of the white ones. In the lower right-hand corner, the pattern falls into a simple repeat that continues off the quilt. The white areas below the shifting triangles include lines of increased texture: the white space therefore contains both rest and interest.

I think of this design as something being created: the pattern is in motion and suggests continued change, like the way geological formations come into being, create patterns through forces being exerted on materials, and then change again according to new forces. The design continues beyond the boundaries of the quilt. The eye moves off in every direction, imagining more.


In terms of sewing, I learned -again- that my ideas do not always make for easy piecing. The sharp points of the triangles were definitely a challenge, as were the long 1 1/4″ (3/4″ sewn) slide pieces that go the length of the quilt. The real kicker here, though, was the added texture, which is a series of pleats every 1″ or so in the long strips of white fabric. Phew! Not hard, perhaps, but definitely time consuming. Interestingly the pleats add structure to the fabric, creating less give than the non-textured parts of the quilt top.


And now for the finishing. I wanted the backing to be simple, but a surprise. I chose a bright blueish purple (Michael Miller Fabrics Cotton Couture Crocus, to be exact!) for the backing and am anxiously awaiting its arrival in the mail. The next challenge is to design the quilting pattern. My current idea is to create a series of stair-stepping lines that track the shift of the pattern from left to right, but I’m uncertain how that will work in the white textured area. Thread colors in contention are either of the blue-purple persuasion, or white. Tests to follow!

Ello Quilter of the Week! And Teacher Appreciation Week!

It’s been a good week here with a couple thins going on. This week I was “Quilter of the Week” over on Ello! Thanks to Sara Okern of @elloquilt for the opportunity to answer some questions about what I do and reflect on my process and work.

Check it out and I’d love to hear about your process or how you think about your projects. And while you are there also head over to @elloquilt for some quilting inspiration.



It was also Teacher Appreciation Week. My daughter has two incredible preschool teachers and I’ve been really wanting to make something for them. I missed Christmas and their birthdays, so I decided I couldn’t let this week pass by without getting something done!

Teacher A

Conveniently I already had fabric in each of their favorite colors. I quickly made some sketches and came up with this linear technique of alternating a neutral color with lines of varying bright colors. I’m digging the patterns and of course am now thinking of many variations I could make with these – there are so many options. Each quilt is approximately 15″ x 10″.

Teacher V

That’s it for now. I just wanted to briefly share what I’ve been up to. And now, back to my design wall and ongoing assignment work!


Design in Progress

I’m having so much fun bringing design ideas together for this assignment! As a way of starting I decided to just repeat the block that was the most “block-like” (a block that, based on the where its points and lines are, already would create alignments within a standard repeated grid.)  “Mirrored Rippling,” is a rectangular block split diagonally into four pieces. When repeated horizontally and vertically, it immediately produces a dramatic movement that I can redirect by implementing mirroring in a few areas. I immediately loved the patterns this produced. Talk about movement! See image below, left.

The next step was to adjust the repeats by implementing the other word pairings. I loved the arrow-head looking block I had made by operating “Angled Sliding” onto the Rippling block, so I started repeating that slide within the repeat. See below, right.

Repeat 01-2

I’m really excited by the intensity, but I do think there needs to be areas of difference and rest, so I explored how I could bring Repeated Folding into the mix and use it to create breaks in the pattern. See image below. I felt the best place to bring in the folds was in the space created behind the piece that slid: the arrow-head. This provided the opportunity to keep the folding going on the diagonal beyond the borders of each individual block, which results in the white streaks.

I flipped the whole layout from the original test above so that the arrow-heads angled right instead of left. This just felt better to me.

Repeat 03

Before I swapped the orientation, I tried a few quick samples of adding the folding into tail end of the arrow-head block. The left side of the image is without folding, the middle right adds the folding into just the new white area created by the slide of the purple, and the far right block implements the folding into the entire white area behind the arrow head. That last one is the one I’m liking best.IMG_5854arrow

I really like where this is going, but was also interested in bringing back in the “Slide” I had explored in some of the original “Angled Sliding” blocks. In the patterns above, I noticed that the alignment of the blocks created diagonal lines that could be used to slide parts of the pattern along one another. Interestingly, this changes the way the block is made: no longer is a block a rectangular unit, but instead it shifts to be a linear row.

The lower left image shows the units in the original orientation. Because I always like to change things up and look at things in new ways, I also tried rotating the whole thing 90 degrees. What strikes me in these tests is the way the repetitive patterns shifts: the alignment of rows changes from on-point to offset. This use of sliding can generate more amazing movement in the overall pattern.

Repeat 06-7

With these studies, I delved into fabric. I already know that I want to make two quilts. I am so excited by what is happening here that I haven’t even moved on to try shifts in scale or other suggestions I had given when I wrote the assignment!

Below is the current state of my design wall. The last of the test samples above is the first I’m making in fabric. I’m curious about the edges. I tend to work with patterns that bleed beyond the borders of the quilt, but here I’m also exploring possible white space at the edges of some of the pattern.


And now back to work!

Assignment 001c: Bring it all together!

Here’s the fun part! The last part of the assignment will bring everything together and explore what can be made with all the ideas I’ve been working with. I’m very excited to move into this stage of design. Things have been a little slow going lately, though, as I’m in the process of building my design wall and trying to put together some “quick” pillows. Nevermind that I’ve only ever made one pillow before and it wasn’t pieced. Ha! (Oh, and I also seem to be dealing with some ridiculous allergies….where did they come from?! I hear that Tree pollen is the culprit right now.) In the meantime I’ll post the final assignment for this project:

Assignment 001c

Using the techniques and blocks from the three word pairings and the combos, develop designs for a quilt that bring together ideas and suggest movement in some way. Sew, sketch, digitally draw….use each or all design techniques available. Complete at least one pieced quilt. (We’ll examine quilting later.)

Things to consider:

-What is the organization of the quilt – will blocks repeat? How? In a grid? Alternate grid?

-Transformation: perhaps some blocks or actions infiltrate the design sporadically to disrupt the pattern rather than all three word pairings appearing in every block.

-The scale of blocks or techniques may adjust in relation to each other.

-The three word pairing ideas do not need to be weighted equally in the final design.

-Blocks or techniques may need to change from the original explorations in order to work in the larger fields. This is ok!


I think that gives enough to go from. It’s pretty loose but there’s already a lot of material to work with. Finding the possible connections will be the challenge. Now I just can’t wait to get started!


Rippling Sliding

[This is the continuation of an assignment I gave previously. See earlier posts for details or click on “Assignment 001” on the right and scroll through]

Rippling Sliding is the last of the word pair combos. After this will be taking as step back, looking at what I have made, and designing. I’m looking forward to that stage!

In these two blocks below, I took part of my Mirrored Rippling block and slid a segment along a white “slide”. The one on the left is untrimmed to see the action: the three top triangular segments have slid down the bottom triangle along the line of the white slide. In the block on the right, I allowed the top three triangles of the block to change shape as I imagined the sliding action to happen prior to the creation of the rippling block. I’d really like to examine both of these with “regular” Mirrored Rippling blocks to see how they shift the pattern. The block on the left, if trimmed, would actually be a different height and would therefore shift the positioning of a whole column of blocks. Both could create interesting breakages in the overall Mirrored Rippling pattern.

Rippling Sliding01

The last experiment I did also came with a color change. I ran out of the pale blue material and decided to try a replacement color that would contrast more dramatically with the white. I chose a beautiful deep blue-purple.

Sliding Rippling

I paper-pieced this block and multiplied it to understand how the shift I made would start to show in the overall pattern. I kind of fell in love with this. Here, instead of using added white strips as “slides,” I thought I could just use the diagonal lines created in the pattern to shift the pieces. There are four blocks here. In the lower right block the upper purple triangle has slid down, elongating the white area and creating a much smaller purple triangle. When the small purple triangle connects to the left with another block, it ends up creating a shape that looks like an on-angle arrow head. I love how dynamic this looks and can start to imagine a whole field created with these two blocks. With this last experiment I’ve really been ignoring the “mirrored” part of Mirrored Rippling, and may just do away with it. I think I can use the action of mirroring in a larger layout of these blocks, but I don’t want to be tied to it within each individual block. Maybe that’s changing the rules a little bit, but sometimes that is ok!

I’m excited to move on with all the pieces I have created. I’ll post a new assignment to explain what I’ll be doing, but the gist of it is that I’ll be picking and choosing from all the work I have done to create full quilt designs.

I have a little work at home to do first, though. I don’t currently have a design wall and I am feeling that in order to “step back and take a look” at what I have made so far with this assignment, that I LITERALLY need to be able to “step back and take a look!!” So first up, a design wall. And I may be making a few pillows too…..

Folding Sliding Rippling combos

[This is the continuation of an assignment I gave previously. See earlier posts for details or click on “Assignment 001” on the right and scroll through]

First up for the word pairing combos is Repeated Folding with Angled Sliding. The first two are shown below in the large images with four small images of some of the original word pair blocks I used as starting points. In these two experiments folding occurred prior to sliding. In the large image on the left I applied Repeated Folding to the blue fabric, followed by slicing the block and sliding the two pieces on angle along the white fabric. This results in a highly textured piece with a break and shift. In the large image on the right, the folds occur in the white fabric “slide.” Again the blue rectangle was sliced and slid, but this time the shift is revealed in the offset of folds of the white fabric.


In the following two blocks, I reversed the order of operations. First I sliced and slid the blue fabric along the white slide, and then added Repeated Folding. In the image on the left I did a continuous and evenly spaced folding, whereas on the right I added the folding only between the seams in the blue pieces.

Sliding Folding

The next pairing combo is Repeated Folding with Mirrored Rippling. I thought I was really going to love these but after going through the exercise I am rethinking. Like above, I tried switching the order of operations to discover what effects I could get. The large images below are the combos, the small photos underneath are the previous block ideas I was working from. In these attempts I essentially created a pleated fabric and used it within the blocks for the white pieces. This adds the folded texture within contained areas. Oops, I seem to have lost the mirrored aspect of Mirrored Rippling in two of these!

Folding Rippling

In this last image below, I used one block of Mirrored Rippling and added the evenly spaced folds. This results in an interesting jagged lines in the edges of the triangles.

Rippling Folding

I am still in the experimental phase where I am generating ideas and exploring, so I don’t like to critique the work too much because who knows what might work later? That said, I definitely have some observations that suggest other experiments or start to point towards blocks that have more potential.

My first observation is that in the pieces with the all-over folding, the fold lines run to the edges of the blocks. This may or may not be a good thing when combining blocks. Not to mention when I do a lot of this, I loose about a quarter of my block to folds!

The flip side of that, however, is when the folds occur in the fabric first and get sewn into the blocks second. The pleats are usually bound within certain shapes and may counteract the angles of the block. For instance in some of the experiments the folds are oriented vertically, which, now that I step back and look at it, don’t seem to “play nicely” with the triangular shapes they are in. I find they stop and start with little relation to the shapes around them. I could try some new blocks where I change the orientation of the folds to relate more directly to the larger shapes of the blocks.

I am finding generally that the folding technique can be overwhelming, both to me in terms of making it and more importantly in how it sits in the blocks. I think a little of this technique can go a long way, and I am most interested in the blocks where a little bit might peak out here and there. I also like when this technique amplifies the movement of the pattern rather than stifles it.

I still have one more pairing combo to work on: Angled Sliding with Mirrored Rippling. This one is less obvious to me about how I go about it, but I also think that it could be really fun!