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The Virtual Quilt, A

Newsletter for Computing Quilters

Number Twenty-One * January 1, 1998

Classifieds | Table of Contents

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BOOK REVIEW: Fooling Your Eyes


Optical Illusions for Quilters
By Karen Combs
American Quilter's Society, 1997
162 pages, $22.95
Available at a discount from the Planet Patchwork Quilters' Bookstore


One of the qualities that distinguishes "fine" art from primitive, or folk art, is the effective use of perspective. Medieval paintings and contemporary folk art painting, for instance, often share a flatness or a distortion in the relative sizes of "far" and "near" objects that tell us the artist is not trained in (or has no interest in) creating realistic illusions of depth. Quilters, too, over time have learned to use more advanced techniques in their art.

In Optical Illusions for Quilters, Karen Combs provides quilters the ultimate reference, shy of formal training in art, for mastering not only perspective but a wide array of other "illusions" that can add depth, motion, and interest to quilts. Whether the goal is to create a realistic picture or a quilt of dancing parallelograms that seems to recede into infinity, this book explores and explains the various ways it can be done.

Depth, perspective, motion, and color are the four major topics that organize the book, as Combs takes a highly technical and potentially intimidating subject and breaks it down into its component parts, with lots of illustrations and photos to help make things clear. She walks us through one-point, two-point, three-point and isometric perspective with the help of detailed diagrams and step-by-step instructions on how to draw objects in these ways, and how to apply it to quilt design.

Combs applies the same detailed and painstaking explanation to the variety of factors that contribute to the illusion of motion on a flat surface. In both realistic and abstract images, including many quilts, she demonstrates how art can be brought to life with simple techniques for suggesting movement through the proper arrangement of juxtaposition of elements. The explanations are both academic and practical, and in many cases they are inspirational as well, by showing what can be created by applying these techniques through simple forms.

The last section of the book, on color, demonstrates how colors play off one another and can be manipulated to create illusions of space, advancing or receding to our delighted-to-be-deceived eye.

Although the book explores some arcane territory, Combs never forgets that her audience is quilters, not scientists, and ties all of her observations and lessons back to quilting. Each section contains several pages of traditional quilt blocks that show the characteristics of depth, motion or other illusion that she has been talking about in the chapter. At the end of the book is a section of 12-inch patterns and templates for blocks which lend themselves to illusionistic design.

Best of all for those of us who must have our dessert first is the liberal sprinkling of gorgeous quilts used as illustrations throughout. Not stinting on the colored ink, AQS has produced stunning and generously sized plates on nearly every page. The quilts are in all styles, from realistic pictorials such as Cynthia England's "Come into the Light" to abstract inspirations such as Ellen Anne Eddy's "Quilts in Space" or Emily Richardson's mysterious "Journey: Lost/Found," which looks like a vision of the Underworld. The only thing marring this aspect of the book is that a few of the photographs are muddy or out-of-focus.

In just the right balance of pedagogical detail and artistic fancy, Karen Combs has created a book which will become dog-eared with use by both beginners and quilting veterans who want to add that "extra dimension" to their art.



The MINI DUST-IT. Genuine sheepskin duster on a 6" stick that is perfect for picking up dust and lint from your sewing machine and serger. Soft, beautiful sheepskin won't scratch polished surfaces. Picks up the lint and tiny threads; doesn't spread them around. Prevents lint build-up. Inexpensive way to protect expensive sewing machines and sergers. Fun and handy to use.

Price: $3.50 each including mailing.

To order send check to Silver Dollar Sheep Station, 5020 Winding Way, Sacramento, CA 95841. 800-887-8742. SILVER DOLLAR SHEEP STATION


Happy New Year, 1998! I would like to thank all of you, customers and visitors to the QuiltBroker in 1997, who helped make the year, 1997, a success for Design Plus. We will be adding some NEW and exciting features to the QuiltBroker web site ( in the near future, so watch for details in upcoming TVQ announcements.

We now have a FREE PATTERN that you may print directly from The QuiltBroker web site, and share with your quilting friends, as well as some extra special pricing on quilting books. Point your browser to You save even more money when you buy from Design Plus at The QuiltBroker because WE PAY the shipping on prepaid orders.

Heidi Wurst, owner


P. O. Box 273, Esperance NY 12066

ANTIQUE QUILT & TEXTILE CONVENTION. May 21-23, 1998. Held in Lowell, MA, the birthplace of the American Textile Revolution. Features private tours of museums and conservation centers as well as lectures by noted curators, authors, appraisers and conservationists. For more information, write Hickory Hill Antique Quilts, Box 273, Esperance NY 12066 or see


Quilt Shop Service -- Discount Prices

**New: Save on Fabric!** PineTree is now discounting fabric! With more than 2000 bolts on the floor, more fabric goes on the website catalog each week, at prices 20% off retail. Don't miss PineTree's **New** Stash Stockers(tm), the exciting selections of six fat quarters from top manufacturers!

Shopping online for quilting supplies is now easier than ever! PineTree Quiltworks now offers a secure server for credit card transactions! Just scope out the website catalog at and place your credit card order from the ***new*** secure website order form. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover are welcome.

PineTree's your source for discounted quilting supplies and books! PineTree offers attentive customer service and prompt shipping, along with website convenience and 20% discounts!

You'll find a huge selection of batting, from Quilter's Cotton fine cotton batts to the full lines of Hobbs' and Fairfield's cottons, blends, and polys. Look for tools to make applique easier and more fun; fabric and hand care products; pencils and markers; templates and template plastic; needlecraft gloves; rotary cutters and related supplies; rippers, clippers, snippers, and scissors; machine sewing needles; seven (!) brands of hand sewing needles -- including Jeana Kimball's renowned Foxglove Cottage needles; basting systems; thread, including Mettler and Gutermann cotton sewing and quilting, Tire silk sewing, and Sulky rayon, metallic, and sliver, and *new* Roxy 100% cotton thread on economical 1200-yard spools; patterns ... and more. There are many more books at PineTree than you'll find in the books listing online, so if you don't see what you want, ask for it! All books are discounted 20%.

Check out the catalog on the web at, or request a free hard copy by e-mailing snail mail info to If you are on AOL and prefer to contact someone there, you'll find us at PineTreeQ!

PineTree is online to answer questions about quilting products at


Gridded Geese(c) is a unique paper foundation method for mass-producing Flying Geese units up to 24 at once (no kidding!).

Schoolhouse Enterprises, inventors and manufacturers of this revolutionary product, offers both an on-line ( and printed version of their catalog. They search for items for quilters (and friends of quilters) which are unique and often overlooked by other catalogs you might connect with. Their newest catalog, hot off the press, offers such interesting items as Photos-to-Fabric(tm) photo transfer paper, Danforth Pewter jewelry and buttons, and the Ott Light... all at discounted prices!

And while you're visiting their web site, be sure to check out their on-line catalog for their Monthly $pecial$!! If you're not able to access their web page, just e-mail Schoolhouse Enterprises ( with your "snail mail" (post office) address for your FREE CATALOG and Sample of Gridded Geese(c)! (Samples are only available in the printed catalogs.)


Perfect Square is a reusable iron on transfer used to make half square triangles quickly, easily and accurately. Each sheet can be used at least 10 times, usually more. For those of you who like to work small, there is the Mini Pack with finished sizes from 1/4" to 1 1/2". Perfect Square also comes in real sizes for anyone intimidated by the small stuff.E-mail for more info or check out the Perfect Square web site at


ARTFABR!K now carries a Color Card for their extraordinary hand-dyed perle cotton threads available in sizes 3, 5, 8 and the finest, size 12. Please send $7 plus $1 for shipping to ARTFABR!K, Laura Wasilowski, 324 Vincent Place, Elgin, IL 60123. E-mail or see our web site at


Beautiful hand Dyed Fabric perfect for piecing, applique and pictorial quilts. Colors range from a sunrise spectrum of mauves, pinks, and golds to deep purples, blues and teals. Available in the following convenient packages:

8 step color progression- fat eighth cuts- 1 yard $25.00
12 step color wheel- 6"x22"cuts 1 yard $25.00
24 step color wheel- 6"x22" cuts 2 yards $45.00
  10" squares 1.5 yards $35.00

Send a self addressed, stamped envelope for free samples and full price list or to order send check or money order to:

Jay Dee Designs 18640 South Lowrie Loop Eagle River, Alaska 99577



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In This Issue:

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And here's what's inside!


Like any news publication, TVQ is always hungry for information about new developments in the area we are trying to cover. If you have an idea for a story, or want to tell the world about something you are doing which relates to computers and quilting, we'd like to hear about it.

We'd like news of new classes starting up to teach quilt design on computers, or new approaches to that teaching. New products, maillists, World Wide Web pages, etc., are all fair game, and we'd appreciate any tips you can provide. Send your tips by e-mail to

If you have a comment about an article, a complaint or a correction, we're glad to hear that, too, and may publish some comments as letters to the editor. Again, these may be sent to

Editor and Publisher: Robert Holland, Decatur, GA

1997 by Robert Holland. All rights reserved. This file may not be reproduced in any form except to be printed out for the personal use of its owner without the expressed, written consent of the copyright holder.


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