Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

Mad Science and Art Part 2

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

blue flowerw

One of the great things about being an artist is that  you get to redefine how people use all kinds of artistic toys.

There’s a mad kind of creativity that ends up reaching for the oddest tools at the strangest moments. It’s how we grow.  In the main, it’s embarrassingly awkward, thrashing around with with the pile of things that might work.

This week I was shaping leaves and flowers with Innovative Crafts  Heat and Shape. We’ll have a full article in the Winter Issue of Crazy Quilt Magazine, and you can read it there. 

ironing toolsw

I spent yesterday trying out different curling irons on this stuff. This is from a woman whose worn a pixie hair cut at least 40 years of her life.  We even tried out the one with balls. It didn’t exactly  work the way I expected but it did curve petals.

None of it happens if you can’t try and fail with abandon. I lack any rational linear ability to reason in straight lines. That’s ok. I can thrash through one weird idea after another with abandon. The only times I really get into trouble is when someone sets up a system that will only work one way. I’m not very good at systems that only work one way.

And after I’ve dyed fabric in the crock pot and quilted my quilt upside down with a Sweet Sixteen, what did you expect?

Lessons from My Garden:Color Musings

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

804 Allium and ButterflyMy garden has gone bersonkers. Perhaps it’s all that rain. Or my friends who morris dance in it from time to time. One of the things I enjoy most is the cycle of change measured by my flowers. The garden starts as yellow daffs, goes through a multicolor, but mostly red tulip phase, and then lands in the purple part of May/June


peonie 2This is the time of peonies and alliums.

I have regular peonies.  But they take a back seat to the Chinese peonie trees I put in years ago. They stand as a tree and have spectacular 6-8 inch blooms in pinks, purples and reds.

alliumAlliums are a huge purple  garlic bloom. How could you go wrong? Add another  color peonies and the garden starts to sing in purple.

purples chart wWhy is it so exciting? A look at the color wheel makes it plain. We”re playing with complements again. But on top of that we have colors on either side. So we have an analogous color combination  as well. The colors make a split analogous grouping which really is my favorite way to play. You get all the smooth colors from an analogous color arc and the excitement of a complement group.

Remember that  the color wheel is not just about mixing color. It’s not just red and blue make purple. Instead, it’s a mapping of color relationships.  We respond to the relationships of color, who they are next to each other, much more than we respond to one color or another separately. And we can spin the dial to create to reproduce that relationship with another set of colors entirely.

Next time I’ll take you for a spin on the color wheel using Photoshop as our guide.

Wanting to build your own pattern free quilt garden? Check out my book

Thread Magic Garden Until then, make sure you bathe in the colors.



Once More with Feeling: Abstract by Accident

Friday, February 15th, 2013
815 butterly garden

Butterfly Garden

The best thing about working in series is that it’s fertile ground for all kinds of wonderful accidents. When you’re working on one idea, other ideas pop up. And best of all, there are left overs.
Now left overs for dinner are only as good as dinner itself. If they’re good their gold. If they’re not, it’s likely you’ll find them three weeks later in your fridge covered with light green growth. But when they’re great they lead to great discoveries. And when they’re fabric, they wait patiently for their time, without going moldy.

I’ve struggled for years to abstract my work. It’s not a natural thing for me. But while I was writing Thread Magic Garden, I quilted Butterfly Garden while I was exploring what made a lollipop flower (every child’s first flower) a recognizable flower. It’s either a saucer shape, a group of shapes circling a center or a bowl shape. 


817 Grotto gem detail lI had a left over. It reminded me of those great spring drop flowers like trout lilies and checkered fritillaria
817 Grotto GemSo I put it into a green wet background with spring mist. I like this quilt but it’s not abstract. It’s fantasy. 
824 jazzed c stalk tnWhat brought me into abstract, was breaking down into just petals. When I broke things down into their shapes, I was past just the flower. I made a pathway and put the petals on the path. Instead of making a specific flower, I’d made a shape that was past that.
831-daylily-dance So when I went to do Daylilies, I made C shapes that reminded me of dragon claws.
dd2I put them into bunches that made my flowers and nailed the centers with an elegant spiral. Then I placed them along a pathway,

SAQA Journal just printed my story about Daylily Dance. It could never have happened if I weren’t working in a series, and following blindly where it went.

Thread Magic Garden

Thread Magic Garden

You’ll find all kinds of ideas for creating abstract and real fabric flowers in my book Thread Magic Garden. It’s not just my journey. It’s the beginning of yours.

You’ll find more about working in series on my blog at
Watch for a special offer and a special gift this weekend!

Once More with Feeling: Moths in Moonlight, Butterflies in Sun

Monday, January 28th, 2013

765 Luna (1) What is it about the flutter of moth wings? I cannot resist them. The best part of summer is to open the door at night, look up through the tree to see moths flying moonward.

I am mostly a moon child. I sunstroked as a child on the lake and have never been able to take strong sun. So much of my outdoor life has been in early morning or late evening. Or, at night when the dogs take their last run. So moon creatures are my special companions, and I always look for them.

675 Snails Pace  detailNot that I can leave butterflies alone either. One way or another, I really want to flutter over the garden.

Of course what many people miss is that you cannot have moths or butterflies without caterpillars.815 butterfly garden detail



So I treasure them all. The moths, the butterflies, the flutterbys and the caterpillar  all part of their passion play. And the occasional cocoon that shows up hanging from the odd bit of bee balm.

Some moths in flight.


Some butterflies



Once More with Feeling: Arise a Rose

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAMy very first flowers were roses. The day I was born, my father sent my mother a dozen roses. And sent one for me.  It’s still dried and pressed into my baby book.

Roses aren’t the queen of flowers. Lilies are. But roses are the courtesans of the garden, because they court everyone with their softness, their scent and their exquisite presence. They also smartly have thorns. The rose in the Little Prince reminds everyone that they had best have respect for her, because, after all, she’s armed.

I grew up thinking of roses as the only flowers you gave to people because that was how my father viewed it. In his mind, you gave ladies roses, for all occasions. And only Abe Lincoln roses, with long stems, blood red blooms and velvet scent. I am spoiled forever.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI also grew up thinking you only got flowers if a man gave them to you. A huge part of my therapy was buying my own flowers for a solid year. Now I plant them and pass on the middle man.



223 (2)As a species roses have been cultivated for so long that there are a million kinds and buying them is a trip down Alice’s rabbit hole. So I spent a winter studying roses out of catalogs  and books. Turns out I love my Hansa roses best. They’re a bush rose that blooms twice a year, smells like cloves and has a dinosaur like habit of putting out thorns everywhere. They are blissfully unkillable.

When I studied to make roses, I discovered that, unlike most flowers, it really didn’t help to mimic the petals. There were just too many of them. Instead it was more useful to follow the growth of the petals. Which is in a spiral.

The petals are cut in spirals and whirled around each other. Then, I put the points of folds into the petals as I stitched them. Notice the change in colors. Roses are never just one color.

Of course, the other thing about a courtesan is that everyone wants to be a part of her world. I noticed every garden creature out there, especially tending roses.

865 Rose whiteWould you like a Rose from my garden? When people come to my garden, I usually cut flowers for them. Most often it’s roses, because they do bloom so long. In case, like myself, you know that you have to be your own valentine, I’ve put some delicious little rose quilts on sale for you. Of course, if you’ve got someone who give you things, that will give him a break too.  Check them out on my web site!

LittleprinceYou’ll find The Little Prince  on Amazon. If you’ve somehow missed this delight, run, don’t walk to find a copy to read it. It’s about growing, being, and  caring for the things you love.

Classes at the National Quilt Museum

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Source: via Ellen Anne on Pinterest

There’s two really great things about quilt classes at the National Quilt Museum. One is that it’s the National Quilt Museum and the people who come to class here are spectacular. The other is that it’s the National Quilt Museum, which is the epicenter of support, information, and exposure for quilters and especially art quilters. Don’t think you won’t see spectacular traditional quilts. You will. But the art quilts there are of a caliber that makes my heart sing. It’s a bit of quilt heaven in every way.

I taught a three day class here that made my heart sing too. Astonishing students! We worked mostly on flower studies out of my new book Thread Magic Garden. But what they came up with was their very own.


Top it off with a lunch at Caryl Bryer Fallert’s Bryer Patch Studio.Caryl is a quilting legend whose work has revolutionized the quilt world for 30 years.  Caryl graciously had us all to lunch and showed off her latest work and her fabulous Paducah studio.


Here are some images from class. If you’d like to see more, check my facebook page at Thread Magic Studio.

What a class like this does is really build all kinds of skills. The luxury of three days in class (and a late evening session) means that people get to refine what they’re learning into what they do.

From my point of view, I’m still bending my head around the notion that these people have a quilt of mine in the museum. It’s still a moment standing in front of Dancing in the Light in a museum setting and saying, “Yep. That one’s mine. I’m still looking for the other Ellen Eddy who must have quilted it.

So support the National Quilt Museum either by visiting or by becoming a friend of the museum. Take lovely 3 day classes when you get the chance to really dive into a new technique with a teacher.  And celebrate this brave new world where we have real museums that support, preserve, show and educate quilters as the artists we know that we are.

You’ll find  information about the National Quilt Museum on their web site at

You’ll find more information about Caryl Bryer Fallert on her web site at

You’ll find the gallery pictures on my face book page at If you’re from class and you want to tell more about those pictures, log in and you can!

Pat Jones: Mountain Fringe Girl

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012



I met Pat Jones at the Mountain Laurel Guild in Georgia. The whole guild was full of wild gardeners and astonishing fiber artists. Pat fits right in. She lives in a cabin up the mountain where birds sing to her right off her porch, looking down the gorge. It’s another world.

Pat tells me I gave her permission in my first book to try things. And she has. She’s this quiet and very proper southern gal doing wonderfully wild things with her thread and fabric.

She took my flower class, and being a master gardener herself, she build one incredible flower garden.

Here’s what she had to say about it.

“First, THANK YOU for your visit with us in June.  We were ALL blown away by your work!  What inspiration!  As a result, I had to put all the work I was in the middle of aside and try your techniques.  This is my first attempt, and I plan to do MANY more!  I have a long way to go….got to learn to be FREE!  What a joy you are and your work is gorgeous, on top of that, your teaching is so excellent that it makes us feel confident that we can try it. 
The pink flowers in the wall hanging were stitched onto a felt background then stitched on the background fabric sandwich.  That made them raised a little and I really like the effect.  The center of the flowers is all thread stitched onto Ultra Solvy then applied.  The butterfly is, of course, Angelina.  The wisteria is made of tubes of hand painted organza and silk. 
This past Tuesday was guild and it made a splash with the girls!!!”
There’s no way to know where she’ll go next with her work, but she’s unstoppable. I can’t wait to see.

Hydrangea Happening: In Search of Color

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

When I was visiting  the Mountain Lauren Quilters down in Georgia, I saw the most amazing hydrangeas. We have hydrangeas up north. I have some annabell hydrangeas that threaten to swallow the whole side yard. But not like these.

I was in Clayton Georgia, half up the mountain, where these women take their gardening seriously. And their hydrangeas are a thing of legend. Part of it is the warmer zone allows for blue lace caps and other wonders. Part of it is just passionate gardening on steroids. Both Lynda Doll and Kathy Booker had astonishing gardens with hydrangeas to die for.

Which left me wondering….What is it about the color of hydranges that turns us all inside out?

So we’re going to put it on the color wheel and look.



First off, they’re blue and there isn’t a whole lot of real blue in a garden. Lots of purples, pinks, reds, oranges and greens. So the ones that are merely blue are a wonder just for that


But most of them aren’t just one color. They flirt with all the purples and pinks to either side.

And this one adds just a dab of yellow in the center. It’s as if it were buttered. Yumm!

Here it is on the wheel. We have an analogous range of purples, blues and pinks, with that yellow complement to the purple sparking across the wheel. No wonder I want to play with this combination. I think, next dye day they really will be colors to dye for.


 Wondering how you might do this as stitchery? This roundish form, covered with a great hydrangea range of colors in garnet stitch does the job pretty well.

Before the heat starts to simmer today, go out in your garden and see what colors catch your heart. Go feed your eye.


Books in Action

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

It’s lovely when you get to see a book you’ve written  go into  action. Books are made to be working tools. 

Morna McEver Golletz just wrote a review of Thread Magic Garden on her blog for the
International Association of  Professional Quilters.

She says “At first glance, it’s clear that Ellen is a teacher. Using simple step-by-step instructions, you’ll learn basic skills that build upon each other, for example, special stitch techniques, building edge-to-edge color and progressive shading. Then she offers more than 20 floral studies to understand the shapes of the flowers. She notes that you cannot create a flower through fabric without first seeing and studying a real one, so she includes close-up photographs for this purpose. She also includes a good discussion on color theory. If you are interested in learning or expanding your skills at machine embroidery, you’ll enjoy this book and appreciate Ellen’s attention to detail.” Thanks, Morna!

I just taught a class at Mountain Laurel Quilters in Clarkesville, GA based on  the book. We did the abstracted florals class. These women are master gardeners. They took me up and down the mountain to see their gardens, which were spectacular.  I’ll post on that later. What a dynamic group of women!

I ended up demoing on hostas and lady slippers, in honor of their forest and clearing gardens, that absolutely make my heart sing. What a lovely trip!

You’ll find the International of Professional Quilters on their web site at They put together a very useful publication called Professional Quilter that serves the needs of the quilt community that sells, shows, teaches, writes and quilts professionally.

Cheesecloth! The Cotton Sheer

Monday, June 18th, 2012

It’s such a good thing people don’t generally look in my washer. They would need medical attention pretty fast, and perhaps that’s just as well. There’s a large quality of the embodied question.”Just what is that?”

This is a cheesecloth lump. As advertised, it’s a lump of cheesecloth, tucked carefully into a nylon stocking so it doesn’t unravel and trap the whole washer in threads. Is this some special fabric we’ve never heard of? No. You probably put it on a turkey breast last Thanksgiving. 



Even open it’s a bit of a mystery for folk. But you  can see the colors. Cheesecloth is one of the appliquer’s and dyers best kept secret. It’s a cotton sheer that dyes beautifully, can be ironed like cotton ( with a pressing cloth) and is fabulously textured. What it does best is sheer bright color behind stitching.


Here it makes the background behind these great mushrooms





This great flower is cheesecloth in two shades. All the other coloring is the thread work.


These soft leaves are cheesecloth with polyneon thread stitched in different colors on

different sides.

How do you dye cheesecloth? It dyes just like cotton. The trick is not in dyeing it. It’s in washing it out. Like every other bad boy, you can’t let it play with others. Stick it in a nylon stocking, tie it up and your good to go.

I apply cheesecloth with Steam A Seam 2, iron it down thoroughly and stitch it with abandon.

Sheer, bright, lovely,  cotton and  completely addictive, add it to your applique stash.

If you can’t find it, or dye it, I do make it available for folk. Email me and we’ll set up mailing you a box of it. 

Want to Make a Water Lily Bloom?

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Every year I go through water lily lust. We have a fabulous garden center in Chesterton that has a magnificent fish pond. It’s full of water lilies. Do I want one? Don’t be silly. I want three dozen.

But I live in a neighborhood with small children, and they do sometimes get into your yard. Small children upside down in your pond, in trouble one way or another are not part of good neighbor relationships. Not even with a solid fence. I also don’t fancy finding a greyhound floating in one either.










So I have a fake half barrel planter that I fill with water every year. Last year it had tadpoles too. Can I grow a waterlily? God knows, I tried. I could grow great leaves. Somewhere around late August I’d get a bud. That doesn’t always mean you get a flower. It never happened. I finally bought a floating silk water lily. Then I went to water hyacinth.






But I can make a great water lily in the studio. Simple”C” and “S”shapes make this waterlily. No patterns needed. No direct sunlight either. Cut the shapes, place them, iron them down and embroider. I use all kinds of sheers, hand dyes, slinky fabrics, Angelina, and laces to make a translucent flower that glows.You’ll find the pond this lily picture was taken at at Chesterton Feed and Garden, in Chesterton Indiana. It’s a marvelous place.There’s one caveat.  You can’t take the whole store home. I tried.


If you’d like the full instructions for these lilies, they’re in and article in the new July issue of American Quilter called Pattern Free Blossoms. And more information in ThreadMagicGarden. It’s gardening without digging or dirt.

Thread Magic Garden

The Best Neighbors: The Best Tomatoes

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012


Vegies from Sherrill's Greenhouse

I really have some of the best neighbors. I have Liam and Mary who watch my dogs and come visit me. I have the Pat Winter, the Dye Cup Fairy.

And I have Sherrill Newman, perhaps the best horticulturist I know.

Sherrill has a small greenhouse. It’s small but it’s mighty. This winter she decided that she was going to grow the most amazing heirloom tomatoes ever.

If you don’t know about heirloom tomatoes, you should. Someone once said that a cello winter tomato is a vegetable, but a garden summer tomato is a fruit. Mulitiply that by 10 and you’ve got  heirloom tomatoes. You don’t  generally find them in the store. If you do you might well be asking “What is that?” If you get a taste you might well be asking “What was that?” for the rest of your life and just plain go in search of. They are a sacrament! To the most  part, if you want them, you must grow them. 

Sherril’s having a garden sale at her green house on May  26 and   27 Saturday and Sunday

You’ll find some of these tomatoes there. At least until I get there.

You haven’t heard of these? Don’t let that stop you. You won’t find them at the garden center.They’re a special garden treat. Do  you want them all? Don’t be silly. Of course you do! These are the best.

Cabernet Hybrid Tomato Red Brandywine Tomato
Chocolate Cherry Tomato Limmony Tomato
Black Sea Man Tomato Jaune Flammee Tomato
Grapette Hybrid Tomato Abe Lincoln Original Tomato
Rainbow Tomato Amana Orange Tomato
Snowberry Tomato Moonglow Tomato
Costoluto Genovese Tomato Brown Berry Tomato
Watermelon Beefsteak Tomato Ananas Noire Tomato
Aunt Rubys German Green Tomato Red Currant Tomato
Black From Tula Tomato Georgia Streak Tomato
Black Tomato Micro Tom Hybrid Tomato
Rose Tomato Tye Dye Hybrid Tomato
Vintage Wine Tomato Japanese Black Trifele Tomato
Torbay Hybrid Tomato Porter Tomato
Christmas Grapes Tomato

Sherrill’s plant sale is on 

May  26 and   27 Saturday and Sunday

at her green house at

300 Franklin Street

Porter, IN 46304

From 8:30 AM to 3:30PM


Or email

for more information

Sherrill also does landscaping and plantings for people. She’s got an astonishing eye. And great plants!

Anatomy of a Quilt: Building Elements

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Butterfly Components

I’m currently working on a commissioned quilt for a new family that’s just had a baby. The dad has asked me to do a butterfly quilt, partially for the mom but for his baby daughter as well. Commissions are a privilege. It’s an act of trust, that I am always a bit nervous about.

So I make several approaches possible and go from here. The premise was pink and purple butterflies. So I’ve started the quilt with those. I’m using an applique process where I cut my shapes out on sheer fabric backed with Steam A Seam 2, fuse them into a form, embroider them and then cut them out to use as appliques on the quilt. You’ll find full information on this in my new book Thread Magic Garden.



Fabric for butterflies

These are my butterfly fabrics. They’re great sheers and an oriental brocade. I buy these wherever I see them, because you never know if you’ll see them again.




butterfly bits on a pressing cloth

Here they are cut out as butterflies. Each butterfly has two teardrop wings, a body and eyes. They’re on a non-stick pressing cloth so I can arrange them.





fusing onto the sandwich.


Once their formed, I fuse them on to a stabilizer sandwich. This sandwich is made from hand dyed fabric, poly felt, and Decor Bond. This makes a firm embroidery surface that controls some of the distortion that happens with intense embroidery.




I embroider the  butterflies from inside out. First the bodies, then the veins of the wings, then the shadings and finally the outlines. They’re embroidered with a freemotion zigzag stitch and metallic Supertwist threads from Madiera. Finally I added in my bleeding heart blooms as well.


in place with the stem

The image at the top is what they look like cut out.
Here’s the rough placement with the stem I have planned.

Next time we’ll talk about backgrounds.










Thread Magic Garden

You’ll find information about freemotion applique in my book Thread Magic Garden, available on my site, on Amazon, and at your local quilt store.

To Kill A Mocking Bird. To Shine a Light.

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

Bleeding Heart from Thread Magic Garden

I’m always astonished by media that changes who we are. I’ve always maintained that we are artists simply by our human birthright. It is simply part of a human soul to sing, dance, draw, write, tell stories, and share the state and circumstances of your life.  If you are a person who lives by and with your art, you hope that is resonates with others. When it does, it is transformative.

I was nine when “To Kill a Mocking Bird” came out. I know I didn’t see it as a small child. I grew up later with it. And this incredible scene has always been my favorite part. Where Atticus, who has just made himself a poster boy for every ugly name a  white person in a small town could own, gets ready to walk out after an epic fail and everyone he has fought for knows what he did, and honors it.  It’s become, in the way of good art, a symbol for me of the cause you have to fight, win or lose. It still leaves me in tears, but tears of pride.

Good art makes symbols for us. It takes us past ourselves. It reminds us of our similar humanity. It can take sides, but it’s real side is someone’s honest face in full light. It’s the illumination of someone’s truth.

Last night I stood in church at the Easter Vigil. It too, shines the light on truth. It’s done, wisely enough, at the change of the year when the cold and bitter time transforms itself into warm breezes and green new growth.

So my prayer and my hope for us all is to find a spot in the sun and grow with the new life, and to find a way to reflect that truth in the art that simply springs out of who we are.

Happy Easter!

The Quilt and Sewing Expo

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

I’ll be at the Quilters Haven/ Handi Quilters booth (Booth 722) in Schamburg, IL on Friday. at the Schamburg Quilting and Sewing Expo. I’ll be playing with the HQ Sweet Sixteen and signing copies of my new book, Thread Magic Garden.

I’ll be working with some special thick threads and showing how you can do bobbin work on long/mid arm machines.  This zentangle inspired flower is part of a sampler series I’ve been working on.

I’ll also have copies of Thread Magic Garden, Thread Magic, and other smaller Thread Magic press books available for sale. Come and play with us. I promise to let you touch the quilts.

The Expo is open from 10:00am – 6:00pm, same hours tomorrow and Saturday: 10:00am – 5:30pm. Schaumburg Convention Center1551 North Thoreau Dr., Schaumburg, IL 60173.

Roses White and Red: The Coloring of Roses

Monday, March 19th, 2012

We all grew up with this lovely bit of Alice in Wonderland! How fun! And sort of edgy. The Red queen demands her roses red. But we all know that roses come in all kinds of colors. We don’t quite have a true black or blue rose yet, unless you count the silk offerings, but the rose world is not confined.


Roses red and white

But even if we are talking about red and white roses, reality demands more than just red and white coloring. Why?



A rose in a blue background is full of blue reflectio


I’m sure that’s not a revelation. But it’s true. You’re white rose in moon or sunlight looks very different. Silver edges. Blue and purple shadows. Green streaks. Call the rose doctor? No. it’s the magic of shade and shadowIt’s true of red roses in the sun as well. Streaks of orange, pink, purple and green give us dimension. Without that we have a flat blob of color, not a lovey rose.

But here is the heart of the mystery. The color of everything in your quilt is shaded and formed by the color of your background. Is it blue? Then everything is in that blue light.



This rose needs its oranges, purples and greens against the copper/grey background.Is it an odd sunlit grey? Again, it’s all colored by that.






This is all true unless you go into something abstract, at which you get to choose your heart’s delight. But do know, when you choose wildly, that itself abstracts your rose.



What colors should you choose? Only you can tell. But here’s some tips

  • A wide range of colors gives you much more dimension. Red or white, pick colors that give you lots of darks and lights within that shade.
  • White is white, but just white is a blob again. Use pastels, and dark shaded purples and greens for drama. Or use iridescent thread or gold or silver. Strangely enough, they often register as white.
  • Thread is a tiny element. You can use a lot of very bright thread and still have a subtle effect. So go wild!
  • Almost all flowers have streaks of green. Why not? Another excuse for lime!
  • Ignore color names. You’re talking about something non-verbal. So think with your eyes only.
  • Choose your colors next to each other, and if possible in the same light they’re be seen in.
  • Use complementary colors for deep shading. Very dramatic.

Most of all, don’t permit the color police in your head. Color outside the lines and be as wild as your heart.

You’ll find a whole chapter about coloring flowers in my book Thread Magic Garden on my web page at You’ll find   many of these rose quilts, ready to bloom on your walls, in the gallery section. I hope your garden is blooming too!


New Reviews

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Thread Magic Garden is getting some neat new reviews!

People are starting to talk about Thread Magic Garden. Here’s what they’ve had to say.




Ann Fahl, Author of Coloring With Thread Says “Whether you are interested in thread work or not, this book is a visual delight. C & T ‘s book designer did a great job of including large detail shots through the book. It makes me drool!”  Check out the rest of her review at her blog at



Tina Rathbone at Artelicious  said”Just when I thought I could take a break from holidays I’ve found a new cause for celebration: C&T Publishing has just published a brand-new book by Ellen Anne Eddy: Thread Magic Garden. She’s got some really kind things to say about the book and you’ll find them on her blog.

Both Tina and Ann have known me for a long time. I love both of their work and  they’ve always been supportive of mine. I don’t think they’d say anything they didn’t feel.  But when your friends tell you they like your book, it’s hard to sort out how much of that is kindness and how much of that is real.

But I don’t know Maggie Szafranski at all. Her review is at    She said “The best thing is that she breaks down how to create different kinds of flowers, and shows not only the finished product, but also what it would look like before you add the stitching.”

This is the lovely zinnia she did working from the book! Isn’t it great?

Thanks Ann, Tina and Maggie! I’m so glad you liked the book.

So what’s your Thread Magic Garden look like? With all this snow coming in, it’s great to have a garden in the studio

Practical Thread Magic: Building Beautiful Color

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Most of the time when we think of mixing colors, we think of two colors becoming one.
Working with thread is so different. The machine work lays one line of thread next to each other. Our eyes mix the colors together, but they stay separate, clean, clear and beautiful.

This tulip has ten colors in it.
Why so many? Because real tulips  have multiple streaks of red, orange and yellow. That large range of colors lets me shade from side to side, giving my flower real depth and detail.
Here are some of the process shots.

One layer of zigzag stitching after another builds us to a flower with dimension and full color range.

Want learn more about building flower colors in thread?

Thread Magic Garden has a whole chapter on color theory for flowers. Why?
Flowers ARE color. It’s what it’s all about.

Thread Magic Garden is available for sale now on Ellen’s web page at

Thread Magic Garden Is Ready for Pre-order!

Friday, December 30th, 2011
Thread Magic Garden will be arriving for shipment around January 20th. You can pre-order your copy today!
You never really know what a project will take until you see it done. Perhaps that’s good. A good dream well done should take your whole heart’s effort and give you your heart back in return.

When I started this book, I had no idea it would take 2 years to finish. Part of that is that I had to learn so much to do this book.  Part of that is the meticulous process C&T puts into every book.  I got my premier copy a week ago.I’m still scraping myself off the ceiling. It’s past my expectations. I’m hoping you’ll feel that way too.

When I started this book, I wanted to continue what I’d accomplished with Thread Magic. I wanted to show folk ways of adding wild free motion to quilts that set things hearts and imaginations on fire. I wanted to set up instructions that would take you through your own process with this. You’ll have to let me know how I’ve  done when you read the book.
But for those of you who’ve known me in class or in print, you know I don’t give recipes for cakes that don’t rise. I tell you everything I know. I also don’t do anything really hard. I just do things that are time consuming and compulsive.
So here is what we have.
  • Fifty eye popping new quilts in the gallery
  • A patternless approach to design
  • Intuitive applique that makes creating flowers  easy and fun

Tutorials in

  • Color theory for flowers
  • Corded buttonhole  binding
  • Angelina Fiber
  • 6 Free motion zigzag stitches
  • Machine Beading
  • Globbing
  • Sandwich stabilizing

I’m hoping I’ve done a good job of opening doors, traveling a new path, leaving good bread crumbs for anyone who wants to follow, and breaking the best rules I could find to break. See you on the trail.

You can  pre-order your copy of Thread Magic Garden at

No More Color Police:Creating Flower Colors

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

 “Roses are red. violets are blue. Angels in heaven know I love you.” Down in the valley

 What color is a flower, actually?

In spite of everything your kindergarten teacher told you, it’s not a simple answer. If she made you color all your roses red, give me her name and I’ll go have a little chat with her. Or better still, you might want to tell her that she can’t live in your head anymore without paying rent.

That’s not a white tulip. Nor is it really red or yellow. It’s a wonderful swirl of a number of great colors. Leaving any of that out is a loss. But how do you do it in fiber?

We have two great tools. Well, we probably have hundreds but these help with this.Hand dyed fabric has all those great streaks. It’s a great way to start a flower.

Machine embroidery also speeds us on our way.The wonderful thing about stitching flowers is that thread really is minutia. We can slip in that dash of green, that edge of orange or purple that flowers either do have or should.
When Mark Lipinski asked me how important color was on his show this week and why I put so much emphasis on it, I almost fell of my chair. Color IS the media. We see everything through the color and the texture. You can here that conversation on Mark’s Creative Mojo  show, December 14th.

Thread Magic Garden has a full chapter on creating colors for flowers. It’s a magical thing. And you can do it too.

View Cart | Check Out