Would you like to have a class with Ellen?

Ellen would be delighted to have a class with you or your group! You can check out her classes at www.ellenanneeddy.com. She also offers independent studio time in her studio in Indiana. Talk to Ellen about classes at 219-921-0885, or contact her scheduler Sarah at 616-485-5646 to set a date

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Ellen Anne Eddy
Author of Thread Magic: The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy Fiber artist, author and teacher
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Designing Ways: Dancing in the Grid






Back to fabric design. We've all watched Dancing with the Stars. Once we're done with that and Steve Goodman, how about Dancing with Butterflies? Remember the Arther Mury patterns on the floor? Basically they were just moving in squares. 
Just as an exercise in design, I took a butterfly drawing, colored it and went dancing with it in squares.
 As I was playing with the placement, it wasn't long before I recognized that it was just like playing with a triangle quilt design.
Angling the butterflies as triangles and making them different sizes turned them into instant quilt squares. Who knew? Designing fabric is really designing quilts.
I did this in Illustrator, partially because I'm trying to learn the program and it was as good an exercise as any. But it would be so much easier in something like Electric Quilt 7. I flipped them, shrunk them, turned them, and made them dance. 


Then I added a curlicue.
Fabric design is rhythmic pattern across a surface. It dances as it repeats itself, in the same patterns or in patterns that reflect or flip the original shape. 
Like all dancing, it's endless, built for improvisation, but always in place with it's on rhythms. Am I there yet? I don't think so. I need to practice with Arthur Murry, just a bit more.Want to dance?
Wrapping it up: Designing both quilts and fabric is about rhythmic patterns in and out of a grid.
Find more information about designing fabric on Spoonflower.
Find really cool design software at 


Designing Ways: Dancing in the Grid






Back to fabric design. We've all watched Dancing with the Stars. Once we're done with that and Steve Goodman, how about Dancing with Butterflies? Remember the Arther Mury patterns on the floor? Basically they were just moving in squares. 
Just as an exercise in design, I took a butterfly drawing, colored it and went dancing with it in squares.
 As I was playing with the placement, it wasn't long before I recognized that it was just like playing with a triangle quilt design.
Angling the butterflies as triangles and making them different sizes turned them into instant quilt squares. Who knew? Designing fabric is really designing quilts.
I did this in Illustrator, partially because I'm trying to learn the program and it was as good an exercise as any. But it would be so much easier in something like Electric Quilt 7. I flipped them, shrunk them, turned them, and made them dance. 


Then I added a curlicue.
Fabric design is rhythmic pattern across a surface. It dances as it repeats itself, in the same patterns or in patterns that reflect or flip the original shape. 
Like all dancing, it's endless, built for improvisation, but always in place with it's on rhythms. Am I there yet? I don't think so. I need to practice with Arthur Murry, just a bit more.Want to dance?
Wrapping it up: Designing both quilts and fabric is about rhythmic patterns in and out of a grid.
Find more information about designing fabric on Spoonflower.
Find really cool design software at 


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Art Outside the Box The Care and Feeding of Quilt Shops #2

I've written about quilt shops before, because I KNOW how vital they are. One of the treasures of getting to visit all over the country is that you get a chance to see all the wonderful little shops.


Now I'm a fan of little shops in general. I believe in small business as the way we hold ourselves together as a society. It's people taking good care of people and it's worthy of support. It's the store where no one tells you that you are the only one that wants an item, that the store only gets what the corporation sends them and that this is just what's in right now, never mind what you really want and/or need. Corporations are not good at customer care.


More than that, it's community. A good quilt store creates your place for information, gorgeous fabric, gossip,the latest tools, good advice, a friendly shoulder and an excellent cackle. In short, it's a place where quilters meet amazing people like themselves.


So a new quilt store, particularly in an area without, is a cause for  major celebration. Thread Benders is a brand new quilt store at 613 Franklin Street, downtown Michigan City, Indiana. It features things for quilters of all styles. It's just an hour out of Chicago, and on your way if you're heading up to Michigan for the weekend.Threadbenders will be open from 5-8 pm for the First Friday Michigan City Gallery Walk, July 1st.
For the First Friday Gallery walk, I'll be at Threadbenders, showing off her new Sweet Sixteen longarm. It turns out to do excellent bobbin work. I'm in love.






I'll have quilts, my hand-dyed fabric and threads, and books available. We'll do some raffles of cool things to start out your hot summer sewing. We'll have plenty of brownies and wine to chill down your evening. We'll play with her new handiquilter machines and show them all that, of course! Quilts are ART!
Come join me.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Designing Ways: Gravity Meets Geometry


What makes a shape move? We acknowledged that graphically on paper, things move strictly in our head. After years of things falling down around us, we can look at shapes at certain angles and say, "Yep. That's falling." We observe that it should be moving, and our mind makes it do that.
So what makes a shape itself mobile(moving) or static(staying still)?


In the same way angles make things move, symmetry makes things stay in place. A square is the ultimate stable shape. Nothing about it suggests movement. Because it's even sides it doesn't even move the eye from the center.
That changes a bit when we draw it in three dimensions. The third dimension adds an angle just in the drawing, and we see it move a bit.
If we elongate the square into rectangles, the shape is much more mobile. As we go further from equal sides and symmetry, our shapes are more mobile.


But when we put them in a line and change the size the movement is in place and active. The eye connects them into a shape with one side much longer than the other, making things move.


Of course if we put them in at extreme angles, they tumble across the surface.


How does this translate to quilts that never have a square in them? All shapes are geometric shapes we manipulate into organic shapes. But the shape of the quilt itself, is the strongest one. A quilt designed with an elongated outline is in motion from it's inception.




Wrapping it up:
Symmetrical object are stable. They do not move unless you put them at an angle or unless you use them to create a shape that is longer on one side than another.
Non-symmetrical shapes aways have the suggestion of movement built in to their form.





Designing Ways: Gravity Meets Geometry


What makes a shape move? We acknowledged that graphically on paper, things move strictly in our head. After years of things falling down around us, we can look at shapes at certain angles and say, "Yep. That's falling." We observe that it should be moving, and our mind makes it do that.
So what makes a shape itself mobile(moving) or static(staying still)?


In the same way angles make things move, symmetry makes things stay in place. A square is the ultimate stable shape. Nothing about it suggests movement. Because it's even sides it doesn't even move the eye from the center.
That changes a bit when we draw it in three dimensions. The third dimension adds an angle just in the drawing, and we see it move a bit.
If we elongate the square into rectangles, the shape is much more mobile. As we go further from equal sides and symmetry, our shapes are more mobile.


But when we put them in a line and change the size the movement is in place and active. The eye connects them into a shape with one side much longer than the other, making things move.


Of course if we put them in at extreme angles, they tumble across the surface.


How does this translate to quilts that never have a square in them? All shapes are geometric shapes we manipulate into organic shapes. But the shape of the quilt itself, is the strongest one. A quilt designed with an elongated outline is in motion from it's inception.




Wrapping it up:
Symmetrical object are stable. They do not move unless you put them at an angle or unless you use them to create a shape that is longer on one side than another.
Non-symmetrical shapes aways have the suggestion of movement built in to their form.





Saturday, June 4, 2011

Musings: Art Outside the Box: Laughter for Drama Queens

I am a redirected Drama Queen, Daughter of a Drama Queen Delux. My mother was not a happy girl until she had a drama 10 feet high and too wide to get through the door. It was all about telling stories.


Now Margaret Eddy was the queen of all stories. And a serious fan of silly. She told amazing whoppers, one-liners, true tales spun into gold from straw, hopeless lies and astonishing steaming piles. She loved her drama. She had a somewhat loose relationship to truth. She was a devastating school teacher, because much of that could indeed come out in a teacher conference meeting or a family reunion. But she had a special gift for looking within and without. First she's build you a verbal image of herself as she felt about the story. But then she'd draw you into an outer view, where you could see her spinning in what she knew was a silly situation, build for howling laughter.


It happens to me in my quilts. I'm quilting along and I realize that this silly thing I've drafted is someone I know. Or worse, me. There with all my rather small fears and desires. I'm not overly deep. I'm just noisy. At that point, it seems just to the point to let it be silly. I am. It is. And the world is better for it.


This quilt, The Orchid Olympics, wasn't meant to be funny. It just happened. I'd found a great picture of a frog in an odd pose and worked with it. One afternoon in a class demo, I was placing it into the piece and trying to put a sun over his head. It wouldn't go. It just wouldn't go. Not over. Not to the side. 


I looked again at the frog and thought, "If you get into that pose, it has to be for something like the Olympics. No one would willingly bend like that otherwise." The sun fell into her hand like an award and there we were.



Mirror, mirror on the wall, I am my mother after all. But I try never to tell a story on myself until I've found the funny part. Perhaps it helps to be short, round and have a pug nose. My gray hair also makes any silliness forgivable. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Designing Ways: Gravity and Motion, Movement in Design

We talk about designs moving. But in reality, unless you're dealing with a series of images, they can't. A two-dimensional image is stuck in one place forever. What moves is not the image. It's our imagination of what happens next to the image. We imagine the movements that must, in our experience happen after where the image is now.


We have a life long experience of  gravity. We know when things are going to fall. We also can see from that same life experience when something appears balanced and stable. Our life experience supplies the suggestion that something is moving. The picture itself stays stable.What is the defining element? The angle of the object.
Our tree moves here because she's off balance. Her yellow background is at an angle against hers and the feeling is that she's in extreme motion.
Our tree here is reaching up at a slight angle. But she's not really moving because she's stable against her background.

This tree is completely rooted and solid where she is. Her angle is straight and vertical to the sides of the work. She's 
not going anywhere.













  1. Summing it up, all movement in design is an illusion formed from our memory and experience of gravity.
  2. If we recreate the feeling of falling or motion in a design, the design will appear to move.
  3. All movement is created in the angles we apply to our designs.
Next, Moving in on and around a grid.

Designing Ways: Gravity and Motion, Movement in Design

We talk about designs moving. But in reality, unless you're dealing with a series of images, they can't. A two-dimensional image is stuck in one place forever. What moves is not the image. It's our imagination of what happens next to the image. We imagine the movements that must, in our experience happen after where the image is now.


We have a life long experience of  gravity. We know when things are going to fall. We also can see from that same life experience when something appears balanced and stable. Our life experience supplies the suggestion that something is moving. The picture itself stays stable.What is the defining element? The angle of the object.
Our tree moves here because she's off balance. Her yellow background is at an angle against hers and the feeling is that she's in extreme motion.
Our tree here is reaching up at a slight angle. But she's not really moving because she's stable against her background.

This tree is completely rooted and solid where she is. Her angle is straight and vertical to the sides of the work. She's 
not going anywhere.













  1. Summing it up, all movement in design is an illusion formed from our memory and experience of gravity.
  2. If we recreate the feeling of falling or motion in a design, the design will appear to move.
  3. All movement is created in the angles we apply to our designs.
Next, Moving in on and around a grid.
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Quiltposium, Fall2011

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Essential Embroidery Stitches: Free Hand and Machine Embroidery Designs and Techniques.

Essential Embroidery Stitches: Free Hand and Machine Embroidery Designs and Techniques.
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The Butterfly Effect

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The Stories Tell Me

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