Quilting with a Walking Foot

September 2nd, 2015

In my sewing past, I had always found using my walking foot difficult — I definitely did not like it, even having been told that it would be one of the most valuable tools in the sewing box if some understanding could come between it and I.

I think the first thing is the name of the foot… Walking. That means slow and steady, not fast and crazy. Slow and steady is a good point to remember when sewing with a walking foot. A walking foot’s claim to fame is that it feeds the top and lower fabrics through your sewing machine together, at the same pace and tension. And I do know that my bottom fabric sometimes gets away from me when sewing without it.

Walking foot and accessories

The next thing to remember is that the extra pieces in the box are there for a reason! My walking foot came with a second sole plates, two arms, and something with a screw… I won’t get into the specifics: please read the directions that come with your walking foot and machine. But suffice it to say if you, like me, have only had limited experience trying this tool (or had avoided it altogether), today I am going to recomment that you try it! You might like it! As I found out!

Fast Forward to my recent vacation. The first item I packed was my sewing machine!
But before doing so, I pulled out several large tops. Okay, they were large to me … which means that the prospect of machine quilting them was intimidating to me. And thus, they were ignored until now.

I made quilt sandwiches of the tops, adding batting and backing. And I asked for quilting tips and ideas from my good friend Cyndi Souder of Moonlighting Quilts. (Cyndi is teaching another one of her wonderful machine quilting classes here at the shop on September 12, so take advantage if you can.)

So, armed with information, inspiration, my walking foot and its accessories accompanying my sewing machine, off to the beach I went!

The first project was to quilt a gift for my siste Julier’s friend who had adopted a little girl in Kenya, and yes, they live in Kenya! This was a group project with Julie and her children Celia, Layla and Evan. We collected all the pieces of African fabricI had in my stash, and the kids laid them out and sewed strips. We used an Indigo fabric as the base, and once the strips were done I sewed it all together into a modern quilt. (Click photo for a larger view.)

African fabric quilt by Judy Gula and family

Now mind you, the original plan was that this was supposed to be a small quilt, like a blankie, but in our enthusiasm it grew to be more than a twin size bed quilt. Definitely OUT of my usual comfort zone for machine quilting! But by using my walking foot, we criss crossed throughout the quilt, and we think it turned out great! Trixie and her daughter Anaya, now 3 years old, were thrilled, as you can see in the photos below here.

Anaya playing with her new quilt
Anaya playing with her new quil

She’s just beyond adorable, right?

Anaya playing with her new quil

My Next Vacation Quilting Project

In a previous blog post, I wrote about how I pieced a star quilt using directions from Scraps & Shirttails: Reuse, Re-purpose, Recycle! The Art of “Quilting Green.” by Bonnie K. Hunter. I wanted to encourage my readers to begin looking at traditional quilt patterns to use with non-traditional fabrics, such as the Australian Aborigine designed fabric from M&S Textiles. And now that it has been quilted, it’s finished!

Australian fabric string pieced quilt by Judy Gula

Click for a larger view of the completed quilt  »

Australian fabric string pieced quilt by Judy Gula

This machine quilting project was a bit trickier, but my plan was to straight stitch the star and triangle shapes. I even changed the thread colors while machine quilting! I used variegated Star Thread in 848 Blue Pacific for the dark stars and inner border, and 835 Vanilla Cream for the light diamonds (see above and additional closeup below).

Detail, Australian fabric string pieced quilt by Judy Gula

To keep the stitching lines straight for this project, I used the edge of the foot as a guide, aligning it with the design shapes and seams. I used black Aurifil thread to machine quilt the border, finishing it off.

Completing this quilt took much longer than I anticipated, but I am very happy with the results!

Now go. Make friends with your feet!

Using Rusty Paper and Rust Patina

August 26th, 2015

Items painted with Rusty Paper and Rust Patina are weather resistant

Rusty Paper by Viva Decor is a paint product that will give a realistic rust appearance, complete with a rough surface, to paper, cardboard, wood, metal, plastic and more. Use Rusty Paper in conjunction with your choice of Rusty Patina to achieve even more interesting color effects. The finish is even weather durable!

I was excited to begin stocking the Rusty Paper, as it is the first one-step (and non-corrosive) product I’m aware of that can be used on paper and with rubber stamps and/or stencils. The vintage tag created by Viva Decor (click photo below for larger view) is an example of some exciting possibilities with these new products! I think they’d be perfect used on the Relic & Artifacts by Sandra Evertson. We will be experimenting with this new product during our October session of How Do I Use This?…join us!

Rusty Paper Tag Tutorial

The following tutorials are courtesy of Viva Decor. Rust effects can be achieved by wiping or pouncing product on, or applying with a palette knife. You may also choose to use any product that can give you three dimensional texture prior to using the Rusty Paper, to give an authentic, disintegrating look.

Vintage look tag collage by Viva Decor

Materials used here are Rusty Paper, available in original (dark rust) or Rust Orange and Rusty Patina (available in Copper and Oxyd), torn watercolor paper, cling rubber stamp on acrylic block, vintage book text and a vintage photo (both accented with stitching), burlap, decorative ribbon, twine, clothespin, scissors, palette knife and sponge pouncers.

Materials to create Rusty Paper tag

Stir your jar of Rusty Paper thoroughly before applying. Here the product is being applied to the paper (torn into a tag shape) with a sponge applicator, swirling it in. If necessary for coverage, apply a second coat after the first has dried.

Applying Rusty Paper to tag

Add desired amount of Rusty Patina (below, in Copper; Rusty Patina is also available in an orange Oxyd shade) to the still wet tag. Working wet on wet gives you the more organic look. You can mix both colors of Rusty Paper, the Rusty Paper with the Rusty Patina, both Patinas…whatever you like to achieve a wide variety of rust effects.

Adding Rust Patina to painted tag

Below, apply additional Rusty Paper over areas of the Patina with a palette knife.

Applying additional Rusty Paper with palette knife

Apply additional Rusty Paper and Rusty Patina as desired to achieve an organic, layered look of distress.

Adding additional Rusty Paper product

Below, pounce Rusty Paper onto a clear polymer stamp with a sponge applicator. As with any paint or ink, you want full coverage on the stamp area, but not an excessive amount of product that would ruin your imprint. (Wouldn’t the new Finnabair stamps, from this week’s enewsletter, be amazing stamped in rust?)

Applying Rusty Paper to clear polymer stamp

Stamp onto a smaller tag or paper torn to size. Cut and fray burlap to size, and begin arranging your trimmed materials onto your rusted tag as you please. Use additional Rusty Paper or Rusty Patina, or your favorite inks and paints, to distress edges and add additional color, if desired.

Arranging all tag materials

Completed tag using Rusty Paper and Rust Patina by Viva Decor

Once you have an arrangement you like, affix all materials into place with glue or stitching.

More on Applying Rusty Paper and Rust Patina

Tray and flower pots, before and after Rusty Paper and Rust Patina

From Viva Decor, here is the step by step process to create a decorative plate using Rusty Paper and Rusty Patina.

Rolling on first coat of Rusty Paper

Coat your surface with Rusty for Paper thoroughly, and let dry. If you can’t achieve full coverage with one coat, apply another after the first dries. Immediately clean any application tool with cold water after use. The cured product is not water-soluble.

Painting on Rusty Paper

Rust effects can be achieved by brushing, wiping or dabbing product on, even applying with a palette knife. Use both colors of Rusty for Paper, or mix with Rusty Patina for even more dynamic and realistic rust appearance.

Sponging on and blending both Rusty Paper and Rust Patina

Puddle some Rusty for Paper and your choice of Rusty Patina on a separate plate, and use a sponge for these additional applications.

Adding Rust Patina

Apply Rusty Paper to select areas. While the Rusty Paper is still wet, pick up some Rusty Patina and wipe it into the Rusty, swirling and mottling. For this plate, the designer is working in a circular pattern to mimic how rust could actually form.

Adding Rust Patina and Rusty Paper together, wet on wet

One after another, wipe Rusty and Rusty Patina, wet on wet, into each other until the desired thickness of color has been achieved. Let dry.

Finished display plate

Layered Art Journal Pages: Block Printed Tissue

August 19th, 2015

When I am creating pages for my own art journal, or those for the round robin journal exchange currently going on within our JAMs group, I prefer to work on several pages at a time in steps. In previous blog posts (e.g., here and here) I showed you some of my techniques to create backgrounds for pages. A great way to build in layers and interest is applying printed tissue paper to your painted backgrounds..

Of course there are commercial prints available, and I do use them, but most times I love stamping plain white tissue paper using my wooden printing blocks and whatever paint I have handy in my studio.

Supplies to create block printed tissue

Above, you will need wooden printing blocks, a dense foam mat for a stamping surface, tissue paper and your choice of paint.

The block printing/stamping techniquess are the same, whether you are printing fabric or tissue paper:

  1. Apply paint to the wooden printing block with a sponge.
  2. Lay the tissue over the foam mat and then place the wooden printing block down and press once.
  3. I usually stamp my block once and then apply paint again to continue, but sometimes you can get a ghost print too by pressing the block again on a different area of the tissue without reapplying paint.

Apply paint to the block

Apply paint to the block

Dab the entire block with paint, but do not overapply

Dab the entire block with paint, but do not overapply

With tissue on the mat, place the block down and press firmly and evenly

With tissue on the mat, place the block down and press firmly and evenly

Block printed tissue

Block printed tissue

Various block printed tissue papers

Print a bunch of tissue sheets at one time. It's a quick process and they are wonderful additions to your collage stash!

A new trick I recently learned is to apply the tissue paper to the journal page using gel medium instead of using matte medium.

The gel is applied with a stiff bristle brush: first to the back of the tissue, then after the tissue has been placed in your journal or on your page, then applied over the tissue to seal it. After the gel medium dries, the tissue is translucent, and you can see through to your painted background.

In the past I had used matte medium and would get frustrated with the tissue frequently ripping as I applied it. I have found that when I’ve used the gel medium, that didn’t happen.

Block printed tissue paper adds translucent color and texture

Also, when you are applying the painted tissue, don’t worry about creases and wrinkles. For one, it’s next to impossible to place the tissue with no wrinnkles, so there’s no point stressing yourself out about them. For another, creases and wrinkles add texture — and texture is good! You can see both the translucency and texture in the above closeup of one of my pages.

On the below page (click for a larger view) I first used a stencil to apply the turquoise circles, then when that was dry, I applied a yellow paint.

Block printed tissue on stenciled art journal page by Judy Gula

The next layer is the stamped tissue paper — the blue circle with stars (this is the WB310 Star Field wooden printing block). Notice that you can see through the blue to the background. I applied some bits of our Web Weave Ribbon at the same time using the gel medium.

There is still more to do with this page, but again, we are building in layers! Here are some other pages that are at the same stage that I’ve created using printed tissue paper.

A combination of commercially printed tissue paper and block printed tissue

This page is a combination of commercially printed tissue paper (the black and white floral) and block printed tissue (the large leaf) over a stenciled background

Art journal pages with block printed tissue

Vacation Quilting

August 12th, 2015

In May I wrote about how I pieced several quilts for samples, using our hand drawn batik panels while I was attending my quilt guild chapter’s annual retreat. Before leaving this week for my family beach vacation, I assembled several quilt sandwiches in hopes of getting stitching done.

Of course along with towels and sunscreen, I packed my sewing machine and all necessary tools. Doesn’t everyone take their machine along when they travel?

Just before I left, the new fabric collection from Frond Design Studios arrived, and I thought the Tree Trunk, Alive stripe was the perfect addition to finish this quilt off. (View larger photo)

Mahyar Batik Panel quilt by Judy Gula

We stock a wide variety of batik panels from a number of Indonesian artists. This particular panel is from Mahyer, his two dog (and one rooster!) design.

I free motion stitched my quilt sandwich, following the pattern of the dogs. I love the leaves in the plants Mahyar draws! The orange batik fabric was a good match for the warm colors Mayhar features. I like the idea that the Australian fabric, Sand Hill Charcoal, imitated waves of stitching. Finally, the striped binding from Frond had the great greens to blues coloration that echoed the colors in the panel.

Stenciled Art Journal Pages

August 5th, 2015

For the last couple years I have committed to creating a blog post at least once a week, so it is a regularly scheduled (and predictable) task. But still every week I struggle to get it done in a timely manner! There’s always something…this week I began cleaning off my work table on Sunday evening… continued all day Monday… and finally by Tuesday evening I had room to work on my project to document for the blog.

Part of my clean up/organizing session was to take all of my small 6" x 6" size stencils (on sale this week!) and place them in an old photo album — remember the kind with the ‘magnetic’ pages? We know now not to damage our photographs using these, but they can make great organizers for stencils!

Organizing stencils in an old photo album

I placed two stencils per page. It remains to be seen if they will be returned to their place in the album after use. Anyway, on to the meat and potatoes of this posting! I wanted to illustrate create a two-page spread in an art journal so that the backgrounds connect.

I have several pages already painted in my stash. Remember to pull out your art journal or loose pages as you finish up any painting project: use them to get the excess paint off your brushes or applicators, rather than washing all that color down the drain.

Stencil atop two aligned pages

Above, I have aligned two loose pages together, and then placed a large 12" x 12" stencil so that it the design will appear (asymmetrically) on both pages. Notice off to the side the Colorbox stylus (black handle) with a small foam tip on the top. This is the tool that I use to apply my paint through the stencil, using in soft rotating circular motions. (The Artistic Artifacts website sells the Colorbox stylus handles and reusable foam tips.)

I do spray my stencils using 404 Spray and Fix Repositionable Craft Adhesive, and I have an important tip for you: let the sprayed stencil air-dry before placing it on your journal page. If you don’t, it will stick! (Ask me how I know.)

Silver paint applied through stencil

Above, inset, I have applied a silver metallic through the stencil, and the result once the stencil is picked up.

Take paint off your stir stick -- no waste!

Above, I have placed a portion of a different stencil so that it is positioned off the page. This gives the design some movement and a natural look. This photo also shows another way I save paint: I used the wooden tongue depressor to stir my paint up, and am taking the paint left on depressor up with my stylus tool to apply it.

Using more than one stencil, and moving it around

Above, one page completed with several colors of paint, and after moving the stencil around several times.

Beginning the other page of the spread

Working on the second sheet of this spread, I positioned the entire TCW522 – Rock Crystals stencil down on the page. After painting (above), I thought it looked a little bare at the top, so I moved the stencil around again, resulting in the below. Better balanced, wouldn’t you agree?

Moved the stencil to fill in a blank area

Below, the background stenciling and painting of this spread is completed. There is cohesion between the two pages, and the pages are now ready for me to continue on, adding photos, drawings, ephemera and more.

stenciled/painted background spread completed

P.S. If you were wondering…when I have the time to work on pages for the round robin art journal that is currently goining on through JAMs, but don’t have a journal in my possession, I work on a spread of two loose pages. That way when time is at a premium, I only need to glue in the completed pages.

Thoughts on the Health Benefits of Creativity

July 29th, 2015

Earlier this week on our Facebook page, we posted a link to Why Quilting Improves Your Health in Ways Even Exercise Can’t Manage, health study extolling the benefits of quilting (they also refer to other creative endeavors and hobbies) and creativity.

“The University of Glasgow team concluded that all hobbies — ‘from reading to train spotting’ — should be looked at for their mental and physical benefits. They interviewed quilters and found the activity helped their cognitive, creative and emotional well-being, particularly among older people. The use of bright colours was ‘uplifting’, the activity distracted from the stress of work, and quilting offered challenges such as maths and geometry. It also increased confidence and had an important social side. Professor Jacqueline Atkinson, co-author of the study and a quilter herself for five decades, said: ‘Doing something that engages you and that you enjoy is key. As adults, we don’t often do enough that includes fun and play.”

Interviews of quilters found that the hobby “helped their cognitive, creative and emotional well-being…[that] the use of bright colors was ‘uplifting,’ the activity distracted from the stress of work, and … offered challenges such as maths and geometry. It also increased confidence and had an important social side.”

As I have transitioned to my “Dream” business of Artistic Artifacts, I find that my time to create is very limited. If I continue to let the paperwork control my life, the “dream” business will turn into the nightmare. I have to schedule time to create, make sure I touch some fiber and have a portable project. I get cranky, and more, if I ignore these things.

With a Little Help From My Friends, art quilt by Judy Gula

The quilting world specifically has broadened my circle of friends across the country, and the support, encouragement and exchange of information between members in this community of artist business has been unmatched in any other industry I have worked in (and there have been several)! That quilting keeps me healthy can only be enforced by the care of my friends. I created the quilt pictured above for Donna DeSoto’s Inspired by the Beatles: An Art Quilt Challenge, choosing the song titled A Little Help From my Friends. It illustrates how important creativity and friendships are to me.

In this blog posing I’m sharing some thoughts from creative friends about the study’s findings, and we’d love to know what you think too — leave us a comment below, or email us, especially if you’re including a photo of your art (please do, and let us know if we can share it). Comments or emails received by Monday, August 3 will be eligible for a random prize drawing: I’m putting together a little surprise creativity project starter package!

Fiber art by Kathlyn “Kat” Avila-Reyes

Kathlyn “Kat” Avila-Reyes (art quilt pictured above and below; visit her website for more) is an amazing artist! She says, “I’ve always enjoyed gathering, touching, and placing bits and pieces of fabric together; it’s cathartic! I especially love vintage fabrics that have come from an old dress or blouse…every small scrap of fabric holds a memory, it’s a small treasure with a linage of times gone by. Placing each little piece together is like a puzzle of goodness, of ‘I remember when….’ or an imaginative time of dolls, tea parties, and aunties stitching hems. I get totally lost in the stories my fabrics tell, they are as comforting as a grandmother’s hand and hot tea on a cold night. What can get any better than that?”

Fiber art by Kathlyn “Kat” Avila-Reyes

Fiber and mixed media artist, author and teacher Diane Herbort thinks that one big benefit to being involved in quilting and other types of fiber arts is “I always have something to look forward to. It is an incentive to get all the ‘regular’ work done. You could say it is the nice colorful carrot dangling from the stick that is the drudgery of life and work.”

Creating as a form of motivation…I can get behind that concept! Diane’s art quilt Reverie is pictured below, consisting of painted and printed paper, cotton fabrics and metallic trims and machine stitching (click photo for a larger view). Visit Diane’s website for more of her lovely work.

Diane Herbort’s art quilt Reverie

“I believe friendships are formed through shared experiences,” writes Cyndi Souder of Moonlighting Quilts. “The friends I’ve made through quilting are the core of my social circle. I care about them, I rely on them, I treasure them. When I lost my sister to ovarian cancer, my quilting friends kept me afloat. When I need opinions, help, or good conversations, they are there. They are my tribe. I would not have found these amazing friends if we did not have quilting in common.”

Pictured below is a celebration quilt Cyndi created, a portrait of her sister Vicki that is titled Memories. (Click on the photo for a larger view)

Memories by Cyndi Souder, Moonlighting Quilts

On Saturday, August 8 Cyndi will be teaching Designing Meaningful Memory Quilts at our shop, where you can learn to draft an original quilt design that pays tribute to the memories of the original owners of treasured linens, clothes, photographs, etc.

“The happy dance I do when my quilt project
is coming together is far more beneficial than
the exercise tapes gathering dust on my shelf.”

The above quote is from Chris Vinh of StitchesnQuilts. Okay, so now who out there is going to cross-stitch that into a sampler for me?

Mahyar cat batik panel quilt by Chris Vinh

Chris does amazing quilting and fiber art — visit her Etsy site to view. Above is a quilting and beaded batik panel by Mahyar. Chris has created so many beautiful samples for me to display in the shop and show off how creatively these materials can be used.

Kaleidescope of Colors, first prize, group quilts, 2015 Quilt Odyssey

“Art has a great effect on my mental, spiritual and physical health,” writes Etta Stewart. “I have learned that I need that time each day to focus on something other than daily living, and the other is to take myself on an art date. Last week, my art date happened to be going to Quilt Odyssey with friends. I wanted to share the experience of seeing our Blue ribbon with other quilter friends.” (Etta and her friends won First Place in the Group Quilt category for Kaleidoscope of Colors, pictured above; detail below.)

Detail, Kaleidescope of Colors, first prize, group quilts, 2015 Quilt Odyssey

Etta shared that she and her friends spent a total of seven hours at the quilt show, between viewing the quilts and perusing the merchants mall. Obviously that counts as physical exercise too! Visit Etta’s Pinterest boards to see some of the many ways she fills her creative well.

“Managing stress isn’t always easy for me,” shares Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution. “First born, over achiever, go, go goer that sort of says it all. The best medicine I have found is what I call Stitch Meditations. I tried for years to do ‘real’ meditation. It just never took and I always felt like I was doing it wrong. But, I knew I needed a stress reducer that was simple and didn’t take much time to do. I love both machine and hand stitching and I find both very relaxing. However the tactile nature of hand stitch won over and I started creating simple small collages using only hand stitch.”

Stitch Meditation by Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution

One of Liz’ stitch meditations is pictured above — visit her website gallery to see many more. “These meditations are really important to my mental health not only because I slow down and enjoy the meditation,” says Liz, “but they give me a sense of connection to my art on a daily basis…even when life has me otherwise occupied.”

NiYa Costley, a friend from Judy’s Altered Minds, (JAMs) notes that “I can’t quilt when I am upset — spend too much time with the seam ripper if I do. I can crochet though. Get lots done because I move even faster than normal when I am upset….and it does serve to calm my nerves.” Below, some of her beautiful crochet work.

Crochet by Niya Costley

“I also will do Zentangle as a way to calm and allow my mind to freely roam,” says NiYa, who feels that her membership in JAMS has allowed her “to meet new artists who do different kind of things that I had never considered before, like Kinetic Quilting, and entering juried shows like the recent Mixed Media show at Del Ray Artisans Gallery.” NiYa has tons of photos of her work on her PhotoBucket site.

Please leave us a comment below (or email us) with your thoughts on creativity and health. Remember, comments or emails received by Monday, August 3 will be eligible for a random prize drawing.

Welcoming Seth Apter to JAMs

July 22nd, 2015

I am on my way to Quilt Odyssey at the Hershey Lodge & Convention Center in Hershey, PA. The show runs from July 23-26. If you are attending, come find Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal in the Merchants Mall…I’d love to say hi!

Mixed media artist, instructor and author Seth Apter joined Artistic Artifacts for its monthly JAMs meetingThis past Sunday I took a break from the prep and packing for this show to welcome many members of Judy’s Altered Minds for our monthly meeting. We postponed our planned Zen Doodling demo by member Niya Costley to August in order to welcome a surprise visitor, Seth Apter. Seth was in the area promoting his new stamp line and kindly made time to pay us a visit before heading back home to New York.

To prevent him from being trampled with our enthusiasm, we created a sign-in sheet so that we could one at a time shop his amazing new collection, including the sets Solar System, Faded Fragments, Pattern Play, Ink Spots, Cross Hatch and Lineups — these have just been added to our online shop too.

Seth Apter and Artistic Artifacts ownder Judy Gula at the monthly JAMs meeting

Seth was his usual charming self, holding court at the front of the group, and quietly sold his products while had our show & tell session. He requested his own views of everyone’s work and delighted all with his comments and anecdotes.

I was pretty happy to have my own show & tell item — too often this is not the case! I had finished my slow stitched quilt that features wooden printing block images…I showed this in progress in a previous blog posting. Click on the below image for a larger view.

Slow Stitch Outsider Art Quilt by Judy Gula -- click for larger view

Here is a detail view of one of my blocks:

Detail, Slow Stitch Outsider Art Quilt by Judy Gula

Ann showed off her adorable fox quilt (below). She noted that the pattern called for the fox body to be pieced from fabrics, but she thought when she had a fabric as wonderful as Tim Holtz’ Bouquet, there was no need — we all agreed!

Fox quilt by JAMs member Ann

We have an art journal round robin exchange going on within the group, and Kathie enjoyed creating the below page spread so much she made another version for her own personal journal.

Mermaid journal pages by JAMs member Kathie

Sally has been working on this art quilt (below) featuring her own rusted fabrics and materials for some time now, and showed it off in its finished shape. Reminiscent of some of Seth’s own work, don’t you think?

Rusted fabric art quilt by JAMs member Sally

Below are many of the members who were present for the meeting in a photo taken by Seth. If you live in Virginia, Maryland or DC, please join us for JAMs! For those who are too far away, do keep us in mind if a vacation, business trip or family business brings you nearby during the third Sunday of the month, plan to visit us for the meeting — all are welcome!

Some of the members of JAMs in a photo taken by Seth Apter

PG Fiber2Art and the Row by Row Experience

July 15th, 2015

We love working with PG Fiber2Art, the surface design team of Susan Price and Elizabeth Gibson. We carry a large variety of their beautiful thermofax screen designs in the shop, and they teach one of our most popular classes, Printing with Thermofax Screens, which will next be held on September 26: register online.

The 2015 Row by Row Experience at Artistic Artifacts, with PG Fiber2Art screens and rows

Because we are offering their thermofax screen alternate design as part of the 2015 Row by Row Experience (see above, click for a larger view), we will also be offering a fun, abbreviated “taste” of the process on the evening of August 13 as part of our How Do I Use This sessions — register to join us!

PG Fiber2Art maintains a really wonderful blog, full of inspiration, instruction and information…right now they are documenting their experiences at many of the New England shops participating in Row by Row. Time to envy these lucky ladies: they spend part of every summer in New Hampshire, lakeside, at their very own Quilt Camp.

We wanted to share some of their Row by Row-related posts with you, especially when they included some “learned the hard way wisdom.” I had to laugh —very much WITH them, not at them — when I saw the title Wonky Is Easier When You Read the Directions … I personally am notorious for not reading directions!

But as we all know, any time spent with fiber art is well spent, even when you don’t end up with what you thought you would.

And as the saying goes, the third time is the charm. Along with the fish screens they had created to use for this year’s Row by Row, they had created two beautiful sea shell screens too. Don’t they make for another beautiful alternative for the Artistic Artifacts row? (See below, click image for a larger view.)

PG Fiber2Art Row by Row Experience design with seashells

Here are lessons learned by Elizabeth’s — great tips for anyone who picked up our Row by Row pattern:

  • Wonky isn’t severe. Don’t make those cuts too severe or they will grow out of your control.
  • Measure as you go so you will end up with a block you can cut into a square and not end up with a rectangle.
  • Don’t make the inner rounds too wide or you will reach the 9.5 inch block size limit before you get as many rounds of fabric on it as you want.
  • When horizontal doesn’t work, try vertical. (Our 2015 winner did, see below!)

PG Fiber2Art fish screens on Batik Tambal Exclusive Fabric

Above, Elizabeth used the PG Fiber2Art crackle screen (also available in our shop; if you aren’t close by, visit the PG Fiber2Art Etsy shop) on the Woodstock by Batik Tambal, Green River for wonderful additional background texture. Then she added another thermofax layer of the fish screens with PROFab Transparent Textile Paint in hunter green and navy.

And as we were putting this posting together, our shop’s Row by Row Experience winner came in! Congratulations to Janet DuLaney-Saunders of Manassas Park, VA, pictured left holding her quilt (click for larger view) with Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula. Janet named her quilt Singing in the Rain, and used a total of 9 rows, including ours! She used fabric kits from some shops and also used some of her own fabrics to make the blocks, or to substitute in kits for particular color choices.

Janet DuLaney-Saunders holding her winning 2015 Row by Row Experience quilt

Janet’s quilt features rows from the following shops, beginning with the middle section, from the top:

  • Olde Town Needlecraft, Manassas, VA
  • Oh Sew Persnickety Fabrics and Threads, Gainesville, VA
  • Quilt Patch, Fairfax, VA
  • Daffodil Quilts, Nokesville, VA
  • Bonny’s Sewing & Fabric, Stafford, VA
  • Circle Sewing Studio, Dale City, VA

Our Artistic Artifacts row is the top left vertical row, and underneath it is the pattern (Janet’s own fabric) from Bonny’s Sewing & Fabric in Alexandria. The top vertical row of seahorses at the right is by Suzzie’s Quilt Shop in Manassas, VA.

Well done, Janet — thank you for visiting us!

Vintage Found Floral Embellished Art Quilt

July 8th, 2015

I wanted to share one of my embellished quilts with you today…the bold florals and bright colors seem appropriate as we enter the dog days of summer.

click for a larger view--Vintage Found Floral embellished art quilt by Judy Gula

Click on the quilt for a larger view.

It was easy for me to pull the center panel, a hand-embroidered floral, and the border fabric, an amazing tulip floral from Halston from my stash. Anyone who knows me, or has been a blog visitor in the past, knows I have a love for found fabrics and linens. But I also have a lot of other collections too, so it’s probably not a shock that I have a drawer full of vintage floral pins and brooches.

I loved putting all these together!

Close-up views of the pins I used:

Vintage pin from Judy Gula's collection
Vintage pin from Judy Gula's collection
Vintage pin from Judy Gula's collection
Vintage pin from Judy Gula's collection

The center piece was wonderful as is, but I really enjoyed adding free-motion quilting, in two colors of neutral thread, to give it more emphasis and movement (detail below).

Free motion quilting added to vintage embroidered butterfly

And the fabric designed by Halston (look him up, young folks, he was a HUGE name in the fashion world in the 70s) was gorgeous on its own, but it also was a fun canvas to add some hand stitching as well as free-motion quilting.

Vintage Halston-designed fabric embellished with hand and machine stitching

Bright and cheerful with a bit of bling, this was a fun art quilt to put together. If you have pins or brooches from your grandmother, mother, aunt and they aren’t something you would wear today, consider adding one or more to a quilt or mixed media canvas as an embellishment. So much prettier than hidden away in a drawer!

My Latest Fabrics for The Printed Fabric Bee

July 1st, 2015

It has been a bit of time since I have posted about my submissions for The Printed Fabric Bee — indeed too long! The group has been very understanding of me missing deadlines, and I very much appreciate that!

Explore some new techniques yourself with these upcoming surface design classes at Artistic Artifacts:

For any new readers, The Printed Fabric Bee is a group of 12 surface design enthusiasts, who designate one member each month to serve as the “Queen Bee.” The Queen gets to select a theme and colors for her fabric collection, and the rest of us worker bees interpret her wishes in our original hand-painted fabrics.

Each month an original collection of fabrics is sent to the Queen, but also to one lucky blog reader, who with their comment on the blog (link above) has the opportunity to win a collection of 6-inch squares of the handcrafted fabrics.

The Queen Bee for the month of May was Leslie Tucker Jenison. Leslie chose “making marks with found objects” for her theme, asking that the fabric be primarily neutrals with a pop of color. I immediately had an idea for a plastic container of keys I have in my collection… you know, the ones at the hardware store that were cut wrong?

Foam printing mat strewn with metal keys

I placed the keys on top of my form printing surface. Notice how in the above photo that several of the keys are placed hanging off the mat. I think that helps with creating interest.

Sorry for the blurry photo (below). But even with the blur, you can see the basics. I put my my selected paint colors (PROFab Opaque Textile Paint) on a piece of pallette paper, and then roll my brayer over it, picking up the color. Then simply roll the brayer across the piece of fabric that I placed over the keys! Presto! The imprint of the keys is transferred.

creating an image of keys on fabric

I love how easy this technique is! In fact I surprise myself that I don’t use it more often. I’m very happy with how this piece turned out: quick, easy and bold!

Key fabric printed by Judy Gula for The Printed Fabric Bee

The theme for June was vintage, chosen by that month’s queen, Lynn Krawczyk. Her color request? Any color but pink.! Although I absolutely love vintage, this theme was a bit trickier. Since the piece was to have a vintage feel I thought of crocheted doilies and a neutral, beige color.

I began by using an Australian print, Untitled Neutral by Nambooka. Then I took out my Round Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate and mixed up a couple shades of brown from my PROFab Opaque Textile Paint, brayering the paint onto the printing plate in an even layer. I placed my doily on the printing plate and pressed it down all over, then removed the doily, which gave me a stencil/mask effect in the paint. I then pressed my fabric down onto the plate to transfer the doily print.

Printing a vintage inspired fabric with doilies and Gel Arts printing plate

In the above photo you can see the doily, Gel Printing Plate all ready to print and, at the bottom, some of the already printed fabric. Because the round printing plate is smaller than the fabric I was working on, I printed the doily circles multiple times, working with different tones of light and dark.

Brown Doily printed fabric by Judy Gula

While happy with the look, I did feel there was too much brown, and so I wanted to add a color to brighten the fabric up.

Applying turquoise paint to bubble wrap

I brayered PROFab Transparent Textile Paint in turquoise onto some bubble wrap and applied it like a stamp randomly through the fabric. I think the turquoise helped my distressed, vintage-look texture pop!

Vintage inspired fabric by Judy Gula for The Printed Fabric Bee

If you are interested in exploring surface design techniques yourself, we have some wonderful classes on the books for later this summer and fall, as noted in the sidebar at the beginning of this post.