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Dreamtime Stories to Share

The M&S Textiles Booth at Spring Quilt MarketIn my last blog posting I wrote about visiting the Spring Quilt Market in St. Louis and gave you a taste of some of the beautiful fabrics and products exhibited there.

One of my first stops, as always, was to see what was new from M&S Textiles (booth pictured here). Their Australian Aborigine-designed fabrics are consistently one of our biggest sellers, and I simply can’t resist them. The 2017 line of new designs has just arrived in our shop, and I’m sharing a few here. As we mentioned in our most recent newsletter, the Australia’s indigenous art tradition by Aborigines is more than 50,000 years old. In ancient times the Aboriginal people created cave paintings, rock paintings, and sand or ground painting, and more. We love to learn the stories behind these colorful patterned fabric designs and wanted to share some of them here.

Bush Food Dreaming by Tanya Price, available in black, ecru and mint

M&S Textiles, the company that licenses these designs from the Aborigine artists and prints the high-quality cotton fabrics, shares that most of the Aboriginal designs have a “Dreamtime” story to tell. Aboriginal mythology recounts that Dreamtime is the time when the world was dark and nothing was on the earth. Soil was soft; then their forefathers sprang up from underneath it and began building most of what their future generations would require: mountains, rivers, waterholes, trees, light gardens and many more.

The Dreamtime is a philosophy of living. Body painting, corroborree (ceremonial gatherings of Aboriginal people where they interact with Dreamtime ancestors through dance, music, and costumes), men’s and women’s business (certain customs and practices are performed separately by male and female groups) are strictly obeyed by the Aboriginal people.

Aborigines used to be nomadic, collecting foods from nature by hunting and gathering. They never hoarded food or water, or spoiled nature, always honoring their ancestral lands and environment.

Bush Food Dreaming, pictured right, is a design by Tanya Price Nangala, available in (from top to bottom) black, ecru and mint. Tanya learned painting from both her parents and grandparents, and depicts a number of foods important to Aborigines: oranges, bush plums, bush berries, lemons and more. She is illustrating a corroboree where people are happily eating, dancing and discussing various social matters, enjoying each other’s company. Like many Aborigine artists, Tanya uses fine dotting techniques in the background of her precise, vibrant drawings.

Winter Spirits by Faye Oliver, available in brown, black and purple

Winter Spirits, pictured above, is designed by Fay Oliver. It is available in brown (top), yellow (left) and purple. The sounthern hemisphere’s winter weather is hot and sunny like our northern hemisphere’s summer (in Australia each season begins on the first day of the calendar month: summer runs from December 1 to the end of February, autumn from March to May, winter from June to August, and spring from September to November). Fay uses vibrant winter colors to illustrate her painting, which depicts spirits watching over Dreamtime creatures, the bush and camp from the sky.

Sandy Creek by Janet Long Nakamarra, available in yellow, black and purple

Pictured above is Sandy Creek by Janet Long Nakamarra, available in red (top), black and purple. Sandy Creek is located in the Northern Territory of Australia and is home to Tjaynera Falls, located within the Litchfield National Park. The Falls can only be reached by a 4-wheel drive vehicle and an approximately 1.4 kilometers from the car park, which is on the site of a timber cutting camp used during the mid 1900’s. There are some Aboriginals who interact with tourists to the area, telling Dreamtime stories and involing them in timber-cutting activities. Janet is illustrating the plain land under the waterfall and some of the surrounding area. The semi-circles depict people walking the land as well as sitting in a circle around waterholes.

Artistic Artifacts is known for its large selection of Australian fabric, and these new designs are wonderful additions. We hope you have enjoyed learning more about the meaning behind the designs.

Fabrics Unveiled at Spring Quilt Market

Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik fabrics

View of Gateway Arch from hotel

There are two Quilt Markets (credentialed trade show for shop owners, fabric companies, etc.) each year. The biggest is each fall, always in Houston just before the huge International Quilt Festival (which takes place November 2-5, 2017). The Spring show changes locations each year; and this year it was in St. Louis; a fact that was reinforced each time we had the chance to take a look from our Hotel to see the iconic Gateway Arch!

My “partners in crime” for this trip were Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution and Ruth Chandler, author of one of my favorite instructional books, Modern Hand Stitching. (Remember, Liz will be visiting Artistic Artifacts next month with her immersive Stitch Journeys class — a few seats are still available for this 4 Day Creative Retreat, so join us!)

Architectural detail in St. Louis

Our walk from the hotel to the Convention Center included passing by buildings featuring beautiful architectural details (see above and in my gallery below). Most of these were likely built in the 1920’s and 1930’s and unfortunately, many of them are empty. So sad!

New fabrics in the Woodstock design, Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik

Artistic Artifacts was there with a booth exhibiting and selling our Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik fabrics (pictured at the top of this post and here), handpainted batik panels and our artist quality textile paints. From our Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik, I’m excited by our new Woodstock 2 fabrics (pictured above)!

New colors coming of established Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik

I also have new colors (pictured above) of established designs, Folk Life-Paisley Leaves and Color Sponge. All of these new Batik Tambal Exclusive Batiks will be available to our customers in approximately two months.

Ruth Chandler and Liz Kettle demonstrating how to create Silk Fusion

The first day of Market for many of us includes the “School House” event. These are short (15 to 30 minute) presentations, sales pitches, and educational sessions. Liz and Ruth have done many of these for companies such as Treenway Silks and Rockland Industries. Artistic Artifacts currently carries products from both of these companies: Silk Roving/Sliver in gorgeous colors from Treenway and from Rockland Industries, muslin, Osnaburg and Roc-lon Multi-Purpose Cloth. Above, Ruth Chandler (left) and Liz Kettle are demonstrating how to create Silk Fusion. (Those of you close to Artistic Artifacts, join me in October for our How Do I… evening: we’ll be making silk paper, a similar technique!)

Sue Spargo hand-stitching

A lot of time is spent walking the aisles looking for inspiration, like the above beauty by Sue Spargo (take a look at the gorgeous colors she selected for her WonderFil Eleganza collection). You can view a lot more eye candy from Quilt Market in my gallery at the bottom of this post!

A sampling of new designs of popular Australian Aborigine-designed fabrics

I made my usual stop at the M&S Textiles booth to see what is new with our popular Australian Aborigine-designed fabrics. I ordered 22 new patterns! You can get an idea of what’s coming in the photos above and below. Stay tuned to our website — they are expected in approximately two weeks.

More new designs of Australian fabrics on the way to Artistic Artifacts from M&S Textiles

I was able to have a quick trunk show with fiber artist and fabric designer Marcia Derse. I have always loved her work!

Marcia Derse Treasure Hunt fabric line

Marcia’s Treasure Hunt line (pictured above) will be available in the shop in October. We hope to add her solids to the store (pictured below) in the future as well.

Marcia Derse solid fabrics

Maker’s Home by Natalie Barnes (pictured below) of Beyond the Reef Patterns will also arrive in the shop in the fall or early winter. This is her second line for Windham Fabrics and includes her signature hand drawn flowers and fun black &white prints (and you know how much I love black & white fabrics). I’ve been looking for the right kind of floral fabric to add to the shop and thought my customers would love this line (more views in the gallery).

Maker's Home by Natalie Barnes of Beyond the Reef Patterns for Windham Fabrics

And we spent time in Art Gallery’s booth (their booth photo below with my detail shots) touching and feeling their knit, voile, and cotton fabrics. We’d like to add knit fabrics to Artistic Artifacts…what do you think? Good idea? Let me know in the comments!.

Art Gallery Fabrics booth

Below, my photo gallery for more from Quilt Marke — click on any photo for a larger view or to see it as a slideshow.

Lines & Squares and more…

We have had the Stacked Squares Quilt Pattern, designed by Sarah Gustason, in the shop for some time, but had hesitated to add it to our online store. It calls for beautiful fabrics from Frond Design Studios that we no longer carry. (While we love ALL of the beautiful designs Frond comes up with, in order to be able to add new lines by them —or any other fabric manufacturer —we have to retire other favorites to make room.)

We decided to make up a sample using other striped fabric to show how well the pattern works with different fabric choices, and put Christine Vinh, StitchesnQuilts on the job. While Chris has an amazing talent for seeing a fabric’s potential and in mixing fabric lines, for this project she didn’t need to look far, deciding to experiment with the strong linear lines of the Barnboard line by Frond.

Materials to create a Stacked Squares art quilt

The pattern calls for one yard each of four fabrics to piece the top (plus additional for binding and backing) to create a 48 inch x 60 inch. quilt. Chris chose ½ yard of the following Barnboard colors: Afternoon, Autumn, Summer and Sunlight.

Chris Vinh sewing her Stacked Squares art quilt

Chris posted the above photo on Facebook, writing “Shop sample for Artistic Artifacts under the needle. Perfect combination: Bernina machine, WonderFil Mirage thread, and Frond Design Studio Fabrics fabric and pattern. Add a little music, and this girl is happy!”

Stacked Squares art quilt front by Chris Vinh

And she was even happier with the final result — above, her completed top, waiting for binding.The Barnboard is showcased beautifully with this pattern! Chris arranged her stacked squares to create a 30 inch square wall quilt or table topper. And from the 2 yards of fabric she began with, she had enough to piece a beautiful backing, making it reversible!

Stacked Squares art quilt back by Chris Vinh

To match and complement the various colors, Chris selected Mirage™ Color #27, Green/Honey/Red. Mirage is a 2-ply, 30wt rayon that’s randomly space dyed in variegated colors so that every spool unique. “The Mirage was perfect for this project,” Chris said, noting how far a spool will go…she “barely made a dent in her wound bobbin after free motion quilting.”

Chris has been on something of a “line” kick lately. It started when she wanted to give paper piecing a try. She selected the Sew and Fold on a Roll, Flying Geese & Braids and, while initially daunted by the concept, quickly realized how easy these gridded products are to use, giving you precise results.

Paper pieced braid quilt by Chris Vinh

She had some left over Australian Aborigine-Designed fabrics in her stash and put the above beauty together. It was such a perfect result that she decided to turn it into her entry for her quilt guild’s challenge. Chris is a member of the Arlington Chapter of Quilter’s UnlChris Vinh quilt label, Arlington QU Alphabet Challengeimited (QU), a large local guild that has 11 chapters throughout the Northern Virginia region.

Arlington QU often issues group challenges to its members, and this year members randomly drew a letter of the alphabet and are making an 18 in. x 18 in. quilt inspired by that letter. Chris drew the letter L, and realized this quilt was perfect: L is for Lines! (Pictured right, Chris’ quilt label.

The Alphabet Challenge quilts will hang together at QU’s 44th Annual Show, which takes place June 2-4, 2017 at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, VA. The QU Quilt Show is always well worth the trip!

Chris is also enjoying using her new paper piecing skills on her latest work in progress. As mentioned above, she is a whiz at pulling together beautifully coordinating or contrasting fabrics. There are quilters who stick to a particular fabric collection for inspiration, and then others who look for colors and designs that, as she puts it “plays well with others.”

Work in progess by Chris Vinh

Pictured above, a paper pieced braid that uses several fabrics from the new Figment line designed by Pam Goecke Dinndorf. This piece also has some choices from the Marks collection by Valori Wells, also available in our Modern Cottons section, and complementary Australian Aboriginal Designs.

Quilt top by Artistic Artifacts customer Laura Geiser

We also wanted to shared these, perfect for this post’s theme of lines and patterns! Recently one of our customers, Laura Geiser, brought the two beautiful quilt tops (pictured above and below) by the shop. She told us she had been really inspired by the Australian Aboriginal design fabrics we carry and our Paper Pieced Aussie Blocks quilt on display, as well as our variety of black and white prints. She was shopping for additional fabrics to create a third quilt in this series!

Quilt top by Artistic Artifacts customer Laura Geiser

Artistic Artifacts & The Tale of the Frog Princess…

Staffed by Ruth Chandler and Liz Kettle with support from WonderFil Threads, The Thread Lab: WonderFil Threaducation Center is a learning center devoted to teaching a textile classes, both hand stitching and machine sewing, that use the variety of WonderFil™ Specialty threads. Located at Cottonwood Center for the Arts in Colorado Springs, the Thread Lab is also frequented by The Frog Princess.

The Frog Princess of Colorado Springs

Reigning over the Thread Lab and the artist studios at Cottonwood, and inspired by her own garments full of color and texture, The Frog Princess found she had a natural affinity for recommending thread choices to customers and students.

The Frog Princess choosing thread colors

And so, like Ruth and Liz, she studied for her Thread Certification. (Because every princess wants to be a Thread Goddess! photos above and below by Terza Ekholm) The Frog Princess found that Threads, The Basics & Beyond: The Complete Visual Guide to Thread Techniques & Creativity by Debbie Bates and Liz Kettle is an amazing resource.

The Frog Princess studies Threads, the Basics & Beyond by Debbie Bates and Liz Kettle

And so all was well in the land. Until November 30, when Ruth Chandler sent out the alarm:
“The Frog Princess is AWOL!”

Any disappearance of royalty is of course critical, and so the emergency security plan was immediately put into effect. “I called out the troops to find the Frog Princess,” notes Ruth:

Rallying the troops to find The Frog Princess

But then a message arrived from 1,700 miles away, Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, VA: The Frog Princess had been found! (And there was much rejoicing.)

Yes, craving a change of scenery, The Frog Princess decided to stow away, taking advantage of the trip Liz undertook to assist Artistic Artifacts with the set up and launch the fifth WonderFil Threaducation Center — the only one on the East Coast of the U.S.!

The staff at Artistic Artifacts was delighted to have her as a guest…Friday morning she awoke early to have coffee with Judy, but with so much to do to get ready for the Annual Open House and Pop-Up Holiday Market, we quickly put her to work.

Coffee with The Frog Princess

With her eye for color, The Frog Princess gravitated toward pricing the inspiration packs, popular bundles of hand dyed found textiles and fibers Judy incorporates with two fat quarters of woven cotton, perfect for fiber collage.

The Frog Princess with fiber collage inspiration packs put together by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Below left, she put her stamp of approval on some store rearranging (our ribbons are now nicely showcased, much to her pleasure). At right she poses with Liz on a break from showing off the beautiful WonderFil threads to customers at the Annual Open House on Saturday, December 3, where Liz demonstrated stitching and furthered the “threaducation” of many.

The Frog Princess enjoys visiting Artistic Artifacts with Liz Kettle

Sunday found Liz and students hard at work in the Magical Stitches class. Below you can see that The Frog Princess got herself involved in class discussion.

Magical Stitching class with Liz Kettle at Artistic Artifacts

Artistic Artifacts is usually closed on Mondays, but on December 5, we were all hard at work. Our gorgeous threads and fixtures finally made it through customs and delivery from Canada, so we spent the day putting together the Threaducation Center! Frankly, we thought the tiny little hands of The Frog Princess would have been a bigger help when it came to the WonderFil Thread cabinet construction! But then again, she IS royalty; supervising is really her strength…

The Frog Princess supervises construction of the WonderFil thread cabinets and display stands

Below, everyone wanted to get close to the Sue Spargo collection! WonderFil™ teamed up with the author, teacher, embroidery expert and artist to bring out a new line of colors in the Eleganza™, Razzle™, and Dazzle™ thread lines! These colors have been selected by Sue Spargo to offer an array of beautiful and inspirational choices, including variegated colors that are only available in her line.

The Frog Princess helps Chris Vinh put away the Sue Spargo Collection of WonderFil threads

Below, The Frog Princess poses at the end of a productive workday with the new WonderFil Threaducation Center located at Artistic Artifacts.

The Frog Princess poses with the new WonderFil Threaducation Center located at Artistic Artifacts

Finally it was time to return to her own kingdom. Before she left The Frog Princess took one final lap around the store to soak in some memories:

Come back anytime, Princess — you and your friends at the Thread Lab are always welcome! In fact, consider this a formal invitation for next year, when Liz returns to Artistic Artifacts to teach a 4-day creative retreat, Stitch Journeys — Your Guide to Amazing Stitching, June 15-18, 2017. The cost will be $495, which includes provided lunch each day, and payment plans will be available — please email us to make arrangements. Complete information will be posted soon on the Artistic Artifacts website. Plan to join us!

Using Triangles On A Roll to Speed Piecing

Half Square Triangles created with Triangles On A Roll paper

I am currently working on a semi-secret project, one that is requiring me to really stretch… Okay, I will actually confess that instead of a stretch this is a real JUMP out of my comfort zone!

I’m working with a size larger than 24" x 24", and I’m doing quilt piecework beyond my beloved log cabin strip construction! The crib quilt project that I am designing uses a handpainted batik panel by Mahyar as a focal point, and it has a very cool border design, similar to that pictured below, that I wanted to echo.

Batik detail on Mahyar batik panel

My first thought was using pieced Half Square Triangles (HST). I had heard good things about the Triangles On A Roll for piecing HSTs, and thought I would experiment with them. I began by purchasing sample rolls in couple different sizes and testing them with fabrics. There’s a free Craftsy Tutorial that is nicely illustrated with clear photos on how to use Triangles on a Roll to sew HSTs: so simple to use!

Spoiler Alert: I love this product so much I’ve added it to the Artistic Artifacts store! Shop all Triangles On A Roll products »

2½" finished block, using Triangles On A Roll ; each square tells you how wide to cut your fabric squares, as seen in this photograph.

Above, 2½" finished block, using two different fabrics. A great feature of the Triangles On A Roll papers
is that each one tells you how wide to cut your fabric squares, as you can see in this photograph.

The Triangles On A Roll blog had a post about how quick using these products can be. Nedra Sorensen of Triangles On a Roll decided to time herself in making 44 HSTs for a project. Her sewing time was 13 minutes; her cutting time 5 minutes; paper removal time 5 minutes; pressing time 5 minutes, and trimming off the bunny ears 2 minutes. A total of 30 minutes! Now, of course quilting’s not a race, but even for a beginner using this product, the time savings from cutting and piecing a HST the old-fashioned way is incredible. Plus, you are getting consistently precise, accurate results.

Woodstock batik by Batik Tambal sewn using Triangles On A Roll

Above, a fun result using Woodstock, 1969, an ombre batiks that is one of the dessigns created exclusively for us by Indonesian artisans. We just released a new Ferns pattern in six beautiful colorwayas!

Then, thinking of structure like the log cabin construction (see, I didn’t get too far away from my default mode!), I wanted to experiment with the contrast of light and dark fabrics:

HSTs sewn using Triangles On A Roll

The top HST in the above photo has had its “bunny ears” trimmed. Look at the accuracy of the piecing and the even seam allowances. Each of these rolls are 50 feet long, and the number of finished HSTs will vary with the size. For instance, the 3½" roll will make 540 HSTs!

Key points to remember when sewing HSTs with Triangles On A Roll:

  • Pin the paper to the top of two (2) pieces of fabric that are facing right sides together.
  • Shorten your stitch length on your sewing machine to make it easier to remove the paper after piecing. Triangles On A Roll recommends a 1.5 setting.
  • Sew on the dotted lines.
  • Cut on the solid lines.

So, once I had warmed up with several piecing sessions using different sizes and fabrics, my next step was to use HSTs in a project.

HSTs from two different Australian fabrics, sewn using Triangles On A Roll

Above, River Dreaming Red by Barbara Egan and Bush Coconut Dreaming Red by Audrey Martin, two Aborigine Designed Fabric that look great together.

Pillow top, designed using a handpainted batik panel by Ahmed and HSTs sewn using Triangles On A Roll

I used an Ahmed batik panel and cut it in half horizontally to make two coordinating pillows. After framing the panel in narrow strips, I enlarged the surface using my red and black HSTs on just two sides for an asymmetrical look.

Pillow top, designed using a handpainted batik panel by Ahmed and HSTs sewn using Triangles On A Roll

Above, the second pillow top (both are still in progress with the binding and the backing). One hint for you, watch the orientation of the triangles when you use them to wrap around a block (as I did here), rather than in a straight line.

Detail, free motion quilting, of pillow top, designed using a handpainted batik panel by Ahmed

A detail of my free motion quilting of the panel. Abstracts are fun, because anything goes!

So with my pillows essentially finished, I’m back to my original idea using the Mayhar Batik Art Panel…

Piecing with Triangles On A Roll paper

Half Square Triangles (HSTs) created with Triangles On A Roll paper

Triangles On A Roll products are definitely going to help me create a wonderful Mahyar crib quilt design!

Batik panel  by Mahyar, a focal point of an upcoming quilt project

Books as Inspiration vs. Prescription

Guest post by Christine Vinh, StitchesnQuilts

I pondered this “Inspiration vs. Prescription” idea one day when browsing through the new books at Artistic Artifacts. As artists — name your media — we probably use books for both inspiration and prescription.

  • Some books are just eye candy and must-haves for that reason alone.
  • Others teach new techniques and skills to add to our “tool box.”
  • There are those who select a book for the instructions to make a project just like the one the artist author shows in the book.
  • And then there are those books that make you wonder, “what if?”…

Kaffe Fassett's Brilliant Little Patchwork Cushions and Pillows

For me, one of the books that falls into the last category is Kaffe Fassett’s brilliant little patchwork cushions and pillows. With a subtitle of “20 patchwok projects using Kaffe Fassett fabrics,” my first thought was, since Artistic Artifacts doesn’t carry his fabrics, why carry the book?

But as I leafed through the pages, I was quickly inspired by the possibilities. Rather than recreate the patterns and fabric choices used in the many projects in the book, I started dreaming about how some of new fabrics in the shop would look instead.

I had already been playing with ideas for the She Sells designs from Frond Design Studios. Looking though the book, I decided that the “chrysanthemum cushion” might work well, as it uses a huge patterned fabric.

Selecting a stripes pattern was a no brainer — the Woodstock 1969 colorway of the Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik was perfect with the She Sells: Aqua I wanted to use. Add two of the Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik Fruit Sours patterns, in Tangerine and Blue Raspberry, and I had a match made in heaven!

I also decided I wanted to make a table runner, rather than the pillow called for in the book. I estimated my fabric requirements using the fabric guidelines in the book. I wanted to use the Blue Raspberry Fruit Sours batik as the back and binding, so I went with one yard there, and ½ yards of the other three fabrics.

Christine Vinh begins piecing a table runner, inspired by a Kaffe Fassett project

Using the cushion pattern as guidelines, I cut the fabrics. When sewing the shell and ombre stripes together, I added stripes at each end to extend the center panel to the desired length, then added the border. I machine quilted my runner with a variegated thread and finished it off with the binding. A fun and easy project completed in a few hours!

Variegated thread used to machine quilt Christine Vinh's table runner sewn from Frond Design Studios fabric and Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik

In the detail photo above, you can see how the variegated thread coordinated with the fabrics — I loved how it turned out.

Christine Vinh's table runner and the Kaffe Fassett project that inspired it

Above, a view of my completed runner and the inspiration pillow project from Kaffe’s book.

This project was so fun and easy to sew that now I’m imagining doing another one, with another She Sells colorway paired with one of the new Barnboard colorways, also from Frond Design Studios. Below, She Sells: Sand and Barnboard: Violet.

She Sells: Sand and Barnboard: Violet fabrics from Frond Design Studios, sold by Artistic Artifacts

Or perhaps She Sells: Ultramarine and Barnboard: Summer, below…

She Sells: Ultramarine and Barnboard: Summer fabrics from Frond Design Studios, sold by Artistic Artifacts

The Malachite pillow from Kaffe Fassestt’s brilliant little patchwork cushions and pillowsBack to Kaffe’s book, I also liked the pattern design used in the “malachite cushion” (pictured right). Kaffe noted that he wanted to play with the swirling lines and color variations of his Jupiter fabric by further cutting the fabric into triangles and piecing it back together.

As soon as I saw the recent addition to our Australian Aboriginal fabrics, River Dreaming by Barbara Egan, I loved the movement! I thought it would be interesting to see how the pattern changed by cutting and piecing it according to Kaffe’s instructions.

I selected the River Dreaming Black for the top and decided on Plum Seeds Red by Kathleen Pitjara as binding. I followed the instructions in the book — again, a quick and easy project. But while I love the finished pillow top (pictured below flat, without the pillow form), because of the overall swirls of the fabric, it is hard to see the quilt pattern.

River Dreaming Black fabric pieced into pillow by Christine Vinh, StitchesnQuilts

So. lesson learned! Next I tried using the River Dreaming White with the Black version, and played with my fabric choices and placement to get the look I wanted. Pictured below, this work in progress using the same pattern has a better ‘bang for the buck’ with the black and white triangles alternated.

River Dreaming Black and River Dreaming white fabrics pieced into pillow top by Christine Vinh, StitchesnQuilts

Both because I wasn’t afraid to ask the question, “what if…?” and because I gave myself permission to play and experiment, I’ll end up with another great graphic pillow.

Take some time and browse through the books for sale at Artistic Artifacts, or on your own book shelf, but with the focus of using the ideas of the author as a springboard for your own imagination. This is a good exercise to do with some of the earlier books you may have, where the fabric used for the samples is outdated. Visualize how the designs and techniques could be brought to life with some of the new and fun fabrics available today: swapping out calicos with modern cottons, for example.

In addition to the books in the shop, check out the book recommendations from members of Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs). Each fall we devote one meeting to sharing thoughts on favorite fiber and mixed media titles, both new publications and favorities from our past. Our ongoing list is a downloadable PDF published on our website.

And remember, we have a new Facebook group, Artistic Artifacts’ Creative Minds, a virtual extension of JAMs. On Facebook group members from all over— art quilters, collage artists, art journal keepers, surface design enthusiasts, paper crafters, assemblage & art doll artists, and more — have a place to share ideas and projects with one another. Come join us there and share your own projects and thoughts on Inspiration vs. Prescription!

To sum up:

  • Don’t be afraid to mix and match fabric lines and colors and textures.
  • Give yourself permission to play.
  • By giving yourself permission to ask “what if” and play, you will learn along the way… and most likely will be very pleased with your results!

Hello from Quilt Market in Salt Lake City!

Artistic Artifacts booth at Spring 2016 Quilt Market in Salt Lake City, UT

Artistic Artifacts presents during the Schoolhouse SeriesI’m at Quilt Market in Salt Lake City! Above is a view of one of the Artistic Artifacts’ booth walls, featuring our gorgeous Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik and a handpainted batik panel by Mahyar.

I was able to post some set-up shots on the Artistic Artifacts’s Facebook page, but once it all gets started, you simply get too busy to keep up… check out the show’s Instagram feed for some serious eye candy!

I was proud that my topic, Hand-Drawn Batik Panels was accepted for the International Quilt Market’s popular Schoolhouse Series! The Schoolhouse Series took place on Thursday, the day before Market opens, and  is a forum for manufacturers, publishers, and retailers to present new products, techniques, and books to quilt shop owners throughout the world.

 Mahyar Cats in the City art quilt by Christine Vinh

The above quilt by Christine Vinh of StitchesnQuilts was completed in time for me to use it at Market as an example of how our Batik Panels, handcrafted by many of Indonesia’s finest batik artists, can be used  in art or traditional quilts, or any form of fiber art. Because we’ve learned that many of our customers are afraid to cut into or sew the panel they’ve fallen in love with, I’ve scheduled Create a Batik Panel Art Quilt for Saturday, May 28. I need a few more registrants to ensure this class running, so I hope some of you will plan to join me!

Valori Wells’s booth at Spring Quilt Market 2016

Here’s a sneak peek of a beautiful new fabric line that Artistic Artifacts will be carrying…but we ALL have to wait until this fall to receive it. I fell instantly in love with Marks by acclaimed  quilter, author, fabric and pattern designer Valori Wells, collaborating with her mother Jean. Marks is her new line for Robert Kaufman Fabrics. which notes “the designs are a combination of their love of block printing and textiles.” Block printing…so no wonder I fell in love, right?

Marks fabrics in the Indigo colorway, designed by Valori Wells for Robert Kaufman Fabrics

It’s going to be a tough wait! Below is Valori’s “Plus Mob” quilt.

Plus Mob quilt by Valori Wells at Spring Quilt Market 2016

Batik Panel Art Quilt with Sari Silk Border

After too much time on the road and dealing with some computer/technical issues in the shop, I recently took a much needed day off to spend in my studio.

I was inspired to work with our new Multicolored Sari Silk Fat Quarter assortment packs from India (featured in our most recent enewsletter): 12 beautiful colors! I decided to combine them with a wonderful panel handpainted by Bambang Dharmo. Here is my work in progress.

In progress batik panel art quilt, bordered with sari silk, by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

My first step was to trim my panel, creating straight square edges. I admit I used to skip this step, trying to use up every beautiful bit of the handpainted fabric. But after a result where the sewn side of the panel aren’t straight, I learned my lesson.

I wondered how to best sew the silk to the cotton panel? My solution was to apply a lightweight one-sided fusible interfacing meant for clothing that I found in my stash. Once the silk had the fusible on it, it made sewing it to the cotton panel a breeze. I also found some small pieces of Dupioni silk in bright colors in my stash, so I also prepped them with the interfacing and added them to my sari silks.

I cut the stack of silks with a ruler and my rotary cutter into strips approximately 1½" wide by the 6" wide. I lined them up by color on my work table, and then I started sewing.

Sari silk strips, cut from fat quarters, in the midst of being chain-stitched for the quilt border

My method might not seem like the best one to some, but it removes the stress of fretting over which color to put next to each other: I chain piece. I take 2 pieces of silk (different colors, of course) and chain sew a bunch, Then I cut the chain apart and add a third piece of silk and chain again. I continue to do this until I have a strip approximately 4-6 strips wide.

Then I press all the seams in the same direction and lay them out again. Next I start matching up these 6 pieces to make them longer 44” long about, and then trimmed to 4”wide.

I decided to add a small piping to the panel using the Groovin’ Piping Trimming Tool. Once that was complete, I sewed the silk “piano keys” to the panel. I used my zipper foot to keep the piping tight.

Sewing a chain-pieced silk border to the batik quilt panel.

Sewing a chain-pieced silk border to the batik quilt panel. You can see the fusible interfacing on the back of the bright silk strips.

My sewing order was top and bottom and then the two sides. I thought briefly about mitering the corners, but decided to just go with the strips as is.

Ironing the reverse side toward the border

Because I wanted the piping to go toward the panel, not the border, I did find that I had to watch my ironing. The correct direction was controlled when ironing on the reverse side and toward the border rather than the panel (above).

Below, you can see the piping set off the panel. I will trim the strips and edges, layer batting and backing, and finish this quilt off on another studio sewing day.

Ironing carefully kept the piping facing the center batik panel

Using Color Magnet for Screen Printing

Happy Valentine’s Day to you! Hope you are enjoying a sweet treat, whether that’s candy, flowers, or new supplies for your favorite creative hobby!

In our February 10 enewsletter, we announced the addition of Color Magnet™ for Screen Printing by Jacquard to our online shop. I had heard about this product before, but the catalyst for stocking it was the most recent Printing with Thermofax Screens class, taught by PG Fiber2Art. PG Fiber2Art is Susan Price and Elizabeth Gibson. (They always teach together; unfortunately for this session Elizabeth was out of town).

Printing with Thermofax Screens class at Artistic Artifacts, taught by PG Fiber2Art

Basic Color Magnet Directions

1) Apply Color Magnet directly from jar to fabric by screen printing, stamping or stenciling.
2) Let dry thoroughly. Drying can be aided by the use of a hair dryer or heat tool.
3) Dye according to dye package instructions (immersion dyeing is recommended as the best method). The more diluted the dye, the greater the contrast.

Susan showed the class a number of fabric samples that had been created using Color Magnet for Screen Printing, and everyone wanted to be able to buy the product themselves. We were happy to oblige!

We also asked PG Fiber2Art to assist with this blog posting to help you understand the product. All images here are copyright by PG Fiber2Art (unless otherwise noted) and used with their permission.

Color Magnet is a dye attractant that “magically” attracts more dye where it is applied. Apply Color Magnet directly from jar to your fabric by Thermofax screen printing, or by stamping or stenciling.

Using Color Magnet for Screen Printing by Jacquard

The Color Magnet product is yellow in color and will be visible on your fabric as it is applied. This yellow doesn’t show permanently, nor does it change the color of the dye you choose to use. The coloring is there to make it easier to see where you have applied the Color Magnet.

Applying Color Magnet for Screen Printing to fabric through a PG Fiber2Art Thermofax screen

Above, Sue applies Color Magnet through the PG Fiber2Art screen Sewer Cover to print an all-over design — in these photos it is wet from the applications. (Visit the PG Fiber2Art blog for a thorough tutorial on How to Print with Thermofax Screens if you are unfamiliar with the process.)

It is very important to let the applied Color Magnet product dry completely before you immerse your fabric into the dye. Sue often lets her fabric sit overnight to dry; Jacquard notes that you can use a blow dryer or a craft heat tool to speed the drying process.

Color Magnet for Screen Printing applied to fabric through PG Fiber2Art Thermofax screens--before dyeing

Above, a detail photo of the same fabric after it was over-screened with Color Magnet using their popular Circles screen, available in the PG Fiber2Art Etsy shop. Below, a detail of the fabric after dyeing it teal.

After dyeing, the fabric that has had the Color Magnet for Screen Printing applied shows darker, having attracted the dye particles

The full length of fabric after. (Click the photo for a larger view.)

Full length of PG Fiber2Art fabric -- click for larger view

For the stronges/darkest tone on tone contrast, use a diluted dye solution. You may want to experiment with differing strengths of dye solution to see how you like the effects achieved.

Below are two additional fabric pieces that Sue screened with Color Magnet and then dyed. The top image is Tree Bark and the bottom is a mustard flower.

Tree bark Thermofax screen by PG Fiber2Art

Mustard Flower Thermofax screen by PG Fiber2Art

“I’m really pleased with how they turned out,” writes Sue. “I wanted the mustard flower to be an all over pattern, but it was really hard to see where I had already printed so I missed some spots. The base fabric was a pale blue/green and the Color Magnet is yellow, so it really blended in as it dried.”

Using Color Magnet does not alter the hand of your fabric. This softness makes it ideal for using on garments. Below, Sue prepped a t-shirt and screened it around the neckline with the Lazy Daisy screen, and let it dry overnight.

Color Magnet applied to a T-shirt, before dyeing

And here’s the shirt after:

Color Magnet T-shirt after dyeing

“The shirt is 45% polyester and 55% natural fibers,” writes Sue. “I wasn’t sure how well it would take the dye, but it did better than I expected.”

Although the results shown here from PG Fiber2Art are all from using their beautiful Thermofax screens, Color Magnet for Screen Printing can also be used with wooden printing blocks, stencils, applied through Fineline Needle Applicators and more.

Imagine the possibilities!

Additional Color Magnet Resources

    • For a demonstration of and instructions on using Color Magnet for Screen Printing, visit YouTube.

Lynda Heines experiments with using varying amounts of dye powder

  • Lynda Heines of Bloom, Bake & Create was a guest blogger for Lynn Krawczyk of Smudged Textiles Studio, with a tutorial on how to use Color Magnet. Of particular interest are Lynda’s documentation of her experiments using varying amounts of dye powder (detail pictured here).
  • Explore step-by-step instructions and tips for using Jacquard’s Color Magnet in this Quilting Arts magazine article by Sue Bleiweiss (PDF provided by Jacquard). A sampling of Sue’s fabrics dyed using Color Magnet are below.

Sue Bleiweiss fabrics dyed using Color Magnet

Upcycled Memory Pillow

My parents had a lovely couple as neighbors…they lived next to them for many years. While they didn’t see me grow up, they did spend time with my son, now 20, over the years. They have always been very special people to our entire family.

These neighbors spent their working careers traveling the world. One of the countries where they lived for many years was Indonesia. Knowing how much I love of Indonesian textiles, I had been gifted with a hand drawn tulis batik shirt from them. It was very well worn (the cotton is SO soft!), very well loved and had always been a favorite, but once the wear resulted in holes, it was retired. The shirt was sewn out of the most beautiful fabric — I loved it!

Tulis batik shirt, a treasured garment from Indonesia

Just before Thanksgiving of this year, the owner of the wonderful shirt passed away suddenly. As a gift to his spouse, I decided to use the shirt to create a special pillow she could keep in his memory. I added one of our Jaka fish batik block (like the ones used in our Row by Row Experience kits, which have just been added to the store) and some additional batiks and other fabrics from the shop to supplement the shirt fabric.

Deconstructed Tulis batik shirt

I began by completely deconstructing the shirt, cutting the seams, and un-hemming as much as I could.

Deconstructed Tulis batik shirt

I added a wide stripe of this beautiful tulis shirt fabric around my log cabin fish batik block.

Tulis batik and fish log cabin memory pillow

I love how this very old and treasured garment coordinates so well with the new batik fabrics!

Using the front of the shirt as the back of the pillow

What I think was the best idea was my using the front of the shirt with its buttons and placket to be the back of the pillow. The existing buttons and button holes are now used to open and close the pillow cover. (Brilliant if I may say so myself!)

Using the front of the shirt as the back of the pillow

The finished back:

Using the front of the shirt as the back of the pillow

The pillow form used is is 24×24″ and the finished pillow, seen here, is 20″ x 20″.

Completed tulis batik fish pillow

I hope this post inspires you…creating a quilt or pillow out of fabric gleaned from clothes of a loved one is a wonderful way to remember them!

It’s not too late to post a comment on last week’s posting, or below, to be entered into a drawing to be mailed one of my mixed media cards…new photos of additional cards will be posted next Wednesday too!

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