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Support the Shop Small Movement

Show your love for Artistic Artifacts by visiting on Small Business Saturday, November 25

This November 25, we want to share Small Business Saturday® with you! Small Business Saturday® is an annual shopping tradition celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Dedicated to supporting small businesses and celebrating communities across the country, the Shop Small movement was founded by American Express in 2010.

Shop Small® with us — grab a friend or family member and come by Artistic Artifacts between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm on the big day. As a Thanksgiving weekend expression of gratitude to our customers, visitors can enjoy a store-wide 15% discount on products (some exceptions apply). We have plenty of wonderful gift selections for your favorite creative friends and family as the holiday season approaches! Fill out a wish list (on paper in the shop or online) and let us know who we should contact to drop the hint for your OWN perfect present!

Artistic Artifacts is getting ready to kick off the 2017 Holiday season!

Artistic Artifacts is preparing for the 2017 Holiday season—join us for Small Business Saturday on November 25!

We invite you to come relax and hang out at the shop — getting away from the mall crowds and/or extended family — and get yourself in a positive frame of mind for the upcoming holiday season. We will have door prizes, all the makings and instruction on creating a Stitch Meditation, plus a 1:00 pm presentation by Janette Coffee of Essentially Holistic (see more below).

Recently completed Stitch Meditations by Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution

Previous hand-stitching or embroidery experience is not necessary to create a beautifuly Stitch Meditation, and we will have plenty of fabrics, threads and embellishing scraps on hand for you to play with! The Stitch Meditations pictured here are some of the recent creations of Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution (watch a video by Liz on her website) who created this amazing practice. You can also learn more about Stitch Meditations and view many additional examples in our own previous blog posting).

Whether as a reaction against the big-box madness of “Black Friday” or simply to show support, many embrace Small Business Saturday as a holiday shopping tradition. If you are not close enough to visit Artistic Artifacts yourself, please visit your own local small businesses (whether exploring new ventures or your hometown favorite), dine at a local non-chain restaurant, and more. You can help get the word out about this important “think big, shop small” movement by using #shopsmall on Facebook and all your social networks.

Artistic Artifacts is one of the 706,626 small businesses in operation across Virginia. Small businesses make up 99.50% of all the businesses in the state! (Statistics based on data from the Office of Advocacy’s Small Business Profiles; “Small Business” is defined as a firm employing fewer than 500 employees.)

From local restaurants to the paint store down the street, small businesses have created major impacts across all communities and help ensure
local economies stay strong and vibrant. Invite your friends and family to join you: Shop Small and show your love for your favorite places. Because when small businesses succeed, we all do.

Introduction to Essential Oils

An essentials oils introduction will be presented at Artistic Artifacts on Saturday, November 25

Artistic Artifacts will be the site of a 1:00 pm presentation by Janette Coffee of Essentially Holistic, discussing döTERRA Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oils. Janette promises “Essential Oils are safe and affordable and can help with everything from difficulty sleeping and stress, to chronic pain and digestive issues. If you want to learn how to use a natural remedy to achieve your best health, this is the right place!”

From döTerra: When you choose döTERRA, you are choosing essential oils gently and carefully distilled from plants that have been patiently harvested at the perfect moment by experienced growers from around the world for ideal extract composition and efficacy. Each döTERRA essential oil is also carefully and thoroughly tested using the strict CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® quality protocol. Experienced essential oil users will immediately recognize the superior quality standard for naturally safe, purely effective therapeutic-grade doTERRA essential oils.

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Artistic Artifacts Row By Row Variations

Stitched table runner by Chris Vinh, a 2017 Artistic Artifacts Row by Row Experience pattern variation

The “hibernation” period for this year’s Row by Row Experience is now over … and our 2017 Row by Row kits are available for purchase online! The Artistic Artifacts Pinwheels In Motion row kits are available in five different colorways of our Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik! To mark this time, we wanted to share some fun Row by Row adaptations with you.

The official rules for the event each summer requires creating a quilt with 8 different row patterns in it to win, but our row alone works just beautifully!

The back of Sue Lee's 2017 Row by Row Experience quilt, featuring the Artistic Artifacts row.

Pictured above, one side of the quilt that won our prize for the first completed (quilted, bound, and labeled). Sue Lee extended our row in length and used it on the back of her quilt, making it reversible. After initially purchasing her kit in July, she returned the next day for more fabric — Shapes-Pinwheels, Fuchsia and Color Sponge Solid: Berry —to create the row extension and to create her quilt’s binding. We loved how just the single row created such a modern look.

Detail of hand stitched table runner by Chris Vinh, a 2017 Artistic Artifacts Row by Row Experience pattern variation

DPictured at the top of this blog post, and in detail above, is a table runner that used one row kit. This was designed and hand-stitched by Chris Vinh of StitchesnQuilts. Our row was originally presented with the “flaps” pressed open and stitched down in that position, but for this runner, Chris folded and stitched them down. She embellished runner with lots of gorgeous hand-stitching, using a variety of Tentakulum Painter’s Threads hand-dyed fibers. Tentakulum products are available in a wide range of colors, so both matching and contrasting your fabric is easy.

Quilt using multiple 2017 Artistic Artifacts Row by Row Experience row patterns by Chris Vinh

Chris also made a quilt using several of our rows stitched together (above). For this project Chris chose to swap out the Pinwheels fabric for Shapes-Eyes in Harvest, and paired it with Color Sponge Solid: Flame.

Detail, Quilt using multiple 2017 Artistic Artifacts Row by Row Experience row patterns by Chris Vinh

She also used Terial Magic™ a non-aerosol fabric stabilizing spray when creating this quilt, so that her open flaps hold their dimensional structure. Originally created for use in creating dimensional fabric flowers, this product can replace many stabilizers and fusibles for quilters and embroiderers. Terial Magic keeps fraying in check for all kinds of fiber and mixed media art, and will be the focus of the November session of our How Do I… evening demonstrations. For more information, visit our previously published product review.

All Artistic Artifacts 2017 Row by Row kits include the June Tailor® Charming Circles Ruler (to easily cut accurate circles), a piece of Avalon Bleached Muslin for background, Mistyfuse® lightweight fusible and a sample spool of WonderFil 50 wt sewing thread, either Konfetti™ or Tutti. As these examples show, swapping out our original white background for black creates a dramatic contrast.

Artistic Artifacts makes a practice of keeping its Row by Row Experience patterns free rather than selling them. Download our 2017 Row by Row Experience pattern* (or any previous years’) from our website for your personal use. We’d love for you to share your project with us!

* All patterns are copyright Artistic Artifacts, all rights reserved; it is not permitted to copy or transfer the pattern in any format.

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Halloween Ephemera & Flashback Tutorial!

Mixed Media Pumpkins by Artistic Artifacts using Rusty Paper and Rusty Patina

Artistic Artifacts staffers Julie Middleton and Sharon McDonagh created a tutorial two years ago for their Rusty Mixed Media Pumpkins, pictured above, and with October 31st upon us, we wanted to share it again with you. They used Rusty Paper and a few other on-hand products to create these cuties.

Also in celebration of Halloween, we wanted to gift you with some fun vintage graphics!

Vintage Halloween Placecards box top from Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

When a box of Halloween place cards (the lid is pictured above) was pulled from Judy’s stash of vintage ephemera, we couldn’t let it go to a new owner without making scans of the artwork.

Vintage Halloween Placecard from Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

The box was complete with the 10 cards as promised — five of them were the above witch flying over a village, and the rest were singles (below).
    Click on the graphic to download high-resolution image.

Vintage Halloween Placecard from Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Above, the witch has come in for a landing on a rooftop.
    Click on the graphic to download high-resolution image.

Vintage Halloween Placecard from Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

This crow was the only placecard that didn’t feature a witch or cat.
    Click on the graphic to download high-resolution image.

Vintage Halloween Placecard from Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Classic black cat with arched back, hissing.
    Click on the graphic to download high-resolution image.

Vintage Halloween Placecard from Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Black cat sitting among mushrooms. Toadstools? Poisonous toadstools?
    Click on the graphic to download high-resolution image.

Vintage Halloween Placecard from Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

We’ve invented a back story for this one: the cat hates both the ribbon bow and the human who put it on… and the jack o’ lantern is surprised at how much blood was drawn during the scuffle.
    Click on the graphic to download high-resolution image.

Enjoy!

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String Pieced Aussie Quilt

Australian fabric string pieced quilt by Judy Gula

Click photo for a larger view of Judy Gula’s completed quilt above »

In conjunction with our big Australian fabric sale, I wanted to revisit this blog post, originally published in 2015. The above quilt is one of the most-asked about samples we have hanging in the shop and never fails to garner compliments.

Bonnie K. Hunter spoke at my local quilt guild, the Burke chapter of Quilter’s Unlimited of Northern Virginia years ago, and I loved her quilt samples, patterns and fabric choices. As you all know by now, I have a very eclectic task in fabrics, from vintage to contemporary to ethnic… and I have always done a lot of repurposing of items at Artistic Artifacts. Bonnie hit the upcycle/repurpose interest that I have by using fabric salvaged from old clothing in her quilts. After hearing Bonnie talk, the very next day I ordered her book: Scraps & Shirttails: Reuse, Re-purpose, Recycle! The Art of “Quilting Green.” Bonnie’s book was so popular that she wrote a long-awaited sequel, Scraps & Shirttails II, which continues the art of quilting green with 13 new projects that help you reuse, re-purpose and recycle your scraps into beautiful quilts.

Paper template for my Australian fabric quilt; four of these blocks are joined to create the star

Fast forward several years after hearing her speak, and I had finally acquired enough scraps of Australian Aborigine designed fabric to try my hand at string/paper piecing. One of my aims for this project was to illustrate that many traditional quilt patterns are perfect for our ethnic fabrics, including batiks (like our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik) and Australian.

As for paper piecing, at the time I had no clue how to do it, only that needed I print out the template in Bonnie’s book. I chose her Virginia Strings block* for this quilt. Since I knew I wanted something smaller than a full size quilt, I printed the quarter block templates to create six blocks in total. To help me while sewing, I folded my template along the lines (pictured above). Others choose to trace over the lines with a Sharpie marker to make them bolder, if they don’t show through to the back of the paper.

Judy Gula beginning to string piece

I began with the smaller part of the kite shape, although I think that Bonnie advises that you begin at the wide end. You begin by sewing the right sides of fabric strips together covering the pattern shape. Then flip the last strip added back down, so that the right side of the fabric is facing up. Pictured above, you can see the wrong side of the fabric still facing up, not flipped down.

Completed string piece center of quarter block template

Below, reverse of the paper template, showing the stitch lines of the fabric strips.

Stitching lines show on the reverse of the paper template

Below, I am beginning to strip piece the sides of the quarter block, using lighter fabrics so that the final block design will show.

Judy Gula string piecing the sides of quarter block template

Below, The reverse of a completed string pieced quarter block.

The reverse of a completed quarter block string pieced by Judy Gula

My timing was such that after I pieced a couple of blocks, I brought them, my book, tools and scraps (along with a couple other projects) to my chapter’s annual quilt retreat in order to get “in-person” training. Lucky for me, a fellow Burke member at the retreat had already used this block and offered some advice, which I want to share with you:

  • Make your stitches short in order to make pulling the paper off easier.
    This step makes a big difference! Bonnie also offers this advice in her books and on her blog. Note that her Quiltville website has a number of free patterns available.
  • Create your block somewhat larger than you want it, and cut it down with a square template.
    I was creating 8" squares and used my 8½ in. square ruler, my rotating cutting matand jumbo Havel’s Rotary cutter to do the trimming.

Using a square ruler to trim the quarter block

Above, using my 8½ in. square ruler to trim the block from the back.

A trimmed quarter block string pieced by Judy Gula

Pictured above, one of the trimmed blocks. I loved the look and was getting a hang of the technique, so I made a few more. After all, with my stash, it wasn’t like I was going to run out of fabric!

Trimming the edges off the stitched fabric strips

Trim the ragged fabric edges, as pictured above, for neatness and ease when stitching your quarter units into blocks.

Below, four quarter blocks ready to be seamed. Simply rotate your blocks as needed so that the widest point will be in the center to get the four pointed star look.

Complete four blocks and align them to create the whole unit

Below, four completed units sewn together created my quilt top. Once I reached this stage, I let it sit for a bit, unsure whether I would create additional blocks, or simply finish it up with a border and stitching… which is what I did end up deciding to do, as per the image at the top of this post. See my post Quilting with a Walking Foot for additional details on completed this quilt.

Judy Gula string pieced Aussie fabric quilt top, before borders

I’d love to see your results of taking a favorite “traditional” quilt pattern and sewing it with non-traditional fabrics! Send us your photographs, whether a completed quilt, top, or pieced blocks, and we will share them on our Facebook page.

** This block is traditionally known as the Rocky Road to Kansas, but in her book, Bonnie Hunter notes that because she pieced her quilt while in Northern Virginia teaching, and backed it with a bargain purchase of University of Virginia fabric, she was inspired to name the finished quilt Virginia Bound.

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Stitched & Silks Mahyar Batik Panel Quilt

Mahyar batik panel bordered with silk fabrics

I love these ladies — wonderful exotic ladies! I have been hand stitching on this batik panel by Mahyar for quite awhile now, using Tulip needles (chenille) and the luscious Eleganza pearl cotton by WonderFil Specialty Threads.

Mahyar batik panel detail: hand stitching with Eleganza cotton by WonderFil

This was my take along travel project, and the girls did a lot of traveling! The majority of my embroidering was simple straight stitches and French knots.

Mahyar batik panel detail: hand stitching with Eleganza cotton by WonderFil

One of the classes I am teaching at Art & Soul Virginia Beach is Create a Batik Panel Art Quilt, and I wanted to share this example with you. FYI, Art & Soul has released its 2018 event dates: Portland, OR – Feb 11-18 (registration is open now), Minneapolis, MN – May 2-9, and back again to Virginia Beach, VA – Oct 1-6, 2018. Plan your creative retreat experience now!

Mahyar batik panel detail: hand stitching with Eleganza cotton by WonderFil

For the longest time I  could not figure out how to finish these Mahyar beauties… they were not telling me! Asking the advice of Chris Vinh of StitchesnQuilts, we finally decided they should be “dressed in Silks.” Part of my inspiration came from the crazy quilt table runner I was working on using beautiful silk fabrics I had purchased from Pamela Armas (a.k.a. Gypsy Pamela), the owner of Treasures of the Gypsy.

Crazy quilt table runner with silk fabrics from Treasures of the Gypsy

Pamela sells exotic fabrics, trims, beads, ribbon, and more, imported from India and Europe, via booths at most of the major sewing and quilting shows (she is in Houston each year for Quilt Festival. Treasures of the Gypsy doesn’t have a web site, but does have a Facebook page.

Crazy quilt table runner with silk fabrics from Treasures of the Gypsy

These silk fabrics are very tricky to quilt with — I definitely had trouble with the Dupioni silk unraveling.

Cutting silk fabric from Treasures of the Gypsy for the border
The Dupioni silk did fray at cut edges

Lesson learned! I would recommend that if you are working with these fabrics, stablilize them with a lightweight fusible or interfacing before cutting and sewing them. I will do that next time! (Of course this time did not want to stop my progess, so I just kept going.)

Adding silk borders to Mahyer batik panel quilt

Using Spotlite™ by Wonderfil, a 40 wt metallic thread, I stitched on the Dupioni in a straight line. There is so much hand stitching on the panel, and the fabric is so exotic I felt simplified quilting on the borders was called for.

Quilted silk borders for Mahyer batik panel quilt

I plan to bind with the dark Turquoise Silk Dupioni after I have used Mistyfuse to prevent unraveling.

Mahyar batik panel  awaiting border

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