Combining Colors for Quilts

Dudley is one of the Artistic Artifacts staff members, always happy to assist a customer with choosing fabrics. She has helped start many talented quilters on their way through her classes. Enjoy her thoughts on fabric selection! — Judy

Guest post by Dudley Shugart

Yellow Brick Road quilt pattern by Atkinson Design

I have been asked many times to teach a class on color theory to help people select fabrics to make a quilt. Since I am not a color wheel user, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on how I go about selecting fabric for my quilts in this post.

First off, I do begin with a quilt pattern I want to use, deciding on two colors, or a particular fabric to build around.

Let’s start with my favorite quilt pattern — Yellow Brick Road by Atkinson Designs. I have used this pattern probably more than fifty times! It is my ‘go-to’ baby quilt and other occasions when I want to gift a quilt.

Yellow Brick Road by Atkinson Designs fabric requirements

The pattern calls for six fat quarters to make a baby quilt size. Having made many of these quilts over the years, in my opinion the quilt looks better featuring three different colors (with two different shades or variations of each of your three colors) rather than six completely different colors.

Yellow Brick Road quilt tops and quilts by Dudley Shugart
Made for Leo Madden Grandy by Dudley Shugart

For a baby quilt gift, I usually begin with a fun children’s or novelty pattern or focus fabric, then find a complementary fabric with similar colors to go with the focus fabric. I have examples of some of my Yellow Brick Road quilts included in this post, and pictured here is the one I made for a special little boy, Leo, the son of my Artistic Artifacts coworker Katelyn — her baby shower was dinosaur-themed and she was in love with this focal fabric.

After selecting the first two ‘busier’ fabric patterns, I select two colors that enhance the focus fabric I initially selected. From this point, selecting different scales of print and lights and darks add interest too. As a personal rule, I try never to use the same print twice. Also, I like to not use fabrics from the same fabric collection or line if I can get away with it!

Fabrics selected by Dudley Shugart perfect for a Yellow Brick Road baby quilt.

I took a trip through Artistic Artifacts to assemble this example six-fabrics selection that would be the basis of a beautiful Yellow Brick Road quilt. Of course many other quilt patterns, or repeats of your favorite patchwork block patterns, would look great with fabrics like these too.

Fabrics from Artistic Artifacts

Fabrics from Artistic Artifacts

  • Fabric four: Another green. After trying out several, I ended up with Hopscotch- Stitched, Pickle. It’s the perfect lighter shade of green to accent the trees in my focus fabric, and the white line pattern has a fun interpretation of flower and leaves.
  • Fabric five: Now to bring in black, for contrast. Another Australian Aborigine-designed fabric was my choice: Land of Utopia Black by Anna Pitjara is a beautiful fabric with visual flow.
  • Fabric six: The blender line Moonscape by Dear Stella is a real favorite here in the shop — it goes with so many fabrics. Asphalt is a new color choice for us, a nice medium gray.

The three pairs of fabric colors I discussed earlier are, in this instance, white, green, and black. Remember too that variation of print is as important as color for the final effect.

Yellow Brick Road quilts and quilt tops made by Dudley Shugart

And here’s an additional tip. You’ll know you have a successful combination when you move the fabric bolts or swatches around in order on your cutting table or work surface, and the fabrics still look good together. If you find that you’re considering a fabric that only looks good paired with one other fabric, and/or with a shift in order it stands out, try again.

Dudley Shugart's curated Fat Quarter Bundles

When Artistic Artifacts staff created their own curated 10 fat quarter cut bundles to sell during our April 28 Facebook/CommentSold live sale event (some still available in our CommentSold store), I expanded the six-fabric idea to create mine.

We were challenged to mix lines and designers, even to incorporate fabrics on sale and to consider bolts that hadn’t gotten enough attention when released, not just the newest arrivals. Here are my thoughts behind my selections.

The fabrics in Dudley Shugart’s curated Fat Quarter Bundles

This is my approach, and it is just one way to explore combining colors. Remember that your projects are yours, so choose fabric you love!

Yellow Brick road quilt top in progress by Dudley Shugart

Above, while I focused on the baby quilt size of Yellow Brick Road, the instructions are included to create six different sizes — it’s an easy pattern to stitch and gives you a fun scrappy look.

Modern Squares Quilt 2022

Creative Mind Chris Vinh has created another beautiful quilt while giving our free pattern Modern Squares (which she designed) an update. Enjoy her guidance in creating your own version! — Judy

Guest post by Christine Vinh of StitchesnQuilts

Click image to download your free Modern Squares quilt pattern courtesy of Artistic Artifacts

Finding some special fabric often sparks an idea for a new quilt. I’d had my eye on the “Earth Made Paradise” collection by Kathy Doughty and one day I decided to revisit a pattern design I had used for some shop samples several years ago. As I worked on the project, I made some changes to my initial pattern used for the first quilts I made, which we used in our booth at Quilt Market to showcase fabrics current at the time.

Our updated “Modern Squares” pattern — download your PDF copy — instructs you to pick two feature fabrics, 6 to 8 additional fabrics, and one (1) solid color for your quilt top (border not included). For the feature fabrics, I chose one (1) yard each of Abundance in cool colorway and Budgie Babies, and half-yards of the rest of the Earth Made Paradise Collection. I chose my one (1) yard solid color fabric from the wide variety of Marcia Derse Palette Solids, Cloud (a creamy white)

Cutting squares and strips of Earth Made Paradise fabric designed by Kathy Doughty

Following the pattern’s cutting directions, I cut the required squares and strips from the feature fabrics (pictured above). I used the entire yard of the solid for 2-inch strips, and for the half yard pieces, cut two 8-inch squares and then the rest into 2-inch strips.

Having cut all the fabric, I laid out the 8-inch squares and selected two different fabric strips to go with each square, making sure to vary the combinations. There will be some duplication, but variety was what I was aiming for as I played with the options.

Using the BERNINA Patchwork Foot #97D and Sew Steady Grid Glider for piecing accuracy

The blocks were pieced using the squares and strips using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. I love using my BERNINA Patchwork Foot #97D and the Sew Steady Grid Glider to help in making sure my seams are straight!

I use the full width of the fabric for the strips and trim the extra before pressing at each step of the piecing. This is where a Oliso Mini Project Iron and Felted Wool Pressing Mat come in handy!

While I usually strip piece when sewing patchwork, for this project I made one square at a time, which helped me to keep track of my fabric selections.

Constructing the blocks for the Modern Squares quilt

In piecing the blocks, it is important to keep the same sequence of adding the strips — first to the left and right of the block, and then the top and bottom. Use the same order/sequence when adding your second row fabric strips.

Following the same order for all squares will make for nicer finished blocks when you piece the quilt together.

Once all the blocks were sewn, I squared them up to make sure they were all the same size.

The next step is to cut each block into four smaller blocks by cutting in half from top to bottom, and then turning to cut again. Using my 12-inch OLFA Rotating Self-Healing Rotary Mat came in handy here — I didn’t have to reposition the pieces as I cut. Following our pattern, you will end up with a total of 92 blocks.

Pieced blocks before cutting into fourths

For me, the next phase of laying out the blocks to create the design is the fun part! I find I can get lost for hours repositioning blocks to get just the right layout. I focus on making sure there is a balance of color and pattern, trying not to have similar blocks next to each other. I knew this would be larger than my design wall, so I used the top of our bed to lay out the pieces.

Some may decide to lay the smaller blocks out randomly, but I chose to start with placing four of the smaller blocks from the same large one near the center. I then worked my way out towards the sides and tops, adding partial blocks in some case, only a single block in others, or adding several more ‘complete’ blocks to get a design that was pleasing.

At this point, I recommend taking a picture of what you think is the final layout and stepping away from your design process. Often I see something that stands out in the picture that may need to be moved around to assure a good flow of colors and patterns. This may take several tries, but it is worth the extra effort!

Laying out the completed blocks to finalize the quilt’s design

Once I have decided on my layout, I carefully stack the blocks by row. I begin with the top row, with the block that would be located at the far right side placed on the bottom. When I get to the last two blocks for that row, I pin the second block to the first where the seam should be. This helps to keep the blocks in proper sequence. I number each stack with a Post-It, adding an arrow indicating which direction is the top of the block.

I like to sew the rows together as I go along, referring to my photo, in the event that I might have turned a block or not sewn in the right sequence. If it’s necessary, it’s much easier to rip out one row at that point!

For the layout in my sample, there are seven (7) small blocks across each row, and a total of 10 rows. I never fret over left over blocks as they get pieced for use in the backing (see photo at the end of this post)!

At this point, I decided to add a border with a complementary fabric, and chose Dear Stella Moonscape in Burgundy (Moonscape is a favorite blender fabric of mine!). It helped to contain a busy quilt a bit and pulled out colors in the several of the fabrics. I purchased 1-1/2 yards of this fabric, as the remainder would be used to piece my backing.

Completed Modern Squares quilt, designed and pieced by Christine Vinh, featuring Earth Made Paradise fabric from Kathy Doughty. Machine quilted by Sue Bentley

Above, the completed Modern Squares quilt, designed & pieced
by Christine Vinh, featuring Earth Made Paradise fabric
from Kathy Doughty. Machine quilted by Sue Bentley.

For the backing, I used all leftover blocks, any leftover uncut focus fabrics, and the Dear Stella. My quilt’s binding is from one of my focus fabric. My only scraps from this quilt project fit into a zip-loc bag!

For the final finishing touch, Sue Bentley of SuZquilts added the perfect machine quilting to my quilt, as she always does!

This pattern is a modification of Simply Styled Stacked Square Quilt, a free pattern by Erica Jackman of Kitchen Table Quilting. Visit our previous blog posting to see Erica Jackman’s original version that used precut fabric bundles, a lap quilt that finished to 68 in. x 76 in.
The pieced backing of Chris Vinh's Modern Squares quilt

Above, a view of my Modern Squares quilt — I love to piece my quilt backings (they are an improv quilt on their own) and this was a perfect use of leftover fabric squares.

Quilt Project Inspiration

March is National Quilting Month, and so to celebrate — and since we were not a vendor at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival — I want to share a number of our shop samples Artistic Artifacts would have had on display in our booth at the show.

Quilt Project Inspiration

Last month we held our Third Thursday Live Sale titled Quilt Projects Inspiration that shared these quilts. Christine Vinh and I not only showed the quilts, but talked about the patterns and tools we used along with several fabric options that participants could purchase through our special Artistic Artifacts CommentSold store. If you weren’t able to join us live, you can still watch the video from the sale on our Artistic Artifacts CommentSold app, where you can purchase the products directly, or from our Facebook page. A benefit of using the app is that you can fast forward to see just the projects/products of interest. Download the app, available for both Apple products or Androids, or by searching Artistic Artifacts in your app store. Now let’s show off a some quilt inspiration!

Happy Chance by Laura Heine panel quilt sewn by Chris Vinh

We kicked off the evening with two quilts made using the Happy Chance by Laura Heine Fat Quarter Bundle + Panel. Pictured above, Chris bordered the printed dress form panel that is included in the bundle using strips of many of the fabrics for a keyboard style border. Simple straight line machine quilting allows the bright colors and designs to stand out.

Detail, Happy Chance by Laura Heine panel quilt sewn by Chris Vinh

Above, a close-up view showing how Chris also fussy-cut several of the flowers and dragonflies to fuse on the wall hanging to make the panel her own.

Happy Chance fabric in an Emma quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

With all the extra fabric from this huge bundle, I cut 10 in. square in creating one of my favorite patterns, the Emma Quilt Pattern by GE Designs — you’ll see more Emma quilts in this post! Stripology XL Creative Grids Quilt Ruler, designed by Gudrun Erla, makes it so easy to cut precise pieces for your blocks. You can learn more about using Stripology rulers in this video demonstration that features Chris, one of our regular Saturday morning Facebook Live presentations.

Emma quilt using Alfie fabric sewn by Christine Vinh

Above, this Emma quilt was made by Chris using the Alfie by Este Macleod Fat Quarter Bundle. Chris varied her layout with several solid blocks that used the feature cat fabric, seen in this detail photo:

Emma quilt with pattern and ruler

Chris used her extra blocks in an improv quilt class, so none of these fun fabrics went to waste!

Crazier Eight quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts using Enchanted by Valorie Wells fabric
Judy Gula during a previous Facebook Live presentation

I also shared my Scrap Crazy blocks quilt made using all of the 10 in. squares included in the Enchanted by Valori Wells Fat Quarter Bundle. I used the five templates in this Crazier Eights Template Creative Grids Quilt Ruler. We’re thinking we might try this pattern using the 10 in squares in the Handmade Block Printed Bundle.

You might enjoy another of our prior Saturday morning presentations Cutting Crazy Quilts with Rulers on our YouTube channel! You see the start of my Enchanted quilt, and I used the Creative Grids Scrap Crazy rulers to create a variety of other blocks our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik and even vintage handkerchiefs! The Scrap Crazy rulers designed by Karen Montgomery for Creative Grids are ideal with precut fabrics and are a great way to use your scraps too. I found that using an OLFA Rotating Self-Healing Rotary Mat really speeded up my cutting, as it rotates to keep your cutting angle directly in front of you, so no need to turn your either your project or body. All of the Creative Grid Rulers products come with thorough directions and include a QR Code to watch a video demonstration of the ruler.

Stella quilt pattern sewn by Christine Vinh using half of a Pearl Light Fat Quarter bundle

Stella from the Stripology Mixology book by Gundrun Erla is our next featured pattern. Using select fabrics from the Pearl Light Fat Quarter Bundle, which includes 28 pieces with a total of seven yards of fabric, Chris chose to make two wall hangings utilizing the darks and lights in different color ways (pictured above and below). She plans to use the leftover fabric for a bargello quilt.

Stella quilt pattern sewn by Christine Vinh using half of a Pearl Light Fat Quarter bundle

In our presentation we mentioned that the Spring Shimmer bundle and the Chalk & Charcoal bundle, both by Jennifer Sampou would make ideal Stella quilts too. (And based on Chris’ reaction when she saw these two together, she might have a future project planned for combining the two bundles!)

Algorithm quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts using Boscage fabric

Above, one of my recent quilt projects uses the Algorithm pattern from the Striplogy Squared by Gundrun Erla. I paired it with Boscage 10 in. Squares pack, with Sue Bentley doing her usual beautiful job longarm quilting it. Boscage, designed by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics, is also available in a Fat Quarter Bundle. We think Pollinate by Jessica Swift precuts would be beautiful in an Algorithm quilt too.

Exponential Quilt Pattern using Tula Pink fabric stitched by Christine Vinh

We recently added quilt patterns by Slightly Biased Quilts to our shop, and Jennifer Worthen of Slightly Biased is creating a sample of her Vertex pattern for us using our Hand-Dyed Indian Cotton solids. We’ll all get a chance to see her results when she joins us on Saturday, March 12 for our morning Facebook Live presentation! Pictured above is a quilt that Chris created using the Exponential Quilt Pattern, a free jelly roll quilt pattern at Slightly Biased Quilts that’s currently hanging in the shopt. One standard design roll of 2.5 in. strips makes one lap size or two baby sized quilts. We love how the Tula Pink fabric is showcased!

Tula Pink fabric used in Yellow Brick Road quilts, made by Artistic Artifacts staff

Also created using Tula Pink fabrics, these two quilts were created by shop staffers Dudley Shugart and Kathy Edwards. Both used the Yellow Brick Road Quilt Pattern, and you can see how you get a completely different look depending on your fabric placement.

Hope you enjoyed seeing these quilts! There were more samples and lots more fabric selections you can see on our Quilt Projects Inspiration video, including our batik panel quilt kits (remember that while products remain, you can still shop prior Third Thursday Live Sales through CommentSold and our app. I encourage you to check out our patterns and books for ideas with many of the patterns calling for FQ Bundles, 10 in. charm squares, and design rolls of 2.5 in. strips. Check out all our precut fabrics for something that calls to you and have fun creating your own quilt!

Shop Unique Items with our App!

Thank you to all who have joined us for our Third Thursday Live sales, held live on Facebook! These live selling events are an ideal opportunity to share with you special Creative Finds for Creative Minds one of a kind products, or those with limited quantities. Judy also enjoys putting together special curated bundles and treasure boxes specifically for our Live Sale.

We have been using CommentSold to help us administer these sales over the last several months and are very happy the ease of use and functionality. User registration is easy, and once you have a CommentSold account, you can also shop any remaining items from our previous sales!

Note that in many cases our live sales feature products and special deals that are not available on our secure shopping website, so we encourage you to explore this new avenue for finding unique fiber and mixed media supplies as well as special coupons and deals we make available there!

A new enhancement is the recent launch of our dedicated mobile app for our CommentSold Store! Our app is a free download for phones, tablets, and laptops — and no Facebook account is required if using the app! Search Artistic Artifacts in your app store, or use these links:

Our Third Thursday and other live sales stream directly to your phone or device! The app makes it fun and easy to watch — whether in real time live or watching the replay at your convenience. You have the option to watch the full replay, or you can shop for find items of interest and see the portion of the video where they were featured!

We love our new app, but if you prefer to watch and interact via Facebook or Instagram only, you are welcome to create your CommentSold account in that manner. You will be prompted to log in with your Facebook link. Click Connect Messenger (this allows you to get notifications when something you claim in the live sale is added to your cart). A new tab will open up with Facebook Messenger, then click the Get Started button. Watch this quick video illustrating how to create your CommentSold account.

We announce our live sales in advance via our social media sites and in our Wednesday newsletter — subscribe now if you are not already receiving it!

Artistic Artifacts Gift Guide

Wooden printing blocks with Artistic Artifacts textile paint

Ideas for the Creative Minds on Your List!

We have put together this list of Creative Finds to help you with your gift buying or to use for your Holiday Wish List to share with those who say “I never know what to get you.”
Fiber and mixed media books at Artistic Artifacts

We’ve included some specific items as well as some suggested collections for the creative person on your list. Hope this helps and we encourage you to shop and ship early this year to avoid the delays and disappointments we all experienced last year.

A good start for almost anyone on your list is a fiber or mixed media book filled with inspiration and/or new ideas and techniques. We recently received a number of beautiful titles that would make wonderful gifts. A few suggestions include: Creativity Through Nature by Anne Blockley, Embroidering the Everyday by Cas Holmes or Textile Travels by Anne Kelly.

Another beautiful book is Quarantine Quilts: Creativity in the Midst of Chaos by Sandra Sider. These visual and personal stories of concerns, despair, and ideas give us a fascinating perspective and can help connect our own experiences with pandemic to the larger world of creativity.

Gift suggestions for hand-stitchers

WonderFil Specialty Threads themed thread packs

Do you have someone on your list who enjoys the process of slow stitching – whether it be embroidery, Sashiko, visible mending, or stitch meditations? Here are a few ideas, pictured above, you might want to check out for them (again, books are always a good idea, and we have a number of titles specifically about Sashiko and visible mending). We have curated ‘Treasure Boxes’ that would be a fun surprise, full of bits of fabrics, threads and ephemera. These can be found in our Fabric & Textile Packages section, which also contains curated fabrics pieces themed by type, boro and stitch meditation scrap packs and more. Always wonderful additions to a fabric stash are our Inspiration Packs, hand dyed found textiles (napkins, damask, trims, doilies, etc.) and fibers bundled with overdyed woven cotton prints and solids. Each is unique!

Handpainted Painter's Threads products, imported from Germany.

And of course, you can’t stitch without thread! We have a large selection of Eleganza thread in three different weights. This gorgeous hand-stitching thread from WonderFil Specialty Threads is also available in color-themed packs that recipients would love!

Artistic Artifacts has long been known as a source for the hand-painted and space-dyed Painter’s Threads products, imported from Germany. Formerly known as Tentakulum, these threads, trims and more are created from silk, cotton, wool, rayon and metallic materials in amazing colorways. A dream to stitch with!

Sashiko Stitching cloth example with Sashiko thread and needles

For someone just starting in hand stitching, we would suggest a bundle of items for them that you might want to put into our Indian Handmade Paper Boxes in large and small sizes: just put a bow on it and your gift is ready! You might add a Sashiko patterned cloth and a Sashiko Handy Pocket Guide; Sashiko Threads and needles by hidimari — or take a look at the huge selection of Tulip Needles for hand-stitching artists — and Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Scissors or the Tula Pink 5 in. Curved EZ Snip.

Products for art journaling at Artistic Artifacts

An art journal in progress by Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula

Maybe your friend or family member has found Creative Journaling… if so, we have lots of ideas for them, as pictured above! With a New Year ahead, a blank journal is a good starting place. We have a selection of sizes in our Indian Handmade Paper Journals as well as a variety of other journals for art journalists. We have a large selection of Ink, Pens and Markers to journal with; creamy Gelatos by Faber-Castell give you vivid color and blend with water or can be used to tint acrylic mediums. Decorate the pages with collages created from our Found Papers & Collage Packs. Stencils and rubber stamps are always favorites — and don’t forget ink pads!

Products and tools to create mixed media art, all available at Artistic Artifacts.

How about for someone exploring Mixed Media Art? You’ve come to the right place! Seen above, we have curated Mixed Media Treasure Boxes all ready for you: boxed in a vintage cigar box and ready to give! For those who’d like to create their own bundle, fun products would include: a Gel Press Printing Plate, some Artistic Artifacts Paints, Wooden Printing Blocks (our themed multi-block sets are great gifts) with the foam pad that ensures great prints. Mixed media artists love our selection of Stamperia Rice Paper, while a perfect way to add sparkle and shine to cards, mixed media art — even fabric — are gorgeous Foil Transfer Sheets.

Artistic Artifacts has lots to inspire sewing and quilting enthusiasts!
Handy Pocket Guides are available on a variety of topics, sized to take along when shopping for supplies

And let’s not forget our Sewing and Quilting enthusiasts! The possibilities are endless but we’ll try to give you some ideas. Again, our Book & Magazine Section has a great selection of options for anyone who sews and/or quilts. Our Handy Pocket Guides are available on a variety of topics and make great stocking stuffers; perfectly sized to take along when shopping for supplies or attending a quilting class or retreat. Our Sewing, Quilting Tools & Accessories section listed in our Notions category is a great resource for useful products and tools. Another great combo gift – a hand-drawn artisan batik panel with a copy of Colorful Batik Panel Quilts. You could also choose a complete batik panel quilt kit which includes a panel, complementary fabric and the book

If you are still stumped after all these suggestions, you can always give an Artistic Artifacts Gift Certificate and let your favorite creative mind pick out their choice of our creative finds!

We hope this Creative Gift Guide has made your gift giving a bit easier and who knows, you made even be inspired to try a few of these items for yourself! Again, we encourage you to shop and ship early this year!