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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!

PG Fiber2Art and the Row by Row Experience

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.

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 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!

Red Flower Wonky Log Cabin Quilt

I actually thought I was creating wonky log cabin blocks in a previous blog post when I used Australian fabrics by M&S Textiles. But I just wasn’t wonky enough! Who would have thought?!

Why was I back to creating Wonky Log Cabins? Because we will use a Wonky Log Cabin blocks in our 2015 Row by Row Experience pattern! I thought I should practice first (this is totally out of character for me) and began to investigate the technique.

I found a terrific blog online: Quilt Dad, the alias of John Q. Adams. He has already done the hard work of creating a wonderful instructional tutorial posting on the Wonky log Cabin.

Thanks to his influence, I fashioned my step by step photos like his (because why reinvent the wheel when someone has done such a great job?) Thank you, Quilt Dad!

Above, I began with a mini hand drawn batik panel, Red Flowers, by Hari Agung, trimming the sides at a bit of an angle. The actual cutting is approximately ¼” to ¾” on each side.

Adding "logs" of fabric around the center panel

I then decided on my selections for the additional fabric I wanted to use for the logs around the center panel. Once I had them picked out, I cut them approximately 1½” each for ease (above). I would then trim different amounts off with each row to add variety to my wonky logs (below).

Trimming the added "logs" of fabric around the center panel

I continued to add “log” strips.

Adding and trimming "logs" of fabric around the center panel
Adding and trimming "logs" of fabric around the center panel

Then I added a 3″ border (below). This is I Make The Path, Spirit by Frond Design Studios.

Three-inch border added

Lately I have noticed that I tend to find myself sticking with like fabrics in my projects, and am trying to change that. For example, when I work with batiks, I tend to work with only batik fabrics, even when my intent is to be scrappy. I think I have been limiting myself with that approach, so I am challenging myself to move out of that comfort zone and mix up my fabric choices.

Final touch: lime green piping and a narrow batik binding

I did use one of my favorite tools, the Groovin’ Piping Trimming Tool, to create the lime green piping (shown above). The piping was stitched on first, and then the binding. I have tried to combine these steps in the past with one sewing pass…unsuccessfully. So now I take the time to sew them each on separately.

I added some free-motion stitching on the panel and throughout red border fabric. It’s difficult to see in these photographs, so I took a closeup photo (below). It was great fun following the Frond Fabric wisps and curves! (You can see a bit of that in the binding photo above.)

Free motion quilting on red flower panel

My Finished Quilt (below). I have used batiks, Australian Aborigine, and the Frond Design Studios in this small quilt, and they look great together!

Red Flower Wonky Log Cabin by Judy Gula

Stay tuned for our Row by Row announcement in a future e-newsletter or blog posting, and “like” Artistic Artifacts on Facebook to see our Row first!

P.S. Remember, Artistic Artifacts will be an exhibitor at the 42nd Annual Quilter’s Unlimited Quilt Show in Chantilly, VA, May 28-31. The shop will be closed Friday and Saturday, May 28-29, so locals, please plan visit us at the show!

Review of Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy DVD Workshop with Lyric Kinard

Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy DVD with Lyric KinardI was happy to be asked to review the latest DVD from talented fiber artist Lyric Kinard, who is sponsoring a blog hop around the release of her latest DVD, Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy.

Artistic Artifacts participated in the Row by Row experience last year (and will do so again for 2015), and our row design for 2014 used Thermofax screens designed by Susan Price and Elizabeth Gibson of PG Fiber2Art to create blocks that were combined with wonky strip piecing. I really wish we had Lyric’s DVD then!

I appreciate that Lyric does not assume that everyone knows what a Thermofax screen is and how it is created. It always seemed so mysterious, as if you needed a secret password to be granted access or otherwise you would never know how to print with Thermofax screens. During Row by Row we met so many customers who were very curious about the process, but intimidated. When we demonstrated screen printing techniques with the PG Fiber2Art Thermofax screens used in our row, they were amazed! I can’t help but imagine how impressed they would be watching this new DVD.

Thermofax 101 gives you a thorough education about the entire process, explaining it so well. As seen in other DVDs produced by Lyric, you feel that you are having a personal workshop in her studio. Very friendly and real! I love that she dropped paint on her fabric and then told us how she would hide it!

Supplies used during Thermofax Printing with PG Fiber2Art class April 25, 2015 at Artistic Artifacts

Supplies used during Thermofax Printing with PG Fiber2Art class April 25, 2015 at Artistic Artifacts

Lyric begins by demystifying Thermofax screens and production, and then moves onto creating successful imagery for Thermofax screens. I found this portion very interesting, and can’t wait to create my own imagery for custom screens.

Next the DVD moves onto actually printing with Thermofax screens using paint, discharge or foil adhesive. Lyric includes discussions about why to use fabric paint, squeegee and other tools, and the important information about the care of screens. I can appreciate Lyric explaining the differences between the two sides of the screen… I can tell you from experience that I have had to toss a few screens out due to not cleaning or drying them correctly! We have a Use and Care of Thermofax Screens web page (compiled by PG Fiber2Art) and include links to some of Lyric’s instructional YouTube videos.

The last section is about designing your cloth. This includes great color theory and layout information for any level of fiber artist as well as helpful suggestions on pattern movement and color choices. I found it interesting how Lyric played off the different types of paint —transparent versus opaque — in the layers of pattern, and her use of extender mediums.

Susan Price and Elizabeth Gibson of PG Fiber2Art teach Thermofax printing at Artistic Artifacts on April 25, 2015

Luckily for Artistic Artifacts, we offer fiber and mixed media classes at the shop and regularly schedule Thermofax Printing (most recently on Saturday, April 25; the photos here are from that class) with Susan and Elizabeth of PG Fiber2Art, who will be the blog hop authors on Friday, May 1st (see below). Their next class with us is on Saturday, June 6, Turn Your Photos into Thermofax Screens.

Win a Copy of Lyric’s DVD!

Win your own copy of Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy by Lyric Kinard! Simply leave me a comment on this posting answering the following question: What imagery would you reproduce for your own custom Thermofax screen? We will post the winner by the close of business on Monday, May 4, so check back with us then.

You can see what other art quilters and fiber artists (including Jane Dávila, who is on the faculty with me at the Quilters Unlimited 42nd Annual Quilt Show the end of May) participating in this blog hop are saying about the Thermofax 101 DVD by visiting the links below.

Everyone listed here is giving away a copy of the DVD, courtesy of Lyric herself, so visit and comment on each blog to increase your chances of winning! (Don’t want to leave it up to fate? Purchase your copy of the DVD today!)

Visit YouTube for a quick tour of the DVD by Lyric herself.

Student working during Thermofax Printing with PG Fiber2Art class April 25, 2015 at Artistic Artifacts

Student working during Thermofax Printing with PG Fiber2Art class April 25, 2015 at Artistic Artifacts

About Lyric: Lyric Montgomery Kinard is the author of the book Art + Quilt: design principles and creativity exercises and has written extensively for Quilting Arts magazine, appeared on Quilting Arts TV, and has two previous DVD Workshops, Surface Design Sampler Platter, and Bead It Like You Mean It. She was recognized for her talents as the 2011 International Association of Professional Quilters Teacher of the Year. As an artist, author, and educator she transforms cloth into art in her studio and timid spirits into confident creatives in the classroom.

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