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Squared Elements Modern Strip Pieced Quilt

Christine Vinh of StitchesnQuilts created a beautiful modern quilt for display at Artistic Artifacts that features the Squared Elements line from Art Gallery fabrics — a quick and easy quilt to put together!

Featuring Squared Elements fabrics by Art Gallery, this modern quilt was strip pieced by Christine Vinh of StitchesnQuilts

Chris used methods similar to a Jelly Roll Race quilt (there are many Jelly Roll Race tutorials online), but instead of using a prepackaged Jelly Roll of strips, she rotary cut her strips, and also incorporated solid white into her design.

Some of the colors of the Squared Elements line by Art Gallery Fabrics

Chris began by choosing 13 colors of Squared Elements: Blueberry, Cyan, Fuchsia, Honeycomb, Lime, Mandarin, Navy, Noir, Pomegranate, Shadow, Turquoise, Wasabi and Watermelon.

Her first step was to cut the Squared Elements fabrics into 2.5 inch wide strips. She then cut those strips into different (and random) lengths. A solid white cotton fabric was cut into strips that were 2.5 inches wide (the same as the colored fabrics), but a consistent length, 5.5 inches.

To begin the quilt construction, Chris stitched together the randomly cut longer color strips on the short 2.5 inch end, alternating each color with the white 2.5 inch x 5.5 inch strip.

Chris notes that the length of the sewn strips you create will depend on what size quilt you desired. “I made mine approximately the size of my design wall,” she said, “but a bit longer to allow for some minor adjustment in vertical strip placement.”

She continued randomly stitching the colored strips to the white strips, placing them on her design wall when complete. Once you have enough strips completed to create the width of the quilt, fine-tune your strip placement if desired. Once your strip order is determined, square up the ends of your strips if you have staggered the vertical placement of the strip to achieve a more pleasing order. Stitch all strips together on the long sides to complete the quilt top.

Squared Elements modern quilt by Christine Vinh of StitchesnQuilts in progress

One aspect of the Jelly Roll Race quilts is that the strip placement is NOT planned and you’re encouraged not to fuss over it. Chris challenged herself to work in the same random way. If two like-colored strips end up next to one another, that’s okay!

The back of the Squared Elements modern quilt by Christine Vinh of StitchesnQuilts in progress

Chris is known for creating quilts that are just as pretty on the reverse by piecing her backings, and this quilt is no exception — see above. She used leftover Squared Elements fabrics and pieced them with Moonstone Pure Elements fabric, also from Art Gallery.

The finishing touch was machine quilting by Mandi Singer-Persell, a fellow member of the Arlington chapter of Quilter’s Unlimited. Mandi’s business SewcialStitch is passionate about fabric and quilting, and offers professional longarm services to help you finish your quilting projects. A detailed view of the gray solid back of the quilt so you can appreciate Mandi’s quilting design:

Detail of longarm machine quilting by Mandi Singer-Persell of SewcialStitch

Chris is also working on another quilt using the Squared Elements, a Log Cabin block variation set on point, seen below. We hope these modern style strip pieced quilts have inspired you!

Another Squared Elements quilt in progress by Chris Vinh of StitchesnQuilts

Folded Fabric Tree

Folded fabric tree by Julie Middleton of Artistic Artifacts
Art Gallery Fabrics fabric tree project

My sister Julie Middleton made the above pictured Folded Fabric Tree. She was inspired by the Holiday Decorating 101- Decorate like a Pro post earlier this month on the Art Gallery Fabric blog.

It included 6 free patterns and ideas for holiday decorating — although the Divided Organizer Caddy project is a great year round idea! Julie fell in love with #4, the fabric Christmas tree (Art Gallery version pictured right).

Blog author Meli wrote, “Wanna take a break from sewing? Try making a fabric Christmas tree by following this fun folding and pinning method. I love how professional all the folded clean edges look. Add your tree to the center of your table to make the most darling centerpiece!” View their easy video tutorial below.

We love the beautiful modern cottons by Art Gallery Fabrics — you can see our in-store quilt using many of the colors of their Squared Elements line in the background of the above photo. Julie used a variety of fabrics (detail pictured below), including selections from our Black and White Fabrics section — including Australian Aborigine designed prints and our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik such as Folklife-Paisley Leaves Mystic.

Detail, Folded fabric tree by Julie Middleton of Artistic Artifacts

Instead of creating a star, Julie topped her tree with a vintage spool of thread. This might be a fun project to do as a group as you gather with friends and family this holiday season — many hands would make light work of cutting and folding the fabric squares to create the tree. You can match any decor and vary the size: how about a grouping of trees gracing your mantel or tabletop?

Art Gallery Fabrics is also offering a free download of cute gift tags inspired by some of their fabric collections for those doing last minute gift wrapping.

Happy Holidays to all!

Artistic Artifacts’ Holiday Stockings

In preparation for our annual Open House weekend, held on December 1-3, the staff of Artistic Artifacts decided to make Christmas stockings (which were stuffed with product) to go to the winners of a random drawing. We planned to use the same pattern for consistency but to each use different fabrics or techniques to showcase different Artistic Artifacts products.

Judy Gula’s completed holiday stocking

Above, Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula challenged herself to just use scraps from her stash — predominately Australian Aborgine-designed prints, with some fun modern cottons mixed in.

Below, Judy’s sister Julie Middleton used traditional red and green colors, but twisted tradition by using our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batiks.

Julie Middleton’s completed holiday stocking

Below, Julie made her stocking reversible by concentrating her patchwork to a specific color. She used Velvet Rick Rack to embellish the cuff — a perfect finishing touch!

Julie Middleton’s completed holiday stocking, reverse side

Chris Vinh’s completed holiday stocking

Above, Chris Vinh used Effervescence Border, Fiesta for her stocking. She used the contrasting border design portion of the fabric for her cuff and thought she might add some hand-stitching… but the exuberant print and colors on their own were so beautiful she decided she was done!

Denise Reuter’s completed holiday stocking

Above, Denise Reuter selected a cool color palette and used a variety of fabrics: our batiks, Australian, bits of Tim Holtz and Frond Design Studios fabrics. Her stocking is another that can hang in either direction, as both sides are beautiful. The wonderful blue faux fur cuff was a lucky find amongst the materials on the “free table” featured at each JAMs (Judy’s Altered Minds) meeting — our next is Sunday, December 17.

Detail, Denise Reuter’s completed holiday stocking

Of course, our in-house BERNINA expert couldn’t consider her stocking done until she had added beautiful machine embroidery — detail pictured above. She used a built-in snowflake design and hooped it on the B790, using WonderFil’s Spotlite metallic thread in 8831 Ice Blue.

Sharon McDonagh’s completed holiday stocking
The Artistic Artifacts holiday stocking template

Above, Sharon McDonagh decided to represent the mixed media side of the business. She created a paper-cloth base of tissue over muslin, colored with Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paints and Gelatos and Wooden Printing Blocks accents.

How We Did It

We found a Christmas Stocking Pattern & “How To” on the Stitchin’ Post blog from an online search.. After printing out the template pages and taping it together, we felt it was too large for our needs, so we cut some off from the top of the stocking, and also shortened the toe by tracing a round tin a couple inches in and correcting the edges.

We then transferred our new shape onto chipboard (pictured above right) to make it more durable for multiple tracings.

Chris Vinh sewing in progress

Although our original pattern link contained a how-to, Chris discovered this Christmas Stocking Tutorial on the FabricWorm site and used it since it included instructions for incorporating a cuff. As the first one to complete her stocking, everyone else followed suit.

Chris Vinh creating stocking cuff and lining

Above, Chris used Pomegranate Squared Elements for her lining — a beautiful contrast to her base fabric.

Sharon McDonagh’s paper cloth base drying

Above, Sharon began with a piece of Nature’s Way™ UNBLEACHED by Roc-lon® muslin and layered printed tissue and papers such as those found in our Found Paper & Collage Packs — book text, sheet music, maps, etc. You can download a PDF tutorial Making Fabric from Paper by Beryl Taylor from the Cloth Paper Scissors blog for complete how-to’s — the article appeared in the very first issue of the magazine.

Sharon McDonagh adding paint, block printing and Gelatos to her paper cloth

Above, Sharon layering color and block prints onto the paper cloth. Below left, she adds the seam allowance to the reverse of her paper cloth. While it stitches easily, she attached her cuff section as a separate element. Below right, she uses the Uni-ball Signo Broad Gel Pen in white to add embellishing to her cuff block print. If you register for Noir Magic — Lettering, Flora and Fauna with theresa mARTin, you will learn how critical a tool this pen is!

Marking paper cloth

We hope these ideas have inspired all of you to create your own! Our lucky winners, randomly drawn were Ann Kuipers, Sharon Rosenblatt, Judy Seitz, Susan Stelow and Ursula Yeo. Congratulations, ladies!

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.

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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