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Customize Your Aster & Anne Projects!

Aster & Anne Luella clutch by Jennifer Moore with block prints using Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paint

Customize your own purse or accessory with Aster & Anne! The Artistic Artifacts Facebook Live presentation on February 20th shared with you examples of completed projects to inspire you on how you can embellish your own. We showed you how these kits arrive with everything you need to get started — precut wool felt shape(s), pre-punched grommets (where needed), required hardware such as buckles, closures and straps, sturdy pins and instructions. Watch our archived presentation:

I was joined by Chris Vinh of StitchesnQuilts for this live event, and we were happy to screen-connect with Jennifer Moore, the designer behind the Aster & Anne name, who stayed up late to share in our presentation too — it was 1:30 am in Australia!

Aster & Anne kits, finished projects and Artistic Artifacts products

Above, a glimpse of our presentation setup, with Aster & Anne packaged kits, selections of our wide range of fabrics, and one of our Inspiration Packs, bundles of hand dyed fabrics and found textiles that are perfect for fiber collage. All Aster & Anne precut wool felt pieces are sent unassembled so that you can work on them flat, and they are very easy to stitch through, whether by hand or by machine.

Completed Zipper Purses customized from Aster & Anne kits

The two finished projects shown are Zipper Purses. Chris attached Stitch Meditations (stitched with Eleganza) to either side for hers, leaving off the hardware to create a zippered pouch. For her version our BERNINA Ambassador Kathy Lincoln selected machine embroidery designs (remember you can order embroidery designs, stabilizers and other supplies from the Artistic Artifacts store at Embroidery Online) and sized them to fit her flat pieces. She used WonderFil Specialty Threads for her machine-embroidery — this is a beautiful example to show you in February which is National Embroidery Month. During her assembly Kathy added the adjustable cross body strap that is included in the kit.

Completed Anna tote made from Aster & Anne kit by Christine Vinh

Chris showed her completed Anna tote, embellished with with a piece of the Aviary Panel from Dashwood Studio that was stitched and embellished with hand emberoidery using Eleganza perle cotton, available in three weights.

WonderFil Specialty Threads thread packs with Aster & Anne kits

The thread packs curated by WonderFil Specialty Threads — available for both machine and hand stitching — are the perfect way to build your thread stash and to try out WonderFil threads you might not have yet experimented with. The newest packs are designed for the type of sewing you do (quilting, machine embroidery, serging, fashion sewing) and offer you multiple spools in a set that saves you between $18 and $31 off retail price!

Amalia backpack made by Judy Gula using an Aster & Anne kit

Above, my Amalia Backpack. I covered the pieces with a Marcia Derse fabric and machine quilted to enhance the linear design. And my latest Aster & Anne project is pictured in progrss below, the Needlecase/Cardholder Kit. I completely fell for the Little Forester Fusion- Sova Forester from Art Gallery fabric when it arrived in the shop and cut several of the adorable owls out to fuse on my needlescase as appliqué.

Details of Judy Gula's Aster & Anne needlecase

Then came the fun of hand-stitching! I’m really enjoying filling in design elements with various Tentakulum Painter’s Threads products. Those who watched our presentation on Tentakulum threads and trims saw the beginning of this needlecase project. Handpainted and imported from Germany, Tentakulum’s color blends and variations are gorgeous, and the specialty trims like the Ric Rac I use for a flower stem are so unique.

Needlecase/Cardholder Kit by Aster & Anne in progress by Judy Gula

Many of you know that of the many hand stitching and embroidery books we carry, I have a personal connection to Modern Hand Stitching by Ruth Chandler. Ruth is not just a friend but someone who really re-ignited by love of hand stitching with her approach as I noted in my post Block Printed & Slow Stitched Quiltlets. It gives you well-illustrated instructions on creating basic embroidery stitches. The fun of the book is how she shows you many ways you can adjust and alter those stitches for a new look.

Embellished Book Cover/Project Bag from Aster & Anne by Chris Vinh
Embellished Book Cover/Project Bag from Aster & Anne by Chris Vinh

Look at this wonderful Book Cover/Project Bag by Chris Vinh! She fused on a fish cut from a batik panel by Bambang Dharmo, first laying out a piece of hand dyed cheesecloth. She machine appliquéd and quilted it all, then accented with hand-stitching and embroidery. She used other portions of the panel to embellish the interior as seen here.

As noted in the product description, you can use this kit in several ways: as a notebook/diary cover, with the extra felt pieces (which are business card sized) placed as desired. You can stitch the included elastic as a pen/ pencil holder. For a project bag (like this example), the extra felt can become holders for needles or pockets for scissors, and the included zippered mesh bag can be attached. It has been designed to hold your thread (it fits up to 40 Sue Spargo hand stitching thread spools —Eleganza, Ellana, Efina) or any other project supplies you might want to carry along.

Technique tip: due to the nap of the Aster & Anne wool felt pieces, we recommendation is applying your fusible to your fabric and then ironing the fabric onto the felt. We carry a wide range of Fusibles, Interfacings & Stabilizers — and for fusing cheesecloth, lace and similiar fabrics, Mistyfuse, which is very sheer, should be your first choice!

What do you get when you mix a Luella Small Clutch with Designer Ribbon packs by Renaissance Ribbons? If you’re Jennifer Moore, the answer is “super cute little clutch purse, that’s what!”

Luella Small Clutch with Designer Ribbon packs by Renaissance Ribbons by Jennifer Moore

We have to agree! In her blog Jennifer wrote she was “so in love with these Tula Pink Line Work Ribbons” that as soon as they arrived she got to work, sharing how she created her beautiful project.

Subscribe to the Aster & Anne newsletter

Of course we’re also very partial to the Luella clutch shown at the top of this post. Jennifer shared its story on her Facebook page last fall: “I recently purchased some divine metallic paints and wood blocks from Artistic Artifacts… Judy Gula and I met at International Quilt market last year where she was signing copies of her book, which by the way has loads of inspirational ideas. So these lovelies have been waiting for me try (even though it is definitely not my usual colour palette). I used the metallic paint to create a wood block print.“ Jennifer’s final step was embellishing with Dazzle 8wt thread by WonderFil Specialty Threads, ending up with a bag she loves.

Jennifer reminds us all, “Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new techniques, textiles and colours.” Visit the Aster & Anne website and scroll down to the subscription link (pictured here) to receive their newsletter filled with projects, offers, events, ideas and inspiration.

Beautiful Grace Tote customized by art quilter Tina Curran

The beautiful Grace Tote pictured above was customized by art quilter Tina Curran, who shared her praise for the kit and her process for inspiration with her own newsletter subscribers. We really loved Tina’s use of black and white fabrics to create her trademark ‘whimsical garden’ flowers. Read Tinas’s newsletter (shared with permission) that contains lots of beautiful photos of her Winter Garden tote, plus her assembly and technique tips.

Marie Sepe machine appliquéd giraffes cut from a Jaka batik panel for her Book Cover/Project Bag by Aster & Ann

Above, one of our favorite Creative Minds, Marie Sepe, often uses our batik panels in her art quilts and art-to-wear. We love how she machine appliquéd giraffes cut from a Jaka batik panel onto her Book Cover/Project Bag and how they peek out of her pockets.

WonderFil Specialty Thread products

“Look what you can do with a Zipper Purse, Sue Spargo Pre-Cut Wool Pack and some Eleganza perle cotton from WonderFil Specialty Threads,” shared Jennifer on the Aster & Anne Instagram page, creating this adorable bag to Glenda Cust. Precut from 100% premium grade Australian Meriono wool fabric by Sue Spargo, these circles and shapes are ready to be stitched down and embellished — a perfect way to transform your Aster & Anne project.

The Aster & Anne website and their YouTube channel offers instructions and assembly videos, plus loads of inspiration!

Lots of inspiration from Aster & Anne with these examples of completed projects

Block Printed Wonky Scrap Quilt

Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

Pictured above is one of my most recent complete projects, my block printed wonky scrap quilt. I love it! This is the largest quilt I’ve made featuring block printing (see info links at the end of this post). Click to view larger photo »

Detail, Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

It was beautifully quilted by Susan Bentley of suZquilts. I’m always so pleased with when I receive my quilts back!

Detail, Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

Most of my log cabin blocks in this quilt feature the block print as the center, and you can also see some block printed fabrics in the rows. I have a never ending supply of block printed fabric scraps, from the many, many block printing demonstrations I’ve held over the years while vending at quilt and art shows, teaching classes here and the shop, etc.

Wonky Log Cabin block for the Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

And of course, as a fiber artist of many years now, I have a ton of fabric scraps! This quilt features a wide range of the beautiful Modern Cottons we feature in the shop. Leftovers from a quilt project, strips remaining from the bolt end of a sold out fabric — no scrap goes to waste!

Wonky Log Cabin block for the Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

I love wonky, and letting the fabrics dictate the size and shape of the blocks. If you haven’t tried wonky log cabin piecing, I have previously recommended a post from the blog Quilt Dad — he created a wonderful Wonky Log Cabin tutorial that is illustrated with step by step photos, making the process so easy.

Designing the layout for the Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

So after stitching together a pile of blocks, it’s time to figure out a layout. Rather than squaring mine up and seaming them together precisely, I played around with layouts using my studio floor (forgive the uneven lighting) for a design wall. I knew I would “fill in” the gaps with a unifying fabric.

Designing the layout for the Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

Above, more layout decisions, and the beginnings of stitching together block units.

Wonky log cabin block unit for the Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

Trim straight edges on your blocks and rows to seam together. Because these are intentionally wonky, there is no worry of pattern or block matching.

Trimming wonky log cabin block units, Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

Working improvisationally is a lot of fun, and is a great exercise in thinking creatively as you use the scraps you have, a variety of block sizes, and make it all come together.

Completing and laying out wonky log cabin block units, Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

Here’s my introduction to block printing that includes additional links if you’d like to explore this art form further. Artistic Artifacts carries a large variety of wooden printing blocks that are hand-carved in India. We also have our own line of textile paint, which gives you beautiful results on fabrics (and other surfaces) and can be easily heat set for permanence — you can wash and dry your quilt and the colors will stay bright and true.

Detail, Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

Quilters’ Quest & Artistic Artifacts

Artistic Artifacts filled with Quilters' Quest 2019 shoppers

Quilters’ Quest is a free annual shop hop event that encourages fiber artists to explore quilt shops located in Maryland and Northern Virginia over the course of 10 days. Artistic Artifacts was delighted to be invited to participate this year for the first time and our shop in Alexandria, VA was added to the roster! The 2019 dates were October 11 through October 20.

Shoppers admiring the Artistic Artifacts quilt created using Quest Cuts from the 2019 Quilters' Quest Shop Hop event

Book Room Stylish was selected as the 2019 color theme, with traditional colors in hues of blue, green, red, and brown. Each participating shop created Quest Cuts, a set of six 10 in. fabric squares coordinating with the theme. We used our beautiful and unique Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik for our packs! Shoppers could earn a free Quest Cut pack with a purchase of $40, or you could purchase it for $6.00 (limit two packs per in-store customer). Each shop designed an exclusive quilt (using some or all 60 Quest Cuts squares that could be collected throughout the Quest), offering a free copy of their quilt patterns. Pictured above are shoppers admiring the Artistic Artifacts quilt.

Artistic Artifacts welcomed so many new quilters and friends during Quilters' Quest

We enjoyed preparing the store for this event and have had so much fun meeting so many new quilters and friends! Each participating chartered a bus (or two!) for their customers’ convenience — purchasing your seat on the bus meant you saw all participating shops in two days while leaving the stress of driving and traffic to a professional!

Bus chartered by the Traditions of the White Swan shop in Hagerstown, MD full of Quilters' Quest shoppers

When the busses were due (pictured above are customers of Traditions of the White Swan in Hagerstown, MD), it was all hands on deck for staff!

Quilters' Quest shoppers at Artistic Artifacts

During the Quilters’ Quest Shop Hop we demonstrated block printing, letting shoppers have a try at using our hand-carved wooden printing blocks and our Artistic Artifacts textile paint for surface design.

For Quilters' Quest Shop Hop we demonstrated block printing with our hand-carved wooden printing blocks and our Artistic Artifacts textile paint.

We thank our volunteers who stepped up to help with with demonstrations, stamping Quilters’ Quest passports and more — we couldn’t have done it without you!

Helping a customer select fabric during Quilters' Quest 2019

Above, our Australian Aborigine-designed fabric and Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander in Orangeade were the perfect complement to one shoppers batik log cabin blocks — we hope she shares a photograph of her finished quilt with us!

Fabric and batik panels on display at Artistic Artifacts

Above, seasonal fabric display and hand-drawn Indonesian batik panels available at Artistic Artifacts.

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