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Beaded Embroidery Stitching on Panels

Cover of Beaded Embroidery Stitching: 125 Stitches to Embellish with Beads Buttons Charms Bead Weaving and More by Christen Brown

It’s Friday, April 12, Artistic Artifacts’ day to celebrate the publication Beaded Embroidery Stitching: 125 Stitches to Embellish with Beads, Buttons, Charms, Bead Weaving & More by Christen Brown!

Please comment on our posting of this blog tour — use the field at the bottom of the page and be sure to include your email address — to be eligible for our random drawing to win an e-book copy of this beautiful book from us!

Color Batik Panel Quilts by Judy Vincentz Gula

I have long been a fan of beading and have often incorporated it into my art quilts (you can visit past blog posts here and here for some examples). When Artistic Artifacts was selected as a 2018 Top Shop by Quilt Sampler magazine, our magazine exclusive project was a batik panel quilt with beading! Our Artistic Artifacts Quilt Sampler kit is available in several colors and includes a Hari Agung batik panel, coordinating Australian Aborigine Designed fabrics and our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batiks, plus beads, Silamide thread (my favorite) and a needle to embellish!

Colorful Batik Panel Quilts: 28 Quilting and Embellishing Inspirations from Around the World, is my first book and was published at the beginning of this year — here’s a link to my blog post about it (which also features beading). Colorful Batik Panel Quilts features a section on embellishing: “Beading on panels is one of my favorite embellishing techniques. Beads and crystals can add sparkle and texture to enhance the design of the panel and make it your own,” I wrote. “Single stitch and back stitch are two techniques I use most.”

Beaded Embroidery Stitching from C&T Publishing features 125 bead embroidery and bead woven stitches, and readers can search both stitches organized by type with a complete visual guide or the A-to-Z stitch index. There is a wonderful assortment of beautiful dimensional stitches that I thought would be perfect for my project.

Hari Agung batik panel quilt by Judy Gula

Above, my quilted batik panel quilt before I started beading. The center floral panel is another from Hari Agung. I gathered my other supplies, beads, beading needles (Tulip brand, which are in my opinion the best quality), a beading awl (useful to reposition beads or clear the hole of coatings so your needle can go through) and Silamide.

Beaded Pistil Stitch from Beaded Embroidery Stitching by Christen Brown

An obvious choice when working on a batik panel featuring flowers was exploring Christen’s Beaded Pistil Stitch. I enjoyed learning this technique and am thrilled with the dimension it adds!

The beaded pistil stitch adds wonderful dimension to the center of the flower in this Hari Agung panel

I wanted to try out her Feather and Fly Stitches to accent one of the leaves in my panel.

Fly and Feather Stitches from Beaded Embroidery Stitching by Christen Brown

Despite Christen’s very clear instructions, my attempt went a bit awry with this one — I told you I was used to freeform stitching! But even so, I love the way the bead embroidery enhances the leaf in my panel. Christen begins her book with explaining, and illustrating, how beads come in many different shapes and sizes, with seed beads are numbered from low to high: the higher the number, the smaller the bead. My preference is for mixing colors and sizes of beads together (that’s what you find in the Artistic Artifacts bead mixes I’m using here), but a uniform line of beads would also be perfect on my leaves.

Accenting flower petal edges with beading

Above, I added tiny striped beads to accent the edge of the petals.

Batik panel art quilt by Judy Gula, including beaded details

Christen’s chapter Where Do Designs Come From? (page 30) points out that a fabric with a strong print can be “used as the focal or base of an embroidered design. The embroidery and embellishments can follow the lines and shapes of the print and enhance any open spaces.” I offer the same advice about free-motion quilting — follow the lines of your fabric design — and one of the pleasures of beading a batik panel is that there is so much ‘guidance’ in the fabric. The above project from my book illustrates that point — as well as Christen’s belief that “Adding larger beads, charms, and buttons gives interest and definition to your project.”

Beaded brooches by Christen Brown and Judy Gula

Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge lover of vintage beaded textiles and accessories, so I enjoyed learning more about how these influenced Christen’s work. I used to create pins and brooches by the handful (see more here) so her Beaded Brooches project (page 94, one example above left) was of interest. Beaded Embroidery Stitching includes instructions on creating beaded edges, which as you see are beautiful on dimensional shapes!

Beaded Embroidery Stitching includes detailed diagrams

I’m thankful to Diane Herbort, who often teaches at Artistic Artifacts — she and Christen are long-time friends and Diane recommended us to her for this blog tour. Beaded Embroidery Stitching is a resource all embroiderers, crazy quilters, craft sewists, jewelry makers and more will want to add to their library. I was interested to learn more about how Christen achieves her beautiful work, and this book didn’t disappoint. The plentiful photographs are truly eye candy, and each project includes clear instructions, plus a photo ‘map’ so you can see exactly what stitch is used where (example here).

Christen Brown, author of Beaded Embroidery Stitching

Below is the complete Beaded Embroidery Stitching Blog Tour lineup — please visit each blog each day to see their reviews, how they have been inspired, and more. Follow each blog’s directions for how to be eligible to win — if you aren’t our winner, you have several chances to be someone else’s!

You can learn more about this beautiful book and order your copy on our website. Also by Christen Brown:

  • Embroidered and Embellished: 85 Stitches Using Thread, Floss, Ribbon, Beads & More. The complete visual guide to hand embroidery and embellishing and an essential embroidery reference for everyone from beginners to experts. This richly illustrated reference guide from embroidery expert Christen Brown covers everything you need to make beautiful magic with needle and thread.
  • The Embroidery Book: Visual Resource of Color & Design. A step-by-step visual guide to 149 embroidery stitches, motifs, and extras with robust color charts that take the guesswork out of choosing thread, buttons, and trims. Stitch classic seam treatments and stunning stand-alone designs as you go beyond the basics to learn what embroidery can do for you.
  • Embroidery Stencils, Essential Collection help you create unique designs to embroider: hearts, flowers, baskets, butterflies, spiderwebs, vines, feather stitches, and more using the 4 in. x 8 in. stencils that combine to create 90+ embroidery designs.

Remember, leave a comment and your email address to be eligible to win an ebook copy of Beaded Embroidery Stitching!

Beading supplies ready for the next session

Above, my supplies and tools are ready for my next beading session!

We’re a Stop on a Beautiful Blog Tour!

Cover of Beaded Embroidery Stitching: 125 Stitches to Embellish with Beads Buttons Charms Bead Weaving and More by Christen Brown

There’s a new blog tour to celebrate Beaded Embroidery Stitching:
125 Stitches to Embellish with Beads, Buttons, Charms, Bead Weaving & More by Christen Brown
, and we’re happy to be participating! Each day visitors have the chance to win their own e-book copy!

The blog tour kicks off today, Monday, April 8, 2019 with Christen sharing some of her background in fiber art as well as favorite beaded embroidered artwork on the C&T Publishing blog.

Below is the complete Beaded Embroidery Stitching Blog Tour schedule — please visit each blog each day to see their reviews of this book, how they have been inspired, and more. Follow each blog’s directions for how to be eligible to win — if you aren’t our winner, you have several chances to be someone else’s!

You can learn more about this beautiful book and order your copy on the secure Artistic Artifacts website. Also by Christen Brown:

  • Embroidered and Embellished: 85 Stitches Using Thread, Floss, Ribbon, Beads & More. The complete visual guide to hand embroidery and embellishing and an essential embroidery reference for everyone from beginners to experts. This richly illustrated reference guide from embroidery expert Christen Brown covers everything you need to make beautiful magic with needle and thread.
  • The Embroidery Book: Visual Resource of Color & Design. A step-by-step visual guide to 149 embroidery stitches, motifs, and extras with robust color charts that take the guesswork out of choosing thread, buttons, and trims. Stitch classic seam treatments and stunning stand-alone designs as you go beyond the basics to learn what embroidery can do for you.
  • Embroidery Stencils, Essential Collection help you create unique designs to embroider: hearts, flowers, baskets, butterflies, spiderwebs, vines, feather stitches, and more using the 4 in. x 8 in. stencils that combine to create 90+ embroidery designs.

Hearts by Judy

Happy Valentine’s Day! I wanted to share with you all some of my art quilts that feature hearts. Below, this features crazy quilt techniques, embellished with found objects. You can see my signature on this: created in 2005!

Crazy quilted heart with embellishments: an art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I’ve always appreciated this sentiment from Liz Kettle, from her Plethora of Pinked Hearts tutorial she shared with us years ago: “When I was in my formative art years, hearts were passé, trite and so unsophisticated [but] Somewhere along the way I realized that even if they were trite in the ‘serious’ art world I had fallen in love with them! I make my art to please myself these days, so even if the sophisticated shock artists of the world roll their eyes and dismiss me as trite… I am contented with my hearts.”

Detail of crazy quilted heart with embellishments by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Love the locket half, and the fun beaded fringe.

Needlefelted and beaded heart Love art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

The charm titles this one: Love.

Detail, needlefelted and beaded heart Love art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Detail above: needlefelted heart that combines scraps of wool, cotton, silk and more, encrusted with beads.

Hanging heart art quilt incorporating vintage clothes hanger by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I’ve often used vintage wooden clothes hangers to hang my art quilts.

Details, heart art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Beaded details: left, the stripes on these yellow beads were perfect to enhance the vintage fabrics grid, and my blue flower beads were a near-exact match to embellish this border!

Needlefelted and beaded nine-patch heart art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Beaded blue wool hearts appliquéd to needlefelted bases, then stitched to a hand-dyed wool base that had been bordered with cotton and machine quilted.

Beaded detail of needlefelted heart by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Detail above: it’s fun to sneak in accent beads, like this ladybug, to see who notices.

Beaded details of needlefelted hearts by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Remember, Valentine wishes don’t have to be red or pink or lacy to be heartfelt!

Colorful Batik Panel Quilts: My First Book!

Colorful Batik Panel Quilts by Judy Gula on display at Artistic Artifacts

I’ve begun the new year as a published author, with the release of Colorful Batik Panel Quilts: 28 Quilting and Embellishing Inspirations from Around the World — it’s so exciting to see it come to fruition and hold the tangible product in my hands! I’ve been working on this project for quilt some time now, and for those who purchase my book and who are readers of this blog, you will recognize some of the projects that are included!

Pictured below, School of Fish is featured as one of the book’s projects, with complete instructions on my wonky log cabin method. Plus, a closeup of one of the the wonderful hand-drawn fish by Jaka ended up as the cover star (see below) of my book!

School of Fish quilt by Judy Gula, included in Colorful Batik Panel Quilts by Judy Gula

This quilt was designed and created for our 2015 Row by Row Experience project, which had H2O as its theme. It was the topic of this post, where I expressed the unexpected difficulty in adding a new row to an already completed quilt!

Sisters batik panel quilt by Judy Gula, in progess, included in Colorful Batik Panel Quilts

Jaka is one of the most well known batik artists in Indonesia and his “postcard” quilts (9-up grid of animals and designs) are popular and versatile. To create the wonky log cabin strips in School of Fish, I combined our Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik with many Australian Aborigine designed fabrics — I love the play of patterns and colors.

My piano keys border method, included in the book, is pictured (right) in progress and was described in this post. Sisters (a portion of which is pictured here) began with the choice of an expressively painted panel by Bambang Dharmo. The border used silk pieces from our Silk Fat Quarter Assortment from India.

Mahyar batik panel  awaiting border

A completed Three Sisters (shown in progress above) is included in my “embellishing” section. I introduced you to this quilt in this post, which began with a batik panel by Mahyar. I loved hand-stitching on this panel, using Eleganza pearl cotton by WonderFil Specialty Threads and my trusty chenille needles from Tulip. Colorful Batik Panel Quilts contains instructions on my favorite embroidery stitches.

Instructions on how to add beading to your projects is included in Colorful Batik Panel Quilts by Judy Gula

In addition to embroidery stitches, my book also teaches you the basic beading stitches. Batik Flowers, a quilt shown in this post (portion shown above) and included in the book, began with a floral batik panel by the very talented Hari Agung. As the book notes, “My idea was to use a variety of beads and stitching to create a hydrangea-type flower. I used the beading and stitching to extend beyond the doily and batik flower….” I used my yellow bead mix and Silamide thread to embellish this quilt.

I hope I’ve tempted you to add my book to your shelves and create your own Colorful Batik Panel Quilt! If you are local or able to travel, in addition to a book signing party at Artistic Artifacts on Sunday, February 3, I will be teaching my Create a Batik Panel Art Quilt class on January 26 and would be delighted to have you join us. I also include this class in my offerings to quilt guilds and art groups around the country too — learn more about booking me for your own event!

Colorful Batik Panel Quilts: 28 Quilting and Embellishing Inspirations from Around the World by Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula

Creating Fabric Collage

Beaded and embellished fabric pins by Judy Gula

Almost a decade ago Judy posted about creating fabric collage and we wanted to share this useful technique again for new readers, or those who missed it the first time around. She began her post writing about finding some surprise free time in her studio, and “really didn’t know what to do with myself.” Joking that she was steps away from having a perfectly clean and organized studio, she instead took the advice of fiber artist Beryl Taylor — start with making bits — and got to work playing with one of her favorite techniques.


Before Artistic Artifacts was a full blown web presence and a bricks and mortar store, I was known for my line of fabric jewelry, including necklaces, earrings, bracelets and pins (pictured above). These were sold at the Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery located in the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, VA.

Collaged and free motion quilted fabric by Judy GulaI love to create collaged fabrics. It is relaxing to me, and I have many uses for it, whether cutting it into small bits for my pins or using it to build an art quilt. It’s a great process when you want to be creative but aren’t feeling the pull of a specific project, or if you only have a short period of time to work.

To begin my collaged fabrics, I pick one of the several drawers in my studio that hold scraps of fabric sorted by color and take it to my work surface or ironing board.

Next I cut a piece of Steam-A-Seam 2 approximately 12 in. 14 in. (Artistic Artifacts sells this by the yard, and Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 is available in a package of five 9 in. x 12 in. sheets.) These are double stick fusible webs, heat activated and pressure sensitive. The fusible is sticky and repositionable, so you can “play” with your design before permanently ironing. I love using Steam-A-Seam 2 for this technique since it holds the fabric scraps in place.

I peel one piece of the protective paper off and set it aside. Place the Steam-A-Seam 2 on your work surface, sticky side up. Begin by pulling scraps from your stash, iron them, (honestly, I guess you don’t really have to iron them!) place them on the Steam-A-Seam 2. You can cut them smaller or into shapes as you like. I start my fabric collage in the middle and work out towards the edges. You can begin anywhere you want!

Fused fabric collage by Judy Gula

Completed beaded and embellished fabric pin by Judy GulaThe fabric scraps should be in one layer, with a minimal amount of overlap. Once your piece of Steam-A-Seam 2 is completely covered with scraps and you’re happy with it (remember, you can play with your positioning), replace the protective sheet of paper over it and iron to hold your scraps together as a sheet of collaged fabric. Pictured above is an example after first fusing.

At this point you will need to decide on your backing, depending on what project you plan to use your collaged fabric for. I use muslin if I’m making book or journal covers, and a heavyweight stablilizer such as Pellon 70 Peltex Sew-In Ultra Firm Stabilizer if I’m making postcards, artist trading cards (ATCs) and for my pins. Once you’ve selected your backing, peel off the remaining paper and place the fusible coated side down onto your backing. Iron it to finally fuse.

Fused fabric collage after free motion quilting by Judy Gula

I then free-motion sew/quilt my fabric collage sheet. I sometimes choose to place yarns, ribbon, etc. on top, covering it with netting. I don’t worry if it moves around, this is a collage. I frequently have to cut the netting if I’m using it, because it gets caught on my machine foot, but it doesn’t matter! Choose your thread and head to your sewing machine to being the free motion stitching. The fabrics you used in your collage can help with your free motion simply by following the prints and designs already there. But anything goes, as you can see in my example above. Free motion ‘doodling’ is very freeing and a lot of fun!

Reverse of fused fabric collage after free motion quilting by Judy Gula

Above you can see the reverse of one of my fabric collage pieces that has been free-motioned quilted. The white of the Peltex stabilizer I used is visible shows off my free motion doodling. Since I was going to cut this piece up and finish the back in additional steps, there was no need to have a visible backing fabric in place.

Finished art quilt by Judy Gula

This finished art quilt by Judy Gula began with a fused and quilted base of collaged fabric scraps.

To make my fabric pins, I pull out my vintage buttons, beads, laces, etc., once the free motion stage is finished. I cut the collaged fabric sheet into various shapes and pieces to begin my pins, then start the layering and embellishing steps.

Another example of fabric collage by Judy GulaWhile the fabric collage process can be fast and fun, yes, these pins take a little longer than a free afternoon of found studio time! I face the back with ultrasuede, attach a pin backing (you can see the ultrasuede and pin backing in the photo that opened this post), and finish the edges, usually with rows of beading and beading stitches.

The black and white fabric collage pictured here was used to create the pins below. (You know my weakness for black and white fabrics!) In addition to vintage buttons, I used some wonderful buckles.

Fabric pins by Judy Gula

These are a lovely little piece of art in themselves, and if you don’t wear pins, they also make wonderful quilt or mixed media art embellishments or focal points. A gallery of some of my favorites (click to see larger views):

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