Cut Straight, Sew Straight

Connections quilt pieced by Christine Vinh

        Post by Christine Vinh for Artistic Artifacts

In early August, the Artistic Artifacts Facebook Live, Cut Straight, Sew Straight with Stripology Rulers was all about using the right tools for cutting and sewing your quilts, featuring both Creative Grids Rulers along with other useful tools and notions — you can watch our archived presentation on our YouTube channel. I showed two projects using GE Design patterns and the rulers in early stages, a lap quilt using the Coral pattern and a Lil’ JoJo Table Runner. Both projects used fabrics from the Connections collection by Maria Carluccio for Windham Fabrics and are now finished to share with you!

Products used in the ut Straight, Sew Straight with Stripology Rulers presentation

The Coral quilt pattern is from Stripology Mixology by Gundrun Erla and the Lap Quilt size calls for 42 10-inch. Squares. The Connections Fat Quarter Bundle has 18 pieces so I used some of the backing fabric to make up the difference.

Cutting the Connections by Maria Carluccio fabric

Using the Creative Grids Stripology XL ruler, I was able to get two (2) 10-inch squares per fat quarter. For the background fabric, I chose Dear Stella’s Moonscape in Bellini.

The Connections quilt blocks in progress

The directions in all of the GEDesign patterns are very clear as to cutting specifics, assembly, and pressing directions. I like to use DecoBob 80 wt thread for piecing, as it allows the seams to lay flatter when pressed. It’s one of the many quality products by WonderFil Specialty Threads.

Planning the layout of the Connections quilt

I then laid the blocks out according to the layouts shown in the pattern and played a little to get a pleasing blend of colors and patterns before sewing the horizontal rows together and added the border fabric. Once finalized, then it was off to the quilter to work her magic! Susan Bentley of suZquilts always finds the best quilt pattern and thread color to go with the quilt design and fabric!

Sewing on the Connections quilt binding

I had already picked the Connections Color Story 108 in. wideback for the backing and Strokes, Brown for the binding. The Master Your Stripology Rulers by Gudrun Erla came in handy when cutting the binding strips at 2.25 in., with specific instructions on how to cut with the Stripology Squared Ruler that has markings at the half inch. Just one of the many helpful tips found in this new book!

Just imagine lying under those positive affirmations included in the Colorstory backing! The completed quilt:

The completed quilt by Christine Vinh using Connections fabric and the Coral quilt pattern

Never one to let such beautiful fabric go to waste, I used much of the leftover fabric to cut the smaller blocks for the Lil’ JoJo pattern (below) using the new Stripology Quarters Mini Creative Grids Ruler.

Sewing on the Connections quilt binding


Fabrics used in my projects:



Island Vacation by Denise Burkitt

My excitement when the latest fabric collection from Denise Burkitt arrived in the shop was off the charts — and I wasn’t alone! I’ve asked Chris to share her thoughts on her latest quilt project — she was the first recipient of our new fabric kit to make Island Vacation Basket Weave Quilt.

Some Tips on Making the Island Vacation Basket Weave Quilt

     Guest post by Christine Vinh

I knew when I first saw the Basket Weave Quilt at the Trunk Show in May when Scott Fortunoff, President of Jaftex (the parent company of FreeSpirit Fabrics) visited the shop that I wanted to make the quilt using the complimentary pattern from Free Spirit Fabrics.

Christine Vinh loving the new Island Vacation by Denise Burkitt fabrics

After fondling the fabric when it arrived at Artistic Artifacts, I downloaded the pattern and cut the required amount of the beautiful designs that make up the Island Vacation collection by Denise Burkitt. Above, the fabrics that make up the Artistic Artifacts quilt kit so you can create your own.

Island Vacation fabric strips to make the Basket Weave quilt, a complimentary pattern from FreeSpirit Fabrics

Following the Weave Blocks Table in the pattern, I then cut required number of squares and rectangles for one block at a time. I started with Block 4, which required enough cut pieces for four blocks. It was easier to start with the four blocks to get the pattern steps down and decide how to best piece the blocks.

Reviewing the Island Vaction Basket Weave quilt pattern

After reading the entire pattern and cutting instructions, I chose to cut the 4½ inch strips the WOF (width of fabric), but not to sub-cut into the squares and rectangles all at one time. I preferred to cut for each block design as I went.

Piecing components of the blocks that make up the Island Vacation Basket Weave quilt

Once I was ready to piece, it was easy to string piece the number of 4½ inch squares and rectangles as well as the 2-inch squares and rectangles. I used my BERNINA #97D foot and the Sew Steady Easy Glide Mat  to chain piece the block components.

Careful pressing and Wonder Clips make the quilt go together precisely

Careful pressing towards the rectangles made piecing the strips together much easier, allowing the seams to butt together. And using the Mini Wonder Clips made the piecing of the strips go smoothly. Before I knew it, the first four blocks were done! Each of the other block combinations required fewer blocks, so it all went together quickly after that.

Continuing to piece the Island Vacation Backet Weave quilt

When I put the blocks together, I did repress the horizontal rows, again to be sure I was able to butt the seams together. I was not able to do that for piecing the rows together, but since I had used DecoBob 80 wt thread in my bobbin and top thread, the seams were fairly flat and stitched together well.

Quilt blocks that make up the Basket Weave top

I added the border rows to finish the quilt top, which is now off to our quilter, Susan Bentley, who will work her magic with her long arm machine. Below, FreeSpirit Fabrics’ photograph of the Island Vacation Basket Weave quilt.

Basket Weave quilt featuring Island Vacation by Denise Burkitt, a free quilt pattern from FreeSpirit Fabrics


It was already the end of January as I begin this, just sitting down to reflect on the year past. And then a few social media memories popped up which caused me to look back even further to appreciate how far Artistic Artifacts has come to become who we are today.

An older store layout configuration.An early post on Instagram, before I really knew what social media was all about, was dated January 28, 2012 when my husband and I were in Indonesia and purchased Batik Tambal from Trish and Owen Hodges. “Today we purchased batik panels which are wonderful paintings done using the batik process. Many of the designs require 8 dye colors and tons of wax. Each panel signed by the artist.” 11 years later and we are planning a Creative Retreat to Indonesia for early 2024, where we will revisit some of the artist along with other textile adventures!

Along with the panels came our own line of batik fabrics (seen here in an old photo, and on sale now) and a decision to bring in Aborigine-designed fabrics from Australia along with products for mixed media, hand dyed fabrics, ephemera and vintage finds, which is where my early love of art quilts started. There have been so many changes to our store configuration over the years as we’ve grown and expanded, and you’ll see some included here.

We are fortunate to be located in an area with many fiber and mixed media enthusiasts and it was a no brainer for me to start a group called Judy’s Altered Minds — commonly known as JAMS — to meet in our small shop on a monthly basis to share ideas and techniques. There were group challenges and sharing of Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) along with demonstrations of new techniques by members.

The first location of our WonderFil Specialty Threads

The first location of our WonderFil Specialty Threads collection.

As I began to travel to quilt shows and to Houston for International Quilt Market and Festival to sell our panels and fabrics our creative community continued to grow. It was at Quilt Market in 2016 that we decided to become a WonderFil Specialty Threads thread education center. Suddenly we were outgrowing our existing space and moved our classroom into another room!

First BERNINA Location and moving cubicles to open up display space.

One thing leads to another and we became an authorized BERNINA dealer in 2017 and we really out grew our front room and classroom. In 2018 we moved our office space into a third room which also serves as the area for our BERNINA technicians and our classroom. And it wasn’t long that the first classroom was taken over by fabric as we brought in new lines, including our block printed Indian Cottons, African fabrics, Tilda, Tula Pink and more! And jump forward to 2023 and our Products on Sale area is encroaching on classroom space!

Judy Gula signing her book; batik panels on display at Artistic Artifacts

And while we were growing, I decided to write a book! Colorful Batik Panel Quilts: 28 Quilting & Embellishing Inspirations from Around the World was launched at Quilt Market in 2019 — here’s my blog post introducing it. The ‘writing’ portion the book was hard, but making the quilts to show off the panels and sharing ideas with creative friends to showcase the many ways the panels can be used was a wonderful experience.

Our first attempt at a Creative Retreat was in 2020 – and then the pandemic hit! I was actually in India with a group when travel restrictions were imposed, flights cancelled and plans changed. At the same time, the staff at home switched gears from being a local quilt shop to an online source for fabric for the thousands of mask makers around the country! Staff and customers alike adapted to that new normal: local curbside pickup for orders placed online; limited scheduled appointments requiring masking and social distancing, JAMs and our BERNINA Mastery classes meeting via Zoom, and more.

Filming a Facebook Live demonstration

My son Kyle filming me conducting a Facebook Live demonstration.

Fortunately that experience is behind us, but we did gain lots of new followers and customers during that time. I started what has now become a weekly Facebook Live video on Saturday mornings where we share new products and techniques to inspire our creative community, and we have added a YouTube channel to save those videos for future reference. We also started our Live Sales during this time and moved to using the Artistic Artifacts CommentSold app to facilitate a better experience for our customers as well as on our end for processing your orders.

Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably at Artistic Artifacts in October 2022

Kaffe Fassett autographing his limited edition BERNINA models and greeting students; Brandon Mably (right) works with a student on fabric selection during one of the two quilt classes they led.

And somehow we get to 2022! With all our growth, it was time to update our website, phone lines, and email system. And not being one to shy away from challenges, it was decided to take on all three at one time!! And in the past several months, add in winning the Jaftex video challenge thanks to your votes (this year we’ll be hosting Scott Fortunoff as part of our prize — details to come), being one of the exclusive stops on the Quilts in Wales tour hosting Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mabley, a Creative Retreat to Italy and another one to India!

But we didn’t stop there! We started 2023 with our first ever full-store inventory and some renovations in the shop (a before and in progress pictured above). And that’s just the beginning – we have our Indian Bazaar weekend coming up where I will be able to show you all the fabulous things I found in India when I was there in November. We have a mixed media Creative Minds Summit planned for May with my good friends Liz Kettle, Libby Williamson, and Gwen Lafleur joining me for a 3-day weekend of classes. More classes on the calendar (the Zoom BERNINA Mastery worked so well we have continued it; opening the classes up to those who do not live near us and another Creative Retreat to Italy planned for September.

I’m sure I will find much more for the staff to do and to inspire you, so stay tuned. (One of our new year’s resolutions is to keep this blog updated more frequently!)

Anticipating Kaffe’s Visit

Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably

Kaffe Fassett (right) and Brandon Mably will visit Artistic Artifacts in October


Kaffe Fassett's Quilts in Wales book cover

Goodness, where does the time go? We’ve had a hectic summer at Artistic Artifacts, resulting in blog neglect… and we’re also gearing up for what promises to be a busy autumn! As our customers know, we’re so excited to have been asked to host Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably as one of just five stops on their book tour — their first visit to the US since 2019. And since Kaffe Fassett’s Quilts in Wales, his 24th of the series, has just arrived in the shop, so I thought I’d share more on our plans here.

Kaffe has inspired people across the world with his colorful work in fabric, knitting, needlepoint, patchwork, painting and mosaic, and our long holiday weekend with he and Brandon will begin Friday, October 7 with Kaffe’s Color Inspiration Lecture (tickets still available) at 7:00 pm in Old Town Alexandria. Everyone who registers for the lecture will receive a copy of Quilts in Wales, and there will be an opportunity to have your book signed by Kaffe that evening!

The George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, VA

We’re thrilled to have booked the George Washington Masonic National Memorial for this exciting event — it’s a National Historic Landmark and listed on the United State government’s National Register of Historic Places. We’re sure Kaffe & Brandon will appreciate the history and architecture, and it’s across the street from our event hotel, the Hilton Alexandria Old Town (located at 1767 King Street — book your Kaffe Tour Hilton Hotel stay now.)

Artistic Artifacts will have a pop-up shop on site at the Memorial, with beautiful Kaffe Fassett Collective fabric and products such as his books, puzzles, branded notions (on the way), and more — we will even have our Kaffe Fassett Special Edition BERNINA models available for purchase that evening! (Learn more about them below.) Our two quilt design classes with Kaffe and Brandon sold out very quickly! Bubbly from Quilts in Wales with Kaffe Fassett & Brandon Mably will take place at Artistic Artifacts on Saturday, October 8, Mediterranean Hexagons from Quilts in Morocco on Sunday, October 9.

BERNINA Sit & Sew: Kaffe Fassett Hatbox Quilt

We’ll finish up our tour events with a Monday, October 10 BERNINA Sit & Sew: the Kaffe Fassett Hatbox Quilt. The project was specifically designed by Kaffe, showcasing his fabrics (pictured above is a 4-block version). This all supplies provided event will be led by our BERNINA Ambassador Kathy Lincoln and our Sit & Sew students will us the beautiful new Kaffe Special Edition models during class! There will be a short morning meet & greet appearance by Kaffe and Brandon — this BERNINA Sit & Sew is a great opportunity if you weren’t able to join their other classes: you’ll have the chance to wish them well as they depart for their next tour stop!

Limited edition BERNINA models from the collaboration with Kaffe Fassett

I attended BERNINA University 2022 last month and enjoyed the big announcement of his new partnership with BERNINA — everyone was abuzz with unveiling of these beautiful machines and to hear from Kaffe, who attended with Brandon. Visit our website to learn more about these limited edition models, available for pre-order and arriving this fall.

The new BERNINA 770 QEE PLUS Kaffe Edition and its free gifts with purchase bundle

Above, the new B770 QEE PLUS Kaffe Edition is equipped with the most advanced sewing and embroidery features,and will arrive with an exclusive free gifts package — an exclusive Kaffe Fassett fabric bundle set; a trolley in Kaffe Fassett design, dust cover in Kaffe Fassett design, and the Embroidery Module with Smart Drive Technology (SDT) that includes many decorative stitches which are exclusive to the Kaffe edition and were hand-drawn by him!

The BERNINA 475 QE Kaffe Edition

Made for makers, the B475 QE Kaffe Edition pictured above is BERNINA’s first completely colored Special Edition: a tribute to Kaffe’s art and an invitation to commit to the power of color! Despite its small size, it’s powerful enough to handle the thick layers of even your biggest quilts. Featuring exclusive Kaffe Fassett stitches and jumbo bobbin with 70% more thread, perfect precision is achieved with each stitch with speeds up to 900 stitches per minute.

New fabrics from the Kaffe Fassett Collective

On their way to Artistic Artifacts and scheduled to arrive any day now, the latest fabric collection from the Kaffe Fassett Collective.


We’ll have additional announcements about exciting Tour opportunities in our shop, so keep checking our newsletter and website for the latest updates. We often hear from our online customers that they’d love to visit the shop in person… if you’re one of them, naturally we think Kaffe’s visit is an ideal excuse to plan an autumn vacation to Alexandria, VA!

Judy Gula's latest video tour of Artistic Artifacts

Click image to watch Judy Gula’s latest video tour of Artistic Artifacts: like and share to help us in the #JaftexVideoChallenge!


If you haven’t yet had the chance to visit the shop, or it has been awhile since you did, you can get a current look in my latest video tour! Please help Artistic Artifacts with the #JaftexVideoChallenge by liking and sharing this Facebook post — the winning store is the one whose video receives the most views at the end of August into very early September 2022.

Artistic Artifacts is located just minutes from the Nation’s Capitol, and both Alexandria and Washington DC offer you an abundance of history, architecture treasures, world class museums, sports, and arts activities, a perfect getaway for singles, families, quilt guilds and more. Visit Alexandria and Destination DC can help you arrange the perfect trip — we hope to see you!

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.