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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.

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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

Making Fabric Postcards: Want to Trade?

Updated July 9, 2020: Since originally writing this post, I’ve responded to a number of requests by filming a quick tutorial for you! Please take a look and read through my steps below — you’ll see this is an easy, fun fiber project that spreads some joy into the world!

I love to make fabric postcards… and not just make, but to use and mail. Watch my recent Creative Clip for my challenge to anyone interested in a fabric postcard trade!

Fabric postcards by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Some of us only get small moments in time to play with our fabric. I am one of those people. Because of that time crunch, I have developed a system to keep fabric postcards always in progress. When I get those small amounts of time, I can immediately get to work where I previously left off. And before I know it, I’ve produced 6-12 postcards at a time!

With the current global health crisis meaning that so many must stay home to safeguard their health, I’m stamping and addressing my postcards, in the hopes that they brighten someone’s day once found in their mailbox.

Fabric postcard by Judy Gula of Artistic ArtifactsIn addition to fabric scraps, I use the following supplies when creating fabric postcards:

  • Steam-A-Seam 2 (I prefer lite version) I like this fusible because it is sticky and allows me to lay small pieces/scraps of fabric and it holds them in place. If I want to move the fabric I can pull off and replace or move. I recommend you begin with a piece that is 12 in. x 18 in.
  • Pellon Peltex 71F One-Sided Fusible — I keep the fusible side for the card stock to be applied.
  • Non-stick craft sheet — such as a Goddess Sheet or the Bo-Nash Amazing Sheet. I use the largest size I have, so that it is both under and over my fusible
  • Thread
  • 4 in. x 6 in. index cards, or card stock cut to size

First, peel back one side the Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible. I don’t remove it all the way off — I peel it as I lay down fabrics scraps.

Judy Gula uses a variety of fabric scraps, selvages, orphan blocks and more to create her fabric postcards

I apply a variety of fabric scraps, selvages, orphan blocks and more. I do like to use smaller pieces to create a collage look on the Steam-A-Seam. Fill up the sheet with your fabric scraps as seen here..

Next step is the iron the fabric to the Steam-A-Seam, using your non-stick/Teflon sheet to secure the fabric.

Then, using a piece of Pellon Peltex 71F One-Sided Fusible inthe same size as your sheet of Steam-A-Seam 2, peel the last paper off the fusible and fit it to the non-fusible size of the Peltex.

IMPORTANT: make sure that you have your non-stick Teflon sheet (if you don’t own one, substitute parchment paper) under the fusible side of the Peltex or it will stick to the ironing board… Ask me how I know!

Free-motion stitching on Judy Gula's fabric postcards

Once the fabric collage is fused to the Peltex, I then have some fun at my sewing machine. Free motion stitch the entire front of your fabric collage. Note that there is a tendency for the glue to come off on the needle; it is sticky. It hasn’t caused me problems, but next time I’m going to try the Schmetz Super Nonstick Needles.

I use this stitching time to test out new freemotion “patterns” or to practice them. I also often follow the pattern in the patterns in the fabric scraps. This is also a great time to test out any fancy stitches your machine might have programmed. Sometimes I use one color thread, sometimes multiple — and specialty threads can be fun to play with too!

Fabric collaged sheet ready to be cut into postcards

Once my sheet is completely free-motion stitched (above), I cut it into 4 in. x 6 in. pieces for the postcards. I then apply the 4 in. x 6 in. index cards (or card stock cut to size) to the back side.

Zig-zag stitching the edges of the postcard

Stitch an open zig zag stitch around the four sides of the postcard. Don’t make the zig zag stitch too close, or you’ll perforate the card stock to the point that the edge could detach or pull off.

Detail, zig-zag edge of fabric postcard

If you have a postcard stamp, use it to dress up your back. If you don’t, simply write POSTCARD on the center top of the card. Write your recipients address and add a stamp on the right side of the postcard. First class postage is all you need! Then write your message on the left and drop it into the mail.

I’d love to trade postcards with you — watch my latest Creative Clip for my challenge!

Using Stripology Rulers

One of my favorite Creative Minds has authored this guest post — Chris has converted me into a Stripology fan too!

The Best Thing Since Rotary Cutters!

Guest post by Christine Vinh, StitchesnQuilts

Not being a notions junkie, I’ve limited my purchase of new sewing and quilting tools to pretty much the basics. That is, until I picked up one of the Creative Grids Stripology Rulers designed by Gundrun Erla of GE Designs to make a shop sample last year. The ruler slides easily over the fabric until pressure is applied. Then, the exclusive gripper holds the fabric in place while cutting through the slits in the marked increments, eliminating slipping and miss-cuts!

Emma quilt pattern designed by Gundrun Erla of GE Designs, cut using the Creative Grids Stripology rulers

Combining the precision butting using the rulers with the well written patterns by Gundrun means I can no longer claim that I cannot cut or sew a straight line. Above is my Emma quilt — I would have never considered the Emma quilt pattern if I had not already had success following the very clear instructions with great visuals on ruler placement for the cutting instructions! I didn’t realize I had forgotten to turn alternating blocks, but like how they mimic the hummingbird’s spread wings — fabric by Valori Wells. I used some Victoria Findley Wolfe fabric in this quilt too.

Use the Stripology rulers to cut yardage into popular precut charm square sizes

Stripology rulers are available in several sizes and configurations. You can cut full-width fabric and fat quarters into the most popular pre-cuts on the market, 1½ and 2½ inch strips; 5 and 10 inch charm squares. There’s no math required — simply follow the easy-to-read markings: squares for 2 inch cuts, and stars for 1 in. cuts! Above, the Stripology Squared Ruler cutting 10 inch squares of batik.

Use the Stripology rulers to precisely cut your fabric for piecing.

The Clarissa quilt pattern by GE Designs

Above, Stripology XL Quilt Ruler lined up to cut strips from Art Excursion, New Life fabric designed by Denise Burkitt (now sold out, see other fabric designed by Denise).

Shown here, the Clarissa quilt pattern, sewn with Wild Acres by Victoria Findley Wolfe fabric and a bit of Uppercase Volume 3 (fabrics now sold out). I used the Stripology Squared ruler, which includes markings to square up half-square triangles, quarter-square triangles, and blocks up to 12 inch. While Clarissa calls for assorted 10 inch square precuts (plus an accent fabric), one of the things I love about the Stripology Squared ruler is how easy and fast it is to cut precise charm squares out of any fabric you fancy!

The Lil’ Stella table runner pattern by GE Designs using a Jennifer Sampou Sky ombre paired with Atlantia by Studio RK;

Above, I pieced this Lil’ Stella table runner pattern using a Jennifer Sampou Sky ombre paired with Atlantia by Studio RK (sold out) ; the fabric to the right will be the backing.

Using Stripology ruler to cut fabric for the Lil’ Stella table runner pattern by GE Designs

Left, the Stripology Squared Mini Creative Grids Quilt Ruler cutting 5 inch squares of Atlantis for the Lil’ Stella pattern. Right, the ruler turned for cutting angles required by the pattern.

Precision piecing using a BERNINA with #97 Patchwork foot and the Sew Steady Grid Glider

Using my BERNINA with #97 Patchwork foot and the Sew Steady Grid Glider, combined with the accurate blocks cut by the Stripology rulers, makes precision piecing easy!

Below, I paired Kaffe Fassett fabrics with a Designer Essentials: Solids Fat Quarter Pack by Tula Pink. Trinity’s triangular blocks are easily made from precut fabrics — 10 in. squares, 2-1/2 strips, or fat quarters — using the Stripology XL ruler.

Trinity Stripology Mixer Pattern by GE Designs sewn by Chris Vinh and machine quilted by Alexandra Lush Benson

This shop sample quilt was made using the Trinity Stripology Mixer Pattern by GE Designs, and beautifully machine quilted by Alexandra Lush Benson — detail below.

Detail of free motion machine quilting by Alexandra Lush Benson

Below, Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula made her niece Layla an Emma quilt for a Christmas 2019. Always known for her freeform blocks, now Judy also raves over the Stripology rulers!

Emma quilt by Judy Gula, a gift for her niece Layla

Below, Layla’s sister Celia also received a quilt from Aunt Judy — wonderful improv!

Improv quilt by Judy Gula, a gift for her niece Celia

Modern Squares Quilt Tutorial

Modern Squares Quilt designed and quilted by Christine Vinh for Arttistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal
Modern Squares quilt in cool colors created by Chris Vinh for Artistic Artifacts

It’s not too late to create a quilt as a welcome holiday gift if you pick the right pattern! We wanted to re-share this popular tutorial. Designed, pieced and quilted by Christine Vinh, whenever these quilts have been on display, people have raved (including when it was on display in our International Quilt Festival booth a few years ago).

Chris has a beautiful instinct for mixing colors and patterns, and combined fabrics, including from our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik collection, to create both the above pictured quilt as well as a cool color version shown here — she says this is one of her favorite patterns. Here’s how to make your own!

Modern Squares Quilt Pattern

Designed and quilted by Christine Vinh, StitchesnQuilts

Modern Squares Quilts designed and quilted by Christine Vinh for Arttistic Artifacts

This pattern is a modification of Simply Styled Stacked Square Quilt, a free pattern by Erica Jackman of Kitchen Table Quilting. For the Artistic Artifacts version, Chris reduced the measurements to 8-inch squares and 2-inch strips.

Fabrics from Frond Design and our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik to create the Modern Squares Quilt

Instead of using the Jelly Rolls and Layer Cake fabrics that Erica used for this Moda project, Chris cut the fabrics she wanted to use from yardage. This is a great option for using fabrics you love — but feel free to take advantage of the convenience of precut fabrics as described by Erica.

The following are details to get you started — use our instructions for cutting (download a PDF to print for reference) — and review Erica’s tutorial for Moda Bake Shop as necessary for sewing and placement.

Our Modern Squares Quilts are made up of 23 squares, using one large square and two pairs of strips for borders around each square. Fabric requirements for a lap quilt, approximately 56 inches x 64 inches:

Cutting 2-inch strips the width of the fabric

  • 1 yard each of two (2) focus fabrics (as mentioned, we used fabrics from Frond Design and our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik)
  • 1 yard white
  • ½ yard of 6-8 fabrics
  • ½ yard fabric for binding
  • 2 yards fabric for backing

Cutting:

From the two focus fabrics and the white fabric, cut 2 (two) 8- inch strips and 2-4 (two to four) 2-inch strips the width of the fabric (WOF).

modernsquare8in

  • Cut one of the 8 inch strips into 5 (five) 8-inch squares.
  • From the second 8-inch strip, cut 2 (two) 8-inch squares
    • and then 4 (four) 2-inch strips from the remaining width of strip long.

From your assorted ½ yards of fabrics, cut 2-inch strips, or a combination of 8-inch strips cut into blocks and strips.

If you have chosen fabrics with stripes, cut the fabric with the stripes running the length of the strip.

Modern Quilt Squares block completed

Once cut, randomly select one 8-inch square and two sets of different fabric strips to create each block. Vary the selections so your blocks will all be different.

Sewing the Quilt Top:

Erica chose to cut the strips for inner and outer borders around the square; Chris instead used her WOF strips, and trimmed them square to the block as she proceeded.

An assortment of completed Modern Quilt Squares blocks

Sew two strips to top and bottom of a square, press, trim. Repeat the process of sewing the same fabric strip to the opposite sides, creating a square within a square.

Repeat these steps for the second border.

Once all squares are sewn (assortment shown here), cut each square in half vertically, and then in half again horizontally.

With the horizontal cut, you will then have 4 (four) identical quadrants of your original square.

Cutting a completed Modern Quilt Squares block into halves vertically Cutting the Modern Quilt Squares block horizontally for four identical blocks

Designing the Modern Quilts Squares layout

Once all of the blocks are sewn and cut, the real fun begins! Lay out the blocks into a rectangle eight (8) columns wide by nine (9) rows tall using your design wall or open floor space.

Chris used a placement that used a selection of both the Frond fabric blocks and the Batik Tambal Exclusive fabric as “whole” squares, to feature the fabric. Carefully arranging the other quarter squares around these intact blocks is what gives the stacked illusion.

You could also choose to be completely random without having any “whole” blocks. The design is all up to you!

Identifying and sorting your blocks and rows as you begin to sew

Once you have an arrangement you love, mark/sort your blocks in whatever method you’d like so that your layout will be intact.

Sew your rows together using a standard ¼-inch seam allowance.

The Artistic Artifacts sample is borderless, but you may add one or more borders if you desire.

Finishing:

Note that you will end up with some unused strips and small blocks. Erica suggests that these be pieced together to add interest to your backing fabric (see her photograph below).

Once your top is layered with batting and backing fabric, machine or hand quilt as desired.

Use leftover fabric from the yardage to piece your binding, or you may choose to use a complementary fabric. Bind your quilt using your choice of techniques.

Below, Erica Jackman’s original version, a lap quilt that finished to 68 in. x 76 in.

Simply Styled Stacked Square Quilt by Erica Jackman of Kitchen Table Quilting

Simply Style Stacked Squares Quilt by Erica Jackman of Kitchen Table Quilting;
photographs courtesy of the Moda Cutting Table blog.

The reverse of Erica Jackman’s quilt, which shows how she used her leftover blocks to accent her quilt backing fabric.

Simply Styled Stacked Square Quilt (reverse) by Erica Jackman of Kitchen Table Quilting

   • Print/PDF version of Erica’s tutorial for Moda Bake Shop »

 

A Peek at Gel Plate Printing

Monoprinted fabrics

It’s been a busy summer. Heck, it’s been a busy YEAR. And that can mean falling behind on tasks, such as keeping this blog and the Artistic Artifacts YouTube channel updated. So I wanted to pop in with a quick surface design demo — watch as I monoprint on a Gel Press-PolyGel Gel Plate on fabric.

As you see, monoprinting is easy — and I can tell you it is addictive! Simply apply your paint, ink, etc. with a brayer or other tool, make your mark with textures and press your substrate onto the plate and rub gently. Then just lift the print and admire!

Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paints and gel printing plates

Below is a view of the fabric monoprint I created in the Creative Clip. I worked with the manufacturers to formulate our Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paints so that it had the qualities to make it an ideal paint for gel plate monoprinting: an easy flow consistency right out of the squeeze bottle, high pigmentation, and permanent on fabrics.

Fabric printed on gel plate with Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paint by Judy Gula

When brayering, your paint colors can stay somewhat distinctive as in my red and yellow swatch, or you can blend them together to create a completely new color, as in the below example.

Adding paint to a gel plate and brayering it smooth

While acrylic-based paints such as our paints are the most popular choices, a wide variety of medium can be applied. The manufacturer of the Gel Press Plates notes that they have seen prints created with everything from tempera to oil pigments sticks (such as Shiva Paintstiks), alcohol inks and more. They offer this tip: if you can wash the media off the plate with materials you would use to clean your hands, then it should work well on the plate.

Rubbing plates and stencils impart texture on a round gel printing plate

You have so many options to create texture and pattern in your paint before you pull your print! Pictured above left is a rubbing plate impression (Cedar Canyon Rubbing Plates are sold in sets of six and are deeply embossed with patterns); right is a stencil in place on a round printing plate.

Monoprinted fabric created on a gel printing place with Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paint and wooden printing blocks.

And we all know my love of wooden printing blocks… their texture means they are wonderful to pick up paint off the plate, as in the example above, leaving a design behind. And of course that loaded wood block is immediately stamped onto another piece of fabric or paper!

Jamie Malden of Coloricious block printing on monoprinted fabric

I thought you might enjoy seeing this photo of the quilt pictured at the top of this post (in detail; the full shot is below) while it was in progress. That’s Jamie Malden of Coloricious adding the white wood block prints to our gel plate printed fabric blocks. I borrowed this photo from Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution’s 2013 “3 Artists + 3 Days = Creative Frenzy.” blog posting. Jamie was in the U.S. and we were lucky enough to host her for a block printing class; Liz was in town too, so the three of us set aside a few days to do some creative collaborating here at Artistic Artifacts. (My March 2020 Block Printing Tour of India is a Coloricious Holiday — join me for this once in a lifetime experience!

I hope this post inspires you to try monoprinting or other surface design technique — creating your own fabric or paper is very satisfying and ensures your finished artwork is truly unique.

Art quilt created in collaboration: Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts, Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution and Jamie Malden of Coloricious

Copyright © 2021 artisticartifacts.com.