Encouraging Fiber Arts in the Next Generation

Girl Scout Troop #776 volunteers for the Fun with Fabric project

Girl Scout Troop #776 volunteers for the Fun with Fabric project. Organizer Celia Middleton is standing, top row, left.

My niece Celia Middleton from Girl Scout Troop #776 recently organized a free* quilting educational activity for her Girl Scout Silver Award, and I was proud to support her as a sponsor!

Celia’s Fun with Fabric – Make Your Own Mini Quilt activity took place on Sunday, May 31 at the 42nd Annual Quilter’s Unlimited Quilt Show in Chantilly, VA.

She developed this project so that participants began with creating a stamped fabric with wooden printing blocks, added batting and backing and then completed the “quiltlet” by hand stitching, which kept the three layers together. These little pieces of fiber art thus illustrated what a quilt is. This event was open to all ages, and all ages participated!

Instructions and illustrations created by Celia Middleton for her Fun with Fabric project

Celia had to organize and administer this project on her own, including documenting her hours of work related to the project, to begin achieving the levels needed to qualify for her Silver Award.

Advance work included an initial meeting with a quilt show representative, lots of practice of the techniques needed so that the steps could be taught, creating samples for display, developing signage and information/illustration boards (pictured above), preparing the supplies of fabric, batting, needles and thread (donated by Artistic Artifacts) and training her helpers, which included her younger sister, Layla.

Learning to block print

Learning to print with wooden printing blocks

Fun with Fabric at the Quilters Unlimited 2015 Quilt Show

A young show visitor displays her finished quiltlet

The pride of learning new creative skills shows as this young participant displays her finished quiltlet.

In addition to this educational activity, Celia is planning to make quilts and donate them to charity as part of her Silver Award project. She asked participants to donate wood block printed squares to be used in these quilts that she will sew. Celia also hosted a fundraiser for the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital SHARE program. The SHARE (Share Her Annual Real Expenses) program helps pay for membership fees, camp and other Girl Scout activities. Celia collected $20 in donations from workshop participants and is planning to continue collecting donations for this worthwhile cause!

Ellen West and her committee co-chair Carla Lounsbury of the Annandale chapter of Quilter’s Unlimited were our quilt show liaisons and created a great space for the project. I hope you enjoy the photographs included here of the girls in action. I know they enjoyed welcoming many participants and teaching them the joys of quilting!

Girl Scout volunteers teaching hand stitching

The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts who arrived wearing their uniforms on that Sunday were admitted to the show at no charge. We hope that the quilt show admin will consider allowing the Scouts in uniform free for all 3 days of the show. It is so important to encourage a love of traditional arts such as quilting in the next generation, and demonstrations like Celia’s and programs such as free or reduced admission to shows and events are steps to achieving that goal.

Girl Scout volunteers block printing

Girl Scout volunteers block printing. That's the Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal booth in the background. I had a birds-eye view of the action in the demonstration area!


All ages enjoyed the Fun with Fabric project

* Donations were accepted for the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital SHARE family giving campaign.

Wood Block Printed Fabric

Snowflake Wooden Printing Block used on fabric

Snowflake Wooden Printing Block used on fabric

Wooden Printing Blocks are wonderful to create unique and personal fabrics and papers. We’ve included information about our newest designs as well as some basic information about block printing in the latest edition of the Artistic Artifacts e-newsletter — read it online.

The above photograph shows how I have used a snowflake wooden printing block with textile paint, deColourant and deColourant Plus on both fabric and Lutradur.

I think of snowflakes as being light and translucent, so I thought Lutradur (I used the 70 lb. weight) would be the perfect material to use to create snow flakes to place on top of my printed fabrics.

I printed with blue paint and my snow flake wooden printing block on white Lutradur.

Here I have my heavy teflon craft sheet underneath and my Walnut Hollow woodburning/heat cutting tool ready to cut the snow flakes out.

Cutting SnowflakesLutradur is a synthetic material and will burn quickly. There is a bit of a smell, so working in a ventilated area is to your benefit. Move the tool, using a fine tip, along the line you want to cut rather quickly. If you turn the tip to the wide edge, it will burn a larger surface.

I expected the “cut” edges to separate on their own and have the excess fall away, but I had to pull it.

Still happy with the process and my snowflakes.

Next to figure out what how to bring the samples of printed fabric samples together. I thought I would keep the different size samples, border them with the same “pattern” then sew them together.

My go-to fabrics are Batik Tambal’s Combanasi batik and M&S Textiles Australian Aboriginal prints…so I tried this blue with black Australian fabric on the left. Thinking the strip should be 2" wide, I placed the printed fabric approximately 2" apart.

I decided to go with a totally scrappy look.

In my stash, I already had this piece of blue strips of fabrics already sewn together.  Again I was thinking 2" strips between all the printed blocks. I cut one strip and sewed it to a block and the 2" was too big. I cut the future strips, so that after they were sewn they would finsh off to be 1" wide.

[Below, cutting 1½" wide strips, to finish to 1" wide.]

The pre-sewn strips were not long enough, so I just sewed them together again.

Here is where I am at the moment. I am not liking the results. I think the strips are still too big and am trying to figure out a way to cut them down with out the dreaded “unsewing.” This quilt is definitely NOT talking to me!

But it’s not a dog bed yet! There is still hope.

It is difficult to see, but I placed several Lutradur snow flakes on top of the quilt [photograph below]. The Lutradur Snow Flakes were the successful experiment in this blog post!  I am definitely liking them.

Snowflake quilt with Lutradur snowflakes

So there you have it — a work in progress! Not sure I will how far I will get tonight. I am definitely cutting the strips to ½" and will update with a new photo.

My challenge to you is to grab some of your wood block printed fabric and using orphaned blocks and/or borders and create a collage. Send us a photo of your quilt and we will add it to the blog post. I know there are better examples of Block Printed Artwork than mine! Let’s see them!

Cyndi Souder cut her Stamped images differently. What if I tried that? What if you did?

Cyndi Souder's Block Printed leaf quilt

Above, another sample from Cyndi Souder.

Sarah Entsminger created a whole cloth quilt.

Below, in honor of the upcoming season, a fun little quilt I created using one of our Christmas Tree wooden printing blocks.

Holiday Tree Quilt by Judy Gula