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We received the following email from Cathy Ward: “I am very excited about the indigo class on Saturday! I went back to look at my blog post on when I visited the town in Japan that is famous for their shibori and I thought you might enjoy.” Well, we did — so much so we asked for her permission to “guest blog” for us, and she agreed. Thank you so much for sharing the experience and your beautiful photos with us, Cathy!

Arimatsu & Shibori

by Cathy Ward — ma vie trouvée (My found life: Traveling, eating, and creating art!)

The quaint town of Arimatsu is one of the most famous locations for shibori in Japan. I had read about it, so three of us “trailing spouses” hopped on the local train and headed about forty-five minutes outside of Nagoya for a visit. Eight families settled the town in 1608 and they have been creating this type of fabric ever since.

Shibori is the Japanese word for the different ways of embellishing textiles by binding, stitching, folding, or twisting and securing it with string before dyeing – basically a form of tie-dyeing. The fabrics shown here are scraps I bought created in this style.

In Japan, the earliest known example of cloth dyed with the shibori method dates back to the 8th century.

Shibori was originally an art of the poor. People could not afford to buy new clothing, so they would repair and dye their old clothing using the shibori technique. The intricate pattern hid stains well, as in the example pictured below.

Eventually it became a technique of the rich, as a way to decorate the silk used for kimonos. There is a wonderful little museum in the town, Arimatsu-Narumi Shiborikaikan, where you can watch women creating many of the complex designs.

The basic technique of shibori is to draw a design on a piece of fabric (usually silk or cotton), then tie very tight knots with thread around points of the fabric. These women are so skilled they no longer need a pattern.

Which technique is used in shibori depends not only on the desired pattern, but the characteristics of the cloth being dyed. Also, different techniques can be used in conjunction with one another to achieve even more elaborate results.


I can’t image the time it takes to create one piece of material. Above is what it looks like just before dyeing…

Since the dye does not penetrate the knots, when they are untied there is a pattern of dyed and un-dyed areas. The fabric pictured at right is similar the pattern she was making.

These women were not young to be sitting all day in what is called “seiza position” (literally “proper sitting”) while they worked.

Pictured above, this woman is actually folding the material in a fan pattern before wrapping the thread around it. See the water bottle? She sprayed the fabric periodically, probably making it easier to fold.

Her fabric will turn out like the one pictured above They did not speak English, but were able to communicate through their art. We also saw a video on the process, which was in English and very helpful.

Here are a few samples of different fabric in the museum. Indigo blue with white is the most traditional color, but today it is made in many of colors.




Pictured below is a scarf I bought — love the colors and the texture. It was made from linen, not silk.


Pictured above are more scraps I bought. You know me, always collecting!

I am starting to see collages with the scraps I purchased!

My last item to share is pictured below: a small purse I purchased that was made from some of the shibori fabric. This is the style they carry with kimonos.

I hope this post inspires you — maybe you can wrap and dye some fabric using this special technique and see what you come up with. And be sure to share it with me!

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I was able to run into the Washington DC one rainy afternoon and find a parking space close to the Freer|Sackler. Unheard of!

The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery — together, the Freer|Sackler, are the Smithsonian’s museums of Asian art. These galleries are under-appreciated among the more well-known giants such as the Air and Space Museum and the Natural History Museum etc. But it was my destination for this visit because they had a wonderful exhibit featuring ikats from Central Asia.

To Dye For: Ikats from Central Asia is a feast for the eyes. Within the exhibit there is documentation about Uzbekistan and the Fergana Valley creating the world’s most beautiful silk ikats. I will have to agree!

As a weaver in my previous art life, I can tell you it is pure magic to see these Warp and Weft Ikat in silk. I would have enjoyed seeing a loom set up — a missed opportunity by the curators in my opinion. In the gallery below (click to see larger versions) I’m sharing some of the photos I took, both of the textiles as well as garments, with meaning both couture and cultural.

To Dye For: Ikats from Central Asia is on exhibit at the Freer Gallery of Art until July 29, 2018, and there are some wonderful entertainment and educational events planned in conjunction with it. If you are local, or visiting the Washington DC area for a summer trip, please take some time to visit.

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I’m doing some springtime travel: presenting my Batik Adventure lecture and trunk show to the Colorado Quilting Council on Saturday, April 28, and also teaching my Woodblock Printed Collage Art Quilt for the group on Sunday, April 29. (FYI, this class will also take place May 19 at Artistic Artifacts.)

The workshop will take place at the Cottonwood Center for the Arts, in Colorado Springs, also home to Textiles West and my oft-mentioned friends Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution and Ruth Chandler, who are both are on the Textiles West board. I’m reminded of a Colorado visit nearly eight years ago, teaching a class titled Dye. Layer. Collage. Art. at a Textile Evolution Retreat. The quilt I made there is pictured above, my “Lady with Brooch.”

Art and inspiration are timeless, so while my original blog post about this 2010 event is no longer available, I wanted to share again, this time including additional photos taken by Liz.

The first day of class we were immersed in making what I called “bits,” the base materials for our creations. We began with dyeing fabrics, vintage linens, trims and more. In the high-altitude Colorado climate, we could dye in jars, set out in the sun for three hours, rinse and line dry, and use in our quilts — all in the same day! (While the process is not that speedy on the East Coast, I have several Dye Days on the schedule now that the weather is warming.)

Day one also found us using fabric, tissue paper and paints to create fabric paper. You can download Making Fabric from Paper by Beryl Taylor, a PDF tutorial from the Cloth Paper Scissors blog to learn how youreself. During the retreat we would finish out each day with show and tell, and in this photo (right) you can see finished sheets of fabric paper and piles of hand-dyed fabric being passed around. It was fun to see what students in the other classes were up to each day!

In addition to the daytime classes, each evening the instructors would take turns doing another fiber arts related demonstration and hands-on activity. Pictured above, I demonstrated making silk paper using silk fibers, Angelina, Jo Sonja Textile Medium and more, adding to our stash of bits to use. (View my tutorial on creating silk paper on the Artistic Artifacts website)

The above detail photo of my Lady with Brooch quilt shows some of the fabric paper and dyed trims, as well as the vintage brooch reference in my title.

The second day of class, my students had a choice of continuing to make bits (a glimpse of which are pictured right; including some of the student work begun), or to immediately start in on designing their quilts. They had to do so without pencil, paper, or preplanning — just letting the materials speak to them.

This was scary for all, but thanks to Cass Mullane and Laura Cater-Woods, every retreat attendee was issued a ‘permission slip’ to try something scary!

By beginning with an inspiration item such as a pin, photo or found object, they all were able to create a small art quilt that could be easily finished (if necessary) after the retreat concluded. Above you can see students beginning to experiment with layering fabrics and textiles to find the design they wanted to complete.

I was very proud of my students — they all stepped into the scary land of intuitive designing! Unfortunately I didn’t capture all of the work, but they all did a fabulous job. Above and below, student work experimenting with possible layouts.

Below, Cathleen “Cat” Mikkelson’s collage composition.

Cat’s inspiration was a “Famous Woman Card” that was included in the retreat Goodie Bag and her newly dyed fabrics.

Above, Ruth Chandler at work composing two different pieces.

Ruth’s inspiration was the beautiful dyed and surface designed fabric she created combined with the photo, one of many I brought with me for student use.

Here you see more of Ruth’s fabric, but for this piece, the inspiration was a 12 in. × 12 in. piece of scrapbooking paper! Other Artists who taught at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010 were Laura Cater-Woods, a wonderful art coach, artist and friend and Carol Sloan.

This was the first time I had met Carol and I wrote then that she was “a new friend who draws wonderful designs, creates very cool rusted fabrics and loves found objects… wonder why we get along!”

My mother Pat Vincentz accompanied me on the trip to the retreat. While I was busy teaching, she took Carol’s two-day mixed media class Scraps, Fragments and Artifacts. She enjoyed herself, met new friends and then surprised me with the most wonderful quilt ever!

There was a photo of me and my mom holding it, me sweaty and sobbing. With my first blog post, I wrote that my readers were to “Keep in mind this quilt was a surprise and I was crying like a baby! I also had been working outside in 90 degree sunshine…you are supposed to be looking at the quilt!” This time around, I’m going to spare myself that embarrassment and just post the beautiful keepsake.

You can see my mom used some of Carol’s rust dyed fabric in her quilt. I used a wonderful piece too in my quilt; the detail photo below shows it as well as the free motion thread painting/quilting I used. I now sell my own Rusted Fabric Collage Pack — it adds such a great touch to fiber projects!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this walk down memory lane and are inspired to create your own art quilt!

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If you’re like me, one of the things you admire with the arrival of spring are the beautiful shades of green as new growth emerges. I focused on green with this art quilt, which I titled “The Lady in the Garden” and featured four years ago on this blog. I wanted to revisit it and again share insights into my process for creating a fiber collage/art quilt.

Over the last few years I have worked a lot with batiks and batik panels, to the point where I think some of my newer customers don’t realize my first and true love: working with vintage items! Many times a vintage photo is all it takes to spark my imagination. The Lady in the Garden, currently on display in the shop, began with a vintage black and white photo that I found and instantly loved.

I scanned it and then modified in Photoshop (you could also use Photoshop Elements or any photo editing program), choosing to colorize the photo with a green hue. I could have left it as is, but since I had visualized wonderful spring green leaves, I wanted to work monochromatically. You can do the same using your own favorite color with any favorite black and white or sepia photo. Once I had colorized my image, I printed it onto Transfer Artist Paper (TAP, developed by fiber artist Lesley Riley — unfortunately due to manufacturing changes this product is no longer available) and then transferred it to 70 wt. Lutradur. You could also print directly onto the Lutradur, or use another of the many products available to print a photo onto fabric. My final colorized image, ready to sew, is shown above, as well as a hint of materials that I thought I would incorporate into this art quilt.

I begin my design process by tossing the fabric and embellishments around. I knew I wanted to work with my hand dyed fabrics, and my vintage Trims and Laces. I just pull materials and lay them in a sorted pile. Then I walk away from it. Thus when I come back it after a break, I make my next choice with fresh eyes. Sometimes I have to do this several times each, adding and subtracting new fabrics and trims, until I finally see an arrangement that “clicks” and makes me smile.

My next step is to finalize my choices of embellishments. Some materials are selected very early in my process, while others are chosen after my main fabrics have been selected. Pictured above I have pulled materials including a mixture of green beads, pearls, vintage millinery trims , and hand dyed vintage trims pulled from one of my Inspiration Packs. Artistic Artifacts sells some great ribbon, including the popular Web Weave seen at the top of the above photo — a great way to add texture and color to any fiber or mixed media project. A substitute for the leaf trim you see above could be our leaf vine ribbon, available in regular or jumbo sizes.

Another art quilt in progress that featured beading. Beads come in such a variety of shapes, sizes and colors and add the perfect touch to fiber &mixed media projects.

And whenever possible I love to add some form of beading to my art quilts (detail of another project shown here). Beautiful beads add the perfect touch of color, shine and texture. The bead soup mixtures sold at Artistic Artifacts are the same ones that I use in my artwork and are an easy, inexpensive way to guarantee yourself a variety of bead sizes, styles and shades to enhance your jewelry, fiber and mixed media projects. These are favorites of Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution, author of First-Time Beading on Fabric: Learning to Bead in Nine Easy Lessons, my first recommendation for those who want to learn to embellish their quilts, decor and garments with beading. (Don’t let the “First Time” in the title fool you; this is a great resources even for those who have beading experience!) My favorite Tulip needles also come in beading versions of various sizes, flexible and easy to thread, with a rounded tip that does not split thread.

At the stage pictured above, I had worked on the focal point of the art quilt. At this point everything was stitched down in the center. My original decision was to not stitch the background, and I came to believe that I goofed by not doing so. Lesson learned, and I now know stitch the backing before layering my photo. In this project I did add quilting… but it would have been easier to do it earlier.

As I continued working, there ended up being differences from the materials I originally started with and thought I would use, which you can see in my completed art quilt photo at the beginning of this post. You can also view a larger image to see additional detail.

As pictured here, the vintage millinery used turned out to be beige, not peach. I used turquoise-colored beads, not green. The trims are darker than my original lighter choices. (Of course any unused materials aren’t discarded but go back into the stash, waiting for another project.)

I find that many times you can become paralyzed by the number of options possible when creating, and therefore end up completing nothing at all. There could have been a million options on how to create an art quilt with this —or any — photo as a a focal point. You just have to choose one and begin! As you see from my example, you may end up changing things along the way, but your end goal should simply be that you’re happy with your final product.

And I am! I like the essentially monochromatic color scheme, and The Lady in the Garden still makes me smile when I look at it. One of the key things I love about art quilts is that there are no rigid rules, except maybe just one: begin! Pick an inspiration point, take a look at your stash, and see where the creative process leads you.

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Christine Vinh (left) and Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula present Roy Mitchell’s quilting students with three bolts of Batik Tambal Exclusive Batiks for their classroom.

The Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival is always a good event for Artistic Artifacts. Because it takes place in Hampton, VA, we see lots of local friends who have made the trip. And we are always grateful for our many repeat customers who seek out the Artistic Artifacts booth to see what we brought along with us. We are inspired by the works many of our customers have in the show and pieces they bring along with them to show us.

This year a particular highlight was meeting up with Roy Mitchell, Jr. and three of his quilting students, young men incarcerated at The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice’s Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center. We have met Roy in the past when he brought the young men to the show for inspiration, but this year was special. Mitchell’s students had their own special exhibit in the show, We Are Somebody: Quilting Program presents Just 4 U. The use of color, design, and workmanship of the 19 quilts by these young men deserved their place in the show, and we’d like to share our photographs of some of these beautiful works.

From the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival’s description of its 2018 Virginia Quilt Guilds special exhibits: “The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice’s (DJJ) quilting program, believed to be the only quilting class in the country in a male juvenile corrections setting, teaches not just the hard skills involved in this difficult craft — planning, design, measuring, geometry, sewing — but also critical life skills such as goal-setting, patience, frustration management, public speaking, and the value of precision. Instructor Roy Mitchell, Jr. instills the notion that ‘You Are Somebody’ to all his students. Hundreds of quilts made by DJJ residents have been given to hospitals and homeless encampments, and featured in art galleries in Virginia, Michigan and California.”

We took the opportunity to talk with Mr. Mitchell and his students — who learn his class mantra “I am somebody” when they enter his classroom — upon seeing them in the exhibit area near our booth. The pride and joy on their faces was enough to bring us to tears. When we asked who did the quilting of their pieces, one of the boys was quick to say he was the quilter.

DJJ Quilting Instructor Roy Mitchell lifts a quilt to reveal the intricate detail work on the back. He has been teaching quilting since 2012.

We encouraged them to take full advantage of the skills they have learned in the quilt classes. We were so impressed that we presented several bolts of our Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik fabric (pictured at the top of this post) for use in their classroom to the group, with a promise to stay in touch and make future donations. By the end of our conversation Mitchell was planning a road trip to Artistic Artifacts with some of his students to spend a day with our local quilters.

The boys also give back to their community, and recently Mitchell, accompanied by Deana Williams, director of post-secondary programs at Yvonne B. Miller High School, took 35 of the students’ creations to the Third Street Bethel AME Church in Richmond to give to homeless people who were waiting outside the church for a meal. Participants in the program have created quilts that have been exhibited throughout the country and have also created a Virginia-themed quilt that now hangs in the lobby of the Patrick Henry Building in downtown Richmond.

Square in a Square, 46 in. x 80 in., by L.R

Visit the Sewing With Nancy website to watch a video of Nancy Zieman’s January 2017 interview with Roy Mitchell, which includes a view of the Virginia-themed quilt — an impressive 10 feet by 12 feet — from the Patrick Henry building. You’ll also learn he has very stringent entrance requirements for this special program. (At least one Artistic Artifacts staffer is certain she would flunk the math exam!)

Fading, 78 in. x 88 in. by J.M.

We look forward to their future visit to Artistic Artifacts and hope to support them in their quilting endeavors. We also hope you are as inspired as we were by the creativity and workmanship shown by these young men, and by the dedication of their instructor, who has taught quilting to 200 participants with a 0% recidivism.

Something Out of Nothing, 43 in. x 61 in., by B.B.

Flower in a Garden, 55 in. x 55 in. by D.H.

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SAQA member Sarah Bond won the eQuilter Quilting Excellence award at Quilt Con 2018 and is pictured here with her quilt.

          Guest Post by Lisa Ellis, President of Studio Art Quilt Associates
          Learn more about Lisa below.

I have returned from QuiltCon, held in Pasadena CA, from Feb 22-25. I was representing Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA), a non-profit membership organization that is passionate about the art quilt. So why was SAQA (an art quilt-focused organization) at QuiltCon, the Modern Quilt Guild show — which is all about the modern quilt?

SAQA defines the art quilt as a “a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure.” From SAQA’s perspective, this includes modern quilts! SAQA is trying to break down the barriers of categorizing art quilts as different than modern quilts. If they are original works, they are ART (and the quilt makers are ARTISTS).

SAQA had a booth in the non-profit area to engage with the quilt show visitors. We had one of our trunk shows which are 50 little 6” x 8” artworks that show samples of our members’ work. The trunk show was eye candy that brought people into the booth. You can see a portion of the SAQA trunk show in the photo above as I pose with QuiltCon attendees Joyce, Jone and Bernice. From there we could talk about our mission and benefits to membership — like our stellar publications, education, and exhibition programs.

In addition, we had a Special Exhibit called “Modern Inspirations: Art Quilts from the 1970s Through Today.” This exhibit showed how quilt artists from the early days of the art quilt movement in the 1970s were working in the abstract and geometric style. The modern quilt movement that started in the mid-2000’s built on the successes and aesthetic of earlier artists. Pictured above, Maria Shell, author of Improv Patchwork, holds the exhibit catalog.

Daisy Aschehoug poses with her quilt in the SAQA booth. Daisy was a member of the QuiltCon 2018 faculty and has had a number of quilts published in magazines such as Modern Quilts Unlimited, Love Patchwork and Quilting, and Modern Patchwork.

Nancy Bavor, a former SAQA Board Member and currently the Director of the San Jose Quilts and Textiles Museum, gave a quilt history lecture about the art quilt movement which began in the 1960s. Nancy showed the influences of the modern art movement in the early days of the quilt revival, and how the trends continue today of current art influenceinh quilt making styles.

I was on the QuiltCon faculty and conducted three “before hours” gallery walks through all the special exhibits, to include the SAQA Modern Inspirations, and the AIDS Quilt, Carolyn Friedlander’s featured artist work, and MQG Quilts of the Month. It was a great experience to spend an hour with 35 visitors and to educate about curation, design, SAQA and the power of quilts in activism and healing.

QuiltCon is a fantastic show filled with amazing original works of art, exciting vendors, lectures and workshops: view a list of the 2018 winners.

About Lisa Ellis

Lisa Ellis is a quilt artist, teacher and lecturer, passionate about quilting and using quilts to make the world a better place. She frequently lectures on healing quilts and inspire quilters to get involved in using their love of quilting to improve health care centers and hospitals.

Lisa is the director of the non-profit organization Sacred Threads. Sacred Threads is a biennial exhibition dedicated to sharing our most personal quilts with themes of spirituality, joy, inspiration, healing, grief and peace/brotherhood. (Artistic Artifacts is now a proud sponsor of Sacred Threads!) The 2019 exhibit opens July 11, 2019.

Desiring to give back to the non-profit world, Lisa serves on the board of directors for organizations that have missions she strongly believes in. She is the current President of SAQA and Treasurer of the Quilt Alliance, which brings together the creative, scholarly, and business worlds of quiltmaking to celebrate and preserve our shared quilt heritage and inspire today’s quilters.

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Several years ago during the holiday season I wrote about creating felt-covered journals (my turorial is expanded on below). I mentioned that I generally batch or make multiples of art, in that case making four journal covers at one time… a great process for making gifts! I’ve realized I hadn’t shared the cover (pictured above) of the journal I kept for myself, and so in celebration of February being National Embroidery Month, am sharing some of my stitching here.

Pictured above, and stitching detail photo right, is the finished hand-stitched felt/wool mixed media journal cover. Natural fiber felts are perfect for needlefelting (by hand or machine), or as a base for hand-stitching.

Plus, in addition to commercial felts, I enjoy using upcycled wool sweaters and fabrics that have been “fulled” (washed in hot water and dried to shrink and tighten the fibers) as a base for switching. You can see the fun striped sweater created a beautiful accent!

Above, commercial felt and fulled wool sweaters were used to create my journal cover. I simply cut simple shapes to add, plus traced a more elaborate scroll design to appliqué to the base felt fabric. These shapes were accented with blanket stitching, simple straight stitches, running stitching and cross-stitching.

WonderFil Specialty Threads feature a large number of beautiful threads, such as Sue Spargo’s collection of Eleganza, perfect for hand-stitching. Here, WonderFil Specialty Threads embellish wool hearts on an upcycled sweater swatch. Above left features French knots; right are Bullion knots (use a Bullion Knot Needle for ease in creating these). Also pictured below, these stitched hearts are an example of a project demonstrated and completed during our monthly Hand Stitch Third Thursday sessions.

I am always touting Modern Hand Stitching by Ruth Chandler: it’s a wonderful resource, giving 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. Artistic Artifacts also carries a number of other beautiful embroidery books complete with instructions, patterns and projects.

This blog post is giving you instructions to create a mixed media journal, but imagine the above pictured examples (more of my hand-stitching on wool) instead sewn into a zipper pouch… wouldn’t that make the perfect storage for your favorite thread spools? Or how about working larger, or stitching together different squares, to create a pillow? Your only limit is your imagination!

Creating Mixed Media Journals

Select your commercial felt base or fulled wool swatch. The bright light green pictured here is XoticFelt, which came as a large 20" x 22" swatch. I folded it in half, ironed the fold line, folded it in half again and ironed that fold.

Doing this created easy to follow cutting lines to cut my four book covers. Because I was “batching” my work to create multiple journals to use as gifts, I used the entire piece and these covers measured 10" x 11". This was a bit unusual in size, but I didn’t waste any felt! Of course you can choose to make your cover in any size you like.

The next step is to cut a backing for the felt. This surface will serve as your inside front and back cover. My favorite to use is Roc-lon Multi-Purpose Cloth™. Comparable to canvas, this 70% Polyester/30% cotton material is flexible, soft, and prepared for painting and collaging. Using it makes your felt cover sturdier and more durable. Cut the Multi-Purpose Cloth (or your desired material) the same size, or a bit smaller than the size of the felt.

You will also want to cut your choice of found papers, and cards to go on the inside of the book. You can cut all your paper for your page signatures the same size, or you can, like in my example, incorporate different sizes for interest.

This is an ideal way to recycle junk mail, wrapping paper scraps, and more. You can also incorporate sheets of fabric into your pages as I did. If you do, you can stitch inside your book, or pin or fuse items to the fabric. The sky’s the limit!

You now have three elements working: embroidered felt or wool for the front cover, Multi-Purpose Cloth for the inside cover, and your pages.

Front Cover:

Cut small pieces of contrasting felt to create a design, and hand-stitch with floss using straight or embroidery stitches. I’ve included a photo here of a different stitched book cover I created for additional ideas — I love stitching on buttons! As noted above Artistic Artifacts carries a number of hand-stitching and embroidery books, plus there are a huge number of online and YouTube resources for learning embroidery stitches. You could also choose to machine stitch your cover — a great opportunity to practice free-motion quilting!

Inside Cover:

Next is the Multi-Purpose Cloth. You can leave this plain/white, or create some surface design with paint or inks. I’ve used stencils and spray inks to quickly pattern the inside cover of the Multi-Purpose Cloth.

When working with spray inks, make sure your work surface is well covered, or place your item in a box. In the photo examples here, I have used a red plastic tablecloth to protect the table surface, topping it with tissue paper.

I add the tissue paper because then it builds my stash — I can use any of the oversprayed tissue in other mixed media projects! Spray your first color of ink lightly through the stencil.

After I lifted the stencil off, I let it dry (spray inks dry quickly) and then continued the process, spraying all four of my Multi-Purpose Cloth at the same time, using different colors of ink. I also added a small stencil and used another color ink. Let dry.

To continue, the non-sprayed or plain side of your Multi-Purpose Cloth needs to have Mistyfuse applied to it. I’ve often mentioned using Mistyfuse in projects; you know I love it! But remember, it requires the use of a Goddess Sheet, the Bo-Nash Amazing Sheet or any brand of non-stick (Teflon) craft sheet (parchment paper will also work) to cover the surface while ironing. Pictured here, the plain side of my Multi-Purpose cover has a layer of white Mistyfuse (hard to see, I know, but you can pick up the webbing texture) that is being covered by the non-stick sheet. I iron on top of the sheet, which fuses the Mistyfuse to the interior covers.

Once the Mistyfuse has been applied, all the pieces are ready:

  1. Outside Cover: the felt has a pattern and color stitched to the front.
  2. Inside Cover: the Multi-Purpose Cloth has color on one side (or was left plain) and Mistyfuse on the other side.
  3. Pages: Paper and fabric is assembled for the interior of the book.
Stitching & Embellishing Pages:

Stitch the paper to your inside cover Multi-Purpose Cloth. I found the center by simply folding all the papers and fabrics. I also folded the Multi-Purpose Cloth and lined everything up according to that fold — remember, your color side faces up so it is visible — and straight stitched down the center.

Set your sewing machine to sew a long, straight stitch — shorter stitches too close together can cause the paper to perforate and then fall out.

These mixed media journals are also a great place to use your favorite washi tape: apply the tape over the stitching (above) to hide it if you prefer. Washi tape is also a simple and decorative way to create fold out pages and pockets.

Finishing Your Mixed Media Journal:

Your last step is to fuse your stitched felt cover to the plain side of your Multi-Purpose Cloth interior cover — which has already had the Mistyfuse applied. Trim your edges if it’s necessary.

You can add finishing touches like a button closure and an attached fabric tie, as in my example. Pictured below is my journal opened to show both the front and back stitching and how the fabric tie was stitched on.

Finally, enjoy your new journal… and if you have batched your construction, enjoy giving away these special gifts!

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Christine Vinh of StitchesnQuilts created a beautiful modern quilt for display at Artistic Artifacts that features the Squared Elements line from Art Gallery fabrics — a quick and easy quilt to put together!

Chris used methods similar to a Jelly Roll Race quilt (there are many Jelly Roll Race tutorials online), but instead of using a prepackaged Jelly Roll of strips, she rotary cut her strips, and also incorporated solid white into her design.

Chris began by choosing 13 colors of Squared Elements: Blueberry, Cyan, Fuchsia, Honeycomb, Lime, Mandarin, Navy, Noir, Pomegranate, Shadow, Turquoise, Wasabi and Watermelon.

Her first step was to cut the Squared Elements fabrics into 2.5 inch wide strips. She then cut those strips into different (and random) lengths. A solid white cotton fabric was cut into strips that were 2.5 inches wide (the same as the colored fabrics), but a consistent length, 5.5 inches.

To begin the quilt construction, Chris stitched together the randomly cut longer color strips on the short 2.5 inch end, alternating each color with the white 2.5 inch x 5.5 inch strip.

Chris notes that the length of the sewn strips you create will depend on what size quilt you desired. “I made mine approximately the size of my design wall,” she said, “but a bit longer to allow for some minor adjustment in vertical strip placement.”

She continued randomly stitching the colored strips to the white strips, placing them on her design wall when complete. Once you have enough strips completed to create the width of the quilt, fine-tune your strip placement if desired. Once your strip order is determined, square up the ends of your strips if you have staggered the vertical placement of the strip to achieve a more pleasing order. Stitch all strips together on the long sides to complete the quilt top.

One aspect of the Jelly Roll Race quilts is that the strip placement is NOT planned and you’re encouraged not to fuss over it. Chris challenged herself to work in the same random way. If two like-colored strips end up next to one another, that’s okay!

Chris is known for creating quilts that are just as pretty on the reverse by piecing her backings, and this quilt is no exception — see above. She used leftover Squared Elements fabrics and pieced them with Moonstone Pure Elements fabric, also from Art Gallery.

The finishing touch was machine quilting by Mandi Singer-Persell, a fellow member of the Arlington chapter of Quilter’s Unlimited. Mandi’s business SewcialStitch is passionate about fabric and quilting, and offers professional longarm services to help you finish your quilting projects. A detailed view of the gray solid back of the quilt so you can appreciate Mandi’s quilting design:

Chris is also working on another quilt using the Squared Elements, a Log Cabin block variation set on point, seen below. We hope these modern style strip pieced quilts have inspired you!

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Happy New Year to everyone! I hope that 2018 is a creative year for you!

I try to fit in little creative time every week. Sometimes it’s just moments. If I get lucky, it’s part of a day. And then there are times when I just sort and refold some of my fabric, or even simply admire and pet it — that counts too!

When I have moments of time, I work on my version of Liz Kettle’s stitch meditations, detailed in a previous blog post. The art quilt I’m featuring here began with one of my larger stitch meditations.

I had found a vintage tablecloth that featured cutwork embroidered butterflies, which I Indigo dyed. Cutting out the butterfly to use for a stitch meditation, I simply echoed its wings and antennae using Sue Spargo Eleganza #5, solid perle cotton in Orange Crush and a running stitch.

I stitched the butterfly to a square of the “fly” printed cotton. (Notice that I included the printed selvedge in the quilt!) While this particular fabric is currently sold out, you might like Flutter by Jennifer Sampou from the same line.

Interest was added with the little squares of orange hand-dyed cottons topped with irregular triangles of a printed Italian silk Jacquard. These accents were stitched ‘in flight’ with the butterfly.

I decided to finish it with a 2-inch wide border of Folklife-Parang, Rainbow from the Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik line, and then bound it with a circle patterned Kaffe Fassett fabric I found in my stash (also the backing fabric).

If you are local, you can join me at Artistic Artifacts on January 18 as Artistic Artifacts hosts another opportunity to create Stitch Meditations, this time as the inaugural class in our new Hand Stitch Third Thursday series. Hope to see you!

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My sister Julie Middleton made the above pictured Folded Fabric Tree. She was inspired by the Holiday Decorating 101- Decorate like a Pro post earlier this month on the Art Gallery Fabric blog.

It included 6 free patterns and ideas for holiday decorating — although the Divided Organizer Caddy project is a great year round idea! Julie fell in love with #4, the fabric Christmas tree (Art Gallery version pictured right).

Blog author Meli wrote, “Wanna take a break from sewing? Try making a fabric Christmas tree by following this fun folding and pinning method. I love how professional all the folded clean edges look. Add your tree to the center of your table to make the most darling centerpiece!” View their easy video tutorial below.

Fabric Christmas tree tutorial - fun no-sew project - YouTube

We love the beautiful modern cottons by Art Gallery Fabrics — you can see our in-store quilt using many of the colors of their Squared Elements line in the background of the above photo. Julie used a variety of fabrics (detail pictured below), including selections from our Black and White Fabrics section (including Australian Aborigine designed prints and our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik such as Folklife-Paisley Leaves Mystic.

Instead of creating a star, Julie topped her tree with a vintage spool of thread. This might be a fun project to do as a group as you gather with friends and family this holiday season — many hands would make light work of cutting and folding the fabric squares to create the tree. You can match any decor and vary the size: how about a grouping of trees gracing your mantel or tabletop?

Art Gallery Fabrics is also offering a free download of cute gift tags inspired by some of their fabric collections for those doing last minute gift wrapping.

Happy Holidays to all!

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