Tuesday, April 26, 2016

For Quilts Sake: By the Numbers - My 500th Quilt!

Me with my first quilt "Hearts & Arrows" which I made in a class in 2001, and my 500th quilt "She Paints With Fabric" which I finished this month

The quilt "She Paints With Fabric" is my 500th quilt! This is amazing considering that I took shop class in Junior High so that I wouldn't have to learn how to sew! I always loved art classes, and up until about 10 years ago, one of my hobbies was watercolor painting. So it seems fitting that a quilt of someone painting is my 500th quilt.

What happened ten years ago? In April 2006, I decided to start making quilts to sell. I had applied for a craft show that would take place the following November and it was time to start making items to stock the booth with.

It wouldn't be entirely accurate to state that I made 500 quilts in ten years because I had made 15 quilts before April 2006. But it does almost boil down to 50 quilts a year. (Back in 2013 I did a blog post because I'd made 52 quilts that year. What I didn't realize at the time was that was pretty average for me.)

While I've made more art quilts than other types of quilts, they don't account for even half of what I've made.

This total includes:
195 Art Quilt and 14 Custom Art Quilts
3 Bed Quilts and 8 Custom Bed Quilts
2 Lap Throws
11 Quillows and 5 Custom Quillows
8 Custom Memory Quilts
16 Custom T-Shirt Quilts
36 Table Runners and 15 Custom Table Runners
32 Baby Quilts
46 Fabric Mosaics and 21 Custom Fabric Mosaics
9 Paintings with Quilt Squares and 14 Custom Paintings with Quilt Squares
65 Other types of quilts

This total does NOT include the following items:
638 Cards with Fabric Squares
8 Coaster Sets
53 Journal Covers
3 Mug Rugs
31 Quilted Necklaces
433 Postcards
30 Purses from Neckties
13 Tooth Fairy Pillows
39 Christmas Ornaments

And my biggest seller:
1350 Wine Glass Coaster Sets. Each set has 4 coasters so that would be 5400 individual wine glass coasters. (That's almost 11 wine glass coasters for every quilt!)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

She Paints With Fabric

"She Paints With Fabric," 19" x 25.5", made by Pam Geisel, April 2016

This month the Island Batik Ambassador's are creating pieces for #AprilShowersIB Challenge! The final size was up to us. but we were encouraged to use images of Spring including: umbrellas, rain gear, spring flowers, farm life, weather, bugs, plants and seeds, or pond and water. So many good inspirations! I decided to go with spring flowers, specifically poppies.

In May and June I will be exhibiting with my friend Libby Rudolf who paints watercolor paintings. It was decided that to commemorate our exhibit, she would make a painting of someone quilting and I would make a quilt of someone painting.

I went through my Island Batik fabrics and just like last month with the minis, I mostly used the Sea Salt Sandy fabrics. I thought they were the perfect choice since they look like they were splattered with paint. (I did use a cream-colored piece for the hand and the face from a different collection).

For the painting itself, I used lighter colors of fabric to keep it from disappering in the background. Her hair is yarn that was couched down. The subtle shadow on her right arm was made by drawing on with a brown fabric marker. I don't usually draw on fabrics but since these had the splatter marks it seemed like it wouldn't be too distracting.

The flowers in the foreground are made with fabric. The flowers in the background are red sequins with red glass seed beads on top. And the flowers in the painting, which are even smaller, are just the glass seed beads. The small cans of paint were and afterthought but the splatters on the outside of the can seemed appropriate.

In our last shipment, we also received some Superior brand thread. I got these three spools of variegated Fantastico thread. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I've never used Superior thread before now. I've been having some issues with thread breakage when doing free motion quilting. I wasn't sure if it was me, the machine, or the thread. Now I'm pretty sure it was the thread because this thread worked perfectly!

I used the blue/green thread (#5070) on the left in the sky with a large, stippling type quilting.

And I used the green/yellow thread (#5156) in the grass. I did a dense pattern of vertical zigzags to indicate the direction the grass was going. I also couched some thread for the poppy stems.

You can click on any of the photos to see them larger.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sunny Sunflower, another Island Batik mini quilt

"Sunny Sunflower," 6" x 6", made by Pam Geisel, April 2016

I had so much fun making the 6" x 6" mini quilts wrapped around canvas frames that I made a few more. I made "Mini Mountains" a few weeks ago, and I just finished "Sunny Sunflowers," which uses the same Sea Salt Sandy Island Batik fabrics that I used when I made the first three. (Teaser, I have another project that I'm working on that also uses the Sea Salt Sandy fabrics.)

The sunflower has a brown yarn couched around the brown center, and there are glass beads that were added just inside the yarn and also in the center of the flower.

I am seriously in love with the blue-green fabric that I used for the background. It doesn't show much in the straight on shot, but since this is wrapped around the canvas frame, it's visible on the sides.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Mini Mountains in the Dare to Be a Little Square Exhibit at Village Artisans

"Mini Mountains," 6" x 6", made by Pam Geisel, Mar. 2016

"Mini Mountains" is based on the "Lavender Mountains" piece that I made earlier this year. Both pieces are made with Island Batik fabrics, specifically four purples and two pinks from the Desert Rose Collection and a golden yellow from the Sea Salt Sandy collection.

This one is wrapped around a 3/4" thick canvas frame and has yarn couched on top.

It is one of the three pieces I have in the "Dare To Be a Little Square" show at Village Artisans, 100 Corry St. in Yellow Springs. The show is made up of only pieces that are 6" x 6". The show runs through the end of May and is open  M-Th from 11a-5p, F-Sa from 11a-6p, and Su from noon-5p.

There is an artist reception this Friday, Apr. 15 from 6-9 pm.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Memory Quilt: Grandma's Flowers

"Grandma's Flowers," 72 x 95, made by Pam Geisel, March 2016

I was recently contacted by a woman whose daughter had made 18 quilt blocks using the daughter's grandmother's clothing and fabrics. I pieced them together using a bright blue fabric that tied the squares together then quilted and bound it.

The squares were about 13" x 13" so they were too big to put all 18 on the front, so three ended up on the back. Yes, the whole quilt is taller than my quilt stand.

Here are some close ups of the blocks:

Judging by the fabric she used, I think Grandma's fabric stash was from the 1970s.

I love this little lollypop flower with the birds in the background.

This shows some of the simple quilting that I did in the sashing.

And one square from the back.

It was a fun project, and I believe it will be cherished for many years.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Mini Madness: Three 6"x6" mini art quilts

 Left to right: "Poppy Power," "Beach Time," and "Summer Barn," all 6"x6"x1", made by Pam Geisel, March 2016

This month the Island Batik Ambassador's are creating miniature pieces for #MiniMadnessIB Challenge! The guidelines were simple, the finished pieces must be smaller than 24" x 24" and can use any of the fabric that we've received so far. And since this is my second year as an ambassador, I've had three shipments of fabric, so plenty of choices.

Also, Village Artisans, the local artist co-op that I belong to, are having an exhibit of pieces that measure 6" x 6". Voila, two birds, one stone. I came up with some 6" x 6" designs then I pulled out all of my Island Batik fabric and after auditioning it all, I whittled it down to the chose few.

Coincidentally, the fabrics I used came from three different collections, each collection from a different shipment. The "California Creamery" jelly roll pre-cuts came this Spring, the "Sea Salt Sandy" fat quarters (the rainbow colors on the right) came last Fall, and the mini pre-cuts at the bottom, with pieces that were 3" x 10", came last Spring.

While I love all fabric, I really adore pre-cuts. Perhaps it's because you get more fabric choices with them. Each piece is smaller, but I don't tend to use large pieces anyway, and I also have difficulty cutting into larger pieces, unless it's fabric that I bought for a specific project.

The Sea Salt Sandy fabric came as fat quarters. I just love the visual texture in these.

Here's a closer look at the finished pieces:


In "Poppy Power," the blue sky and the bottom three green pieces were from the mini pre-cuts. The top green pieces is a Sea Salt Sandy, as are the three red poppies.

I quilted thread somewhat vertically to represent other flower stems, couched some blue to green variegated yarn for the three flower stems, and added some red seed beads for poppies in the background.

=  =  =

In "Beach Time" the three sand fabrics were from the "California Creamery" jelly roll and the three water fabrics came from the Sea Salt Sandy collections.

I couched some funky, hand-woven cream-colored yarn for the surf, hand sewed a star fish with embroidery thread, and hand-sewed some white seed beads on the beach near the surf.

=  =  =

In "Summer Barn" I revisited the barn from my Early Morning Nine Patch quilt. The background fabrics are the same as in "Poppy Power" (and have now all been used) and the barn sides and roof are from the Sea Salt Sandy collection.

I couched some yarn where the land meets the sky and around the bottom of the barn. I'm note sure if the designers had anything particular in mind when they create these, but they made a wonderful barn and roof, not to mention poppies and beach water.

All three pieces are wrapped around a 6" x 6" frame so they are all just under 1" deep.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Modern Art Postcards - Project Quilting

"Modern Art Postcards," 6" x 4" (each), made for Project Quilting, Season 7, Challenge 6: A Goose in the Monkey Wrench, Mar. 2016 in Yellow Springs, Ohio
Challenge recap for  "A Goose in the Monkey Wrench":  
For this challenge you must include at least one monkey wrench block and one flying geese block.  You may add other blocks if you wish.
I decided to make two postcards for this challenge, for two reasons. One is I've been working on a bed-sized custom quilt and that took most of my time. 
The second reason is since there two traditional quilt blocks were part of the Project Quilting Focus Through The Prism challenges, I thought it would be appropriate to use the same fabric we used for those challenges, and I mostly have small pieces of that fabric left.
Both postcards are 6" x 4" and had white fabric on the back where you can write a message and the address. And you can actually send these through the mail as they are! All of the edges are sewn down and are finished with a satin stitch using black thread.

Click on any of the photos to see larger images.

To read more about Project Quilting, go here.

To see other entries for this challenge, visit the A Goose in the Monkey Wrench page.