Thursday, May 26, 2016

Playful Paper Piecing: Eiffel Tower

"Eiffel Tower," 8.5" x 15", made by Pam Geisel, May 2016

This month the Island Batik Ambassador's are creating pieces using paper piecing.

To be honest, I'm not that fond of paper piecing. I find that I tend to over estimate how much fabric is needed and then I end up cutting the extra parts away, which I think is wasteful. Perhaps if I did it more I'd get better at estimating. Also I like to chain piece when piecing, which saves on thread. But you can't chain piece when you are doing paper piecing!

It is a good technique to know how to do, and it is helpful when you want to be precise. I used paper piecing once when I was making a custom piece that had 27 log cabin blocks. Each block was 15 logs across and each log was only 1/4" thick. I don't think I could have done that any way other than with paper piecing!

Not sure what I wanted my subject matter to be, I looked over my Island Batik fabrics then went searching on the web for paper piecing patterns, I ended up buying this Eiffel Tower pattern designed by Jennifer Ofenstein of

I ended up using fabric from the Wind & Sea collection. I used the mostly solid lime green, bright blue, and light purple for the tower and I used a multi-colored piece for the background that had all three of those colors on a navy blue background.

Even though the original design had one color for the tower and one color for the background, I decided to alternate the colors and give it more splash. And I liked the movement in the background, like they could be fireworks going off around the tower.

I also added a small row of blue seed beads near the top and also some lime green and blue seed beads in the middle of the tower for some bling.

I usually like to face my art quilts but there was a binding fabric that I used that was just the right color. As I've done recently when doing a visible binding, I like to couch a piece of yarn in the binding seam. This time I used a lime green yarn.

I've never been to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, perhaps someday.

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

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The New England Quilt Museum

After visiting Baltimore, New York City, and Boston, we headed a little north to go to the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA. They have a large collection of quilts that they display and they also host travelling exhibits.

When we were there they had an exhibition of Butterfly Quilts curated by the Texas Quilt Museum, which is on display here until July 10. It was interesting to see the combination of contemporary art quilts along with some vintage traditional quilts.

They don't allow published photos of the quilts, so if you want to see photos of quilts, you'll have to visit their website.

Lowell was a picturesque town with red brick buildings and brick streets. We had a lovely lunch before heading home.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Baby Quilts with Animals

"African Safari" handmade baby quilt by Pam Geisel, 29" x 33.5"

So I was doing inventory of fabric that I've bought to make baby quilts and I noticed that the baby quilts that I currently have all have images of animals on them.

Here's a close up of some of the African animals on the "African Safari" baby quilt. Some of the images are of the animals with their babies.

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"Forest Friends" handmade baby quilt by Pam Geisel, 35" x 35"

This baby quilt is made with cotton flannel and features baby forest animals.

In this close up you can see some of the forest friends are hedgehogs, bunnies, and owls. There are also raccoons, deer, foxes, squirrels, and lady bugs.

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"Owl Always Love You" handmade baby quilt by Pam Geisel, 35" x 35"

This baby quilt is also made with cotton flannel. I just love the title.

There is only one animal on this quilt, but how adorable are those owls?

All of these baby quilts are machine washable and in gender-neutral colors so they are good for both boys and girls, and a good bet when you don't know what sex the baby will be. They are all in my Etsy shop.

Monday, May 2, 2016

"Color & Light : Brush & Needle" a watercolor and art quilt exhibit at the Wind's Cafe

My friend Libby Rudolf, who is a very talented watercolor painter, invited me to be a part of her most recent exhibit at the Winds Cafe, 215 Xenia Ave. in Yellow Springs. The Winds Cafe is open Tues.-Sat. from 11:30 am-2:30 pm and 5-10 pm, and on Sun. from 10 am-3 pm, they are closed on Mondays.

The exhibit will be up for the months of May and June and there will be an opening reception on Sun., Sept. 20, from 6:30-8:30 pm.

Since we are exhibiting together, I suggested that she make a painting of someone quilting and I'd make a quilt of someone painting.

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.