Sunday, February 7, 2016

String Theory - Project Quilting

"String Theory," 16 x 16,made for Project Quilting, Season 7, Challenge 3: All About That Thread, Feb. 2016 in Yellow Springs, Ohio
Challenge recap for  "All About That Thread":
In honor of one of Project Quilting's long term sponsors, Aurifil, the inspiration for this week's challenge is THREAD.
Thread is obviously important for quilting. You use it for piecing and appliqueing a quilt top. You use it for the quilting. Plus adding the binding, sleeves and labels. Other than the quilting, it's usually not even visible.
I had a ton of ideas for making a quilt that features thread:
  • Making a whole quilt, which doesn't have any piecing or applique on the top and is just quilting. While these are lovely, I don't think my quilting skills (or patience) are up for this. 
  • Doing thread painting, where you use the sewing machine to apply stitches almost as if it's paint. I've done some of this before but haven't really enjoyed the process. It works well for feathers so I was thinking of making an owl or a rooster.
  • Making something like Ana Teresa Barboza's embroidery work where the thread hangs outside of the frame of the image. Not sure how this is even done, and somehow I don't think what I'd make would look like this.
  • The thread art where you wrap thread around nails in a board to create a design. But how to do this on fabric?
Wednesday evening I finally decided that I wanted to do something like the thread art, but using buttons with a shank (instead of holes on top) and wrapping thread around them. In order to do this, I needed some buttons so as I was driving to the store, the whole layout popped into my head.

The store only had 3 packs of cardigan buttons so I bought all three. Having a total of 30 buttons meant I could have 15 buttons on each side. If each button is 1" apart and we allow for room at the top and bottom, my piece would be 16" x 16".

I found a lovely piece of black marbled fabric and another that was a black on black tone and pieced them along with a multi-colored batik strip. I didn't want the batik strip going all the way to the edges so I pieced some black fabric on either side of it.

I made the quilt sandwich using some black batting. I haven't used it before and sometimes found I wasn't sure where the edge of the quilt top was when I was quilting. I quilted some random lines on angles.

I bound the quilt then used a white colored pencil to mark where the buttons will go, then added the buttons.

Instead of thread I used embroider floss in the colors of the batik strip. Instead of wrapping the thread around the buttons, I threaded the floss and went through the hole in the button shanks.

Unlike the thread art with the nails in the wood, this wasn't stiff. After I was finished I cut open the backing behind the thread and added a piece of thick fusible interfacing. If I did this again, I'd add that part during the sandwiching process.

The last thing I did was couch a piece of variegated yarn just inside the binding.

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 All About That Thread page.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Time Lapse Moon Rise, for the "Fly Me to the Moon" Exhibit Collection

"Time Lapse Moon Rise," 18" x 30", made by Pam Geisel, 2015

I was recently notified that my art quilt "Time Lapse Moon Rise," which I made back in August of 2015, was accepted for the "Fly Me to the Moon" art quilt exhibit. The exhibit is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of man's walk on the moon. 175 pieces were selected and will travel for through 2019. Locations are still being finalized. There is also a book being planned, but final selection hasn't been determined for that yet.

Organizer Susanne Miller Jones created a list of desired topics for quilts including: Memories of July 20, 1969, the Apollo Missions, the Apollo Astronauts, Scientific Moon Images, Moon Idioms and Songs, Moon Pop Culture, Romantic Moon, and Moon Myths and Superstitions.

I started by searching for images of the moon and came across time lapse photos taken of the moon rising. I was intrigued by both the way the colors of the moon rising changed and also how, because of the rotation of the earth, the moon rose at an angle. 

Depending on what time of day the moon rises, it will appear different colors. If it rises early in the evening, where it is still daylight, the moon can appear more red, partially because of the particles in the atmosphere. As the sky darkens it provides more contrast for the moon, so it becomes whiter. This is why the sky in my quilt blends from lighter, where the moon is lower, to darker, where the moon is higher.

I also noticed that the colors of the moon weren’t solid in the different times, but they seemed to blend into each other. The background shapes and the designs in the quilting are squares and rectangles were planned to contrast with the roundness of the moon(s). 

I started by playing around with layout ideas on my computer. I thought the moon rise image needed a horizontal layout but all of the quilts had to be 18" x 30" high, so I decided to add the moon rise reflecting in the water.

The first step was to sort my blue fabrics. I used commercial cotton fabrics for this, and I also used all of the available flat space.

Next I cut 3.5" squares and fused them to a piece of iron-on interfacing. I didn't want the bulk of the seams or the look of pieced fabric.

I used hand-dyed fabrics for the moons which were fused to the background. I top stitched around the moons to keep them down then fused small pieces of blue waves over the moons on the bottom part.

I cut many smaller blue squares in different sizes and fused them to the background so the larger blue squares aren't really recognizable as an organized layout. I basted and started quilting.

I did free motion meandering but with straight lines and squares and rectangle shapes using a blue variegated thread.

When I got to the waves I quilted wavy lines through them. Some of the blue rectangles were sheer fabrics, there is one in the upper right corner of this photo.

One of the last things I did was fuse a piece of fabric, the same one I used for the waves over the moons, and quilted that in place, to soften where the sky met the water. You can see another sheer fabric in the upper right corner of this photo.

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

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Learning To Fly - Project Quilting

"Learning To Fly," 13" x 20", made for Project Quilting, Season 7, Challenge 2: Seasons, Jan. 2016 in Yellow Springs, Ohio

Challenge recap for  "Seasons":
Your inspiration for this challenge is seasons. You can choose one season or all of them. Or pick another meaning of seasons, maybe seasons of life.

I spent far too much time thinking about this challenge. I think I was trying to hard, trying to make this piece something that it's not. Once I realized that, it became easier. I decided to something Springy, perhaps because I'm already over Winter this year.

I started with a piece of hand dyed fabric that made me think of the sky. It already had fusible on the back so I fused it to a piece of batting, added a backing fabric, and started by quilting these pieces together.

Then I cut some paper to figure out what size I wanted the kite to be, then I made a paper template (adding the 1/4" seam allowance) and pieced the kite. 

I fused it to a piece of batting, folded the 1/4" edges over, then quilted it in place. I added the couched black yarn for the kite string and the couched fun fur yarn for the kite's tail.

For the ties on the tail I cut some batik fabrics to 1.5" x 5". I laid them out lengthwise and folded the top and bottom edges so they met in the middle (now measuring .75" x 5"). I folded that in half lengthwise (now measuring .375" x 5") so the raw edges were now in the middle. I could have sewn tubes for this part but I wanted the look of hand tied fabric.

I tied these pieces so there was a knot in the middle and trimmed them a little bit. I hand-sewed them in place on the kite tail.

I thought it needed something more so I added the three small kites in the background. I didn't want them to draw too much attention so I kept them in the blue family and made them pretty small. I quilted their kite strings with black thread and for the tails I left the thread I used to applique them down with.

I made a pieced border using batik fabrics then couched more of the fun fur along that edge.

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 Seasons challenge page.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Quiltsy Team Fabric Destash Party!

You are cordially invited to The Great Quiltsy Destash Party! Hosted by the Quiltsy Team Pages on Etsy, the party ends when its all gone!

We are a team of quilting entrepreneurs dedicated to making quality products, advancing our love of quilting, and supporting each other. In 2016 we will be working to showcase new products and ideas, promoting our shops, and changing the way you think about quilting! All this creativity means we are opening our quilting studios up to you. Fabrics, Patterns, Quilt Books, and Kits are all available for the taking. We welcome you to start your shopping and browsing at any time by clicking on the links below.


Quilting Books

Patterns and Kits…/quiltsyteam/destash-patterns-and-kits

New Fabrics and Patterns…/exciting-new-fabrics-patterns-and-to…

Gifts for the Sewing Enthusiasts…/quiltsy…/gifts-for-sewing-enthusiasts

Please also feel free to browse our handmade items as well at:

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Confetti is Good for the Soul - Project Quilting

"Confetti Is Good For The Soul," art is 4.5" x 3" in a 7" x 5" frame, made for Project Quilting, Season 7, Challenge 1: Confetti, Jan. 2016 in Yellow Springs, Ohio

Challenge recap for  "Confetti":

Your inspiration for this challenge is confetti.

For this project I decided to use the confetti technique that Noriko Endo made popular. For this technique you use very tiny pieces of fabric that are piled up, covered with netting, and then quilted down. One of my on-line quilting friends, Sally Manke, also uses this technique to make her award-winning art quilts.

This is not a technique that I'm fond of, mostly because it's really hard to control and make those tiny pieces stay where you want them long enough to quilt them down. And because I was out of town most of this week, I knew my piece would end up being pretty small.

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 Confetti challenge page.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The View From My Hammock

"The View From My Hammock," 20" x 27.5", made by Pam Geisel, 2015

This art quilt is based on a photo that I took of the sky and the trees from my back yard a few years ago.

My original idea was to make the sky with square pieces of fabric, similar to the way I did it in "High Line in New York City," but it just wasn't working for me. I was happy with the way the trees and roof were going, so I focused on them and saved the sky for last.

I tried a few ideas then cut some organic oval shapes and that seemed to work. I fused the pieces and quilted them down with long, curvy stitches, and added some pieces of lace cut in a similar way that was attached with the quilting stitches. You can see one of the pieces of lace at the top of the photo above.

Then I quilted around the edges of the trees and over the pieces that were fused down. To finish, I used a knife-edge binding.

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

Monday, December 28, 2015

Custom Quilts made in 2015

It's my annual look back on the custom quilts I made during the year that were made as gifts, so I didn't want to show them too soon and accidentally ruin the surprise.

Click on the photos to see larger views.

T-shirt quilt made with Dad's shirts for his daughter. 47" x 83"

= = =

Front                                           Back

This T-shirt quilt, 74" x 92", is a little different from my usual style because the customer started it and already had the shirts cut into squares. She had also intended on using a pieced quilt top for the back.

= = =
"Murphy Theater" (Wilmington, Ohio) fabric mosaic, 11" x 14" framed

  = = =
"Ivy's Favorite Place" fabric mosaic, 11" x 14" framed. Ivy is a cat and a cardboard box was her favorite place.

= = =
"African Animals" lap/throw quilt, 43" x 65"

"African Animals" detail, it's a "Disappearing Nine Patch."