Every year on December 31st, I stop and look back over the work that has happened (or not happened) in my studio during the year.
Although 2020 was tough in many respects and we suffered disappointments with trips and other events being cancelled, it was an amazing year for the Studio!!
First of all, it gained about 75% more space. The before and after photos say it all…..
Now I find it really hard to believe that I was able to create anything at all in the space that I had previously!!
And then came the addition of Julio……
He has really spiced up my quilting!!
I have had a bunch of finishes this year…..
I made two tops for charity quilts…..
Three tops for Quilts of Valor…..
….and lots of hours practicing quilting on various charity quilts..
I moved one quilt from the UFO bin to the trash can and haven’t thought twice about doing it!!!!
I have spent a LOT of time working with Ruler Quilting and am super happy with the advancements that I have made in my skill level…..
I shared my studio with several people during the year and had fun teaching Kaitlyn to quilt…..
I have designed two new quilts and almost have a pattern ready for one of those…..
Probably the biggest change in 2020 has been the establishment of my brand…..FrancesQuilts, complete with new logo….
I have published 248 Blog Posts, including daily posts since July 21st and have produced 28 instructional videos.
When I look back over the year, part of me feels that I should have completed more projects, but I am honestly proudest of the “FrancesQuilts” portion of the year. From comments that I have heard, I believe that I have been able to provide information, inspiration, assistance and encouragement to quilters around the world, and that is about as exciting as it gets!!
…..And there are lots more exciting things in the works for 2021. Come back tomorrow for those!!
So as we HAPPILY say goodbye to 2020, here’s wishing you a wonderful New Year’s Eve…..
I was determined to have these trees finished in time to decorate for Christmas and it happened….
I am super pleased with how they look!!
But, the last time you saw them they were in lots of pieces so let’s talk about how they got from there to here….
I finished the paper piecing and was ready to add the borders. I trimmed down the entire tree leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance around the pattern lines. Then, I removed the paper just along the edges….
That way the edges were free of paper but the rest of the piece stayed stabilized.
After adding the borders it was time to remove the rest of the paper and I found a new tool while doing it. I normally used a seam ripper to help get under the paper…..
…but was always concerned that I would accidentally clip the threads or, even worse, cut a hole in the fabric!!
Then I remembered my “Purple Thing”!! It was perfect for this task…..
Another reason why I am not fond of paper piecing….
Now it was time to think about quilting. I tried a few designs on paper…..
…but decided that I wanted to see it in the real size.
You may be tired of videos but I wanted to share one more that shows how I planned the quilting and then how easy it was to actually perform the design…..
I kept the rest of the quilting really simple and am especially happy with the striped binding…..
I haven’t been quilting with rulers for long, but I have wondered how I could see what a pattern would look like before I started quilting it. I have asked myself how to know if a design would fit into the block or border that I was working on.
Westalee Rulers has provided the perfect solution to this dilemma….
Check out this video for a demonstration of how they work…..
This system could also be used to mark quilts for hand quilting or for Free-motion-quilting without a ruler.
Personally, I am excited to find out what happens when I mix and match my rulers and designs and this method sure beats having to quilt it out to see if I like it!!
As I started using rulers on my home machine, I had tons of trouble getting over all of the seams, especially since I had OVERLY pieced the backing. This meant that there was just too much bulk under the needle.
Then I met Julio and he came home to make my quilting life easier…..but he didn’t…..at least at first!! But then I finally figured out how to make him work for me and, before I knew it, the quilting was done!!
I quilted all of the strip designs in the same manner, starting with a square in the center of the strip and then radiating parallel lines out toward the point of the strip.
For the alternating white blocks, I used a series of spinning rulers from Westalee and tried to do a different pattern in almost every block…..
I debated long and hard about how to quilt the background of the border pieces and started out with just a 1/4 inch echo along each of the blocks. Since that looked so good, I decided to add another echo line down the middle of the white border and am very happy with how it worked out.
I did do a bit of marking before I stitched….just to give me a registration point to know when and where to stop or to turn, etc…….
The final quilt looks great……
I have been reading a lot recently about staging your quilt photos so I decided to take this one outside and see what I could do. Michael went out to help…..
….and we got a few good photos, but my favorite one is when the wind caught the edge and threatened to send it into the neighbors yard!!
I am glad that this quilt is finally off of my To-Do list!!!
It proved to be a great learning experience and I am looking forward to starting another scrap strip quilt in the near future……