Just “Let It Go”!!

This is a story about a UFO….. one that had been around for 11 years!!

It started back in 2007 when Michael and I spent two months in Oxford, England while he was a Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford University. London was a mere 45 minutes by train so we spent as much time there as we could.

As we rode the London Underground, I became aware of how the people sitting across from me changed as the ride went on. At every stop someone would get off and someone else would take his/her place.

In October of 2009 these thoughts rose to the top of my brain and I decided to make a quilt with this idea. I spent a long time searching the internet for pictures of people to add to my train car and, using Photoshop, I was able to get an idea of what I wanted…..

Note….my proudest part of this photo is that I took another person’s legs and feet and added them to the young man on the left!!!

I started out using a machine applique technique where you prepare the piece for applique, glue it to the next piece and then zig-zag over the intersection with a mono-filament thread. After doing the first person using this technique I decided to switch to fusible applique.

Anyway….here is where it stood when I stopped working on it…..

And it has been weighing on my mind ever since!!!

Today, I pulled it out for the last time….determined to either finish it or scrap it…..and SCRAP IT won!!

These were my thoughts…..

  • My skills have progressed far beyond this first attempt
  • It is larger in format than I typically work on now.
  • There is too much difference in technique in the faces. The boy has very few shades while the woman (actually based on a photo of me) has too many shades and the little girl doesn’t work at all…..

The only part that I was REALLY happy with were the child’s hands…..

  • I would basically need to start over and I am not interested in doing that

As I thought further, I remember that I learned SO much when I started this project….first about using Photoshop and then about designing faces. I also over-dyed a bunch of the fabrics which was a first for me.

The bottom line is that it was a great project for it’s time but that time is past and it is time to….

No…. I have never seen the movie!!!!

So….all of the fabric came off of the wall and out of the project box and added back into my stash.

It was exciting to find all of the skin-tone fabrics that I had collected those many years ago…..

Many of these were hand-dyed by my friend Anita and it was fun to see all of her tags reminding her of the recipe for each of the pieces…..

Now that this project is out of my head, I need to figure out exactly what big project I want to work on next!!!!

About Face….

Back in February, I was continuing to work on my “Henna Girl” quilt and completely messed up the quilting on her face…… see the post here.

I picked it out the same day that I quilted it and then put the quilt away until after my studio was finished and I felt comfortable going back to it. It just so happened that my comfort level finally returned last week!!!

After my initial disaster, one of my quilting buddies, Rosie, sent a diagram that she thought would help…..

After studying this for a while, I sat down with yet another photo of the face and started drawing in lines. After numerous attempts, I decided that this one had the most promise…..

When I got ready to do the quilting, I was nervous about trying to free-hand it again so marked some guide dots to help me along…..

This made the quilting much easier to do and, in a very short time, I was thru……

I finished the background using a ruler to quilt parallel lines at various widths.

The final step was to add the beads. I had original planned to use beads that I had on hand, but ended up at Joann’s one day and found the PERFECT beads…….

So….I am happy to present “Mahek the Market Girl”…….

The Palin source…..

Michael and I LOVE Michael Palin. We have spent many hours watching all of his travel shows, often dreaming about visiting some of the places that he has been. As a matter of fact, he is the reason that we trekked in the Himalayas back in 2015.

Many years ago, I stopped his show about the Sahara Desert to take a picture of a camel that appeared on the screen…..

At the time, I was playing with thread painting and used this photo to make a quilt…..

Note that it is the same “wide screen” display as the TV.

This past week, we decided to re-watch the Himalaya DVD and I was drawn to this gentleman in Tibet……

Doesn’t he have a wonderfully expressive face??

I am thinking that this might be a fun portrait to tackle next…..what do you think???

Having a ripping good time…..

At the end of this past week, the builders were working on the drywall in the room and doing lots of sanding, etc so I didn’t really think that I should try to sew in the dust. I wanted to move my machine downstairs but couldn’t figure out where to sit so that my rolling chair wouldn’t ruin the wood floors.

Then…..I thought about setting it up in my office and just move my office chair over a bit and use the same chair mat. It was a bit cramped, but it worked…..

….and the biggest plus…..it is right there and ready whenever I have a few minutes to sew.

The first sewing that I did was on her arms, finally just deciding to do 1/4 inch echo quilting…..

Then I decided to tackle her face….the part that I have been dreading since the start of this project!! While I may be able to draw with fabric, I am NOT an artist where facial contours are concerned!! I spent one evening drawing on 20+ photos of her face, trying to get an idea of what quilting needed to happen…..

And then I quilted…..

…and it was YUCKY!!!

So I spent that evening carefully taking out every single stitch in her face!!! Fortunately, I was having a good day with my machine quilting so the stitches were pretty even.

Now I am stuck with what to do!! I cant decide if the problem is my line placement or the fact that the thread is too dark!!

I KNOW that her nose isn’t good, but I feel like the other lines are okay.

I may try printing her face onto fabric and do several tries before I work on the actual piece again.

And, if any of you have the artistic bent to tell me what I am doing wrong on her nose, PLEASE speak up!!!

Finally….my friend from India, talked to the girl’s grandmother and found out that her name is Mahek. It is an Urdu name and means perfume! How perfect is that!!!

Quilting with Claire

Over the last 6 months, Claire and I have been working on a secret project….a Christmas gift for her mom, Liz.

It all started out at our last guild quilt show where Liz picked out a panel that she liked and asked Claire if she could make a quilt from it. She then asked if she needed to buy some other fabrics to add to it and Claire uttered the immortal words….”No Mom, Mrs. Frances has plenty!!”. She speaks truth!!

We started on the project when school was out last June, planning to get it finished pretty quickly, but life was just too busy for both of us so it took a few months to do.

The first step was to pick out a bunch of fabrics that would work with the panel…..

After cutting out the blocks from the panel, we added borders to each of them and planned a basic layout (that we “sort of” stuck to)…..

Now it was time to start filling in all of the blank spaces between the blocks, starting with a string of fish…..

….followed by more fish…..

….then some paper pieced umbrellas……

Like me, Claire is NOT a fan of paper piecing.

We then started using bigger pieces of fabric to fill in, piecing 9-patches, strips of squares and adding lots of borders…..

We kept adding bits and pieces and finished the top construction just after Thanksgiving. Claire basted it using fusible batting…..

….and started with the quilting…….

She did all of the straight lines and I came back and added a bit of free-motion quilting.

There were smiles galore as we looked at it one last time…..

….before packing it a big box with ribbons and bows. Liz was presented with it on Saturday and is looking forward to keeping warm under her special quilt “Dreaming of Beaches” by Claire!!!

Now we have to come up with a new project to work on in 2020. I can’t wait to spend more time with this wonderful young lady!!!