Handwork for the trip…..

As I have mentioned before, Michael and I are heading back to Mozambique on Thursday and will be in camp for 2 more weeks. We are getting excited about returning to the friends that we made back in May!!

On previous trips, I have always taken some sort of creative project with me, but as we went on more and more trips, I realized that I seldom had time to work on them. So, I didn’t take ANYTHING on the trip earlier this summer. But, the weather was not conducive to being out and about and I ended up desperately wanting something to work on!!

So, I am NOT leaving this time without something to keep my hands busy!!

The question was exactly what to take??? Lighting is not great so I knew that I couldn’t take any fine work like applique.

As I scratched my brain trying to come up with an idea, my mind kept coming back to Indian Kantha cloth, like the covering for this box…..

I also kept remembering the amazing wall art that I saw in the Mumbai airport….

Click HERE to read more about the Mumbai Airport “art gallery”!!!

After procrastinating as long as I could, I finally pulled some fabrics and threads……

Add started cutting squares, strips, and rectangles……

I finally moved the design to lightweight fusible interfacing and, when I was happy with the design, I ironed it all in place. I glued down any strips or pieces that weren’t being held in place with the fusing.

Then I started worrying about how the edges would handle all of the manipulation, so I sewed strips of fabric over the top to give it some stability…..

You can see the first little bit of stitching that I did to see how it was going to work….

When I put everything together I started to get excited about this project…..it might actually work!!!

The final step was to put together all of the supplies that I would need, including needles, threaders, scissors (ones that go on a plane), a seam ripper, marking pen and a few straight pins….

I also needed a straight edge to use for marking the sewing lines and my ruler wouldn’t fit in my pencil case holder so I decided to make one. I cut a rectangle of template plastic and marked 1/4 lines along it’s length….

The final addition to the project bag was my clip on light…..

Now my bag is packed…..I’m ready to go……

I probably wont even open it on the trip, but at least it is there and available!!!!

Pinwheels are coming along…

Last weekend I posted about making Pinwheel blocks….you can find the post HERE.

This weekend, I continued making blocks and have decided to turn them into a Twin-Size quilt that will be donated to one of the women’s shelters that our guild is supporting.

After I got the blocks made, I started thinking about a layout. My first thought was that I wanted them on point and alternating…..

As I looked at this, I kept seeing the streak-of-lightning that emerged between the rows of blocks and thought about putting different colors of fabric between the blocks…..

Ignore the two white squares….that was when I was trying something else.

……but I felt that adding a lot more color would decrease the excitement of the pinwheels.

Then I started thinking about keeping the background white and adding stems under each “flower”.

I like that idea but am having a heck of a time figuring out how to piece it without lots of inset seams!! My initial thought was to piece them into rectangle sections and then piece those sections together……

I will have some partial seams but no insets. So I will cogitate on that for the week and see if I can figure out an easy way to do it!!!

On the work side of my life, I have found something that is helping me during this super busy time. I calculated the number of tax returns that I need to do each week in order to be finished by April 15th. and, IF I finish all of them, then I don’t have to work on the weekend!! It is truly motivating me to stay in my office during the week!!!

What can you do with a 6-inch square?

A while back I was at my guild’s charity bee and spied a large stack of 6 inch squares that had been donated. I was intrigued by these and asked if I could take them home and have a play.

I decided to use the design techniques that I had learned in Latifah’s QuiltCon lecture yesterday…..

…..starting with asking what the purpose was for the quilt and why I was making it!!

My first answer was that it is for a charitable use and will be used to keep someone warm and comfortable. But there was a second reason for this quilt. I am wanting to try my hand at designing and this stack of 6-inch blocks seemed the perfect catalyst.

Normally, a charity quilt is made as quickly as possible with the largest blocks available and the least amount of sewing. However, to fulfill the second purpose I knew that it was okay if it took a while to make.

Now I was into the “imagination” part of the design process…..

Since I made the pinwheel designs in the Morewood Mystery quilt…..

……I have been thinking more about that block design.

As I normally do, I turned to my computer for some initial inspiration, first opening a folder called pinwheel Quilts and starting to peruse the photos that I have saved. Then I googled pinwheel blocks and found lots more inspiration (some pinwheel and some not)……

With those images in my mind (and a few printed out on paper), I headed upstairs to start playing with the fabric.

When laid out by colors I could see that they were almost entirely dark and medium fabrics with very few true lights…..

So maybe I will think about two quilts…one where I will add lights and make it with high contrast. And another with low volume (value)….who knows.

So now I am contemplating where to head with these fabrics…..stay tuned!!!

Rocket Inspiration

No, today’s inspiration didn’t come from a Tesla launch our something out of NASA, but from a design chalked onto a baseball dugout wall!!!

Rocket Field is an oldie-but-goodie in my town!! It sits at the sight of the first school in Oconee County and EVERY child who has ever played Little League has spent much time on this particular field……

The styles should tell you that it was the early 1990’s!!!

But on this particular Saturday, Rocket field was hosting the Oconee County Fall Festival which I have written about many times before….the last time was back in October.

While wandering around the vendor stalls, Michael and I ended up behind one of the dugouts and it was there that I saw it…..

Sorry for the poor lighting!!

I have thought about this photo over the last few months and decided to put the design into Electric Quilt and just have a play!!!

I tried to stick to the original design but had to make a few modifications to make the block work properly…..

Then came the fun part!!!

I put the blocks into a virtual quilt……

….and it looked okay.

But the REAL fun came when I start rotating the blocks around in a circle and flipping them vertically and horizontally. Look at these fun designs…..

THEN I brightened the colors a bit, added the “leading” and continued with the rotate and flip session…..

I think that this ended up being my favorite of the lot…….

It has so much movement!!!

Now, will I ever make this quilt? Probably not, but it was certainly fun to see just how easily a stained glass design can morph into a really great quilt!!!

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State of the Studio – 2020

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…..

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