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!!!

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Designing Fun

As I said in the last post, it was time to get serious about the corners of the Color Wheel quilt and there was no better time than a Sunday night, sitting with my Sweetie and watching “Lord of the Rings”…..

I started playing with lots of different design ideas…..

….and then came upon the idea of turning the 1st grey “border” into a big circle…..

Then it was back to the design sheets to figure out what to put into the circle. This is my final idea…..

….make the big circle in the medium grey, the next layer in the lighter grey and the final triangle in the light grey (as in the very middle). I am thinking to make the “spoke” circles in colors that match the squiggle.

My last thought is to put 1/4 of the color wheel in each of the corners to finish it off as it began.

I played with it in Powerpoint and got a reasonable picture of what I am thinking…..

The next step will be to draft it out full size and see if I can make all of the details work, but that probably can’t happen until after my studio is back to a semi-normal state!!!

I know that these plans may change MANY times before the actual quilt is finished but it sure was fun to start out with a few ideas and see those morph into something that I really like!!

Maybe she is a flower girl??

I have continued to think about the background for my “Henna Girl” and just haven’t been happy with any of my ideas. Here, once again, is the photo that I have been working from……

My original plan was to add the lemons in the background, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. I was concerned that having something so intricate and detailed might take the emphasis off of the girl.

I was talking to Michael about it the other day and he suggested adding something that was a little more abstract rather than a realistic background. I originally thought about adding a linear design….maybe strips in the background, but then……

…..Facebook to the rescue!!! A photo ( from Jan Ali of Chalo Heritage & Nature Walks) was posted that had large baskets of flowers….

They looked as if the perspective might be right so now I am playing with baskets of flowers rather than lemons. I think that I can do the wicker in detail but have the flowers more abstract.

I have done a bit of playing with paper…..

…..and think that it MIGHT work.

The real question will be whether to add more than the one basket in the background and the partial basket in the foreground, but I guess that I don’t really have to decide that yet!!!

So I am off to start weaving baskets!!!!

Let's play "Never Have I Ever"

If you have never played this game, one person says…..”Never have I ever ___________(fill in the blank).” IF the other player’s HAVE done it (whatever it is), they have to perform some task…..maybe have a drink or do 10 sit-ups (wouldn’t happen with me), or some other silly thing.

Well, today we are going to play it with making bias binding…..

Never have I ever…… sewn the wrong ends of the bias strips together so that I ended up with 2 loops of binding rather than one long piece…..

Never have I ever……cut the strip too narrow and not find out until I had sewn all 260 inches together and started making bias……

Nope, that does NOT look right!!

Never have I ever….. clipped a notch in the bias when trying to trim the seam……

Never have I ever…… had to re-sew the connecting seams SEVERAL times to get the angle correct!!

Never have I ever…… sewn the strips together so that they form a 90 degree angle rather than a continuation of the strip!!

Since I did every one of these things this afternoon, it is obvious that I would LOSE this game!!!

I finally got my act together and actually made some decent binding. I was using the Clover bias maker in 3/8 inch width. Once I made the correct width and length of bias, I trimmed the end…..

…..and inserted it into the bias maker, using a point to help guide it thru……

Once I had it working well, I called Michael upstairs and ask him to help me video the ironing process…..

So at the end of my short creative time, I have the binding made and ready to add to my Color quilt!!!

Maybe tomorrow will be better!!!

Two projects at the same time!!

I seldom work on two things at one time, but busy times call for intense multi-tasking!!

As I have posted here over the last few months, I have two quilts in the making….the Color Wheel and the Henna Girl. Since I found out that my studio enlargement is going to start at the end of January, and I REALLY want to get both of these quilts finished this spring, I am having to split my time between the two.

The first item on the agenda was to get all of the hand appliqued circles put onto the Color wheel quilt. When this was accomplished, I then added the color “squiggle, basting it in place as I went……

I had to make a few alterations to make the corners match, but it was fairly easy to put a fold into the squiggle.

Next I made 25 feet of bias tape, using the 3/8″ Clover tool and glued it to the outer edge of the squiggle…..

With all of it now in place, I will be able to work on the hand applique at night while watching TV…..

On to quilt #2……

Today I finished the body of the “Henna Girl”, adding her legs and feet……

The next step will be to work on the background. I am thinking about painting the “asphalt” fabric that she will sit on. The question is what else to add to the background. As I look at the original photo that I took of she and her Mom……

….I am thinking that I want to include a bit more of the background to better set the stage. I am tempted to include the bag of fruit in the background and maybe some of the woven basket in the foreground.

Decisions…….decisions!!!!

2019 in Review…..

Well, it is 7:00pm on the 31st, we have enjoyed our celebratory Dairy Queen Blizzards……

….so it is now one of my favorite times…..

On New’s Day, I wrote about a few of my goals for 2019, the first being to be fully engaged in two of the big events that were planned for the year….. out Guild quilt show followed quickly by Jenny and Kevin’s wedding…..and both event in the middle of a busy income tax season!!! To that end, my word for the Spring was “FOCUS”. And, I am happy to say that I got to May having fully enjoyed both events and being in even better shape with my work than I have been in many years!!!

My quilting goal was to do just that….find time for quilting and working to improve my free motion quilting and my ruler work. These were both accomplished with the final product being this quilt…..

As I worked on this goal, I wondered if I was getting any better, but when I was recently doing some quilting that had to be FAST, I found that I was able to do a better job with much less effort. That seems like a sign that I have improved some!!

I also had a goal to spend a few minutes every day doing something creative. Sometimes this was physically working on a quilt and sometimes it was simply sitting in my studio and thinking!!! But, the point is that I did it even during the busy times. Actually, I found that it was easier to do when I was super busy than it was when I had more time available!!!

This year I made three quilts for VERY special babies entering this world……

I finished “All Tatted Up”…..

….complete with a most unfortunately oil spot!!!

With the help of some very special friends, I finished “Vila do Conde Friendship Garden”……

The infamous “Christmas Pineapple” was at last finished and put into service during the month of December…….

I participated in two guild challenges this year. The first was “When I see a tree”……

…..followed by the Silhouette challenge…. “Dreaming of Sunsets”……

I took a class to start the process of becoming a NQA show judge but then decided that it wasn’t really for me. Instead, I started thinking about color and putting together another guild talk based on my thinking. But, then I got carried away with my Color Wheel quilt which is still very much a Work-In-Progress.

Finally, I put on my big-girl panties and tried my hand at a portrait quilt. It is also still in progress but I am hoping to get it finished this spring.

I also got to spend many fun hours with my sweet friend Claire and enjoyed working together to make a quilt for her mother, Liz……

Unfortunately, I am ending this year with one new UFO!! I started a challenge from my “Creative Eight’s Group” but just haven’t been able to see it thru……

I am doubtful that I will ever finish it, but if someone would like to, I will happily hand it over!!!!

On the blogging front, I am happy with my move to WordPress and pleased that I have been more consistent in posting blogs. As a result, I have made several new friends in the blogsphere!!!

Finally, Michael and I enjoyed a month in Italy, France and Switzerland, a week in hot West Texas and many adventures closer to home.

All in all, the year has been good and now I am fully ready for 2020…..

I love a good challenge…..

Every year our quilt guild does two challenges with one being due at the December meeting which was this past Tuesday. My long-time method for these challenges is to start out with tons and tons of ideas, slowly winnow them down over the 3 or 4 months that I have to do the challenge, and then finally settle on an idea and get to work on the Friday before the Tuesday meeting and normally finish it with minutes to spare. My friend Sheila calls this the “Frances Method”!!! This challenge was no different.

The rules were to make a quilt, of any size, that featured a Silhouette in black or white. The challenge was to make the background be the exciting part of the quilt.

Now, I LOVE a good sunset and immediately started thinking about several photos that we had taken in Australia and India…..

Then I found this photo…..

This is my husband, Michael, sailing in Canyon Lake in Lubbock, Texas. Lubbock is at the base of the Texas Panhandle and is known for it’s wind, which made owning this Banshee racing boat a LOT of fun, but it is not known for it’s large bodies of water. This small, man-made lake was filled with treated sewer water!!! You were not allowed to swim but could ski or sail.

Obviously there is not a sunset anywhere in this photo, but I loved the idea of using the silhouette and the idea was born.

First step was to draw a basic design and I googled how to paint a sunset to get my starting point…..

I then covered the pattern with a super lightweight fusible interfacing and started adding fabrics…..

Most of the fabrics came from my scrap bin of pieces that were too small to sub-cut into usable sizes…..

I cut each piece in a wavy pattern…..

….and added it to the background, trying to overlap them slightly…..

I really liked the bit of yellow that shows thru in the pink and decided to mirror that “break through” in the blue…..

After I finished with the water, I carefully ironed all of the pieces to the fusible interfacing and then went back in and glued down the pieces that were overlapping and not touching the interfacing…..

I decided that it needed a few more highlights on the ocean waves and originally planned to use fabric snippets, but after cutting a few out, I decided that paint would be easier. I also added an aura around the sun so that it would stand out more…..

I always try to do something new with each challenge and this time I wanted to add tulle over the top and then do the quilting over the tulle. We had seen a bunch of quilts done this way at Houston and it looked like an easier way to handle raw edge applique. After I pinned it in place, I decided that it needed some stitching to hold it in place….

Then I basted it and started quilting!! The problem with the tulle is that you can’t easily rip out stitching so I tried to make every stitch count. I did have to rip out a small amount and it was HARD to take out the stitches without catching the tulle in the seam ripper. Most of it was done from the back but there were a few stubborn stitches that I had to do from the front. It was nerve-wracking!!

I did change to a smaller needle and used Bobbin Thread in the back and I think that helped some with the quilting.

I normally use a facing on my landscape quilts but was concerned that the thickness of all of the layers (backing, batting, interfacing, overlaid fabric, and tulle) would make it hard to turn to the back. Instead I planned to make a binding where the colors shifted as it moved around the piece. Unfortunately, because I had done this quilt using the “Frances Method”, I was completely out of time and didn’t want to play with doing the binding. So, a good old plain binding was attached!! In the long run, I think that the binding is a nice frame around the quilt……

I called this “Dreaming of Sunsets” and I am very pleased with how it turned out. The jury is still out about the use of tulle which is concerning because that was how I was planning to finish my Henna Girl portrait so I need to do some thinking now!! I didn’t use the finest quality of tulle and I think that was part of the problem. I will definitely look for “wedding quality” the next time.

So I can mark that challenge off of my list and now get back to the portrait….

Sleeping under the pineapple!!

Now that I have decorated for Christmas, I am finally being able to enjoy sleeping under my scrap pineapple quilt.

Many of you remember the LONG saga of making this quilt and then, after it was finished, I wasn’t super happy with it.

However, now that I added new pillow shams and 3 pillow covers, I am much happier with how it looks…..

And it is SOOOO warm!!!!