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!!!!

Quilt redemption….or The Case of The Boring Bamboo!

Back in 2011, we spent several weeks in China and I found a type of Bamboo that sparked my creative juices. I came home and turned the spark into a quilt top that ended up being REALLY boring…..

To read more about the making of this top, check out the blog post from 2011…..https://francesquilts.com/2011/08/16/congratulations-mrs-arnold-its-a-boring-quilt/

So for years and years (8 to be exact), it has been on my UFO To-Do list and I have managed to ignore it!! But, since I am trying to make myself do new and different things, I figured that it was time to tackle the “boring bamboo”.

The first thing that I did was pull out my rotary cutter and CUT IT INTO STRIPS!!! Yes, it was a bit scary, but it felt good to actually be doing something with it!! I added a few colored strips ……

…..and IMMEDIATELY liked it better!!

But, I didn’t want to stop there!! When I was at the Houston quilt show, I purchased a starter set of Tsukiniko Inks….

…..and a couple of stencils, including this bamboo design…..

I was intrigued with the pouncers that I bought and found that they worked beautifully for inking the stencil…..

Next, I got one of the “Fantastix” brushes and dipped the tip in a brighter color of ink…….

and used it to add some highlights to the bamboo leaves…..

Okay….that worked fairly well……

So now I was ready to do it on the real fabric that I wanted to use. I had learned two things during the test. First, I needed to mask the edges of the stencil so that I didn’t end up with “overflow”, and secondly, I needed to tape the stencil to the fabric so that it didn’t slip around as I “pounced”. I ended up taking care of both of these issues at one time by simply taping all around the edge of the stencil……

I was pleased with the final print and ready to move on to the next step….adding the old, ugly strips. It was like working a weird jigsaw puzzle…..

. I started adding strips and ended up with a hodge-podge mess…..

So I backed up, ignored all of the outside bits and pieced the inside part that I did like…..†

…..and then continued on with the next set of borders…..

….and then finished it up with a new outside border…..

Even though I didn’t use ALL of the parts of the original quilt, I am pleased with this “new” bamboo quilt top….much happier than with the original. Now I just need to think about how to quilt it and then get it FINISHED and out of my UFO box!!!

UFO Finish

WOW….I have come up with a way of finishing UFO’s without even stepping foot in my studio….want to know my secret?

Last summer, I wrote about going thru my UFO’s and getting rid of some of those that I thought I would never finish.   As a result, I gave this square…..


…to the Charity Bee for my Quilt Guild.

It was made in a thread painting workshop, and while I learned a lot while making it, I knew that I would never actually use it.

So, apparently my friend, Nupur, took this block home, thought about it for while,  and turned it into this wonderful quilt…..


Now THAT is the way to finish a UFO!!!

Thanks Nupur for making me look good!!

What do I do with this one???


Help…..I can’t decide what to do with this piece……


I purchased it at an outdoor market when we were in Chiang Mai Thailand back in 2011.  It is 37 x 20 inches in size.

The applique is wonderful……


….with TINY stitches and fun embroidery touches as well.


Now the question is……what do I do with this?   I could just stretch it and frame it, but I am also thinking about layering it up and doing some quilting on it.

What do you think???

One big UFO equals TWO fun finishes

When Qingru and Luhan arrived at our house, they were SO enamored with all of my quilts.   As this excitement continued over the next few days I decided that I wanted to give both girls a lap quilt when they moved into their apartments…..in 10 days!!!!

I knew that I couldn’t make two quilts from scratch, but as I sat looking at the big quilt that I had in my UFO bin…….


I got the idea to split it into smaller quilts……DSC02820

I played around with border colors a little bit and quickly decided to use similar colors for both quilts.

I madly quilted both of them, using a lot of straight lines and adding a bit of free-motion once I was sure that I could get them finished on time.

They ended up looking great……


The girls were moving in on Saturday morning so on Friday evening I finally got the quilts washed and dried.   Just before the girls were going up to start packing, Michael and I presented their gifts.



It was such fun to see them so excited and I hope that these will keep both girls warm on many nights!!!