Monday, January 28, 2019

This blog is moving!!!


Well, I have finally gotten tired of Blogger and having so much trouble with my posts so this weekend I made the move to Wordpress.

The new site is   www.francesquilts.com


Please come on over and re-subscribe!!


Thanks for reading....

Frances

Sunday, January 13, 2019

First Finish of 2019……

I have had a bit of time to spend in my studio over the last couple of weeks and am desperately trying to get several quilts finished for our upcoming guild show.    I have already registered them and hope to get them finished by the receiving days in February.

The first finish of the year is a baby quilt that I LOVED making.  I found the pattern on the first night that we were at the Houston show and KNEW that it was exactly what I wanted.  The pattern was “My Favorite Earrings” by Sandy Fitzpatrick. IMG_7546

Isn’t it the cutest thing!!!!

I had help from my friend, Katie, to make the butterflies.   She and her husband came to our house on Christmas Day to share some Chinese Food and chatting time and she and I magically ended upstairs in my studio.   I showed her the pattern and gave some basic instruction about how to use Wonder under and she was off!!  

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When I originally cut the fabrics out, there wasn’t enough contrast between the head and the background and it didn’t look great…..IMG_7441

….so I pulled out my trusty sea sponge and light brown paint and added some “shading” on the heads……

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It really made a LOT of difference!!


As I got ready to quilt, I kept seeing “flower power” designs so added those first with some variegated threads….

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….and then echoed the flowers throughout the rest of the piece…..

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Finally, I used one of my ruler’s to quilt the border, but I talked about that HERE.

All in all, I am thrilled with this first finish of the year….here’s to more to come!!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Ruler Quilting–a little blip

I have been using a ruler to quilt the borders on a cute baby quilt and have learned a few things as I quilted along.

I first used the straight edge to quilt lines inside the inner border….IMG_7512..a nice ease-into using a ruler.

Then I started using a curved edge to quilt the pieced borders……

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….and that is where I started having issues.

Firstly, I found that the foot was getting stuck as I crossed seams and, because I was having to force it along, I was making long (toe snag) stitches.  I kept raising the presser foot height but it wasn’t getting any better.

Then, I had a good look at my ruler foot and realized that there is a spring and screw that, amazingly, raise and lower the foot!!!!IMG_7513


PROBLEM SOLVED!!

Then a few hours later, I started having trouble with the thread breaking.   I completely unthreaded my machine, cleaned out the lint, including a small piece that was stuck in the bobbin case and started over but it still wouldn’t work for long.

As a last resort, I decided to change the needle and it fixed the problem.  I seldom think about the needle being the issue but obviously it had a burr on the eye that was causing the thread to shred.

Here is the finished border…..

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I was able to quilt it without having to make any marks and it adds so much more than my normal 3 squiggly lines down the middle.

This was a simple pattern, using the easiest of the rulers, but I am pleased just to have made a start!!


I am one Happy Quilter!!!







Thursday, January 3, 2019

A Little Tension Never Hurt Anyone!!!

I bought my Juki Sewing Machine about 2-1/2 years ago and I have really enjoyed it….except for my machine quilting!!   

I have never been fully happy with the tension when I was doing free-motion quilting and I NEVER was able to get “ruler” quilting to look good.  I had the top tension dialed down almost to 0 and the bobbin stitches were still making their way to the top…..IMG_7500

So, after spending a little time with Google, I came across a video by Westalee Rulers that talked about changing the Bobbin Tension.  Like most of you, I was taught that you NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER did that. 

Well, I was just frustrated enough to give it a try and, with much fear and trembling, I pulled out the screwdriver and got busy, adjusting it by about 5 “minutes” each time…..

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In this case, I had to INCREASE the bobbin tension which also meant that I could tweak the top tension to be a bit tighter as well.

And guess what……IT WORKED!!……IMG_7502


I spent a couple of hours free-motion quilting on a current project and had NO tension problems and NO thread breaking.

I have also decided to use a ruler to quilt the border which should make finishing much faster!!

So one of my goals for 2019 has already been reached…..learning more about doing ruler-work!!!  


NEXT……







Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Ready or not…2019 is here!!

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Some years we slowly coast into a new year with everything being same-old, same-old, but NOT this year.

The first four months of the year are going to be SUPER exciting!!!   Besides it being my uber-busy tax season, there are two fun events to look forward to.   The first is our Guild Quilt Show the first weekend in March and I am show chairman this year.   This is the 3rd time that I have acted as chairman or co-chairman and it is a super job to have. 

Then, just 4 weeks after the show, our daughter Jenny is getting married!!!   We are really looking forward to the event and are excitedly planning and organizing for the big day.  Even today I was working on prototype table decorations!!

Now the problem with having two fun events placed smack in the middle of a busy, busy work season is the possibility that I will get to the end of April and will not have been engaged in either event……they will have come and gone without my taking the time to notice.

SO, my goal for these first months is to simply “EMBRACE THE CRAZY”…..embrace-the-crazy-for-it-keeps-you-sane-5ca31


Now lets backtrack a bit to see how I came to this revelation….. it has been years since I have used a paper planner, having gone to digital a long time ago. 

But, while we were in China, I started listening to a podcast by Ruth Soukup of “Living Well, Spending Less”.   She talked about setting goals and putting the first things first and it started to resonate with me that I wasn’t doing that!!   She also has a planner that helps with goal setting and I decided to give it a try.  IMG_7488

It arrived in September and I  immediately started to use it and have found it to be a great addition to my life!!    The biggest help for me is learning  to do “block scheduling”……looking at the week as a whole and finding blocks of time that can be devoted to various tasks, both work and fun.

As I was thinking about my goals for 2019, I realized that I REALLY wanted to “up” my game with quilting.   This realization came after seeing the quilts at Houston and how, seemingly,  “perfect” they were.   SO, I have decided to block out a short time each morning to work on creative things with a specific plan to work on my machine quilting.   My goal is to add a lot of free-motion designs to my repertoire and then to work on my ruler work.

To help with this goal I have purchased a cheater cloth top from Spoonflower and have also asked our Guild Charity bee for a couple of tops that I can practice on.  

Now, I know that I have said before that I wanted to make time for creative pursuits  each morning but I have failed miserably!!  So I used Ruth’s suggestion and started my New Year’s resolutions in December and have been fairly consistent in getting to my studio for at least 20 minutes each day.

The trick will be for this to continue during the super hectic months to come but I feel sure that those few minutes each day will help to keep my sanity in tact.


So, I will end this post for now and wish you all a….49203507_10217718177684432_8114667508323057664_n



BRING IT ON…………

Monday, December 31, 2018

State of the Studio - 2018

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As the year is ending, I am once again reminded to look back at the year and see what happened in the studio.    My first thought was that I hadn’t accomplished a lot during the year, but as I worked thru it, I found that I had actually gotten a lot done!!  That is one of the many perks of writing this blog!!!   

First was “The Tiles of San Giovani”…..The Tiles of San Giovanni

….which took SEVEN months to finish!!   Of course, I did start over on it a couple of times!!!


Secondly was “Snowed Under”…..IMG_5449

….which only took about 4 days to make!!!

There were two Quilt-Of-Valor tops that were fun to make……IMG_5384

I didn’t get a final photo of this one but here it is before the borders were added……IMG_5447Probably the most fun that I had in the studio was working with friends who wanted to try a little quilting!!!   I continued to meet most weeks with 10 year old Claire and I encouraged her to “up her game” as the year progressed.   She started out making a small quilt for two of her brothers…..

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….followed  by one for her Mom and Dad…..IMG_5379

Next was a top that will be given to our Guild charity group to be made into a kid’s quilt for the Battered Women’s Shelter…..

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Th last part of the year was spent getting her 4-H Project ready to go.  She chose “Let’s Make A Quilt”!!!

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My final quilting project for the year was helping a special friend make a gift for her husband.   He had traveled to Angola earlier in the year and had brought back three very interesting fabrics.   We used two of those to put together this great quilt…..

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Ruth and I had fun working together and having “Sir Bo” (he calls me “Free-Free”) join us made it even more fun!!  Ruth sent a video of Austin opening it on Christmas day and his excitement just added to the fun!!


In these last few days I finished a small quilt made from a pattern that I bought at the Houston show.   For the last two years, Linda and I had visited the booth of Cynthia England and watched her demonstrate her freezer paper piecing technique.   She made it look SO easy and I wanted to try it for myself so I bought one of her cute patterns.    I used her technique for the first 4 or 5 sections and decided that it would be easier to piece it using traditional paper piecing.   Anyway, it is now finished and SOO cute….IMG_7404


And now it is on to 2019…..it is going to be a CRAZY ride!!!







Monday, December 17, 2018

10th Anniversary

Today marks the 10th anniversary of my quilting blog!!

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I had originally started a travel blog when we spent 2 months in England back in 2007.  Before we left several people had said for me to email them and tell them all about the trip.   As I thought about it, I knew that I wouldn’t spend hours emailing each of those individuals so decided to start a blog and anyone who wanted could have a look at it.   After that, I did another blog for our India trip in 2008 and yet another one for our Australia trip in 2008.  

Then in December of 2008, I got the idea to make ONE blog to hold all of the Arnold family exploits, both quilting and not…. and I called it Quilts & Other Stuff!!!

In these ten years I have met people from all around Georgia, the United States and the world and it has been a blast!!!  I even had one woman stop me at a local theater and tell me that she likes my blog!!

So, for my 10th anniversary post I want to tell you about some “Other Stuff” that happened this weekend…..

On Saturday, my Daughter-In-Law and I visited the Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the High Museum in Atlanta.   Amber is a member of the “High” and was able to purchase advance tickets and was sweet enough to invite me along.   

I really knew nothing about the artist but found out that she is an 89 year old Japanese immigrant who started painting when she was 8 years old.  She suffered from some mental illness and hallucinations and says that many of her pieces are designed to let others see the world in the same way that she sees it.

The excitement was palpable as Amber and I stood in line to enter the exhibit at our appointed time…..48361441_10109419037834520_4896550252615565312_n

The first room contained many of her larger-than-life paintings…..

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I, of course, loved the triangle borders on many of the pieces…..

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There were 7 installation pieces that required waiting in line for 10+ minutes to spend  20 or 30 seconds inside the mirrored room.   That doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but it was a blast as we talked about what we had just seen and what we were waiting for.  

My favorite room was titled “Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity”……IMG_7326


It was a peaceful room and the flickering lights were serene!! 

The next favorite was “All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins”.  Unfortunately you couldn’t take cameras into this room….apparently because the glass pieces were very fragile and a falling phone or camera could greatly damage the art.     I pilfered these two photos from the Dallas Museum of Art site…..

Yayoi Kusama_All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins_(1)_Courtesy YAYOI KUSAMA Inc., Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo  Singapore and Victoria Miro, London (photography Thierry Bal) © Yayoi Kusama

Although I really liked this view from the floor, I really LOVED the view from the top mirrors…..Yayoi Kusama_All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins_(3)_Courtesy YAYOI KUSAMA Inc., Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo  Singapore and Victoria Miro, London (photography Thierry Bal) © Yayoi Kusama

One of the exhibits called “Love Forever” had a peep hole for two people to look into the exhibit at the same time.   Amber and I had fun taking photos of each other as the lights flashed around us……

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One of the cool things about the exhibits is that you are a part of it as your reflection is bounced from wall to wall!!…….IMG_7315


There were several galleries with some of her earlier, more traditional, art.   I especially liked this piece from 1953…..IMG_7319

and this one from 2007 called “Dots Obsession”…..IMG_7334

The final room was called “The Obliteration Room” and this was the sign telling about the exhibit…..

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Amber and I got to participate in this exhibit by carefully placing our 6 dots in strategic places in the room…..IMG_7363

It took us several minutes to determine the exact spot that we wanted to cover.   I didn’t get a photo of it, but Amber climbed UNDER this table to place at least one of her dots….

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It will be interesting to see” what this room looks like when the exhibit closes in February.   I certainly hope that the High Museum posts a photo!!!

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One of her quotes said….   “Everyone asks me where my inspiration comes from, but I just pick up the paintbrush and follow my hand, and the work just flows from me”.

I consider myself to be a “deliberate” artist… I don’t feel that it flows but that I have to work at it, but I am happy with the time and abilities to explore creativity.


HERE’S TO 10 MORE YEARS!!!!


Thanks for reading along…….





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