Sunday, July 15, 2018

Rainbow Pineapple heads to Houston

Today I sat down to check my email after lunch and there was one from Joan, a quilting friend, asking if I was the “Frances Arnold” listed in the  IQA “Finalist” list!!!

I didn’t even know what the IQA Finalist List was!!!!

I did a quick search and sure enough, I found out that my quilt “Rainbow Pineapple” has been juried into the “Celebration of Color” exhibit at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in November…..


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Needless to say, I am PUMPED!!!!

I am also thankful that she saw it because it has to be delivered by August 20th and we leave on Friday for a month in China, only returning on the 18th. So, now I need to find time to get it packaged up and off to UPS before we leave!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Making my mark on the 4th of July

Over the past week I have been working on a design for my “Henna Whole Cloth” quilt.  I spent several evenings making Google searches for Henna Tattoo designs and came up with TONS of great designs.   It was especially hard to whittle them down to the ones that would work on my quilt!!!

I cropped the images that I liked, used Power Point to print them in the size that I wanted and started working on my full size pattern.   I started with the original design that I tested and then started building out from there.   This is the final design……IMG_5505

I say that this is the final design…..there will be some echo quilting around the circle designs and also in the blank corner areas. 

So, today my plan was to begin tracing this intricate design onto the fabric.  In the past I have used a small (12 inch square)  lightbox and was really not looking forward to trying to do something this large on it.

But…..quilting friends to the rescue….. My friend, Sheila, had a large, flat light box that she allowed me to borrow for this task…..IMG_5509

….and boy did it make a huge difference!!!

There are two great features on this piece of equipment….first of all it is flat so that my pattern and fabric were able to lay flat and not slide around.   Secondly it has a dimmer so that the light doesn’t have to be so bright.   When it was on bright it looked like this…..IMG_5501

…..and I couldn’t see where I had drawn already!!    The dimmer function allowed me to see the lines and also see the blue oft the markers…..IMG_5502


So, after about 5 hours  and 4 blue pens later,  the main part was traced…..IMG_5504

My next step will be to make sure that the corners are going to be square and then I will add the four peacocks in the corners.

Now I just have to figure out how I am going to baste it!!!!!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Project Planning

As I have been working on various Quilts of Valor, I have been thinking about new projects to start and I had two in mind…….

The first is an inspiration that I had when we were in Chengdu, China back in 2016.  There was an office building next door to our hotel and at night there were long strings of colored lights shining brightly on the building.  These is a very bad quality photo that I took to remind me of my inspiration…..DSC08558

The colors would change from blue to red to yellow and sometimes the light lines would split up……DSC08552

Again a horrible photo but it was best that I could get from inside my hotel!!

So, I have been thinking about how to make a quilt that has these same slivers in it.  Here is where I am so far…..IMG_5466

…but this ain't cutting it.   I am not sure if the slivers that I am using aren’t bright enough or what, but I am not happy with it. 

I have been wondering if it would be more interesting if I completely pieced the black/grey backgrounds first (maybe in a brick style) and then made the slivers go from top to bottom.  The biggest problem with this will be that every time I add a sliver, it makes the edges wonky.  

And, looking at this photo, I think that the slivers may need to be a bit wider and maybe I only want to use the lighter orange ones????  I have been trying to use some silks that I bought in India in 2015 but they may not be the right colors…..


SO…..since I am sort of stuck on this one, I turned to my other inspiration.

On the same 2016 trip, we spent some time in Trivandrum, India, and one of the things that I wanted to do was to get a Henna tattoo.   IMG_8752

As I watched the young woman applying the Henna designs to my skin I couldn’t help thinking that the technique was similar to free motion quilting…..of course I viewed this exercise thru my “quilt-colored glasses”!!

So, I have been combing the internet looking for henna tattoo patterns  with the thought of making a “white on white” quilt using those designs.   I didn’t really want it to be white but was thinking about more of a tan-on-tan.  

Yesterday I bought some appropriate fabric and decided to make a sample to see how it looks, and I am SOOOO happy with it……

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I was thinking about doing some Trapunto work on it but decided instead to try using two battings.   I placed an 80/20 batting on the bottom and a fluffy batting on the top.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the bag that the“fluffy” one came in so I have NO idea of exactly what type of batting it is, but it works and I have enough for the big project so…..who cares!!

Now I need to spend a lot of time designing what this 40 inch square is going to look like.   I am pretty sure that this sample design will be the center of the medallion and I am planning to put peacocks in each of the corners, but who know what else will be added to it!!

I also have to figure out a way to get the design onto the fabric.  I have a light box but it is too small to do a big piece.  I will have to put on my thinking cap!!!


So, no finishes, but a couple of FUN starts……    more to come!!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Birthday fun!!!

What do you do when you have four projects in progress and a good friend has a birthday… You start a new project for her.  My friend, Katie and I ALMOST share a birthday!!   Her’s is June 15th and mine is June 16th.  Now the fact that we are separated by about 25 years doesn’t come into play in this story!!

Last Saturday morning I decided that I wanted to make something to give Katie and I knew exactly what it would be.  She and I had discussed the fact that we have several of the same bird “statues” that we decorate with.   Years ago I had made two small bird quilts to use in my spring decorating so I decided to make another one of these for my dear friend. 

I grabbed a fabric that was already on my cutting table from another project to use for the background…..IMG_5434


Within 30 minutes I had it put together and ready to start quilting. I love the fact that it doesn’t look like much at this stage…..IMG_5435

…..but once you start adding the quilting lines it just comes to life……

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It was a great start to my birthday!!

That afternoon we met our kids at a Korean BBQ restaurant in Atlanta and had a fun two hours cooking meat and eating, eating, eating!!IMG_5444

While we were out, we also stopped by Tandy Leather and I purchased two pieces that I can use to trying out the “Quilting on Leather” technique that I learned at the Houston show last November……IMG_5451


The day ended with a Dairy Queen Blizzard…..Blizzard_BOM_Salted-Caramel-Truffle_810x810


A PERFECT DAY!!!!!



Monday, June 18, 2018

Feeling “Snowed Under”

Back in January our Guild was presented with a challenge that was due at the June meeting.   It was billed as the “Idiom” challenge and the rules said to make a 24x36 inch quilt that represented an idiom.  The quilt could not have borders and must have a recognizable amount of black and white fabric.

My initial thought was that I didn’t want to do the challenge because I could only think of “cutesy” ideas and didn’t want to make that big of a quilt that would never hang on my walls.  So, I pretty much forgot about it!!

Then, back in February I was having lunch with my “Creative Group” and we were talking about how bad the winter weather had been.  One of the members showed a photo that her son had taken to prove just how much snow had fallen at his house.   When I saw the photo, I saw a single tree trunk in the middle of a snow drift with a horizon line and a forest of trees in the background.   When I asked the woman to share the photo, this is what I received……IMG_2203


…..a yardstick stuck into the snow on a table and something in the background….probably the back of a deck chair.    Yikes, is this really the photo that inspired me!!!

That evening, as I was playing around with the photo and thinking about the size of the quilt, I realized that it could EASILY be turned into a 24x36 inch quilt which would fit the challenge rules.    But, I still needed an idiom…. so I hopped on the internet and Googled “idioms and snow” and up popped “SNOWED UNDER”….the PERFECT name for this planned quilt!!!

I started on the quilt top by marking a 24 x 36 inch onto my design wall and laying out the possible fabrics…..IMG_5045

The next task was to “free-piece” the snow background.  This particular section started out by piecing a nine patch…..

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….and continuing to add pieced segments until I got it to the size that I wanted……IMG_5299

…..and then added it to the other sections already on the wall……IMG_5300


After I had the snow bank pieced, and as I was trying to decide what to do with the background trees, I looked thru some photos that I had saved as inspirations and decided that, like this photo, there needed to be some tree shadows….. il_340x270.528691447_kn46

I briefly thought about painting the shadows but then remembered a banner that I had photographed in Scotland where netting was used to provide shadows on buildings…..

P5010860I grabbed the only netting that I had in the house (purple) and placed a temporary shadowIMG_5310I immediately liked how it looked!!

Now it was time to start quilting, so I did some sample quilting (with a pen) to see which I liked best…..IMG_5318

I picked the middle one and drew one blue line to use as a guide for the echo quilting, and off I went!!

While outlining the tree, I accidently hopped off the white and onto the tree trunk, leaving a VERY noticeable line.  Now I could have taken the stitching out but instead decided to cover the white line with a dab of from a brown Fabrico Marker. 

Unfortunately the next thing that I did was to pull out my spray bottle and liberally spray the blue line to remove the mark, AND, you guessed it…..the brown marker hadn’t dried yet and it bled onto the white fabric…..IMG_5322


It wasn’t much but was enough to ruin the piece and I was horrified!!   As I finished quilting the trees, I tried to think of ways to fix the bleed mark and had basically decided that I would need to take out some of the quilting and applique another piece of white fabric over it….SIGH….so much work!!!

But then I had the wonderful thought…..I wonder if I could paint over it?????

So a dab of paint on a dry brush…..

IMG_5325…. and the crisis was averted!!!!


I am extremely happy with the quilt and had a marvelous time working on it…..IMG_5449

…..definitely a win-win!!!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Opening My “Too-Hard” Basket

When I worked in an accounting firm, one of my managers would show up about every two weeks with the fateful words “be in my office in 15 minutes and bring your too-hard basket with you”.   This particular basket held all of the little tasks that had been built up in my mind for so long that I simply couldn’t bring myself to attack them.   The sad truth to this scenario was that most of them could be finished in a very short time and I just needed the “push” to get to them.


This post is the opening of my current too-hard basket.   It has been almost FOUR months since I wrote a blog post and so much time has passed that I have had a hard time getting motivated to catch up.  But, just as in accounting, I know that writing the first post will unleash many posts to come……so, here goes……


The first week in March, just after my last post, I had a complete knee replacement.  Since this was done during the middle of income tax season, I was VERY busy trying to recover while keeping up with my work.  I had a wonderful Physical Therapist who worked hard to help me get my mobility back quickly.  She even used some “dry needling” to try to loosen up some of my muscles…… IMG_5181

I quickly moved from using a walker, to a crutch and finally to a cane for a short time…..

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Now, three months later, I am back in the gym five days a week and doing almost everything that I was doing before.  There is still some swelling and stiffness but overall I am happy with where it is now and I cant wait to see where it will be in 3 more months!!!


My reward for making it thru tax season was to attend a 4 day Quilt Guild Retreat.  The schedule was magnificent…..Sew,  Eat,   Sew,   Eat,   Sew,  Eat,   Sew,   Sleep….repeat as needed!!!   I spent the entire time working on a Christmas Pineapple quilt that I started several retreats ago and will probably not touch again until the retreat next April.  IMG_5167


In the last month my husband was out of town for 12 days and I spent a good amount of time in my studio working on several pieces which I will talk about in the next few days.  I will however show a Quilt of Valor that I strip pieced…..IMG_5384I used Bonnie Hunter’s “Basket Weave Strings” pattern as the idea for the quilt and did the paper piecing on blocks cut out of an old phone book.IMG_5338


The piecing was fun especially because I could just put the pedal down and sew as fast as I could go……IMG_5346


  The paper was also super easy to remove and the blocks went together perfectly.   And, as an even better perk, I really was able to clean out a bunch of my scraps.


To come, there are two challenges that I have worked on, another QOV, some great quilting time with my friend Claire and two new projects that I have just started having ideas about……..stay tuned.






Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Tiles of San Giovanni…..

Well, after many months (7 to be exact), I have finished my Roman tile quilt, now named “The Tiles of San Giovanni”.

If you are new to this journey, here are the posts in order of appearance…..

Part 1 – Roman tiles on my mind

Part 2....the day that math let me down

Part 3....Roman Tiles – part 3.


So, where we left off, the interior tile work was well under construction ….IMG_4758

….although I still hadn’t decided exactly where it was going from here!!

I really liked the greyish fabric and thought that it would be good to use in the thin outer rings but I only had a small amount of the fabric left.  I looked online and traveled to a local-ish store that has thousands of bolts but couldn’t find anything that came close.   I actually did buy two fabrics that looked perfect in the store but were completely different colors when I got them into different light…..grey’s are bad that way!!

So I did the next best thing and decided to just use what I had and figure it out if I did run out!!   The wonder-under was trimmed with TINY margins and the pieces were tightly placed on the fabric…..

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….and look, there is a bit leftover!!

At this point, I was ready to start thinking about the background……IMG_4869

….but there was one thing that had been bothering me.   Look at the top and bottom of the circles on the right.   do you see my problem?   My pattern had been off by about 1/2 inch and the outside rings butted up against the edge of the fabric.   There was NO room to add a border or anything else!!

Now I have always said that my mantra in life came from a “Calvin & Hobbes” cartoon with the statement that…..”A day without denial is a day you have to face”.   But I had denied it long enough and it was time to tackle the problem before I went any further.

After much pondering, I decided to remove the two outside pieces that were touching the edges and fuse down a small strip of fabric on the edge and then reapply the outside circle.IMG_4919

Amazingly, it worked and now you cant even see that it was mended!!

Next I had to think about what would go in the outside background areas.  In the original tile floor there were lots of new patterns in the background…..

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….and I was originally planning to do that, but I just never could get excited about it.   Then I was showing it to a quilting friend one night and as we talked about it, I realized that I really wanted to keep the background simpler and just do 1 inch squares.

I found two lovely fabrics that would provide all of the squares that I could want.  Both were gradations, one from black to brown and the other from green to red and the variety that they provided was perfect.

I started each section by centering the first square and drawing lines out from it…..IMG_4875

I kept adding lines at 1-1/8 inches until I had the entire area filled up……

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And then I would start adding the squares…..

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…..trimming them down as the approached the curves…..

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As soon as I had done a couple of sections, I could see that this was the perfect way to enhance the center tiles…..it seemed to make them just pop off of the quilt……IMG_5010

I added a narrow border and started the quilting process.  The quilting was kept simple, just echoing all of the “tiles”.  I chose to do a knife-edge finish and, voila…..the quilt was finished……

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I do have one issue with the construction….since I used a LOT of fray check, the quilt has become very stiff, and the quilting process has left observable needle holes in the background fabric.   I am hopeful that those will fill back in as the quilt is used.

But, overall I am VERY happy with the quilt and feel that it is a wonderful reminder of the feelings that I had on that sunny day in Rome!!!

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