Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Time for the “State of the Studio” address…..

Well, I was getting ready to post a note about a new project that I just started, but realized that it was New Year’s Eve and I hadn’t yet written my “State of the Studio” address, also known as “what I did this year”.   So, here goes…..

Michael and I had a wonderful year together, enjoying spending time in our new home.  It was a bit strange that we didn’t have any overseas trips, but I think that we both needed the break.

I found some much needed creative time during 2014, enjoying working on several fun projects.

I started out the year with the Australia Fabric curves.  Michael and I are enjoying sleeping under this one!!!


The second quilt of the year was the guild challenge that I have now named “Blue Light Special”…..DSC02351


Next came two “quick” quilts given to our two young Chinese visitors….DSC03009



Then, my friend Diane turned 60 and needed a quilt to keep her warm…..DSC02621

This fun baby quilt was a joy to make……


These two challenges from my Crea-8-tive group gave me a chance to try something new…..  DSC03341



My stained glass challenge was fun…..DSC03876

Finally, there was this quick quilt for Jenny for Christmas…..


Looking back, I see that my projects can be split into to categories…..1) quick and easy and  2)  be creative.   I am really pleased with the balance between the projects and have enjoyed trying some new things.

As I look forward to 2015, I know that we are going to have a fantastic year although it has potential to be quite hectic.   At this point we have 3 overseas trips planned…..3 weeks in Nepal in May/June with 10 days of hiking in the Himalayas, 3 weeks in Colombia in July/August  and the month of September in Bangalore, India!!     In addition, I am chairman of our guild Quilt Show in March!!!

I told Michael that my mantra for the year is going to be “don’t procrastinate” because I simply don’t have time for it!!!

All I can say is…….BRING IT ON!!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Show & Tell Time


One of my favorite parts of the guild meetings is our Show and Tell time.   There were two quilts shown this month that I really wanted to talk about. 


The first one was made by my friend Nupur, an avid scientist, mother, wife, chef, reader and blogger.   This is her FIRST quilt and I am so impressed with it and happy for her!!!!


My friend Sue showed this wonderful Christmas friendship quilt and gave us a great hint for how to put something like this together.   She worked in rows, selecting the tallest block to determine the height of that particular row.   She then added to the other blocks and added bits and pieces to bring every other block in that row up to the same height.  DSC03894

The result certainly doesn't look like it was done in rows but sure made the piecing easier!!!   Thanks Sue for the great hint!!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Guild Challenge Results


As I had predicted, most of the  Stained Glass Challenge participants went with a traditional view.   Here are the wonderful results…..


Mary had started this as a kit and used the challenge to move it further along....

DSC03893She made this one too.   She and her husband have quite a collection of Nativity Scenes from all over the world so this will fit in perfectly....DSC03892

Unfortunately, I dont know who made this one....DSC03890

Barbara, our challenge organizer, made THREE..


Pat always does the challenge twice.   This was her more "funky" design based on the colors in a peacock feather.....DSC03885

And this was her traditional design......DSC03884

Fay's was gorgeous......DSC03882

And Lisa's was magnificent!!!   She designed the pattern herself and then cut out ALL of those tiny pieces......DSC03881

and Donna quilted a wonderful angel......DSC03878

Although you cant see it in the photo, Brenda's quilting adds so much to her design....


As usual, it was fun to see just how each individual interpreted the challenge!!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas to all



May your holiday be a special time with friends and family!!


Merry Christmas from the Arnold’s.   

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Another Challenge with almost no planning

Back in June, a new challenge was presented to my quilt guild.  This time it was to be a Stained Glass quilt.  Most people immediately thought of the traditional stained glass, using bias tape for the “leading”.

Well, I thought about the challenge for 5-1/2 months and then finally had a couple of ideas.  I could remember two photos from some of our trips.  The first was of a window in St. Giles Church in Edinburgh, Scotland…..


I loved the colors and using squares, but really didn’t want to make it this structured.

The second photo was taken at Notre Dame in Paris…..


I liked all of the leading and particularly the horizontal lines.

So, with those two photos in my mind, I headed up to my studio and started pulling out jewel tone fabrics that were already cut into 2-1/2 squares….


I put a piece of black fabric on my design wall and started randomly adding squares  and rectangles of color…..


After I had filled the “window’' up…..


….I had to figure out a way to get all of the pieces off of my wall, backed with wonder under and then replaced on the background.   After thinking about it for a while, I decided to cut strips of wonder under that were just a bit wider than 2-1/2 inches and lay the pieces on it one row at a time…..


I trimmed them by hand, wanting there to be slight variations in the edges.

At this point, Michael thought that I could stop,  but I wanted to go ahead and turn it into a window.

The next task was to figure out the curve and start working on the sides of the window.DSC03867

After I had cut and placed the inner border of the window I realized that I had a big problem….


Do you see it???    As I walked forward with my iron to fuse the first window border in place, I realized that I was about to fuse it directly onto my design wall!!   I guess that is what comes from not planning first!!

I started to add more fabric but didn’t really want it to get too much more bulk so finally decided to fuse directly onto the batting.   I ironed the black fabric onto the fusible batting and then fused the window frames in place….


I cut it out and used a Fabrico marker to add the “mortar” between the bricks making up the window frame…..


I quilted on each side of the “mortar” which gave it a nice definition and then started quilting straights lines horizontally across the stained glass.

The dark grey binding finished off the window nicely…..


With two hours to spare, I finished up the last of the binding and headed for the meeting. 

So, for the second time in one week, I made a project with very little pre-planning.  I know, who am I and what have I done with Frances Arnold!!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cre8tive fun!!!

Last Thursday our little Creative group met for our annual Christmas gift exchange.   This year we decided to make flags for each other with no restrictions as to size or type

Now, I have known about this project since our meeting back in June, but didn’t manage to start on it until the Wednesday before!!!   I really didn’t have any idea of what I wanted to do, but started out by looking for inspirational sayings and came up with “Do what you love” so that was my starting point.

I printed out the words on my computer and laid them out on my cutting table.  I also knew that I wanted to use a bunch of fun threads for the cording….DSC03817

I had originally planned to use a lot of buttons, but that idea soon faded away!

I pulled out some fabric that I had dyed many years ago and started cutting rectangles and adding words to them.  I decided to take my own advice and add flowers (something that I love) to the end of each side….DSC03820

At this point I had to figure out how to attach the flags to the string so a lot of fiddly sewing ensued.   Let’s just say that I am glad that the “cording” had lots of threads hanging off because it did a great job of hiding my stitches.

Here is the final product….


We started our meeting with all of the flag sets hidden away in bags…..


….but soon enjoyed revealing each bag’s secret.

Ruhanna made these cute, fuzzy headed women to remind us that “It’s gonna be o.k”……..


Brenda made this cute Christmas flag set which I was excited to receive!!!!…..



Deb inspired us with her “beautiful” batik leaves…..


We were all in awe of Cleo’s flags….these were done by sewing three layers of fabric together and then cutting out either one or two fabrics in each section….sort of like reverse applique……


Linda made these cute flags with fun inspirational sayings and lots of embellishments…..


Denise used recycled jeans to make her flags….


….and they are reversible too……DSC03839

Finally, Fay did some fantastic paper piecing and produced this fun piece…..


It was a fun, fun evening and I loved seeing what each person had created.

Now we have to decide on our NEXT project……

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Pineapples….pineapples and MORE pineapples…..

While at the retreat, I started working on a pineapple quilt, not knowing how big I was going to make it.   The longer I worked, the bigger that I wanted it to be so now I am planning for a Queen Size.

Gyleen Fitzgerald’s technic is VERY easy to do, especially using her ruler!!   

It starts out with a 2-1/2 inch square for the center and then works with 1-1/2 inch strips.   After each round of strip adding, you go to the cutting board and, using her ruler, cut off the extra bits…..


You simply line the 1-inch line up with the top seam, make sure that the vertical lines are straight thru the corners and cut off the dog-ears at the top.

The blocks grow quickly…..




The last cut is made by placing the center square on the ruler over the center square of the block and trimming all four sides….


VOILA… completed block…..


The biggest thing to remember with this technic is that all of the cutting is done from the REVERSE side of the block.   If you start lining things up with the finished edge, you get into trouble very quickly.

This past week I have kept on making Pineapples…..44 more of them to be exact!!!

I started laying them out on my design wall but had trouble visualizing the finished quilt because I was having to lay it out sideways.


I finally pieced some of the rows that I was fairly sure about and then carefully rearranged the pieces so that I could see it vertically….


As I looked at it, I wasn’t happy with the red areas so decided to sleep on it and try again the next morning.   After playing around with block placement, I decided that the dark reds were too strong and that perhaps there were too many of them, so I started piecing more blocks in purple and green.

I liked this arrangement much better……


Next up will be setting triangles and borders!!!

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