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Here my latest finish…Sweet Fanny Adams (SFA).  She’s hanging in the little house above the pressing station.

Chartreuse linen from my friend Elizabeth’s stash.  Cherrywood dark scraps left over from previous projects.  Bamboo batting.  FMQ doodle-style with Sweet 16.  Double trapunto letters (I didn’t want to run the risk of them NOT standing out!).  Faced edges.  Lettering inspiration from Jessica Wheelahan.  Design style inspiration from Irene Roderick.

Sherri Lynn Wood, author of my most favorite quilt book EVER The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters suggests that when you finish a project, you evaluate it by asking yourself questions such as:  surprises?  discoveries?  dissatisfactions?  changes?  what next?

What surprised me about SFA?  I’ve done a fair bit of improv over the years but I found it difficult to study Irene’s work and try to interpret it without copying it.  It was difficult to use her work as a springboard to where I wanted to go.  Although, having written that, I rarely have a plan.  I just wanted the FEEL of Irene’s work.  I struggled.  In reading about her process, I learned that she works from the inside out with her pieces.  I honestly tried to do it that way, but finally reverted back to my technique of starting on the edges and working inward.

Discovery?  No real surprise…I love doing quilts like this.  Quilts that start with a fabric or an idea or just random left over blocks…and build from there.

Dissatisfactions?  I might have rushed it.  I struggle to let things marinate for very long.

Changes?  I wonder if the lower left is a bit ‘heavy’?

What is next?  I have an idea brewing that I’m calling “Oh how she loved being home alone”.  My friend Marcia and I have been brainstorming and I have a loose plan.  I want to finish my String Therapy series (I’m working on #7 now).  I have 8 rows of 24 clamshells (10 across) finished and I have 44 of 45 autograph blocks embroidered.

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I might need to shift gears and pull out my paints for awhile.  None of my quilting projects are tripping my trigger.  They are long term projects that I’ve lost enthusiasm for.   A few of the traditional ones are in the ‘bleh’ category.  The improv ones are past the design stages and into the finishing stage which then leads me to the question of what to do with them when they are finished.

Here are pictures and discussion of my current UFOs.

Long Time Gone by Jen Kingwell.  I’m doing this as a block of the month.  I like the fabrics (Japanese taupes) and the pattern is fine.  It’s just that it’s someone else’s pattern.  It’s like doing a ‘paint by numbers’ painting.

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EPP diamonds.  I started this a couple years ago to test out the Eppiflex product.  Love the product (and Danni!) but EPP hurts my hands.  And, this is turning out so BORING.  SO traditional.  I might need to follow the advice I gave a friend about her UFOs…put it in a box, tape it shut and put it in the garage or under a bed until I want to work on it again (if EVER).  Or give it away.

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My Favorite word is.  This is embroidery on fabric that my friend Candy gave me – graduated starburst-like shades of grey from light to dark.  I started doing freeform embroidery on it with the gorgeous Cottage Garden Threads.  In the center, I plan to embroider my favorite word.  (Any guesses???? lol)

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EPP bag.  A pattern I bought at a local quilt show.  1″ hexagons out of left over Liberty fabric.  I’m using linen for the main bag.  It’s finished except for putting a string through the top.  Another ‘what am I going to do with this’ project.

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Orange Kantha.  I do love this one.  It is simply a 1 & 1/2 meter chunk of fabric that I bought at Always your Design in Dell Rapids, South Dakota last year.  I LOVE the fabric and didn’t want to cut it up so I’m Kantha stitching it.  It may take a lifetime as the rows are about 1/2″ apart.  I like everything about it – but it’s rather boring work.  And, it feels like I will never get to the finish line.  I save it for days when I need mindless work or when watching cricket.

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Camelot.  I started this one on a whim earlier this year.  A group of us went to a quilt show and I found this gorgeous William Morris fabric line that HAD to come home with me.  VERY traditional.  Trish Harper had this pattern in QuiltMania magazine a few years back and I had it the back of my mind that I’d like to do it someday.  This fabric seemed to be the perfect fit.  Plus, a friend had a bag of WM fabrics to share with me so I could make it really scrappy.

I have 14 of 16 circles finished.  I’m still not sure on the background color.  I like the scrappy neutrals but I also like red floral and the red tone-on-tone.  I like hand piecing – but the quilt itself is feeling rather boring.  I keep wondering how I can add an improv/modern slant to it.

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Indigo and Lime Green improv.  I like this one.  I need to dye a back for it and then quilt it.  I have the back pieces prepped and ready for an indigo dye session – hopefully soon.

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She Was Loved 3.  I like this one too.  It’s next in line to be quilted.  The first picture doesn’t show the completed top – only the background fabric.  This tryptic might need to find a place on the wall somewhere in our home.  I really like it.  It feels like art to me.

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Ruby May.  Ahhhh, Miss Ruby May.  Liberty fabrics appliqued on linen.  Embroidered motifs with Cottage Garden threads.  It really is a quilt that wanted to be hand quilted – but hands are hurting and Sweetie was calling.  I started doodle FMQing this one a few days ago.  I’ve always wanted to be able to doodle with quilting but have let fear of sucking get in the way.  Well, I finally dove into the pool of doodling.  And on a fabric where everything shows.  It’s turning out ok.  I’m probably close to ‘over quilting’ it – but that’s the way it goes.

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Houses, houses, houses by Yoko Saito.  I love Yoko Saito’s work.  And I’ve always been drawn to this pattern of hers.  Not sure where I’m going with it but I enjoy the freeform cutting and applique.  The blocks are 5×6″.  At one point, I thought about doing a couple quilted pieces to recover Mr. W’s reading chair.  I’m using the same color palette for this one and Long Time Gone so I could combine them for that purpose.

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I think that is the extent of my quilting UFOs.  TIme to sit in front of the fire and keep warm before deciding which one to work on today.

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Here are 6 FMQ practice pieces I completed recently.  I’m following the free motion quilt challenge being offered by Angela Walters.  Each week we get 1-2 youtube videos with a new pattern or technique to try.  Although I’ve been FMQing for years, it’s always good to do more practice – especially now that Sweetie is back from the hospital.  I was brave and went with black thread so that I could actually SEE my quilting.

These are pieces that one of my quilt peeps gave me to practice on.  She did the embroidery on her machine.  The plan is that she is going to use the quilt-as-you-go method to join them together.

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