Thursday, March 31, 2011

Interview with Frances Dowell: Off Kilter Quilt

Frances Dowell, of The Off Kilter Quilt podcast and blog, is one of my favorite quilters to follow.  It is a pleasure to listen to her podcast while quilting as she has a very relaxed, down-home, positive style. It's like you are having a chat with Frances at your kitchen table over coffee.  She creates beautiful quilts that will inspire anyone.

Here are excerpts of our interview this week.  Check the "Interviews" page using the tabs at the top of Fluffy Sheep Quilting to read the entire interview. 


Do you follow blogs regularly?  What are your top three and why?
I tend to check in a lot with Oh, Fransson, Film in the Fridge and Anna Maria Horner. The first two often feature quilts that I love, and I have a tendency to romanticize Anna Maria’s life—so young, so beautiful, so effortlessly managing all those children! I’m sure her life is more demanding than it appears to be on her blog, but I do envy people who make their living as artists and designers. What great work!

What drew you to quilting and knitting?
I just love working with my hands. Although I tend to finish my knitting projects, really, mostly I knit just to knit. When it comes to quilting, I started to make quilts because I really love quilts. As it turns out, I love the quilt-making process, too, all the little parts of it—the cutting, the sewing, the ironing, even picking out the fabrics, though that’s the biggest challenge for me.

Were you an arts-and-craft centric child?
I was mostly a reading child, but I did love to draw. I also enjoyed weaving pot- holders. My mom taught me to knit and crochet when I was around 10, and I enjoyed making long chains just for the sake of making long chains. I was not a very disciplined crafter, however, and tended not to stick with one thing for too long. But I did draw all the time.

What process in quilting are you most skilled at and what skills would you like to refine?
Hmmmm … I don’t feel wildly skilled at any of the processes, though I’m getting much better at cutting accurately. And while I do find selecting colors hard work, I think I’m good at it. In fact the only time I haven’t been really happy with a fabric in one of my quilts was when I let someone else do the choosing for me.

I’ve never done appliqué, and I’d like to learn how. I didn’t think I was interested in appliqué, but recently I’ve started to hear its siren’s call.

What is your greatest quilting success? 
Oh, Simply Amy/Simply Frances, for sure—just finishing it was a huge victory!  I’m also quite proud that it’s final measurements were exactly what I had planned for. That’s a first for me!

What would be your ideal crafting space? 
I love the idea of a light-filled loft with tons and tons of shelves, and tables that are high enough to work comfortably. My space is actually very nice ever since I commandeered the dining room and turned it into a sewing room.


KnoxBlox said...

Hi Frances! Now you're really a star. Thanks for doing the interview, Cindy. Tami in Denver

Cindy said...

Hi Tami! Many thanks for coming over to Fluffy Sheep Quilting. It was a great pleasure to interview Frances. I'm glad you liked it :)

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