Raymond Jeffrey Frank
Raymond is the primary designer for 3 Dudes Quilting Designs, and here is his story.
This is my quilting story. And stories should start at the beginning. The 3 Dudes, of 3 Dudes Quilting have been a family unit for greater than 20 years. We met thru friends. The families we born with are a great blessing, but the families we create are extremely special and rewarding. Anyway, as family we have had many hobbies over the last twenty plus years. We bred and showed Miniature Poodles, with several award winning champion dogs. We raised birds, koi, turtles, plus had a farm yard of chickens, geese, goats, peacocks, and turkeys. We became serious rose growers with over 130 different rose bushes.
About 12 years ago, there was a lull in our breeding and showing of dogs, and Jeff and Frank took a beginning quilting class at A Quilter’s Bee in Peoria, AZ. None of us had every sewn before, and they took the class on the recommendation of a friend. Well, that started it all. They came home from the very first class, and there was talk of us opening a quilt shop. Jeff taught me how to quilt, and we were off and running. We spent a year learning the craft, studding the retail quilting market, and planning our store.
We opened 3 Dudes Quilting, January 15, 2008, just months after the big Stock Market down turn of November 2007. We found immediate acceptance in the quilting community, and we were off to a great start as shop owners. Sadly, after nine great years as a successful quilt shop with a five star rating and an international presence we were forced to close the shop for financial concerns. It was heartbreaking but necessary.
The biggest joy of owning a quilt shop was the great people we meet along the way. Wonderful, happy people who loved the art and craft of quilting as much as we did. We will miss them the most. The second biggest joy was the learning and growing we did as quilters/artisans/crafters. What a joy to be able to do something you love and share it with our wonderful quilting friends.
Early in my quilting journey I discovered a simply, fun and easy way to make quilts that I dubbed the “Lets Strip It” method. The result was 20 plus original designs and patterns. Several of those patterns were featured on Missouri Star Quilt Company by Jennie Doan and the Man Sewer Rob Appeal. I have toured with Trunk Shows and classes featuring this Lets Strip It method, and continue to do so now that the store has closed.
I also developed a real love of pre-cut strip sets. I ran two very successful classes in the store based on the pre-cut strips. Desert Strippers was a class where we made a unique and different quilt each time, designed by me. My Improv Class was the most successful class, and it helped me to develop even more patterns and quilts. In the Improv Class, students get to choose their pre-cut strips from my stash of over 6000 strips. This is a great lesion in color, contrast, hue, patterns, etc. With their strips and an accent fabric we created a quilt. Great fun, and the resulting patterns are being created now and published. Total patterns published at this time is 30, with 12 in process.
My design process is simple yet complicated at the same time. I will select the fabric that I want for the project and let it speak to me. I create from the fabric. . . think about it, listen to it, work with it, then cut and sew. After I have created the project, then I create the pattern based on how I made it. Seems simple enough, but writing the pattern so others can understand what I mean can be tricky. I found by teaching the Improv class, I learned a great deal about how others understand what I am saying.
Southwest style and fabrics have always interested me, and I have three projects going that are outside of my pre-cut strip design process that I am having a great time with. Two of the quilts are made, and patterns are being created, third project is a selection of fabrics waiting to turn into a quilt.
Currently my patterns are available on our Shopify. 3 Dudes Quilting Designs, and at 35th Ave Sew and Vac, Phoenix, AZ and A Quilter's Oasis, Mesa, AZ. I hope to have them available in local quilt shops this year. My “retirement” plans are to continue teaching, creating, sharing and enjoying my love of quilting. I am scheduling trunk shows, classes, quilt shows and other events while creating and writing new quilt patterns.
Our rose garden, yard, and animals keep us busy. I am active with Row by Row Experience™ and multiple quilt groups and guilds. Jeff employed full time at the larges quilt shop in Arizona and is enjoying his time at his sewing machine and creating some wonderful quilts. Frank is the home manager and chief cook and bottle washer, providing Jeff and I time to work on our quilting.