Wednesday, January 5, 2022

2021: My most productive year of quilting

This Christmas, I received complaints from my children about turning my love of quilting into a business.  In their opinion, that just took a whole bunch of gift-giving options off the table because they didn't want to get me anything for "work".  It's OK.  They aren't quilters.  They don't get it!

So, apparently there are downsides to the business angle, but weighing heavily on the positive side is that I can spend a lot of time designing and sewing guilt-free, because "it's my job".  That made the past year my most productive year yet, quilting-wise.

Here's a quick look at my quilt-related accomplishments for 2021. I finished 13 projects from start to finish.

1. Flipped  2. Fresh Wrapped  3. Breadcrumbs 
 4. Small Change  5. Polarized  6. Positivity Squared  7. Stellar Stacks
8. Glacial  9. Ripples Cubed  10. Modern Lace  11. I Spy Lanterns
12. Fresh Wrapped  13. Breadcrumbs

I moved three projects from the UFO stack to the finished pile.

1. Cascade
2. Focus Squared   3. Soak Up the Sun

Of these 16 finishes, all except Soak Up the Sun are my own designs.  Soak Up the Sun is adapted from the pattern by Sew Kind of Wonderful in their book Mini Wonderful Curves. 

All of these except the placemats, Small Change, Ripples Cubed and Soak Up the Sun were quilted by Liz Meimann and her daughter Stephanie.  I'd really like to quilt a few more myself this year.  I ran out of time to quilt more this year while still meeting completion deadlines, but I'm trying very hard to plan and manage my time better in 2022.  We'll see how that goes!  I'm off to a shaky start with a lot of commitments I made late last fall.

2021 was also a banner year for pattern writing, as you can see above.  I released 16 new patterns last year. Partnering with fabric companies to cross-promote their fabrics and my designs was a big factor.  If I submit a lot of proposals, I take the chance of having to move ahead on several designs, on the fabric company's schedule.  There's always the chance they won't take any, but this year more designs were accepted than rejected, so I was busy.

I also have this stack of flimsies, all made in 2021,  most of which I can't share in detail quite yet.  There are 7 quilt tops and a placemat/runner set in that stack, along with their backings.  

I'll be sharing a few of these soon, but some are from previously released patterns, remade in new Island Batik fabrics which I've been asked not to show until the fabric starts shipping to stores.  I'm learning to be patient! Wait until you see the recolored Blaze. I think it will be worth the wait.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with what I have to show for 2021.  With several new patterns due sometime this year, I'm looking forward to "working" my way through 2022, though I really need to make a plan to make sure I keep my commitments and meet my deadlines.  I'll just let the plan ideas simmer a bit while I go introduce my newest almost-quilt-top to the seam ripper. I almost didn't catch that upside down row...

I wish you all a productive and joyful year.  Are you making plans for your quilting or just taking things as they come?


Monday, December 27, 2021

Evening Light

In anticipation of a brand spanking new year, I've been tidying up my sewing space this week, including refolding and restacking my sample quilts.  I came across Evening Light and realized I never shared it on the blog!  It showed up in Instagram and Facebook, but not here.  There was even a draft post, but I never hit "publish".

So, here we go.  Presenting Evening Light!

I'm grateful for the man crouching under the quilt, pretending he's a post, allowing me to attempt to artfully drape the quilt beside the prairie grass.  My husband is always willing to hold up my quilts for photography, but impersonating a post is a new twist.  I think it worked pretty well :)

When I saw the digital swatches of Island  Batik's Celestials collection, I knew my astronomer husband  would love it.  I wanted a design that would let that lovely suns, stars and moons focal print shine.  

I was thrilled when Island Batik selected the design for their Spring/Summer 2021 catalog, along with Sailing School and Bright Seas.  I made the quilt, shipped it off to Island Batik for photography, then bided my time until the fabric shipped to shops before sharing the quilt with you.  There's always a rather long delay between sample making, then catalog publication, then fabric shipping to shops, and  it's been stretched even longer this year.  However, fabric is now in shops and I'm happy to be able to share.

I've been playing around with other color schemes for this design. While the design looks very traditional in the Celestials fabrics, one of the alternate color schemes makes it look very modern.  Fabric choice makes a huge difference.  

I'd like to share the alternate with you, but I'm having computer issues.  Apparently the hard drive to which I save my EQ designs is failing.  It's not even 2 years old yet, so I'm a little annoyed.  I do have backups, but I'm going to wait to get the replacement drive installed before I do anything with those backups!  I'm a bit worried about losing things.  I may have wiped out a drive back in my very first summer job, 30 years ago...

Anyway, stay tuned.  I'll share once I get the computer problems sorted out.

The Evening Light pattern is available as a PDF download in my shop, or ask your favourite quit shop to order print copies from major distributors.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Revising the plan to get it done

Where did the year go?  Back in January, I finished up my Temperature Quilt 2020 top and made plans to piece a backing.  I planned to add a temperature/color key to the back.  If I paper-pieced one digit each week, I'd easily have the backing done to finish the quilt by the end of 2021.  I suspect you can guess where this is going.

There you go.  What you see above is all I got done on this project this year.  What can I say?  My priorities shifted.  I've had my most productive quilting year ever, and enjoyed every minute, but this quilt back was not part of that.

At this point, the whole project is sitting in a box on a shelf, sending me reproachful glances every time I grab a different box. It's interfering with my enjoyment of those other projects.  Every time I think I should be working on that backing but I don't feel like it, I lose my enthusiasm for the whole project.  That's just not right, because I was so excited about this quilt!

Temperature Quilt top 2020

So, I have decided to simplify my plan.  As my very wise daughter pointed out yesterday, it's my quilt.  I  can change the plan if I want to.  Plan changed!  I may or may not add a key to the label, but I'm definitely not piecing or appliqueing all those numbers.  I'll piece my color strips together to make a quick pretty back and get closer to a finished quilt I can toss on the couch and be happy with again.

I settled on this layout.

Let's see if I can get the backing pieced and the quilt basted by the new year.  I almost said finished, but honestly, I really don't want to set this quilt up for more disappointment!

I'd love to hear about any stalled projects you've had, and how you got them moving forward again.