I am joining in with Cheryl and Yvonne’s Linky parties. Cheryl’s looking back at the Best of 2017 and Yvonne’s looking forward to Goals for 2018. I enjoyed doing this last year – a chance to reflect during the quiet days between Christmas and New Year of what has been done and what might be coming up for 2018.
Like last year I’m not going to focus just on the best or favourite makes but also a more critical look at what didn’t work so well. I like a bit of analysis and self critique. I should add that this is solely in the interests of learning as opposed to beating myself up when things aren’t perfect. Indeed I’m not one to overly dwell on my failings, which of course just maybe a failing….
Starting with the obvious…
The most ‘liked’ quilt
According to social media both on this blog and IG, my quilt, Division, made for The Festival of Quilts came out top in terms of views and likes. I think that is at least in part because FoQ causes a flurry of social media activity and if your quilt is reposted, as mine was, on a few sites including a magazine then it just escalates. But I was pleased with the quilt and I see it every day which gives me pleasure. But it was a slog….
My personal favourite quilt
This was really difficult as I’ve loved a lot of the quilts that have come out from my sewing room. For the reason given above my favourite wasn’t Division, just too much agonising and trying for perfection. I’ve settled on two.
This one is a favourite because my mum helped me make it and it now lives in the front lounge. It’s simple but effective but also used a vast selection of blue/grey scraps.
And finally this quilt is another favourite which lives on the spare bed in the sewing room. Another scrap quilt. Again it’s simple but effective and I love sleeping under it when mum comes to stay.
My favourite Charity Bee Quilt
I’m in two charity bees for Siblings Together (for more on this wonderful charity see the tab above). I don’t make all the blocks of course just come up with a design and pull it together. There were quite a few this year but my clear favourite is this quilt – the Lake Cabin Quilt by Rachel of Stitched in Color. For a variety of reasons this included blocks from both bees so there are some 30+ contributors to this quilt.
My favourite non quilt make
This was an easy decision. I love this sewing caddy from a design by Aneela Hoey. Not the easiest of makes but so useful and again something I love seeing everyday.
A close second were these trays. More info on my post here. Again a blend of attractive and functional. I need more of these. Designed by the very talented Anna Graham
My least favourite quilt
Now this is a great example of how quilting can make or break a quilt. I loved the quilt top which is based on Katie Pederson’s clever design. It uses just two blocks and is a great scrap buster. But the choice of a decorative stitch on my Pfaff wasn’t a successs. I think the very regular curves against the free flowing design doesn’t work. If I had my time again I’d use the same Free Motion Quilting design on the plus quilt above or just straight lines. But I guess if you don’t try these things you don’t learn.
My least favourite non quilt make
Oddly this came from the same pattern as the trays above. I don’t really know why it hasn’t worked other than the leather handles were too long so I shortened them and it just looks botched, which it is. It’s also floppy although I’ve used the recommended interfacing. I’ve since cut the leather handles off but just can’t get the rivets out. I might get either of my strong boys to have a go… It is still useful as you can see.
My best new experience of an organised swap
I signed up for my first ever IG swap for those that participate in the # Saturday night craft along. This seemed quite straightforward and proved to be rather fun. Best of all I got to know a couple of new IG virtual friends starting with Natalie @sewmuchtolearn who made for me the most unique 3-D cup and saucer with perfect attention to detail -shall we just say it involved cats !
And then Stacey @craftylilmouse for whom I made in recognition of her love of dogs and a nickname of mouse the following items. In return she sent me the most gorgeous handpainted decoration.
I shall very much enjoy watching the creative makes of these two very lovely and talented creators.
My best tip(s)
I’m always on the hunt for good tips and most I’ve gleaned from the Internet. Well firstly buying a 60mm rotary cutter. I wish I could remember the blogger who recommended this but like me she thought that a 45mm rotary cutter was sufficient but I think was gifted a 60mm version. But it cuts full width fabric quicker and certainly great for cutting through layers, including batting when you are trimming a quilt as the blade is deeper. I’m converted.
The other revelation are audible books. For a period, years and years ago when I was driving a lot for work I would borrow taped books from the library. But of course everything has moved on. A number of quilters mentioned audible books. There are times when I don’t want distraction but other times when there is mindless sewing involved it’s good to have something else going on. Through trial and error I’ve found that the audible books I get on with best are those that have a context that I’m familiar with like a police crime drama. There’s a certain formula to these, you know what I mean, dead body (not too gory I hope), impossibly handsome/attractive Police Inspector with quirky sidekick, the usual twists and turns, another body or two, heavy handed politically motivated police chief and then the surprise denouement! So all in all you haven’t got to think too hard. They are also a wonderful accompaniment to tidying my sewing room. which neatly leads me to….
My abject failure
This is a picture of sewing room as it is right now.
This is not by any means the worst it has looked but it is still not a pretty sight. This was a goal for 2017 to keep my sewing space tidier and be more organised. Well clearly I failed on that one. I have tried both with the trays above which have helped and this lovely slim drawer filing cabinet for my scraps
….but the mess I create when in make mode is pretty full on. I’m beginning to wonder whether this is just something I have to accept and be very, very grateful I have my own space on which I can shut the door.
Looking back at last year’s plans, they proved largely to be a work of fantasy….
I had planned to finish my Glitter quilt. I did not make any blocks at all…
I had planned on being more organised when I sew, well that didn’t work,
I had planned a safari themed quilt which is still just an idea
and I thought I’d continue doing the monthly challenge of One Monthly Goal but I fell out of step with that
but I did do the Quarterly Finish Along, obviously planning for a quarter is easier and I did enter a quilt to the Festival of Quilts so my planning for 2018 wasn’t an entire work of fiction.
For this year I really would like to do the following
- Actually make some more glitter blocks to add to these made in 2016,
2. I’ve got a baby due or at least a friend has a grandchild due so a quilt is needed.
3. I would like to do another quilt for Festival of Quilts. On this latter one I’ve never made a quilt solely of solids so I may combine those two. I’ve some ideas but nothing concrete.
4. More charity sewing is a fixture and quite a few extra blocks need converting into quilts
4. And finally most important goal is to enjoy myself and continue to follow and create what inspires me and then share it here. Thank you so much for reading my posts. If you’ve got to the end of this, congratulations and you deserve a cup of tea or your drink of choice! And thanks for your comments I wish I was better at responding. To a happy and productive New Year.