Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Let's put a bow on it!

 Hello all, and welcome to my 2023 year-end roundup! This is, as always, inspired by Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs. If you are new here, welcome! If you've been following along this year, many thanks. I'm extremely grateful that you've hung around through all the drama this year. It has been the best of times and the worst of times, in the sewing room and out. A health crisis, a family crisis, and a brand new roof that leaked all made this year extra challenging, but there was also a lot of happiness and some fun quilty stuff. Come on along as we take a look back. . .

(Clicking on the captions will take you to that post.)
2023 was quite challenging, but I did manage to finish up 17 quilts, including one I haven't shown off yet, along with 6 tops, a whole bunch of blocks, and a number of other quilty projects, like table toppers and bags or hot pads. My biggest accomplishment, though, is that I now have four (four!) empty project boxes. Nobody tell the fabric or we all know what will happen! Other than that, here are some of the high points from the year:
Most comforting quilt

Comfort twice over
I made this quilt top in a very sad time for me, and this year it got quilted up and given to the sister of a friend of mine. This is from the Solstice Sampler, a project run for several years now by Amber at Alderwood Studio. (Pattern for the whole sampler no longer available, sadly.) This was such a good project, and my friend's sister loves the quilt. A comforting win all around!

Most creative project

Earlier this year, Sandra at mmmquilts offered her yearly quilt along, with an original pattern for a neighborhood of fun houses, along with trees and all kind of other things. (You can get the pattern HERE.) I looked at the pattern and didn't see a quilt but a series of fun placemats. I made six different house placemats from Sandra's pattern and we used them all summer. They held up really well and were a nice cheerful spot every day.

Most satisfying finish

For the past several years Gail and friends at Quilting Gail have run the Stay at Home Round Robin, where you make a round robin quilt for yourself instead of passing it around. (Information about this year's round robin is HERE.) For the 2023 project, I challenged myself to use up a bag of coordinating scraps I had saved, and I did that. I also used up a panel I had had for a long time, finished the top, quilted and bound it, and donated the quilt to a palliative care unit. All inside of about 6 months! I am so, so happy with how this whole thing turned out.
I also donated a few other quilts to palliative care this year: 
Happiest finish

Fast, fun, and bright

Baby quilts are always really happy, bright, and fun to make. This year I made a bunch of them, but this simple little quilt was one of the happiest. It didn't take long, but I gave it to an administrative assistant at work who has been very, very good to all of us for her first grandchild. She was over the moon, and later sent me a picture of the baby on the quilt. Can you get much happier than that? 

There were also a couple other bright happy baby quilts this year:
The puzzle finish
Last year I made a quilt top to clean out my green scrap bin, and this year I quilted it with my walking foot and finished it off. This might be my favorite finish from this year just for the backing:

It really is a party on the back! I donated this quilt to Quilty Hugs, and I hope someone is enjoying it right now. 
There were, of course, many other projects, but these were among the best for this past year. It makes me feel pretty good to look back, because I was convinced that I had finished almost nothing amidst all the issues here this year.
Coming in 2024!
Quilting is my hobby, not my job, and I've learned that making goals for quilting just stresses me out and makes me tense. So I have no real goals! This year I cleaned out a lot of things (four empty project boxes!) and I guess I'll continue with that. If I cleaned everything out, though, what would I do?  I did sign up for the Dot to Dot Free Motion Quilting Challenge at Quilting is my Therapy (unbelievably, this is free!), and I'll probably make another round robin quilt, and some more baby quilts, but otherwise I just want some fun and relaxation and a respite from the rest of my hectic life.

Blue times two

This brings 2023 to a close for me! Let's wrap it up nicely and put a bow on it, and turn toward a healthier and happier new year. Here's wishing you full bobbins, unbreakable thread, even stitches, and a new year filled with peace and joy. See you when the future gets here, everyone!

Linking up with Cheryl's Best of 2023 linky party and maybe a few others, too.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023


 Hi everyone! How are you doing? Friends, the last two weeks have been horrendous. Hellish, even. The less said about them, the better! I have had exactly zero time to sew anything or even think about sewing anything, but I finally escaped to the sewing room and finished something up while the roofers were banging away upstairs. Have you had a roof replaced? Good golly, the noise and the mess! And let's not even talk about the cost. . .
The less said the better, right? While I was taking refuge from the roofing and seriously wondering if I could nap on the cutting table, I was looking through the closet and saw today's project hanging with the other tops. Before we get to the story, here is the finished project:

Okay, it's cuter than I thought it would be. Cross hatching does work wonders, doesn't it? This is a 2-inch cross hatch, which is the perfect size for a small piece. The quilt is straight, I swear, but the edges look a little wavy in the picture because I used a wool batting, which never lies as flat as cotton. It's nice and puffy for a good texture, though.

I really don't know how old this project is. I got the blocks from somewhere at least 10 years ago, probably more. I put them together into a top a couple of years ago, and there it has hung in the closet ever since. I had so many ideas for quilting it up. It has high contrast, which for me meant quilting the darker colors separately from the white. So many ideas, none of which came to fruition. So the question when I saw it hanging there was "do I let this hang here for another winter, or do I just suck it up and finish it any way that works?" The answer was pretty obvious.

I grabbed a leftover piece of backing that's a map of Paris, which is awesome, a piece of leftover wool batting, and a pale blue thread and went for the cross hatch. It's easy and meditative, and since this piece was so small, about 36 inches square, it went quick. I bound it in a piece of blue that doesn't match the other blues, but after a decade, does it really matter?

As I feared, the lighter thread, which really does mostly blend all over, stands out like neon on the solid dark blue and shows every wobble. I could rip out those stitches and redo them, but I think we all know I'm not that kind of quilter, right? This is one of the reasons I used wool batting. After I wash it, I'm sure it will shrink up enough that the mistakes will just fade into the quilty crinkliness. (Is that a word?)

Hey look--it's the Eiffel Tower!
I'm going to use this as a winter table topper since it's more 'winter' than 'Christmas.' Honestly, though, it's just a relief to see it as a finished piece and not hanging in the closet, mocking me. It's not perfect, but I know the hubs or a four year old is going to spill gravy or ketchup on it, so it's perfectly okay with me. 

Everyone have a wonderful week! Mine is definitely looking up, as we are finishing finals and I'll be done by Friday. Okay, I'll get the grades in on Monday. Tuesday at the latest. Really. My incentive is Christmas cookies. I think that'll work, don't you?

Sharing at Finished or not Friday, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Brag About Your Beauties, and the Patchwork and Quilts linkup at Quilting, Patchwork, Applique.