Friday, December 23, 2016

A Reflection of the Past Year {Quilty-wise} and Essential Elements for 2017

2016 has been such a busy, scattered year for me. I've felt rather like a leaf floating down the currents of a river at times, totally at the mercy of all the elements. Now that we're full swing into the holiday mode, I've found myself very reflective about my quilting. I suppose that's why Kaja's latest post really struck a chord within me and I decided to join in with the latest fun over at Quilting JetGirl too!

Goals for 2017 quilting:  1.  Fabric Love. Flitting in and out of my quilting room this past couple weeks has made me realize how delighted I am to be greeted by colorful, ongoing projects. I want to be more intentional about digging through the stash and using the fabrics and colors that speak the loudest to me--working to get it 'right' no matter how much time that may take.
Working to put Quilty 365 together...
2.  Applique. So very key for me. Sometimes I feel almost overwhelmed by all the projects that need/want/demand applique work, but in the long run it makes me very happy. Doing this sort of hand work helps settle me and causes me to look a little closer at the details--very necessary in my busy, busy world!
Vintage Coxcombs applique coming along slowly but surely...
3.  Repetition--very often a part of my quilting. Call me old fashioned, call me whatever you like, but I really, really like the structure and framework of having 'repeats' in my quilts. This is an element I want to remember to use moving forward.
Next border on Peachy Cameo Medallion
4.  Which leads me to borders. Oh how I love me some borders! The sheer challenge of making it all work is so good for me and there's nothing quite like finishing up a border and feeling that sense of accomplishment! Lots of small victories in this type of work which absolutely gives me energy to do more designing and brainstorming. Bring on the medallion quilts, 'cuz they aren't going away anytime soon.*wink
Another border on Folksy Flowers. Going to have to address that bias edge soon!
5.  Scrap Attack quilts. So overlooked. Do you know that the scrap attack quilts are the ones that generally end up being the most used on my beds? I just can't seem to resist their charm. In 2017 I want to keep 'working straight from the scrap bin' part of the rotation. There's nothing quite like taking those insignificant little scraps and creating something surprising and yes, genuinely lovely. I adore the unpredictability of using those scraps!
One of my favorite Scrap Attack quilts
6.  Ad Hoc Improv. Quilting.  Love, love, love this freewheeling style that by turns makes me feel like a total moron and then flips around and makes me feel quite brilliant in the very next quilt project.  If it wasn't for challenging myself to break free and work in this difficult-for-me method of quilting, I wouldn't have my big 'ol Improv. Woven Basket centerpiece. That would be sad. Big intentions to do more and see where and how it evolves in the future.
Improv. Woven Basket quilt
7.  Simplicity. Something that is almost stark in terms of emotion, but whatever that emotion may be, is solely up to the maker! The deliberate choices that have to be made seem to gain in importance--that's just reality when working this way. Whether or not I do another 'wholecloth' style quilt, I want to at least start with simplicity on occasion. It's such an interesting way to work and I simply love how it strips all the pretense and/or fussiness out of the equation.
Be Still, my sweet little wholecloth lap quilt
8.  Series Work.  There are often repeated elements from one quilt to the next in my quiltmaking. Whether this is deliberate series work or simply my subconscious operating behind the scenes {I've done both}, it is a very meaningful in a sense of  'progression' of personal style. Sometimes my knee jerk reaction to 'yet another basket quilt' is a feeling of despair or inadequacy that I can't come up with something new and exciting. I want to remember that those elements {that I continually seem to connect so personally to} are part of my quilting voice. I need to be unafraid and unashamed to be the 'basket queen' or whatever it is we're focused so intently on. Continue to let those elements be fine tuned and honed into that someday amazing quilt we're always striving for!
Gather Ye Roses quilt project
9.  QALS and Connections.  I prefer the open-ended QALS and no-pressure outcome. For instance, the quilt below {my most recent finish!} was a result of joining Wendy's Basket Galore BOM a couple years ago. Make the blocks, do whatever you like with them sort of thing. Lori made one as well and it's so interesting to see how we all ended up adding applique blocks to go along with those very challenging basket blocks. In my case it was probably a case of busying the quilt up so the mistakes are not as obvious!
Completed Red and Green Applique & Baskets Galore quilt
But the real point is the connections we make. Making something similar but different is often quite eye opening. I tend to shy away from QALS, but I can definitely see the benefits from these types of projects. Hopefully in 2017 there will be another QAL or two that fits into my personal requirement of 'has-to-be-on-my-bucket-list-to-join-up'. I never know where it just might lead....
Add caption
10. About that 'Process' thing which {should} eventually result in some really great quilts. In theory! Full circle brings me straight to the Cactus Basket quilt finished earlier this year. It's absolutely a direct result of that red/yellow basket second over in the previous picture. I had so much trouble with making that particular block, I decided to try it with hand piecing. Wallah! One things leads to another blah, blah, blah. Somehow I ended up with a totally different kind of quilt. And it feels more like a 'me' quilt in some perfect and indescribable way. In 2017 I need not forget the sheer value and importance of the process. That pure and simple doing.
The Cactus Basket quilt
Sorry for such a lengthy yawn of a post, but it helps to have a clear examination our of quilt-making once in awhile! At least for me. Thank you Kaja for the nudge and thanks to Yvonne for the initial inspiration!

2017 Planning Party Link-up

Now I'm off to finish baking my sugar cookies and other assorted holiday goodies! Merry Christmas to all of you. Hope your weekend is filled with lots of love, laughter and good eating...


  1. Interesting post, Audrey, and some wonderful eye candy! I can't tell you how much I love that huge folksy flower. Closely followed by the exuberant woven basket. I hope your time will be more your own again this year, and I can't wait to see what comes next! Happy Christmas!

  2. Merry Christmas to you Audrey - looking forward to your finish on Quilty 365 and see what you have come up with - I do not do much planning in advance or goals as I normally change my mind as the year progresses.

  3. I loved reading about what inspires you, excites you, and what brings you joy. I hope you have a fantastic 2017 and are able to work toward / on all these different aspects throughout the year. Thanks so much for linking up!

  4. So basically 2017 includes a little of everything! LOL Merry Christmas Audrey! Thanks for the great thought provoking blog reading this year.

  5. It certainly helps my thinking to enumerate my priorities. So well written, Audrey.

  6. Oh how I love seeing your work, it still inspires me.

  7. Appreciate reading your thought-provoking commentary on priorities, and the photos so wonderfully illustrate your points. I can very much relate to the paragraph on series, been doing a lot of thinking myself about that one. Merry Christmas and may 2017 bring you much joy and fulfillment in your quilting as well as every other aspect of your life.

  8. Not a yawn in sight in this post. I really enjoy seeing your work in progress, and hearing you describe how the process works for you. Your applique work inspires me, and the joy in your borders was part of what helped me jump into the Gwennie Medallion QAL last summer. (I love me some borders, too!) (And I so so so want to play more with the medallion format again!)
    Merry Christmas to you, too, and I look forward to watching what you get up to in 2017!

  9. Very well writen, beautiful quilts, merry Christmas Audrey and good luck for the New Year XXX

  10. certainly lots of makes so admire all those circles maybe 2017 I will learn to do applique, baskets are beautiful

  11. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your "quilting adventures" with us. Your posts are always wonderful and I look forward to reading them.Your quilts are my absolute favorites (thinking Pickle Dish is the winner so far) and it`s so insightful when you share your thought process and ideas. Thank you and Merry Christmas! Your blog is an awesome gift!

  12. Great goals and look forward to seeing them in your work in 2017. Have a lovely Christmas and best wishes for a healthy, wonderful and creative 2017!

  13. Your reflections of the past year help to provide perspective for your goals for the New Year. Congratulations on persevering with creative solutions to challenges along the way. Well done!

  14. Great post, Audrey! There's some things here that I am going to add to my mental list for next year. I hope you get plenty of sewing time in 2017, though honestly you've done pretty well this year. I love your quilts, and your blogs posts and look forward to plenty of both.

  15. I loved seeing all of these projects in one post. As to sugar cookies, I baked a batch and the family ate all of them, yes all, in the course of 24 hours lol

  16. You have a way with words. Interesting perspective on your quilting thoughts and style. Merry Christmas.

  17. what a wonderful review of your creative work!
    Merry Christmas

  18. Oh, Audrey, your photos, your writing, your sewing, your quilts are all so wonderful. You really nail the art of quilting, and your individuality is so beguiling. I am inspired to get back to more hand applique. I also like the challenge of series work. Thank you for linking up so I could meet you!

  19. I love your project so! Even though I am a year late I may try the 365 circles. Is there any particular reason why you cut away the fabric from the circle on the background square ? Since the circles are only hand stitched onto the background, I should think the block would be more secure without cutting away the "excess". Just wondering ....

    1. I usually cut out the back where I can with applique as I primarily hand quilt. It really helps to have less layers at that stage and I've never had any problems with actual wear of the quilt later on. Not everyone likes to do that, it's a personal choice.

  20. A Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to you and your loved ones, I really ejoyed reading your post. I need to evaluate my quilting plans for the coming year.

  21. Listing your thoughts and plans is the best way to make sure things happen. It's a great list and a wonderful review of your delightful quilts.

  22. Looks like you know where you're headed in 2017 - I'll be so interested to see what you come up with during the year. Always love reading your posts, Audrey, and seasons greetings to you and yours.

  23. All of your quilts make me feel so warm and cozy. Whatever you decide to make I know it will be wonderful!I need to make some plans too....

  24. Oh, I especially love the Cock's Combs. So yummmmmy! Looking forward to what 2017 brings!

  25. Fascinating post, not a yawn at all! I enjoyed reading about your plans and seeing some of your lovely works alongside. You create beautiful things! All the best to you in the New Year!

  26. I do always enjoy hearing you delve into the whys and whats of your totally unique approach to quiltmaking. Have fun in 2017.


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