Monday, January 3, 2022

All the 2021 Finish-It-Up Details and Looking Ahead At What's Next

It was a strange, bewildering year. A lot of us yo-yoed between depression and keeping our head down, just trying to get through. Why even bother with anger when the energy could be much better spent stitching our way to some sort of tranquility? Once again, I have been ever so grateful for this colorful, fascinating, soul-soothing hobby of mine. Though I often felt like the days were aimlessly drifting by, the 2021 finished quilts tell the real story. These hands of mine were busy, busy, busy....

I've been feeling a wee bit guilty about one particular quilt that never made it out of the quilting queue, but hey! What about that HST Medallion quilt? Huh? It finished at 102" square and the whole thing is hand quilted. Woohoo! And then I made up for all that effort by continually choosing out quilt tops that seemed easy as pie to hand stitch. Hmm... 

The baby quilts kinda took precedence this year as one of my nieces, my sister-in-law and also our daughter-in-law all had new additions to their families. The other baby quilt finished this year was the boy quilt. Of course, everyone decided to have girls this one teensy moment when I was actually on the ball and thinking ahead.

Another quilt that somehow insinuated itself into the line-up was Rhi's quilt. It was the lap quilt my oldest daughter asked me to make, starting from a cut up sundress she wore in her middle school years. It's one of the few quilts I've made with a large-ish amount of green included. One that actually turned out to be relatively successful. Yay me! Given another half dozen or so of 'green quilt attempts' and the dial might eventually be turned up to 'amazing looking'. lol  Working with green can be hard!

Okay, Details please!:

If you're wondering, the past year saw me bring a grand total of 16 quilts, plus a slew of doll quilts to fruition. Slightly less than in years past, but not too shabby considering that our family hosted a wedding and also had a new grandchild! I hoped to bring down the number of quilt tops languishing in the quilting queue, but alas, that number stayed fairly stable at 23. Apparently I reliably alternate the act of finishing up, with all kinds of excuses to start anew. See my worried face? Yeah. Neither do I.

Here's the 'finished' quilt statistics that I'm always looking for at this time of year:
  • 11 Doll quilts 
  • 4 Baby quilts
  • 5 Lap-sized quilts
  • 7 Bed-sized quilts
  • 13 of the quilts were hand quilted
  • 2 of the quilts were mixed hand and machine quilted
  • Only 1 quilt was totally machine quilted {plus all the doll quilts}

Another number I generally keep track of is how many quilts are given away. This year saw me gifting 12 quilts, either gently used or new. As usual, there were/are mixed emotions in giving away so many of the quilts that I've poured myself into, and no doubt, spent countless hours working on. Some people are easier to gift quilts to than others and I'd never suggest it's a mandatory thing. I'll just link to an article written in 2013 by Mary Fons where she makes the point that 'Quilts are love, manifested.' When we find the perfect person {or reason} for one of our quilts, it's truly a beautiful thing.

As for what's on board for the new year? 

  • More from-the-stash quilting for sure. I'm sincerely hooked--line and sinker. It's beginning to get more and more challenging as certain colors and tones are starting to be depleted. Still, I rather enjoy the adventure of make-do-till-you-can-make-it-work. 
  • Absolutely more focus on specific colors where the stash tote lids don't close as well as they should. Gonna have to bite the bullet and attack browns and tans at the minimum. {Whether I want to or not.} Grr.. How oh how to make that seem fun?
  • There is still an ever-growing list of applique projects that I'm yearning to dive into. Most are very simplistic with lots of repeats. Yawn.... I don't know why this is so appealing to me, but who cares? If it drives me forward, then I say it's probably worth the effort and needs to happen.
  • I don't think there was a single project started from the scrap bin last year. That needs to change. Scrap bin quilts are just too interesting to write off completely. The main thing holding me back is the sheer amount of work involved in the doing.
  • The Adhoc. Improv. Quilting party is still ongoing, and in fact, there is a brand new challenge issued for the new year. Definitely one that I intend to dive into, especially as this one pertains to playing with color. Should probably {deliberately} choose a color palette that includes brown...
  • As usual around here, squirrel projects tend to beget other squirrels. 2021 will undoubtedly see me continuing on in some form of series work, whether it be playing with the cut-outs from behind my circle quilts or adding appliqued tulips in a slightly different style and shape than used before. Probably gonna see another basket quilt or two, and maybe even another log cabin quilt. The world can always use yet another log cabin quilt, right?
  • More hand quilting with perle cotton thread is a given, at least until the outside world settles down into something more 'normal' and truck-loads less stressful. Oh, who's kidding who? I'm gonna hand quilt until my hands give out or I get too old too see. The thing is, I'm not going to worry about trying to push myself into more and more finishes with that faster method of machine quilting. Especially during this particular season of my life. The only time I don't crave snacky things is when my hands are busy with a quilt in the hoop. Can you imagine how large a person I'd be but for this craft? Uh huh. Bet you thought we all got the extra padding from the extra quilting time....

On a different note, after deliberately shedding a few minor responsibilities this past year, I have now allowed myself to be talked into doing a short series of quilt meetings with our church group. We will be making a simple, scrappy, improv. sort of baby {or sm. lap sized} quilt from start to finish, with yours truly as the teacher. Ahhhh... What a muddle that will be. Part of me doesn't want to do this at all. Period. End of story. But the other part of me thinks that it's important for women to have connections. Interactions. Community. Doing that while creating can be enormously nourishing to the body and soul, which obviously, might be a boon after the past two years?

I thought we'd have three or four women at most who were interested, but as of yesterday, we're up to ten.*sigh  All ages and states in life and involving all levels of quilting and/or sewing experience. The only stipulation I made is that everyone need know how to competently sew a straight stitch and be able take care of their own sewing machine issues. Yikes! So far out of my comfort zone with this. Though I'm not 100 percent an introvert, I'm way more of an introvert than an extrovert which makes this feel a little painful. And I personally hate to be told what to do in quilting. How can I 'teach' a method without doing that? So many questions. Am currently trying to walk through the entire quilt project and make notes; emphasis on the basics and trying to leave room for flexibility wherever possible. Wish me luck!


  1. Wow Audrey you will be busy this year. Can the group at church use up your browns? Browns can mix with pinks, or blues add in a neutral and off you go. As ever I am blown away with your creativity. Heres to 2022 and using up those stuffed bins

  2. I’m totally in love with your strippy triangles quilt. Is there a pattern? Looks like flying geese end- to-end but I see no seams in the background fabrics. I have lots of leftover Sweetwater prints tgat woukd be lovely for this.
    I agree that we are lucky to have a nice,soothing hobby in these crazy days. I try to set small goals so I actually accomplish something. Thanks fir your posts, they are encouraging to me. It’s nice to feel like part if something.

  3. Wowzers!! I love seeing your end of the year quilts! So much color, creativity, and gorgeousness!! The world definitely needs another Log cabin quilt! Best of luck on all of the teaching! I'm sure all the quilts will turn out adorable! Also, if you want to up your number of quilts you giveaway in 2022..... I will gladly pay shipping ;-)

  4. so many beautiful designs and all so very original - you got done with so many of them! I can't say as I have a favorite as so many of them say they are my favorite!! Good luck with class - that is something I refuse to do - so off of my comfort scale - I'm too introvert for that

  5. As far as that upcoming "class" setting - BE YOURSELF. Lead them down YOUR path and if they follow, hooray. If they don't, then your group is not the one for them. YOU cannot be everything to everyone so (like I said before) BE YOURSELF. I will email you on the side with more thoughts. Keywords being authentic, genuine, and honest. Your quilts from this post have me swooning in the very best possible kind of way.

  6. I think you'll be as wonderful quilty leader at your church. Notice I didn't say teacher as that implies you telling them what to do and then a test! Haha! Good luck with that endeavor and the group is very fortunate to have you there guiding them on a new adventure. All you have to do is give them a trunk show of your beautiful quilts. There are so MANY wonderful examples. Great year with another one on the way!

  7. Congratulations on your progress!
    And yes, community is very important and I'm sure you will bless your friends and encourage them on their quilt/sewing journey.

  8. I love your "make it do until you can make it work"!! I hope to make this become my mantra for 2022--hugs, Julierose

  9. You had some amazing finishes this year! It's always fun to see a new post that almost invariably includes another finish or introduction to a new applique project. I'd love to see a post of the 23 that are awaiting their turn under your needle. Your little quilting group will be in the hands of one of the most able and creative quilters I know. Relax and have fun!

  10. I'm so excited for your new sewing group! I think what you ask of them is very reasonable.
    Love your finishes and looking aheads!

  11. A productive year for sure! Loved seeing all your 'finishes' again. Once you get into it, I'm sure you'll love seeing how others interpret your unique style!

  12. Thanks for another year of delightfully Audrey quilts and hand quilting! I always enjoy your thoughts as much as your process and photos. Thanks for being a bright spot in the online quilting world. Best to you in 2022!

  13. You'll do great with the upcoming quilting classes. Just be yourself. I've learned so much on your blog from following your quilting choices, methods, and progress. Show them how you would do something and then tell them to copy you if they want but to not be afraid to make it their own.
    Looking forward to the new tulips.

  14. Such bounty, such profusion. I am in awe and slightly ashamed of my just one all machine made quilt. May we both have a wonderful year 2022.



  15. Oh Audrey such a stunning array of quilts here!!!! I feel my meagre efforts are miniscule compared to yours - however, our wonderful quilts cannot be compared one to another and as you say we are all
    so very thankful that we are able to spend time creating our quilts.
    I have to rush off right now but I'll be back to finish reading up about your plans for this year . Congratulations on all your beautiful quilts!

  16. Audrey these are beautiful, and thank you for your inspiration.

  17. Many lovely finishes, Audrey. It's always a joy to see a retrospective of your work.

  18. I started teaching a small group (2 students) how to quilt last year. I too am an introvert. This month a real talker will be joining the group. Hard enough to keep them on track. Trying so far to teach theory, understand color, and what is a 9-patch... with one "text book" they are supposed to read. This month they are to bring 2 strips of fabric and we will begin with how to sew blocks by hand. Not everyone has a machine but still wants to make quilts.

  19. I came back to re-read your post more slowly this time and I'm glad I did - I missed the link to Mary Fons the first time (WOW - what a GREAT piece). I'm also curious to know what software you used to create the collages of your 2021 finished quilts?

  20. Audrey, A beautiful post to read to end one year and start the next. I trust the ladies at church know how fortunate they are to be quilting in your presence. Like you I often wonder what people do that don't have the comfort of quilting as a hobby in times like these past years. All the best in 2022! :)


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