Monday, February 5, 2024

All the 2023 Quilty Finishes {Finally!} & A Little Bramble Blooms Progress

 A belated look-back at all the 2023 finishes here at Quilty Folk! Once again, life has gotten in the way of my quilty forward progress. What a shock and surprise, right? I must be human.

2023 Finishes--A
It was a very slow year for quilt finishes, coming in at 10 quilt total. Considering all that went on last year though, I feel like it was an amazing feat. 

2023 Finishes--B

Since I'm throwing this up on the blog for my own benefit, it's probably best to keep it brief.

The 2023 Finished Quilt Details:

  • 3 Baby Quilts
  • 1 Lap sized Quilt
  • 6 Bed sized Quilts
  • 9 Quilts totally Hand Quilted
  • 1 Quilt mixed Hand and Machine Quilted
As a note of interest, I gifted 12 quilts last year, which is more than I finished. Hmm... You'd think the stacks would be smaller by now? But no. That's not how it seems to work. Gifting quilts is really good for the soul and making friends though, so I guess I'm fine with that! Another item of note is that the quilt top drawers are getting easier to shut. By the end of 2023, there was only 20 tops left and 2 of them were donations from my sister a few years ago. Not really something that I'm stressing about ever finishing if you want to know the truth of it. Like I've mentioned before, they will probably end up as quilt backing some day. I'm just not that invested in them!

Another interesting thing is that I finished quite a few larger quilts last year. With lots and lots of hand quilting. Even if hardly anything else got done, I still managed some hoop time. That's NOT been the case this year. My hand quilting time has dropped to just a couple evenings a week the last couple months. So many things are getting in the way of my quality hoop time. Just drives me crazy, but what do you do? 

Just for the record and journaling purposes: I started out 2023 sicker than I've even been and of course that took awhile to power through and catch up from. Then we had our youngest sons wedding at the end of April. Our oldest daughter had her first child in August and somewhere in the middle was two wedding weekends for a niece and nephew who we feel quite close to. Lots of family shenanigans to attend to as well.

Unfortunately, the year also ended with my husband being sicker than he's ever been and now, somehow we're already in February of 2024. Whew. I'm still right smack in the middle of caretaking, which is not nearly as fun as quilting. We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and feel thankful for any improvements as they are all quite hard won. Thank you all once again for your many messages of love and encouragement in this hard time. Priorities definitely ebb and flow throughout our lives don't they?
Moving along
Starting the Bramble Blooms QAL seemed like an exciting adventure back when the momentum was carrying me along with the inspiration and initial drive. Now, it's one of the few quilty things that I can think about without feeling completely overwhelmed and uninspired. Most days. Maybe just a little bit blank around the edges of my brain sometimes? Or panic that I might be letting you down? Uggh. There's so much to appreciate though: Using up the Oldy moldy fabric, an easy-peasy medallion quilt plan of attack, Improv-ish, open-ended, loosey-goosey style? Nothing to fret about or bother getting overly excited about, right? Except for the issue of time.*sigh

So yeah. Time is definitely problematic these days. Both for finding enough time in the day to do the applique work and then the computer time for posting. Wowsers, has that been a tough one! I keep telling myself that I did in fact warn everyone about the slower pace of this QAL. It's either bag the whole project or just keep plugging away at it and find the joy where it comes. You know me. Gonna keep after it until the challenge runs cold.

The picture above is the current state of my BBI. Both the top and bottom borders have been stitched down and all that is left for stitching on the side panels is the leaves. I have them pinned where they will probably stay. Still deliberating whether or not to remove a leaf or two from the top and bottom border and thinking yeah. Might as well leave them alone now. Afterall, it's extra work to take them off! 

Also, I keep making these flaky little mistakes {so surprising considering my state of distraction these days}. Right now the quarter triangle corner blocks are just a wee bit too small for seamlessly sewing onto the centerpiece. I've already cut the coping border down once, but may have to trim a little more off. Or maybe trim a bit of fabric off of the outside of the applique borders? Regardless, this phase of the quilt is very, very close to being done. 

I don't know about you, but I'm really liking the end result thus far! As per usual, I am a little shocked and dumbfounded by how interesting this older fabric can be made to look. It's nothing new to me as I've had this result before. But it always, always amazes me because in the fabric stack, the whole thing just looked pretty dismal if you know what I mean! 

I managed to squeeze in enough time to scroll though all the blogs and instagram accounts that have been linked up to the QAL. Very exciting work! Many lovely, exciting creations to contemplate and be inspired by! Wish I could be more present on the blogs especially but maybe later. I'm very encouraged by the creativity and courage many of you have displayed in branching out with this strange little QAL.  I'm hoping that if you manage to push through with the details in the first quilt, then my thoughts pertaining to inspiration and the connection to series work will start to coalesce in the 2nd and 3rd. It's a bit of a slog at first I know, but we have to get some foundational work in place before we can begin to build on anything personal.
I can't promise any hard and fast date, but my plan is to move directly into action with the next border phase of BBI. There is quite a bit of organization involved so please bear with me. Crossing my fingers I'll have all the details together before the end of February at the very least if not the six weeks I was originally hoping for. Don't be afraid to email me if you have a late start and want to be added to the link list!


  1. Gosh Audrey--do take your time and realize we know you have time constraints and lots of issues to deal with...hoping your DH is getting better with every day...also please take care of yourself and rest up...
    hugs, Julierose

  2. Lovely to hear from you Audrey, you sure have had a difficult time over the last year! Believe me when I say you are not letting anyone down, definitely not - we all have things happen which throw a spanner in the works just when we're all planned to go. I'm happy to read that you are still able to fit in a little quilting and design on BB!, and Audrey I'm only just about to stitch down my applique in the centre piece of BB1 - due to many ups and downs with health, so I know just where you're coming from. I have the guilts that my first borders are not on, but hey, sometimes things go a little haywire, they'll be underway at the end of the week, at least that is the intention. For myself I know that BB2 needs to be a little looser if you get what I mean, I love my applique on BB1 but it is quite precise, and orderly. Anyway I'm one who will probably still be completeting the first border when you're about to post your next step. I do love where you're at with your piece right now, I know that I won't be able to get my head around a lot of applique in my borders. Take good care of yourself Audrey and I do so hope your husband continues to make good progress.
    Best wishes to you, Maureen

  3. I am so enjoying the quiet pace of this sew-along. Happy to continue at same pace! Your finishes are amazing.

  4. I loved seeing all your finishes in one hit, even though I am familiar with all of them! I’m moving house so BBL has slowed what with packing etc. I’ve employed ‘Swedish Death Cleaning’ to clear out years of rubbish from this home. Paring down what I have left to fit in my car and commence a 4,000km drive from east coast Australia to west coast Australia. Just me and the dawg. Needless to say the car will be packed with fabric, sewing machines, sentimental objects, and very few clothes. Got to get the priorities right….right? It is strangely liberating. Plan is to keep BBL with fabric selections, thread, templates, in a small tote to sew in motels along the way.

    1. What is it with blogger lately? I’m not anonymous … can’t figure that out at all. It seems to be different for every site I comment in. It’s Heather aka

  5. So good to hear you and your husband are seeing improvement and light. I have so many ideas for my BB - need to capture that in my making notebook. I will be ready whenever you get to the next step. Actually enjoying the slowed down timeline.

  6. You told us to begin with that this would be a slow QAL which is the main reason I decided to join in. I've never been an improv quilter as bad as I like them so it takes this long for me to move forward.
    I'm glad to know things are improving with your DH.

  7. From quiltdivajulie - family always comes first, healthy or not, and somehow the nots seem to be affecting more of us every day. Know that you are not alone in your distracted state! I am very much enjoying watching all the BB posts around the blogs - SO much creativity and color. Mine is set aside (as I wrote to you earlier) but the concepts and ideas are taking firm root in my brain. Your finishes from 2023 are fabulous - and honestly, why is it that we insist on counting them?!?!! Take care and hooray for the bits of good news for your hubby (and don't forget that caregiving is one of the hardest jobs ever).

  8. What an amazing year! Loved your post

  9. Hi Audrey...Slow is great cuz I may not have the energy to join in until about 2026..I understand caregiving believe me...It is tough stuff. Sending good vibes to you and yours and always enjoying your quilts and spunk xo Diane O'Quilts

  10. Your finishes are wonderful! I had just been thinking of the folkloric Elephant quilt when I was tossing around applique ideas, ie, did it ever get done, was it a success, what did it end up looking like. It was one that really captured my imagination, odd bec I usually am drawn to your more pieced projects. All are lovely!
    The good news from The Beach is I finally got [[only] my medallion's pitcher done yesterday. Yay!

  11. Oh my, some lovely finishes Audrey. The amount of hand quilting you do is amazing and makes your quilts so special. Thanks so much for all the details to the QAL, it's lovely to get a more of a glimpse into your thought processes and creativity. I've gone a little "rogue" with my version but am enjoying the challenge - you know applique isn't easy for me & I've appreciated the extra time to sift through my options & ideas! Thinking of you & your husband, family first... always x

  12. And i still have half the applique in the border to sew down... :-)

  13. Completing 10 hand quilted quilts in one year is amazing! And remember, it’s the joy in the making that is most important! I’ve been sidetracked by “caregiving” recently as well - no need to apologize for productivity slowing down. I had hoped to join the BBI, but it’s not looking promising right now; at worst, I’ll enjoy watching what the many participants create. Wishing you and family good health! Gladi Porsche

  14. Don't ever think that you are letting us down, I think for many of us who are or have been in a position of being a care giver, we totally understand the time constraints you are working with now. Family first! You have inspired us for years with your unique quilts and looking at your finishes from 2023, I would say you had a very successful year despite all the interruptions to your quilting time. I for one am barely able to keep pace with any timeliness any more. Be well my friend and we'll be cheering you on as your hubby continues on his path to complete recovery.

  15. you have gotten a lot of quilts done and I sure hope your husband continues to improve - you hadn't said what was wrong but this has lasted awhile now I sure hope he is better soon

  16. I think it is amazing what you accomplished in 2023! So many wonderful quilts! I sure hope your husband continues to improve and that you take care of yourself too, no need to worry about the sew along we all are enjoying the 'no pressure' aspect.

  17. Just testing that I have fixed the dreaded anonymous problem.


Thanks for visiting! I love getting comments and always try to respond via email. Please leave an email in the comment to ensure a return reply! {Many of you are popping up as Anonymous for some reason, so I have no idea who it is.} Regardless, I appreciate all the comments and read every single one.