Tag Archives: inspiration

2013 Quilty Resolutions

Although I am entering into Sandy’s Resolution contest over on her site, I wanted to expand a bit on the ideas she’s asking about over here.  I’ll talk about these on the next episode, which will be a bit of a “year in review” episode.

Looking Back at 2012

The things I am happiest about doing in my sewing this year are organizing my scraps into usable sizes, learning a good applique technique, and making some good looking king-size quilts.  Without the applique technique, I never could have made the Star Wars quilts like I wanted.


The king sized quilts mean that I get to sleep under a quilt I made, FINALLY. I’m looking forward to making a king-size Christmas quilt next year. Well, two, honestly- one for me, and one for my in-laws.


And without that scrap organization (and subsequent leaders and enders), I wouldn’t have made nearly as many quilts for Project Linus as I did.  I believe my final tally is 8 quilts for Project Linus (baby size), and 3 for Good Mews (lap size or larger).

Looking Forward to 2013

In 2012 I spent of lot of time focused on numbers. Number of quilts made, yardage used, etc.  This part of my personality isn’t going to change all that much, despite whatever I might want to decree about “taking things slow” and “enjoying the process”. I’m built to accomplish and finish things, and it’s true what they say in business school: you manage what you measure. However, I do want to feel like I’m enjoying what I’m working on most of the time, so I’m going to try to shift my philosophy a bit.

What I Want to Accomplish

  1. My McKenna Ryan Beachwalk Quilt. I bought the kit for this over a year ago and haven’t touched it since. I’d like to make the quilt by the time we go to the beach in May.
  2. Launch my pattern business. I’m doing this with a partner, and we really just need to get off our duffs to make this happen.
  3. Christmas quilts for my daughter, me, and my in-laws. Technically this is three things all on its own, but since they are all Christmas quilts, I’m lumping them together.

What I Want to Learn

I pretty well know how to do most things I want to do in my quilting right now, so I want to learn to be a better teacher. I am HORRIBLE at teaching other people, because I feel like if I just show you how to do it, you should be able to and if you don’t clearly there is something wrong with you because it couldn’t possibly be my fault. You can imagine how awesome this approach to teaching is for my kids. So, since my daughter is getting a sewing machine for Christmas (from my parents - spoiler alert!), I figure I should get better at this. And it will help my podcast and benefit my guild, too.

What I Want to Experience Through Quilting

Delight. I felt so many times this year that I wasn’t necessarily enjoying the process of making quilts as I was joyfully entering numbers in a spreadsheet. I want to be de-goddamn-lighted by what I’m sewing. Granted, if I have to repair a pair of pants, I can’t imagine how delightful that will be, but I want to avoid the trap of feeling like I have to beat this year’s numbers.  I don’t have to, and in fact my only yardage goal for 2013 is to be net negative in usage so I have more going out than coming in.

My Guiding Word


On Growth.

I’ve been thinking about my growth as a quilter a lot lately, and Jaye’s (very thoughtful) comment on the last episode spurred me to actually sit down and write about it.  My mom recently sent me a picture of the first quilt I made for them, which was maybe 8 years ago. I honestly can’t remember whether I made it before or after my oldest was born, but here it is:
It’s lap-sized. I bought a FQ assortment of Hawaiian print fabrics, cut them into squares, sashed them (inaccurately, I’m sure), used poly batting, and just straight line quilted (without a walking foot) in the sashing. I believe I called the sashing “lattice” at the time. I can name about 99 problems with this quilt. Inelegant layout? Complete lack of a consistent and accurate 1/4″ seam? Lack of quilting? Check. Check. Check.
Compare that quilt with Iz, from last year, also in Hawaiian print for my mom.
Interesting layout? Consistent and accurate piecing? Imaginative quilting? Check. Check. Check. Still, I look at it and can name around 25 problems with it.
I’m a tad hard on myself sometimes, is what I’m saying. But I can also acknowledge growth. Technical growth, anyway. I’m still working on that artsy-fartsy part of myself that brings things like color. Here’s another early quilt of mine to demonstrate:

This is prayer quilt for the church group I used to work with. We worked with donated fabrics for 90% of our needs, and in this case a man had lost his wife to cancer and was left to raise their five daughters on their own. I suggested using 5 different pinks in the quilt to represent the five girls. Because the pink at the center of the blocks was rather more red than pink, I put the lace strips over it to “cut it” a bit. It’s an okay quilt given the limitations we were working with, but I feel like I can name 5 things wrong with the color here and they are all shades of pink.

And then my color growth with the Blue Swoon quilt:

It’s… better. I say that with a hesitancy that comes from a place of insecurity about my color skills (and not begging for nice comments, because you guys have already said such nice things about it already - thank you!).

I feel like I need to force myself to do an insanely scrappy quilt just to push all sorts of colors together and make myself get over my aversion to things not matching exactly.  Here is where we pause to listen to my parents, husband, every school teacher I ever had, and anyone who’s ever seen me work on a jigsaw puzzle laugh their fool heads off with the idea that I will ever be a laid back person who can just “let things go”.

I’m very good about setting/accomplishing goals around increasing my technical skills (paper piecing, trapunto, FMQ, etc.). What I need to do is balance that with it growing my “softer skills” like design, color, and art quilting skills in composition.

It’s likely that my nerdy inner-self that craves structure is going to wield a spreadsheet and a protractor and beat down the inner artsy-fartsy hippie. That’s probably why I don’t wear more scarves, too.

A look back 12 years ago…

Twelve years (and an hour and 20 minutes) ago, I married the love of my life in a ceremony that only took 11 minutes (for some reason a friend of mine timed it). This picture represents us perfectly.

I made my own wedding dress.  It was a lot of work, but the marriage has been worth it.

Knoxville AQS Inspiration

Here are some of the quilts that inspired my from the Knoxville AQS show. There were more, but I couldn’t take pictures of them.

One of the Louisiana guild challenges was to create a quilt inspired by Hurricane Katrina. This one used hurricane lilies with some gorgeous applique and metallic thread accents:

Square Peg in a Round Hole. I think the name is self explanatory.

Persian Bouquet. I love the shape of the design, the colors, and the use of black thread to secure the applique. It gives it a an almost stained-glass look without looking heavy.

Revolt of the Bolt. First I was drawn to the subject matter, and then as I studied it some more, I love that the illustrated effect is made even better by the use of shadows to make it look more dimensional.

Wheels of Time. First of all: Gears! Yes, please. Some of the gears are independent pieces that look like they can turn (they are secured in the center by beads). Lots of dimension, and I like that it’s a circular quilt.

HtbaS - Episode 38

I’m going to do my Knoxville AQS picture/show recap post separately, but for now here’s a podcast to tide you over!

Lots of background noise in the first couple parts of the podcast this week as I recorded while en route to Knoxville for the AQS show. The last third was recorded in my hotel room, and is much quieter.  Lots of introspection this week and not a lot of sewing!