Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Summing Up, Pressing On

Well, you know what kind of year we've had. That makes it all the more fitting to sum up our quilting projects--all those things that brought creativity, color, comfort and light to our lives. I'm joining in with Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs for the Best of 2020 Linky Party

I think we are supposed to link up the best 5 posts by whatever criteria we wish to use, but since this also is a wrap-up of the year for me, I've decided to link up all my finishes. Don't worry, there aren't that many. It just so happens that there were 5 months when I posted finishes, so I'll divide them up that way. 

My year started really slowly, but little by little I did make progress. Finishes didn't happen until July!! But then they came pretty fast. So let's take a quick look. If you'd like to read more about them, you can click on the links, or for all of them at once, click on the Finishes for 2020 label either on the right side bar or at the bottom of this post. I'll include a few attributions here, but for full info, you can see the individual posts. 

July. Whew! I finally finished the quilts from the blocks I made throughout 2019 for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge hosted by Angela at So Scrappy. 

This Crumb block quilt had been a bit of a drag for me. I found out I didn't really like making crumb blocks, but I stuck with it, making blocks in colors to match the background fabric which I had purchased at the beginning of the year. I'm pleased with the end result, but that's probably the end of my crumb-making career. The quilt is destined for donation, but I'm holding on to it a bit longer while I gather together a few more quilts of similar size. 

The other RSC19 quilt was yet another Butterfly Quilt (I can't stop making them) made from Butterfly Dance Mini by Ellis and Higgs. I made it my own by doing the pattern 14 times and string piecing the butterfly wings. I recently gave this quilt to my Dad to give his neighbor for Christmas. She's been really watching out for him this year, bringing him meals and treats and getting his mail for him every day, and he wanted to thank her for her friendship and support. 

September I finished three quilts in September. Two were almost identical quilts. I had picked away at them for much of the year, making the blocks for each simultaneously. One was a very late wedding present, and the other was to be an entry to an art show at our church that was cancelled because of the pandemic.

For these Colorado quilts, I used a columbine pattern from Ruth B. Mc Dowell's Pieced Flowers book. The rest of the patterns were my own paper pieced designs.The wedding quilt  was gifted as a house-warming quilt. I still have the other quilt for now.

During the first part of the year, I participated in the Quilter's Color Quest online workshop by Rachel Hauser to follow her book the Quilter's Field Guide to Color. Each month we made Bear Paw blocks according to some aspect of color. One month we were to base our blocks on an inspiration piece of our own choosing. 

Mine was a photo of coleus plants I had potted in the spring. Before I knew it, my Bear Paw blocks became a squirrel, and I just had to make a wall quilt for my stairway. By the end of September, I had a new Bear Paw Coleus quilt. I like it so much that I still have it displayed (in a different part of my home, now that coleus season is past).

October I try to always have some kind of hand work around to work on. I pieced an old-fashioned hollyhock quilt in 2017 using a pattern from Ruth B. McDowell's Pieced Flowers, and then took it with me to hand quilt whenever I went out of town. 

This quilt has seen a lot of vacations. But not this year. So I made a goal to finish it during our unlimited at-home time. Most of the quilting is visible only as stippled texture. It was a relaxing project. I plan to hang it in my living room in the summer, but for now it is in my quilting room just because I like looking at it, and it didn't seem right to put it in storage after finally completing it.  

November Ah, the month of the wild Jelly Roll Stroll quilt.  

This quilt was a blast to make. I used gifted ombre fabric from Louise who quilts at My Quilt Odyssey and made a variation of the Nines in the Middle pattern by Doris Rice. It was just the infusion of colorful brightness needed near the end of the year no one expected. Due to my wayward disregard for pattern directions, this quilt also gave me just the amount of challenge I needed to keep me enthusiastic about sewing a jelly roll. This quilt is in the donation pile, waiting for a few more companion quilts before it goes on its way. 

December I thought I was done for the year, but a piece of fabric I bought on vacation a few years ago kept calling to me, and this afternoon it became a quilt finish! I'll just include one picture in this post, and give it its own post next week. I love this fabric!!

So, to sum up, 8 quilts finished in 2020. Not bad in a year we'd rather forget for so many reasons.There were other projects: a fun fleece pillow with my granddaughter before the year went all haywire, masks (ugh), a sail-making project for a family-made model sailboat, oodles of Bear Paw blocks during the Quilters Color Quest workshop, and Christmas stocking stuffer ornaments and pillowcases for my Grands. The two most important projects to keep me quilting during the first half of the year when I had little desire or energy for creative projects were the workshop and the two Colorado quilts. As it turned out, creative projects were just what I needed. 

If there's a silver lining to quilting during a pandemic (besides the therapeutic benefits), I did learn some new things. For example, I know now that I can order fabric online and be fairly certain it will look the way I envision it. (Many quilters are already experienced at online shopping, but I have a hard time buying fabric that I can't see and feel, so this was a time-consuming skill for me to learn.) I can also carefully shop online for fabrics that are available at the local big box store and make do even if they aren't exactly what I was looking for, so that I can pick them up curbside and not wait for a mail delivery. I can go into a fabric store, and instead of dithering for an hour or more, I can make up my mind in the 15 minutes I give myself to mix in with other shoppers (in masks). And, of course, I can always make use of what I have on hand. 

This bedroom here: this is what happens when no one sleeps in the guest/quilting room for a whole year. 

The punch bowl is my garbage bowl for tearing foundation papers out.

But there are lots of potential projects here. Some new fabrics acquired over the year, including a bunch of low volumes with perky prints; many, many more Bear Paws to coordinate with all the ones I made this year for scrap quilts; some patterns I've been mulling over. I do need to come up with a hand work project. (Right now I'm trying to knit slippers, but that will fizzle in its attractiveness if I can't make them fit.) I will probably need to make a quilt top to hand quilt at some point so I'll have something to work on if/when we feel safer to vacation again. I'll keep working with these to stay creative no matter what 2021 throws at us. Beyond that, my plans are mushy as usual.  

This was a lighthearted look-back, but really 2020 was heavy in so many ways. It was hard for the whole world, but in my very limited experience, I can only speak from my perspective in my country, which faced unimaginable health, political, social and economic devastation. I fear that we will not learn the right lessons from this year. I look ahead to 2021 with hope, but I think, given the circumstances, we may need to just press on. Things aren't going to be magically rosy simply because the calendar changes. So that's what I intend to do: press on, remembering that quilting is therapeutic, fulfilling and joyful and will make the pressing on doable. I hope you will be able to do the same. Blessings to you in the new year.

 (Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores, I'm just documenting what I used or liked.)