Tuesday, January 16, 2018

27 Quilt Finishes in 2017

Quilting Mandalas: 
New Work from Old

I labored and debated when titling this post. It's packed with so many big ideas while trying to be subtle. Yes, I know 27 finishes is not so subtle. But I'm excited--newly inspired, and self-directed for the New Year. But first, more about last year.

Worthwhile Working Vacation

It's hard to work on vacation, but last weekend I forced myself. It was foggy and cold in Florida even for a northerner, and the wind was fierce. After a chilly swim I stayed in, and worked on Pink Doxies' webpage. 

I pinned to Pinterest. I cleaned up picture files. I added quilt photos to the 2017 Quilts page at the top of this page in the header. And finally I counted the quilt pictures there. Missing one I had not photographed, I had 27 quilt finishes in 2017. There were additional finished wall hangings, completed quilt tops, and several dozen quilts happily laid out for MCC. I longarm quilted for customers and friends. I hand quilted several of my finishes, and have others presently in process. I dyed 25+ yards of fabric, and I had fun with an abundance of creative energy!

I really had no idea I'd been quite that busy. I'd taken weeks at a time off to work on the gardens through the summer, and house purge this winter. Still, now I know why I had of feelings of being overwhelmed and exhausted at moments. As my kids would say, "Hey, lady! Take a break!"

That "No List" Thing In Perspective

Giving up list making in 2017 was a game changer for me. It led me to taking each day as it came--warts and all. Listening to God and my inner voice (heart) were the guiding forces. Paying attention to my own energy level, and prioritizing what daily life needed to happen at that moment became more important than my agenda (list). It reduced frustration on my part that following a list caused. Namely, when I wasn't getting things done, and couldn't cross them off the list. I wasn't sure I could still be motivated without a list when I started this all, but it proved otherwise. It was a darned productive year!

"So what kind of change do I want 
for the next one?"

I want more freedom, therefore
I need fewer commitments in 2018.

Looking Forward to 2018: On Joining Groups

Yes, to one. I've joined a small, but dynamic group called the The EndeavourersPlease check out the webpage, and list of contributors. We will each work toward a quarterly quilt challenge project, and all will post to a group blog. Our first reveal and posting is February 1, 2018, and the theme is Nature. 

Such a broad theme was difficult for me, but panic I did not. I planned for two months, and started work yesterday on the project you see above. This is a section of fabric mandalas I made through ice dyeing some time ago, and you can check out more about the process in Mandalas Created with Ice Dyeing.

Quilt Alongs, Mystery Quilts, BOMs, Pattern Testing, Fabric Challenges, Etc.: I plan not to do any of the above for 2018. Why, you wonder? While there are so many tempting opportunities in Quilter's Blog Land, it means you are working under someone else's timeline and intent. My tenet for 2018 is awareness of the quiet voices--God, self, family, the day, etc. They don't fit in this vision.

Make what you love. Use what you have. Listen more. Talk less.

Quilting for others: I won't be taking any more customer quilts for 2018 unless there are special circumstances. I still have a few quilts patiently waiting their turn from 2017.

I Want to Stretch Creatively

Charity vs. Personal Projects: Last year was a push toward giving time and quilts to charity projects. I want to pursue some other things this year so I'm trying to work smarter. Sacrificing time previously spent working creatively left me empty and out of balance. There has to be a happy medium. How can I best help?

Using what I have: I want to bring out some projects that were waiting on me to develop more skills before I could move on with them--like the mandalas, for instance. I would like to include more piecing techniques in this year's work, and using my best fabrics instead of using up the mediocre.

Tell Me About Your Quilt: This one falls under the "Do what you love" category. I have a passion for vintage fabrics and old quilts. Historically significant quilts from this region of Ohio pull me especially, and I will continue to work documenting them. As I grow in knowledge, I will share that, too, but it is also enough for me to honor previous quilt makers. I love what they loved.

Until next time...

Come on, Doxie girls. 


Angie in SoCal said...

Yes, there is so much out there in the quilting blogland. I'm amazed at how many quilters offer QALs, SALs, mysteries, BOMs, etc. Then there are the kits, free patterns, magazines, etc. One can easily get overwhelmed and sucked in to doing what others want.

Yet, I'm starting to see a reaction to it all - firstly in me -I'm saying no to 99 percent of it. Like you, I want to work on what I have here, and that's a lot. I've noticed more "let's finish those UFOs/WIPs" postings than before. That's probably because a lot of us are starting to think as you are for this year, Julie.

Here's to a less stressful quilting year.

audrey said...

I knew you were busy last year, but wowsers! 27 is amazing! The charity quilts seemed to be quite the learning curve too. I'm always so interested in my fellow quilters journeys. Much to learn.:)

Rebecca Grace said...

You gave up your LISTS?! I am FASCINATED! Oh, how I know that list guilt!! But I've always thought I needed to "plan my work, then work my plan" and that "Failure to plan is planning to fail." Don't you plan your day or your projects at all, or are you just doing it in your head instead of writing it out on paper? I am such a habitual listmaker that I have multiple lists with subcategories for work, quilting, family, etc. I'm not sure I would ever remember to buy dog food or pay the electric bill without a list -- and then I'd be sewing in the dark and my dogs would go hungry.

I agree with what you said about all the QAL, SAL, BOM happenings. They can be great when they help you to learn something new, something challenging where the tutorials and tips from others and the sharing of photos and encouragement help to keep you motivated. But I would never do a mystery project. I'm not spending my time and fabric on a project without knowing what it looks like! I did decide to do an applique BOM this year, and then I spent nearly ALL DAY online trying to find the perfect shade of Kaffe Fasset shot cotton for background fabric, after calling every shop within an hour of me and confirming that no one carried what I wanted.

So... No lists, no external deadlines from BOMs... I wonder if I could even do that for a week???

KaHolly said...

Delightful post, Julie! Well thought out and very insightful. I hope 2018 is a happening year for you! XO

PaulaB quilts said...

You and Angie have the makings of a creative year ahead. The main point I got is to avoid making commitments which are not of our own choosing. I've noticed that my satisfaction comes in the act of creating itself and what I produce or just learn from that act. Learning is so satisfying in any area of my life, whether about ideas or facts or about myself and others. I really value friends who are also excited about growing. I'm going back to making improv blocks each month, which got neglected last year. God bless you, dear friends.

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

Well said!! All good ideas that we should all think about. I, too, did a little work on my blog updating tabs. Takes a lot of work when you don't stay on top of things. I easily get caught up in the flurry of activity in blogland LOL

Stitchin At Home said...

Wow 27 finishes last year no wonder you were worn out and feeling it all the way to your toes. I'm glad that you are taking you time and enjoying what you love doing.

Barb Neiwert said...

You've got 2018 squared away - very good plan. And congrats on all 27 quilt finishes - whoohoo you!

Quilting Babcia said...

That's an amazing accomplishment for one year, especially with all the other time-consuming projects that took over your life for weeks at a time, especially the purging. It seems many of us are deciding to do our own thing and not participate in someone else's QAL, BOM and Mystery Quilt dreams. A healthy attitude I think. Such a treat to see all your 2017 quilts in one place!

Kate said...

That's a lot of finishes for one year! Congrats on all that progress. But as you point out, one can't do it all, there has to be some limitations or you end up exhausted. Hope you find your happy place in 2018.

Sandy Panagos said...

You did get a lot done last year. Not realizing how much you had done was probably because you are enjoying it. I get the whole "no list" and "no signing up for things." And trying to do more quilting just for yourself, too. I think you're in store for a great year!

Susan said...

I so relate to your goals for this year - especially the no list, and the one regarding BOM's and QAL's. For me, those can add too much pressure, stifling creativity. And like your 27 finishes, I tallied 31 - that's a lot of quilts!

Lynette said...

It sounds like you are really finding a better zone for yourself, which makes me smile. We all excel with different kinds of motivations - lists, no lists, creative endeavors, patterns, social sewing, individual exploration - What I love so much is that all this variety is shared in blogland. It is inspiring and motivating and connecting, all at once. I love your mandala work

Christine Slaughter said...

I love everything about this post! I'm feeling so lost creatively after a year of constant customer deadlines. I'm truly floundering and your post really helps put things in perspective for me as I think about 2018 and what I may want to accomplish. I just feel sucked dry from last year and the thought of trying to make a list just overwhelms me... and that's ironic given my To-Do Tuesday link up! LOL!! I think I just needed to read that it's okay to not have a list right now... That I can just take each day as it comes and do what I feel led to do. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this. I'm sorry I didn't have a chance to read it last week; but I know God brings these sorts of things to our lives when we are ready to hear them.

The Joyful Quilter said...

Best of luck in meeting this year's quilty goals!!