Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 recap & 2020 goals

New Year's Eve seems like a good time to reflect back on the previous year and look ahead to the next.  Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl hosts an annual planning party and it's a great way to record goals and share them with others.

2020 Planning Party

2019 Goals ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It's worth nothing that I set my 2019 goals before being notified that I was chosen as an Island Batik Ambassador for 2019, so that commitment was not factored into any of my set goals.

Goal: Maintain Commitments
I was successful here.  I participated in Stash Bee for the 4th year and was a Hive Mama.  I kept everyone in my hive on track as best I could and I was only late once in completely my block, and that was only by 2 days.  For a variety of reasons, I could feel my enthusiasm for Stash Bee waning and have decided not to participate in 2020. Hopefully the break will rejuvenate me and I will return in 2021.  I was also on time with all my Island Batik Ambassador projects.
My Stash Bee quilt, 2019
Goal: Balance Old Projects with New Ones
I did reasonably well here.  The PhD (projects half done) program with Gail is a big help because she requires that anything you start in that year be completed before the end of the year so that you are not creating new UFOs.  I finished 14 out of 25 of my unfinished projects (17 total, because one became 4 separate quilts), and started and completed 10 other projects.  That 10 does not include the monthly Island Batik projects (11 in total) and a few Island Batik bonus projects.  

Where I was unsuccessful here was finishing more projects not necessarily started prior to 2019 but that used up fabric I already had.  This is largely due to the Island Batik projects taking up so much of my sewing time--a trade-off I was happy to make.   

One of the older UFOs I finished this year
Goal: Limit Buying Fabric
I actually did really well here!  I only remember going fabric shopping 3 times during the year, and one of those was specifically to supplement for an Island Batik challenge and one was to get more white for my stash due to Stash Bee blocks.  It has meant actively not going to quilt shops, both locally and when I travel, so as to avoid temptation.  And I admit, getting two amazing shipments of fabric from Island Batik did mean I still got the thrill of new fabric. 

Goal: 25 Charity Quilts
This was a huge increase from previous years' goals of 12 charity quilts.  I didn't quite make it to 25 but I came close: 22, which is 6 more than last year's record-breaking that led to the lofty goal in the first place.  I'm calling that a success!

Here's the breakdown:
2 Carolina Hurricane Quilts
7 Project Linus
1 Quilts of Valor
12 waiting to be taken to a local children's hospital
Postage Plus, one of the 22 donation quilts I made this year
Goal: Involvement in Online Quilting Community
I continue to read and comment on a wide assortment of quilting blogs.  I love the Finish Along and have been participating since I discovered it in 2019. I wasn't consistent with One Monthly Goal but I did link up several times.  I participated in one blog hop that was not affiliated with Island Batik and two that were.  My Quilt-Along participation was down from previous years with only the disappearing 9-patch QAL with Julie of the Crafty Quilter, plus one I just started but haven't posted anything yet.  The main reason for fewer QALs was the time commitment to Island Batik.  I did start posting as The Darling Dogwood on facebook and am using facebook much more for quilting conversations than I had before.  I also blogged a record number 85 times (this is 86!) compared to 62 posts in 2018.  So I'm calling that a success.

4th of July blog hop for Quilts of Valor

2020 Goals

If you've read Jim Collins' book Built to Last, you are familiar with the concept of the BHAG, or Big Hairy Audacious Goal.  I'm starting 2020 with my own BHAG: Complete 52 projects.

Goal: Complete 52 projects
I don't always get consistent sewing time so this will not be one a week, but of course will average out to be.  I'm hoping this will help me balance commitments to Island Batik, donation quilts, sewing for family, friends, and myself.  My theory is that with 2 completed quilts or projects, there is enough for all of those.  

Goal: 20 Donation Quilts
Twenty-five turned out to be too many, but twenty seems doable, especially if I completed twenty-two in 2019.  And if I'm completing 52 projects, it seems like a good balance if half-minus-one of those are donations.

Goal: Find Alternative to Project Linus
My favorite quilts to make and to donate are quilts for kids and babies.  With the Charlotte chapter of Project Linus shutting down this year, I need a new location.  My plan is and always has been to support of one of the local organizations that Project Linus donations went to, and I've decided I want it to be one of the children's hospitals.  But I haven't actually contacted anyone to find out what they need and how to drop off.

Goal: In-Person Quilting Community
I've been lacking an in-person quilting community.  There is a Modern Quilt Guild chapter in my metro area and I'm pretty sure I'll be able to attend the monthly meetings. I'm hoping it turns out to be a good fit for me.

Goal: Online Quilting Community
I want to continue to be active in the online quilting community, including increasing my involvement.  I'd like to join a few blog hops and possibly guest post a few times.  If you are hosting anything or know of any fun opportunities, I'd love to be considered!  I also want to increase my quilting-related presence on facebook and possibly pinterest as well.

Goal: Learn EQ8
Possibly the goal I'm most excited about, after the BHAG of 52 finishes.  My husband gave me EQ8 for my birthday/Christmas (I'm a December birthday so it's easy to combine) and I want to learn how to use it.  I've done a few tutorials and played around a bit.  I've signed up for some virtual classes and am looking forward to making some of the quilts in my head come to life!

So that's my look back at 2019 and my look ahead to 2020.  Happy New Year to you and yours!


One final finish for 2019!  This is a donation quilt, made with four fat quarters that were a part of the huge fabric gift given to me by my friend Jen's mom, Judy. Judy is a life-long crafter and last year she went through her craft supplies for things she is unlike to use.  Since both Judy and Jen prefer knitting, I got the fabric!  I chose four floral fat quarters and paired them with Kona Dusty Peach.

The pattern is Elizabeth from the book Fat Quarter Baby by It's Sew Emma.  It was pretty straightforward to put together and I really like the simplicity.  There are appliques seed-shaped additions over each heart in the pattern but I liked it better without.  I quilted with wavy lines using King Tut Mummy's Dearest, a sweet pastel variegated thread.

Completing Elizabeth was my One Monthly Goal with Patty of Elm Street Quilts for December.  It was also #12 on my Q4 list of goals for the Finish Along and is on my list of projects needed for my PhD (Projects Half Done) with Quilting Gail.

December OMG FINISH link-up is open!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Butterfly Pillow

Back in July, I turned a butterfly baby quilt that had been damaged into smaller, usable items.  One of those items was a small pillow.  My son saw me stitching the opening closed and asked for a butterfly pillow.  I have a butterfly die for my accuquilt and I know he loves to crank the handle, so I offered that as an option.  He gave an enthusiastic yes. 

When it came time to actually make the pillow, I gave him a stack of Island Batik scraps to choose from.  I used stash builder strips, which are 5" by width of fabric, though most of mine are no longer the full width of fabric.  These bigger pieces are great for the accuquilt dies.  He picked out four fabric for the wings (2 per butterfly) and two for the butterfly body.  I used Island Batik solid white for the background.  I fused heatnbond to the fabrics and he enthusiastically cranked the machine.  I wish I had gotten a picture!

I let him choose the thread and he was picky, he rejected my matching thread suggestion for a contrasting Aurifil thread. He also had fun picking out stitches from the decorative options on my machine.  He switched stitches more often than I would have, but I wanted it to be his project.  And ultimately, it gives it a fun crazy quilt look.

Once the butterflies were stitched, I gave him the option of quilting the sides or making a it into a pillow as-is.  Not one to delay gratification, he chose to skip the quilting so we could get the pillow made faster.  He was delighted to find out that I poke the corners with a chopstick!

It was his idea to do a posed shot with friends!
He is delighted with his pillow and I love that he enjoys small sewing projects. 

The fabrics in this project were given to me by Island Batik through their ambassador program, though this was not an ambassador challenge. 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

PhD in 2019, plus a finished quilt

Gail of Quilting Gail created a great year-long motivator of finishing up quilts--a PhD, meaning Projects Half Done.  Her idea has two parts: first, you make a list of unfinished projects and set a goal to complete as many as you can; my goal was at least half of my list of 25.  The second part is trickier--you must complete any project started in 2019 so that you don't add more projects to the unfinished list.  I'm pleased to report that I completed my PhD for 2019!  With three days to spare!

PHD in 2019: Quilting UFOs and Finishing New Projects

First, let's look at the projects on my list at the beginning of 2019.  I had twenty-five.  I have completed fourteen of those, though one project on the list got split into four projects (the boats) so I actually finished seventeen. Note that the last finish on the list hasn't been blogged yet; hopefully I can get it photographed tomorrow.

Disney Princesses
March 17, 2019
Fish pillow for Samantha
March 24, 2019
*Dandelion Embroidery
March 26, 2019
Fall fat quarter quilt
March 31, 2019
Horse fat quarter quilt
March 31, 2019
Devin’s baby quilt
May 6, 2019 (estimate)
Giselle & Mario’s baby quilt
May 16, 2019
Hidden Stars/Sherry’s QAL
May 19, 2019
*Doggone Cute
May 20, 2019
Dad’s tea cozy
June 5, 2019
Postage Plus
June 23, 2019
Penguins (Stash Bee)
August 10, 2019 (delivery date, don’t know completion date)
Sail boats Bee Inspired Charity Quilt: Became 4 quilts.  Boats #1 (bubbles)
October 25, 2019
Boats #2 (clouds)
October 28, 2019
Boats #3 (Emerald)
October 29, 2019
Boats #4 (Regal)
November 29, 2019
December 28, 2019
*Food themed picnic blanket

Extra for Miren

*Giraffe Pillow

*Magical Forest

*Lion Pillow

Smitten Kitten (Rainbow Scrap Challenge)

Blue Forest Animals

*Laura’s quilt

*Bookshelf quilt

*I Spy for our bed


* Denotes on list in 2018

Now, the harder part.  Projects begun in 2019.  The trickiest one was actually the first new project started in 2019.  Patty of Elm Street Quilts co-hosted a hand-stitching sew along for hand piecing.  I tried hand piecing back when I first started quilting and didn't like it, but figured it was time to try again.  I took some very basic supplies with me to Oregon when I went to care for my dad post-surgery.  I made the first block, a simple 16-patch.

Turns out that I still hate hand piecing.  Like, could not make myself make another block, despite having the pieces already cut out.  So this one orphan block has been sitting alone since February.  But I couldn't let this one 6" block ruin my chances for my PhD! So last week, once I finished and mailed out the Christmas gifts, I got out the bag with this one block and the fat eighth bundle of Blueberry Park.  I planned a super simple quilt with 6" blocks.  First, I needed to make 4 more 16-patches--this time with the sewing machine.  Then I cut very, very carefully to fill in a diagonal pattern with the other fabrics in the bundle. 

It's only 30" square but that will be fine for a kids' donation quilt.  I'm calling it Path Through the Park since the yellow squares cut a path down the center of the quilt and the fabric is Blueberry Park.  They are such gorgeous fabrics!  I actually really like the in big pieces so that Karen Lewis' beautiful screen print designs show up well.  My favorites are the two big floral designs. The white in the pieced blocks is Kona Snow and the binding is Kona Ash.

And with that, I finished my second PhD--I played along with Gail last year, too.  Here's a list of the 2019 starts:

Started in 2019
Hand quilted QAL/Path Through the Park
December 27, 2019
Pillowcases for me
May 24, 2019
May 31, 2019
Utility apron
June 9, 2019
Baby June’s repair (turning a damaged quit into 3 smaller projects)
July 11, 2019
Disappearing 9-patch QAL
July 15, 2019
Tracy’s Panda
September 15, 2019
Dog quilt with Elliot
September 28, 2019
Cheryl’s Quilt
November 19, 2019
Treasure Hunt Twist (leader & ender)
November 22, 2019

I did not include any of the Island Batik challenges on this list, or the recent Christmas gifts, but I promise that all of those were finished!

Screen Shot 2019-12-06 at 11.47.00 AM

Want some motivation for 2020? Gail is hosting another challenge; you can find the details here if you want to play along.  I'll be trying to complete the projects that I didn't finish this year, as well as stay on top of anything new I start in 2020.  Thanks, Gail, for such a fun motivation to get quilts finished!