Friday, December 30, 2011

The Year In Review

NOTE:  This is a pretty long post so if you are coming along for the ride, grab a cuppa your beverage of choice and set a spell while I look at what I did and didn't get to do this year in quilts!  (Yeah, I know, a week in the South will do that to 'ya). 

Well, it's time for me to take a look back at the quilting year soon to be finished.  2011 was a crazy year for me, one where my quilting focus changed constantly.  Despite a swath of sewing, I only ended up completely finishing one quilt for the year, a holiday quilt for display.  As a result the list for next year is already in place and will consist of a lot of stuff worked on or pledged to be worked on this year that I now really want to finish.  So let's look at what transpired in "THE YEAR THAT WAS" (cue important sounding fanfare music).

The Biggest (and non-quilty) News:  We Moved!

At the end of February, my family and I moved to our new townhouse from an apartment in our co-op complex. We had waited four years for the call for an available unit.  Getting it gave my two sons their own rooms and we gained a terrace and dedicated dining room that also allowed for a shared dining, office and quilting space.  Previously I had quilted in one half of the third bedroom of our old apartment (and hence why my sons had to share a bedroom) :
When we moved my quilt space started as this:

But now looks like this:

That is my old machine in the picture, my Janome went in the shop for cleaning shortly before we left last week.

I have mixed feelings about being in the dining room:  on the one hand, because the living room is on the other side of it and my sewing and cutting tables are right next to the main household computer, I am always surrounded by my family and in the thick of the household goings on.  But there are times and projects when I could really use some solitude and a closed door.  Fortunately, I can get that when the rest of the family is out of the house at school and work. 

The Original Plan For the YearUFO Busting!

The year was supposed to be focused on just working on projects of this nature:  all those projects half started or awaiting the transition from being a pile of blocks to becoming a top or waiting to be quilted.  I had even signed up for Myra's PHD (Projects Half Done) Challenge with the full expectation that with six months to focus on them, I would get a lot done.  But the move shattered that dream by completely changing both my focus and available time.  As the year progressed, I pushed myself way off course so many times during the year, that while I did do some significant work on one UFO, I completely failed to meet this goal.  The list that started the year included:

UGRR/Pioneer Project
Brrr! Park
Crumb Quilt #1
Boy's Blue Lagoons
Striped Squares
Blue & White Dresdens

Pictures of all of them can be seen in this post.  Additionally, I also planned to quilt a top called "Flowing Silk" that was to be donated to the BASICS quilt gather. In the end, the only project worked on at all was the UGRR/Pioneer Project.  The blocks which had been finished in 2010, were pieced into tops and are layered awaiting quilting.

Fortunately Myra is running a six month continuation of last year's challenge at the start of 2012 so I definitely will participate with the hope that I can try again to tackle these for the first half of 2012 with better results!

 Also In the Original Plan:  Working On BOMs!

While the main focus of  the year was supposed to be UFOs, there was a set of "new" projects I wanted to keep up to date and that was the Block of the Month Projects I had signed up for in the last quarter of 2010.  I had three:

Aunt Grace Circle of Friends
Civil War Chronicles
Jan Patek House & Garden   

Of these, only the Aunt Grace is currently a top waiting for quilting.

The Chronicles blocks are complete up to the eleventh month.

Completion of the top will be delayed until February when the BOM organizer, Homestead Hearth, receives their fabric order for the last set of border blocks.  I had hoped to start the Jan Patek BOM while I was away for the holidays but it looks like it will now be a HSY (pronounced "Hussy" and stands for "Haven't Started Yet") in 2012 instead.

Expansion Of the Year's Planthe Civil War Series!

2011 was the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War and there were a lot of interesting documentaries and specials on the topic on TV.  I also read books on the period like "Uncle Tom's Cabin", "Red Badge of Courage" and the "Sugar Camp Quilt" and "Union Quilters" from Jennifer Chivarini's "Elm Creek Quilts" series.  When I realized I had projects in the previous two categories that were both made from CW reproduction fabrics and a HSY project with the same fabric theme, I decided to expand my project list to include this series of quilts.  So in this corner we have the layered UGRR/Pioneer project in the UFOs and the Chronicles BOM.

Barbara Brackman, the noted quilt historian, debuted her Weekly Civil War Quilt block series at the start of the year. I quickly realized this was a perfect opportunity to use up my scraps.  I had hoped to work on them using the leftover fabrics from the Chronicles blocks and the remaining stash after the UGRR/Pioneer tops were finished.  But then I also realized that I had one other CW project that I had long awaited starting:  my Merrimac Dresdens.  I had already raided the stash for that project for a few pieces for the UGRR/Pioneer project so I figured that actually making it would also clear that stash AND provide even more fodder for the Brackman project.  Here is the finished Merrimac top:

I plan to finally start working on the Brackman blocks either on New Year's Day or shortly thereafter.  Fortunately, the block patterns will be up on her blog until July, 2012.

Somewhat Sidetracked By Some HSYs!

Although the year's focus was to clean out UFOs, another concern was to also reduce the pile of HSYs .  These are projects that I had already purchased all the fabrics for and sit in bags or bins waiting to be started.  The UFO plan had started in anticipation of moving and not wanting to have to pay to move so much fabric.  But when the moving plan went into effect a lot sooner than expected and then we actually moved, the realization was that now I needed to pare down to have space for all the stuff I had!  The HSYs worked on this year were:

Merrimac Dresdens (which you saw before) and Safari Stars

Both tops are done and now awaiting quilting although I assure you there are many more where those came from!

The Unexpected:  A Rash of New Projects!

As noted before, the year was supposed to be devoted to clearing out UFOs and HSYs.  But the move generated so many new opportunities and reasons to display quilts and new ideas for quilts are always percolating so it is hard to resist them when they come due!  The new projects were:

Valor (a Pat Sloan design)

Floribunda (a Bonnie Hunter antique reproduction and Quilt-A-Long project)

Crumb Houses (For a Quilt Along led by Jo of Jo's Country Junction)

Anita's Arrowhead (A Holiday Quilt)

Anita's Arrowhead became "All Spruced Up" in tribute to the backing fabric and the fact that it is the first new quilt made for display in our new home.  It is also the only finish for the year.  The Crumb Houses are still underway but Valor and Floribunda are tops that will be quilted next year.

So 2011 wound up being a lot like like 2009 when I worked on sixteen projects during the year with only five getting completely done and another six getting completed the next year (and some of those that were not completed then are still on the UFO list now).  Lets hope that 2012 will be more like 2010, a big finishing  year!

Wishing You and Yours a Joyous and Prosperous New Year!  See you in 2012!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Vivian you sound perfectly normal to me! your year in review is inspiring on so many levels.
hope to see you soon.