2015 – The Year in Review

28 12 2015

This has been a year… One that I wish I could go back and do-over, but at least 2016 is nearly here?

While it was a creatively satisfying year in many ways, it was an incredibly frustrating year on the professional front. I was released from the university, my supervisors electing not to renew my contract. Thinking on it still makes my heart hurt – I wrap up a lot of my self-worth in my job, and I honestly felt like I was making a difference, and that I was valued. To learn that I wasn’t, that I didn’t ‘fit within the budget’ – that kind of broke me for a while. I’m not sure that I’ve completely recovered, either.

As I said, creatively, it was a satisfying year. I finished five quilts and participated in a round robin. I think I would love to participate in another round robin, but I would be more finite in what I would want to others put into my quilt – as in, I would specify certain things, whereas I had allowed a lot of creative freedom in this round robin.

That said, I’ll probably continue to abstain from swaps in general. I would like to finish more projects, and swaps only add to my UFO/WIP pile.

Traveling Bee-utiful Swap

1. Lone Star – Complete, 2. Traveling Bee-utiful – February Round, 3. cseawright Traveling Bee-utiful Top-in-Progress, 4. Traveling Bee-utiful April for Forestbuckets, 5. Traveling Bee-utiful April for Sunseak, 6. Farm Quilt II, 7. Something Like Progress, 8. Traveling Bee-utiful – July, 9. Traveling Bee-utiful Swap – September Addition, 10. October Addition Complete, 11. Traveling Bee-utiful November, 12. My Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Top

The Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Swap was a fun, but often frustrating, experience. It did push me creatively, which was great. I came away with a better understanding of my creative process. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the quilt top that came home to me. I know for sure that I’m not ready to quilt it.

2015 was also highlighted by several quilt finishes, of which I am quite proud. I’m usually a starter, and still have eleven WIPs to clear out of my queue. I did, however, commit myself to finishing projects by participating in the 2015 Finish Along, and A Lovely Year of Finishes. I fell off of completing projects as the fourth quarter of the year approached – I just didn’t have a lot of time, thanks to the holidays.

Night Sky Completed Quilt - Front

Night Sky was my second attempt at a Camille Roskelley pattern. I did this one as written, and using up my grey, yellow, and white/black fabric stashes. I actually picked this project because I’m a sucker for a quilt-along, but the quilt-along never actually reached completion on the hosting blog.

3xS Completed Quilt Front

3xS (Stars, Squares and Scraps) was supposed to be a leader/ender project to use up my scrap stash, and some neutral solids I had hanging about. It ended up being stupidly fast to piece, because I had everything pre-cut. And then, because I was itching for a finish, I hurried to quilt it.

Embers - Front

I then completed Embers, which was actually the first quilt top I’d done from a Camille Roskelley pattern. I actually had drafted it without the pattern, and re-sized the block to 16″, but purchased the pattern after I’d done all that because I felt guilty. The quilt top had been sitting in my to-be quilted pile for some time, and I just felt like it was time to be done with it.

High Tea Quilt Front

Back in October 2014, I tested a pattern and then the top sat around for a while. I do that a lot… I often get discouraged at the idea of quilting something, because I just don’t have the desire to force a quilt through my domestic machine.

Also, I wasn’t that in love with the top, though I worked from stashed fabrics. Funnily enough, once I’d quilted it and then washed it, I fell in love. Now, I sleep with it most nights.

Spice Garden - Desert Bloom Quilting Mystery Quilt

As I said, I’m a sucker for quilt alongs, so when I saw the 2015 Desert Bloom Quilting Mystery Quilt Along advertised on reddit, I jumped on board. I mainlined the quilt top in two weeks, using only stashed fabrics, and then hurried to quilt it. This quilt went to live with friends that I thought needed a permanent hug.

So, that was 2015 in a nutshell. I’d call it a good quilting year, but I’d really like to do more in 2016. That WIP queue is calling my name. If I can convince myself to be adventurous with quilting, I might actually knock four of my WIPs out fairly quickly.


Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Bee – March

5 04 2015

The Traveling Bee-utiful Quilt Bee underwent its third round over the month of March. I received Cseawright‘s center in the first week of March. Cseawright paper-pieced a beautiful heart for her center, and I was excited to add to it.

After some anxiety over how to fix some issues, and working with the moderator for the group, I added two borders to the center. I designed the borders first in EQ7, because I wanted to give the borders as much thought and effort as Cseawright had clearly put into her center block.

Cindy Quilt

I started with this design. Cseawright’s center is represented by the center square, and the three mitered solid/reads-as-solid borders around it. I wasn’t trying to nail down the exact fabrics I’d be using at this time, but the design, and the rough color values I wanted.

I knew a few things right off the bat: I wanted to repeat a couple of things that Cseawright had done in her center. Namely, polka dots, solid fabrics, and mitered corners. Due to the three borders she’d already added, I felt like the next border needed some piecing, and it needed some lightness. I also knew that I wanted to bring the entire project to a size that would make quilt-y math a little easier for the next person after me.

Cseawright’s center measured 17.5″ square (finished). Not a big deal, but I wanted to finished on a whole, even number.

Border #1 worked out well, though I did have to paper-piece it for accuracy. The four long blocks measure 3.25″H X 17.5″L, and the corner blocks are 3.25″ square. That brought the center to 24″ square (finished), making math for the next border much easier.

I started piecing the eight-pointed stars. Even paper-pieced, they weren’t coming out as precise as I liked – a block that finishes at 4″ didn’t leave a lot of room for error. So, I went back to the EQ7 drawing board.

Cindy Quilt III picked a different star, one that would allow me to create a fading effect with different shades of purple. Paper-piecing these stars worked out much better! I didn’t plan as well as I should have though… I didn’t have quite enough of the background fabric – I’d been working from bolt end cuts I’d gotten from a scrap bag from The Fat Quarter shop. So, I switched a bit, and did the four corner blocks with a different background fabric.

Despite the unplanned changes, I’m extremely happy with what I’ll be sending on:

cseawright Traveling Bee-utiful Top-in-Progress

The finished size now is 32″ square (finished). All fabrics came from my stash – who knew I actually had that much purple?