The Intersection of Reality and Expectations

You will read this blog sometime in February 2022.  However, I’m writing this blog on January 26, 2022.  For the record, I always keep at least four weeks of blogs “in the can” just in case something happens.  I don’t write well under stress.

With this time frame in mind, this blog is about Expectations Verses Reality.  Most of my regular readers know I have a process I muddle through at the beginning of every year.  I make a list of the quilts completed the previous year, a list of quilts I want to finish during the current year, and a list of quilts I want to start.  Each list has its own purpose.  The list of finished quilts is for encouragement.  Every time I look at it, it says, “See?  See what you can do when you focus and kick your determination into high gear?”  In 2021, I completed four quilts – Twinkling Twinkle, All Roads Lead Home, Sunflower Dance, and the T-shirt quilt I made for my brother, Eric.  Four quilts pieced, quilted, appliqued, bound, and labeled.  Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

I find myself in the middle of three quilts I began in 2021 and am working to finish in 2022:  My guild’s 2021 BOM, a chemo quilt for a good friend, and the alphabet quilt I blogged about in September 2021.  More on all three of these later.  Lastly, there are two quilts I want to start this year – Garden Party Down Under and Windblown Tulips.  I’ll also talk about these in a bit.  Of course, my “Lifers” are still there, but good progress has been made on two of them.  A Day in Grandmother’s Flower Garden is nearly completely assembled.  I’m sewing the columns together. 

Remember, this quilt is pieced entirely by hand.  It’s taking some time, but truthfully, it’s coming along faster than I expected.  I have found I can work on this one for a few weeks at a time and then the quilt and I both need a break.  The columns are long.  I worked out a plan to manage the bulk.  I sew two columns together and then attach those to the quilt top.  This limits the amount of time I’m dealing with all the bulk in my lap or on a table.  The challenge will be the borders, but those are still in the distant future.  I’m really not thinking about them too much right now.

A Horn of Plenty for a New Generation is moving right along.  Over Christmas, I finished prepping all the Apliquick applique pieces, bagged and tagged those, and pre-quilted the remainder of my quilt squares.  This quilt has undergone some serious changes – so much so, it has its own upcoming blog where I will walk you through my design process and explained the decisions I made.  The Language of the Flowers got put in time out.  I think this quilt will remain there at least until I get the last few fruity blocks appliqued in my Horn of Plenty quilt.  I do have the next block prepped, though….so there is that.

Garden Party Down Under is a quilt designed by Irene Blanck.  This quilt is offered as a block of the month through The Quilt Show.  You must be a member of The Quilt Show in order to receive the patterns.  There are two reasons I love this quilt.  First is the designer, Irene.  I’ve met Irene through some sit and sews with The Applique Society via Zoom.  She’s amazing, gracious, positive, and funny.  She also is a very, very talented designer.  She created this quilt during the Pandemic – a time when she couldn’t receive outside shipments of fabric (she lives in Australia).  She pulled her quilt from her stash and it’s bright and beautiful.  She used fabric I would have never dreamed of using.  I’m making this quilt with that kind of fabric – fabric I would look at in a quilt shop but wouldn’t have any idea how to incorporate it into one of my quilts.  Currently the project box holding the material for this quilt looks like a box of 64-count Crayola crayons threw up in it. 

I’m having such a blast collecting the fabric, I can’t wait to start the applique, but I promised myself I would have to complete one of the projects currently under my needle before I make the first cut. 

Windblown Tulips Pieced Background

Windblown Tulips  is a small applique wall hanging.  I’ve pieced the background and have the templates cut out, but this is as far as I’ve gotten with this one.  This project is portable, so I have a feeling it will go with me on the next Florida trip to see my son. As far as my color palette goes with this one, it’s very “me.”  A pop of unexpected, but primarily traditional fabrics. I decided to use freezer paper applique with this project.  All the applique I’ve worked over the past two years has been either Apliquick or raw-edge applique.  I decided I need to re-visit this technique, so I don’t forget how to do it.

Now we get to the part where reality crashes into expectations.  I’m in the middle of three projects.  The first one is this:

You may remember this little quilt top.  This is my guild’s 2020 BOM no judgement – no one said it had to be finished in 2020 and in my defense, I was making hundreds of masks.  For this quilt, all we got were the patterns and a requested colorway.  There were no finishing directions.  We had to come up with our own layout.  Since I love all things on-point, that’s the direction I went.  And I’m really pleased with the layout and the borders – which allowed me to use up some leftover half-square triangles.  I only need to quilt this and get it bound and labeled.  Then I’ll send it to a good friend who’s battling through her second round of cancer.  I’ve had the quilting marked out for weeks, but still am feeling a bit unsettled about it.  I need a weekend where I’m snowed in (with power), a bottle of good wine, and some uninterrupted quilting time.  I’ll anchor the quilt and let it talk to me.  Or I need a weekend when the hubs is fishing or golfing and I have a couple of days to myself.  Either way, my plan is to have this mailed out no later than Easter.  There.  I’ve set a date.  Hold me to it, ya’ll.

HPQG 2021 Mystery Quilt. I promise there is a quilt in there somewhere.

I don’t think I introduced the High Point Quilt Guild’s 2021 Mystery Quilt … and that’s because short of buying the required fabric, I hadn’t touched it until recently.  This was designed to be a two-color quilt, which was something I’ve never undertaken.  I’m still in the middle of making block units, which will soon be sewn into blocks.  This pattern introduced me to a new way of making four-patches and I must admit, I didn’t like it.  It did, however, use my favorite technique for flying geese – the No Waste Method.  I’ll be putting this thing together in a few weeks.  I purchased enough fabric for borders, but I’m debating about taking some of the border material and sashing the blocks.  I’ll see how everything pans out once I get the blocks sewn together and lay them out.

The third quilt I began in 2021 and will finish this year is the alphabet quilt I discussed in this blog:  I’m very happy with this quilt.  If you remember, I had to redraft this quilt from a whole cloth quilt to one with squares so that it would be easier to raw-edge applique.  I completed my squares, cut them down to 10 ½-inches and have sewn them together.  The original pattern had the center of the quilt at 34 ½ -inches x 44 ½ -inches, unfinished.  My center is 47-inches x 58-inches. 

This means I may need to redraft my borders, too.  The original borders were 8 ½-inches wide.  However, once I did the math (10-inch finished block x 1.618 divided by 4) I get about 4-inches.  Since the borders will hold a multitude of appliqued flowers, I decided to leave them at 8 ½.  As a matter of fact, I plan to draw a layout of the borders with the flowers on them at 8 ½-inches and see if perhaps they may even need a bit more breathing room.  The applique pieces are large, and I don’t want them to appear too crowded.  This quilt will have a follow up blog in the near future. 

Do I think I can finish all three of my works in progress this year?  Yes.  I just need to stay focused.  I do this by making not only this list

And keeping it somewhere I can easily see it, but I also make weekly lists of what I want to get done. 

On this list I make sure I have specific goals.  I don’t necessarily tell myself  to spend a certain amount of time each night quilting.  If there’s a sure-fire way to set myself up for failure, it’s that.  My days can vary as much as yours does.  Somedays I have more time to spend in my studio and somedays I have significantly less.  I know I have fewer hours Monday through Wednesday due to the nature of my job.  From Thursday on, my schedule is more flexible.  Each week I make sure I have some goals which can be accomplished quickly and a few which will take more time.  The lighter tasks are taken care of earlier in the week and I hold off on the lengthier tasks until the weekend. 

So this is where I’m at – the intersection of Reality and Expectations.  I think I’ll get through most of my goals this year just fine and safely travel until I get to 2023’s intersection of Reality and Expectations.  Lists work for me.  If you find yourself aimlessly wandering around your quilt studio or wondering what project to tackle next, you may find a list like mine works for you.  It sure feels good crossing things off you’ve completed!

Until next week, Make Your Quilt Yours!

Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam


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