Happy New Year, quilt pals! 2016 has been a mixed bag for all of us. Some bad things, some good things. Since I started this little quilt blog (almost one year ago!) as a way for me to document my quilting journey, it's a great time to recap my year in quilting. In this post I'm going to share my finishes for the year, try to own my successes and identify where I can grow, share a few of my goals for 2017, and ask for your advice for a successful quilt year.
First up, my quilted finishes for 2016!
I tried my hand at releasing tutorials this year and was so happy that several people tried out my modified One Hour Basket, called the Eliza Basket. This basket is designed to be wider and thinner to hold fat quarter bundles, fits perfectly into IKEA shelving, and has an added flying geese panel. I'll share some of the beautiful basket others have made in a special post, in the meantime you can check out the hashtag #elizabasket on Instagram to see more. Here are five Elizas I made this year.
I made a lot of things that were not quilted this year as well. Here are the rest of my finishes for 2016, including baskets, felt crafts, lots of projects for kids I know, and pillows.
I've been really proud of how my quilting has grown in 2016. This year has been great in pushing myself forward towards a compelling life as a quilter, something I was hardly comfortable identifying as just one year ago. So, what do I think went well this year and what can be improved in 2017?
On January 18, 2016, I attended my first Chicago Modern Quilt Guild meeting. It took me over a year of quilting by myself to muster up the courage and energy to attend my first meeting since I've been a pretty solitary crafter for my whole life. The community that exists around quilting was very intimidating as someone who often has a quiet social personality. And while I am still striving to get to know the guild's members more and hoping to get even more involved in 2017, I can safely say that joining that guild was the best quilting decision I have ever made. Chicago MQG members are the kindest, most supportive people and I have learned so much from knowing them and attending the amazing meetings they plan. Joining this guild has increased my confidence and opened me up to trying new things I never would have tried without them. You guys, if you are a quilter reading this and you live in or around Chicago, come to Chicago MQG meetings! You won't regret it. Special hanks to the Chicago MQG for being incredible and for being so welcoming over the last year.
I had a quilt in a local show for the first time this year and I got to be on a quilting podcast which was a blast. Last, I mustered up the courage to submit a quilt to QuiltCon and it was juried into the show! I'm so excited to go see it next month when I attend QuiltCon for the first time. (Here's what QuiltCon is if you're unfamiliar.) I also have my first quilt magazine article coming out soon and one of my quilts is going to be in a book published in early 2018. I can't believe any of that is happening! But...
ROOM FOR GROWTH
I also took on a lot of quilting projects and stressed myself out sometimes. I want to spend lots of time working to improve my quilting skills and there are always projects I want to make. However, between having family time, working a full-time (sometimes more) job, and quilting, sometimes my balance is off. I want quilting to always make me happy, I certainly don't want it to be stressful!
Here's where you come in: HOW DO YOU DO IT?! I want to make more quilts for myself in 2017, continue doing quilt collaborations, learn more about graphic design, and do more of my own quilt photography (thanks for taking my photos this year Mitch!), but I also want to have more family time and do well in my day job. Do you have any tips for balancing your family, work, and quilting lives? I'm also looking for advice on how I can continue to grow as a quilter in 2017. What has helped you become a stronger quilter?
Here's my super special thanks to everyone who helped support my quilt adventures in 2016! This community is full of big hearted people who are more supportive than I ever could have imagined. My family and friends are wonderful cheerleaders. My guild is inspirational. I can't wait to see where quilting takes all of us in 2017!