At the OMQG meeting last week I presented some ideas to get the quilting New Year off to a great start. I promised some links and so here are a few of the things we talked about.
I always like to take a moment to get organized at the beginning of the year. Take a good look at those UFO’s and decide which ones you’re ready to tackle, and which ones you’ve truly lost interest in. I suggested getting rid of those, either by swapping with a friend, or donating to a charity (Quilts of Valour, Victoria’s Quilts are two suggestions).
While you’re working your way through that pile of UFO’s you can challenge yourself and connect with other bloggers doing the same. Check out A Lovely Year of Finishes 2014 at Sew BitterSweet or Finish-A-Long 2014 at the Littlest Thistle.
It’s also a good time to organize your stash and scraps, especially if you’re planning a fabric diet. If you’re planning to do a lot of stash-busting, Bonnie Hunter’s Quiltville is a perennially popular site full of great ideas on how to use up all those scraps.
My scrappy trips quilt from last year, from Bonnie’s tutorial.
We also talked about learning new techniques. There are lots of places to find classes, from your local quilt shop to a number of online options. If you like the interaction with a teacher and fellow classmates, and can schedule the time, look at the class options at your local shop. If you like to do your learning whenever you can squeeze it in, look at some online options. Craftsy has lots of video classes to suit a wide range of interests; Creative Bug is another great source for online classes. Rachel Hauser at Stitched in Color reaches her students online through private blogs; she has a new Color Intensive class starting in February that looks interesting.
How about finding or making time to sew? I know that’s become a real issue for me. Ideally I’d sew every day, but that doesn’t always work out. Instead, I make sewing dates with friends, or sign up for sew-in days with the guild. I find I get a lot done when I’m out of the house and can dedicate time and attention to my projects.
These Shelburne Falls strip blocks were perfect for taking to retreats and sew-in days. I took them with me to a number of different venues last year, and was able to finish 48 blocks in the year. I dropped it off at Joan’s for long-arm quilting in December, and it will likely be my first finish for 2014.
If you’re a blogger, you can share your projects and connect with other bloggers through link-ups like WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, or The Needle and Thread Network. There’s also Fabric Tuesday at QuiltStory and TGIFF (Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday!) with a number of different hosts.
And when your project is finished, why not show it off to the world? The Bloggers Quilt Festival at Amy’s Creative Side runs twice a year to coincide with Quilt Market – there’s no judging, but prizes are awarded by peer nomination and voting. And for the first time, Quilt Canada’s National Juried Show includes a category for modern quilts … The deadline for entries is January 31st, so there’s no time to lose.
Memories from Austin was my favourite finish from last year. The trip to QuiltCon was certainly a highlight, full of inspiration and learning. I’ll definitely be there in 2015. It would be fun to go away again this year … how about The Fat Quarterly Retreat (UK in July) or Sewing Summit (Utah in September)?
I’ve still got twenty blocks to go on the City Sampler Quilt Along from last year … another on my list to finish this year. What will you be working on this year?