Saturday, December 24, 2016


Posting year end reviews of my quilts and making public lists for the future has never been an activity I use. However...

The titles of my former pages haven't fit my work for the last few years {and the pictures became increasingly misaligned} so I created annual pages. That's where I really looked at this year's finishes. Comparing my output with my plans highlights some serious discrepancies. They don't match what I thought I'd done this year. Although starting with improvisational quilts, it segued to scrap quilts. Nothing wrong with that; I love scrap quilting. But not what I intended. Also, individual pieces are much more rectangular while my intention was to make curved designs.

In 2014 I worked to finish or donate old quilt tops and blocks. That effort was mostly successful but there's a whole new stack of tops and UFOs this year. Here's where improv and curved piecing stopped. Many of the curved/improv pieces are unfinished. My life turned upside down early this year and when I returned to quilting all I could do was the comforting scrap style most familiar to me.

Quilt tops and blocks in progress 

What are my plan for 2017?
1. Finish what I've started.
  • I didn't clear out the old projects just to store a new set.
2. Work more slowly.
  • I'll only start another quilt as each is finished so I may as well have all possible fun.
  • Edit: This does not mean one quilt at a time. I mean I don't want to rush each quilt to completion and I want to be more purposeful about making sure each quilt has a complete story rather than a quick finish. 
3. Consider ways to combine scrap with improvisation. 
  • Improvisation means developing my own ideas and/or building off thoughts or things I see. My quilts are designed to be useful and useable. Combining multiple fabrics from multiple sources is the way I work. I've tried other methods but they don't interest me for long.
4. Continue curved piecing and working with triangles. 
  • Incorporating free-hand cutting will be one way to keep this going.
While I contemplate how to actualize the plan, I also want to incorporate more thoughtfulness into AHIQ. Kaja and I want it to be a locus for improvisational and utility quilts. A good idea, but it seems to need more than just a linky party. I want to include ideas for quarterly study. This will take more thought.


Our final 2016 AHIQ link up is this coming Tuesday. Hope to see you and your work there.

Happy Holidays!

Enjoy the day, Ann


LA Paylor said...

This was one of the best posts I've read in a while... very thoughtful. It would be a fine exercise to put a picture side by side of all a person made in one year. In one place, very graphic information to put together what you wanted to do vs what you really did. Very helpful.

We wander from concept to completion in a meandering path and sometimes lose track of goals.
Not to say that's a bad thing, maybe that's a good thing, to allow for change and serendipity. After all AHIQ is about random. You have given me so much to think about today.
Most of all I don't remember what I've finished this year. I want to keep better records next year. LeeAnna

em's scrapbag said...

I like your idea of combining scraps and improve. That is how I like to work. Your top with the piano keys has inspired me. I would like to try something similar.

Sue said...

Great post, Ann, and it is nice to have you back. I'd say your output for the year is staggering, given the challenges you faced. I am also intrigued by what your thoughts might be regarding AHIQ. I've fallen off that wagon for a bit, but am now coming back around to where I want to see how I can incorporate improv work into my current focus of art quilting. I'll be watching, and like Kaja, am hoping to steal some precious moments between now and next week to do a little noodling. Enjoy your holidays.

Ann said...

How kind of you to write, LeeAnna. It is tricky to juggle plans and spontaneity in quilting. I want to wander at will but also challenge myself to try new techniques and ideas. Your plans in January inspired me to write some personal ones. It wasn't until I made the 2016 finished page that I realized how few I'd worked on. In 2917 I hope to actuality more plans.
If you want to keep better records consider an annual page of finishes. You can keep it private or upload it to your blog. At least you can with blogger.
Merry Christmas.

Ann said...

Oh, good. Nice to meet a soul sister, Em! Piano keys is fun, easy, and a great way to use up scraps. It's the border on a couple of my older quilts, too. I'm glad I used it again on Polka Dot. Can't wait to see your variation.

Ann said...

Merry Christmas, Sue! It's so good to be back. Ideas are starting to flow again. I missed your Made on Monday challenge results but have been catching up on my reading. What a world of good that has done you. Have you seen how your talents have grown over the year? And that's not to say they were poor at the start. It's been like a graduate course in fabric art. Masterful.
Thanks for the words. I'm finding I want to incorporate improv into what I already do. I realize now that I don't want to change course so much as I want to widen my talents.
I hope you get some time to noodle this holiday week.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Great post. I have been so schedule / planning driven for the past couple of years with the book's creation and release that I am looking forward to 2017 as a year to finish existing projects and start work on multiple small projects (all of which will involve scraps and some degree of improv) as the urge strikes rather than according to a detailed plan. I have a file full of "want to try" blocks and designs, so I will pick and choose as the year progresses. I love your work and your style. As far as AHIQ, I definitely fell off the wagon but am intrigued by the "quarterly" focus concept. I think most of us are and really want to be more thoughtful in our postings but the demands of the real world more often than not keep us "short and sweet."

Ann said...

I can imagine how much effort writing and publicizing a book must have taken so it's good to know you'll have time for all your "set aside" work this year. I am hopeful that I can find a better way to combine scraps and improv this year myself. Quarterly projects should allow people more time to finish and hopefully give us all time to discuss various aspects.
Like you, I feel most of my posts have been short and sweet rather than thoughtful and insightful. I hope to produce a better mix next year - I know they won't all be "pearls of wisdom." I don't have that much wisdom. ;-)

Mary Marcotte said...

I agree with everyone else, Ann. This post is inspiring. Who wouldn't want to access the past year's work and think really seriously about it has changed (or not) and improved (maybe) and what to do in the coming year to keep the momentum going? It's such a positive, analytical way to think about one's work. I am already considering how I want to approach my own look back. Thanks for the nudge and welcome back from me, too.

Stephie said...

Like you, I plan to write my goals this year and publish some of them - it might help me keep on track. It's hard to keep on top of things when life goes pear-shaped, so maybe I'll include some room for manoeuvre for accepting the unexpected. I've felt frustrated, guilty and pretty useless for not keeping up with what was in my head. Maybe putting things in black and white will help me focus on the things I *have* achieved... Your plans sound more like 'themes' to me, which is a really good way of developing I think. I'm intrigued to find out more about your plans for AHIQ, it's always good to move things forward and I reckon you're in a position to do just that :) x

Ann said...

Blogs are certainly an easy way to document our work. I think creating annual pages of finished projects may be a good way to consolidate the information. Some people have a book printed annually of their posts and photos but I don't want or need another book on my overflowing shelves.
I hope to hear soon how you decide to handle this .
Happy New Year.

Ann said...

You have a much more professional blog than mine but it certainly is easy (at least for now) to create an annual page. Your life and mine both had some unexpectedly bad turns this year. I'm coming back but don't want to push as hard. You achieve quite a bit and your work showcases your artistic talents. I hope 2017 is less stressful for us both.

Mystic Quilter said...

I think I must have missed reading this post Ann - blame it on my stress levels over the Christmas period! Regarding your goals for 2017 I so agree with No1 - I have a few finishes, one or two I'm not sure if I do want to finish at all, I need to spend a little time working things out over the rest of this week. Looking forward to the plans for AHIQ for 2017.

Ann said...

It is so harder to stay caught up than it was to get caught up. I donated some the first time around. This past year I finished several workshop quilts for my son's friends - a great use of workshop stuff. (I get to try it but don't have to keep it. And they usually make quicker quilts.)
I hope you will join our AHIQ challenges when you see them! (They can always work into RSC, right?)