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Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year–and Reflecting Back

Happy New Year wishes to all.  I do hope that 2015 was a good year for you, and that 2016 will be even better.  Robin and I didn’t do very well at all in staying up late to see the New Year in – but that doesn’t matter.  Instead we were camped in glorious isolation on a farm in Ongaonga.  Just us, plenty of birds everywhere, a few bunnies to keep us amused, and a herd of dairy cows.  Where is Ongaonga, you are probably wondering?  It is a tiny rural settlement in the southern Hawkes Bay, and a lovely camping spot it is too.

On reflecting back, it seems that 2015 has not been a terribly prolific year for me.  But then, I was never one to be churning quilt after quilt out.  It’s easy to get intimidated, reading what some other bloggers achieve.   On the whole, I’m relatively pleased with what I’ve accomplished, but its just a shame I didn’t make more of a dent in my pile of UFOs!

So without further ado – my first finish of the year was a Memory Quilt made for our friend Pauline after her husband Geoff passed away.  I was delivered a big pile of tee shirts and other clothing, a green football scarf, and a great assortment of badges which I put to good use.  Geoff and Pauline were part of the group which travelled with us during our South Island Odyssey a few years ago, but none of us knew that Geoff was quite ill during our travels.
Geoff's Memory Quilt

Cushions (or pillows, some call them, depending where you live) featured quite heavily in my finishes for 2015.  I made several cushions for our newish caravan, after purchasing some extra upholstery fabric from the factory which manufactured our caravan.  I’m very pleased with how they turned out. 

New cushions for the caravan

The next cushion was the second of a stitchery pattern, “Give Thanks”.  Full of inspirational sayings, I had previously stitched one for my penfriend Carol, of South Dakota.  As I liked it so much I decided to stitch one for myself.  This one sit on the settee in my rather small sewing room.

Give Thanks cushion

My big project of the year was to make a special quilt for my daughter Nicky’s 50th birthday.  This was a long time coming, but of course  I got there in the end.  Nicky had quite a bit of input into her quilt and wanted dusky pinks, grey-greens and plain cream calico fabric.  We agreed on nine patch blocks, with the alternate cream blocks featuring appliqued leaves.  The quilt was finally completed, and I sent it away to get commercially quilted.  The quilting was marvelous – as I knew it would be, and she loved her birthday quilt.

The 50th Birthday quilt

Next to be completed was “Basket of Blessings”, made from a kit which was a gift, together with all the fabrics for the centre panel.  This I put on point, and extended it with caramel fabric from my stash.  The quilting was a little outside my comfort zone, as I was very keen to try spiral quilting, which I had seen on blogland.  This turned out a little more challenging than I had expected, but when the quilting was finally completed, I worked out where I was going wrong.  Must be a bit of a slow learner, I think.  But I am keen to try spiral quilting again, sometime soon, as I like the effect it gives.

My first attempt at spiral quilting

My pale green cushion was an easy make – using left over fabric from my bedroom drapes, and finished off with a hand made crotchet doily I was gifted many years ago.  Here it is sitting on the bedroom chair.

Doily cushion for the bedroom

The next two items were started in classes organised by my quilt guild.  My first (and probably last) attempt at sashiko resulted in a set of sashiko place mats, finished with batik strips around the outside.   They didn’t take too long to make at all.

Sashiko place mats

My Stitching Bag took a lot more work, and incorporated simple hand embroidery, machine applique and quilting, and Big Stitch quilting all over the front.  The idea started when I gathered up a pile of doilies after my MIL passed away.  With the addition of a bluebird sitting on a leafy branch, flowers and a butterfly, it all came together nicely.

My stitching bag

Things then got a bit busy and the sewing machine got a workout with last minute Christmas gifts.  I quickly made two cushions for my daughter, using left over leaf applique blocks from her birthday quilt.

Two cushions to match my daughter’s birthday quilt

My grand-daughter Emma loves anything “horsey” and likes to cook as well, so I made her an apron, and a matching two handed oven cloth, both covered with prancing horses.

Horsey gifts for my grand-daughter

And lastly, I made two Prairie Point Stars in festive colours, just in time to hang up for Christmas. 

Praire Point Stars

What else did I get up to?  I joined my quilt club committee last year, and write the newsletter.  I got to see six quilt shows, so that was great.  And discovered five “new to me” quilt shops on our travels. And family wise we celebrated my daughter’s 50th birthday, my grand-daughter’s 21st birthday, and my 70th birthday,  so it was quite a big year.  I enjoyed writing my quilt blog, and love reading other quilt blogs too.  There is always plenty happening out there in blog land, creative ideas floating around, and generous people offering hints, tips, and free patterns.  Thank you so much to all who take time to read my blog, and pass comments from time to time, which are always so nice to receive.  And I hope we all have a wonderful, creative year,  and blog about it, so we all can share.


Kate said...

You had a very productive year, Jenny!
I enjoyed your show and tell.
All the best for 2016!

Katie said...

So many beautiful finishes! Happy New Year! :-)

Jenny said...

Thank you both very much for your kind comments. As I'm sure most quilters feel, we never quite achieve as much as we would like to. But it isn't a race, is it. And as long as we are enjoying what we are doing, each finish is a bonus!

Jocelyn is Canadian Needle Nana said...

Love that Birthday quilt and I think my favourite is your stitching bag. That took creativity and sewing savvy! Buy what a productive your you have had and I know that like me, you are along for the journey not necessarily the destination. LOL So here's to lots more stitching in the new year.

June said...

What a great show and tell, I particularly love the red cushions made from the upholstery fabric, Jenny.