Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

2017 End of Year Review and 2018 Planning Party

Looking around IG and blogger sphere alike, the time of reviewing 2017 and making plans for 2018 has come round. As Yvonne of 'Quilting Jetgirl' is hosting this fabulous link party, I guess, I too could go back and check what I did and did not accomplish in 2017.

In December last year, I made plans to progress the 2016 quilting bee quilt tops. While I partially removed the blue and green bits in the blocks destined for the ‘Double Square Star’ quilt, I have not done anything else on this project. I made no progress whatsoever on the Bee Hive ‘Double Star’ quilt. So there are a few non-starters in 2017.

 2017 Accomplishments:

The ‘Rakish Needle’ Round Robin kicked off in March and it has been the most wonderful sewing experience in the round robin group this year. All six participants communicated via Whats App and it was just so much fun to see how everyone went about adding to each other’s projects. I had thought / hoped that we would be done with the round robin by the end of this year but that was a bit optimistic. There are two and a half more rounds to come in 2018 and I plan to relish those. I guess we might be done by Summer 2018.

Other highlights this year, were my participation in Katarina Roccella’s blog hop tour despite a few hick-ups along the way. The fabric I needed for my project did not arrive and I had to alter the project plan and buy fabric instead. Despite all that and the time pressure building because the fabric did not arrive, I did manage to deliver on my commitment. In the framework of the blog tour I also drew up my first ever foundation paper piecing template. There is room for improvement but the template is serviceable. I made a baby blanket top in one of the possible repeats for that block and am still rather pleased with the outcome.

Late in spring the unexpected opportunity to help out as pattern tester for @unicornharts presented itself and I volunteered to test the ‘Barmy Bear’ pattern, which I enjoyed immensely.

I participated in the ‘Getyourquiltywishesgranted3’ initiative on Instagram and, boy was I showered in fabulous fabrics. I won Rachel Hauser’s ‘Stitched in Color’ 'Summer Crush' fabric mosaic contests and received this gorgeous fabric bundle as a prize. I also just won a book 'Stoff und Faden' on fabric material science, which got reviews saying that it is really good. It has arrived but I have yet to read it.

This year I got to meet and make more quilty friends as I travelled to attend one of the monthly sewing meetings some of the Hamburg based quilters arrange AND attended my first ever sewing retreat organised by Mel Meyer and Allison Campbell-Richter. That were truly fantastic four days and I hope that many more meetings with these fabulous ladies will follow.

Whilst travelling in Japan, I had a lesson on how to sew a Japanese style floor cushion by hand with a Japanese Kimono maker in Tokyo and attended a Indigo dyeing workshop in Kyoto. I went fabric browsing too. =)

At home, I completed some pillowcases, a baby quilt and another baby quilt… almost.

Looking back, I am very happy with what I have achieved this year, even though I did not get done all of what I had set out to do. Some of that was due to starting new projects rather than finishing those already in progress but that surely is entirely beside the point – hem hem.

2018 Plans and Goals:

For 2018 I have decided to take appropriate measures in response to the WIPs not exactly amassing but demanding attention.

In order to finally progress the two quilting bee tops from 2016 and this year’s stash bee blocks, I have decided not to join any quilting bee groups in 2018. Instead, and besides also still being in the round robin, I will concentrate on finishing WIPs. I also have the ‘Oh Deer’ divisible squares pieces lying around waiting to be pieced together into a quilt top.

There will be more baby quilts that need stitching – there always are. =)

Apart from that, I should very much like to visit ‘Nadelwelt’ the local German quilt fair in May and meet my quilty friends in Hamburg again.

There is no need to plan further because new opportunities will present themselves as the year progresses. Here is to a wonderful 2018 for all of us.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

My Quilting Bee Year - A Resume

It is amazing how time flies. It really does. Just last year around this time I was exceedingly excited about participating in a quilting bee for the first time ever. And what a whirlwind it has been =)

So with hindsight, would I do it again? Definitely! Immediately and without hesitation. I had a lot of fun, in fact, I will be a Hive 4 bee at Stash Bee in 2017.

Quilting Bee, Bee Blocks, free blocks, Puppilalla, quilting, BOM, Patchwork

So let’s look back. This year I was part of two very different quilting bees, namely ‘Stash Bee’ and ‘The Bee Hive’. Both operated rather differently from one another.

Stash Bee vs. The Bee Hive

On ‘Stash Bee’ 99 bees in 9 hives all used the same blogger blog as platform for their communications. Each bee was to post a picture of the completed block on the blog before the monthly task was counted as done. That means all requesting queens got to see all the blocks they would receive prior to those actually reaching them in the mail. Using the same blog as platform allowed for something as fanciful as hive crashing, where bees took to sewing additional bee blocks for queens of parallel hives.

The ‘The Bee Hive’ swarm, which was dubbed ‘Interquiltinentals’ early on by our swarm leader, as we had participants from three continents in the bee, used groupbox (a terribly unwieldy application I would not recommend) as communication platform. We decided to keep the completed blocks a secret until the requesting queen had received them. The queen then revealed the blocks she received to all the other bees. Definitely a lot of suspension, surprise and fun.

Quilting Bee, Bee Blocks, free blocks, Puppilalla, quilting, BOM, Patchwork

A Resume

Generally, I found that the bee format suits me. I got challenged to sew blocks I would not otherwise have tried and to accommodate colour requests that would not have occurred to me. One or two blocks a month and a bit of other sewing on the side is just about what I can manage time wise, making sure sewing stays a relaxed hobby.

What astounded me the most was how differently people interpreted blocks and colour requests. Sometimes though, I had difficulties to follow the train of thought of a fellow bee, which had led them to the conclusion that their finished bee block was complying with the block requirements of a given month, when I might have begged to differ... 
(I refute the thought that same may be said the other way round too – ha ha =) But it really is amazing to see how differently one can interpret the same set of instructions.

Of course I did sew plenty of blocks that were not down my personal alley design or colour wise, but it was a great learning exercise to put myself in somebody else’s shoes and to sew what they considered pretty. I pride myself in having managed to get tone of the requested blocks just right. To me it was very important that the requesting queen should receive blocks she felt were exactly what she had had in mind. That is not to say that the rendition of the block might not have held surprises but overall it should have felt, as if the queen bee would have pulled the same fabrics from my stash for the completion of her block.

What I had the most difficulties with were insufficiently clear or detailed tutorials, as well as sample pictures that had not been taken in daylight, which meant that you had to guess what the requesting queen was truly looking for.

What I loved the most was the element of surprise in opening letters from fellow bees and finding the beautiful blocks they made and maybe an unexpected goodie on the side. I loved the shared sense of excitement and passion in sewing for each other and also the readiness of the bees to help each other out. Such amazing blocks did emerge.

Puppilalla, Bee Block, free quilt block pattern, quilting bee

I had a great number of lovely e-mail exchanges behind the scenes and hope to remain friendly with the bees now that the bee year is officially drawing to an end.

By the way of sewing for my swarm & hive mates or by crashing other hives, and NOT counting my own bee months, I had a hand in creating 21 bee quilts, now probably in different stages of completion. How neat is that? I got to see a few snap shots of other queen’s bee blocks together but way too few. I would love to see how far all the queens have gotten in assembling their quilt tops or even only how all the blocks they received look together. That would be the icing on the bee year cake. 

Quilting Bee, Bee Blocks, free blocks, quilt top, finished top, BOM, Patchwork
1. Jenn Trumbo - 'In the Middle' 2. betyipiernaty - 'Wanta Fanta' 3. Anita - 'Houndstooth'

Oh, yes in case you are interested to see how far I have gotten with my own bee quilts, check here and here for the state of play.

So have you tried a quilting bee yet? Did you enjoy it? Any major turn-on or turn-offs? 

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Commencing an End of Year Review - Improv Piecing

improvisation piecing, patchwork, scrap busting, Puppilalla, log cabin block, patchwork pillowcase

Back in February I had started an improvisation piece, which initially was supposed to become a wonky log cabin block for a fellow bee in a parallel hive. As I had gotten the instructions wrong, I decided to keep it and kept puzzling along whenever I found time. You can see that it cannot have been very often because now it is December and the improv piece is still unfinished. 

improvisation piecing, patchwork, scrap busting, Puppilalla, log cabin block, patchwork pillowcase

Before I went on leave to Ghana, I was sure that I would be able to cross the project of my 4th quarter FAL list but now it seems I might have been somewhat hasty with that assumption. Improvising in that manner took me a long time. A lot of thought went into this, which seems counter-intuitive when one thinks of 'improvisation' but this is how it felt to me.

improvisation piecing, patchwork, scrap busting, Puppilalla, log cabin block, patchwork pillowcase

Still the front panel is finished and I counted 20 different fabrics that are making it up. There will be even more on the back panel that I have commenced piecing as well. Once done, it will make a pretty and modern pillowcase. 

improvisation piecing, patchwork, scrap busting, Puppilalla, log cabin block, patchwork pillowcase

I am also trying to decide what colour to chose for the bias tape that will frame the pillowcase. Any ideas? 

I am currently in the process of finishing the last bee block of the year and am not sure that I will be able to fit in any more sewing before Christmas. There are so many things I would still like to share with you this year though that I could easily publish a blog post a day at the moment.  

I guess I have to make up for my absence in November.  =)

I am linking up with 'Scraptastic Tuesday'