Saturday, December 31, 2016

Farewell 2016: Another Fantastic Year of Quilting Adventures!!

Just a few hours left in 2016...plenty of time to tackle my New Year's Resolutions!!  Just kidding...especially since one of my resolutions was to beat looming deadlines (more on that later!)

I had some fun this week reflecting on my quilting adventures throughout 2016:  quilt finishes, challenges, successes and lessons learned (some more painful than others).  Join me as I take a stroll down memory land...

Let's check out my progress tackling this year's set of New Year's Resolutions...

1.  Use It or Lose It!
I was starting to feel a bit like Gollum coveting all my precious pre-cuts, hand dyed bundles and my own personal hand dyes!  Instead, I made them even more special by incorporating them into beautiful quilted treasures...some finished quilts, some finished quilt tops, baskets and lots of scrappy postage stamp blocks!
Use 'Em!
2.  Incorporate More Intentional Design Into My Quilts
Considerable time and effort went into tackling this resolution.  I read several books focused on art design (composition, color combinations, design principles) and applied them to my walk about photo shoots (10-12 in total).  But the true test was my participation in Katie Pasquini Mosopust's Color & Composition online course!!  Every two weeks we received an assignment that required us to create a quilt that incorporated various design principles.  I managed to complete all 8 assignments (two left to finish quilting/binding) which then received a personalized critique from Katie.  I won't lie--it was an intense 16 weeks (which also coincided with Project Quilting challenge!!) but I am really proud of my results...especially since two went on to be juried into the SCVQA Jazz Impressions Exhibit and Pacific International Quilt Festival (with Orange You Glad I Got the Blues? winning an Honorable Mention ribbon!!)
Color & Composition Series
3.  Put Myself Out There as a Quilt Artist
I took a huge leap of faith and started my own small business focused on being a quilt artist and teacher:  Mel Beach Quilts!  I invested a lot of time in setting up the business/marketing side of things:  creating a website, business cards, mailing out postcards to quilt guilds, facebook posts, blog posts and writing a business plan!  And of course, I also needed to develop some workshops and a lecture to offer to quilt guilds/shops...which was the fun part!!  My efforts certainly paid off as I led two Quilting 101 demos for my guild, taught 4 in person workshops and presented my "Challenge Yourself!" lecture/trunk show for 4 quilt guilds in Northern California and Nevada!  I had so much fun sharing my passion and experience with other quilters and inspiring them to try something new!!

Of course, when I wasn't tackling the business side of things, I needed to spend some time creating new quilts and entering them into quilt challenges and shows!  I made 10 challenge quilts (Hoffman, Cherrywood Lion King, MQU 10x10, Michael Miller/MQG, Modern Quilt Unlimited Everything Old is New Again and Project Quilting) as well as enter my quilts into a variety of quilting venues (# of quilts juried in):  Pacific International Quilt Festival (2), Mancuso's Modern Quilt Challenge (1), Road to California (2), New Quilts of Northern California (1), AQS Spring Paducah (TBD) and QuiltCon (1).  I also had several quilts included in traveling exhibits (CREA-TV, Focus Through the Prism Quilts, Hoffman Challenge) as well as get published in Quilters Newsletter (CREA-TV) and in two of RaNae Merrill's newest books!!
I Love Sharing My Quilts & Passion With Other Quilters!!
4.   Beat the Looming Deadlines
Yup!  I was a super busy girl this year!  My calendar and helpful reminders were my best friend in ensuring that I was able to meet all these deadlines!  In most cases I managed to enter my quilts 24 hours+ before the deadline, but I won't lie:  there were a few 11th hour entries.  In one case, I experienced a quilt challenge miracle in the form of a 2 week extension for the Hoffman Challenge...alleluiah!!!  And there were two or three quilt challenges/entry deadliens that were on my radar but I simply did not have the bandwidth to work on an entry.  But given all that I did manage to finish and enter, I can't be too hard on myself!

5.  Continue Tackling UFOs
I have a feeling this will be an enternal New Year's Resolution!  The good news is that I managed to completely quilt/bind and finish 3 UFOs from year's past, as well as make considerable progress on another 5 UFOs.  I also donated some orphan blocks for my quilt guild...so that is one less UFO on my docket!  The bad news is that I added 9 new UFOs to my list!!  The vast majority were started in a class/workshop/retreat environment and I have good intentions of finishing them.  Three are sets of postage stamp blocks, which helped me achieve Resolution #1 of using charms, and another is an in progress mystery quilt along which I am staying on schedule.  Luckily my guild is hosting a UFO Exchange starting in January...so perhaps I may find new home for one or more of my UFOs!
New UFO Sightings in 2016
So all in all, I am very pleased with my progress on my 2016 New Year's Resolutions!!

Here are a few other highlights from 2016:
  • # of Finished Quilts:  a Whopping 30 Quilts!!!!!
2016 Quilt Finishes
  • Smaller Finished Items:  Baskets, Infinity Scarves, Ornaments and Zipper Pouches!!
New Projects and Gifts!!
  • Sharing My Time & Talents with Others:  Led two Q101 Demos on Slice and Insert Technique, Wrapped up my 4 Year Term as Guild Historian, Worked on Blocks/Quilts for Charity and Awareness
Good Deeds for 2016
  • Art Inspired Fun via Art After Dark, PaintNite, Quilting Retreats, Small Quilt Group, attending QuiltCon, Asilomar/Empty Spools session with Louisa Smith, Jane Dunnewold's Creative Strength Training Camp, Fabric Painting and Dyeing sessions (as a bonus, I was able to share these experiences with fellow quilters & family, as well as meet some new friends).
  • Working in a Series!  I did not plan to work on a series, but once the opportunity and inspiration presented itself, I had so much fun working through different designs and techniques to create some really exciting results, including new workshops!!      
Series #1:  Slice of Improvisational Piecing
Series #2:  Mandalas (pieced, quilted, appliqued, hand dyed and even electronic!
  • Weaning myself off of using the Bernina Stitch Regulator for Free Motion Quilting!!  This turned out to be much easier than expected, but I just needed a little motivation--so thank you RaNae Merrill and your new book:  Free Motion Mastery in a Month!!
  • Embracing the color brown in my quilting.  Yes--I actually incorporated the color brown into 4 quilts this year, a dyeing session and even fabric purchases!!  Shocking, I know!!
Brown is Beautiful!!
WOW!!!  What a fantastic year of quilting adventures!  I know most folks think 2016 was an absolute disaster, but I sure found lots of reasons to celebrate in 2016.  Many thanks to all my family, friends and fellow quilters for all your friendship, encouragement, inspiration and helping to make 2016 so spectacular!!   

And now, I would like to wish you a very happy new year!  May 2017 bring you quilting joy and bliss!!

2 comments:

  1. What a productive year, Mel. You're doing well with your new career. And so many more ideas developing. Congratulations.

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    1. Thanks Ann...I am in awe at how productive 2016 was for me! Can't wait to see what is in store for 2017!!

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