Monday, January 30, 2017

Birthday WOW!

This past weekend was my birthday.  Typically I treat myself by enrolling in a quilting class through my guild and/or a local quilt shop.  Not only do I get to spend my special day doing something I love, but also learning something new!

This year I decided to mix things up a bit.  So instead of taking a fun quilting class, I was the one teaching a fun quilting class!  Yes, I had the pleasure of celebrating my birthday by teaching Walking Foot WOW! for the fun and fabulous Mt. Tam Quilt Guild.
Such a Fun & Festive Gathering
These ladies were so enthusiastic and equally adventurous in their quilting designs!  I just loved checking in with them and watching their wholecloth quilts progress!  Everyone had fun experimenting with the different designs and ultimately making it their own.
So Much Variety in Everyone's Blocks and Designs!!
In this workshop, there is no such thing as a mistake:  merely creative design opportunities!  Yes--what may have started as an Ooops moment usually turns into an Oooh la la design--that is so interesting and exciting that I may just have to incorporate into future workshops!!  I was having so much fun connecting with everyone that I forgot to take more pictures!  But here are a few of the wonderful Walking Foot WOW! sampler blocks that were stitched on Saturday!    
More Walking Foot WOW!  Textures and Designs!
  
Thank you Mt. Tam Quilt Guild for a truly fun and memorable birthday!!

If you missed this weekend's Walking Foot WOW! fun...hopefully you can join me for a future workshop (dates/info posted on my website calendar).  If you are in the Bay Area--I will be teaching it at Scruffy Quilts on February 19th.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Bernina 820 Looking for a New Home

For the past 6 years, I've been fostering Bernie, a Bernina 820 sewing machine.  He came to me gently used, and we bonded a lot over the past 5 years, creating memories as we collaborated on 130+ quilts.  But it is time to find Bernie a new studio to call his own...
Meet Bernie!
Hello!  I am Bernie, a 7.5 year-old Bernina 820 sewing machine that is looking to take up residence in a new studio.  My perfect day would start with some basic sewing and piecing, which would be finished in record time thanks to my 1,100 stitches/minute sewing speed and automatic thread cutter.  This would leave us with plenty of time to tackle some of those quilt tops you've been stashing away.  We'll add beautiful quilted texture as I come equipped with hundreds of decorative and utility stitches, a well-engineered walking foot and three different free-motion embroidery feet.  With 12" of throat space, I am up to the challenge of tackling those full and queen sized quilt tops you were going to send out for long arm quilting.  What?!?  You don't know how to free-motion quilt yet?  No worries!  Let me and my Bernina Stitch Regulator help ease you into free-motion quilting by automatically adjusting the stitching speed to you moving the quilt.
Accessories and Gadgets Galore!
I come fully loaded with all kinds of cool bells & whistles to help bring joy to our sewing sessions:  20+ different presser feet, extra large bobbins, a low-bobbin sensor/alarm, circular embroidery attachment, magnifying glasses and more!!  I also come equipped with my own protective bag, extra LED lighting and an optional customized sewing machine table that was made just for me!!
But wait!  There's More!!
I am up to date on my cleaning, care & maintenance, as I just visited the sewing machine spa in early January 2017.  I come equipped with a user manual and instructional dvd to help you take full potential of my many features, for many days of happy sewing and quilting!

Adoption fee is $2000 and includes:
  • Bernina 820 Machine that was serviced/cleaned early January 2017
  • Foot pedal, extension cord, knee-lift bar, thread cover and sewing machine cover
  • Original user manual and instructional DVD
  • 20+ Presser Feet Included (most have accompanying manuals included):  1C, 1D, 3A, 4D, 5, 8, 8D, 10, 10D, 14, 20, 20C, 20D, 21, 34C, 34D, 37D, 57, 57D, 60C, 75, Free Motion Embroidery Foot #24 (open toe) and 44C embroidery foot with clear sole.
  • Single hole stitch plate and 7 mm wide stitch plate
  • Accessory Kits:
    • Bernina Stitch Regulator (with 3 different interchangeable soles:  open, closed and transparent
    • Walking Foot #50 with 3 interchangeable soles and seam guides
    • Set of 3 Magnifying Glasses that attach to machine
    • Circular Embroidery Attachment
  • 60+ Jumbo Bobbins
  • Installed LED Strip Kit for extra lighting
  • Optional:  customized IKEA table and acrylic extension table that allows for the machine to be set into table for large, open and flat sewing surface.
Optional:  Customized IKEA Table and Acrylic Extension Table Made for Me!
If you are in the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, ask to meet me today!

And next week I will introduce you to my new machine!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Check Out "Russian Doll Delight" in Print!!

I love getting packages in the mail...especially when they contain a signed copy of RaNae Merrill's new "Free-Motion Mastery in a Month" book.
My Signed Copy of Free-Motion Mastery in a Month book!
But wait!  There's more exciting news!  Inside there are several images of my "Russian Doll Delight" quilt!!  This fun quilt was made as part of RaNae Merrill's online laboratory in which we went through all the exercises RaNae developed for learning to free-motion quilt in a month.  There were approximately 30 quilters from all over the country (and a few abroad as well) with varying levels of quilting experience, sewing machines and fabric choices.  This experience gave me the motivation and confidence to make the switch from relying on the Bernina Stitch Regulator to a regular darning foot in which required eye, hand and foot coordination to achieve beautiful, even stitches.

Here is my very own page (page 21) featuring my finished quilt with a shot of the detailed quilting in the background!!
One of My Favorite Pages--Page 21!!
While I had seen draft copies of the book, it was mostly text and sketches of the various designs.  So this was my first opportunity to see all the beautiful quilts and glorious quilted texture achieved by my fellow laboratory participants!!  As there were no guarantee that our quilt would be included in the final book, I was so excited to see my quilt in print.  But as I worked my way through the book, I kept finding more and more detail shots of my quilt sprinkled throughout the book as examples of the various designs and processes.  It soon turned into a scavenger hunt and I managed to find a total of 12 images that related to me and/or my quilts!!

Let's play a fun game:  See if you can find 3 detail shots of my quilt included in the pages below!!
Hint-Hint:  I Included My Actual Quilt in the Background As a Reference!!
I had a lot of fun learning new techniques and designs as part of RaNae's "Free-Motion Mastery in a Month" program.  I HIGHLY recommend her book as a wonderful resource and tool for anyone who is looking to learn and/or improve their Free-Motion quilting skills.  As with any new skill--it is a matter of practice, practice, practice...and RaNae has developed a series of exercises that are designed to ease you into free-motion quilting, and if you follow along day by day, you will see a progression in both your confidence, eye-hand-foot coordination, creativity and ultimately enjoyment of the quilting process.  But you don't have to take my word on it:  Check out all the amazing quilts and quilting achieved by quilters of all experience levels!!

You can order your very own copy of "Free-Motion Mastery in a Month" via RaNae's website or purchase it from Amazon.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Project Quilting 8.2: Lustrous Lily

This past Sunday kicked off a new Project Quilting Season 8 quilt challenge with the theme of "Carolina Lily."  Like most quilt challenge adventures, this journey began with my usual search via Pinterest.  There I founds images of the traditional Carolina Lily block along with images of the actual Carolina Lily flower, North Carolina's state wildflower--neither of which evoked a new quilt design.  But soon images of other lilies started to appear, including the Stargazer Lily, which is one of my favorite flowers.  Just then I remembered a fat quarter bundle of Patty Young's Lush that I purchased years ago that included printed lilies!!
Game Plan A:  Lily Print Fabric Bundle
I was so giddy about this new revelation that I went to the studio and pulled out that bundle, along with some coordinating hand dyed fabrics!  And then I wondered:  now what?!?  How the heck would I incorporate these fabrics into a cohesive quilt design?  I pondered the possibility of doing some improvisational piecing, but nothing seemed to capture the essence of the Carolina Lily theme.  And so naturally I stalled by pressing and organizing the fabrics; hoping they would speak to me.  After 3 days of total silence, it was now Wednesday and panic started to set in.

I revisited my Pinterest board containing gorgeous photographs of lilies and found myself drawn to the geometric design of the petals.  I wondered if I could create an abstraction of the bloom by using only triangles, diamonds and hexagons.  Using isometric triangle grids (both on paper and in Electric Quilt 7), I sketched out a few different designs.  I got pretty excited with the sketch below, especially once I started coloring it in using different values of pink along with some dots!    
Design and Construction Progression (clockwise starting with top left)
Thursday morning I went to work drafting up two different diamond-shaped foundation templates for the petals.  Once my designs were drafted and copied, I raided my stash of pink fabrics that would capture the essence of the Stargazer lily:  striped centers surrounded by dots!  I chose an organic strip for the centers, along with a variety of polka-dotted and small spiral prints in a light, medium and dark value.  Once my petals were pieced and laid out, I started to audition green fabrics for the three leaves and background.  I chose two directional prints with contrasting designs for the leaves, and a variety of yellow green prints for the background.  Originally I had planned to cut out triangles from different fabrics for the background.  Wanting to add more visual interest, I cut out 2" strips that were pieced into strip sets from which I then cut out the large background triangles.  This extra step really adds so much drama and sparkle to the background!

By 10 PM Thursday night, my quilt top was completely assembled and ready for quilting!  Friday morning I went to work on preparing my backing and creating my quilt sandwich.  Soon it was time to add some quilted texture to transform my lily!!!  Drawing inspiration from the photographs, I had a lot of fun stitching both lines and pebbles into each of my petals.  I incorporated my favorite motifs into the background (zig zag meander), center stamen (loop de loops and figure eights) and leaves (feathers with echoes).
Details of Quilted Textures
Including so much variety into my quilting made it both fun and fast!  Later that night I finished up by adding the binding.  Many thanks to Jaybird Quilts for her wonderful "How to Bind 120-degrees" tutorial that greatly helped with handling the six corners, as well Sharon Schamber's Perfect Straight Binding video where she demonstrations how she uses Elmer's Glue to achieve perfect bindings on her award-winning quilts!  I've used this technique on the past 5-6 quilts and absolutely love the results!!
"Lustrous Lily," 33" x 29" Finished Size
I absolutely  love, love, love the finished quilt!!  Despite the slow start, this little beauty was assembled and quilted in just 2 days!!  I had so much fun putting this quilt together that I am even considering turning it into a quilt pattern.  Already I see potential for different colorways, different sizes and even repeating the basic block to create a larger finished quilt!  I welcome your feedback and please let me know if you might be interested in helping out by being a pattern tester!  You can leave me a message below or send me an email (melbeachquilts@yahoo.com).

Online voting will begin Sunday 1/22 around 10:30/11 AM PST.  Please be sure to check out all the amazing quilts that celebrate the Carolina Lily and vote for your favorites!!  Lustrous Lily is #73 (hint-hint!!)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Meadow Mystery Quilt Along 2016: Blocks 2 and 5

This month's set of instructions for the Meadow Mystery Quilt Along had us constructing two new sets of blocks, using some of the smaller components previously pieced.  It looks like we've now completed all the block construction--yielding 6 different sets of blocks for a grand total of 25 blocks.  Many of the participants are having fun playing around with different layouts and posting to the Facebook group.    

I spent sometime last week assembling all my blocks and joining the layout guessing games.  Quite a few participants have posted pictures of their layout guesses, so I was surprised to see that my layout actually offered something new and different, especially so late into the month.  My excitement was short lived once I realized why mine was so different:  I had assembled one of the blocks completely wrong!!  Big oops!!  
Possible Layout #1 with Faulty Blocks
Truth is:  I kind of liked my version!  I also hate to rip out seams!  So I left it on my design wall for the weekend.  Last night, I gave in and pulled out my handy dandy seam ripper and got to work deconstructing the faulty blocks.  A few silver linings:  1.  it was only a set of 4 blocks whereas some of the sets have 8 identical blocks.  2.  I was able to salvage some of the individual rows within the block, so not as much ripping required.  

This morning, I confirmed the correct block construction directions and then got to work putting them back together!  Here is my updated guess at the layout...
New Layout Guess with Correctly Pieced Blocks
There are just a few weeks left until February's clue is revealed and with it, hopefully the final quilt top layout!  

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Craft Napa 2017

I spent a fabulous day taking Sue Bleiweiss' "Screen It, Stamp It, Stencil It, Foil It, Use It!" workshop as part of Craft Napa 2017.  It was an early morning start, but the scenic drive was so lovely:  gorgeous sunrise colors, lush green thanks to all the rain we've been getting and even two hot air balloons floating above as I entered the Napa region.  I arrived with plenty of time to spare and even scored a complimentary breakfast ticket to an impressive breakfast buffet!

If you aren't already familiar with Sue Bleiweiss, she is an amazing fiber artist, SAQA mentor extraordinaire and an equally fabulous teacher!  For me this was a triple treat, especially since she lives/creates in Massachusetts, so all of our chats have been via Skype video.

From start to finish, Sue created a relaxed, yet inspiration-filled environment that was perfect for experimenting with new techniques, products and tools!  This began with a simple supply list (scissors and optional protective wear, kit fee) and included a kit that included 2 yards of canvas, handouts/resources and full use of the wide array of paints, embellishments and tools she brought with her.
Workshop Kit & Supplies
Sue led us in a few short demos that covered product information and application, some beautiful examples and then set us free to create!  We started by laying colorful foundations on our canvas backdrops from which we would then add layers of interest via embellishments.  
Laying the Foundation with Color!
Here are my four fabrics with their foundation layers of color...
Before Embellishments
Instead of watching paint dry, Sue kept us busy making our own unique stamps by cutting up crafter's foam and carving rubber blocks.
Craft Foam Rubber Stamps
Carved Rubber Stamp
During the lunch break, I had a chance to dine Sue and other Craft Napa attendees for a lively and entertaining meal.  Afterwards, I had a chance to check out the hotel grounds, which included a large pond that included geese, ducks and several ducklings!!  I also had a chance to visit Carol Soderlund and Melanie Testa's demonstrations, and add a newly signed copy of their new book "Playful Fabric Printing"!!  I also had a chance to check out the contents in the SWAG bag--so many awesome give aways and samples!!  As if that wasn't enough, after lunch I returned to my work station to find a little gift left by the fabric fairy:  triangle charm pack from Hoffman fabrics!
Craft Napa Take Aways:  Beautiful Scenery, SWAG Bags, Signed Books
After lunch, we got to work embellishing our fabrics with silk screening, painting, stenciling, stamping and foiling.  I had so much fun experimenting with the various paints and techniques, and watching my fabrics transform!
After Embellishments
And now what to do with all these beauties?!?  Sue provided us with instructions for making fabric covered journals as one possibility.  I foresee a canvas tote bag or two in my future.

I also foresee more fabric embellishment in my near future!  And luckily there was quite a bit of leftover paint that students were able to take to continue the fun at home!!  ]

Many thanks to Sue for an absolutely amazing workshop!!  Special thanks to Pokey Bolton and her team for hosting Craft Napa and making it such a creative and fun event!  I can't wait until 2018!!
"Screen It, Stamp It, Stencil It, Foil It, Use It!" Fun with Sue Bleiweiss

Monday, January 9, 2017

Fun Finishes!!

It totally makes my day to receive pictures and emails from quilters who have taken my workshops, especially when it includes pictures of their finished project!!!  I just love seeing their progress and celebrating their successful finish!  And so, join me in celebrating these fabulous finishes...

The first up is from Sherry, who took my Walking Foot WOW! workshop at Scruffy Quilts quilt shop.  Sherry was fairly new to quilting but eager to learn new designs so she could quilt her own quilt tops.  She made excellent progress during the class time as she tried several new designs and filled in half of her sampler.  So imagine my delight when I received an email two weeks later with not just one but two wholecloth quilts completely filled with so many beautiful, quilted textures!!    WOW Sherry!!
Sherry's Walking Foot WOW! Wholecloth Quilts
The next few finishes are from my Slice of Improv demos and workshops...

Elaine also took a class with me at Scruffy Quilts quilt shop.  I loved her bold choice of robins egg blue fabric for her background squares.  She and her friend shared in both the fun of the class as well as each other's scraps.  Elaine was quite productive as she stitched up 10 or more blocks in class and being well on her way to a quilt top.  She recently emailed me some pictures of her fabulous quilt top!  She wrote to say that she was "very pleased with this loud, happy and a little wild quilt."  I totally agree and just love how all the bright colored scraps dance across the bright blue background!!  It is a very happy quilt!
Elaine's "Loud, Happy & a Little Wild" Quilt
Next up is Roberta who attended my Quilting 101 Demo for our guild, Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association.  Roberta would send me email updates letting me know that she and others were working on their blocks/quilt tops at quilt retreats.  I was thrilled to see her show off her fantastic "Improv in Purple and Orange" at our November guild meeting.  I just love her bold color choices and wonderful layout!!  And if you look closely, she quilted some "ghost" slices that float throughout her background.  It really enhances her quilt's design!
Roberta's "Improv in Purple and Orange"
Last but not least is Sandie, who stitched her "Slice of Improv" blocks together to make a walker bag for a friend.  I just love Sandie's fabric selections which will add a beautiful splash of color to any walker!!  And look closely:  Sandie used a variety of decorate stitches to outline each of the insert strips for yet another fun detail!  What a lovely and very functional finish!!
Sandie's Walker Bag Made for a Friend
I will be demonstrating "Slice of Improv" at Northern California Quilt Council's All Star Review this Wednesday, January 11th.  I am excited to join this All Star list of quilt teachers (including teachers who ribboned at PIQF, taught at Houston Quilt Festival, World Quilt Florida and Empty Spools Asilomar) and share my love of Slice and Insert improvisational piecing.  We will each repeat our chosen technique (including stenciling, mixed media fiber collages, free-motion quilting, machine applique, paper foundation piecing, puff paint, tulle overlay and quilt math!!) seven times, so attendees will get the chance to rotate to the different demos and walk away with some new quilting tricks!  This fun event is open to guild members and guests.

NCQC All Star Review
January 11th from 10 AM -12 noon
Pleasant Hill Community Center
320 Civic Drive
Pleasant Hill, CA

Please stop by and say hello!!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Project QUILTING 8.1: Cre8 & Medit8

Nothing like a new season of Project QUILTING challenges to kickstart my quilting mojo!!  What is Project QUILTING?!?  I am so glad you asked!  In a nutshell, it is a series of online quilt challenges that are designed to push you outside your comfort zone, while still having loads of FUN.  Each challenge is based on a unique theme that we must interpret and incorporate into our entries.  Our entries can be any size but must incorporate some form of patchwork, applique and/or quilting.  Oh...and one tiny, insignificant detail:  they must be started and finished within ONE WEEK!!!  

One week?!?  Just one week?!?  7 days?!?    168 hours?!?  10,080 minutes?!?  Are you INSANE!?!?  My responses:  Yes!  Yes!  Yes! Yes!  Yes!  and YES!!  I managed to complete all 6 challenges last year and not only managed to survive but actually thrive!  These challenges are designed to stretch our creativity, while also creating the perfect opportunity to explore new designs and techniques.  I learned so much from my own participation last year, as well as checking out everyone's entries and reading about their own design process via social media (blog posts, Instagram, flickr and the Project QUILTING facebook group).  And did I mention there are prizes involved?!?  The organizers do a fantastic job of lining up some pretty sweet prize packages for viewer's choice as well as random drawings from those who participated.  

As this is the 8th year of Project QUILTING, the organizers celebrated this milestone with the first challenge theme:  8 is Great!  I've greatly enjoyed seeing how other quilters have celebrated the theme with their entries (nearly 100 entries have been submitted and there are more than 12 hours left until the deadline--so more are to be expected!!)

A frequently asked question I get about my participation in quilt challenges is about how I manage my time and stay on schedule to finish before the deadline.  So I thought I would provide some insights about the various milestones I set for myself for this first challenge.

Sunday:  
Challenge theme revealed at 10 AM PST.  Spent some time brainstorming why 8 is Great.  I started a new secret Pinterest board to gather some ideas which included:  the song 8 Days a Week, Magic 8 Ball, 8 Knot, Golden ratio and Octagons.  But I kept coming back to making a new mandala.  I've been wanting to experiment using single-fold bias tape to create a modern mandala and this challenge was the perfect opportunity to give it a try!  

Monday:
I set out to accomplish three tasks related to this challenge:
1.  Mull over the construction process...order, tools, etc.
2.  Pull fabrics from my stash--The grey/lavendar strip in front inspired the other fabric selections but did not get used in the actual quilt.  Instead I chose a soft, light grey for my background and selected four red-violet with different size scale of print, value and textures.  The top most fabric was used for my quilt back.
3.  Draft a design onto freezer paper.

Tuesday:

Now that I had selected my fabric palette, it was time to start cutting it up!!  I prepped all my background units and started making single-fold bias tape.  Luckily I had experimented with the various Clover bias tape makers and created a handy reference for myself that includes the width of strips to cut, finished width and which color of Clover bias tape maker to use!!

Wednesday:
  
This was the halfway point of the week, so I wanted to have my individual units prepped and ready for assembly.  I marked my design onto the background and made more bias tape.  I may or may not have also started contemplating alternate designs as I wasn't 100% confident in my plan for construction.  However, those doubts were soon quelled once I started attaching the bias tape and started to see my mandala design emerge!!  I was enjoying the process so much that it wasn't until I was adding the final strips that I looked at the clock and realized it was almost midnight!!

Thursday:
I couldn't wait to return to the studio to see my in progress mandala.  I spent most of the morning and early afternoon securing each of the strips into place with top-stitching.  And then it was time to assemble my quilt top!!  As you can imagine, having 16 seams merge into the center creates some construction challenges.  I opted to cover my sins by appliqueing a circle over the center and cutting away the excess bulk underneath.

Friday:

Now that my quilt top was complete, I got to work layering and pin basting my quilt top for quilting.  I spent some time doodling different designs using my handy dandy sheet of acrylic plastic and white board markers.  I opted to fill in the negative space with circles and c-curves, a nice complement to the linear design of the mandala.  I thought about using a matching light grey thread but decided to be brave and reached for a spool of Aurifil 50-weight in light magenta (#2588).

While I love the bias tape designs in each of the corners, I soon noticed a void in the north, south, east and west regions of my quilt.  While it was too late to add more bias tape to balance out the mandala design, I could stitch some extra details with some thread work.  I used some blue tape to mark out the lines and embellished with more C-curves.  I wasn't sure how I wanted to quilt the border edges, so I prepared my label and binding and called it quits around midnight.

Saturday:
Somehow I had convinced myself that the quilts were due Saturday night by 10 PM PST, when in reality they are due Sunday morning by 10 AM PST.  I have since added all the real deadlines to my calendar (aka my best friend when it comes to quilt challenges)  I was thankful for this imaginary extension as I woke up with yet another pounding migraine headache (the third this week!)  I completed the border quilting using my favorite zig zag meander which went super quick, followed by attaching my label and binding!  My quilt was finished just past 12 noon (with almost 24 hours until the real deadline!!)
"Cre8 & Medit8", 22" x 22"
I really love creating mandalas!  While I certainly enjoy their beauty, I also enjoy the meditative nature of repeating the design elements as I work my way around the mandala.  I had some fun incorporating the number 8 into my quilt's title.

Sunday through Sunday:
Now that I've finished my quilt, I've got one week to relax and recover for next round of Project QUILTING fun!  I am also hoping to entice you to check out all the amazing entries and vote for your favorites!!  Online voting for viewer's choice will begin Sunday, January 8th (sometime in the late morning/early afternoon) and continue throughout the week.  Winners will be announced next week, along with the next challenge theme on Sunday, January 15th (hint-hint!!)  

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year and Happy New Quilt-Related Resolutions!

Woo hoo!!!  It is officially 2017 and I am ready to kick off a brand new year of quilt-related adventures and resolutions!!  I love assigning myself 5 quilt related new year's resolutions that will challenge me to grow as a quilter/artist, but are still achievable!  And while they do involve some time and effort, they are usually way more fun than eating healthy, working out, etc!!

So...what do I have planned for 2017?!?  In a nutshell:  A LOT!!

1.  First priority will be to grow my business:  Mel Beach Quilts!

I am so excited about my 2017 Teaching Calendar and the opportunity to share my love of quilting with so many quilters, quilt guilds and shops!  I will be looking to market myself to a broader geographic region while also growing my online presence via an e-newsletter, Instagram and possibly video tutorials.  I also hope to add one or two new workshops to my listings to share some new techniques and designs!!  I have some larger goals/plans that I am keeping under wraps as I work out the logistics...but it should be an exciting year ahead and I certainly hope our paths will cross.


2.  Create Quilts to Enter into Juried Shows
I hope to design and create new quilts this year that are worthy of consideration for some of the larger and more competitive juried shows:  AQS, MQX, QuiltCon West and Houston IQF.  Not sure if I will be able to have quilts ready for all these shows...but will aspire to enter at least one or two this year!!

3.  Dyeing with Intention
I greatly enjoy the process of dyeing fabric.  I often joke that I feel like a mad scientist as I don rubber gloves, masks and combine different chemicals in the process.  I definitely want to continue my experiments, but I would like to be more intentional and keep better records of what worked as well as what didn't with the hopes of fine-tuning my process/results/recipes.

4.  More Series Work

Working in a series has pushed me to explore new designs, techniques and create new workshops.  I love asking "What If?" and working through different possibilities and variations.  I have a few more ideas to explore in both the Mandala and Slice & Insert technique series in the new year...but will be open to new techniques/designs that may lead to series work.
2016 Series Work:  Slice & Insert (top) and Mandalas (bottom)
5.  Continue My Quest to Eradicate UFOs!!

Each year, I make small strides in reducing the number of UFO's...but they continue to haunt me and my studio!!  I have a few older UFOs that I have very good intentions of seeing through completion.  But as I try to get to the source of my problem, I've noticed a trend where many of my workshop samples end up in the UFO pile.  While I do enjoy learning new techniques from other artists, I need to revisit my personal policy when it comes to following through on finishing class projects.  Do I need to complete the project to prove to myself that I've learned something new?  Or is the knowledge and experience alone sufficient?    

Ok...now that I've got a a game plan, time to head into the studio and start creating!!

Do you have any fun quilt-related new year's resolutions for 2017?!?  Are there any new techniques, skills or experiences that you hope to include in your new year?!?