Monday, January 7, 2013

Coming & Going

I'm the reflective type, so evaluating, setting goals, detailing out those Big Ideas - awesome that there's a time of year when this nerdy stuff is so legit!

Looking back, I feel that I made a good amount of progress in 2012 in the way of developing Stitched in Color as a business.  I also had fun doing it, which is key.  Okay, there were stressful weeks trying to meet my own deadlines, but it was all totally worth it. At the beginning of the year I decided not to write a book and to teach classes instead.  Many times I also opted out of submitting my work to magazines, in favor of developing free quilt-alongs or working at those classes.  It all felt very "low profile", but comfortable too.  In fact, when I needed to explain my job to folks, saying "I'm a blogger and I also teach online classes" totally made sense.  I've found my groove.

Going forward, I want to focus a little better on doing fun stuff together outside of class.  I have 3 ideas for quilt-alongs at the moment (mercy me! (and, does anyone have Farmer's Wife blocks that they might want to convert into a new quilt-along?  Because that could work with my idea...)) and a 2013 Scrap Attack/Festival of Scrappiness event on the table.  I also like doing those Mosaic Contests and Scrap Challenges.  But, what else?  I think that as I progress as a quilter, it's easy to leave behind the basics.  I wonder how I can best help you who are new to quilting.  Feel free to tell me!

As far as projects go...

1.  Reupholster an armchair.  One that lives in my sewing room in very sad condition.  This image has been taunting me for ages,  "Are you a quilter?  Come on, proove it!"

turquoise dresser and patchwork
from Hidden in France

2.  Finish my Alabama Chanin dress.  It's about 3/4 of the way embroidered and would be totally done but... well... I did this thing called Handstitched class which took some time.  I haven't cut a single of the reverse applique shapes to sneak a peak at the reveal.  That's my carrot.

Anna's Garden stitching


3.  Develop a fantabulous new class.  Haha, I can't tell you what the subject is yet, because then I'd feel all this pressure.  But, I'm excited about it!  And, I'm sketching!

4. Make Anna Maria Horner's Art Student Tote, ideally before Quilt Con.  I even bought some Field Study ribbons to sprinkle on the tote, if they like the idea.

two.amigos
bags and pattern by Anna Maria Horner

5.  New sofa pillows!  Badly needed.  I kind of hate our living room sofa set, but we're not replacing it yet.  Crossing fingers we do later this year.  Please?

6.  Make lots of quilts.  But that's a given!

And other goals...

1.  Know when to use a collection and when to mix my own fabric concoction.  Sometime I move too fast and end up regretting my choices.  One reason is I can't gather a fabric stack without feeling duty-bound to sew it up.  Need to give myself more fabric playtime.

what I used


2.  Work tiny.  I don't mean really tiny, but smaller.  I've realized that smaller catches my eye, but bigger appeals to my lazier side.  I don't really want to quilt smaller (haha, I'm a rebel!) but I do want to piece smaller.  Hmm... this also involves going slower in general.  Hard.

small scale blocks in this Blue Ribbon Quilt

3.  Remember why.  The bigger this gets, this sewing thing, the harder it is to keep my reasons why in focus.  Also, I may (just may) be prone to work too much?  Maybe?  But no one tells me this, so I'm not sure.

4.  Keep ENJOYING it.  In our productivity-oriented world where being in the right places and having the right friends is so oversold, I do get distracted sometimes.  So often I have to say "no" so that I can say "yes" to the things I really enjoy.  That even includes projects.  And good opportunities!  I'm pretty darn lucky to enjoy my job, but that doesn't just happen without trying.

oh happy scrappy day!

5.  And in that veign, don't neglect the Scraps or the Improv piecing.  Both are so perfectly delightful!  In fact, while I love to design complicated quilts, I love to sew scrappy improv the very most.

Here's to a wonderful 2013 for us all!  Thanks for joining me and do feel welcome to share your ideas on what you'd like to see Coming in this space.

37 comments:

  1. Letting fabric stew is so important. So is letting improv piecing stew on your design wall. Its why we have UFOs. Somethings take longer to stew then others. And then there is instant gratification like scrappy tripalongs!

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    1. True confession: Still don't have a design wall. guess that should be on my 2013 list of goals?

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  2. I guess that attitude is why I love your blog so much!

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  3. I am so fascinated with the scrappy quilts, and all those little pieces, hope you do something along those lines...Thanks so much!

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  4. Lovely plans, but of course I am having trouble moving beyond "new class"!!! Woohoo, can't wait to hear more!

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  5. Wonderful 2013 to you too Rachel! Only you can tell what is too much, but we all want you to keep enjoying so don't feel pressured to work too hard for our sake!

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  6. Was thinking of you and your Alabama Chanin dress the other day, wondering how it was coming along. Look forward to seeing more soon! (My AC skirt-and-more plans never even got started in 2012, so now a big item on the 2013 projects list.)

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  7. All sound lovely. I have been dreaming of a patchwork chair reupholster project, too:) Are you going to Quilt Con? Perhaps I will run into you there!! I am taking 4 classes and plan to eat as much Tex Mex as possible!

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  8. Thats an ambitious list! I would love to redo a couple of chairs as well as lots of things for the home. I can't believe you are 3/4 through your Alabama Chanin dress without peaking! That is willpower! Can't wait to see what you have in store for us Rachel!

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  9. I couldn't agree more with a lot of your goals. I'm working on organizing my scraps at the moment to be better at using them. Plus, my goal is to actually finish all the WIPs I have or fabrics/ patterns I pulled together. Dreaming up that stuff is half the fun, so of course, I have way too many! I can't wait to see what your other class is?! When do you think you'll offer it (or is that still TBD)? I really wanted to do curves this time around, but life got in the way. My mom is taking it though, so I'll live vicariously through her by admiring her projects :)

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    1. Hey, Jess! I think the class will be August/Sept of this year. That's my goal at the moment!

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  10. I loved reading about your goals and plans. So many of them also struck a chord with me. First, I highly recommend fabric playtime. It is one of my favorite things to do. As for working tiny, I think that could also be good for me to explore more as well. Lately I've been giving myself "exercises" that allow me to try new things in terms of smaller blocks. (I haven't blogged them) Just this week, I tried out a ric-rac edge circle and small starburst. It let me see what techniques sit well with me without being overwhelmed.

    Choosing the right opportunities is key. That is something that I'm still working on. So it is refreshing to hear that you've found a path with blogging and teaching that you are comfortable (even happy!) in. I'm excited to see where you're taking us in 2013. I want to come along for the ride.

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  11. Rachel you have done really good girl. I am going to be setting me some goals that's for sure.
    Patricia xxx

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  12. I have patchwork chair dreams for my office space as well. We can do it!

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  13. Im with you on the new class, tiny piecing, and farmers wife blocks! I have the book but haven't had the time or push to jump in and make the blocks. I have a list of goals as well, but I'm not sure what my achievement success rate will be. Haha. Happy sewing!

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    1. Thanks, Megan. It's good to hear you could be game to play along with the Farmer's Wife friendly quilts. I think I need a team to help me stay on task with tiny piecing. But, I'm thinking it would be worth it!

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  14. Rachel - as a first time student to your Handstitched class, I am grateful you weren't finishing that Alabama dress. ;)
    I like your idea of making the Art Study Tote. You could even make it one of those outside of class projects. You could pick your target date and then have your readers make their Art Study Tote at the same time. Folks could link to photos of it from your comment section.
    As far as ideas for basics - I still really struggle with the quilting part of quilting. There are tutorials out there for sure, but I still haven't hit a comfort level on that step. I am especially curious to find someone who covers intricate quilting that mirrors a pieced together quilt (like the Blue Ribbon Quilt you have pictured).

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    1. Both great ideas. Thanks, Nicole! (btw, you are a "no reply" blogger)

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  15. Hi there, I do have FW blocks that I need to use and have an idea for a quilt. Message me if you want help with a QAL. I'd be game.

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  16. Thanks for list of your 2013 sewing dreams- I have been wanting to also make a list- slipcover my couch is up there, a red and white quilt, get 1 true UFO out of hiding and finish it. Sigh.
    I enjoy your blog so much- and love those geeses on your son's curtains. Thanks for sharing!

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  17. Hi Rachael,
    I've been following you for awhile now and I was intrigued when you posted the question of what your readers thought of the sponsorship of fabric sellers on your blog. I like new fabric as much as the next person, but many of us forget that quilting actually was a humble activity using up scraps of reused fabric, making do and loving it.
    I'd like to see what you can do with reused stuff? Like making tea towels from curtains etc. In fact that armchair could be done up in awesome cast off's from upholstry manufactures.
    You know what I mean?
    I've been on a mission to get more reusing going on in the quilting world and why not? Its simpler, less expensive and widens the audience of frugal quilters. Too much waste and too much consumerism is part of North American's problem in our economy. I challenge you!

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    1. Now THAT is quite a challenge. I do love working with scraps and I do agree that there's not a lot of reusing going on in this sphere. Good food for thought. On the other hand, choosing inspiring fabric to work with is what gets a lot of us moving.

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  18. Rachel, great goals! And you do. Work. Too. Hard. ;-)

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  19. Dear Rachel,
    Happy New Year/2013 to you too.
    Congratulations with having found your groove and feeling so happy about it.
    You say no one tells you you are working too much. Is this really true? I for one am amazed at how much you manage to do - and I have seen similar blog comments in 2012. Also, you have home schooling and caring for your family.
    My wish for you in 2013 is that you can continue to keep a balance and enjoy your life!
    Also, I must confess that I hope you will be giving us new mini block inspiration...- push and pull factors galore!
    A big hug from mlise

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    1. ah yes, I definitely do worry that I work too much, which probably means I do. But, when I ask my family they say "no". Hmm....

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  20. Great post, Rachel. The tote is a new one to me, and its's now added to my list for this year. Good news about a possible new class. You are an inspiration, thank you.
    Happy New Year

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  21. Awesome post Rachel! Its always nice to have goals! Im contemplating mine, on what I want to do, or not do but somehow I keep getting distracted!!!

    Happy 2013

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  22. Hi Rachel, a very happy, healthy, safe and peaceful 2013 to you and yours.
    I enjoy reading your blog very much. Thanks for sharing this part of your life with us. Its amazing how you juggle everything so perfectly - home-school your kids, write a blog, offer online classes, make quilts, host quilt-alongs, attend QuiltCon and so much more. I have been trying to start a blog and setup a quilting business for the past 2 years but something or the other gets in the way and I have to keep postponing it. I really liked your post(s) on "How to do a craft show" and was wondering if you could do a similar post on how to go about setting up a quilt business, whenever you have the time. Thanks again for such a wonderful blog! You make my day!!

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  23. Love all the photos ~ that chair is too wonderful and the 2 quilts are so colorful.
    It's good to have goals ~ I'm feeling a bit out of it after Christmas. I was so busy sewing and enjoying the season ~ now I'm sort of not knowing what the heck to do. Time to write some goals (even tho it's the 2nd week of January, it's not too late) and start doing them.
    Thanks for your post and for the push.

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    1. Yes, it's not too late! I've been brainstorming about my quilt-along plans all day while waiting for rides. I'm excited about the plans shaping up! Will look forward to sharing soon.

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  24. I love #3 Remember why and #4 Keep enjoying it. Those are so important! Excited to see what 2013 brings, especially the subject of your class!

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  25. I love the scrap organization! Awesome. That art tote is on my 'to do' list as well. Good luck with all your hopes and dreams this year.

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  26. great food for thought. and i'm totally with you on smaller things. been miniaturizing everything for the past few weeks and it feels so good. slow, but gooood.

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  27. I like your goals, I esp like your scrappy/improv piecing goal. I've used to sell all my scraps on etsy but recently decided to use them more and do some improv'ing...very satisfying, like you said. Your scraps drawers are inspiring, too!

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