Well, 2020 was a different year for sure. And it was super apparent as I began to write this post. I had no mini or projects finished this year, no bee blocks, very little teaching, and 25 Quilt finishes. And I know that is still a lot of quilts, but for me, the number is small ;)
But I do have a story that includes 4 very special finishes that were a year in the making . . . I will get to that in just a minute.
But first, let's see some of my Happy Quilting from 2020!!!
First off, the biggest excitement of the year was the release of my Charming Baby Quilts Book!! I can't begin to say how happy I am over all of the Charming Baby Quilts love I have seen ;) I am just thrilled that so many of you are just loving this book and using it as your "go-to" baby quilt book. I have loved seeing all of your Charming Baby Quilts and can't wait to see more in the new year!!!!
Charming Baby Remix Quilts
Along with the release of my book, I was super excited to make 10 additional Charming Baby Remix Quilts this year. This idea came to me when I was chatting with a friend and she mentioned that she wanted to make quilts from my new Charming Baby Quilts book, but didn't have any babies to make them for. So I set out to Remix all 10 quilts in the book, making them bigger so they could be used from Lap Size quilts up to King Size Quilts. I just love that it basically doubles the value of Charming Baby Quilts and what you can make from it!!!
Each quilt has a Charming Baby Remix Pattern Alterations PDF, that goes along with the directions from Charming Baby Quilts (yes, you need a copy of the book for the Remix's :) All 10 of the Pattern Remixes are in this Full Pattern Download PDF. Or you can go to this post and download the individual PDF's.
And this year, I also hosted the Charming Baby Sampler Sew Along, which took a block from each of the 10 quilts in Charming Baby Quilts and made it into a fun sampler quilt!!! You can find the Full Pattern Charming Baby Sampler Download Here (and again, you need the book to go with it :)
Happy Quilting Quilts
I also finished up 9 other quilts this year, (one I can't show yet) and loved making each one!! 3 of these are new Patterns that I released in 2020 and I am just tickled pink with how much you all loved the new patterns. Thank you so much for your love and support!!
So there is a quick view of the 2020 quilts. But as I mentioned, there are 4 more to join the group today and they are the main reason (and Covid, of course) for the smaller number of quilts I finished this year. And here they are . . .
This is Good Morning Sunshine.
This is Winter's Magic.
This is Beach Days.
and This is Tangiers.
Now I know you are wondering, how can 4 simple patchwork quilts take a year to make?? Well that is where the story comes in and I will start at the beginning.
As you all now, I love to teach quilting. I just love being able to share my passion for quilting and hopefully share some helpful tidbits along the way. Well, whenever I am teaching, the most common question I get asked is "So, when are you going to start designing fabric?". And it makes total sense, as I have asked myself that question over the years as well.
So when I saw that Carina Garden was offering a Fabric Design Academy class, I started to wonder if I should take that question seriously. I talked to my sweetheart, and he encouraged me to give it a try as it is something I have always wondered about doing. So I signed up and classes stared in early 2020.
And I can not say enough good about this Fabric Design Academy. (I highly recommend it!!!) Carina is an amazing teacher and walked the class through each lesson step by step. I was amazed that having never used Illustrator or Photoshop before, Carina taught me how to use both programs to design fabric and made it so easy to follow along. The class was wonderful and I fully immersed myself over the next month on learning the basics of fabric design.
And I found, it was fun. So I decided to really start trying to design fabric lines. I took the basic knowledge I had learned from Carina, and began to practice, practice, practice. (Yup, it always comes back to that. ) I spent the next several months working on 4 lines and when I say "working on" I mean like several hours a day pretty much 5 days a week. I found that I really enjoyed certain aspects of design, and others I had to push through.
Here is what I loved . . . I loved the feeling of creating. I loved seeing a design all come together and knowing that I had made it little bit by little bit. I really loved the programs, as they gave me so much ability to create, especially playing with geometrics. I also loved that I was trying something new and realizing I could do something that I had pretty much wondered about for years.
Here is what I struggled with . . . I am no artist, (seriously, it took me hours and hours to draw a simple bird.) I felt confined in my designing by my own artistic limitations. Hence why I liked geometric designs so much. With those, I could manipulate lines, and curves, (a lot like designing a quilt) to create beautiful images. I also realized that choosing colors is not easy. I was hoping this would come naturally, especially with how much quilting I do. But I quickly realized there is a reason I love pre-cuts so much . . . all that color is already done for me. Creating color palettes was difficult, but I still enjoyed the process of working through it.
So after months and months of working on designing, I got to a point where I figured I was ready as I ever was going to be and I submitted my "4 lines" to a fabric company. (which will remain anonymous :) I really had no idea what would happen after that. I was afraid of being accepted as I had no idea what all that would entail. Would I have to change my blog, my patterns, my my business model??? But I was also afraid of not being accepted as I had put my heart and soul into this work.
Well, I went back and forth with the company for a bit, and after a while, I was very gently told no. My design style was to similar to other designers in their employ and that would not be fair to me or them. I totally understood!! So then there became the question . . . do I submit to another company or let it go???
So I took it to my family and to prayer. And I can happily say that I made the decision to let it go (at this time). I knew that I could probably submit to other companies and possibly be accepted. And there was always the option to keep practicing and resubmit to the same company. Like all things, practice makes perfect, right.
I truly enjoyed designing, but honestly, when it came down to it, I looked back over the past year and realized one thing most of all, I really missed quilting!!!! This was such a huge chunk of my time in 2020, and while great and fun, I really missed just sewing away. I realized that a big part of my joy in quilting, is just happily stitching away. I really loved the idea of being part of a fabric family and working with so many amazing people, but I just didn't want to miss out on all the time in front of my sewing machine instead of the computer. Luckily, I can still work with all of the amazing people in this industry, the same way I have in the past using so many amazing fabrics from so many wonderful fabric friends!!
Now this isn't to say that I never will try this adventure again and that it wasn't hard to take the initial "No". I really did enjoy the process of designing and am so glad I learned so much about creativity and honestly, myself over this last year. It was a wonderful journey. But for now, It's all about the Happy Quilting.
However, I also wanted to have something to remember all of this learning and growing from. So I uploaded my designs at Spoonflower and order a cheater print of each of my 4 lines. (and I can say, when they arrived actually in print, it became all the more clear I needed more practice, tee hee hee. ) I promptly cut up my squares and added sashing to them to make for these 4 Simple Patchwork Quilts that will now always be a treasure for me.
So in 2021, you guessed it . . . I really just want to get back to designing quilts and stitching them up as fast as I can :) Meaning you can expect lots of Happy Quilting for 2021!!! I have New Patterns in the works, I have Publishing submission in the works, and plenty of fabric to keep me busy all year long!!!
So here are my 4 Goals again for 2021
1 - Priorities, Priorities, Priorities
2 - Daily Enjoyment and Accomplishment
3 - Remember the Big Picture
4 - Family First and Foremost
And One Last Thought Before I Wrap This Up . . . Thank you!!!!
I really can't say it enough. It was so amazing this year to celebrate 10 years of this blog and I am daily grateful for the decision to start it back in 2010. I am just so blessed with so many friends that have come through this industry and this little blog!!! Thank You so much for sharing my quilting journey and I hope you are finding joy and happiness in yours as well!!!
So long 2020, Time for 2021!!!!! Here is looking forward to lots and lots of Happy Quilting!!!!!!
Congratulations! I really like the geometric ones you created on prints: 3,10,14, 20, 21, and 24.ReplyDelete
Happy New Year Melissa! I think your fabric lines are beautiful!!! Congratulations on your new book and learning fabric design! I don’t know how you get so much done! Thanks for the positive blog! It is always uplifting and I enjoy reading it! You are so blessed with a beautiful family and quilting talent!ReplyDelete
Thank you for your very thoughtful reflections on your year of exploring new directions---I enjoy your sincerity as well as your quilting talents!ReplyDelete
Hi Melissa, I have your new book and can't wait to get started. The full link to the sampler quilt pattern wouldn't work. Is there another link I could try? Hope you and your family have many blessings for 2021!ReplyDelete
I love your fabric lines!ReplyDelete