Reflections on a Year of Quiltlets

All 52 quiltlets, in order of making

At the beginning of 2016, I decided to commit to making one small art quilt per week. It had to be a quilt, that is, three layers of fabric held together by stitching. It had to be 6×8 inches. And it had to be weekly. Other than that, it was wide open. My goals were to make sure I was spending time each week being creative and to become a more confident and capable textile artist. The small size removed any pressure for perfection, opening up room for trial and error, practice and play. And I already knew that by making creative play time a priority, by showing up, ideas would show up too. At no time was I up against a deadline with no idea what to do.

Often, I decided to work on specific skills, like with this piece, where I focused on piecing improv curves and inserting a narrow stripe.

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I often just sat down to play with materials, especially ones not thought of as traditional quilting materials.

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When I bought Neocolor pastels….

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That netting was fun

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Stitching on paper maps

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Fruit netting (I hoard the plastic netting on the clementine boxes every winter)

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This was so much fun to make

Sometimes playing with materials led to ideas that I then explored later on in a larger format.

Some weeks, current events were reflected in my little pieces.

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After the Pulse shooting

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Before the election

And personal events and feelings worked their way in, too.

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After taking the kids into DC to see the cherry blossoms

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How I felt about just about everything by September

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And we ended the year by buying a house of our own

This project fulfilled all my hopes for it. I am a better and more confident textile artist. I sewed so much and so often that for a while there I felt like the sewing machine was simply an extension of me; we worked that well together. I have ideas, and I have more things I want to experiment with. I also learned that a weekly commitment is just right for me. I have trouble with daily challenges and never seem to complete them. Part of this, I think, is because I have too many creative things I want to fit in, so prioritizing ONE thing into EVERY day means other things I like to do get left out too often. Weekly was never a problem, though. I completed every quiltlet on time.

I definitely want to get back to creating soon, but January is pretty much given over to cleaning, sorting, packing, moving, unpacking, and settling in. I’ve mentally prepared for not getting any real studio time in until February. That way, if I’m able to sooner, it’s a bonus. I have a lovely new space to work in, with a big window, and I’ve already hung a birdfeeder right outside it. I can’t wait to start creating there.

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