Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The 2007-2008 Quilting Year Halftime Report

[If you happen to be related to me, you probably shouldn't read this post until after May, 2008.]

This Saturday and Sunday just past was probably the last big quilting weekend of the 2007-08 Season. Longtime readers will recall that the Quilt Year, in my world, begins with the first Oregon Ducks football game in September. Since I generally listen to at least two college football games every weekend throughout the season, the autumn months are when I make the most dramatic progress. Things typically slow down in December due to Christmas preparations, pick up again for January and February, then start to lose steam about, well, now.

There are lots of reasons for the slowdown, but the biggest is that spring in Oregon starts around Valentines Day. Outdoor recreation, work on the house, travel, and the garden all start to make their demands on the weekends, and within a month or two they'll want my time after work as well.

That doesn't mean that I'll stop dead in my tracks, though. I used to not touch quilting at all from Mayish to August, but I those days are pretty much gone. Still, progress is likely to be a lot slower, more putter-ish, and with no whole weekends given over to a particular quilt project.

So, as we enter the slack half of the year, it seems like a good time to look back at the goals I set at the beginning of the season and see how I did. Here goes.


The three quilts I was most bound and determined to finish this year were Ice & Fire, Labyrinth, and the high school graduation quilt for Niece #1. The first two are safely and completely finished; I've submitted them both for my guild's annual show, where I'm confident they'll be accepted, and submitted Labyrinth to the Pacific Northwest Quilter's Association biennial show in Seattle, which I'm much less confident about. We'll see!

The graduation quilt was the focus of this last weekend. I finished its quilting, which was only about 1/3 done at the start of the weekend, and made and attached the binding. It still has quite a bit of handwork to be done, as I bury the threads, seal the binding, and attach a sleave, so there will be a few movies in my near future. It should be done in time for me to enter it in the show of a neighboring quilt guild, up in Vancouver, Washington, before I send it up to Alaska. Since I warned the fam off up at the top of the post, and since I doubt my neices spend too much time hanging out on their uncle's quilt blog, I'll give you a quick shot here of the graduation quilt, still with all of its shaggy threads hanging out all over.


There were three quilts that I listed as being my second priority back in August. It turns out I haven't touch any of them since. I guess I had a change of priorities.

There were four quilts I called my third priority, and I made good progress on three of them. What I'm now calling "Devil's Claw," although that name is in flux, went from being a vague wish to do something with the old blocks I'd found to being a complete quilt face. I also completed faces for the last two of a set of Four Seasons that I've been puttering with for ages. These two projects continue to capture my imagination, and will likely be ones that I make some progress with over the summer. It would be nice to put "Devil's Claw," in particular, in some fall shows.

The other third priority quilt was Two Complex Shapes, which I completely requilted to good effect. I trotted it out for show and tell and the guild earlier this month, where it had an interesting love-it-or-hate-it effect. I got a few compliments, but as I was showing it a few people were only a few notches short of heckling (I followed it with Labyrinth, though, which shut them up pretty effectively). I'll put it in a few smaller shows later in the year, I think.


Well, finishing work on the graduation quilt is the main thing. Tinkering with Devil's Claw and Four Seasons will probably occupy a few summer hours. A couple items from my Second Priority list -- a scrap utility quilt and something called Batik Squares -- will probably finally get some attention. And then there is the plan I keep refering to with the code named "QuiltStorm 2008," a project to make a large number of simple lap quilts from scrap and recycled materials. That should be fun.

The summer months are also a good time to do non-quilt sewing, the little garment work I do and the baby's blocks I like to make. There's some mending piled up. And... I am almost afraid to mention it... there has been some design work for a Labyrinth #2. Maybe I'll explore that in the coming months, or maybe not. We'll see.

Lastly, some time in August, I'll do the very last thing I need to do every quilt year. That, of course, is to draw up a list of goals for the coming quilt year.


Do you do more quilting in the colder and darker half of the year? Are you happy with your progress over the winter?


Vicki W said...

I'm opposite of you. I ahve severe allergies so I'm stuck inside spring, summer and autumn. Quilting is year-round anti-depression medicine for me! I'm lucky to have found the perfect hobby for the life that I have to live.

The Calico Cat said...

Completely not happy with my progress... I have been in an official slump. I ebb & flow, but there is not rhyme or reason...

jovaliquilts said...

Seems to me you've accomplished quite a lot! Good luck getting labyrinth in the big show -- I think it should get in and win! It's a real stunner.

My quilting doesn't seem to be seasonal with the weather, but it varies with what else is going on in my life. I slow down over the winter holidays and summer travels both. It gets too hot here in the height of summer to be out, so I quilt in our comfortably cool finished basement.

Elaine Adair said...

Love that graduation quilt - lovely use of color and placement, yet a seemingly simple pattern. (Not sure if it is?)

It's February - I'm in the dumps, gotta work HARD to feel bright and cheerful. MAKING myself work on old, dreary projects - hey, I'm Scandinavian - we suffer! NOT buying fabric.

Su Bee said...

I'm way more productive during 'the season'. It's just that I'm SOOO productive that I cant finish one before hopping to the next! I also spend more time e-shopping for fabric; a few packages a week from the mailperson lifts the spirits!
Fingers crossed for the Big Show - but not only are you in, you're in for a prize!

gl. said...

if that picture is of the graduation quilt, i'm liking it. :)

Rebel said...

Funny that you ask... because I was going to tell you anyway. ;)

I have the opposite schedule. The colder the weather the more inclined I am to curl up on the couch with my knitting. When it's warmer & sunnier I tend to get back into my quilting which is a more active kind of hobby - cutting at the side table, sewing, ironing, etc etc.

So now that you're rapping up, I've unearthed a quilt I had set aside in December.

Libby said...

The grad quilt looks great!

Even if I wasn't volunteering for a year in a quilting no-mans-land I would have to say that my productivity follows no particular schedule. But then my life hasn't stayed in any one particular schedule for more than a year in quite a while, so that's probably why...

Exuberant Color said...

I am with Vicki W that quilting is a year round anti-depressant medicine. I always feel like I get less done in the winter because the days are shorter. I must be running on solar power. I have more energy in the longer days so I get the perennials taken care of and do some quilting.

Michael5000 said...

@Vicki & E.C.: I've mentioned before that quilting helps with my own Depression issues; in fact, Depression has a lot to do with why I started quilting in the first place. But I guess I have more trouble with the traditional "winter blues" than I do with the summer blahs, or with allergies for that matter.

@Calico: If you are going to have a slump, it's good to make it official. Makes it more dignified that way.

@elaine, gl, libby: Thanks for the nice words on the Graduation Quilt! I did the paperwork yesterday to enter it in a local show so I can get a little mileage out of it before June. That probably makes me a bad uncle....

Elaine, it's a simple pattern in that it's all just squares, but since they do not line up in blocks the assembly is fairly tricky. It's a pattern I made up about five years ago, and this quilt is the first time I have ever re-made one of my own designs....

atet said...

Oddly enough -- I do more of my work in the spring and summer. But, that could also be because for the past several years I've been bound by the academic cycle. It's when I have more time. I'm not totally happy with my progress these days -- I've been in serious slump land and I need to get out!

Vicky aka stichr said...

This is the first winter I have tried to keep up with my ideas...maybe because I finally HAVE ideas?! I am also not as depressed this year [ALL year,yeah] as in years past. [the secret for me was moving to a place where I could see for a distance]..think I will blog about it, check there. I prefer the daylight of late winter to work in. Early winter? Snooz

All 3 of my kids can make quilts, tho they may not like all the steps involved, as you do.