In my blog last month, I let you into one of my obsessions – stationery, and the need to write things down. My plan for this month is to let you know about my progress on The Quilter’s Year Book. It really just goes to show that I am a stationery addict…(better that than a stationary addict – as they never get moving, and so never get anything done!) (and I’ve just read last month’s blog again, and seen that I said this then…!). This blog post has perhaps been the most difficult one I’ve written so far – because I feel I haven’t got very far in the book. As we are told, writing our blogs should be like our sewing – a pleasurable experience – not a source of worry or stress. There could be several titles for this post – “Don’t worry, be happy”, “Feeling a bit ‘Dusty Sprinfield-ish” or even “Don’t fret the small stuff”.
In the past few years there have been a plethora of ‘interactive books’ on the market – and by this, I mean books that you write in – but not notebooks. There have been quite a few Listography books – a book of lists where you fill in the details, whether it is about what you plan to do in the future, books you want to read / have read, films; the Pointless Books (no – not the ones with Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman) – where there are tasks to complete in the book which serve no real purpose, except to give you something to do when you are feeling a bit ‘Dusty Springfield’-ish.* There is the ‘Wreck This Journal’ – where you have a book where you are encouraged to do some crazy things – like tear a page out, scrunch it up, and then stick it back in the book, – and also send the book in the post. Another book not to forget is ‘My Life: An Autobiographical Journey from Adventures to Zealous Plots’ – a chance to catalogue the details of your life, so that your ancestors can learn all about you! I confess to being a real sucker as far as these type of books are concerned; I haven’t completed any of them yet, as I don’t want to complete them too soon, or all at once – I want to savour the thrill of each entry into this books!
[*Feeling a bit ‘Dusty Springfield-ish’ – a phrase I use when ‘I just don’t know what to do with myself’ – I don’t feel bored, or frustrated or annoyed, but neither do I feel particularly enthused – so I don’t know what it is that I want to do.]
So – given this insight into my stationery-mania (and says nothing about my fabric-mania), it should come as no surprise that I bought the Quilter’s Year Book. I bought it last year, whilst paying a visit to Step By Step at South Molton with my stepsister. I saw this book, and was tempted – and then I saw Emily Davis’s book, and what she had done with it. I made the decision to buy the book, and then to start it in 2018. Little did I know what else I would become involved in, and what else I would sign up to!
Extra space – I used it for pictures I had printed for other pages in the book, as a reminder of projects I’d like to do, inspiration, and books I’d quite like.
I started out with good intentions of completing a spread a week – like the book would have you do it. I started out well, but after a couple of weeks – life started taking over. I suppose I could say that life stepped in before I had even started the book, as my husband had a heart attack on Christmas Day 2017, before we’d had Christmas Dinner. In the two weeks that proceeded, my main concerns were with seeing my husband each day – he was much better by the time he was taken to hospital on Christmas Day – but I couldn’t really relax until he was home. Even though I had other things on my mind, and was a key character in our local pantomime – going on even though I had one of those winter bugs. I tried to keep up with the journal. My husband is very much better now – and just to keep you all interested, I’ll show you a picture of myself in costume (I had an absolute ball doing the pantomime!).
Such a good time doing the pantomime – and yes, it probably was down to the lovely dress I got to wear! (Not to mention that I had good reason to put glitter on my face!)
As I write this blog during April (ready for publication in May), I haven’t got very far in the journal. A couple of the pages have got me a bit stuck; for example – week 5 asks you to choose your most prized possession in your home – and then turn it into an applique or an embroidery; I haven’t managed this one yet, although I’ve taken several photos to help me. The trouble is – how do I do justice to my dog, Pugsley? I’ve got the photos, now I need to work with them, to produce a pattern to work with….it is quite a responsibility, and I don’t want to mess it up!
Another page I’ve had problems with is week 8 – New and Notable Notion. I’ve already tried some new rulers this year – ones that I use with the Gravity BOM, and I didn’t think I could use them. I don’t have that many new notions to try, certainly not at the end of February. However – at this point in time (middle of April) – I’ve discovered a new notion I’d like to try – a ruler for trimming half-square triangles, without having to press them open, and trim each side. I saw it first through the Pat Sloan website – www.ilovequilts.com – and have seen them advertised on the Creative Grids website. I’ve now decided that this will be the notion that I review; I had a number of half square triangles that I’ve created (from the tip that I’ve shared previously) – and the thought of pressing them and trimming each side is not a thought that I relish. A notion that allows me to trim the unit accurately while it is still folded seems like an ideal way to go!
Week 9 is entitled ‘Fear and Loathing in your Sewing Room’ – and you are encouraged to try a technique that you’ve been avoiding. As I got to this page, I couldn’t think of many (if any) techniques that I haven’t yet tried. There are some that I am not so fond of – such as foundation paper piecing – but I don’t avoid it. I’ve done English paper piecing, foundation piecing, amongst others. Since starting both The Splendid Sampler and the 365 Challenge I have had to make blocks that took me beyond my comfort zone – to the extent that my comfort zone has been extended.
Why would I have Fear and Loathing in my sewing room? It is my sanctuary, my safe place, my happy place – my escape room!
The Digital Frontier – trying an online class; this was one that had me stumped for a while, but then I thought about something I’ve been involved in recently, and decided that that project would fit this brief – but more than that I cannot say at the moment!
There are more pages that I’ve not yet completed; one of them is about quilts that I love and how many I intend to make of each pattern; another is about ‘destashing’ – I know, I don’t really understand what is required of me here either! I’ve picked out the fabrics which are some of my very favourites that I will never part with, and there are some fabrics that come under the ‘what on earth was I thinking?’ heading. Part of this spread includes the results; you have to say whether you made out like a bandit (by selling the old fabrics), paid forward good fabric karma (by donating the fabric to …. – and say where you donated the fabric), – and the final option was ‘you don’t expect me to actually to get rid of fabric, do you?’. Even before I got to this page, I knew what my response to the results would be – what other response could there be from a self-confessed fabriholic? [Since starting to write this blog post, I have completed this page – see the photo!]
De-stashing? What is that – sorry, that word does not compute; computer says ‘no’!
Another page I’ve not yet covered is Week 13 – Slow Jam; a small handwork project. I have so many other projects on the go – how can I pick some handwork to do? I’ve got the pieces that came from my BOMs from purple stitches, – and yet I still have other projects to complete with hand stitching, before I get to something that will count for this page – and I don’t really want to put something in that I’ve done previously, or was already on the list, unless it is really necessary. I always have some hand sewing to do; in the evening I sit in the living room with my husband and assorted wildlife, and we watch TV together (well, I usually listen to the TV while I sew, he watches the programme).
I’ve taken a little look through the next few weeks, and there are quite a few pages that spark my enthusiasm at the moment – one of them being trying a new ruler. There are other pages that encourage you to design your own block – and give you a few ideas to include. This journal could be the answer to the questions you have been asking! I’ve looked forward to completing each of the pages for almost a year.
A future week for creating original blocks
A block creation page early in the journal
At one point I thought that I could have numerous copies of this book – and complete a new book each year. As I go through the book, I’m thinking that I won’t end up doing it again; some pages give enough inspiration to last me for several years – such as making up the blocks that I’ve designed, and making some of the quilts that I’ve made a note of.
Patterns I’d like to do
Who would you like to take a class with?
Some of my favourite fabrics. Some of them have been favourites for a number of years
It looks as if my Quilter’s Year Book will give me ideas, tasks and inspiration for a few years yet. Am I going to worry that I’m behind with completing the pages? No – because as I stated at the top of the post, it should be pleasurable experience. So what if I’m behind a bit? I’m already behind with my 365 Challenge quilt, and also with my Splendid Sampler – and am I fretting about them? No, I’m not – because it means that there is always something else for me to do; there is a different task or project to work on if I feel I need a break from my current one. My advice to you is “Don’t sweat – or fret – the small stuff”; self-imposed deadlines are not important – things can wait and don’t have to be done all at once. So you haven’t finished a project – it doesn’t matter, you are ahead of the person who hasn’t started it.
Do you feel like you need a challenge? Are you looking to extend your skills a little further? This is a book which could help you with that, and it will give you plenty of food for thought, and plenty of ideas, if you can only bear to pull yourself away from your sewing machine / hand sewing for a while! If you decide to take on the Quilter’s Year Book – please share pictures of your progress!