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In the Quilting World

A New Year in Quilting

2017! It's a new year and time for a new set of goals. It's a time to reflect on the past and make plans for the future. It's the perfect time to organize and reexamine fabrics, quilting books and that drawer full of notions and rulers that have seldom been used. This is the time to start fresh, to learn new techniques, to purge that stash and to focus on what is most important to you instead of volume quilting.

Unless you're a new quilter with new quilting projects and lots of beginner inspiration you probably have more quilts than you need and a nice stash of fabrics you just couldn't leave at the store. You probably have patterns, rulers and lots of unused quilting "things" just lying around waiting for a project or a purpose. Last year I made a serious effort to use some of those things that had been lying around unused, and I found it to be very inspiring and very productive. I managed to rediscover several great rulers and have since moved them to the "frequently used" area in my quilting work area. I found new inspiration in old quilting books by simply updating techniques or fabrics. It's amazing just how timeless a quilt pattern really is. And best of all, I seriously looked at my scraps and stashed fabrics and then used them.

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I still haven't changed my opinion on scrappy quilts. I just don't like truly scrappy, but I've learned to embrace my own kind of controlled scrappy. That controlled method I actually love and can live with. And with this newfound love, I'm rediscovering many of the books and patterns housed in my studio that were previously just collecting dust. I have many new projects up for consideration for the 2017 year and beyond. Some I may possibly enter into local and national quilts shows, and some I want to make just because. I think I've reached a place in my quilting where I can actually say, "This is for me." I'll be quilting simply because I enjoy it and I want to experience it. Now, don't get me wrong; I'll still be sharing many of my finds and projects with you, but I've moved on to a new quilting place.

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Books and patterns in my studio that I am reconsidering for new projects or inspiration.

As the new year begins, I've decided to take my time and sort through all the years of collected patterns, books, notions, threads and, of course, all those shelves of fabric. My tastes have changed and so has my direction. Where I once pumped out quilt-store samples for my shop or designed quilts for books and magazines to meet the current trends, I will now concentrate on projects with a bit more meaning. It won't be about meeting a deadline or a particular trend. It'll be about my vision and what quilting is to me. That's not to say I won't from time to time jump in and make a table runner or wall hanging just for the shear joy of it -- I will. But it will be because I want to and not because I must do it because of a schedule or deadline. I'll still make those fun, fast and easy quilts that I love, but I'll to that with a purpose -- probably gift giving or for my charity.

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Some of the fabrics in my studio that I'll be sorting through and, in some cases, donating.

I'll sort my fabrics with purpose. Some will be donated, some will be given away, and some will land right back in my stash. I hope I can reduce the volume a bit. I'm always curious as to how others deal with this problem, and I'm always open to suggestions or creative ideas.

Now to solve yet another overflow problem: the many quilts I've made through the years. I have somewhere around 600 at last count. I do donate many to my charity each year, but you wouldn't know it by the amount that still remains. As always, I welcome suggestions.

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I will be finding new homes for some of my quilts this year.

This year I'm going to wing it and bring current trends, important new events, meaningful projects and charities, and new and exciting gadgets to you as I find them. There won't be a set plan or agenda for this year's update. I want to expand my quilting knowledge and experiences, and really discover the direction I want to continue in my quilting, and I want to bring you along with me to do the same. I hope that this is a direction that many of you will explore with me. I promise it will be worth the journey whether you're an experienced or a new quilter.

The first thing I'm going to do is investigate my books and patterns to start a plan. For me, a book or a fabric is the inspiration for each of my projects. There are several patterns in Scrap Happy Quilting that are calling my name. This book contains great patterns that I can put my own personal spin on, enjoying the process and, of course, using a bit of my stash. This is a terrific book with wonderful projects. If you'd like to check it out you can find it at AnniesCraftStore.com. It's the perfect book of patterns if you're in the mood to use up some of the fabrics in your sewing room.

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One of the first books I'll be using this year to inspire my projects.

If you choose to play along with me in these updates I'd love to see your projects. Send a photo of your project to me at Editor@QuiltersWorld.com and you may see your project and story on Facebook or in one of the upcoming updates. I welcome your insight and your suggestions.

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