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Reflecting on Quilting in 2020

One year ago, none of us could have imagined the year that we have had. In January, my husband and I took a Caribbean cruise (that he won) and I took dozens of pictures to plan a quilt or two to commemorate the trip. Little did we know that would be our last trip for a long time.

While my day job has been busier than ever during the pandemic, I have been on full-time telework. Which means that the 5-7 hours a week I formerly spent commuting have been available for quilting. A year ago, my goal for 2020 was to plan and contract for at least one guild presentation (which I did), and to write up my Tree of Life wall hanging pattern (which I also did). I had not planned on getting Better Done Quilts launched as a business, or of getting this website up and running. I certainly didn’t plan on the EQ8 October Design Challenge win.

I started the year with a plan of taking one day a month for quilting. Not piecing, quilting. Whether done on my Bernina or renting time on the long arm at my local quilt store, I would spend the second Saturday each month finishing the tops I had sitting around. Appropriately, my first quilt finished for 2020 was a top I pieced in 2019, Everything Old is New is Old Again.

Everything Old is New is Old Again – Picnic Petals Pattern by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill 2020

I started piecing this in a workshop with Sheri from Whole Circle Studio at Mid-Appalachian Quilter’s Annual retreat. I loved the modern take on the traditional flowering snowball block. I chose old fashioned colors and prints to coordinate with another quilt I have, so I could use them in my guest room. The top was done, and I spent time in January quilting it. The quilting is simple, but I love the way it turned out.

My next two quilts of 2020 were baby quilts for family. I forgot to get a picture of the first quilt before I sent it, but the parents were kind enough to send this one. The quilt was on their doorstep when they brought the baby home. This one is particularly meaningful because the medium green fan print is from my mother-in-law’s fabric stash. I kept a box of her fabrics and I include some in special quilts for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The next baby quilt was the first quilt I designed using EQ8. Bunnies for Belinda is a fun, gender neutral quilt. The mother’s favorite colors as a child were lime green, orange and purple. I tried to design a quilt with these colors that did NOT look like a Halloween quilt. I think this quilt succeeded. The purple fabric is rabbits, which is fitting because we raised rabbits. It is also quilted with bunnies (quilting by Sesvold Designs).

The first weekend in March, which was the last weekend that I was not in quarantine or pandemic lockdown, I used the longarm to finish my daughter’s T-shirt quilt.

I started collecting T-shirts for all my kids when they were young. I planned to make them each a T-shirt quilt when they graduated from high school. None of them got them as graduation presents, but I am slowly working my way through the box of T-shirts. This one had clear ideas of what she did and did not want in a T-shirt quilt. She selected the batiks and helped me lay out this extra-extra long twin quilt. She also wanted a “fun” back, so it would look good no matter which side was up.

This quilt definitely has a “party in the back”. I ran short of the purple and teal batiks and finished up with similar fabrics from my stash.

I also finished “Mai Tais on the Lanai”. I won a pack of Island Home batiks designed by Natalie Barnes for Anthology Fabrics in September 2019. I designed the first of my “cocktail quilts” using the Drunkard’s Path block. I only used fabrics from the collection and the only fabric I purchased was for the border and binding. The back is pieced with the fabrics in the collection that were left over from the front. This has become my TV watching quilt.

Next I turned to my guild small group challenge. We decided in 2019 to make 2020 challenge quilts. They needed to be 20 inches square, use black, white and one color (no gray) and somehow include “20”. It could be 20 items, the number 20, etc. I am a nurse, and 2020 is the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, as well as being the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale. I decided to honor Florence’s contributions to nursing with my quilted portrait of her.

I am really proud of this little quilt. It was a real stretch for my skills. It is raw-edge applique based on a photo and poster. The hardest part was replicating Florence Nightingale’s signature.

Next was “From Every Direction”, which was described in my last post.

Then I decided to write up the Tree of Life pattern, so I made the Triadic Tree with fabrics I had selected for it about a year ago.

This is the point where I started the blog, so you have already heard about my Mama Bear jacket and “Which Way?” quilts. I have a couple of other quilt tops I made this year in 100-day projects. I finished one other small quilt, but it is for the Modern Quilt Guild mini-quilt swap, so it is a mystery until we exchange quilts in 2021.

2020 was also the year of the masks. All together I have made nearly 100 masks, and continue to make them as they continue to be needed.

While this year has certainly been filled with the unexpected, it has not all been bad. I have finished some big projects and started a few more. My most important quilt accomplishment has been getting Better Done Quilts launched and publishing my first pattern. I hope you had a productive quilting year, and that you stay safe and healthy in 2021!

One reply on “Reflecting on Quilting in 2020”

I never dreamed I’d see a year like this last one. My personal losses (28 god children&16 of their parents and siblings) were overwhelming… Through it though I’ve taken up quilting& piecing by hand… Something I rarely had time to do. I’ve learned so much. I fill these long lonely days with stitching these days.

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