Friday, January 5, 2018

5 practices and processes for 2018

Last week, the blogosphere was full of "Best of 2017" photos. I reflected on mine in this post. I also gave thought to goals for 2018 for how to better spend my time—with a focus on processes and not just projects. So, Hello 2018! These are the things I want to practice ...

Use it up or Give it up
In 2018, I'd like to enjoy the piecing process more—with improv patchwork.
Improv patchwork with scraps and leftover fabrics.
This practice will enable me time with my sewing machine without having to have a specific project in mind. It will continue to put a dent in the stash (everyone's goal for the last few years) as well as "use up" my collections of scraps and odd bits. The likely candidates for this liberated-style patchwork will be my kitty/doggie quilts for local animal care and shelter facilities, and the charity program at my quilt guilds.

With a bit of clean-up, purging and re-purposing in my studio I have a bag of fabric that I'm gifting to my MIL's church group that makes quilts for those in need. As the clean-up continues, I hope to "give up" more.

More Me-made garments
Today's trends in the fabric industry are stirring up excitement for DIY and home garment sewing. I love this! Fabulous knits, rayons and other fabric substrates (check out Art Gallery and Cloud 9) and richly textured "garment-conducive" yarn-dyed wovens and the ever-so-popular Buffalo Plaids (see Diamond Textiles) are becoming more prevalent on the shelves of local quilt shops.
knit tops
Knit tops I've sewn for myself with cotton knit fabrics from Art Gallery.
Social media groups, blogs and Instagram are brimming with encouragement, ideas, and photos to reflect this—Me Made May, and the plethora of patterns from indie pattern designers—and sewing classes are popping up at quilt shops, sewing centers and Make-It spaces. It's out there for the taking. My 2018 is going to have more Me-made garments in it.

Buy local and support independents 
On my travels, I've found some unique sources for coffee, tea, and artisan crafts. My husband does a wonderful job of supporting our local independent small businesses—bakeries, farmers markets and restaurants. I'm choosing to support artists, indie crafters and small businesses. I like finding unique and functional items that we'll use frequently in our home.
Ground coffee from Cabin Coffee Co.; hand-made ceramic mug by a
Chattanooga potter; wood coffee scoop from Log House Craft Center, Berea, KY.
Visible mending and hand stitching
Hand stitching—kantha, boro, sashiko, big stitch, hand embroidery—have been a staple for the textile artists community... well, since forever. These techniques are also quite prevalent in the quilting, craft and sewing industries these days. Inspiration and a renewed interest in hand stitching still resonates with me from the workshop I took last year with Dorothy Caldwell. I'd like to take the practice of hand stitching a bit further by preserving and extending the use of items through visible mending—or we can call it "creative embellishment"—rather than disposing of clothing and buying new.
Kantha stitching. 
Time management
One of the things I missed in 2017 was participation in my quilt guild's Challenge. I had the best of intentions—even finished the quilt top—but didn't get it quilted. My guild had a fabulous turn-out for the Challenge. All the quilts were well done and their makers were inventive with their interpretation of the Challenge guidelines. I wish I had had a piece to contribute. Alas, time was not on my side last year. I even took many in-progress photos with the hope of a "here's my process" blog post.

My MIL says, "everyone gets the same 24 hours in the day... it's how we choose to use our 24." I think my time management will improve with organization, automation, prioritization and learning to steer clear of the rabbit holes.

Here's wishing you a fulfilling new year. Take time to enjoy your process.
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