My 2020 Quarantine – Catchup Post

Hello! If you’re new to the site, Welcome! If you’re returning, I can only confess that this poor little website has been very neglected over the past year. In this post, I’m going to explain why and let you know what I’m planning for 2021. Buckle up cause there is a lot to unpack here, but I promise to include LOTS of pictures! 🤩

To bring any newbies up to speed, I’m a full-time graphic designer who gets absolutely nerdy about quilt blocks and enjoys designing quilt patterns. I started this website back in 2015 with the idea of launching my own line of quilt patterns and to build the world’s greatest Quilt Block Library (At least, that’s what my kids were calling it!) It has a long way to go to actually live up to being the world’s greatest anything, but if you visit said Quilt Block Library, you’ll access well over 100 quilt block designs, coloring sheets, and in many cases a pattern for them. Everything was moving along at a good pace until the last few years. For various reasons, it’s been difficult to eke out the time to focus on it. First because of a wedding in 2019, and then there was 2020.

2020. Need I say more?

2020 was just weird for everyone, wasn’t it? (And I’m afraid 2021 is shaping up to be equally as strange.) Like many people I was concerned about losing my job and wasn’t certain how much longer my company would keep me around. But early in the year (even before quarantine), many people were contacting me to make custom quilts for them. Ordinarily, I’m pretty choosy about who I take on as a custom quilt client, and I only do about 2-3 a year. But because I didn’t know how long I would have a job, I said “YES” to almost everyone who contacted me. (The one exception was the lady who wanted a quilt made from her stretchy knit wedding dress.) By the end of 2020, I had made 17 quilts for other people! So, obviously I was pretty busy and the first thing to go was time spent on the website. Sorry about that if you were hoping for more quilt block patterns. (The good news is that I have been slowly catching up on those these past few weeks. If you are signed up for my email list at the bottom of this page, you will soon get a notification letting you know which blocks have been updated with free pattern downloads.)

So, I have all these quilts in the pipeline and you’ll never believe what happened…

Two weeks into quarantine my trusty Pfaff sewing machine died on me. For real. 😢

I couldn’t find an open repair shop so I did what any sensible person would do: I bought a new one! You gotta love that internet!

Actually, by the time the year was over, I bought three new machines! I’m still in the process of reconfiguring my little workspace to accommodate it all and when that is all ironed out I hope to write an updated post about my sewing room.

2020 Projects

In the meantime, here are a few photos of some of my projects from 2020.

Eight denim quilts:

One of many t-shirt Quilts

And a Quilt for my nephew who graduated last year (I wrote up a similar pattern for this design which I call The Shutterbug Quilt. You can find it here.) We made this quilt out of his two grandfather’s suits and ties. It was a bit tricky to do, if I say so myself.

I also whipped up this quilt for a dear friend:

Colorful quilt with center panel featuring Sitting Bull
Custom quilt designed around a digital panel of Sitting Bull. Gifted to a friend.

AND, I made this quilt, just for fun which My sister-in-law talked me out of and snagged it to gift to her DIL.

Picture of a quilt with blocks in shape of a butterfly
Butterfly Quilt – Pattern by Lella Designs

During December I was able to get back to sewing some things for ME. So, I wrapped up this UFO. All of the blocks in this project are based on Bible stories (Job’s Troubles, Jacob’s Ladder, Cross and Crown, Tree of Life, Hosanna Quilt Block, Storm at Sea, Walls of Jericho, etc.)

And I was able to finish this original design. What do you think? Should I turn this one into a pattern? I’m conflicted about it. I think because I’m just not much of an applique girl.

Oh, yeah! In 2021 I’m teaching a monthly Pillow of the month class based on Edyta Sitar’s book PILLOW TALK. During November and December, I made a LOT of pillow covers. Here are a few:

Pillow with appliqued hearts

Heart’s Content Pillow
Pillow cover with grey star pattern
Lucky Charm Pillow Cover

So, what does 2021 hold?

While 2020 was a great time to hole up and sew a bunch of quilts for other people, it gave me time to reflect on how I really want to spend my time.

Of course, my favorite way to spend time is with my family, but when it comes to quilting, what I really want to do is DESIGN. So my main goal for 2021 is to get back to doing what I love. Expect to see more patterns released, most of them in a category I am calling “Classic Beginners.” I know there are lots of new quilters out there, and so I am trying to develop patterns that are quick and easy wins for newbies with an eye towards classic design and skill/confidence building.

One of these is already developed and ready for download in my shop. The “mother” quilt is almost finished and I will write a longer post about it once it is back from the quilter and bound.

Shop image for Crosshatch Quilt

Two other patterns in this series are planned for release later this year so keep your ear peeled for announcements.

As far as “fun” sewing goes, here is a short (😂) list of projects I’ve got going that I hope to complete this year:

Charmed Quilt made from Art Gallery Fabrics “Spooky and Sweet” collection. The top is finished, and let me say this is a fun and quick project if you’re looking for an easy win. It would be great to take on a retreat.

Jane Austen Quilt. I did something I RARELY do, and that is I BOUGHT THE KIT. It was definitely an impulse buy, but when I saw it I knew it would be perfect for our guest room. Here is the progress so far:

One issue I am having is that I really need this quilt to be about 12″ wider than designed, so I’m still mulling around how I’m going to correct that. But I hope to have it quilted and bound by end of February.

Village Quilt. This is my second VILLAGE scrap quilt. Obviously, I am a big fan of this pattern, since I blab on and on about it in this post and this post. It’s coming along nicely. (Sorry about the blurry photo. 🤓)

Halloween Figs BOM (This was the one personal project I started and kept up during 2020). If I stay on track I should have this finished by July. It has been a great way to relax. I don’t think you can sign up for the BOM any longer but the pattern is still available for purchase.

Graduation Quilt for my niece. Yep. Two years in a row I’ve had a family member graduate. 🎓 She picked the PHOENIX pattern designed by Sharon Holland. We are still waiting on a few fabrics to arrive but I plan to start on it as soon as Jane Austen is finished.) Here are the fabrics that have arrived so far:

Once the other fabrics arrive we will have to decide which ones get weeded out, but it’s looking like a sweet earthy palette.

Elfin Around Quilt by BasicGray. I wanted to do this one last year, but time didn’t allow it. I’ll be using the Naughty and Nice fabrics by Basic Gray and hope to start work on this by summer. Maybe have a Christmas in July? 🌲

Log Cabin Quilt – I’ve been itching to make a log cabin quilt for a long time. A few weeks ago I cut out the strips and hope to get going on this as soon as the Niece Quilt is done. I’m also planning to make this “quilt as you go” and will write up a few posts about it.

Sewcialites Quilt Along. I’m TRYING to do the Sewcialites quilt along with Fat Quarter Shop….the fabric I wanted to use has been delayed due to shipping/customs issues, so I have proceeded with scraps. I’ve kept current with the cutting, but honestly, I’m having a hard time getting my heart into it. I think I needed that new fabric to stay motivated. 😆)

So there you have it. My lengthy list of hopetodos in 2021. I may not get them all done, but at least it should keep me out of trouble!

I hope you are able to accomplish all you want and more in 2021! I continue to believe that despite the strangeness of 2020 and 2021 (so far!) the goodness in the world will shine through. Keep looking up and keep making beautiful things!

Happy Quilting!