2023’s Quilting Triumphs: Peeking into 2024’s Quilting Horizons!

Happy New Year 2024! Like you, I’m glad to have 2023 in my rear view mirror as I look forward to 2024. Isn’t it peculiar how we think turning over a calendar page gives us a new beginning, a fresh start? When indeed we can start anew every morning. One of my favorite Bible passages reminds me that each day is a new beginning, one full of hope and expectations!

But before I jump totally into a new year I do like to look back, just a little, at the accomplishments – specifically my quilting and sewing projects.

2023’s Quilting Triumphs

This year was a true transition year for me as I entered into my first year of “retirement” – which soon was changed to “semi-retirement” as I had a couple of guild meetings/trunkshow/workshops previously scheduled as well as a 5-day teaching retreat the first quarter of the year…. but I digress. The purpose of this blog post today is to do a brief show and tell of the quilts I completed in 2023. Of course, I don’t do anything brief – so pour yourself another cup of coffee and settle in for a long ramble!

The Best Nine

Believe it or not, there were only 9 quilts for 2023, (gasp!) …. Well, technically there WERE 10, but it didn’t fit into the nice little 9 patch collage photo. Don’t worry, I’ve saved that one for later!

These are original designs unless noted otherwise. Here are their stories, going from left to right, row to row ….

  • My Orphan Block Quilt – I started this January 4th and sewed the binding on January 30th. You can read about it on the post “What is an Orphan Block Quilt and How Do you Make One”.
  • My Shamrock Quilt – pieced March 14th and yet to be quilted. There’s a post about that one too, “How to Make A Shamrock Quilt”.
  • Hidden Stars – this quilt was started on March 15th and quilted on March 25th as part of a blog hop with Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design. I turned it into a YouTube tutorial with a free PDF download. The post is called “My Exuberant Hidden Star”.
  • Surrounded – This quilt was sketched out on isometric graph paper the morning of May 23, 2021. I started piecing it immediately and completed all but the final orange border on May 29th, 2021. During that time, I got a little distracted and started piecing two other quilts (more on that later). Due to a flash flood a few days following, this beauty got put into the PhD pile – projects half done – and it wasn’t until a year later, May 29th, 2022, that the final border was added, then finally quilted July 2nd, 2023. 
  • Round Two – remember the “distraction” during Surrounded – this was one of the two spin offs (grin). On May 27th, 2021, I found that I had “extra” hexagons, so I started to play around on the design wall. By June 3rd I had the interior pieced with two of the braided half hexagon borders pieced but not attached. Then that afore mentioned flash flood stopped the creativity on this one too. Ugh! Fast forward to June 20th, 2023, when I completed piecing the borders, on June 22nd of 2023 it was quilted, then bound on June 23, 2023. The posts about these summer of 2021 quilts are “The Hexagon Vortex” and “Help is On The Way”.
  • Aspiring Stars – this beauty is the creative brainchild of Michelle Renee Hiatt of Sew On the Go. It’s a beautiful block of the month that I began piecing on March 31st, 2023, with it being completed, quilted and bound by April 16th, 2023. Michelle’s patterns use the Studio 180 Design tools, are well written, and highly recommended.
  • Nameless – I designed the block for this quilt on January 17th, 2023, with the intention to film a Sew Along – this was the first quilt pieced of the multiple layouts I designed for a collection of a baker’s dozen based on the block. I began piecing it July 18th and sewed the final border on July 27th, both in 2023. Alas, it’s not only nameless but it’s now in the Quilts in waiting” department. I hope to complete it in 2024. Do you have a name suggestion for this beauty? Inquiring minds need to know!
  • Finished is Good – seriously, I can’t think of another name for this, and you will agree once you hear the rest of the story – the pattern is by Debbie Maddy called Rippling Star. According to photo records, the interior of this quilt was pieced around November 2015, I think I started it at a summer sew-in with friends, it was only lacking the borders. Sigh, that seems to happen a lot. On July 8th, 2023, this quilt was discovered among the unfinished projects and received its borders. Not only that, but the backing was pieced from a coordinating print – Paulina by P&B Fabrics purchased around 2008 – and completed on the longarm the following day with the binding attached July 11th, 2023. Yep! Finished is Good!
  • Summer Breeze – at least that’s what I call it. The design is called Feed Sacks by Kim Brackett and is on page 155 of The Big Book of Scrappy Quilts (highly recommended if you like scrappy! I found my copy on eBay). The pattern was written to finish at 48” x 60” but I got carried away and finished at 80” x 92” (had originally planned on much bigger but decided enough was enough). I started piecing this November 9th, 2022, and made 40 blocks by November 13th, 2022, before I set it aside (holiday sewing of course!). In April 2023, I picked it back up to make 16 more blocks before joining them all together, finally getting it on the longarm by Aug 29th, 2023, and bound by September 5th, 2023. 

But Wait! There’s More!

Of course there is…. only these projects aren’t quilts (even though most are quilted). I got totally obsessed with By Annie and Patterns by Annie projects. I guess I am still a bag lady (I did a similar binge back in 2016). To save time I’m only going to list the pattern name and not the background story. Again, left to right, row by row.

  • Clam Up – made with scraps left over from Summer Breeze quilt.
  • Divide and Conquer and Double Zip Gear Bag 2.0 – the larger one was an unfinished project from the last binge of bag sewing (2016) with the smaller bag made from the leftovers.
  • Project Bag 2.0 – modified to fit my 20” x 20” square up ruler.
  • Piecekeeper – (a free pattern and video on Annie’s website – great beginner project). Do you recognize the fabric from my Finished is Good quilt?
  • Open Wide 2.0 – made from scraps from a quilt I hope to finish in 2024, using my “baker’s dozen” block design (can’t wait to share this one!)
  • Pocket Packers – my last blog of 2023 “Embrace the First Day of Summer with a Delightful Sewing Project to Organize Your Summer Treasures.
  • Tech Tote – made with scraps from Surrounded and Round Two.
  • Tools of the Trade – also made with scraps and orphan blocks from Surrounded and Round Two (recognize the braid!) 
  • Power Trip.

And of course, there are more! I really embraced the bag sewing this year! Again, left to right, row by row.

  • Project Bag 2.0 – I made 4 but neglected to get photos of each.
  • Pack It In (modified to have a solid front)– birthday gift for oldest granddaughter, she turned 5!!
  • Pack It In (modified to have a solid front) – birthday gift for youngest granddaughter, she turned 2!!
  • Open Wide 2.0 – Still more scraps from Surrounded and Round Two, with these being quilted scraps from Tools of the Trade.
  • Out and About – knapsacks for the girls’ Christmas gifts – they raise chickens and I fell in love with the fabric!
  • Switchback and Call Me (another free design)– made in time for the Houston International Quilt Festival.
  • Room with a View – medium size.
  • Room with a View – small size.
  • Clam Up – extra-large size.

Peeking into 2024’s Quilting Horizons

One of my goals for 2024 are to work through my PhD’s – projects half finished. Last year I went through the studio and organized all the projects into project boxes neatly stacked on my shelving. I believe I have more than plenty to keep me busy! (I call this my retirement plan!)

Another goal is to work through the multiple tote buckets that hold all my Quilts in Waiting – some of these pieced tops date back to 2006! Way back then I was quilting for hire and didn’t take the opportunity to get all my tops completed. I did managed to quilt a lot, but I do have more than I care to admit that need to schedule an appointment with the longarm!

My biggest hope is to keep up with my show and tell – when I complete a quilt, I’d like to be able to have a single (short) blog post to share it.

Speaking of which….Drumroll please…

First Finish of 2024

Actually, I had hoped to put the binding on New Year’s Eve, but it wasn’t completed until New Year’s Day (remember I mentioned 10 quilts for 2023)…..presenting Impossible Triangle.

Remember Surrounded and Round Two? Yep – this is the 2nd distraction, or third quilt from the summer of 2021. And here’s the rest of the story.

On June 2nd, 2021, I drew out this isometric design called impossible triangle in the math world.  I was totally in the zone that week working with 60 degree diamonds.

Believe it or not I designed and pieced the entire top in one day!  I added background to make the impossible triangle “float,” which increased the quilt size to 60″ x 68″ (approximately). I sometimes call this What Was I Thinking as that’s a lot of negative space – but it made for some fun quilting!

Again, another quilt that was set aside – until June 28th, 2023 when it finally came out of the Quilts in Waiting bucket. But alas, it was again set aside as I began my season of bag making.

My goal was to bind it on New Year’s Eve to finish out my year. I got as far as piecing the double binding….however it wasn’t bound until January 1, 2024.

And now my three hexagon/60 degree triangle quilts from the summer of 2021 are all finished!

And so is this long ramble! But hey, in my defense, it has been more than 6 months since I’ve blogged. So I guess you could say that the Impossible Triangle met several goals – a PhD finished, a Quilts in Waiting finished, AND my first show and tell of 2024 ~ check!

I am looking forward to a productive year in my studio, with the goal of being timelier & more entertaining in my blogs, as well as continuing to enjoy my retirement to spend quality time with our granddaughters!

Thanks for hanging around for so long!

This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler

Again, Happy New Year and I hope all your quilting goals come true!

21 But in my mind I keep returning to something,
something that gives me hope —
22 that the grace of Adonai is not exhausted,
that his compassion has not ended.
23 [On the contrary,] they are new every morning!
How great your faithfulness!
24 Adonai is all I have,” I say;
“therefore I will put my hope in him.

Lamentations 3:21-24 (Complete Jewish Bible)

6 thoughts on “2023’s Quilting Triumphs: Peeking into 2024’s Quilting Horizons!

  1. Karen T Pennington says:

    Awesome 2023 you had & busy too. My goal is to finish many UFO’s this year too. Have a great 2024.

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