It was my birthday on the 10th of November! – Happy birthday to me – Last year I wrote a post reflecting on the year that had gone by creative wise. I thought that’s a good habit to keep so here is my post for this year. The post is a bit delayed because I was on a holiday with my family and too busy laying in the ocean and too occupied relaxing to write. I’m sure you’ll all understand.
What kind of year did I have?
This year I spend most of my time in Kenya. First to finish my master studies and later because of love and to settle down in Kenya. I came back to Kenya for love, research and adventure. Read more about why I decided to come back here:
The settling down has gone very fast because I’ve been in Kenya for three months, and we already have nine chickens and I’m working on a baby quilt for a friend.
My quilts of 2019
The first exhibition: Look Behind the Lines mini quilt
This year one of my quilts participated in a Dutch quilting exhibition. I’m very proud of the quilt I send in because it is one of my first pieces with a meaning behind it. Also, the process of exhibiting the quilt and visiting to see my quilt and those of my quilting friends made me reflect about sharing your own work. I wrote a blog post to honour the occasion:
Picknick blanket scrap quilt
One of the quilts I finished this year. I have some people in mind who should get this quilt, but it will be a while before I can get it to then. Until then, it will adorn my parents’ living room. So many scraps were used in this quilt, as I explain in the post below. The quilting is done by hand with glow-in-the-dark thread. However, it is unfortunately not visible in the dark. Does anyone have experience using glow-in-the-dark thread successfully?
The Kenyan Quilt
This is the quilt I started the first time I moved to Kenya. It is made completely out of fabrics I got there. Now I am back I am in the process of hand quilting this piece to finish it. It is a nice way to tie both my Kenya journeys together.
- The Kenyan Quilt top is finished!
- The Kenyan Quilt: quilt blocks showcase
- Why would you hand quilt: The HQAL and my Kenyan quilt
The piece below shows what you can do with leftover blocks from your quilt! This is going to be a small blanket or scarf once it’s quilted.
Nearly Insane Machine Sampler Quilt
This quilt is designed by Liz Lois based on Salinda Rupp’s original quilt. In between my two stays in Kenya, I worked a lot on this quilt. And although I didn’t finish this quilt I did make a lot of progress! The motivation to finish this quilt grew especially when I started putting the blocks together using the Quilt-as-You-Go method. This quilting technique allows you to put blocks together as soon as you finish a block instead of having to wait until all the blocks are done. I hope to finish this quilt when I visit the Netherlands sometime.
- Introduction Nearly Insane Sampler Quilt
- The Nearly insane quilt blocks showcase
- A Nearly Insane quilter quilting QAYG?
The Dear Jane Hand Quilting Sampler Quilt
This is by far the biggest quilting project in my life so far. Dear Jane is a sampler quilt based on an original quilt made by Jane Stickle during the Civil War. Brenda Papadakis made patterns out of the more than 200 blocks of the quilt. Now, Dear Jane is seen as the ultimate proof of skill upon completion by quilters. Therefore, I started this quilt to teach myself to quilt by hand. My reasoning is that once I have completed this Dear Jane quilt I can call myself a skilled hand quilter. By now, I have finished almost half of the blocks and assembled a part of them. You can follow my progress by reading one of the many blog posts I have written about this quilt so far.
- The Dear Jane hand sampler introduction
- I’m not ashamed: humble Dear Jane quilt blocks
- The Dear Jane quilt: white with shock
Click this link to see all the Dear Jane related posts:
Tutorial: How to make your own awesome star quilt
One of my goals is to one day become a quilting teacher. To get there, I am writing this blog and I also enjoy writing tutorials. This year I finished a tutorial to make your own star quilt.
Lastly: new beginnings with Kitenge and Kenyan fabric quilts
Here are some examples of other quilting projects I am working on made with Kenyan fabrics.
Embroidery and Cross Stitch of 2019
Death of Discworld cross stitch
This cross stitch is for an art trade. I made this cross stitch and get awesome crochet dragon gloves in return.
Bukowski Biscornu Cross Stitch
This was made for a competition where the prompt was to make something embodying positivity to you. I didn’t win, unfortunately, but I am very proud of the result nonetheless.
The cross stitch design is based on and inspired by this poem:
Crewel embroidery landscape
One of my goals this year was to learn how to make crewel embroidery. I bought a pattern by Sol Y Mano study to practice and the result is below. It turns out that crewel embroidery is tricky, especially to remember all the different stitches. However, I really love complicated embroidery pieces so I will keep on practising and developing this skill. Embroidery is like painting with thread and I love that idea.
Coat of Many Colours embroidery patch
The piece below is one of those places I’m developing my embroidery skills. This is going to be a patch for my man who is an MC and artist. He has a special connection with the Dolly Parton song ‘Coat of Many Colours’ on which this design is based. To keep true to the idea of a patchwork coat I am using leftover floss from previous embroidery projects.
Any one colour running cross stitch design
This piece was finished more than a year ago for another competition. However, I wrote a post about it this year so it fits in this post. In the post, I talk about my design process from idea to drawing to the finished piece.
Other projects of mine
Other topics I wrote about
These stories fall under the category Artisan Life on my website.
- Why would you hand quilt: The HQAL and my Kenyan quilt
- When and how to quit a quilt
- How to get good materials for quilting and embroidery creatively and cheap
Other websites of mine
I started a writing website to share my experiences of living abroad and to show-case my short stories.
Another website I am working on is focused on music, especially sharing music from all over the world. More about that project later.
Conclusion: plans for the new year
How am I doing?
Better and better! The past year I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and looking at how my life has been functioning so far. I realized that I spend a lot of my time feeling stressed and anxious. Not for any particular reason, but more because of insecurity and worrying about other people’s opinion. This stress has stopped me from doing a lot of things I wanted to or should have done. Projects I didn’t dare to execute, people I didn’t have the confidence to befriend or people I didn’t help because I thought I was somehow wrong about what to do. The past year I’ve started the process of calming down and focusing more on my own life and goals, and I’ve noticed the more I focus on my own goals and values the calmer and more confident I feel! I wrote a bit more about this process in one of my Monthly Updates:
Goals for this new year:
- Worry less and grow confidence.
- Focus on my own projects and building a life that suits me.
- Continue to learn embroidery and crewelwork.
- Make and sell bags with Kenyan fabric.
Now to end this post with some questions for you:
- Do you set periodical goals for yourself? If you, would you like to share some of them?
- What is your proudest achievement this year?
- What are the methods you use to feel calm and secure in life?
- What kind of posts of mine do you like most and would you like to see more of?
Next week’s post: HQAL update with the Dear Jane Quilt! (big finishes)
See my DeviantArt or Instagram (username: bella.g.bear.art) for more artwork and WIPs. You can also follow my blog by clicking on the button on the left or by filling in your email address. There will be a monthly update at the end of every month and a new blog post every Sunday or Monday.