There's so much gorgeous modern fabric and so many great quilt patterns but sometimes it feels like quilting is about things being fast and simple to make. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a sweeping statement about modern quilting, there is a lot of complicated piecing and amazing quilting going on too. Perhaps it is just that I am drawn to the modern quick makes (I don't have a lot of sewing time) or maybe because I still consider myself a beginner and so avoid difficult patterns because I don't think I would be able to make them. It is making me tired though. Tired of rushing, yes, but also tired because it is too easy.

This year I would like to push myself further. Yes I would like to try new techniques but not for the sake of it. I really want to learn to be a better quilter. In the relatively short time I've been sewing I've tried many things - practically all of it was learnt through blogs and online tutorials, for which I am truly grateful. I would like to trust myself more, use what fabric I have and chose patterns that speak to me and will push me out of my comfort zone.

I've been thinking hard about what I want to sew and have realised that so much of what I yearn for is hand sewn and hand quilted. I also want to add more to my Etsy shop and try to grow it, so while I work on my hand sewing skills I will still make some machine quilts for the shop.

I've had piles of fabric set aside for specific patterns almost since I began quilting but now my ideas are changing and I'm willing to be braver.

It is highly unlikely I am ever going to write patterns, my brain just doesn't think that way, but I can still use quilt blocks to create something unique - isn't that what all quilts are anyway?

One skill I would love to try is hand applique. I have to say I'm really not very drawn to the traditional floral patterns but I may be willing to give them a go. I saw Green Tea and Sweet Beans by Jen Kingwell and that's more the sort of fun and whimsy I want to try. I have a birthday coming up soon and that's on my wish list! I have my Bee A Brit Stingy bees working on butterfly blocks for me this month and I'm planning on attempting some applique flowers too, my daughter has picked out her favourites. I recently bought some bargain books second hand from Amazon and they are proving so inspirational. A lot of the traditional block patterns and the very old quilts in these books are incredibly modern looking to me (click the books to see more):


There is a lot of talk about 'modern' and 'traditional' quilting and I've been thinking about where I stand on it and which is more me. It's practically impossible and, while I think there are certain distinctions, the division is really limiting and even trying to make some sort of crossover is limiting too because it feels too contrived. I read a fantastic article by Thomas Knauer in Quilters Newsletter Dec/Jan 2014. It's part of a series (annoyingly my Dad got me this copy on a recent trip to the US so I will miss the rest!) and it really got me thinking about the terminology. He writes, "Traditional and modern are just two words, and we do both genres of quilting a disservice when we fail to look beyond these generalizations and engage with each quilt on its own terms. I prefer to talk about quilting tradition, that large umbrella that encompasses everything we do, and then consider the differences that makes that tradition so remarkable". So I'm not choosing, instead I will just appreciate aspects of all quilting styles and pour myself into every quilt I make.

That said I'm joining Erin in her Classic meets Modern QAL, which I think will be really interesting... to see how everyone interprets the blocks and also to try making different blocks. The first block is the {Polar} Bear Paw Block, and you know I love those Bear Paws! I'm going to have a good think about what fabric to use and how I will interpret 'modern'.

I am not a perfectionist but I really have a strong desire to be good. Get really good. Be able to make beautiful things with my hands. I want to say I am a good quilter and really believe it myself.

My word for 2014 is 'better'. Appropriate in all aspects of my life right now, though also comforting and motivating. Getting better all the time.