On this episode, we share ways to reflect on what you accomplished in your sewing space the past year. We also share details of our UFO Challenge, a story of a woman sewing blankets for others, and how handwork helps with stress. And we answer a listener question about fussy-cutting.
Episode 581

Listen to the show in the player at the end of this post.

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Reflect on a Year of Quilting

We're a few days away from the new year. We can't believe 2023 is almost here! Many of us might already be making resolutions of what we want to focus on and accomplish in the new year. But it's just as important to slow down and reflect on the past year of quilting. Reflection allows us to remember more, see challenges we overcame, to track progress, to see patterns in our quilts, and to foster a sense of pride for our work.

We share some prompts to think about as we end the year.

UFO Challenge

If you're an avid quilter, you probably have a stack of unfinished projects. Whether you ran out of time, didn't have the right materials, or just got sick of the quilt, unfinished projects pile up easily--and take up a lot of space! This is the ninth year we've hosted the UFO Challenge, and the system we've developed to finish projects works and so many people have joined in for support and inspiration.

Quilting Changes Everything

Alison shares a story of a sewer making a difference in their community.

Alice Heikens, a resident of Indiana, knows just how much the simple gift of a handmade blanket can change lives. When her parents were in palliative and hospice care toward the end of their lives, she noticed how much happiness and warmth blankets gave them. After they passed, Alice wondered how she could honor their memory. Her solution was to create blankets to give to others going through end-of-life stages. She remembered her parents always being cold and wrapped up in blankets, so she wanted to provide the same warmth and comfort to others. When she saw a Facebook post from Main Street Hospice calling for blankets, she jumped into action.

Ask the Editors

We answer this question from Nancy. She says: "I'm new to quilting. My grandchild asked me to make a quilt with fairies on it. We found a fabric we liked with fairies about 6 inches in length. If I am using 4 inch squares, some of the fairies' heads or bodies would inevitably be cut. In this case would you not use that fabric or do some people ignore this? I think I don't like the idea. A friend of mine thinks I'm being silly. Are there any standards about this in the quilting world?"

Handwork Happiness

Doris shares how, for her, handwork is a lot more to it than just creating something beautiful— it's one of the ways she practices self-care. This time of year, as we wind down from the holidays and enter a season of less daylight and not always desirable weather, it's important to be aware of your mood. Many suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or anxiety, and doing something with one's hands is a proven treatment for anxiety and other issues.

To try some of Doris' favorite types of handwork, see simple embroidery projects, get free cross-stitch patterns, or learn English paper piecing.