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2016 by the numbers...

2016 by the numbers...

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Starting with... how many quilts did some folks make?ct-stacy-iest-hsu-quilts

Folks.  The Moda Designers.  I asked them several questions - I'm a nosy sort.  I did it for you - I figured you'd be curious too.

This is what I asked - and no, they weren't required to answer all the questions:

  • How many quilts did you make in 2016?  (And if it was more than 20, I expected affidavits verifying that their own fingers had stitched each and every one.)
  • How many quilts did they make that were not work-related - that were just for fun?
  • Do they have any unfinished projects - WIPs, UFOs, PIGs, PIBs, etc.?  And do they think they'll ever finish them?
  • Did they learn a new sewing skill or technique in 2016?
  • Is there a new skill or technique they'd like to learn in 2017?
  • Do they do a year-end/new-year clean-up or clear-out?  And if so, what do they do with what they're clearing out?
  • And do they ever have a "word" for the year?  If so, what is their word for 2017?

Polly Minick was the first to reply because she had a very easy answer - No.

She doesn't make quilts - that's her amazing sister, Laurie.  But Polly hooked a whole bunch of rugs, designed a couple of fabric collections - Snowfall, Cottonworks and Grand Traverse Bay - and willed the University of Michigan football team to more victories than were expected.

And she completed this.


This is coming in April - Minick & Simpson - Blue & White.  I know I'm biased but I don't think anyone does this classic color palette better than Polly and Laurie do.

As for Laurie Simpson...

  • She didn't count but she's confident in saying ten quilts.  (I bet it's more... or should count for more since she made a few that were hand-pieced and/or hand-appliquéd.)
  • Laurie made at least one that was just for fun - and she has a few more in the works.  She does it for mental health reasons - if she didn't make things just for herself, quilt-making would turn from something she loves into work, and that wouldn't be good.
  • Unfinished projects? Yes - four projects are in the works and she does plan on finishing them.  Having recently moved into her studio, she did a "cleanse" and got rid of a few things that she knew she'd never finished.
  • New skills?  Old dog, no new tricks.  That was Laurie's reply.
  • Except... Laurie would like to learn darning - the making do and visible repair that has been re-emerging the past few years.  She's been intrigued by it for a few years.
  • Her word for 2017 is "stamina".


This is the center of one of Laurie's just-for-fun project - the Rowdy Flats Library Quilt.

Shannon Gillman Orr.

  • Six quilts for her collection.
  • 2 pillows, 1 jumbo sewing kit bag, 2 Jedi costumes, 2 quilt tops and 2 sewing machine covers - just for fun.  At least that's what she remembers.  (I've seen her Instagram... I think she missed a few things.)
  • She does have several UFOs and yes, she admits to giving up on a few of them.
  • She tackled English Paper Piecing this year and has started a Passacaglia quilt from Willyne Hammerstein's Millefiori Quilts book and she's completed three beautiful medallions - two of which are shown below.
  • Moving - from Arizona to the San Francisco Bay Area - and setting up a new studio took care of clearing out the projects she'd never finish and the fabric-stuff she'd never use.
  • Shannon always chooses a word and last year was "iterate".  She hasn't decided what her word for 2017 will be as it usually takes her several weeks into the new year to decide.


Jo Morton had a very prolific year and yes, she did provide affidavits.

  • She made 31 quilts.  But she wants it emphasized that most of them are small quilts.
  • She also "moved along" six long-term projects - two of which are hand-pieced, another is appliquéing the handles for small basket blocks.  She also has blocks from exchanges that need sewing.
  • As for UFOs and never finishing them... Jo was able to stop laughing long enough to report that she has several she will finish and several that will be "moved along" to someone or someplace else.
  • Jo does a year-end clean-up and she donates what she's clearing out to friends, guilds, etc.
  • Jo's word is "simplify" - take time to smell the roses.


Pat Sloan.  Twenty quilts?  In her sleep.

  • Pat completed at least 20 projects for books, magazines, mysteries, patterns, etc.  Okay, maybe not 20 quilts... she did stress the "project" part of that - they were pillows to bed-sized quilts.
  • As for "just for fun" projects, she started a few but didn't finish anything.  (Yet.)
  • Pat brought in a legal team to question the legality - and wisdom - of asking a designer about UFOs.  She's sure she has over the allowed limit and no, she will never finish some of them.  But she's also hosted several UFO-busting weekends, something that will surely continue.
  • As for new skills, Pat "attempted" English Paper Piecing this past year and she that results were "less than stellar".  So for this coming year, her goal is to improve her EPP skills.
  • Yes, she clears out her studio and gives it to quilters in her Friendship group who either use the items or take them to their guilds to spread the love.


Kate Spain provided the funniest reply.

  • While she designed several quilts this past year, Kate did not finish any herself.  The quilts showcasing her many beautiful collections were pieced by others - her stunt-sewists.  And no, we don't judge!  Because she produced all sorts of amazing artwork for a variety of other products.


Kate made this rug.  Okay... maybe not but she did design it.  (And everybody in the office wants one.)

  • Any UFOs?  This is why I love Kate.  She admits to not having completed a Block of the Month she started in 2010.  It was made with one of her fabric collections and she's completed three blocks.  She noted that the same year, Bonnie Olaveson made at least seven of the same BOM quilt for members of her family.  Kate confesses that she probably won't ever finish hers... not without a Christmas miracle.
  • She did learn to make continuous Prairie Points using a single piece of fabric via YouTube.
  • While she doesn't usually do a word of the year, she's feeling like she might need to for 2017.  Her word would be "harmony".  As she wrote, "I like the idea that harmony of all sorts is something that can be seen, found and felt even in brief, isolated moments of daily life.  I hope that by actively looking for those moments, I'll be more able to find them in places that surprise me."


Kate might not have made these quilts but she made the birds, birdhouses, eggs, hoops, leaves and the birdbath for her booth.  (That seals it - Kate ROCKS.)

Finally... Stacy Iest Hsu.  That's her stack of quilts at the top.

  • Stacy had to go back and check a few times but she's pretty sure she made fifteen - 15 - quilts this year.  Even though she wants to make sure you know that some are small and some are beginner quilts, that's a pretty impressive tally for a fairly new quilter.
  • One of the quilts she made was for her new baby niece - she made it using her Lil' Red collection.  That was "just for fun" but really special.
  • Fortunately for the rest of us, Stacy does have a few unfinished projects that she's not sure she'll ever finish because she's not in love with how they turned out.
  • New technique or skill?  Stacy wrote - "This year was a big learning curve for me because I started learning how to make quilts.  I have learned a lot but my most recent learning experience was that I should trim my half-triangle squares to get them to all be the same size.  Now they fit perfectly."


Perfect.  Farm Fun - Stacy's quilt.

  • For 2017, Stacy would like to add appliqué to her skill set so she can add it to her quilts.
  • The Makers Space at her children's school benefited from a sewing room clean-up by getting a whole lot of scraps and some sewing supplies.  Now she's looking forward to seeing what the kids create.
  • "Keep going" is Stacy's word for the year.  Her son has a drum teacher and during practice, if her son makes a mistake, the teacher will say "keep going".  Stacy wrote that "it's so true in the quilting and design world... when you get stuck or a block or row doesn't work, you often just want to stop and throw it in the trash.  But you have to keep going because you never know what might come out of it."

While I would love to keep going, this is a perfect stopping point.  Yes, there are still many designers to get to but this is long enough for today.


One last picture - this is something Stacy is working on.  It better not be a UFO because this really looks good so far.

Happy Wednesday!


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