Looking Back, Looking Ahead


My biggest accomplishment in 2011? Well, there were lots of highlights. But the thing that really stands out for me is that I finally figured out how to finish my quilts.

It sounds crazy, I know. But at the beginning of 2011, I was not at all confident in my quilting and binding skills. Piecing was another story—I felt like I had that part pretty much down. But I couldn’t free-motion quilt at all. Let’s face it, I could barely even manage straight-line quilting. My basting skills left a lot to be desired, and binding? Well, I could do it, but it wouldn’t win any awards for fine craftsmanship or anything.

2011 Quilts
Quilts of 2011 

I made 13 quilts this year. Seriously! 13! My goal for 2011 was to make 12 quilts. Somehow I actually squeaked out an extra one. And it’s amazing how much you can learn over the course of making 13 quilts. Free-motion quilting? Check. Machine binding? Check. Basting—especially spray basting? Check check check. Going into 2011, I often sent quilts out to be long-armed, especially the “important” ones. By the end of 2011, I was confident enough to finish one myself that is going to be in a book. Wow.

Other Projects of 2011


Other projects of 2011 

Other highlights:
• hosting my own quilt-along (Supernova) and co-hosting another (Summer Sampler Series)
• going to the Sewing Summit and meeting lots of blogging buddies in person
• participating in more bees and swaps than I can count
• making the top five in the Connecting Threads fabric design contest
• hosting WIP Wednesday and watching it grow
• joining the Milwaukee Modern Quilt Guild and making new friends there
• guest-posting on the Fat Quarterly blog
• publishing my first Moda Bake Shop tutorial
• making quilts for charity (one for Margaret’s Hope Chest and one via the Do. Good Stitches bee)

How lucky am I that all these amazing things happened to me in one action-packed year?

In fact, looking back at my goals for 2011, there are only a few that I didn’t meet. I did not finish my mom’s king-size quilt, despite gentle reminders from her. I did not make bed quilts for my daughter or my niece. I did not make Christmas stockings or a tree skirt or finish the Christmas quilt that I started for my family in 2010. Hmmm, are you sensing a theme here?

So that brings me to my goals for 2012:

1. Make things for my family. So many wonderful quilty opportunities came my way in 2011, and I was always so flattered and excited to be asked that I hardly ever said no to anything. As a result, things for the people I love most got shoved way down the list. That’s not good. This year, I want to do all of the things listed above that I neglected in 2011. After all, what is this hobby really good for if I can’t use it to bring happiness to the people closest to me?

Figgy Pudding fabric that’s been waiting for me to turn it into a quilt for a year and a half

2. Make Christmas stockings, a tree skirt, and finish that Christmas quilt. This kind of goes along with #1, but I’m determined to make it happen this year. Pinky swear!

3. Keep saying “no” to things. My goal is to be much more selective about what I say yes to in the coming year. So don’t feel bad if I turn you down for a bee, swap, blog hop, guest post, etc. It’s not you, it’s me. : ) Isn’t it hilarious that last year one of my goals was to do more bees and swaps, and this year one of my goals is to not do so many bees and swaps?

4. Make more non-quilty items, like bags, skirts, etc. Since making a skirt with Anna’s sew-along, I’ve got the bug to do more of this! (Yes, I am still planning to post about the skirt, I just need to get my husband to take a decent picture of me in it.)

My oldest (who’s now 5!) in a hat I knit for her way back when

5. Do a little knitting again. Once upon time, I was a knitting fiend. Then quilting came along and stole my heart away. But lately I’ve had the urge to dig up those knitting needles again. You never truly forget your first love, I guess.

6. Design another fabric collection. I’m hoping to set aside some time in the coming year to make this happen. Both my kids will be in school in the fall (one full-time, the other three mornings a week), so I’m thinking of dedicating that preschool time to fabric design. I’ve got to do something with myself while my babies are away, right?

Um, yeah, something tells me I won’t have a problem filling up my free time. : ) So here’s to 2012. Happy new year, my wonderful bloggy friends!

43 replies
  1. Faith Jones
    Faith Jones says:

    I *love* your quilts (and heck, everything else) from 2011! You had such a great year. 🙂 I love your goals, especially #1. I should have added that to my list because let's face it, my family gets the shaft. Here's to a great 2012 Lee!

  2. Lindsey
    Lindsey says:

    Wow. You're really an inspiration. I started sewing/quilting in September, and have only knit 1 thing since then, and it was out of obligation, not fun. I'm trying to keep knitting and crocheting, but I'm loving quilting so much more right now!

  3. Lee Heinrich
    Lee Heinrich says:

    I cannot hardly believe what you say about heading into 2011 – this HAS been an amazing year for you!! You have been such an inspiration to me personally – truly! Supernova and w.i.p. Wednesday have been two of my highlights this year!

  4. Silke Scheller
    Silke Scheller says:

    Dear Lee,
    congratulations for your really big successes in 2011!!! I love to read your blog and see what you are doing. I participated in the Summer Sampler Quilt Along (it`s almost finished. I just have to make some last stiches and the binding is done). It was fun and I learned a lot.
    So I wish you the best for 2012, may your wishes come true.

  5. Lee Heinrich
    Lee Heinrich says:

    Happy New Year to you too! Thank you for inspiring me so very much. I also greatly appreciate all the help and advice you've given me this year. Looking forward to more this year. Cheers!

  6. Elizabeth Dackson
    Elizabeth Dackson says:

    It was a fabulous year for you, indeed! I cannot wait to see what 2012 brings for you, I absolutely adore your work (as you know) and you constantly inspire me. That, and you're an awesome friend 🙂 Happy New Year to you and the fam!

  7. capitolaquilter
    capitolaquilter says:

    Congratulations on the amazing year you have had. Give yourself a great big pat on the back! Smart approach to your new goals, good luck with them. Happy New Year – can't wait to see what 2012 brings.

  8. Katy Cameron
    Katy Cameron says:

    What a fab year you've had, and well done on conquering the quilting and binding beasties – that'll be my goal for this year! Hope this coming year delivers everything you wish for :o)

  9. Linz
    Linz says:

    What a wonderful year you have had! I love your goals. It's so important to sew for loved ones. It is so easy to push those projects off, but they are the MOST satisfying!! Happy New Year! Thanks for all of the inspiration this year!

  10. Esch House Quilts
    Esch House Quilts says:

    Wow – you had a super productive year! I started a Christmas tree skirt last March so I was sure it would be finished for Christmas–but, no. One good thing about Christmas – it will come again next year!

    Have a great 2012!

  11. Lynnie
    Lynnie says:

    You got a lot accomplished this past year! I know there were many other non quilting, sewing things you accomplished as well. I love the colors in your quilts too, you have a great eye for color!

  12. pasqueflower
    pasqueflower says:

    Congratulations on your incredibly productive 2011! Love your quilts! I'm still struggling with machine quilting phobia.

    You have ambitious goals for 2012, but I am totally confident you will meet them.

    Happy New Year!


  13. Shannon
    Shannon says:

    Ok, you have got to share how you learned to free motion quilt, baste better, etc. That's kind of where I'm feeling stuck right now so I would love to hear! Love all of your gorgeous quilts!!!

  14. diane
    diane says:

    Lee, your year in review shows you are a success and your goals for 2012 are very doable. I am with you on say No more and sew more for family. I made too many things and not enough quilts. Happy New Year.

  15. Lee Heinrich
    Lee Heinrich says:

    Each and every one of your projects is just so beautiful and inspiring, Lee! I wholeheartedly agree with goal #1 – I have a similar one and I am SO SO excited to get started! Happy New Year!

  16. Martha
    Martha says:

    Lee, thank you for all your generosity this year…everything you did was fabulous. I hope that you continue WIP as it really did help me keep my priorities a little better. I totally understand you wanting to do a little more for your family this year…I found myself shopping right before Christmas and yet I made all this handmade stuff all year…where did it go? So here's too doing all the things we want to do for those we love….Happy New Year!

  17. angela
    angela says:

    Lots of great stuff done this year! It's funny – going into 2011 I had ODed on swaps and bees – planning on taking a year off. Luckily when Elizabeth sent me the email asking to join, I for some reason decided to say Yes. So glad I did! But cutting back was VERY GOOD.

    Also, I was a MAJOR knitter before quilting, and I may be picking up my needles a bit again next year. I had a request to do some private lessons for a friend's child. A little project for myself along the way would be fun, too.

  18. amy smart
    amy smart says:

    Good for you Lee – I'm so impressed with all that you've done this year. And I love what you said about saying no more. I've started to do this a little better myself and it has made life more enjoyable. Hearing you say it, girds me up to do better myself.

    So glad I was able to meet you in real life this year! I hope to see you again soon. Best wishes for 2012!~

  19. DianeLoves2Quilt
    DianeLoves2Quilt says:

    I really resonated with your statement about feeling confident finishing quilts- not just piecing the tops. I too have a renewed interest in knitting… must be something in the air. I like your WIP Wednesdays. My daughter tipped me off to your blog and I love it.

  20. traceyjay
    traceyjay says:

    Beautiful quilts Lee! It's been so great to have "met" you… wishing you a happy, happy 2012! (And I might have to bug you about potty training tips here soon). 😉


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