24 December 2017

Best of 2017 and Plans for 2018

Thank you so much for following along and taking part in the fun times we share here at Sew Fresh Quilts. As I reflect back on all the changes that have happened during the last 5 years, I am also mindful of all of the things that I am so thankful for.

Today I am celebrating my 5 year Blogiversary! Yes, it was 5 years ago today that I started this blog as a way to document my progress and to make connections with fellow quilters, like you! Thank you for all your kind comments left on my blog posts, in emails and on facebook and instagram. And for all the encouragement you give me. I couldn't have made it this far without your friendship and all of your support!

Now we are coming to the end of another year.

Time to take a look back on 2017 and see what has been accomplished. And to take a look ahead to 2018 and to make plans for the coming new year.

These are my Top 5 makes of 2017! It's hard to choose which quilts to put on this list at the end of the year. But I am excited to share this post and will be linking up to the party over at my good friend Cheryl's Meadow Mist Designs blog. This is her third year hosting this fun filled event and anyone can participate. Just write up a blog post sharing your 5 favourite makes from this year and join us at the party!

The Have a Jolly Little Christmas was a fun filled quilt along hosted at the beginning of this year. I made multiple quilts and table runners using the 12" blocks that were included. And I am especially happy with my sampler quilt shown above right. But also with those multi coloured deer on the top left! You know how I feel about animal quilt blocks?

The Forest Friends 2 was a pattern design idea shared the previous year. It was a lot of work figuring out the process of putting these blocks into pattern form. But once that was accomplished, I was inspired to make a table runner for my mom's birthday using the Cardinal and Blue Jay blocks and adding a few more birds. The table runner and wall hanging were incorporated into their own pattern called Birds of a Feather.

The Giraffes in a {Rainbow} Row was the highlight of a fantastic year! This design has become my logo and I love these bright and colourful cutie pies. This has been my all time most popular pattern. And this quilt came with me on my epic journey to Quilt Market in Houston this year and was featured in my booth. You can also see my four giraffe version shared in this post.

The Fox among the Birches was so much fun! So much fun that I had to make it twice! These wee foxes have made their way into a few quilts. Maybe again in the new year?

The Horse and Unicorn was a delight to make. I wanted to make every version offered in the pattern, which comes with instructions to make either the unicorn or the horse - and each comes in two sizes! For this year I managed to make the Unicorn in full size and the Horse in half size.

If you would like see all my other makes from this year please click here to visit my Gallery.

The following are my plans for 2018. My very first blog post was actually very much like a new year's resolution. For the past three years I have been participating in the planning party hosted with Yvonne of Quilting Jet Girl. And you can join us in this party too. 
Write your own post for your Plans for 2018 and come join us!

2018 Planning Party

Reflecting Back and Looking Forward.....

2017 has been a pivotal year for me. A year of finishes and a year of firsts.

But also a year of refining my FOCUS.

In the first couple of years, I concentrated on learning new techniques, sharing tutorials and quilting tips, and developing my own artistic style. 2015 was the year I discovered that my true passion lies in designing modern minimalist pictorial quilts using the STOP (Stitch.Trim.Openseams.Press) method. That discovery has become my focus. This is my niche. My happy place!

My pattern business has blossomed and bloomed over the past two years. This past year has seen a lot more wholesale interest and some of my paper patterns are now also being picked up by Keepsake Quilting and Nancy's Notions. And late in 2017 my patterns become available through Petersen-Arne distributors.

The year 2018 will be.... The YEAR OF CONTINUING TO FOCUS ON DESIGN!

2017 has been a pivotal year for me. A year of finishes and a year of firsts.

But also a year of branching out into the REAL WORLD.

In the first couple of years, I read about quilters who banded together. Those who enjoyed the company of others. Those who met with quilty friends or were members of real life groups and guilds. Although I have developed a lot of close friends through the internet and enjoyed meeting other like minded quilty peeps through the Let's Bee Social - I remained alone in real life - shut up in my own little sewing room.

During the past two years I have branched out of my safe zone and ventured out into the real world. I had begun to reach out to groups and guilds in my area and my events page quickly filled up with a list workshops and trunk shows that took me all over Ontario!!! 
I thought 2017 would have been a year of spending more time at home than away for Trunk Shows and Workshops, but my Events page filled up again and I made my way all over Ontario visiting guilds and meeting many wonderful people.What another exciting year of travelling and meeting so many new people and places.

I am thankful for the friendships that have been formed through my interactions with followers of this blog and the participants of the Let's Bee Social. Your support and your kind comments left on my post each week are appreciated more than you know. And I want to thank you all for providing me with the courage to reach out beyond the borders of the internet and for inspiring me to connect with people in my area who I otherwise would never have met.

This past year I also made my first trip to Houston, Texas for Quilt Market. It was way outside of my comfort zone. And a long way to travel. But I had my sister with me and had a wonderful time sharing my quilting adventure with her.


2017 has been a pivotal year for me. A year of finishes and a year of firsts.

But also a year of hosting fun QUILT ALONGS.

Hosting the Elephant Parade and then the Dog Gone Cute quilt along in 2015 had been so much fun that I decided to host a few more quilt alongs. In 2016 we quilted along to the Ugly Christmas Sweaters and the MOD Bear Paw. This past year I shared all the instructions for the HaveAJollyLittleChristmas quilt along which was so much FUN!!! All of these quilt alongs can be found by clicking on the Quilt Alongs page tab at the top of my blog, just below the header. And these quilt alongs will always be there, so you can join in at any time.

New to Sew Fresh Quilts in 2017 was a virtual quilting bee - the Sew Fresh Quilt Bee. 
In commemoration of Canada's 150th anniversary, Sew Fresh Quilts hosted a quilt bee which was our way of taking part in "Canada's Big Quilt Bee". Our quilt blocks were made into quilts for donation to the Ronald McDonald House charity.

I have had a few people inquiring about a quilt along for 2018. I don't have anything definite planned yet, but the past quilt alongs have been so much fun, I'm sure I will come out with something in the new year!

The year 2018 will be.... The YEAR OF CONTINUING TO QUILT ALONG!

Making my first quilt was the first step in this journey. It was made with love for my daughter.

Starting this quilting blog was the second step in this journey. You have shown me your love and friendship. And your emotional support has helped to keep me from feeling alone.

Starting a small business through this quilting blog was the third step in this journey. Your support and encouragement has helped me to regain my financial and emotional independence.

In the new year I am preparing to take the next step in my personal journey. I am making plans to leave my husband. It's been 19 years of hoping for things that I know are never going to be. And it's come to the place where all that hope is gone. My children deserve to know what it is like to live in a place that is peaceful and safe. And that is what I am striving to provide for them in this new year.

If you are a praying person.... Please keep us in your prayers as you celebrate this wondrous Christmas season. And thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Linking up with Yvonne of Quilting Jet Girl for her 2018 Planning Party. It's not to late to join in the FUN! Write your own post for your Plans for 2018 and come join the party!

2018 Planning Party

Also Linking up with Cheryl of Meadow Mist DesignsIt's not to late to join in the FUN! Write your own post for your Best of 2017 and come join the party!

Meadow Mist Designs

Thank your to each and every one of you for all your support throughout the year!!!

This sale is almost over!
Get 30% off any purchase of $30 USD or more for the remainder of 2017.

What are your plans for the coming year?

Looking forward to quilting along with you in 2018!!!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas...
a Happy New Year!


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Jenny said...

Hello Lorna
Merry Christmas wishes to you and your family, from New Zealand. I have enjoyed reading your blog, and marveling at the new designs which you produce. And it's been great to take part in Let's be Social link-up when I have something to share.
You now have a new phase in your life, branching out with just your children, and I'm sure all your readers, like me, wish you well and offer their supportive thoughts as you negotiate this journey.
With very best wishes to you and yours, Jenny

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Merry Christmas and many blessings unto you and your family as you enjoy and expand your journey. I have enjoyed your QALs, have many of your e-patterns, and enjoy the linky parties. Focus is my word for next year, too.

shoshu said...

they say you can't choose your family, but you can choose your friends. well, you can also choose those who inspire you, and you and your quilts and patterns are a definite inspiration for me. thank you.

Nancy J said...

Lorna, putting your plans into words is a huge step, and I'm sure your friends, close by and far away will be with you as you begin a new way alone, with your children for support and love as well.
The QAL, the designs, the goals, new friends, challenges, all give us part of what we are. I hope for you 2018 is a happier year, and we will see more wonderful patterns and more, as you share that talent and inspiration,Many fond greetings for you at Christmas.

Stitchin At Home said...

Merry Christmas! Hope 2018 is filled with happier times and of course a fun filled QAL.

Beth said...

Dear Lorna, You've enriched so many lives with your patterns and your talents, and have been so generous with your creations through your quilt-a-longs. Please know that you will have the support of the quilting community as you move forward. Thank you for trusting us with the truth of your journey.

Kerry said...

Your post had a little bit of sadness but an awful lot more hope. I wish you and the family a very Merry Christmas. Start as you mean to go on and you are definitely growing - quilting and designing-wise. Wishing you continued and more success with your quilty adventures. It was nice to see your fun photos at Houston with your sister - you were really enjoying yourselves.

For me this coming year means finally finishing the house decorating and hoping to move further into the countryside and find our dream smallholding - with room for me to have a nice big quilting room. I shall try to use my fabric rather than buying more. There's only so much that can be squeezed in! I hope to learn more about the other side of things like making bags etc. Stretching myself and draw my own designs more on the applique front. For every quilt top I make I intend to complete 2 until my few UFOs are not in a queue any more. I don't have many, but when I have caught up I shall see to it that the quilts completed as I go. A bit of a challenge as a new home will mean packing up to move and then more decorating when we find somewhere! And then just maybe I'll be able to have a longarm! LOL!

Again all the best and kind regards.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Lorna. I’ll think of you every Christmas from now on when I get out my Jolly Little Cristmas quilt. Thank you for sharing it. Your blog post felt like it was building up to a momentous announcement, but I expected it to be quilting related, not such a personal and enormous life change. Blessings on you and your daughters as you begin this new path forward. I’m not much for social media of any kind, follow very few blogs, no FB or Instagram or Twitter, but your generosity and inspiration have had such an impact on my quilting life that I had to post a comment. May 2018 bring all good things.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

good luck Lorna - big steps, been following you for awhile now and even though we do not make the same kinds of quilts it has been fun reading what you are up to. When I started to spot your patterns in Keepsake and Nancy's catalogs recently I was proud and thought hey I know that gal -even though we have never met :) You are young enough to start over again and face life in the eye and say you can do it - Good luck to you and your family!

Jenny - the lilac cat said...

I like a lot of your readers will be touched by your post not just your quilting journey but the next difficult personal steps. I will keep you in my prayers over the next weeks and months ahead. You are absolutely right you and your daughters deserve a home of peace, love and safety. I’ve always thought your blog and designs were exactly as your blog title suggests sew and fresh. Beautiful designs that so many of us have enjoyed making from your generous artistic talent and heart.

Vicki in MN said...

Lorna, it's been so fun to see you grow in the quilting world. You have come a long way my friend, I have followed you for several years and it has been wonderful. I wish you a peaceful, fun filled, adventurous 2018 in both your personal and business life! Take care and have a wonderful Christmas.

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

Sounds like some really good plans! I'll be getting to my list after Christmas. Your designs are really cute, and you have a market niche. Merry Christmas!

Joy said...

I have followed your blog since almost the beginning and I have been in awe of your journey. It's wonderful to see someone find their niche. So many never do. You have grown into that niche in such a wonderful way. This next year will be difficult, but so gratifying for you and your children. My best to you in 2018. Merry Christmas.

Quilter Kathy said...

You are a light for all of us Lorna... your courage inspires us!
Thank you for all the fun you have brought to our lives and may 2018 be the year that all that fun comes back to you! Sending you big hugs! Merry Christmas!

Connie Kresin Campbell said...

What a wonderful and inspiring heart-felt post my friend! I wish you and your children the best. I remember when you first started blogging and look how far you have come! Thank you for sharing all you do and good luck in the future.

Kay said...

Happy blogaversary. I especially love the foxes. Happy Christmas too. x

Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl said...

Goodness, Lorna, your growth and arc have been beautiful to behold. I pray for peace and strength for you in the year ahead. Sending my love.

BJ said...

Your post has so much thought behind it, but also strength. Strength in being able to recognize how far you've come and, now, where you want and need to go. Your design talent will take you far, and your focus and perseverance will provide support, as will the circle of friends and followers you've found along the way. Thanks for your adorable designs, best of everything to you in 2018, and a Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Dots said...

Merry Christmas Lorna. I wish you well in the steps forward. Above all- be safe. God bless.
You have wonderful patterns. Love your creative work. You will excel and expand, and increase! You are gifted. I believe there's much more coming of your talents.

MaryGin said...

I am so proud of you in your decision to make changes in your life. It’s hard, I know. You are not alone. The silver lining is that you will be a remarkable role model for your kids. My best wishes for goodness in 2018. Thank you fir generously sharing your work!

Emily said...

I wish all the best for you, Lorna, for the remainder of the year and all of next. Your quilt journey has been inspiring to me and I know your personal journey is inspiring to your children. Much love and prayers to you and yours, and Merry Christmas!

Cheryl said...

Merry Christmas! I have enjoyed your blog and our friendship for years and I love hearing about your new patterns and quilting activities. I wish you a wonderful 2018 full of fabric and love!

Alice said...

Merry Christmas to you Lorna!!! I love your blog and your patterns. I have to say that you definitely inspire me. Even though I did not get my Have a Holly Jolly Christmas quilted, I did finish the top and it is on my list for January to finish. As well as making some smaller gifts for next year using some of the blocks. Also have acquired several of your other patterns that I need to get busy on. Want you to know that I will happily join your next quilt along! I will definitely be saying prayers for you. Everyone deserves to feel safe and loved and you are such a giving person. May you truly have a Happy New Year!!

Mari said...

Happy blogaversary and merry Christmas! You've done so many amazing things, and you're brave to make some big changes in the days ahead. It must be painful, and I'm sorry for that, but I'm sure you'll come out the other end just fine, both personally and in your business. All my prayers and best wishes for a wonderful 2018!

Rosemary B❤️ said...

Oh Lorna, you can count on my prayers.
I am so proud to know you.
Merry Christmas from Northern Virginia, just 35 miles west of DC where America is getting great again ...lol
Happy Christmas with the peeps you love.

Sewmom18 said...

I will be praying for you and your children. I have been reading your blog almost since the start. Have a Merry Christmas.

Jane Holbrook said...

Hi friend,
I just finished sewing up 3 of your patterns: a big horn sheep and two hippos. They are not just pictures, they are critters with personalities. You have indeed found a niche and in it you shine! I have such fun working with your ideas.
I admire your open authenticity. I am inspired by your creativity and hard work. You have set your intention for a happy and prosperous New Year, and it will happen. My hope for you is that you will not feel alone, because so many of us have your back.
I will also be holding you and your family in my heart, Blessings, Jane Holbrook

Paula DiMattei said...

May your best day in 2017 be your worst day in 2018. I’ll be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers 💕

Renae Kerrigan said...

I so enjoy following your blog. You have inspired me, and helped me make my first quilt - Elephant Parade! And I am so encouraged to hear that this blog has helped you find some independence and a sense of self again. You are very brave, and I wish you all the best as you transition to a new life.

Diane Harris, Stash Bandit said...

Dear dear Lorna, it is so inspiring to read your story! You've found your creative voice and you're starting down a new road in life. My best thoughts, hopes and prayers for you in the new year and the new season of life. I walked a similar road once and I understand the ups and downs. All the most wonderful things are wished for you going forward, my friend!

Sandra Walker said...

A few months ago I went back to your first posts and read though them. It is truly inspiring how far you’ve come from that shy quilter/blogger! Reading about ALL (Houston especially; loved that post) your accomplishments, your fame, LOL, but it’s true, your future plans, and knowing that at the heart of it is a humble caring honest and open person makes my heart swell that I count you amongst my blogging dear friends. All the best next year. Hugs. And may I add that although I live your newest moose, those giraffes—!! Excellent logo choice.

Mary Huey said...

Thanks for sharing all your inspiration and your journey, Lorna. I'm happy for you as you find your way and will keep you and your children in my heart a you take this next step! Looking forward to it!!

Christine said...

Thanks for sharing. I am sorry that your personal life has been such that it required this hard decision. It is important for your children to be in a happy and safe environment and also to have an example of knowing when to move on. It takes a lot of courage to make changes.

Hang in and keep quilting.

Val's Quilting Studio said...

Hi Lorna!!! I enjoyed reading about your growth and progress. i noted your quilt along...need to do that again...as it was so fun. I'm sorry to hear about the personal changes you have approaching...but you have to follow your heart. You are in my prayers. Happy New Year girl. V:)

Karin @ BluePip Designs said...

These are all beautiful. I love the giraffes!

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Happy blogaversary and Happy New Year! I love your quilts ;)

Julie Cefalu said...

Congratulations on 5 years of blogging and your many accomplishments since then, Lorna! I think I started following you early on and I'm so happy to see how successful your blog and pattern designing has been. You have definitely found your sweet spot, friend!

I will definitely keep you in my prayers for the coming year. I know that you have a big mountain to climb, but it will be "heaven" when you get to the top! Best wishes for a wonderful New Year in 2018.

Lori said...

Love all that you do! All the best to you and your family as you follow your journey.

Lisa J. said...

You know I just love love love the giraffes. I haven't visited as much lately due to my own issues but I want you to know that I applaud your courage as you move forward with the changes in your personal life. I'm not a praying person but I will hold you in my thoughts and meditations.

Christine S said...

You certainly share a lot of happiness to everyone through your work and your blog. I'm similar in that my only real quilting relationships are online. I'm glad you branched out and are having success and getting to see real live people! You deserve all the good things. I feel grateful for the online community and have asked for prayers a lot lately myself. So please know, you and your children are in my prayers and I wish you all the best. May you have continued success and lots of sunshine in your life. Hugs :)

Lisa S. said...

Lorna, I wish you and your kids the best as you make this giant change. Thanks for all you do for us quilters!

Marian said...

What a great year you have had. I am not sure how I missed the Forest Friends 2 quilt, but it is gorgeous. I enjoyed doing the Have a Holly Jolly Little Christmas QAL, it was a lot of fun and such a great design. Here is to a great 2018.

Karin said...

That was a nice write up of your journey...which I have been part of on and off through your weekly link up party and popping in every now and then to see what you are up to. Love your patterns and wishing you continued success as you venture out of your comfort zone. All the best for 2018!

Kate @ Smiles From Kate said...

I can hardly believe you only started this journey five years ago, Happy Blogaversity, you have come so far and deserve your success. I wish you all the luck in the world for 2018, in both your business life and on your personal journey. Follow your heart and you won't go far wrong, I will remember you in my prayers.

Calicojoan said...

If there is one person who inspires me more...it has to be you. Your patterns are all endless bundles of joy. I fell apart getting my Jolly Little Christmas quilt done this year with the wedding planning, but it's back on my table to work on. Thank you for your inspiration and patterns that bring so much happiness to all. Looking forward to see what you have in store for the new year!

Little Black Cat Quilting said...

It is fun to look back at where things started and how far you've come. Good luck with your new year and all the goals you've made. Sending a prayer up for you and your kids as you move forward.

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

Congratulations on five years!! I've enjoyed following you and your quilting creations. Sorry to hear about your personal issues, but thinking of you and sending up prayers. You are a strong person. Kudos for making a tough decision.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Congrats on 6 years, but, sorry about your marriage. I'll be praying for you.

helenjean@midgetgemquilts said...

I've been catching up on my blog reading Lorna . First congratulations on your successful blogging and burgeoning sewing life and a happy new year . Next , I am sorry things have been unhappy fir you in your personal life that you have made this courageous decision to end your marriage . I will be thinking about you as embark on this new and happy phase of your life . Xxxx

A Quilting Chick said...

*hugs* My friend, I completely understand where you are with the personal issues. It took me 19 years to get out too. This part you're going through right now is the hardest part. And it's a terrifying mix of difficulty, tears, thrills, and the epiphanies that you really can do it. If you EVER need to chat, you know where I am. Lot's of hugs and prayers being sent your way.

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