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Best 5 of 2015 and Plans for 2016

Posted on: December 26th, 2015 by Lorna McMahon

2015 has come and gone. A year of finishes and a year of firsts. Looking back through my gallery of finishes for the year as I prepared this post, has also prompted me to reflect on all the changes that have been a part of things here at Sew Fresh Quilts during the last 12 months. And all of the things that I am so thankful for.

Elephant Parade

In January of 2015, I announced that I would be hosting the Elephant Parade quilt along. This quilt along ran from the beginning of February until end of March. Now this was not the first quilt along I ever hosted. But it was the first one that I would consider to have been a real success. This quilt along was a wonderful opportunity to make so many new friends from all over the quilty universe. It was such a great pleasure to see the projects everyone was sharing and read about how much fun they were having in making those elephant mamas and their babies. And this was the most fun I had all year!

On Point

Another finish from the past year was my On Point quilt. This was not my first time making the blocks that were used in the quilt, but it was the first time they were used in an on point setting. This was also my first time making a quilt sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop. This quilt helped to reinforce my love of making all solids quilts.

Kona Little Blooms

Speaking of all solids quilts, a personal favourite of mine from 2015 is my Kona Little Blooms quilt. Again, this was not my first time making the blocks that were used in the quilt, but this was the first time they were made entirely from solids and used in a full size quilt – 99 blocks in all. This is a quilt that just simply makes me happy. Those scrappy, bright blocks, framed by that black Scribbles binding, take me back to my own childhood and make me thing of how much fun it was to break into a box of Crayola crayons and a fresh, new colouring book. This quilt, and the photos from that warm summer day out on the front lawn with my kids and that cat, just simply make my heart happy.

Family of Three for Quiltmaker magazine

When it comes to baby quilts, the Family of Three was my most treasured make of the entire year. This quilt and the instructions for making it can be found in the January/February 2016 issue of Quiltmaker magazine. This quilt was based on an earlier design and was then redeveloped to include the entire bodies of the giraffes.

Forest Friends

Reinforcing my desire to design animal blocks, my most cherished make of 2015 has got to be the Forest Friends quilts made using the soft and supple selections from the Cotton Couture collection. Sponsored by Michael Miller Fabrics, these forest animal themed blocks were used to make a twin quilt, a baby quilt and a number of quilted cushions. The development of this quilt design has shown me that blocks do not need to be of the same size to be used in a quilt using a setting of simple rows and columns, but rather that those blocks can be used to make panels. The blocks within those panels can then be rearranged to create a setting that is rather unique.

Reflecting Back and Looking Forward…..

2015 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!

Back in May of 2014, I shared a post in which I had interviewed some very well known (and a few not -so-well-known) quilting bloggers, asking them to share a word of advice. The question posed to them was, “What is the most important quality for an emerging quilting blogger to possess?” The purpose of this post was, of course. to share their advice with my readers. But it was also to take what they had shared and apply it to my own life. my quilting/blogging life here at Sew Fresh Quilts. I am very thankful that they were willing to provide a few words of wisdom to share with my readers…. But I also learned a lot from performing this interview, and since then, I have striven to put this great advice to good use.

During the 100th post for the Let’s Bee Social, which you can read in full here, I mentioned my Giraffe quilt would be in the Quiltmaker’s January/February 2016 issue of their magazine. And I basically said that I did not wish to toot my own horn concerning this achievement. The response was overwhelming. You encouraged me to embrace and be proud of being published. Your heartfelt comments of praise and kindness are truly appreciated and I have taken them all to heart. With your permission, I promise to embrace any future publications or accomplishments and to be proud of them.

However, in that post I expressed my intention to stay on my own course. To not lose my perspective. And to remain humble. Not to change my style of making to suit the quilty powers that be. Not to make something in an attempt to seek the approval of others or to fit this square peg that I am, into any big, round hole that is popularity. I remain resolved to stand behind this conviction. Believe me. You won’t be reading any posts or seeing any projects during the coming new year that are not in tune with this conviction.

The team at Quiltmaker made me feel like a part of the family. They treated me well. They did not expect me to change my style or to make something to suit what is considered right or popular or modern. They simply invited me to submit designs. They accepted those designs without modification or complaint of any kind. And then they did something a little extra special. And it meant an awful lot to me. They shared my work on their social media in a way that went above and beyond the self promotion of their magazine. It came across as genuine admiration. And I am truly thankful for their kindness.

The year 2016 will be…. The YEAR OF FOCUSING ON DESIGN!

2015 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 year I have branched out of my safe zone and ventured out into the real world. I reached out to groups and guilds in my area and the word is getting around. My events page now lists a lineup of upcoming workshops and trunk shows that will take place in the coming new year. And below that are listed a few events that I was delighted to have taken part in during 2015.

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.

The year 2016 will be…. The YEAR OF Sew Fresh Quilts ON THE ROAD!

2015 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 has been the most fun that I have had during the entire year. Because of that fact – I will definitely be hosting a few more quilt alongs in this new year. What the quilt alongs will be is still yet to be determined.

I have added a new Quilt Alongs page tab at the top of my blog, just below the header. Here you will find links to both the Elephant Parade and the Dog Gone Cute quilt alongs. And all the future quilt alongs to come in this New Year.

The year 2016 will be…. The YEAR OF THE QUILT ALONG!

Linking up with Yvonne of Quilting Jet Girl for her 2016 Planning Party.
It’s not to late to join in the FUN! Write your own post for your Plans for 2016 and come join the party!

Linking up with Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs for her very first linky party.
It’s not to late to join in the FUN! Write your own post for your Best of 2015 and come join the party!
Cheryl is also hosting a NEW Pattern Writing begins in January.
Be sure to sign up to follow her at Meadow Mist Designs for what is certain to be a very informative and interesting series for those of you who have ever thought about developing your own patterns. Or ever wondered just what is the process for pattern writing.

What are your plans for the coming year?
Do you have any suggestions for a quilt along?

Looking forward to quilting along with you in 2016!!!

Happy New Year!

Keep On Quilting On!
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53 Responses

  1. Dorothy says:

    So when are you coming to the US—how do we get you here?–I live in the Pacific NW

  2. Dear Lorna, fantastic post! I love your quilts and patterns! You have found/created your own unique style and we love it! Dog Gone Cute qalhop was the best I have ever joined. One of my many favourites in your quilts is the Kona Blooms! It really blooms and I hope to make that one day. I'm looking for to see what you have in your sleeve for the new year! Happy Holiday! x Teje

  3. Love your blog post and your blog!! I have just finished making 11 pillows for my grandkids using a number of your animal block patterns. I will be doing a blog post on them after the 29th when we have our Christmas get together :-). I have a granddaughter that loves outdoors and is always picking flowers. I would love to make her a quilt using flowers in lovely bright kona solids in the same style as the animals you make. Are you inspired to design more flowers for this year's quilt-a-long? Just an idea!! Thanks so much for your inspiration and blogging. I enjoy very much!! Jacqui in SW ON Canada

  4. Cheryl says:

    What a wonderful post! I love how you summarized each part of your quilting life from 2015 and lead into your plan of 2016. I look forward to following you on your continued journey next year!

  5. congratulations to all that you have accomplished – me I just want to continue to make quilts and finish them, learn how to use my new Go Cutter and get my scraps organized.

  6. A fine year of quilty accomplishments, Lorna. What I love most about your blog is your generosity of spirit. Organizing QALs and blog hops takes a lot of effort, not to mention how you share your incredible patterns! I look forward to being a Sew Fresh Quilts groupie for a long, long time!

  7. Linda says:

    🙋🏼 Hi Lorna, Your quilt alongs have been so wonderful!!! I loved both of them this year. Thanks for the hard work you put into them for us to enjoy. 😃 I hope you're not starting one in January,I'm so busy!😂 March would be great for me!!! Lol!!!💙Linda

  8. Sewmom18 says:

    Thanks for all you have shared.My hopes for the new year is to find a balance of work,fun and getting things done that I want and need to do.Getting other peoples dresses done has taken over my life almost entirely.

  9. Whenever you are ready to send me an invite, Dorothy! I do have a valid passport and a valid driver's license. Would love to come for a visit!

  10. Carla says:

    Congratulations Lorna on your success! Enjoy the ride. I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines ; )

  11. Sheila says:

    Congratulations on a very busy and successful year! I loved your quilt alongside, especially \”Elephants on Parade\”. Can't wait to see what you have planned for us in 2016?

  12. Lorna, just loved your post and your humbleness in all of your achievements. I'm looking forward to your next Sew Alongs in 2016. Me, I would just like to concentrate on sewing baby quilts to give away. This project has always been close to my heart and your patterns would make any child happy. Love them!

  13. sam says:

    Congrats Lorna. Your patterns and blog are awesome. Looking forward to sharing 2016 with you.

  14. What a great way to reflect on 2015 and your plans for next year, Lorna. From my perspective you have found your niche and are doing an amazing job making quilts and having fun! I wish you much joy and success in 2016 and I look forward to watching you continue to grow.

  15. tubakk says:

    Dear Lorna. The elephant parade was the most fun quilt I worked with this year, too. I ran out of white fabric, and made a stop. But now it is on my \”to do\”-list for finishing in 2016. Thank you so much for all the fun you bring us. And I'm looking forward to seeing what your plans are for next year. Greetings from Turid in Norway

  16. Unknown says:

    I look forward to each of your posts. Seems that 2015 was a wonderful year for you. For me January 2016 will be finishing a Christmas present quilt for my daughter, and making a quilt for a friends baby that's due soon. The rest of the year is going to be for me to learn quilting techniques, I have a couple of Craftsey classes, the year long Online Quilting Retreat, a monthly mini quilt group, and some really great books that were gifts.Happy New Year to all

  17. This is such a great post! I don't know how you picked your favorite quilts because every one of your quilts is my favorite! 🙂

  18. Izzy says:

    What an incredible year you had! I loved reading your blog post and look forward to following your adventures in 2016!

  19. Karen says:

    What a great recap/planning post, but then I like all of your posts! I participated in the Elephant Parade QAL which was the first I joined. Doggone is on my list to make, but timing did not work for me to QAL. I can't wait to see what shows up on your blog next year and wish you all the success you deserve!

  20. Ioleen says:

    Wonderful post, Lorna. Thank you for all the posts you shared in 2015. I did the Elephant Parade QAL and must say it was lots of fun. I still have plans for Dog gone but going to make a pillow or two. Love the Forest Friends quilt. Looking forward to another great year of reading your blog and all the new things that are sure to come your way.

  21. You've made gorgeous quilts this year, and I am so glad to have found your blog, and the opportunity to do the Elephant Parade quiltalong. You were the source for a lot of the quilting joy I had this year.

  22. Farm Quilter says:

    Congratulations on finding your niche and for finding Quiltmaker as an outlet for your fabulous patterns! I loved making Elephant Parade and my new grandson loves it too!!! I'm looking forward to riding along with you on your journey in 2016!!!

  23. Great post Lorna. My favorite quilt for 2015 was the little blossoms. It is on my very long bucket list. My 2016 goals haven't jelled yet. I do want to finish 10 UFOs and I have a quilt to make for my grandson who is getting married in October. That is probably plenty to keep me busy this year, especially if I hand quilt the wedding quilt. Have a great new year. Debbie

  24. What a great year, Lorna! So many wonderful and deserved accomplishments. Can't wait to see what you sew up in 2016!

  25. Dear Lorna you know I'm a fan and have enjoyed watching your growth and well, love the niche you found for yourself!! I had so much fun with the Dog Gone Cute hop…at our Christmas party my husband actually pulled m quilt out in front of our whole house full of partiers exclaiming his lovefor me as a quilter…..LOL!!! Keep going girl. (I jus tgot home from our CHrismtas travels and now need to decide on my \”word\” for 2016…and maybe some quilty goals….) V:)

  26. Tish Stemple says:

    Lorna, what an amazing 2015! I got into blogging and learning about blogging as 2015 unfolded, and one thing I am thankful for, is finding you and your blog. I have had so much fun participating in your linky parties and even playing with the Dog Gone Cute quilt along. I can't wait to see where you go in 2016. Just keep being you, we love it!

  27. linda says:

    A great post! I did go back and retead your article on blogging. So many of those blogs have turned into just big advertisements for fabric companies or fabric they are designing. Ive stopped reading most of them. I hope that you are not going to evolve to that….

  28. Margo Yang says:

    What a great post! I enjoyed reading it so much, just like your other posts. I'm glad to get to know you more and to know that I'm not alone when you talked about tooting your own horn about your accomplishment. I was taught to be humble and not bragging about myself. I learned it a hard way when I came to the US. People see me as not having confident in myself because I didn't say how good I was at what I did.Thanks for all you did in the past year and thanks for letting me be a small part of your link up every week.

  29. Love receiving your fresh, clean and clear posts. This post was wonderful and as always enjoy seeing what your creative minds are up too! 2016 is going to be GREAT!

  30. Kate says:

    Congraats on such a personally satisfying year. Your quilts are fun and gorgeous. I couldn't pick a favorite. Good luck with all your aspirations for 2016, I hope it's at least as successful at this year.

  31. Jayne says:

    Your year has been amazing! I know 2016 will be just as good or better for you! Just keep inspiring us and be you…that's all!

  32. Carol S. says:

    You've had an amazing year and I've been right there wanting to sew it all! Here's to more of your sweet patterns in 2016!

  33. JanineMarie says:

    Lorna, your blog was one of the first ones I started reading regularly. I'm not even sure how I came across it, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it. One of the reasons is the good feelings I get just from looking at your sparkling quilts. I can't help smiling when I see them. I mean, just look at those five faves of yours at the top of this post. I'm amazed at where you've been in your quilting life and where you are going. So much growth in one year! Best wishes to you as you begin some new adventures while also keeping the familiar activities going. I'm not much of a goal setter, but I have a big quilt that really needs to be finished so I can focus on other things, and I have two promised donation quilts to make by March. That's all the goal setting I can handle for now.

  34. Jereena says:

    Congratulations on all your successes in the past year. I love reading your blogposts. They are very inspirational and positive. I am looking forward to the quiltalongs. Best of luck and wish you all the success in the year 2016.

  35. Frédérique says:

    I love your quilts!

  36. Lisa J. says:

    Just awesome Lorna: What else can I say. You've had a wonderful year (I'm not sure how you picked just 5) and I'm sure 2016 will be even more've found your voice and your place and you just keep on going. Looking forward to quilting and blogging along with you in 2016 !

  37. Great year Lorna! I've enjoyed linking up to Let's Bee Social, see you again in 2016!

  38. You've done so many great things this year and have inspired me so much. It's because of you that I've started collecting solids and want to make a quilt with them. Best of luck to you in 2016 and it's so great that you'll be getting out on the road!

  39. Yeah for an awesome 2015. It has been so great getting to know you and your patterns. I look forward to seeing what 2016 will bring. Good luck with your goals. All the best.

  40. Alison V. says:

    I am just totally in love with that Family of Three pattern! 🙂

  41. SarahZ says:

    Lorna! I love your reflections on 2015! You have accomplished so much, and shared so much with all of us! I can really relate to your observation and determination to enter \”real life\”…I too \”quilt alone\” except for blogland. But I do have some hopeful plans for making some \”real life\” adjustments as well. I know you will knock all your plans out of he park…I am so glad we are friends, and that I get to come along, to see what is next for Lorna! Here's to a colorful, amazing 2016!

  42. What a great round-up/goal setting post, Lorna! You certainly did accomplish a lot in 2015, and it looks like you're all set to accomplish a lot again in 2016. I hope you have a great year! Also, I'm glad to hear the folks at Quiltmaker were so great to work with. I've always loved that magazine, and I'd love to one day be in it too 🙂

  43. Lorna…you go girl!! I'm so happy to see you merging into the \”real world\”. Seriously if I didn't teach….hmmmmm…I wonder what I'd be doing??? I'm such a homebody when I'm not teaching….just know I'm cheering ya on!! (ANd please do continue to share your accomplishments…you are very humble and kind and NEVER come across as boasting…just sayin)

  44. Allison says:

    Your Kona Little Blooms and Forest Friends are hands down my two favorites this year. What has been nice for me as well, are the people that have crossed my path because of taking part in your link-ups. Since quilting in Germany is not as big as it is the Canada and the US, I never really thought that I would venture out of my sewing room to meet other quilters in person, but it turns out that now I am in the middle of starting a quilting group and we are now four!Looking forward to what 2016 brings!

  45. Lisa S. says:

    I'm so glad I found your blog in 2015! Happy New Year!!

  46. You have had quite a year! It's funny how many of your quilts I pinned before I \”met\” you on Instagram. Your style is one of my absolute favorites. I'm super excited to see what next year brings for you… I KNOW it will be amazing! (As for me… I'm thinking it might be the year of the Finish-It-Up… as in, get all these WIPs dealt with!)

  47. Lara B. says:

    Lorna, I want to tell you that you have always been one of the biggest influences on me as a quilting blogger. I want to emulate you as much as I can, especially when it comes to your kindness and genuineness.It has been a great delight to watch you grow, to watch you design and to see you taking part more and more and a very important part of the quilting community! You rock girl!

  48. I will have to keep watch for your next quilt-a-long.

  49. Stephanie says:

    Wow Lorna. You produced so much beautiful work this year, I am in awe. I also love your commitment to be true to yourself, and how generous you are with the community (myself included!). Congrats on a great year (and thanks for all the Let's Bee Socials) … can't wait to see what you do next!

  50. Melanie says:

    All your quilts look very lovely! The elephant one is on my todo list 🙂 I am glad you had such a great year and wish you all the best for 2016.

  51. Lorna, you have had such an impressive year! So glad to hear you have branched into the real world, you have so much to offer. I can't decide if On Point or Family of Three is my favorite. Although I do have a thing for giraffes 🙂 Happy 2106 I cannot wait to see what you design next.

  52. Mel says:

    I loved the elephant parade quilt…and then scrolled down to the flower one…and ended up liking them all! Beautiful quilting and beautiful photos!!

  53. Cut&Alter says:

    Just catching up with blogland at the moment and really enjoyed reading this post Lorna. It has been lovely getting to know over the past few months and I have to say the DGC was one of the highlights of my year too! I look forward to joining in with any QAL you have going (have just spied ugly Christmas sweater!!!) and seeing where you go and what you do in 2016. Best wishes and Happy New Year!