Friday, January 1, 2016

Beginning the New Year With the Old

Are you a list maker? Historically I am not - I just mentally go over what I need to do and begin. The process of preparing for a move after so many years in our current home (27+) has got my mind going in all sorts of directions for things that need to get done before the move is imminent. So many, in fact, that I find I really do need to be listing them. Unfinished projects is a category that's high on the list. I don't want to have a pile of things that never got finished, so this past summer I began really disciplining myself not to buy new supplies and patterns, or spend a lot of time surfing social media (think Pinterest, Instagram, blogs, flickr, etc.) looking at all the latest and greatest. Instead I pulled out my unfinished projects and assessed how they might be put to use - either as is, or with minimal additional work. As a starting point I chose my French General Swoon blocks.

Five French Swoon blocks all in a row

I nick-named these blocks French Swoon. I've mentioned before that Rouenneries by French General is my all time favorite fabric. You really can't go wrong with any of French General's fabric lines. The subtle color shadings and patterns mix and match so well and add rich depth to any textile project. Rouenneries first came out about the time I began quilting in earnest and by the time I discovered it most quilt shops were down to odd bits and pieces left over. I searched far and wide on Etsy and quilt shop Web sites to collect whatever I could find. Perhaps that's what makes my stash so precious to me :o)

When the Swoon pattern (by Thimbleblossoms) came out my sewing skills were just about at the point where I thought I could make these blocks. They are pretty complicated - each block is made up of 43 little units including squares, half-square triangles, and flying geese. Most of the Rouenneries I had at that time came from 5" charm squares, so I could not make the original 24.5" block,  Instead I just about broke my brain and reduced the pattern down to make 12.5" blocks. It took me quite a bit of figuring (math is not my strongest area) to come up with the fabric dimensions. I was pretty proud of myself when I got the first block done:

French Swoon!
My first 12.5"-ish Swoon block

Now, one interesting challenge I can point out to you about going back to old projects - you will notice right away that your sewing skills have improved since the item was initially made. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity. First, I discovered that since I had yet to master the perfect scant 1/4" seam all five of my Swoon blocks are a different size...this will be interesting. Next, I noticed that since I made these four years ago...and my sewing skills have improved since then...I am no longer worried about ruining them when it comes time to quilt them...can you say, "HOORAY!" with me. Most quilters know that feeling in the pit of the stomach about not wanting to quilt your "perfect" top because you'll ruin it. Well now I can clearly see that's it's not perfect to begin with. How's that for taking the pressure off :o)

Back in the spring I happily discovered that these five, already completed blocks, will make a beautiful runner for our dresser - no additional blocks needed.

New life for French Swoon blocks
Envisioning a runner for our dresser

Having just finished all of the things I needed for Christmas giving I'm ready to begin the new year with an old project. Really, I can't wait!

Hope you find a gem to begin your year with - be it an old one like mine, or a fresh new start! I'd love to hear what you'll be working on :o)


  1. I can completely empathize with the thoughts running through your head about preparing to move after such a long time in one place! It took about six months for us to go through every. single. thing. to finally purge to the point of feeling elated about it. Being unburdened by stuff is one of the best feelings in the world. I'll have to say though that I did not focus on finishing WIPs or UFOs. I just examined each one to decide if I REALLY wanted to finish it. Though I gave away at least a dozen UFOs, I moved with 15 more. Sad to say, but I've only finished a couple of them. After going completely modern with my quilting style and fabrics, it's tough to return to the dull colors I used to like. And I have some beautiful, almost finished projects! Wish I had the urge or motivation to complete them, as you're doing. I hope you find great satisfaction in doing this.

  2. Happy New Year! I remember these blocks and it seems like it was just a year ago that you were making them. :)
    I am doing a bucket list this year. I made a list of projects I have wanted to make for a long time and am going to pick some to start this year.
    Good luck with the packing!

  3. You are a list maker! You just don't write them down. I keep lists in my head for some activities and lists on paper for others. . . Are you familiar with Sharyn Craig's "Setting Solutions"? She has great ideas for setting blocks that aren't quite the same size. The soft red and gray colors of your Swoon blocks are indeed lovely. Happy 2016!

  4. Those 5 blocks are gorgeous. I can only imagine a whole quilt of them. Wow!!

  5. A runner for your bureau is a great idea! I have a couple of scrap quilt ideas and a tub full of wanna-do projects.

  6. I am definitely and have always been a list-maker. ;-) Really cool that you re-purposed these blocks - we all should do that more!


Thank you so much for visiting my blog! I love it when you share your thoughts, so please leave a comment.

I respond to comments and questions via e-mail. If your profile is not linked to your e-mail then check back here for a reply.