week 52 recap: 365 days of handwork challenge

quilt, binding, matching, solid fabric, hand, stitching

Here is a recap of Week 52 (and final!)  of my 365 days of handwork challenge (Monday, April 2 –Sunday, April 8, 2018): If you missed it, you can read about the challenge here.

Where did the last 52 weeks go? When I started this personal challenge a year ago, I did it as a way to be accountable to myself. I wanted to see what I could accomplish in a year if I gave myself a specific goal. I also wanted to inspire others to give handwork, like applique, a try and show how much can be accomplished even if you only have a few minutes a day.

In this last week, I attached sleeves to five quilts for an upcoming show. Of course in the mad dash, I didn’t get a photo before packing them up.

So… how did the year long challenge go?

Here are a few of my thoughts…

It was a way to relax, not a race (most days).

I say most days because let’s face it—there are going to be days with deadlines (as in the case of, uh oh … I need to ship that quilt out tomorrow and it still doesn’t have a sleeve or a label on it!).
handwork, quilting, applique, needle-turn applique, progress, modern quilt, mini quilt, hawaiian, inspired, modern, design

For me, handwork is really a way to relax whether I’m in my living room or traveling. I love machine piecing, but because of the speed of the machine it is so easy to put the pedal to the metal and race through the process. You just can’t do this with handwork. Each stitch takes time and makes you slow down.
handwork, tools, recommendations, needles, thread, scissors, Aurifil, thimble, traveling, quilting

Having the right tools helps a lot with handwork. I get asked a lot about my favorite products.
Here is a link to products I use, love and recommend.
This is an affiliate link. Specific products are selected by me and are only products that I genuinely use, love and endorse. 

Want more reasons on why handwork rocks? Check out the blog post I wrote for Craftsy here.

Doing a little bit each day adds up in a BIG way!

Most days, I only got about 15 minutes of handwork in and if you’ve been following my blog, you know that towards the end of the challenge there were days that no handwork happened. Life gets busy sometimes. Despite that, I got A LOT DONE this year!
Quilts by Whole Circle Studio modern quilts, english paper piecing, applique, needle-turn applique, binding, quilting,

Here is what I accomplished (a little each day) over the last 365 days:

• needle-turn appliqued: 9 projects
• english paper pieced: 2 projects
• buried threads on 25 projects
• hand binding on 33 projects
• applied sleeves to 23 projects
• applied labels to 23 projects
(in case any of you are wondering, really? That much? Some needle-turn
 applique projects are just a block and there are lots of mini quilts in these statistics.)

What’s next?

While I’m not going to be documenting my daily handwork progress, I still intend to do a bit of handwork each day and occassionally blog about it. Lately I’ve been doing a lot more English Paper Piecing, including a project I designed that I’d love to release for others to be able to make. I also am still deeply in love with needle-turn applique, so plan on seeing more of those projects soon!

I hope you’re inspired to get started (or keep going)! What will you challenge yourself to do? I’d love to hear—please feel free to leave comments below.

Quilt progress by Whole Circle Studio. English Paper Piecing, modern quilting


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  1. I like to have some kind of hand sewing project at all times. It is very rewarding. I picked up quilting a little over a year ago after no sewing for over three decades due to work and a sewing machine that lost its mind. But I did not really want to do much hand sewing…

    My first discovery was that handsewing the binding to the back is not that daunting…

    Then I tried EPP, and doing a little every week, I had a full sized grandmother’s flower garden done…

    I finished the the hand quilting on a vintage quilt. It was not as slow as I imagined.

    Happy hand quilting!

    1. Hi Brit, Thank you for reading the blog and your comments. It’s always fun to hear other quilters experiences!
      Keep quilting! Sheri

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