Today’s post is a guest post from the uber-talented Susan Ache. Susan is one of the contributing artists in my new book Sisterhood of Scraps. Susan shares with us all about hibernation and what she does in THE cold month in Florida. ( one little hiccup- that I am posting this in February but I think you will get the gist and enjoy Susan’s process.)
It’s not something I get to say often, but, I am a “guest blogger”. Thank you, Lissa, for inviting me to your space. Let’s get some introductions started. Happy New Year to everybody, I’m Susan Ache (pronounced like hockey without the H) and, I play just about every day on Instagram @yardgrl60. I live in Florida, sewing by day and stitching by night.
Now that you know all about me, let’s talk hibernation. I am not about to spend my fun blogging time talking about new year resolutions cleaning and organizing my sewing room with tips and hints. I am going to talk about how I turn my air down really low, throw food in the crockpot and hibernate in my sewing room for the month of January and sometimes February. Florida gets a few cold days in February while the rest of the country is bundled up and snowed in during January. Well, I like to be a part of that fun, so, let’s talk about what I like to spend my time doing.
Hibernating January is such a quiet month to plot and plan new quilt projects from my inspirations I have saved over the year. Let’s not even begin to think that I write it down or count the number of things I want to get done, I just like visuals to let me know that it’s all there for me when I want to start. You know those tabs you put in books to mark your favorites, or if you are like me, those patterns you put in a file, so you will never forget you want to make them. January is my time to sit and re-evaluate what I really want to get done and what I really have in my stash to accomplish that. I do love playing in my scraps, so most of the time, I am lucky enough not to have to cut into the “real” fabric, but, I do like to know that when there is something special I do want to make, I have the materials on hand. The best part about my process is that I don’t actually “kit” my projects. I get everything together, make little notes, and take a quick snapshot of it. I keep that little “kit” photo in an album in my camera phone and will always have exactly what I pulled that day right at my fingertips.
Here’s the thing, I love, and I can’t even begin to say how much I just love to sit down at the machine and make a quilt block. Hibernating January is my time to do this from all of my “kits” that I have pulled. There are three main reasons why I make a practice block. The first reason is that I like to see if I like the construction of the block and if there is possibly an easier way for me to construct it. The second reason, how many times have you started a quilt and realized halfway through that you don’t really even enjoy making the block. Well, by making just one or two blocks, I can pretty much tell if it is something I will enjoy making lots of. And, finally, my favorite reason of all, I have an extra block to throw in my “orphan” basket of quilt blocks, which always come in handy when I want to make a sampler quilt.
Having Hibernating January is also my time to play with all of the templates and rulers that I have randomly picked up at shops, shows, or online. Taking the time to see what those things can do certainly helps me have more fun during the year when I finally learn how to use them. Years ago, I found an entire little box in the back of my cutting table filled with all sizes of drunkards path templates. I spent Hibernating January figuring out how to make curved piecing more comfortable for me, and to this day, it is one of my very favorite features of a quilt or a quilt block, and I feel confident making them because I carved out some quiet non-stressful time to practice.
Susan’s quilt from another one of her books, All About Color.
So, you may not have time in January to hibernate and plot your year, but take some time that isn’t for just cleaning and organizing to play with the things that make you happy.
Thank you Susan for sharing your January with us.