A Few Thoughts on A Year of Making Frivols

My friend Simone asked me what I was going to do now that the Frivols were all finished.  “What do you have planned for 2019?” she asked, oh so sweetly.

Let me review:
Elizabeth's Lollypop Tree Quilt_7

2011-2014 I worked on my Lollypop Trees quilt.

2014-2015 I worked on Shine: The Circles Quilt.

christmas-tree_5halloween-1904_front2016 I did not one, but TWO, Quilt-A-Longs (Halloween and Christmas).
2017 I had shoulder surgery and it seemed to be the year of small quilts.

Northern Lights Medallion_4
2018 was the year of the Frivols, plus the year of working in Painter’s Palette Solids.

And 2019?

It’s time for a bit of introspection and reflection here.

I am feeling a bit bereft because I feel like I have nothing in the pipeline, nothing in the brain for creativity.  I see everyone’s IG feed, their blogs, I go to quilt shows and there’s just no sparking going on. Awol Erizku, a contemporary artist, titled one of his paintings “When You See Too Much, You See Nothing;”  perhaps this is what’s happening here.

And so the “what now?” kind of morphs into “Nobody’s at Home in My Head” in spite of the fact that I have successfully slain the Frivols Tins that have been living rent-free in my closet for two years.  I recognize that this “I-am-a-useless-cretin” thinking often crops up after an extended period of making, of pedal-to-the-metal.

I am happy that I finished my goal of making all those quilts, but really, I am mostly happy that I am finished with Frivols.  It has been a year of learning, a year of exploring different palettes and fabric styles, but mostly, it has been a year of sewing someone else’s creativity and living in some else’s quilty head.  That last part has been the hardest.  I was pretty excited right off the bat to  make these but after about the thousandth HST, or another tin of colored print fabrics to be augmented with a background of white…I had to dig deep to finish up this project.

It’s like when someone wants you to make them a quilt, and you agree, all the while thinking in your head I can do anything but one of those Star Wars panels, and then they show up at your house with Star Wars panels, it’s torture to get that quilt made.  I wonder if this happens sometimes with our UFOs, if all of a sudden our interest or our tastes change, so what was once interesting, is now banal and you just can’t stand to work on it.

Frivols 12_12a

But I’m happy to be finished.  I set a goal, I powered through it, and I appreciate all the cheering from my readers.  You made a difference, as always.

I will donate some of these quilts to the Neonatal Quilt Project in our Guild and to the group that gives quilts to the foster kids who have aged out.  I will gift a few more, and my favorites will live at our house.

Thank you all!


20 thoughts on “A Few Thoughts on A Year of Making Frivols

  1. To start, congratulations on the Frivols finish – it was fun watching and I admit there were moments of envy (that I did not jump on that train). This year I hit the wall and am still trying to get the car turned around: how many is too many?! I made 13 quilts this year (4 for gifts, quilted 4 myself, checked a t-shirt quilt off the list) and of late have enjoyed a number of “littles”. These smaller creations have given me greater artistic freedom and while a steady diet of them is unlikely, it has also given me time to reflect on the quilts and methods I really want to tackle. And in the process I tackled 2 new things (new to me): prairie points and spray basting! Maybe at this stage of our quilt lives, little challenges are ok.

  2. I completely agree about making something based on someone else’s creativity – I love designing quilts even though most of them remain in my head or as a sketch in a book. It has been lovely seeing what you have made with the Frivols though

  3. I know exactly what you’re feeling! Glad to be done, but at the end it starts to feel like an assignment rather than something joyful.

  4. You’ve had such productive and creative years so I am not surprised that you are running into that wall. It’s hard to top what you have done. I just enjoy sewing beautiful quilts to share, whether it is my design or not. It is pure joy to cut little pieces of fabric and sew them back together, creating eye candy. Plus…..it’s so much more productive than putting jigsaw puzzles together only to take them all apart again. My goal is to use up at least of bit of the fabrics in my stash. That’s a win/win in my book.

  5. I enjoyed seeing you complete all those frivols. Congratulations. I have only 2 and they sit on a shelf as well. I agree with your post about tastes change or the colors are just not what I want to work on. I have made a few quilts for other people where they picked out the fabrics and it took so long to finish them as they just didn’t seem “right”. I hope you find something that will find the spark for next year. It will be fun to see what you come up with.

  6. Might I suggest immersing yourself in your favorite colors and fabrics and creating an improve quilt? After I work on a quilt for someone else or one that is the same block repeated, randomly sewing beautiful colors and fabrics together is SO MUCH FUN!

  7. What a run of lovely quilts you’ve had for the past 7 years (is it the 7 year itch?). Donating and sharing what you have made with others is great, too. Perhaps resting your mind until January will allow your creative light to shine for your next project. Happy Holidays.

  8. Congratulations on all of your finishes! It might just be time for your creative self to rest and recharge for a bit.

  9. Wow this is spot on! “all of a sudden our interest or our tastes change, so what was once interesting, is now banal and you just can’t stand to work on it.” AND “it has been a year of sewing someone else’s creativity and living in some else’s quilty head.” Such wise words as I struggle to finish a quilt for my sister that I can hardly stand to work on now. Let’s both pray for new inspiration in the new year. 🙂

  10. You have so many AMAZING finishes Elizabeth. I have no doubt you will find new inspiration when the time is right. Take the time to let it develop and come from the heart rather than any obligation. I’ve often told my husband I have quilter’s ADD. I start new things and quickly lose interest so they become WIPs. My guild is doing an interesting WIP challenge for 2019 and I decided to play along even though I usually don’t do those types of things. It will be a good way for me to get a few things finished. Finished isn’t a word I can often claim. Wishing you new inspiration for 2019. It will come. Maybe it won’t be in quilting but it will come.

  11. There is definitely time after completing a project where I feel bereft. Nothing appeals to me to start, no UFOs tempt me to finish them, and I tend to wander about the house searching. Eventually I wander back into my sewing room and begin to pet the piles of fabric that I have been protecting (sometimes for decades) from my rotary cutter. Eventually something speaks to me, and I begin. I am convinced I need to be creatively empty for something to fill the spot. Enjoy the space, Elizabeth. With such creativity as yours, the next bright shiny thing will soon appear.

  12. I love what Susan said in her comment above. I often feel the same way after I finish reading a really good book. Give yourself space and time to allow your creativity to begin percolating again. I have no doubt that it will.

  13. I certainly think we fall out of love with our WIPs, especially if they sit there too long, and the next ‘new’ one is shinier and brighter! Congratulations on sticking to your self-imposed Frivols challenge and there will be thankful recipients too! BTW did you see your Christmas quilt on the Quilt Inspiration blog today? I’m guessing they got you permission to use it?

  14. Congratulations! Those sound like some good places to share some of your quilts with.

    Sent from my iPhone


  15. Many congrats on your accomplishment. Before I got to the comments I wondered what I would write but then I thought – maybe it’s time for something historical. I have been staring at a campaign pin for someone I worked hard for this past election. After many days of counting ballots, she won. I keep looking at the pin thinking I need to do something – maybe a mini quilt. This is a time period which needs to be remembered I think so we don’t repeat it but then again, that’s only one viewpoint. Anyway, maybe you could choose something historical. Whatever it is, I’ll look forward to seeing it.

  16. So many lovely comments here, I’m not sure I have anything to add. You are between. That’s always unsettling. But it will resolve and in a while (tomorrow? a few months?) you’ll have your own direction to take. In the meantime be patient with yourself. It’s okay to not know what to do next. It’s okay to pick things up and feel a rush of excitement, only to have that feeling fade almost as quickly. With the holidays on us, perhaps feel the spirit of it enter you, taking up the space of the discomfort.

    And if you’d like to brainstorm through ideas, just think out loud, feel free to contact me. It would be lovely to visit and hear you process some of the things you’re considering.

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