Wrapping Up 2021 – A Look Back at Favorite Quilts

Here we are at the end of another calendar year. I always enjoy looking back at the end of the year to see the big picture of what really happened. Sometimes when I’m in the weeds of daily living, it’s hard to realize – and appreciate – all that was accomplished. The cumulative effect is always something that surprises me and gives a nice sense of accomplishment.

Here are some of the projects and favorite quilts completed this year. (Please – in case should anyone judge and/or feel themselves lacking in comparison – keep in mind that making quilts is my job, not just a pastime or hobby. This is by no means normal quilt for most people. I definitely qualify for abnormal in more ways than one.)

Click on the bold link underneath the pictures for more details on patterns, fabric, etc for any of these projects.

Blue and White Quilts

Indigo, Chambray and Navy traditional quilt

Blue Quilts seemed to be a trend for me this year – especially quilts made with chambray and indigo wovens. Here are a few: This Chambray Blues baby quilt (click here) was made from a combination of said indigo chambray wovens and a pattern from a new book by Jessica Dayon.

Contemporary blue and gray quilt made by Amy Smart

This modern blue/gray/taupe star quilt (click here) is made from my own Palace Court Pattern.

Blue and White Sentimental Stars Quilt Pattern by Amy Smart

And I finished the year this winter with a blue and white solids two-tone quilt. You can find the pattern info and quilt details on the Sentimental Stars quilt here.

Red, White, and Blue Quilts

I also added a little red for another combination on the blue + white quilt variation, making multiple red, white, and blue quilts.

Red, White, and Blue US flag quilt pattern

One of my favorite new quilt patterns this year is the Americana inspired Fly the Flag – it’s a quick US Flag quilt with the option of using a variety of traditional star quilt blocks.

Sparkler quilt - pattern by Pat Sloan, made by Amy Smart using Liberty of London quilting cottons

This Sparkler quilt is made with a pattern by Pat Sloan and more Riley Blake woven Chambray + Liberty Carnaby Collection cottons.

Patriotic Summer Bunting Pattern by Amy Smart

Another Patriotic quilt is this pennant quilt made with my Summer Bunting pattern + Riley Blake chambray in Indigo + Riley Blake patriotic prints.

Riley Blake 2021 Quilt Block Sampler Quilt Pattern - Free

Another really fun red, white, and blue quilt was my finished 2021 Riley Blake Block Sampler quilt. This was a free pattern from Riley Blake Designs. I used a navy Oxford Confetti Cotton as my background and a variety of Notting Hill prints for the scrappy blocks (details here).

Notting Hill Quilts

Speaking of Notting Hill – Notting Hill was my latest fabric collection for Riley Blake Designs released in 2021.

Lattice Quilt Pattern by Amy Smart - Perfect for Layer Cakes

I also made a variety of quilts using Notting Hill fabric including an updated version of my Lattice Quilt Pattern

Palace Court pattern by Amy Smart

Another variation on the Palace Court Pattern made with Notting Hill pastels (and more blues!)

Union Jack Quilt Pattern by Amy Smart

and a Union Jack Quilt – pattern called Regent Street – also made with Notting Hill Fat Quarters.

More Union Jack Quilts

As you can see, I have a ‘thing’ for flag quilts – both US and GB flags. In fact, I made multiple Union Jack quilts besides the Notting Hill version above.

Pastel Union Jack baby quilt by Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter

This pastel Union Jack crib-quilt was made for a special new baby whose mom was one of my flatmates when I lived in London as a college student. Made with a mix of Notting Hill and Liberty floral prints. It was so much fun to make, for so many happy reasons.

Giant Union Jack Quilt pattern by Amy Smart - featuring Liberty of London

I also made another (giant) variation on the Union Jack quilt block in this super-size version. This was another quilt that was so satisfying and sentimental to make. Made with the Liberty of London Carnaby collection. (This quilt is like the center of the Ven diagram with overlapping Red, White, and Blue/Chambray wovens/Union Jack/flag quilt categories in on quilt!

Vintage Sheets Quilt

Patchwork Quilt made from Vintage sheets and linens

The award for oldest project to finally come out of the WIP (Work In Progress)  pile goes to the Vintage Sheets Patchwork Quilt that I started over a decade ago. The simple patchwork squares were cut and pieced together ages ago – it was only waiting for a backing and a trip to the quilter. Why I waited so long to finish this one is a mystery – because it’s one of the softest, cuddliest quilts ever.

Jelly-Roll-friendly Quilt

Jelly Roll Quilt Pattern - Bushel and a Peck by Amy Smart

Best Reboot of an older pattern goes to this Gingham Foundry version of my Bushel and a Peck Quilt. These updated muted navy, gold, and gray prints were so much fun to work with. I love how this one turned out.

Favorite Scrap Quilts

County Fair Scrap Quilt pattern by Amy Smart - Diary of a Quilter

While not technically sewn in 2021, I did finally get to share this County Fair scrap quilt this year as part of a new book called Scrap School.

Gratitude Plus quilt pattern by Amy Smart

Speaking of playing with colors and scraps – the new version of my Gratitude Plus Quilt that I made this fall was so much fun and therapeutic. 

Ongoing WIPS (works in progress):

Scrap quilt pattern ideas from Jen Kingwell

Ahh, there are always TOO many WIPs. One that I’m still actively working on is my Winki Stars blocks from Jen Kingwell’s Quilt Recipes book. I’m up to 6 blocks and I’ve been hand-piecing them which I’ve really enjoyed. They’re my current hand-work project.

Round We Go Blocks - English Paper Piecing by Amy Smart

Another project that I need to resurrect and finish are my Round We Go blocks. Looking back at this calendar year, they were very neglected! I think I’ve pieced enough blocks – it’s time to start appliqueing them to backing blocks and then sewing the blocks together should go quickly.

Amy Smart's Orange Peel applique blocks

And the ongoing Orange Peel applique quilt. That one has been going for a decade. It really needs to get finished once and for all.

Christmas Sewing this year: zilch. I had high hopes for getting some piecing done on a Christmas quilt I started a few years ago, but nothing got done. Nada. 

Other fun milestones:

It was so much fun to be able to participate in the Garden of Quilts Event held locally here in Utah again this year. Another highlight was a trip to London. Hallelujah – I feel so lucky that I was able to safely do that – in spite of a bunch of extra hoops to jump through! Here’s hoping for more traveling opportunities opening up again for all of us.

Looking back and looking forward

Binding a quilt made from Vintage Sheets - with Baby Lock Accomplish machine

I also like looking back at goals and plans that I set at the beginning of 2021 to see how I did. Coming into 2021 after such an emotionally draining year previously, I’m definitely feeling grateful for a little more predictability this year – both big picture and in our home. But, gosh it was still a weird year in many ways.

So what were my goals and plans for 2021 (in a nutshell):

“Make less plans. My motto this year is the lesson I’ve learned most from the past year: Come what may and love it.

More concretely: I think I’ll stick with a lot of those same goals as before: declutter, simplify, slow down, be purposeful etc. Those are probably lifelong goals.”

Yeah – I think I’m going to stick with those same goals again this year. Some of those things I made some good progress on – including slowing down, de-cluttering my house (I still have a ways to go in my fabric/sewing room though – so that goal definitely stays on the list), being more purposeful. Also learning to better go with the flow, let go of frustration and disappointment. I think I’m getting better at those two because I’ve had a lot more practice these past two years. lol.

Other thoughts and goals on my list:

Continue making time to get outside and walk and breathe.

Practicing gratitude – writing in a gratitude journal

Being present with people – especially with my kids, who seem to keep growing up.

Blue and White Patchwork Quilt In ProgressI’ll probably continue to streamline a little of what you see from me here in this space. I’m planning some updates to this site where you can hopefully find past tutorials and free projects and patterns more easily. I’m excited about that – not the work to get there, but the finished product. Stay tuned!

I don’t have any new fabric collections coming out this year. I just needed to cut back in some areas and that was one of them. But I’m not ruling out a new collection in 2023. I’ve got some new ideas (plus inspiration from my trip this fall) and we’ll see where that goes!

As far as quilt-making goes:

I really want to make more scrappy quilts inspired by quilts from decades past.

Less using just one fabric collection, more using colors and prints that I’ve been holding onto forever and putting them to good use.

Making more scrappy projects.

Also, making more challenging ‘heirloom’ pieces – slow sewing, bucket-list challenging quilts like a Pickle Dish or other applique.

I’ll probably keep working on quick fixes too – because I like fast finishes. 

Continue learning about and using my Embroidery Machine

More giving quilts away too.

What about you? What are your goals for 2022?

What would you like to learn more about this year? Or see more of in this space? I’d love to hear what you think.

Thank you again for stopping by to visit. I’m glad we’re all in this journey of life (and loving quilts at the same time) together. Happy New Year!

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  • Reply
    Patricia A Webb
    January 1, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    Love the Nottingham Hill prints. Can they be ordered

  • Reply
    January 2, 2022 at 4:36 am

    Your blogposts are a real highlight of my week. I always look forward to reading them on a Sunday morning (here in the UK). Thank you for sharing so much of your lovely work and family life. I hope that 2022 brings better things for all of us and wish you and your family a happy and healthy new year.

  • Reply
    January 2, 2022 at 6:20 am

    Happy New Year and especially a healthy one for you and your family. I always enjoy opening up your emails.

  • Reply
    Mary Cardon
    January 2, 2022 at 7:32 am

    Love all your finishes, Amy. They are all so beautiful! Thanks also for being real! Life is tough and wonderful…even when there is no pandemic!

  • Reply
    Andrea Dymott
    January 2, 2022 at 7:33 am

    Thanks for your page. I really enjoy reasding it. 2022’s quilt for me is a Traditional Red and Green Applique which I started this morning. Hoping to do one and a bit blocks each month which should leave enough time to do the borders before the end of the year. Quilting for 2023 hopefully Also am hoping ro finish one or two WIPs.

  • Reply
    Laurie Sue Lee-Saxton
    January 2, 2022 at 8:32 am

    Amy, you inspire me! Please give us ideas on scrappy quilts this year…. I have a fabric library from both my mother and my mother in law that needs to be used!

  • Reply
    martha handley
    January 2, 2022 at 7:18 pm

    I enjoy the photos of your finished quilts and I’d love to also see the backs since that is always a challenge for me. Happy New Year to you and yours!

  • Reply
    January 2, 2022 at 7:30 pm

    OH goodness. Real life goal: get through the preschool year without loosing staff and find one more awesome teacher. I’m getting better at the job of director, but it’s tough. Quilting goals are more fun. My list of WIPs and the WIPs themselves are organized. The list of new quilts is in my brain. In between, I am going to try to work in a weekly sewalong with a friend. We are leaning toward a sampler quilt so we can go slow with our own stash. I love your slow sew projects. Yours is the only quilting blog I consistently follow. Thank you so much for all you do!

    • Reply
      January 3, 2022 at 12:24 pm

      Aww, thank you for your kind words, Gwyn. And good luck with the preschool and enjoy the weekly sewing with a friend. That sounds like so much fun!

  • Reply
    January 3, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    I sat down at my sewing machine today for the first time since beginning chemotherapy in October. It was wonderful to be back in my studio, putting together a WIP! Thank you, Amy, for all the inspiration and the beautiful fabric lines. I love Notting Hill, and I’m looking forward to using it in 2022.

    • Reply
      January 4, 2022 at 5:03 pm

      Thank you. And oh, I’m so happy for you to be able to get back in your sewing studio. I’m sure that is such a good feeling. Best wishes for continued recovery! xo

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