Author, Designer, Instructor

Preparing for rain

2017 has been a good year.  I’ve spent time soul searching, made many positive and healthy changes, set my priorities, learned to set limits, and say “no” when necessary.

And I’ve been preparing for rain. 

Click here.

There are some big changes on the horizon for our family. For one, both of our boys will be away at college this fall and my sweet husband of almost 29 years and I will officially be “empty nesters.” The realization of this fact hit hard in January when I moved son #1 to college for his first semester. I never thought I would become so emotional about our boys being out of the house full time, but I found myself facing feelings I never thought I’d have. On one hand, my husband and I are looking forward expectantly to a new age and stage of life. Of course we’ll still see our sons, but it won’t be the same hands on, full-time parenting we’ve been used to for the past 23+ years. After many long talks we both feel we’re on the verge of a new adventure. Neither of us knows what our new adventure will be or look like, but we’ve been praying expectantly. And in anticipation of this new adventure in our lives, we’ve begun the arduous task of downsizing. 

Several weeks ago, I decided it was long overdue for me to clean and organize my studio. The task was, quite frankly, daunting. I have accumulated much more than I realized during my 25+ year career. I came to the realization there was too much to simply discard or give away. I decided to have a studio reduction and purge sale. Much work went into this effort and I learned a lot during the process; but I’ve decided to write about that experience later.

With the extensive purge and downsizing effort came a new-found lightening of my creative spirit. I can’t explain it other than to say it feels as though a huge weight on my creative self has been lifted. Having “too much stuff” was more of a burden than I knew. It was during this purge I came across UFO’s from as far back as 25 years ago. (Yes, it’s true.) Many of these UFO’s ended up being bundled up and either sold or donated during the sale, but several of them found their way to my work area and I looked at them with renewed interest and enthusiasm. It felt amazing to finally finish a few of these projects which had begun with that same spark and excitement so many years ago. 

One of the UFOs was a set of nine, six-inch blocks I had machine embroidered with silly cats at least ten years ago. The cats are cartoonish and cutesy and not really my style today; yet something about these orphan blocks tugged on the soft spot I have for our furry feline friends. I also discovered an untied Jelly Roll purchased at least eight years ago from my local quilt shop at the time, Scrap and Sew. The jelly roll had been unrolled and the strips held together with a now-brittle rubber band. I decided to combine those long-forgotten kitty blocks and my bright jelly roll strips to make a cute little quilt. (Sadly, it didn’t occur to me to take photos of either the cat blocks by themselves or the jelly roll strips.)

I trimmed the 2 1/2″ strips to 1 1/2″, and sewed them together to make strips sets which were then cut into 1 1/2″ segments and sewed together to make scrappy checkerboard sashings and borders. After the top was complete, I used my sewing machine to free motion outline the cats and my Sashiko II machine to do hand-stitched style quilting. 

While I love the look and scrunchy feel of the hand-look stitches, the process of stitching with the Sashiko machine is not fast; especially since I decided to stitch my grid lines 1/2″ apart! The entire process took several days to complete. But I am so pleased with the finished quilt, Kitties I Have Known. It is, quite simply, darling. And I’m so happy my embroidered kitties now have a place of honor on the wall in my sewing studio in our cabin.

Kitties I Have Known, by Kimberly Einmo

The other UFO I completed recently came from diamond units from the last little bits of leftover strip units with fabrics I used to create my quilt, Fire and Ice.

Fire and Ice Designed and sewn by Kimberly Einmo, machine quilted by Judi Madsen

I had forgotten I kept those leftover bits and pieces of the strip units. When I found them during the studio purge, I decided to cut diamond units to see if I had enough to piece a little Lonestar. Since my Sashiko II machine was still sitting out from being used to complete the kitty quilt, I Used it to quilt this simple star.

The finished quilt is so pretty and even the background fabric I used came from fabric found in a large garbage bag of scraps during the studio purge sale. 

This rainbow Lonestar quilt also found home on my studio wall in our cabin. It feels absolutely amazing to have completed some UFOs this year and feeds my creative major to create even more new quilts.

We have a very long way to go to continue our operation to downsize. But we’ve made progress and we’re well on our way. We’re preparing our fields for rain. I say, bring on the liquid sunshine into our lives!

12 Comments
  1. I love both of these! I need to declutter, too!

  2. I sympathize with your soon to be empty nest. It’s an adjustment for sure. Particularly with the food consumption and laundry.
    I am hoping that my purging of the sewing area this summer also results in resurgence of the creative juices. I’m already working,albeit slowly, on finishing some ufos.

  3. as I am in my sixties now, I tell my friends we go thru phases of our lives. Each phase offers opportunities of our time and skills, From each one we learn more about ourselves and we grow,sometimes unwillingly. One of the hardest is the empty nest syndrome. So from the cocoon of full time motherhood we emerge a new creation in new territory of emotions and opportunities. I love purging it is work but like Christmas! love your kitties and star.

  4. How I admire your success at purging! There are several area that need purging in my basement, I’ve gone overboard in all my crafts, quilting, knitting, scrapbook. I always think I’ll get to it next week. Your experience is an inspiration. Thank you.

  5. Love what you did with your Sashiko on the Lonestar Kimberly. I am going to go back into my Craftsy Class where you teach this block and make one for myself and then finish it with the Sashiko like you did.
    I love your teaching on Craftsy and have learnt a lot from you.
    Kind regards,
    Joan Wells.
    (United Kingdom)

  6. You are experiencing another season of life the bible tells us about. Change is difficult, but it helps us sift through weights in our life that we thought were necessary aren’t. Enjoy this season. Surround yourself with meaningful things like God, nature, people. Appreciate simple things. Enjoy your amazing God given talents. Your blogs are so interesting. Sometimes I marvel at your creative abilities.
    Recycling your kitten quilt will become a treasure.

    I am 90 years old. I have surrounded myself with a lighted village on my fireplace, a quilt that is a thing of beauty and treasured gift, pictures of family and friends I love. Old antique memories.

    You, Kimberly, are so admired, loved and talented. Shift gears and simplify, create, write at your pleasure. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

  7. The lightness of purging is so encouraging. I’ve been thru 3 purges in recent times- from big house to little house- to apartment- to tiny house(for me)- now at 66 I’m making more room in my life to create without clutter. Empty nesting is a learned lifestyle- you will find your comfort zone and I look forward to seeing where your creativity takes you and us. I’m sure we are in for many new lessons from you. Thanks.

  8. Beautiful quilts. I’m glad you will enjoy them when at your cabin.
    I’m excited for you and your husband’s new chapter in your life…can’t wait to see what new adventures you take!

  9. Thank you for your story. Both of my children left home several years ago and they couldn’t understand my feelings but now they will find out how we feel in a few years.
    I missed both of you at Road 2Ca and loved my classes with you. Please hurry back you are such a kind and terrific teacher. Wish I lived closer I would have loved to have purchased something you had made.
    Jean another military brat/wife

  10. I can only imagine how it feels to lose something that has been the focus of your life for so long. Of course, you really haven’t lost it, it’s just changed it’s structure. I think now is the time for you and Mr. Kimberly to focus on each other and what you want to accomplish in this new stage. I think once the shock wears off, you will find it to be very rewarding. Congrats on finishing your UFO’s, I personally have so many but new things keep drawing my interest. I find it hard to go back to them. Good Luck Kimberly!

  11. My husband and I had a number of years between kids at home and when they married and grandchildren. I loved those wonderful years between when the kids were so ‘wanting’ and the hubbub of spouses and grands. Each phase is a gift…you are a blessed woman to have a husband to love and love you back and many talents to keep you involved.

  12. Congrats on finishing some UFOs! They are beautiful! I know I have a few to finish up. Enjoy the new phase in your life!

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About Birgit

Wherever I go, I am asked about the exquisite machine quilting on my quilts. I’m happy to share with you that most of my quilts have been expertly quilted by the internationally award winning quilt artist, Birgit Schüller! Read more