I was going to do this after Christmas, but yesterday I noticed that the new moon and the winter solstice coincide this year, so now is the time to put the old year to bed, and then make Christmas the celebration of new beginnings that it is meant to be.
So I'm back! Last year Toronto fibre artist Kit Lang did a wonderful post
reviewing her projects and learnings from the past year. I believe that improvement, whether you are an artist or an artisan, requires regular reflection and adjustments, so I decided then that I would do something similar this year. Here are the highlights of what I've
learned in 2014.
I'd been stressing about UFOs for years, and last January's resolution
was to cut them all loose. Clean slate, start over.
Well, it was easy to say, hard to do. All my old projects crept back on the list.
My final thought is that it's like gardening -- cutting away the dead wood makes the whole plant healthier, but over pruning can be equally bad. The trick is balance
I got a new sewing machine, the Brother Nouvelle 1500s high speed, single stitch machine. What a difference it's made!
I've never thought that it's reasonable to spend thousands of dollars on fancy gadgets for a hobby, but I can feel my opinion changing on that. I'm finding that better equipment gives a better result, and makes the process a lot more enjoyable as well.
Also in May, I was able to get this project, It's Warm Inside, from start to finish
in about 3 weeks. That was the fastest I've ever done anything quilty! It broke down some mental barriers for me about starting and finishing in a timely manner.
Why was this one so easy to finish?
1. I had all the materials ready to go.
2. It was just 16 blocks, so there was no time to get bored.
3. I planned and cut the whole quilt before I started to sew. Then I wasn't slowed down by decision making during construction.
No, it's still not quilted, but I count it as a success nevertheless!
Finishing those 16 log cabin blocks empowered me to get back to these Scrappy Trips blocks that I'd started in 2013
. You could say they were a UFO whose time had finally come!
I applied what I'd learned. Rather than choosing, ironing and cutting fabrics for the blocks one at a time, I chose and cut everything for the rest of the quilt in one go. This streamlined the process, and it helped me make better choices
, because I could see how everything worked together.
Even still, it was a grind to get the 25 blocks done. I think my threshold is around 20 blocks!
On the other hand, the two pillow covers I made from the leftovers were really fun. I think I liked the puzzle of how to fit them all together. That's something I plan to do again!
Over the summer I also put myself on a schedule to finish my "forever project," Texas Star. The schedule was easy
, just six stars per week, and it worked.
I had to put my other forever project, Trick or Treat baskets
, on hold while I finished Texas Star. Then, as I was finishing up Mod Trips above, I came to a big realization. It's not enough for a project to be interesting, I also need to have an emotional connection with it.
Mod Trips is nice enough, and I'm happy it's done, but it's all intellectual.
And the baskets will be the same thing, too much head, not enough heart. I like the grey colour scheme and the fabrics intellectually, but I don't love
them. I may start it again down the road in different fabrics, but this version is definitely dead.
Although it's nowhere near finished, this new project Jacks and Cats
was still an important lesson. I learned that it is good to have a big stash
I hear the groans! Over a year ago I resolved to only buy fabric for specific projects, and to stop buying just for stash. But I've changed my mind.
What I've found is that when inspiration strikes, it is very helpful to be ready to go. I bought the magazine and started this project on the same day. The whole thing flowed together beautifully, and it was super fun to be able to ride that initial wave of inspiration. For me, I think that's the best way to work.
Yes, I'm a little worried that now the brakes are off the shopping cart, but actually, I've bought less fabric recently.
|Ink Week Finale|
November's lesson was about the importance of the blogging community. Really, it should be whole separate post, but I'll just keep going here.
I am so appreciative of all you, bloggers, readers, and commenters, for the support, encouragement and inspiration you provide!!
My project Down in the Garden, had been languishing with just a few of these herb pots done, when I noticed that Kaaren at The Painted Quilt
had started it too. She encouraged me to get back to it, and crucially, added my blog to her blog list.
That's so important, because I can see the traffic coming in from her blog, and it's very motivating. It is very helpful to borrow someone else's confidence when your own is flagging! It gave me the encouragement I needed to just go for it with Ink Week
Then Mary Corbet recommended the series
, and sent a huge spike in traffic my way. But, right between parts 3 and 4, a family emergency briefly knocked things askew. Once again, it was knowing that people were watching and waiting for the rest of the series that got me back on track and helped me to finish. And I'm so happy I did, because it turned out even better than I'd hoped!
So, when I say that I appreciate you all, it's not empty words. I really mean it! You make me better. Thank you!