Best of 2016, and Planning for 2017

I love reading everyone’s “wrapping up the year” and “plans for the next year” posts so much!  The online creative community is so interesting in that a lot of us are pretty transparent about what we do, which I really appreciate because online creativity *can* become an overly-staged, whirlwind-finishing sort of thing very easily…but then there’s those souls who refuse to get caught up in it all and just stay real, and I love reading their blogs.

Best of 2016

Trying to nail down my “best” projects of 2016 is really hard because almost every single one was a gift I made to be given away, and I don’t want anyone to think that I hated making the gift I gave them because it didn’t show up in this list…NO.  If I didn’t want to make a gift for you, I didn’t make you a gift, end of story.  I actually had four more gifts scheduled to make this year, but I quit one about 2/3 of the way through because I hated it so much, and with another one I just wasn’t feeling it, and will probably finish it up in 2017, and with the other two I just didn’t have time once all the crazy post-op stuff went down.

Oooh!  Categories!  Let’s see, five categories to round out the year:

Prettiest:  The baby quilt that my daughter and I made for her teacher who had a baby girl in May.  I loved working with Vintage Picnic, and the design of the quilt was just perfect.  For some weird reason, this quilt was blogged on our family blog, so if you want to see more pictures of it, you’ll have to head over there.

SONY DSC

Most Fun to Make:  The Dr. Seuss baby quilt.  It was a last-minute decision, so I picked a pattern that was on the wonky side and wouldn’t need perfect seams and the like, and I just had fun slapping it all together.  The fabrics were super fun and bright, and I really enjoyed the process of just making and not getting bogged down in the minutiae of perfection. I’ll have to remember to throw a wonky/improv project into the mix every now and then when I’m starting to feel a little stale.

SONY DSC

Biggest Skill Stretcher:  The Beehive Swarm swap blocks.  There was a lot of foundation paper piecing, which I tend to shy away from because I don’t like it, but there’s nothing like it for perfect piecing.  I still don’t like it, but I’m better at it now, and can grudgingly admit its superiority for certain qualities.  I also tackled curved seams for the first time with August’s block, and they are not as difficult as I psyched myself out to believe!

picmonkey-collage

Most Popular:  Within the walls of our home, it’s the Layers of Charm Flower Sugar Quilt.  It sits proudly on the back of a couch in our living room and it gets used pretty much every day.  The kids fight over it, and I’m always finding it snuck into one of their beds.

SONY DSC

Outside of our home, the Art Gallery Fabrics Blithe pillows have been the most popular, garnering 25% of the blog’s web traffic this year, and also being the only project about which I’ve received comments from my friends and neighbors when I’m out in the real world.  Pink and mint are hot, people.

SONY DSC

Project of the Year:  Not really a project, but 2016 was “The Year of All the Baby Quilts.”  There were a lot of baby quilts this year.  All good things, but man, I’m going to take a break for a while.  If you’re expecting, do not expect a quilt from me in 2017.  I’m just done for a little while.

Planning for 2017

First and foremost, my health.  If all I accomplish in 2017 is to raise my health to an enjoyable level, that will be enough for me.  It’s been three years of pain, almost two years since my back surgery, and I am simply to the point where nothing else really matters to me other than feeling good again.  Luckily, we found another source of some of the pain I was experiencing, hence the surgery in November, so I think I’ll be able to move along the path to better health a little easier, and hopefully a little faster.

When I woke up from my most recent surgery, I had no back pain, which we were hoping would be one of the side effects of that particular surgery.  Upon being cleared to do normal things again after six weeks of lying around with very little to no back pain, I ambled on down to the ol’ Craft Dungeon, and did a little sewing.  I felt some familiar discomfort in my back, decided that was enough sewing for the day, and stopped.  Unfortunately, the discomfort increased steadily throughout the evening until I was forced to give up, take some serious pain meds, and just go lay in bed.  I think using my sewing machine is needlessly adding to my back pain!  It’s happened a few more times, so I’m pretty sure I’m correct, which makes me incredibly hesitant to sew at all anymore.

It’s my hope that after a few months of consistent strength training (read: if I can manage not to injure myself for that long), that my back will be strong enough to handle sitting at the sewing machine.  Until then, I’m making a goal to just not worry about the crafty side of life, and to give it a go when I think I’ve gained some strength.  If I’m not strong enough at that point, then I’ll wait a few weeks and try again, rinse and repeat.

Of course, there are some projects that I would love to start, finish, adore…but I’m going to be patient, and when the time is right, I’ll resume my place in the Craft Dungeon.  A few months isn’t going to hurt anything.

Advertisements

Wrapping My Head Around WIPs on a Wednesday

I’m moving to Australia in a month, and my main concern is around crafts at the moment.  I guess I just need something else to fixate upon, now that passport applications, check-ups, dentist appointments, and optometrist appointments are complete.  I’m trying to get all my projects to whatever place they need to be before we leave, and I’m just about to the point where the constant reviewing of my plans in my head is starting to cause headaches, so I’m going to write it all down and let that list live somewhere else.

Current Projects:

  1. Junebug’s Star Spangled Diamonds Quilt
  2. Baby Girl Quilt #1:  Meadow
  3. Monkeyboy’s Rocket Age Quilt
  4. Friendship Braid Quilt
  5. Storybook Hexagon Label
  6. Baby Girl Quilt #2:  Pink
  7. Baby Boy Quilt:  Cowboy
  8. Aspen Frost Runner
Priorities:
  1. Storybook Hexagon Label–I always space the quilt label.  Do this immediately before I decide it’s not important anymore.  (I’m a historian at heart, and think there is significant historical importance in regards to labeling quilts.)  The main hold-up on this is buying a fabric pen for writing the information on the label.
  2. Baby Quilts–all three need to be completed and delivered before we leave for Australia.
  3. Rocket Age full blocks need to be assembled before leaving, so I can applique the hexie blossoms to them while we’re away.
  4. IF the above are done, I can finish the Braid Quilt before we leave.  It’s so close to being done, but it’s a random side project that I started working on because I was waiting for supplies for the other quilts.
  5. The Star Spangled Quilt will be pieced completely by hand, and it’s portable–work on this while at softball games, park day, etc.  It’s going to take a loooong time to complete, don’t worry about progress at this moment.
  6. Aspen Frost–this can wait until we come home from Australia.
Schedule:
June 18-21
  1. Piece Meadow top
  2. Bind Penguin’s blankie
  3. Purchase:  Fabric Pen, Meadow backing, Meadow batting, thread, binding fabrics for all three baby quilts, supplementary gift items to include with quilts
  4. Pre-wash fabrics
June 23-28

  1. Piece Meadow backing
  2. Create quilt labels for Storybook, Meadow, Pink, Cowboy.
  3. Applique label to Storybook, Pink & Cowboy; machine stitch label to Meadow
  4. Finish quilting Pink
June 30-July 5
  1. Quilt Meadow
  2. Create binding for all three baby quilts
  3. Purchase gift wrapping supplies for baby quilts
July 7-12
  1. Bind baby quilts
  2. Wrap quilts & ship
  3. Cut foundation papers for Rocket Age quilt (40)
  4. Start piecing Rocket Age blocks
July 14-19
  1. Finish piecing Rocket Age blocks, pack for trip.
  2. Finish piecing Braid strips.  Pack for storage.  Will have to finish when we return.
OK.  It just feels better to write it down and look at everything in a realistic time frame.  Everything was going fine until the baby quilts popped up onto the radar.  (All an issue due to my own misinterpretations of information.)  And now that I’ve posted my intentions, I can also check back in with progress updates, which are fun for me.  Happy Summer of Sewing!