2021 Project Round-up

Because it’s fun to see everything in ONE BIG POST!

January: Was busy with the kids returning to in-person hybrid school. Which meant I sewed up A LOT of face masks.

We had a power outage, and during that time I crocheted some little hearts to go on my Christmas tree, which I decided to keep up through February as a Valentine’s Tree because it is so freaking’ dark here in January and February that I’ve decided to keep up all the white Christmas lights for the extra light.

I also started knitting a sweater for myself at the end of the month.

February: I finished up a Kindness KAL shawl for Em, and I got through both sleeves of my sweater. I also sewed up a few more face masks.

March: I finally finished my Echo Flowers Shawl!

Denise and I decided to do a “Bestie Sewing Challenge,” where we both bought yardage of the same fabric and made stuff from it, just because we were bored out of our skulls with the dragging on of the pandemic and needed something to be excited about. I made myself a skirt from McCall’s 1369.

I picked the Peacock Feathers Stole back up and started working a few rows a day.

We also finally did some Pysanky, which was the real creative highlight of the month for my kids.

April: I made a pencil skirt for Em (McCall’s 5523) out of the leftover Bestie Challenge fabric, and I started working on my McCall’s 6696 (M6696) Birthday Dress for myself. Worked some more rows of the Peacock Feathers Stole.

May: I finished my Lavender Birthday Dress. There wasn’t a lot of crafting going on because I was super busy in the garden, and M6696 is a surprisingly hand-stitching heavy garment. Kept chugging away on the Peacock Feathers Stole.

June: I made a big, swirly skirt for Rachel because she was suddenly obsessed with big, swirly skirts. I also started working on my Violet Chambray M6696. Very busy in the garden, and we started doing a lot of cooking from scratch, which took up a lot of our time. I also kept putting in time on the Peacock Feathers Stole.

July: So much gardening. So much cooking zucchini. I embroidered the lavender wreath wall hanging and started on the “Un Alfabeto a Fiori” wreath. I started stitching an EPP couch cushion, which still isn’t complete because I don’t know how I want to do the borders. I also started working on the Mini Charm Chiffon Baby Quilt for Fat Quarter Shop. FINISHED the Peacock Feathers Stole!

August: I got a parasite after forgetting to wash my hands after cleaning bird feeders, and spent most of August being excruciatingly ill. My foot was also a big, painful mess and it was decided we’d do surgery on it in September.

September: Finished up the Mini Charm Chiffon Baby Quilt top and my corded petticoat right before my surgery. Spent the rest of the month working on the Un Alfabeto a Fiori wreath embroidery.

October: Finished embroidering the wreath, started embroidering my historical pocket. Started work on my flounced petticoat. Also appliqued pumpkins to a purchased black circle skirt for Renaissance’s “1950s Witch” Halloween costume.

November: Cheered by the excellent healing progress in my foot, I kind of went nuts with the idea that I’d do some epic Christmas crafting prep. I finished Nathaniel’s Fresh Cut Pines quilt and Em’s Yuletide Botanica Orange Peel quilt. I also finished Rachel’s Ombre Heart Mitts. I started quilting the Hipster Christmas Trees quilt.

December: The Great December Sickness hit and took. me. out. I did, however, squeak through with finishing the Hipster Christmas Tree quilt. All other projects saw virtually no time put in on them, but I did do some really great thinking about crafty organization and the like, and came up with an excellent game plan for 2022, which I will share with you tomorrow!

Are you one of those people who just always thinks they aren’t doing enough? I am. That’s why I do these round-up posts and crafty goals things–they make me aware of how much I do actually do, which makes that Perfectionistic Taskmaster Voice in my head quiet down a bit and give me a little peace. It was a busy year; it had a lot of weirdness going on with the pandemic and trying for some semblance of normalcy, and I had a lot going on with injuries and illnesses, but still managed to get a decent amount of projects finished. I like that.

And yes, I have way too much planned for 2022. ‘Cuz that’s how I roll….

Thanks for cheering me on this year, I’ve appreciated it very much. Hopefully you’re all sitting back and thinking through your own 2021s and realizing that you did good, too. And hopefully you’ve got some exciting plans for 2022. Because we have all definitely earned some of that. Good job making it through 2021, y’all. Here’s to a better 2022…

Finished: Patchwork Forest Quilt

It is so weird to finish up this surge of Christmas quilts these past few weeks because it’s requiring me to go back and re-read the posts I wrote about them when I started them, and wow. So much has gone on, especially since I started working on the Patchwork Forest Quilt in the autumn of 2019. I randomly decided to jump on the quilt along bandwagon that Amy put on that year, and it was a great experience that I immensely enjoyed. It was a sweeter time: My niece had just been born, I was homeschooling Nathaniel, things had finally settled down after the move up here…it felt like we were really getting ready to live “happily ever after” during that autumn.

I keep talking about this quilt as “the one I made before COVID,” which is weird because there were a couple of other finishes before COVID really got its wheels turning, but this quilt feels like the last one I made before things started getting stressful with keeping an eye on the development of the COVID situation, so in my mind it’s just from “before.”

I had originally planned to big-stitch hand quilt it, but ended up hating the actual work of it and ripped out the hand quilting after a week’s progress. Then Christmas was over and I set it aside to bring back out when Christmas 2020 got closer so I could finish it then…

But I don’t think I had the desire at any point during 2020 to pick it back up to finish for Christmas. Last Christmas is just a fogged-up murmuring in my memory. When I had the thought to maybe try to finish it this year, I almost cried: The desire, ambition, drive in my heart was finally back. We got through Hell and came out on the other side and some things are still relatively the same. When my drive to finish projects dried up towards the end of last year, I knew I was stressed and anxious beyond my max and to leave the crafty side of things alone and just focus on surviving. I’ve been through that particular cycle enough times in my life to know that it’s a temporary adaptation to stressful situations, and I allow it to run its course, knowing that the fabric and the yarn will wait for me to come back. The fabric and the yarn don’t judge. Thank the stars for that.

This quilt is twin-sized (~72″ x 90″), and Renaissance has claimed it temporarily for her bed until I make her requested Christmas quilt. (The plan is to do that in 2022.)

Details:

Pattern: Patchwork Forest Quilt, Pine Hollow version, by Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter.

Fabric: I used lots of well-loved Christmas scraps, random half-yard purchases, and forgotten Christmas fat quarter bundles for this quilt and had so much fun with the color palette. I absolutely love this quilt. A friend of mine called it the “Hipster Christmas Trees” quilt, and the name stuck; I actually have to go and look up my previous posts to remember what its real name is when I write about it.

Backing: A lovely, thick black and white plaid Mammoth flannel, #SRKF-16943-1 WHITE. This quilt is heavy. It’s amazing.

Quilting: I went beefy with the quilting thread, using Aurifil 12 wt in the top and Aurifil 40 wt in the bobbin, color 2021. I eyeballed straight lines about 2.5 inches apart, and I love the slightly wonky unevenness of the quilting because it matches the slight wonkiness of the tree blocks. I also used black Auriful 12 wt to quilt the black inner border, and then returned to the white Auriful 12 wt to quilt a few lines in the blue outer border. (Note to self: Straight line quilting only with this thread; the machine did NOT want to do a serpentine stitch AT ALL…)

Binding: I decided to do a scrappy binding because 1) I couldn’t decide which fabric to choose for the binding, 2) I don’t think I had enough of anything to do a full binding, and 3) The more wonkiness, the better on this quilt. It was an extension of the fun to randomly piece together the scraps into binding while I watched “A Christmas Story” earlier this week!

Dates: I pieced this in October and November of 2019, and quilted it in December of 2021.

We were busy making epic amounts of Christmas cookies on the day I took pictures of this, and I left it hanging on the couch afterwards. Renaissance was a cookie-making machine; she baked from 8am until 5pm and was absolutely exhausted come dinner. She decided to go to bed at 7:30, happened to see the quilt on the couch as she headed to her room, and wordlessly scooped it up before trudging up the stairs. When we checked on her later, she was out beneath her new quilt, hopefully dreaming sweet Christmas dreams.

Why, Hello, Week of Christmas

Good morning, lovelies! How was your week last week? I’m so glad I took a little break from the online world, it was definitely needed to get things somewhat put back together ’round these parts.

Is it me or does it seem like the blogging community is waking up a bit these days? It seems like no one has blogged in years, and suddenly there’s all of these “coming out of hibernation” posts popping up and oh my goodness, it makes me so happy! My heart loves blogging, first and foremost. Instagram is great and all, but reading through people’s thoughts and decision processes, accompanied by good photography…that is my jam. Give me thought-out content that’s worth my time, not some silly little reel stitched together in fifteen seconds.

My crafty thoughts for this week:

  • I’m really hoping to get the Patchwork Forest quilt done.
  • I don’t think Sew Many Stars will get finished this year, and that’s OK.
  • The “Fair Isle” knitting project won’t get even get started this year.
  • “Stripes” and “Pattern I Don’t Like” are more than halfway done each; I think I can only finish one before Christmas, and I’m paralyzed regarding which one to pick.
  • I am going to bake some Christmas cookies this year, darn it. I had a day set aside last week, but the Universe really conspired against it happening, and by the time I could finally embark upon said baking, I was way too tired to even start. I do have a whole day set aside this week to bake with the kids, though…fingers crossed!
  • I had THE BEST IDEA while I was laying around in my sick bed this month, and I’m excited to share it with you later this week!

I hope you have a fantastic week, friends. Opt for the more restful options and just enjoy this season without taking on the things that stress you out. You’re amazing and strong, and I hope you find some beautiful crafty time to fill your soul.

Well, That Didn’t Go As Planned…

Oh my goodness, you guys, THIS MONTH. I thought I’d head into December all sparkly-eyed about my crafty goals and Christmas, but on November 30 I started getting a headache around lunch, and by dinner I was nauseous and gross, which continued for the rest of the week. It cleared up over the weekend, but meant I was behind on my December plan of action. I redrew my plan, squared my shoulders, and set off into the new week. “So I lost a week,” I told myself, “In ten years it won’t matter, so I’m not going to worry about it anymore.” Woo-hoo to practical reasoning abilities.

In-progress shot of the quilting on the Holiday Patchwork Forest quilt

I hit the ground running on Monday and killed it. I killed Tuesday. Wednesday morning started off with killing it again, but in the hour leading up to lunch my muscles started to ache as I stood to quilt the Holiday Patchwork Forest quilt, which I dismissed as post-workout soreness. I sat down to eat lunch. I realized I was too tired to eat lunch, so I thought I’d just keel over onto the couch and rest for a few minutes. When I woke up twenty minutes later, my face was congested and my throat was scratchy. Michael was working from home that day and he walked into the living room. I looked up at him and said, “I think I’m sick?”

“Congestion and a sore throat?” he asked.

I nodded my head.

“Yeah,” he said, “that’s what I had last week.”

Awesome.

And, whoa, I must have gotten the Super Version of this germ because it knocked me onto my butt and I’ve been in bed all week. I think it’s starting to let up a little, but it also feels like it’s going to take a few days to start feeling totally human again.

So, in the spirit of sanity, I’m going to be missing from the online world a little bit this week. When a mom of four spends two weeks being sick, it really destroys the house, the laundry, the groceries, and the Christmas logistic schedule. I’m going to need this next week to catch up and then I’ll be back.

Wash your hands! Cough into your elbow! Merry Christmas!

#craftygoals: December 2021

A new month means some new goals!

I’m hoping to finish the Holiday Patchwork Forest quilt, the Christmas Sew Many Stars quilt, and three secret knitting projects this month, which I will lovingly refer to as “Secret Knitting No. 2: Stripes,” “Secret Knitting No. 3: The Pattern I Don’t Like,” and “Secret Knitting No. 4: Fair Isle.” I probably can’t even show you the yarn for Nos. 2 and 3 because the intended recipients would probably figure them out, but I think I can get away with showing you mystery shots of No. 4 once I get going on it.

November’s #craftygoals were a success! I finished the Fresh Cut Pines quilt for Nathaniel’s bed, finished the Yuletide Botanica orange peel quilt for Emms’ bed (but haven’t done the photo shoot yet, so no finished pictures just yet), and finished up Secret Knitting No. 1: “Rainbow Ombre”.

Whew! Christmas season is always a whirlwind of projects, and I’m thankful for the focus they’re giving me this year while things still feel a little unsettled. It’s good to have projects and it’s good to have goals. I hope you have great success with your goals this month!

Crafty Goals: November 2021

I’m resurrecting the idea of monthly crafty goals because ever since I stopped making them, my crafting performance has plummeted. Let’s hope this little bit of effort gets me back on track. (Although, to be fair, the last couple of years have been kind of crazy and full of obstacles that massively hampered consistent ANYTHING.)

Alright friends, it’s November, and the Christmas bug is biting hard. For years I’ve outlawed Christmas sewing this late in the year because of how stressful it can be, but I’m throwing that out the window this year because…I’m a grown woman and I can do what I want.

With all the slowdowns in shipping happening, I made the decision to not wait for Black Friday sales to order my kids’ gifts, which meant I needed to access my gift list that I update throughout the year. Whenever a gift idea pops into my head, I just jot it down in my little gift app, and come holiday gifting season I have a ton of ideas. And, shocker, there’s a lot of handmade gift ideas on that list. Many of those handmade gifts are already in-progress but living in some “time-out” pile in a shadowy corner of the craft room.

Well…the more I read through my gift lists, the more I liked the idea of checking some of those projects off, which has stoked the fires of Mt. Mojo and has me pretty excited to start working on them again.

November’s list is big, but most of these things are almost done, so I’m hoping they’ll go quickly?

Fresh Cut Pines quilt: One of my Blank Quilting projects from last year, it just needs to be quilted and bound. I keep hoping that I can send out my quilts to be long-arm quilted, but they’ve now been sitting for over a year. That means it’s time to just suck it up and quilt them myself, even if it’s just straight line or serpentine quilting. Done is better than perfect. This is Nathaniel’s Christmas quilt for his bed, and I still haven’t made him a regular day-to-day quilt, so his Christmas quilt is the first on the list so that he can have some sort of quilt to his name!

Yuletide Botanica Orange Peel quilt: Another Blank Quilting project, needs borders, quilting and binding. This is Emms’ Christmas quilt, and seeing how the kid is a senior in high school, it’d be nice for them to have their Christmas quilt done before they graduate.

Some secret Christmas knitting: A little gift for a special someone, and that’s all I can tell you at the moment.

If I’m going to limit myself to “practical goals,” I think I can feasibly get those three done this month. However, we all know I like to plan big, so there is hope that I’ll…somehow…magically…also be able to finish:

Patchwork Forest quilt: aka The “Hipster Christmas Tree Quilt.” I can’t believe I made this two years ago. Remember life before COVID-19? Those were the days. Anyway, I was going to hand quilt this one, but I really disliked the process and ripped out the hand quilting. It’s got a beautifully thick Mammoth flannel backing that makes it an incredibly heavy quilt that I cannot wait to snuggle under…the quilting is going to have to be extremely simple on this one because it’s a beefy blanket! I think I added borders to it to make it twin-sized, but none of my kids has claimed it for their own. It might live on Renaissance’s or Rachel’s bed until I finish up their requested Christmas quilts. And if not, it will make an excellent living room quilt.

Sew Many Stars Christmas quilt: Remember how I designed a whole quilt along last year? Geez, I kept myself busy! (Probably too busy, though…hence the almost zero amount of quiltiness that happened this year…oi.) It needs quilting and binding, too.

So yeah, it’s a big list, and I’ve still got to be careful to not overdo stuff with my healing foot. I’ve got the Fresh Cut Pines quilt up on my quilt wall as I type, and I’m already lamenting the supremely simple quilting I’m going to have to do to get it done. BUT…I wanna use this quilt, and if I wait for perfect conditions to finally get it sent out, I’ll be waiting a long time. There will be time for better-looking quilting in the future, but there’s not a lot of years left with my kids being at home and it’s important to me for them to have Christmas quilts on their beds. I don’t know why, but it is. Straight-line quilting will accomplish that, and someday, when I have my own long-arm quilting machine, I’ll do fancier quilting and we’ll wax poetic about the early quilts and their simple quilting designs.

Onwards!

What are your crafty goals for November? Are you doing any holiday crafting, too? Let me know and we can cheer each other on!