Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Eve 2017: In Which I Briefly Consider Sewing Goals and Accountability

Once again, here we are: Out with the old, and in with the new.  When I start to see those "year in review" posts cropping up all over the blogosphere, my first reaction is always a toxic mixture of panic, anxiety, and guilt.  Look at all of those beautiful quilts and garments all of those other people finished!  And here I am, with a room full of fabric and a head full of dreams, and precious little to show for myself...  Comparison is truly the thief of joy.

Going back through my posts of 2017, I realize that I finished more projects than I remembered, and I've made significant progress on other projects that are closer to completion today than they were at the end of 2016.  So, here goes not-quite-nothing:

My first finish of 2017 was the Pajama Choir Concert Dress:

Burda 6911 Modified, in Black Rayon Jersey
I really love this dress, and I need to make another one with a shorter skirt so I can wear it more often.  

I also made a baby quilt sample for a beginner quilter class that I'll be teaching at my local Bernina dealer in 2018:
Beginner Quilting Class Sample
I'm happy with that project, too, and looking forward to teaching new quilting students.

I also made a set of oven mitts this year, which came out cute but too small:

Ha Ha Ha, These Oven Mitts Are Too Small
In retrospect, that project was a big waste of time.  They aren't even getting used, and store bought ones are so inexpensive.  Sewing projects take so much more time than you think they will, and I should use what little time I have for sewing to make things that can't be found in stores, like that Burda pajama dress.  I could have finished one of my UFO quilt projects with the time I spent making oven mitts that no one is going to use...

I also made a Killer Rabbit costume for Halloween this year:

Behold, the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog!
That came out pretty successfully, and it was much better than any of the costumes for sale at Party City.  However, I wore it for just that one costume party and I'll probably never wear it again.  Again, I could have used that sewing time -- and the pajama pattern I used to make the costume -- to sew something that I would get more use from, like actual pajamas.

I also finished the Burda 6911 top that I made as a test garment for my comfy choir dress, and was able to wear that for Thanksgiving.  Like the dress, it's a win -- I love the way the V-neck is snug to the body so there are zero wardrobe malfunctions when bending and reaching!  I'm definitely going to make this pattern again.

Burda 6911 Top in Green Rayon Jersey
The gathers are doing weird things in that photo because of the bra I was wearing under it.  It looks much better with different undergarments, but this is the only picture of it that I could find.  

The only other sewing project that I finished this year was the Christmas tree skirt that I made for my mom last week.  I am very happy with that one:

Mom's Christmas Tree Skirt
So that makes a total of SIX finished projects for all of 2017.  Let's reflect on that for a moment, shall we?  An average of one finished project per every two months.  Am I satisfied with that, or will I resolve to be more productive in 2018?

In addition to the finishes, I did make progress on several other projects this year.  I made 8 more pineapple log cabin blocks for my California King bed quilt in 2017.  I still have 8 blocks to make before I can assemble the top and quilt that one:

Pineapple Log Cabin In Progress
These blocks are tedious to piece, but I absolutely love how they are coming out.  I'm still excited about this project and look forward to (maybe) finishing it in 2018.  It will be huge, but nothing my 12' long arm frame can't handle!

I also worked on my Frankenwhiggish Rose applique blocks off and on throughout 2017 (more off than on, truth be told):

Finished Applique Block 1 of 9

After finishing that first block, I pieced eight more block backgrounds and have gotten the flower centers, stacked petals, and stems stitched down on all of them.  I'm currently working on the reverse applique tulips and plan to combine the applique blocks with some pieced blocks or pieced sashings eventually.

We bought the APQS Millenium long arm quilting machine in April of 2017 and I've completed two practice quilts on it so far, although I don't count them as finished projects:

First Practice Quilt on the Long Arm Machine
Second Practice Quilt, Cheater Cloth
Although I'd hoped to have quilted several REAL quilts on my long arm machine by now, I do feel like I've learned a lot with the practice pieces.  That was time well spent for sure.  I have my first real quilt top loaded on the frame now, ready to go, as soon as I 1. decide for sure how I'm quilting it and 2. screw up the courage to JUST DO IT!

It's On My Frame, Ready for Quilting...
Most likely, this Math Quilt will get a very simple allover pantograph design.

And my Bear Paws quilt is coming along, too.  In 2017 I made the sawtooth corner stones and set the bear paw blocks with sashing, and added two of three borders.  This one is really close to being ready for quilting now.  I just need to add another outer border in solid white:

Butterfly Bear Paws Top
This one wants some custom quilting in all that solid white background fabric, don't you think?  I think it's a good candidate for experimenting with those acrylic rulers...

Of course there was more to 2017 than sewing projects.  My husband had SEVERAL unexpected, major heart surgeries.  I sang with two church choirs, a semi-professional community chamber choir called VOX, and caroled in costumed a cappella quartets with the Charlotte Holiday Singers.   I took a fascinating class on Martin Luther's legacy at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, attended Music Week at Lutheridge over the summer, and worked with several new interior design clients as well as hearing from a few repeat clients who were ready to refresh their interiors.  And all this while raising two hooligans rambunctious teenage boys who keep my hairdresser busy hiding my gray hairs...  I kept the fridge stocked with groceries and the bureaus stocked with clean underwear.  I paid all the bills on time, played with my dogs, and even managed to exercise fairly regularly.  I wasn't featured in any embarrassing news stories or reality TV shows, we didn't go bankrupt, no one got arrested, and no one is suing us.  Considering all of that, I'm going to call 2017 a smashing success!

For 2018, I'm hoping for another year like 2017 (except, hopefully, without all the scary medical stuff!).  I'll be focusing on personal, professional, and spiritual growth rather than perfection, prioritizing health and family above keeping up with the Joneses, and enjoying the process of my creative pursuits more than worrying about whether I'm finishing as many projects as other people are.  The only change I'm thinking about for next year is that I may want to spend less time writing about what I want to do and more time actually DOING it...

But all in all, I feel like I'm in a good place on the cusp of the New Year.  I hope you do, too.  I don't need to make a list of sewing goals to try to live up to next year.  The one and only sewing related resolution I'm going to make is to give more priority to creative time, since playing with fabric melts stress away and makes all kinds of craziness easier to deal with.  I think I'd like to make sure I get at least 2 hours of sewing time in every week.  Does that sound reasonable?

The sentiment of the above meme is appropriate to this post, although I have to say, the little dude looks like she's running for her life in a blizzard more than she's finding joy in her journey...

Happy New Year to all of my blog readers, especially to those of you who take the time to reach out to me with your comments, emails, suggestions and advice!  


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

considering all you do that is not sewing related I think you got a lot done. You had a lot on your plate this year and I do hope the next year (medically) will be much better for your family - I love your pineapple quilt and one day the top the top will be done and on your frame. Happy New Year to you!

Val's Quilting Studio said...

Happy New Year Rebecca Grace!! It's a joy to follow you!

Ramona said...

I would agree that 2017 was a smashing success for you! Just keeping teen age boys fed and in clean clothes is a major accomplishment! (I have three brothers!) I whole-heartedly agree with your mantra for 2018.... if there isn’t Joy in the journey, what’s the point? May 2018 bring you much creative time and peace. Happy New Year!

Carole @ Fresh off the Frame said...

Your pineapple quilt is going to be gorgeous! Congrats on your new longarm. Looks like you will be whizzing through quilts in no time! Best wishes for a happy and *healthy* 2018.

colleen said...

Pineapple blocks just one a week 8 weeks 8 done great "just" sew together a quilt top is done
Your dress and top are really lovely I really think you deserve to have at least one more of each and the star quilt is so close to completion oh it's nice to have a baby quilt ready for gifting
Oops I've used up all your sewing time and more sorry
Don't do the pineapple blocks too quickly I would not have or what would I have to look forward to???
Also how is your niece doing with her newer quilt? I hope she is loving it to death

Preeti said...

Pajama Choir??? But you are wearing the opposite of pajamas. That is a killer dress. You look so chic, Rebecca. I am jealous.
I agree it was a very eventful year. I hope 2018 is more upbeat and full of joys and happy quilting things for you.

SJSM said...

My accomplishments seem small until I go through my sewing journal. Then I do see I have done more than I thought. Being an empty nester you would think I would have more time to sew. Many times I will set aside my time to sew to take care of more pressing matters or end up in the procrastination cycle. Sewing brings me more joy and I do lose myself in the creative process. I like most of what I sew. My goal is to get into my sewing room at least ½ hour a day. Even that doesn’t occur on a regular basis. With giving up my leadership role in my local American Sewing Guild this year, I am hoping to channel at least half of the time spent in 2017 on sewing in 2018.

I look at your accomplishments and see your progress on large projects moving forward. I can’t wait to see some of your work this coming year. Do recognize you are a perfectionist. Being as precise as you are requires a lot more time to get your projects done. It is a trade off in time vs projects getting done. You have discovered a few areas this year where you didn’t feel you received value for that time. You are letting that go and changing to a more satisfying experience this year.

I look forward to seeing your 2018 bringing you more sewing joy.

Jenny K. Lyon said...

You write so well! It's always a pleasure to read your blog post. Enjoyed reading about your incredible year. Happy New Year!

Janice Holton said...

Hi Rebecca, Unless your family is economically dependent upon you finishing quilts more often, there is no need to fret about how many you do or don't make, right? Just have fun! Do it when you can and just enjoy the process! I want to let you know, I enjoy reading your blog a lot! You are very thorough about sharing your thought process and the reasons behind the decisions you make. I love that! PLUS you are a very talented maker, you're a natural and I suspect are pretty good at just about everything you try. I'm excited to see your longarm progress this year! I only had two full quilt finishes (and a few minis) in 2017 but after going through everything I have going on, realized that I really did sew a lot. My problem is starting new things before I finish the others! New projects are my weakness. :) Happy New Year, Rebeccaa!

Nancy said...

I love this post, Rebecca Grace. If we don't have quilts to show -- oh no, we didn't do enough, but your post, especially toward the end, is a good reminder that bills, laundry, and food take quite a lot of time, not to mention tending a husband after heart surgeries. All important, all necessary. But you created so much during the year! Your dress and top are gorgeous. Yes, make another concert dress that's a little shorter. I love your pineapple quilt. What a lot of seams, but so worth it! And that little beginner quilt for your class -- too fun. I especially like the border fabric. I think you've accomplished quite a lot, really. (Maybe you'll feel better if you read my list of 2017 accomplishments when I post it later tonight. In which case, comparison won't be a thief of joy for you then.) Well done for all of your creative endeavors this year and all the best for 2018 to you.

Lane said...

A great list of priorities for 2018. Here’s wishing you and your family a wonderful new year of health and happiness. Now let’s go sew! Lane