Happy 2020 everyone, may the new year bring you lots of great ideas, fabulous materials and the time to put them all together! As is traditional for this time of the year, let’s have a look back over some of the last year and set out some overly ambitious goals for the year.
Overall, it’s a bit hard to say whether 2019 has been a good or bad year. It feels like a both a lot and not a lot of happened all at once. It has been intense for sure, and, as I mentioned in my last post, it has ended with a big change but overall, I’m left very ambivalent about the year as a whole.
One thing is for sure though, the last few months have been intensely frustrating from the crafty perspective… As you might have guessed from the short break from the blog, there has been scant time for pursuing anything creative, though a good backlog of things to post about. While I sometimes have lulls in any desire to work on particular projects, it’s unusual for me to not feel like doing anything at all. However, even though it might have been humanely possible to carve out an hour or two to write or eek out a few stitches, the hours have been scarce enough that I have spent them doing a better imitation of a potato than anything more useful.
Generally I’m pretty good at managing my time and finding ways to sneak a little crafting in here and there, regardless of how busy it is but it turns out the one universal truth of time management, which is that there is only 24 hours a day, does start to bite when work starts to take up too large a percentage of that time. This, in turn, starts to chafe when it goes on too long and everything else in life gets thrown on standby and you get more and more tired and the cycle worsens and on it goes…
This makes for a grumpy, cranky me, a neglected blog and piles of projects sat there looking unloved, which brings me on to the epic fail of 2019: The Goldwork Monogram! I am a bit ashamed to own up to quite the amount of progress I haven’t made on my big monogram piece after a good start. It has had some soft string padding on it after the last post and I have been working on some samplers, particularly for experimenting with some coloured threads for couching but there’s still quite a bit of prep work to be done.
One thing that hasn’t helped is not having trestles or a proper embroidery stand. I’ve been working with the frame balanced on a coffee table/sofa, balanced on a few books to make it level and me sitting on the floor. While I normally like working on the floor, all the heights are wrong, it’s been tricky to balance the frame and keep it stable. Combined with the general production that is setting it all up, far from an ideal solution.
It was a shame as I was just starting to get into the soft string padding and finding it one of those nice, repetitive soothing pieces of stitching rather than a stressful tussle of forcing a bundle of threads into shape. Moral of the story, worth investing in a good working area. Hopefully 2020 holds a better future for this one…
On a more positive note, the big success of 2019 has definitely been getting into bobbin lace. I haven’t posted much on the blog about it as there has been a lot of sampling and testing but I have very quickly become completely obsessed with it. I think part of the charm is how insanely difficult I find it – I think lace has a horrendously steep learning curve simply because there is so much stuff you are just expected to know and it is style and technique dependent. Even trying to follow a pattern from a book is challenging enough!
However, despite that, I absolutely love it, not least because even simple bobbin lace patterns are absolutely beautiful. I don’t know why lace has quite captured my attention the way it has but I am very keen to get to a more independent level of proficiency with it. I’ve started my first little bookmark, and look forward to sharing how that’s going with you when I can (assuming it has survived the move)!
There have been other highlights too. I finally made it to the Musée des Tissus in Lyon and back to the incredible craft markets of Dongdaemun. I went to an incredible kumihimo workshop with Jacqui Carey, which really opened my eyes to the creative possibilities of braiding and I have seen some beautiful museums, such as the Textilmuseum St. Gallen in Switzerland. There are a few other finished projects from last year that have yet to be revealed too.
So, what does 2020 have in store, or rather, what do I want to do with it? One thing that has become very clear is I just want more time for creative things full stop. If I’m going to have any lofty goals or ambitious of pursuing complex projects, then that will need devoted time and concentration, as well as the energy for the former. I’m going to try on having a nicer workspace to help with this, but I think this will also mean some general life time management!
What to do with all this extra time? Well, I am definitely going to try and find some more time for classes and workshops. I love doing classes and thankfully I’m moving somewhere I should be spoilt for choice. To do what, who knows? Learn something new or get better at something old – it all sounds good to me. I definitely want to do more bobbin lace next year and I have a couple of delectable books waiting for some proper perusing and the only way to really see if a book is good is to try making something from it!
Seemingly simple plans but ones I am looking forward to. I am also very much looking forward to seeing what you all make in 2020 too and your inspirational and lovely projects!