Traditionally, my first post of the new year is a chance to say welcome to the new year. This year I think I’ll break with traditional slightly and the new year’s post will be a chance to say goodbye to the old one! Well, 2020, what can I say?
It is hard to discuss 2020 without some mention of a certain pandemic that has turned everything upside down and laid plans asunder. While everyone has technically been going through the same events, it has felt like everyone is inhabiting very different realities. For some it has been the misery of uttering or realisations of ‘redundancies’ whereas some seem to have floated off to sourdough-making nirvana and everything in between.
So first of all, thanks to all of your who have kept reading and supporting the blog, all of you who have been generous enough to comment and share your crafting wisdom. While I do enjoy writing as a record for myself, I have learnt a huge amount from all of your comments and always nice to see someone enjoying my work! I hope this year has been as kind as possible on you, and that 2021 brings better things!
For me, one of the many side effects of this year’s events has been a rather exploding workload and having to find ways to adapt work to some very challenging working conditions. It’s been a rough ride, and looks like it’ll continue that way for the next few months, but there have been some exciting things coming out of the ashes. Will mean more work of course but the exciting kind at least.
The last few months have been relatively rubbish (something that seems to be a bit of a theme for this time of year!) for working much on any big projects. However, there have been lots of small victories, some hairpin lace pieces, lots and lots and lots of cards, some more machine embroidered goodies I have yet to share, and even a course or two.
The big crafty highlight of 2020 for me has definitely been becoming completely smitten with machine embroidery. It has been a real pleasure getting to know the Bernina 790 for both more general sewing and embroidery. One thing I do want is to spend a bit of time learning more about machine servicing. I’ve had plenty of chewed thread incidents as excuses to get the machine open but, given how a maintenance makes for a happy machine, I think it’s a good skill to learn.
Along with the actual stitching part, I’ve had a lot of fun getting into the digtising side and making my own machine embroidery designs. I’ve been doing some online courses to learn the basics and when I have a bit more brain and energy again, I am looking forward to working on some new designs. It’s very satisfying but it does give you a new level of appreciation of how much goes into a well-digitised piece – I think the hardest thing to get your head around is finding ways to minimise jump threads in terms of the order in which the design is digitised in. I’m almost missing how simple figuring out the order of work in silk shading is!
It’s clear there will be plenty of designing ahead in 2021, but what about any other goals? I’m definitely enjoying ‘small projects’ at the moment. Recommendations for creative ways to use samplers would be very welcome! I don’t know if I need to make myself a big ‘textile book’, though I struggle to see how to construct or bind one that’d work well with ‘whatever’ ended up going in it. I really admire very organised crafters, with their spinning samples and carefully noted ratios or stitch samplers with a variety of threads and notes. I am getting better with time, but there is still a long way to go…
2020 was a bit of a flop in terms of courses. I did enjoy the London School of Embroidery Lace Series, and their online offering was also good, and the rather intense lampshade making experience at Minerva Workshops. I have done a few other online offerings that I’ll blog about soon but it is very clear to me that no matter how much online is probably more compatible with a busy schedule and delocalised home I much prefer in-person classes. With everything being online now that is even more reason to prefer in-person teaching! Fingers crossed that there are some more opportunities for this in 2021…
2020 wasn’t the worst year in terms of blogging consistency and I even managed to find a bit of time to make a catalogue of the reviews of technical books and light reading books I’ve covered over the years. I really enjoy doing book reviews, so if anyone has anything they’d like to see covered, just let me know in the comments. I do have some other site upgrades planned for 2021 which I am looking forward to revealing… just hoping it’s not going to take me too long to roll them out!
More courses, more machining, more blogging, what else would I like to do with 2021? I think some of it will be just be carrying on in the same vein as 2020. I have managed to finish a couple of different things, including one of the most ambitious braids I’ve ever tried and a fun bit of spinning and dyeing. I haven’t quite managed the finishing decreases on my Slouchy Sockhead Hat, but it is nearly free of the needles! It has been something of a breakthrough in terms of my knitting troubleshooting skills and made me immune to fearing ripping out rows too!
I will get the hat finished this year, and have a go at some socks – something of a longstanding ambition of mine. I’d like to do a bit more bobbin lace and, if I can make enough progress with my digitising, also try designing some of my own freestanding lace. It’s all just going to be a matter of finding the little snatches of time and brain space to keep working away on things.
I wish you all the very best in 2021 and hope Santa brought you lots of new fluffy things to play with. It seems there’s going to be a bit more trudging on for a while to come but hopefully that will be to better things. Have you got any crafty resolutions for the New Year? Are you dedicating 2021 to stash accrual or removal?