It seems fitting that the post to welcome in 2022 will be my 222nd post! Some good accidental number matching there especially as my posting has been a bit erratic over the last few months. Let’s take a look back over what 2021 had to offer…
I like getting a chance to sit and look back and think forward to what I’d like to get done in the coming year. (Here are the 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017 editions!) This year Christmas has marked a particularly welcome pause after a very few months which has meant another winter crafting hibernation. This seems to be a bit of a theme and this year I didn’t even get the usual ‘oh crap’ weekend of Christmas crafting to put it right!
I had a bit of a complain about 2020 being rubbish for craft courses but 2021 wasn’t much better! However, the one course I did make though was the utterly excellent day at the London Embroidery Studio. I honestly cannot believe I only went to one in person course all year… I did also attend a few online workshops but I’m a dreadful student when it comes to online classes! I’m starting 2022 with good intentions – I’ve already got something booked for January so it’s now just hoping that everything goes ahead…
2021 was a bit better for exhibitions though. The Embroidered Arts Exhibition was an absolute highlight, mind you, so was the Nuno Exhibition at the Japan House and one on indigo in Prague that I will share with you soon! The Victoria and Albert ‘Inside Out’ exhibition on various handbags was also an interesting insight into a world of luxury fashion that I think I’ll never quite get – I get fancy bling and crazy constructions but quite what makes the Birkin bag so special is something I can’t quite grasp.
Machine embroidery has very much been the craft of the year for me. I’ve learnt lots of funky new tricks, from using foam to create three-dimensional structures to using cutting tools to take some of the challenges out of applique and needing shaped pieces. I still have yet to find the magic cure for getting rid of the sticky remnants of dissolvable stabilizer but one thing at a time!
The new craft of the year is resin casting! I know it’s not technically textiles but it is getting to play with colour and glitz and glamour and I am absolutely loving it. It’s particular nice as I can see being able to use it to make ‘useful’ things – I’ve been making a series of pots that are perfect for the small sewing notions that always end up strewn everywhere mid project and I really want to have a go at making my own silicon moulds. I have access to a 3D printer to the possibilities are endless… Short term, I want to work a bit more on my finishing techniques as I’m still having a few issues with degassing leaving foamy piles of bubbles and it’d be good to add even more shine to the pieces.
At the end of the year I was really hankering for getting back into dressmaking… I think like all crafters I dream of perfectly fitting clothes made from fabrics with more durability than a passing thought and I have been learning to do some repairs. I think dressmaking is one of those crafts I find inherently intimidating – large swathes of fabric I don’t really have the preparation room for and lots of ‘assumed knowledge’ that you have to pick up from somewhere. Still… I have a few things lined up for the new year, will they make it from fabric to finished? We shall see!
What are my plans or goals for the year going ahead?
The big one for me is actually getting back to regular blogging. Normally, I manage a weekly piece come hell or high water but my system for writing seems to have gone all skewwhiff of late. Some of that comes from a positive place – I’ve had so much paid writing work on that I have had plenty of word generating to do – but some of it is because, for the first time, I have been finding it genuinely hard to find the letters for posts.
I think this is a scenario where the solution is finding some better writing habits. At the moment, writing is mostly a series of last minute binges and a lot of procrastination. It’s annoying because work that realistically takes an hour if I ‘just do it’ ends up consuming rather more time in terms of the hours of melodrama of ‘Not Doing the Work’. It’s really annoying, ultimately pointless and means less time for playing with fluff and fun writing. Everything is always done for when it needs to be but it is an infuriating way to work. Hopefully a break and some rest and starting the year without already being buried in deadlines will make a positive difference there…
I think I also need to make a concerted effort to perhaps do a bit of reorganising… The addition of an extra craft means more ‘stuff’ and even if it is glorious, shiny colourful stuff, it still takes up room and need some storage solutions that are not the floor. I have also recently been guilty of a few ‘aspirational purchases’ – the project kit you buy hoping it comes with the time to actually do it. Bar a few ‘essential’ purchases (like some velvet for some goldwork… I desperately want to play with shiny things) I may be unwittingly, accidentally joining the ranks of the ‘stash busters’.
Machine embroidery-wise I want to work on some bigger pieces where I need to realign and re-hoop the material as well as some more challenging fabrics. I think then I’ll feel that I’ve got a good grasp on all the basics with the machine and it’s just a case of more practice and getting to spend more time digitising and making more complex designs!
I think January will be a bit of catch-up Christmas crafting for a few projects that didn’t get done which should be a nice way to ease into the year. At the end of the day, I think all I really want to do is to ‘do more’. I like the idea of trying to overcome my fears with dressmaking and figuring out how to make useful custom pieces from resin.
Mostly I just like the idea of being sat somewhere crafting or writing about it. I need to try and get to some more courses to – I love craft courses for enforced crafting time and getting to meet some really interesting people – but last year seems to have been a bit dismal even if there perhaps were some extenuating circumstances. Having a break has been glorious and I think in some ways, while I am sure there’s plenty of interesting things to come in 2022, I am clinging to dear life to the relative peace and lack of deadlines at the end of 2021!
I hope you all have a lovely New Year and either are pleased to be saying goodbye to 2021 or welcome to 2022. Thank you all once again for being the most lovely readers and commenters – one of the things I have missed about regular blogging is also keeping up with all of your fantastic and inspirational creations which I am very much looking forward to seeing in the new year.