It’s that time again! Time to look back over the year that was, and think about the year ahead. This has become an essential part of the Christmas season for me, part of the celebration. It’s the view from the mountaintop: looking back, I see the highlights, and they make me thankful. Looking forward, I see the possibilities, and they make me excited.
My make 9 for 2021 was:
- Twin Quilt for Stringbean: Friendship Stars top, Spools backing.
- Twin Quilt for MiniMighty: Colorful Bed Quilt top, log cabin backing.
- Twin Quilt for Dooner: Starry Path top, Wheels backing.
- Spin: Oranges & Browns. 3 colours spun separately for use together in Comfort Fade Cardi. Speedy DK-ish 2-ply.
- Spin: Blended brown batts. Speedy Aran-ish 3-ply. Aiming for Weel Riggit.
- Spin: Black Corriedale and rainbow batt. Speedy 2- or 3-ply. Aiming for Solaris.
- Sweater: Chrysler Sweater in Alpaca/wool blend faun/white handspun.
- Sweater: Carbeth Cardigan in black DK from thrift store.
- Weave: Some scarves from handspun.
Here’s what I finished!
- Stringbean’s quilt was finished early in the year.
- MiniMighty’s quilt was finished before her birthday. I did the sane thing and did a plain backing for both of these! And grew a ton in my free-motion quilting.
- Instead of Dooner’s quilt, I made a double-sided, applique-ed wedding quilt for my little sister.
- I spun this orange and brown sweater spin early in the year, and also knit the sweater – before vacation! My first ever zero-to-hero.
- I finished this natural-colored spin early in the year as well. I had hoped to knit this sweater as well, but socks and knitivity got in the way!
- I started this black-and-rainbow spin before vacation, and did about two thirds after. Once I let myself start the colorful part, it was fun and fast!
- Chrysler might be the sweater I am most proud of. Ever.
- Carbeth was so fast! and remains so practical to wear to church.
- I didn’t weave anything this year, but my daughter did, and she inspired me to get a ton of warps wound. This is going straight back on my make 9 for next year!
Those were my top priority goals, and it’s cool to see that they were, in fact, mostly finished in the first half of the year. There was room left for the unexpected, and there was plenty of that!
I expected to do more sweater knitting, but, well… Bluestockings happened! I hadn’t knit socks for years, but I knit seven pairs in a summer, along with a bunch of machine knit socks.
I would be remiss if I did not add that I published a new knitting design this year. As part of a design challenge called “My Place” put on by Kate Davies Designs, I published a shawl pattern called The Thaw. Kate asked all the designers to write about their designs, and my contribution is here.
And of course, the last third of the year, my knitting time has been taken up completely by the Knitivity. This was an overwhelming project that I was afraid to begin, but the eagerness of my children propelled me, and the idea of using my handspun inspired me.
There is other knitting happening, but it has to stay behind the scenes and secret for now. Hopefully this will turn into something exciting by the end of next 2022.
I did lots of sewing, including a set of tank tops, a lovely Christmas tree skirt, and the dog’s matching stocking.
This is lots of sewing for me, of course. I’ve felt more and more comfortable with my sewing machine, and more competent to give it what it needs to stay happy. I’ve gotten more comfortable as well with attacking minor sewing projects on a whim. Sewing is so empowering, because when it goes well, it goes fast. I can never get over it! Like my last-minute decision to make Dooner her heart’s desire for Christmas.
Finally, I started a truly epic paper piecing project, which has been languishing for the last six months. I might chip away at this on and off for the next decade; I’m not too fussed.
I think the biggest win is that sewing is now less stressful for me, and I have more confidence at it. That’s a big deal in my world.
This was, surprisingly, the year of the sweater spin! I did the three sweater spins pictured above, and that is so enough for me. I actually spun more fiber than I acquired this year!
As usual, I didn’t do much spinning in the summer or fall. Knitting took over, as it will. Oh, and dog. So I’m thankful for the Wool n’ Spinning community, which keeps this craft at the heart of my making, in many ways.
- DOG! So, we have a dog now! I grew up with animals, but in our 13 years of married life, Jared and I had never owned a pet. We’d been planning on getting a small dog for companionship and play. Quicker than we thought possible, we had a dog – who is turning into a big dog for exercise and work. He’s the right dog for us, and we’re working on being the right family for him.
- HOMEMAKING: Blah, I don’t really want to put this on here this year. But I will, to say positive things about what I’ve been working on: good habits. Every morning I make a to-do list, and at the top of the list are some basic morning chores. I don’t always do them all. I haven’t figured out how to keep my floors clean. But I HAVE figured out how to not beat myself up for every day’s imperfections. I have figured out how to make the list my servant instead of my master. That’s a very, very good thing.
- HOMESCHOOL: We had a great homeschool year, in my opinion, and then God led us to pivot back to regular school. I still harbor regrets that we are taking a different path, but my rational mind knows we have made the right choice for us. Both girls are thriving in school in their different ways, and when they are home, they are learning differently. Supplementing around regular school is forcing me to have the flexible, unstructured approach that homeschool allows, but which I can’t seem to take when I’m officially homeschooling.
- CHURCHING: I’ve started spending a lot more time up front on Sundays, as of this fall. I get one work afternoon a week, and I’m either leading or preaching (unless someone’s sick). It’s been good for both Jared and me.
- TRAVEL: a huge highlight was our trip down south. We got to spend two months with family that we hadn’t seen for two years, and soak up the summer sunshine of our native land. And I got to officiate at my sister’s wedding, which was fabulous.
It’s been a good year. Some downs, but lots of ups. Lots of growth for all involved. It’s good being 35. It’s good being a mom. It’s good being alive and healthy and together. I’m incredibly blessed. I get so excited about planning what’s next, but giving thanks for what has already been is what gives joy and purpose to the present moment.
What have been the highlights of your 2021?