I don’t do resolutions, or intentions, or whatever anybody wants to call them when a new year hits. I learned long ago that somebody telling me to do something immediately makes me not want to do it, even if that somebody (oddly enough) is myself. Instead I change things constantly throughout the year, and if I get an idea in my head, whether it’s making-related, or general-life-related, I do it then.
I’m also inherently an impatient person, so I don’t like waiting to start something if I get it in my head to do so.
What I do like to do is a bit of a review of what I’ve made, and more importantly, what I learned in regards to that making. Maybe sometimes that can apply more broadly to life too – funny how that happens sometimes.
Going With the Flow
I think a lot of people had to learn this one very suddenly and very acutely this year. I think it was harder for some people than others. But very specifically I learned this in relation to a project. Every year I knit one garment that I completely make myself. I start with raw wool, then scour, card, spin, and knit. Normally it’s a fairly simple process without a lot of dithering around, but this year there was a lot of dithering. A lot of stops and starts. And things that appeared to be failures at the time, but ended up totally working out.
That sweater ending up totally working out, is a good lesson. Honestly, until the thing was blocked and I tried it on I wasn’t sure it’d work. But it did. I’m thankful for that because for one thing, I don’t have to rip it out (and I absolutely despise frogging things). But, and maybe more importantly, even with all the bumps and figurative bruises along the way making this sweater, I have something I’m incredibly happy with. It was different than what I thought I’d have at the beginning of the year, but it all worked out anyway.
And that’s not a bad lesson.
(as a point of interest, I wrote a detailed post here about what went wrong and my thoughts on all of that)
Never Rule Out Anything
The idea of quilting never, ever held any interest for me. In fact when I got my new sewing machine a few years ago, it came with a walking foot for quilting and I distinctly remember thinking, pfft, what do I do with this? I’ll never need it.
Fortunately I kept the thing, where it sat alone in a box unused.
In December 2019 my sister had given me a copy of The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar, as I had been studying natural dyeing (at that point) for about two years. One of the projects that really leapt out at me was The Snapshot quilt – an indigo shibori dyed affair, with simple patching. I must admit I was really first attracted to the project because of the shibori dyeing. It was something I had wanted to delve much more deeply into.
The quilt seemed like a means to an end to practice those skills. But what I absolutely ended up loving was the piecing, stitching, and even putting on the binding by hand.
Before that quilt I had not been any great lover of hand stitching anything. It’s slow, and I’m awkward at it. But spending hours putting that binding on really got me to love hand stitching.
It also introduced me to something that I never thought I’d be interested in, and in 2020 I ended up starting to create blocks, having become confident after the simple patchwork of The Snapshot quilt
What really hooked me in was finding some natural dyers that exclusively create these beautiful quilts using fabrics they’ve dyed. To say they were inspirational was an understatement.
Three years into my natural dye studies I was starting to want to branch out to cellulose fibres (having worked exclusively on protein fibres, except indigo). Quilting using fabrics I had naturally dyed sparked something in me. A few weeks ago I ordered the required supplies to start creating my own naturally dyed colours on cellulose, and 2021 will be full-tilt cellulose dyeing and quilting.
I guess the lesson there is, never rule anything out. Quilting seemed to me to be one thing, and something that I had never seen myself doing. But I became totally inspired, and have really come to love the process of cutting and piecing bits of fabric together. I’m very excited to do more, and I’m excited to incorporate naturally dyed cellulose fibres into those projects.
A Look Ahead
I always wonder what new things I’ll come across and learn as I stand on the precipice of a new year. The best part is, I have absolutely no idea. I’m sure something new and interesting will pique my interest this year, and not knowing what that is is an exciting prospect.
With so much external uncertainty, it’s nice to look forward to the process of discovery. I know I’m going to learn a lot from dyeing cellulose for the first time, but what will I learn? What new craft might there be out there, waiting for me to try my hand in? Will I learn how to patch those endlessly-looking complicated quilt blocks?