Tuesday, December 29, 2020

What a long, strange year it's been

 Hello everyone, and welcome to the end of 2020! I'm so happy to say that, aren't you? What a year. There's no reason to go through the litany of why I am so glad to see this miserable year come to a close, is there? I'm betting that many of you are feeling the same way. I was going to say "we made it!" but of course that isn't true for too many families. Instead, I'll just say that I'm grateful that my husband and I remained healthy this year, and my parents, kids, and grandkids are all still with us. 

The word of the year for 2020 was STRESS. It's been a very challenging time that felt like several years all piled up together. This year I didn't blog as much as usual, mainly because of the stress and time involved in teaching live classes online, but I did manage to make a bunch of things in 2020. According to the handy spreadsheet that I keep, this year I finished ten quilt tops, nine fully completed quilts, and a very large number of quilty projects, including some quilted scrap baskets and many, many cloth masks. I am amazed by these numbers, because all year I've felt like I was failing at everything.

The most popular finish this year was this lovely quilt:

A tiny bright spot

(Clicking on the captions will take you to the post about that quilt!)

This was the quilt top made last year from scraps for the Tiny Tuesday blocks at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and this year it got quilted and bound. It now hangs in my dining room, and it makes me happy every time I see it.

Next on the list were two quilts that I donated to Mercyful Quilts:

Spring in spite of it all and A little bit of mercy

 Readers certainly liked these and I enjoyed creating them. I hope they are now comforting families in this year of so much suffering.

I made a bunch of cheerful things this year, but by far the most cheerful was the quilt I made for my nephew:

O is for orange

I called this quilt Big Orange, and it certainly seemed like a ray of sunshine in a dark winter.

And speaking of cheerful, is there anything more cheerful than yellow?

Wrong Turns

I quilted this one with a walking foot and kept turning the wrong way, but it turned out to be quite cute anyway. 

I also finished two star quilts with blue backgrounds:

Constellations and Galaxy Stars

One of these now lives with my daughter, and the other is in the guest room in case anyone ever somes to visit again. Funny how many of my quilts have walked off to my kids' houses.

My personal favorite finish for the year is this lovely autumn flower quilt:

Autumn abounds

And then, of course, there are the unfinished tops, which I am determined to get finished up in the new year: 

Colorful summer finish, Child's play, Rainbows in the pines, and Rising from the leaves

As for non-quilt quilty projects, I spent a lot of time making (expletive deleted) masks:

I'm sure you all made a ton of these too! I think I made about 60, all told, but I have friends who made hundreds. You are all better people than me! These were necessary, but almost zero fun to make, though I'm happy they're keeping people safe.

I also made a bunch of quilted scrap baskets:

I didn't get to make every color, so I'll finish those up for next year's RSC.

And I ended the year with a doll quilt that lives here, waiting for some small person to (finally) come over and play:

Small but satisfying

All in all, looking back has been a really good exercise, because in all the stress I lost sight of what I had already accomplished. Overall, it was a better quilty year than I thought! There is plenty left to do in the new year, though, so I'm sure I won't run out of projects.

So, now that we've looked back, let's look forward, shall we? On to goals for 2021!

Quilty goals for 2021

At the end of a year with all of my personal and professional goals in pieces at my feet, (totally not joking!) I'm really unsure what to have as goals for next year. I'm just keeping it simple with these few:

--Get the remaining unquilted tops quilted or donated (or both!)

--Continue cleaning out and repurposing UFOs

--Finally finish a quilt for our bed (already in progress!)

--Work on things that make me happy, without a real schedule

--Be true to my own aesthetic

--Learn one new skill or take on one new challenging project (maybe this will wait until after the pandemic!)

--A personal goal for 2021: find some kind of ~balance~ after a year of almost unrelenting stress

That seems like a set of goals that I can actually accomplish this coming year. (Any resemblance between last year's goals and this year's is strictly coincidental!) I'll leave it to someone else to figure out how we can manage to continue wearing sweatpants all the time once we have to actually go in to work again. 

Finally, here at the end of the worst year ever, I want to thank all of you for coming around and reading my ramblings, offering funny and supportive comments, and being a fun community to belong to. It's good to have friends, now more than ever.

And with that, we're kicking 2020 to the curb and moving on to 2021! Wishing you all peace, joy, and happiness in the new year. This coming year will be different, and with any luck, it will be different in good ways, so let's make it good with plenty of color, fabric, and community in our little corner of the Internet.

Happy 2021, everyone, and peace and joy to all!

Sharing with Cheryl's Best of 2020 linky party at Meadow Mist Designs, and Yvonne's 2021 Planning Party at Quilting Jetgirl.



karenbbsnow said...

A very productive year for you!!! Your tiny Tuesday quilt is gorgeous, and the quilting design is mesmerizing. I have a Tiny Tuesday pieced and sashed, just can't decide on final borders.

I've been wanting to do some blue background quilts, yours are stunning.

Wishing you a wonderful 2021 :)

piecefulwendy said...

Despite all the disruption to your usual teaching routine and your move, you've had an incredible year! So many pretty quilts! On to 2021! Happy New Year!

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

you got a lot of tops done and some quilted - they all look good - I like those blue backgrounds that you show

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

I enjoyed seeing your gallery of all the quilty work you did this year, Mari! So many beautiful projects! And my favorite item on your list for 2021 is where you wrote you plan to work on things that really appeal to you without a schedule. I'm with you there!

Sara said...

Your quilts are all wonderful. Bright spots in a dark year, right? I'm trying to keep my 2021 goals simple too: keep finishing things I've started.

Quilter Kathy said...

WOW! Even through all the stress you made gorgeous quilts and added so much beauty to the world!

Bernie Kringel said...

Mari, reading through this and looking at all of your work, it is just incredible what you made. I know the year was horrible in many ways but you really managed to create so many gorgeous quilts. Maybe that is what kept you sane. I think my favorite is the tiny Tuesday quilt. I love that one.

Also, my favorite line from this post:

" I'll leave it to someone else to figure out how we can manage to continue wearing sweatpants all the time once we have to actually go in to work again."


sue s said...

I hope the sewing you've done this year has helped with the stress. And you haven't been in your new home for long either! Good luck with 2021 and your list, and let's all be nice to ourselves this coming year!

Ellie said...

Best wishes for the new year! You have been really productive this year and I hoe that has helped with the stress. Your goals for 2021 look quite doable and inspire me to make some similar ones. Happand healthy new year to all!

MissPat said...

Yes, indeed, you had a very productive quilty year. Add in moving to a new home and more remodeling, plus the stress of remote teaching, I'd say you've done well. Yes, 2021 will undoubtedly be different, not normal yet (will there ever be normal again?), but different. We'll all get to practice our adaptability skills. Happy, healthy, New Year. Get out and enjoy the sunshine whenever you can.

Cheryl D. said...

Despite the challenges of this year you have accomplished so much. Your quilts are beautiful and inspiring. Yes the necessity of mask making wasn’t and still isn’t fun but people are certainly appreciative of them.
Enjoy your day. Happy quilting. Cheryl.

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

Gosh - you had an amazing quilty year!!! what great projects!! and great ones to come - can't wait to see the finishes!! ( no pressure tho - I just like your stuff!)

Quiltdivajulie said...

I think your observation about actually accomplishing a great deal while feeling like you were failing in every way was true for lots of people. You finished some beautiful quilts - and while I don't enjoy making masks at all, I feel good about my family wearing them knowing how they're made and that they fit better than so many I see when we do go out (true for most of us who made them). Good luck with your new goals - may you find great success even when it doesn't feel like anything is happening!

ButterZ said...

Oh Mari, you have some amazing quilts there. So bright and cheerful. We can only hope for a better year ahead.

Cheryl said...

Great finishes for 2020! Thanks for linking up and Happy New Year!

Cheryl said...

Amazing quilts from 2020! Thanks for linking up and Happy New Year!

cspoonquilt said...

I love your O is for Orange quilt! The orange complimented by the blue is so cheerful it just sparkles with happiness! Good luck on this years goals! take care!

JanineMarie said...

I feel for your stress this year, Mari. (I can't tell you what turned out to be my word of the year--or maybe words--because it is not like me to use them, but wow did they pass my lips way too often.) Your way of dealing with the stress through quilting and finishing some projects from the past also helped relieve the stress of the rest of us just by your sharing your beautiful projects. I enjoy every one of your quilts, but the two that really caught my eye were the Spring in Spite of it All quilt and the Rainbows in the Pines quilt. The first, because it's a wonderful representation of the community we needed this year with so many different colorful blocks all forming a cohesive, pleasing quilt that will comfort someone, and the second because of your creativity in repurposing the string blocks and adding in the neutral strings for a fabulous finish. (And you know how I feel about your colorful low volume backgrounds!) As we begin this new year with hope, I wish you less stress but as much quilting as 2020, and health and happiness, too.

LA Paylor said...

wowie! what a lesson that feelings are not always the same as actual accomplishments. I like be true to your aesthetic, and learn a new skill... me too... and maybe start some kind of spreadsheet to keep track of what I actually get done would increase my feelings of accomplishment. This year you learned/mastered the skill of teaching online...and learning a skill doesn't mean you are perfect with it, just that you persevered til it was done. Can we all agree that surviving this year was an accomplishment? without going to a home for the "very very nervous"?

scraphappy said...

It is always fun to look back at the year and remember all the projects that you worked on. Even in a challenging year you managed to finish so many lovely quilts. I really do like the setting for your Tiny Tuesday blocks. Such a sweet way to highlight the blocks while still adding a little extra personality.

Sewing Up A Storm said...

You certainly have been busy this year and have a lot of beautiful quilts and other items. I think I love the orange and blue one best.

Rose said...

You have had some wonderful finishes

Bonnie said...

I haven't ever done a review of the year post but yours makes me want to try it.... but I probably won't. You made or finished some beautiful quilts. I particularly like your colored baskets. I've been "planning" to make various color baskets to hold my scraps. The only one I got done was red. The purple one is in pieces on my ironing board. There is always something to do! Hope you succeed with your goals.

The Joyful Quilter said...

Wishing you a less stressful 2021 Mari!! Isn't it strange that you couldn't see your successes throughout the year, but they became evident with the writing of this post? SEW many lovely finishes!

Preeti said...

There is nothing tiny about that gorgeous finish. It has so many small blocks. Honestly, the smaller the blocks the harder to keep the pieces aligned. A beautiful labor of love!!!