Word of the Year for 2017

When it comes to New Year’s plans and resolutions, I have tried different things.  I have made just a few resolutions, a long structured list of resolutions, and no resolutions at all.   At the end of 2016, I felt that I wanted to structure my plans for 2017 around a word, and I knew that word needed to be “focus.”  I wanted this to be a year to finish up all kinds of projects and follow through on ideas that have caught my attention.

At the time I was working on “The Planets Are Aligned” quilt, the quilting was not going well.  I was dreading sitting down and trying to quilt smoothly.  Somewhere in the midst of this, I read NanaCathy’s wrap-up of her year , and she said something that really struck home for me.  She was talking about improving her knitting skills by learning to knit cables and bobbles, and how it made her realize she loves to relax by knitting, but these cables and bobbles were not relaxing to her.  So she didn’t give up, she just took up another knitting project she’s been meaning to do for years (a beautiful miniature village) that was at a comfortable skill level for her, and did that in the evenings when she wanted to be calm.

It made me think that even though I was happy to improve my skills on this bed-size quilt, it was not the kind of quilting I love best.  I am happiest when I can use up scraps (preferably those others have given up on) and odds and ends of thread, and I really feel most comfortable just doing rows of quilting straight across the quilt, either with a walking foot on the machine, or by hand.  I thought that in 2017 I would stick to that fun scrap sewing, and just the thought of it relaxed me enough to help me get through the “skill-improvement” quilt.

I do love free motion quilting too, but on smaller objects.  Last year I took Cindy Needham’s whole cloth quilt class on Craftsy, and this year I bought stencils at the International Quilt Festival, so I should get in some FMQ practice too.

And then Joanna the Snarky Quilter was talking about planning to take more time to work out art quilt designs in sketches, and I thought I would benefit from that practice as well.

One other influence on my goals this year is a blogger who creates her “To Finish” list in a colorful graphic organizer instead of an ordinary list.   I love lists and write them every day, often just repeating what I wrote the day before to organize the tasks in my mind, but I love this idea of creating them as a small daily piece of art.   (I didn’t bookmark it or pin it or clip it and I can’t find it now.  If it was you, please let me know!)

As I started planning my mini-goals, I realized I could make them form an acronym of “focus.”

My word of the year and mini-goals.

My word of the year and mini-goals.

So here are my mini-goals:

F – only four textile books at a time.  Wait, better make that five.  One for art quilt practice  (Lyric Kinard’s Art + Quilt), one for weaving  (Malin Selander’s Swedish Handweaving), one for textile history (Fiona McDonald’s Textiles: A History), and two for inspiration.  The others are just going to have to sit on the shelf patiently.

O – use graphic organizers to motivate and keep on track.

C – work on current projects (I have 17 in progress);

learn to crochet and knit simple hat patterns;

weave cotton towels.

U – use it up;

upload  (I am great at editing my photos, terrible at uploading them).

S – use scraps;

use stitch and flip construction;

keep a sketchbook.

I am already putting a donated bag of scraps to use.

I am already putting a donated bag of scraps to use.

Cotton yarn that needs to be made into something useful.

Cotton yarn that needs to be made into something useful.

A project that's been hanging around too long -- a disappearing 9 patch.

A project that’s been hanging around too long — a disappearing 9 patch.

On a similar note of taking stock and making plans, I started this blog five years ago, and this is my 400th post! I have learned so much about textiles due to writing here, and I still have a lot to share.  Thank you to all of you who give me so many ideas and so much information!