wrapping up 2015 and embracing 2016

It’s hard to believe another year has passed. I mean, calendar years are kind of arbitrary, but it does feel a little useful to think about the bigger picture periodically. And it’s a great excuse to crack open some spreadsheets and do a little analysis! (Spreadsheets are my raindrops on roses.) Some of the web services I use also provided me with some fun year-end wrap up, so let’s take a look.

First off, Goodreads. I love this site as a tool for tracking which books I’ve read. As a lover of mystery series and of non-fiction books on specific topics that often have very similar titles, there’s no way I’d be able to remember which ones I’ve read or not without some kind of tool.

Goodreads 2015 summary photo Goodreads_Annersquos_Year_in_Books_-_2016-01-01_09.48.04_zpsc2jx3jxf.png

Wow, almost 10000 pages read (according to this metric)! That is a nice number. Funny that the longest book I read was a YA novel, which sometimes have a rep for being fluffy.

Goodreads 2015 stats comparison photo Goodreads_My_Review_Stats_-_2016-01-01_09.51.31_zps26wyboi5.png

This 29 seems low! Looking at the actual books Goodreads says I’ve read, that only includes the fiction. I read a ton of non-fiction but that doesn’t seem to show up in these metrics (I believe this is because I usually add fiction books to my to-read list first, and then move them to my currently reading list when I start them. NF books I tend to just add after I’ve completed them so they don’t have a span of time covered on the site). I counted up and, to some extent, I read 186 non-fiction books in addition to the 29 fiction. To some extent because that does include some I didn’t read cover to cover, of course, especially cookbooks. Either way, I’m not feeling bad about the 29 being down from last year’s 40.

2015 was a pretty good year for me in terms of blogging consistently – 132 posts throughout the year!

2015 LibrariAnne posting patterns photo posting patterns 2015_zpswaumqmyl.png

My most popular post was eff the shave-triarchy. Eff yeah! Update while I’m at it: I feel like I have saved SO MUCH time since quitting shaving. My showers are super quick and I’m probably saving a bunch of water, too. Feminism wins again!

As ever, I made a whole lot of stuff in 2015. Thanks to the magical tool that is Ravelry, I know that I completed 94 knitting projects this year!

2015 knitting projects pie chart photo 2015 knitting projects pie chart_zpsqqitgrie.png

I kept five of these knitting projects for myself (not including Blythe stuff) and gifted 26 of them to others. The Blythe stuff was a mix of samples and things that have made their way into my Blythe wardrobe.

I also spent a lot of time sewing this year. I sort of slacked on Blythe sewing until the last quarter of the year, but I made up for it by making a bunch of bags and several quilts earlier on. Once we moved into Firefly Cottage, it was a lot easier for me to spend time sewing since I have so much more room now.

Here’s a sample of the Blythe sewing I did:

2015 Blythe sewing sampler photo Blythe Sewing 2015 collage_zps3vose6lc.jpg

I made 11 projects from Dog Under My Desk patterns (actually I did a few more! But I haven’t gotten around to taking photos yet, so I’m only counting these).

2015 DUMD projects photo DUMD 2015 projects collage_zpsulzmibhb.jpg

These patterns, for anyone who is considering making a bag, are THE BEST EVER. Seriously, I never felt like I could accomplish a professional look or a durable-enough-for-actual-use bag until I found Erin’s patterns. They are amazingly detailed and you really feel confident that your project is going to turn out to meet or even exceed your expectations. I use my Take-Off Tote every time I travel, as well as many of the Essential Wristlets. I also use my enlarged Date Night as my everyday purse and it’s still going strong after months of daily use.

Quilts were also a big part of my sewing this year.

To start things off, I made a challenge quilt for the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival Quilt Show. The theme was Spring Fling and my quilt won a gold star for Best Portrayal of Theme.

Best portrayal of Spring Fling theme:gold

SO EXCITING!! I won some maple syrup, which was of course amazing, but the feeling of having my work recognized was mega amazing.

The Figure and Flock quilt I made in 2014 was featured in that same show, as well as in the window of Grey’s Furniture during Art Walk Central in the summer.

Check it out! My piece, "Figure and Flock" is in #artwalkcentral15 at Gray's Furniture! Vote AWC24!

These were some of my first public showings of my art quilts, so it was really exciting for me. I hope to have more opportunities to share with the public in 2016! I haven’t started the challenge quilt for the Maple Syrup Festival yet, but I am mulling ideas already. The theme will be Fall Frolic, so it’ll be interesting to make it during a different season than it is focused on. As autumn is my favorite season, I’m sure it won’t be too challenging.

I’m still working on the very large art quilt I started in 2014. The length of time it’s taking is a lot more than I anticipated, but I did have to put it on hold for much of 2015 until I got a larger workspace, and it is a much larger art piece than I’ve done before. It’s in the home stretch, though, so I hope to have it finished soon!

I also made a couple of quilts for two Skatey-Eight babies who were born in 2015.

First off, this Back to the Future inspired quilt, made for Dan’s new daughter:

Back to the Future Quilt

And second, this Star Wars inspired quilt, made for Michael’s son:

Star Wars Quilt

I also had a pretty productive year in terms of AnneArchy biz!

2015 AnneArchy wrapup photo 2015 annearchy wrapup_zpspuxpn1wq.png

Wow, 31 patterns feels like a lot to have published in one year! I’m also thrilled to have had so many of my patterns faved on Ravelry. That is huge! I appreciate SO MUCH that folks are interested in knitting the patterns I write.

My most popular items this year were half Blythe, half Firefly.

2015 most popular AnneArchy patterns photo most popular annearchy patterns 2015 collage_zpsojgtb7vd.jpg

Last year at the beginning of January, I set a few goals:

  • Blog regularly (keeping this one)
  • Participate as a swapper in the Blythe Swap Group at least a few times (keeping this one again)
  • Find ways to be excellent to others on a regular basis
  • Write up and publish the remainder of the Blythe knitting patterns I have started working on
  • Complete my current art quilt project
  • Spend time with near- and far-flung friends more often

  • How did I do?

  • Blogging – did well (see above)
  • Swapping – did well! I participated in several swaps and am currently signed up for the next one
  • Being excellent – I would like to hope I did this
  • Writing up Blythe knitting patterns – I probably got about half of these done, which leaves me with more to do in 2016!
  • Complete art quilt – NOT DONE YET, but in the home stretch
  • Spend time with friends – somewhat? I am going to continue to strive for this one


    Sooooo, now that I’ve thought about all of these things from 2015, what am I looking forward to in 2016? I’m looking forward to a lot of things!

    Things I want to do and work on include:

    • complete the big WIP art quilt
    • complete the Fall Frolic challenge quilt by the April 23, 2016 deadline
    • learn how to do silk ribbon embroidery (I have the supplies and books in hand!)
    • compose a plan for Firefly Cottage gardens, and get a start on implementing it
    • continue writing and publishing knitting patterns
    • do whatever else strikes my fancy

    All in all, I’m excited for 2016! There are so many things to be made and plants to cultivate and people to enjoy life with. Here’s to kindness, happiness, productivity, and fulfillment in the new year!

    Sources-
    www.babyidesign.com

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  • New year newness (and some sameness)

    Happy new year!

    I feel like 2014 was a pretty okay year. We had a lot more stability in our lives, which was a refreshing change from last year. We did move again in the summer, but it was just a couple miles away and we splurged on professional movers who packed everything for us, so it was a lot less stressful and strenuous than our previous couple of moves. We’ve been pleased with our new digs and they’re a lot less expensive, so I feel happy that we’re actually saving a small amount each month now.

    In terms of reading, Goodreads says that I read almost the same number of books I did last year.

    2014 Goodreads stats photo Goodreads_My_Review_Stats_-_2015-01-01_130559_zps9f437f3c.png

    Except that their stats don’t count a lot of books including knitting and sewing books (many of which I admittedly skim or read only parts of) and picture books. If you count all of those, my number would be 397. I made a concerted effort to read more books by women this year, after noticing last year that my reading was ridiculously dominated by male writers. My fave reads from 2014 include: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, What If? by Randall Munroe, The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig Albert (this is actually an 8-book series, which I enjoyed more than I can say – it is cozy as cozy gets), Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (AKA JK Rowling), and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.

    I also wrote and published 38 knitting patterns!

    Ravelry my shop photo Ravelry_AnneArchy_Anne_Heidemann_s_Ravelry_Store_-_2015-01-01_131432_zps43788c2d.png

    They’ve been selling fairly steadily and people seem pleased with the clarity of my pattern-writing, so that’s pretty awesome. And I knit 96 things in 2014! That is a lot of knitted items. 23 of those were xmas gifts and 6 were craft-it-forward gifts made to help folks remember to be excellent to each other.

    For sewing, I conceived and created my first art quilt, titled Figure and Flock.

    Figure and Flock -  art quilt by Anne Heidemann

    It was featured in the grand opening art show at the local Dreamer coffee shop, which was pretty neat.

    Last year I made some resolutions, which have gone pretty well for the most part.

    • Blog regularly: I did this fairly well – I posted 94 times in 2014
    • Continue to attend yoga class once a week at OmBodies: This one I let go (consciously uncoupled from?) – I decided that having my Sunday mornings to myself at home was more valuable to me, and the cost of weekly classes felt like too big a sacrifice when we’re trying to save for a down payment on our next home
    • Take more photographs, especially of Coraline while she’s awake (this will require some effort): This one was middling – I took a good number of photos, but the ones of Coraline are definitely mostly sleepy-face photos
    • Go for more walks/explore Mount Pleasant (this may not happen robustly until spring): Success! Once the harsh winter abated, we took Coraline for lots of walks, especially once we moved into our current apartment where it’s more neighborhoody.
    • Create a couple of websites for folks who could use them: This one didn’t really happen, but only because the folks ended up not really needing them. However, I did create a site for the Blythe Swap Group, which helped us tremendously because we have avenues of participation on three different social media sites and it was getting really difficult to keep track of everything. I taught myself how to do a few new things with WordPress, which was cool.
    • Participate as a swapper in the Blythe Swap Group at least a few times: Done! I did the Baby Animals and Halloween swaps, both of which were super fun.

    For this coming year, I’m setting some more goals:

    • Blog regularly (keeping this one)
    • Participate as a swapper in the Blythe Swap Group at least a few times (keeping this one again)
    • Find ways to be excellent to others on a regular basis
    • Write up and publish the remainder of the Blythe knitting patterns I have started working on
    • Complete my current art quilt project
    • Spend time with near- and far-flung friends more often

    Feeling pretty good about 2014 in retrospect gives me a pretty optimistic view for 2015 (unsurprising, since I’m generally optimistic anyway). How are you feeling about the last year? And the new?

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    2013 wrap-up

    2013 was, for me, a year with a lot of changes. And by a lot, I mean A LOT. I left a job, sold a house, moved to Indiana, started a new job, moved back to Michigan, started another new job, and moved again into a second apartment. Despite all the self-inflicted upheaval, though, we are really pleased with where we are. We’re delighted to be back in Mount Pleasant and have been welcomed back into the community by old friends. We’re back to being a relatively quick drive away from my folks and it’s been really terrific to get together with them regularly. And my new job is going well. It’s definitely very different from the other places I’ve worked, but I feel like there is a lot that I can do and that I am doing it well.

    According to Goodreads, I managed to read 40 books this year.

    Goodreads 2013 stats photo Goodreads_My_Review_Stats_-_2013-12-31_090735_zps30e5f04c.pngForty that I remembered to add to Goodreads, at any rate. I’m sure that there are at least a few that I forgot to record.

    I thought I’d add some stats from Flickr, but then remembered that they only offer them going back about a month – LAME. I also found Facebook’s year in review to be super-boring (this is possibly because what I post is boring, but I’ll choose the popular way: blame Facebook). In putting together this post I also realized that I’d never installed a stats plugin here (until now), so I’ve got nothing to share there for this year. Ah well!

    Though I disappointingly did not find a tidy way to see them on Ravelry, I did a tally and noticed that, yeah, I did a lot of knitting this year: 185 finished objects! That includes over 70 Cunning Hats and about two dozen xmas gifts. I participated in the Harry Potter Knit Crochet House Cup in the Winter, Spring, and Fall terms (stupidly I just missed the deadline to be sorted for winter 2014 – guess I’ll be participating as a Student on Sabbatical this time!).

    I’m looking forward to another productive year in 2014. I’m planning to keep up with reading and knitting and to do a lot more sewing than I did in 2013. I’m also looking forward to doing more Blythe stuff – with all the moves, my dolls were packed away for a good portion of the year and I’m happy to say that they have now reemerged (and are ready for some hair treatments – holy static cling!). How was your year? Did you meet your goals? Do the things you wanted to do?

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