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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  • FO Friday: may the quilt be with you

    Another of my best pals had a baby recently! For this one, I knew that Star Wars had to be the theme. I had found some neat SW fabric and as it is the favorite thing of my pal Michael, it was a perfect fit.

    In order to highlight the SW-themed fabric, I decided that a fairly traditional block pattern would be best, so I cut out squares, fussy cutting the SW panels to best show off and vary the print.

    Star Wars baby quilt in progress

    I also wanted to highlight the center panel in some way and decided on the Alliance Starbird. Of course this little one will side with the Rebellion. So I fussy cut this shape and then top-stitched it onto a panel, which I put at the center.

    Star Wars baby quilt in progress

    Of course I decided to make the quilt a bit larger than my work surface, so laying out the panels was slightly challenging as they needed to droop off the edge which I worked.

    Star Wars baby quilt in progress

    I am quite pleased with how the center panel turned out, and with how the colors go together.

    Star Wars Quilt

    For the back, I used a basic polka dot fabric in grey. It’s neutral and goes with all of the blues and other colors in the quilt top fabrics.

    Star Wars Quilt

    And the finished product:

    Star Wars Quilt

    I’m so happy with it! It’s Star Wars themed but it’s still classy and elegant, which fits with this child’s parents’ aesthetic. And they did love it – look at this wee Jedi practicing his force powers!

    quilt jedi photo 2015081795100630_zpskto258nc.jpg

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    it’s a trap!

    So we recently discovered evidence that a mouse was sharing our home with us (eww). It’s the time of year when the nights are getting cooler, so it’s really not massively surprising, but still not my favorite thing to find. We were like, yeah, we ought to do something about that, but then I forgot about it. I came home one day soon after that and saw this on the kitchen counter:

    It's a trap!

    I opened the drawer and, sadly, Admiral Ackbar was not inside.

    It's a trap!

    This proved effective, though, probably moreso than the Mon Calimari commander would have.

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