Print Friendly and PDF With Strings Attached: Happy New Year! The Annual Reckoning

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year! The Annual Reckoning

Postmarked Wausau, Wisconsin, Dec. 29, 1923, sent to Nora Buttke in Embden, ND. Message: "Dear Cousin, How are you all this winter we are fine we just came back from Milwaukee two weeks ago. Had a good time. Hope Santy was good to you. Goodbye from Herman and Frances." [In 1996 I bought a shoebox of postcards at a Buttke descendant's garage sale in Fargo. Some cards had been used, but many had not.  They continue to come in handy.]

Early in 1998 I was preparing to move from North Dakota to Illinois. I  realized I had almost as many boxes of fabric as boxes of books. I knew that writing down anything (money spent, food eaten, books read) made me more intentional.  And so, for 18 years, I've tracked my quiltmaking activity -- primarily in terms of fabric acquired and used, but also projects completed.  My criteria are idiosyncratic.   I do not keep track of notions, tools, batting, books, or subscriptions. I don't count vintage linens (though I do count vintage yardage).  You may think the calculations are terribly tedious but I've been doing it so long that it is routine.  

Though I used two yards less in 2015 than 2014, I acquired much less.
*  I began the year with 10 flimsies.  I sold 3.  I finished 29.  I ended the year with 23 in the box. 
*  I made 18 pillowcases and two quilts on commission.  I sold two quilts.  
*  I used 111 spools of thread. [Goodwill got a box with the accumulated empty spools from 2012-2014. They'll get the 2015 collection, too.]
Vic pointed out that I must include the six weeks of sewing-in-exile while the flooring in my studio (the basement) was replaced.  Read the posts from April here

These were my 2015 goals: 
* Bust the 30's stash. -- Stalled after four projects.
* Learn and practice a new technique. -- Nope. 
* Make decisions about the flimsies in the box (finish or abandon). -- Sold 3, quilted many. (Also sold several sets of blocks.) 
* Continue to chip away at the Deep Stash -- vintage linens and fashion fabric especially. -- Made 1 pair of pajamas. 
* Sell 100 yards.  -- Sold/gave away 62 yards.  Make 100 Care Bags. -- Nope. Make 576 HeartStrings blocks (that's 48 blocks per month) -- Yes! Each month I used a different colorway/theme and all the blocks were made from my stash. 
* Host one blog giveaway each quarter. -- Nope. 
* Enjoy the journey. Yes! 

My 2016 goals are very much the same:
*  Learn and practice a new technique.  (Bonus: use a specialty ruler.)  
*  Finish flimsies.
*  Reduce:  quilt fabric stash, books, magazines, patterns, vintage linens, fashion fabric.
*  Host one blog giveaway each quarter.
*  Make 100 Care Bags.
*  Enjoy the journey.  Yes! 

I hope your own year-end review is pleasing.  Here's to a piece-filled 2016!


  1. Ahhh, the best goal of all of them is to enjoy the journey! You did so well; be proud. I love looking in on your ubiquitous progress here. Say, wasn't it this year that you had the recovery from the great flood?? I think that somehow that should be counted, too!

    1. Watch for the edit! Thanks, and back atcha, Vic!

  2. I missed the tally on your Christmas card; I'm glad you wrote about it here. You are so creative and I love to see your finished efforts. Happy New Year!

  3. Oh I love how you track your purchases and progress! I've never been a big list maker (Ha! I just published a blog post about this very thing today.), but looking at what you have here really captures my interest. Maybe I need to rethink my methods :o)

  4. Looks like you've had a great year - using a lot more fabric than you bought. If I tallied them, my numbers are the opposite this year, but hopefully that means that next year mine will look more like yours.

  5. Always so amazing. You do such a great job of recording and remembering what you have done, bought, etc. Glad to be on your list!

  6. Wow! I'm impressed. You must be pooped!

  7. Impressive idea! I have recorded the author and title of every book I've read starting in 1975 (I think). It has become so routine that I don't even think about it. Since 2003, I have kept a quilting spreadsheet to keep track of projects that I'm working on, those that I plan to do (USOs "unstarted objects"), flimsies (with backing and binding) that are not yet quilted, and QWOs (quilts without owners). So I do my own kind of "reckoning" at year's end.


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