2020 – a different year

I suspect that everybody looking back over the last year will have different reflections about what could have been had it been a normal year and how very different it was from what we expected this time last year. Although blogging hasn’t been at the forefront of what I’ve done in a year when I’ve had more time at home than at any other (more’s the pity!), I still wanted to try and capture what had happened particularly on the creative front over the last year. To that end I would be joining up with the ‘best of 2020’ Link with Cheryl of Meadow Mist but I have missed it…..no surprise there!

Quiet the brightest quilt I have ever made!!

I’ve done this for a few years now and always enjoy remembering what were the highlights. But I don’t like to just reflect on the ‘best of’ but in addition to the good, also the bad and the ugly.

So to the good…..

Once lockdown hit, which for us in the UK was in March, it was such a swift change and unlike anything before it all seemed very unreal. Of course there was the anxiety, not so much for myself or my children but my parents in their eighties/nineties and the uncertainty of it all. But all that freedom was incredibly liberating…. it coincided with me stepping away from a role I’d had for 10 years at a local university and not yet being able to start in a new role so I had the luxury of time.

I hadn’t heard of zoom at that time, it absolutely dominates my life now! It took a while for things to get set up using this and other platforms so in those few weeks everything focused on the home. I made the executive and not entirely popular decision, with my children being late teens/early 20s and of course stuck at home with no school or college that I would shop just once a week and they had to make their own lunches. There were no chauffeuring duties, it was amazing the extra time I had!

My garden never looked so good. Parts got touched that hadn’t been in the 30 plus years we have loved here.

On the family front when the lockdown lifted, with our normal holiday postponed, we took the opportunity to revisit Scotland and had a lovely week up there and stayed in the cream cottage in the centre of the photo. It was surprisingly warm, not quite how I remembered it!

And on the sewing front the chance to pick up a long-standing WIP, my glitter quilt, which coincided with Rachel Hauser’s book ‘A quilter’s fieldguide to colour’ and a sort of teach-along that she did all about colour. Perfect timing as I needed to make at least another 60 blocks and playing with colour was the best way to keep my interest. Oh and machine sewing them not hand sewing. That was a game changer.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could show you the finished quilt but sadly not have I only about 10 more to do and then I should have enough for a good sized quilt. But I’m on my way and our second lockdown now 3 days in should give me ample time!

The bad….

I had every intention this year of really getting on top of some blocks made for me by bee members for the charity Siblings Together. I think I have something like eight sets of blocks that need to be made into quilts. And that might be an underestimate…..

There was some progress but not really enough justifying the amount of extra time I had. But here are a few quilt tops I’ve sewn up.

You will note the critical difference between completing a quilt top versus finishing a quilted quilt… I’m a bit of a dilemma though about quilting them as that will just take up more space and as the camps didn’t really happen this year they’re not desperate for quilts at this point at least. But something for 2021.

I did finish one quilt though…and in flat out speed as well. In discussion about Christmas presents my younger son said his girlfriend would like a quilt. This three weeks before Christmas… We agreed she needed to be involved in the design etc. So armed with Pinterest my go to for inspiration she settled on a perfect design for a quick quilt and wanted bright solid colours. I think it’s the only solids only quilt I’ve made.

Whenever I’ve made a quilt for a young person and they’ve had an input in the design they go for graphic bold design and always go for a fleece backing. I can’t blame them. Cotton backings are a bit cool to touch for me. So on Boxing Day under the tree was a finished quilt. It was a bit of a canter but we got there and she was delighted which made it all worthwhile.

The ugly….

Well for a start my lockdown hair cut courtesy of my daughter. I should have realised there was a problem when I didn’t hear the familiar snip snip of my hairdresser but crunch crunch as the scissors hacked there way through! Thank heavens hair grows. We did laugh though.

I also have to put in here masks. Ok necessary, but no one’s fashion item of choice! UK guidance took a while to catch up with elsewhere so I could see all the wonderful creations and absolute multitude of patterns before we had to follow suit here.

I started off with the conventional pleated type modelled here by my cats. Before anyone gets worried about animal cruelty the original mask was made for a photo competition at my camera club. I got my daughter to wear it then photoshopped the shaped mask onto an existing picture of the cats. The thing that struck me was just how uncomfortable it was to wear on the breathing front. Maybe it was pleated too much.

But realising that it was only a question of time before we had to wear them here I made up a couple of designs and settled on the free pattern by Dhurata Davies. This doesn’t have a central seam so better air flow and as I have mild asthma it helps, well psychologically if nothing else!

Well 2021 doesn’t look a great deal different at the moment. Indeed we are into another lockdown and no family visits allowed because they are too far away. Roll on the vaccines but in the meantime I am beginning to realise like many others that online fabric shops have come into their own and all that stash I had built up should keep me going for a while!

4 thoughts on “2020 – a different year

  1. Lovely to hear your news and see your quilty and other sewing achievements for 2020. I’m afraid the haircut photo made me laugh out loud !! You were very brave to allow your daughter loose with the scissors !


  2. Really enjoyed reading this Jenny. And laughed out loud at the caption under the first picture which I read as “Quiet” the brightest quilt… these spell check things that do their own thing!! I will have to try Dhurata Davies’ pattern as the extra dart across the bottom looks a good idea. I’ve tried, I think 5 different designs so far and the best seems to be the Japanese one with two folds machine stitched on the edge horizontally and then opened. But nothing stops my glasses steaming up! Best wishes for the New Year, Heather

    Heather Hasthorpe http://withoutpins.blogspot.co.uk/ http://withoutpins.co.uk



  3. I am so delighted to find your blog. I read every word until I left my DT corporate job in May of 2018. Being at home my routine changed and when I got back to some fave blogs I couldn’t remember the name of yours – which is funny because I am a huge cat fan and love seeing your kitties. A few years later I again hunted and found you through the Siblings Together Quilts site b/c I remembered you were involved with them. I love your quilts and projects – they are very inspiring. Now that I am home I have time to sew and have taken to making quilts and am happy to have such a rich online community as I don’t know anyone who quilts in my city in Canada.


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