Thoughts on 2020 and what I’ve learned in my crafting journey this past year…

Well, 2020 was quite a year wasn’t it!  For us (like many others) it meant a new home schooling routine and working and staying at home for pretty much most of the year.  Luckily I’m quite a happy home bird anyway so the staying at home wasn’t too hard but of course we missed seeing all of our family and friends so much.

Again, like a lot of us I’m sure, the pandemic caused me a lot of anxiety and when anxious my mind is always calmed by crafting, and thoughts of crafting and planning more crafting so it’s fair to say that a LOT of sewing and making happened during 2020.

The other day I sat down and actually made a list (with the help of my Instagram account) of everything I had made during the year and I had made a whopping total of 48 things!!  This year I’m determined to actually write down everything I make when I make it in my bullet journal so that I don’t have to do this task again at the end of this year but that’s another story.

Fourty Eight makes seemed rather a lot to me and initially I almost felt embarrassed at the large amount but then I realised that actually they were not all for me, some were for my children and other people and some were for blogger team makes and pattern reviews too so that justified it a little more in my mind 😉

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In this blog post, I thought I’d share a few things that I’ve learned during my sewing journey this year, include a couple of my favourite makes and mention a couple of things I’m hoping for this year in my crafting journey.  I’m a list maker and a goal setter so I always enjoy having a little review of the year and making plans for the next.

Something I already knew but which was made more apparent than ever during 2020 was how good making and creating is for my mental health.  I went through a pretty tough time suffering from a phobia and huge anxiety during my teenage years and I have no doubt that learning to knit and knitting in the evenings helped me massively.  Likewise, during this anxiety inducing pandemic, sewing, knitting and planning my makes have helped me hugely by giving me something else to focus on and something mindful to do to help with the overthinking.  

It’s not only been crafting that’s helped me this year, I’ve also enjoyed throwing myself into my Blog, Instagram and YouTube channel this past year.  I love to style and take photos and write and chat about sewing and crafting too and these have been a great focus for me also during 2020.

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I’ve also massively grown in confidence with my sewing projects where in the past I’ve always been a bit of a ‘stick with what you know’ kind of sewer.  Working with knit fabrics confidently was something I really wanted to conquer last year and I’m pleased to say that I’m going into this year feeling much more confident working with them.  In 2020 I made a few different knit patterns, learning and using various different techniques and I’m so pleased to have overcome this challenge and to no longer feel the fear of a neckband with quite the same dread as I did last year. Although, like everything of course, I still feel I’m forever learning.  Here are a couple of my favourite knit makes from last year, the Tilly and the Buttons Billie Sweatshirt and Agnes Top.

Having said this, I think I’m also realising that although I might feel a bit more confident working with knits, they are not necessarily my favourite thing to sew.  I love to sew with woven fabrics, I love making dresses and blouses and using delicate techniques but the question of what I love to sew and what I love to wear are two very different things. For example, I must learn to make more of the garments I actually wear, which are often comfy knits, along with making what I like to sew to avoid having a wardrobe of handmade clothes that are rarely worn!  Here are a couple of my favourite woven patterns from last year.  The photo on the left is the Myosotis Dress by Deer and Doe patterns, I loved working on the delicate collar here and the button band.  The second is the Sew Over It Eve dress – I love the vintage style of this pattern and the pretty gathered yoke sections at the shoulders.

I also set myself some knitting goals during 2020.  I love to knit but as knitting goes I’m not usually very adventurous.  This year I made my first lace patterned cardigan which I so enjoyed knitting and also made my first garment knitting top down and in the round.  Knitting in the round is something I’ve wanted to learn for ages but have been too scared to try! Well, it was much easier than I thought it would be and I really enjoyed it too. The picture on the left is the Fred Cardigan from Love Knitting.com, I have a whole blog post dedicated to reviewing this pattern here if you’d like to read it, and right is the Novice Cardigan by Petite Knit (a full blog post will be coming on this one soon).

Looking forward to this new year there are a couple of goals I’d like to set myself, one being to sew a coat, I have the I Am Merlin Coat pictured below by I Am Patterns ready to go. Another is to knit a jumper in the round – eek I feel like these two might be my biggest challenges yet! I won’t talk too much about my plans for 2021 as – yes, you’ve guessed it – there’ll be another blog post talking in more detail about my plans for 2021 coming soon.  I’m also going to have a go at the #makenine challenge over on Instagram this year so I’m going to chat about that too.

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So that completes my little round up of 2020!  Sewing has been a huge highlight this year for me, I’m really proud of how far I’ve come and I’m excited to see where 2021 might take me in my crafting journey.

So, how about you?  How was your crafting journey in 2020 and do you feel crafting helps you mentally as much as it does me?  I’d love to know…

Until next time

Sally xx

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