Last week I told you that my word for this year is “Finish.” I had reached the point that I was having trouble moving forward with new projects with so many new things hanging over my head, or just taking up space. I realized that all of these unfinished things were creating too much self-imposed stress, and that I wanted to focus some on not just finishing, but finishing well.
With that in mind, I resurrected an idea I first used five years ago. It was the year I turned 50 and I set as my goal that year to finish 50 projects. Did I achieve it? Yes, believe it or not. It was a tough year and I got sidetracked repeatedly by the Joplin tornado and a few other things, along with a computer crash that stole my list of completed objects. But complete them I did.
So, five years later, the year I turn 55 (how did THAT happen?), I’ve decided to revisit this goal. Yes, fifty-five projects. Do I have that many things in process? Easily. It is really horrifying to actually look at all of things I have started and not finished. Some of them are big, like quilts, some are small, like knitted socks. Some are quite old (I am thinking of a quilt project I know that I started in 1996 or 1997), and some are recent (a quilt I’m remaking to pattern).
I am purposing for this year, 2016, to finish fifty-five projects. There, I said it. It’s scary to actually type out those words knowing that somebody, somewhere will hold me accountable, knowing that I will hold me accountable. It’s also scary because I know my own track record. I do not focus well on what’s in front of me, preferring to go play with the next bright and shiny object. But I also know that for my own sanity I need to buckle down, do the work, and clear my plate of all the excess. I am no longer a runner but I remember well the middle of a run when I was tired and starting to hurt and miles from home. There was nothing for it but to keep running. Some of the quilts will be very like that, I know, almost agonizing to push through problems and keep going. That’s when I’ll need you to be my cheerleaders, to cheer me on when I think I can’t. Can you do that for me?
I will tell you now that I do expect there to be some new starts. I have a list of several gifts I plan to make at various points in the year and I have committed to a challenge quilt for which I do not yet have the materials. So I’m not saying no new starts, I am merely saying that I plan to finish more than I start. There may well be no show quilts this year, and there are likely going to be quite a few old uglies. All good, they’ll be finished and that’s what I’m aiming for.
You may well ask why I would finish an old ugly. Truth is, I may not always. Some have enough already done that I will choose to finish them and throw them on a bed or even give them away. But some may just need to be gifted in their present state, to the thrift shop. Others will be cannibalized, the blocks thrown in with other orphans for a new life down the road. Some may actually go to live in the landfill. Don’t fret. I am not quick to throw things away (that’s apparent by now, I imagine), but sometimes you just gotta. Anyway, these options, donated, cannibalized, or thrown out may also equal finished at times. It could happen.
Fifty-five projects over 52 weeks means that I will need to finish one thing a week, every week of the year, and finish two things in three of those weeks. Am I nuts? Probably, but I’m going to give it a go.
I won’t share my list with you because it’s long and would well make no sense to anyone but me, but I do plan to share my finished objects. Not all of my finishes will be quilt-related (there will certainly be knitting too, possibly some beading or jewelry-making, and maybe even painting), but all will be handwork of some sort.
Typically, when I’m working every day, ideas start popping up fast and furiously and, while I love that, I am beginning to realize that I just can’t make them all. Truth is, some of my ideas should never be made anyway. Even though each idea seems like a fabulous one at its inception, when exposed to the light of day, some are, um, not so wonderful. I am choosing, for now, to assume that new ideas will continue to pop up in my mind’s eye and if they are really all that fabulous, they’ll still be around when I have time to finish them. I am coming to terms with the idea that not every idea I have is amazing (ahem, yeah, really) and there will always be more great fabric coming out. I rarely have to act today.
The quilt at the top of the blog today will be, I hope, among my first few finishes of the year. Since I am looking at so many things that won’t allow for much free-spiritedness, I took advantage of a little spare time this weekend and made this out of my scrap bin. It will be a bit bigger when it’s done and I’m going to machine-quilt it myself. I promise to show it when it’s done so come back soon to see what it looks like finished.
Fifty-five projects. Do you think I can do this? Am I certifiable? Yeah, I think so too, but I’m going to run this race and see where the road leads! Cheer me on?
There WILL be a finish soon!
** Follow along on my journey of 55 Finishes! Do you want to join me? Hop on board! Feel free to share photos in the comments. I’d love to see what you’re working on. **