An (Unusual) Year in Review

First of all, I would like to publicly apologize. At the beginning of last year I uttered the words out loud: “I hope that 2020 is boring”. All of the ensuing chaos this year is totally my fault. I’m purposely not going to express any pronouncements or opinions about 2021 at this time. You’re welcome.

In all seriousness, every January I think it’s interesting to look back at the year in review at what was learned, gained (or lost), and accomplished. This year maybe more than ever. As we all know, this year as been SO far beyond what we expected. But I can say without hesitation, I’m thankful for what it taught me.

Every January, I also think it’s interesting to look back and see what I’ve made over the year. And every year I’m surprised at how much I actually did. (And PLEASE – lest anyone compare and feel themselves lacking, keep in mind, making quilts is my job, not just a pastime or hobby.)

I already shared a list of my top tutorials of 2020. Here are more of the quilts I made for fun or for gifts. Crib-size quilts were definitely the big trend of 2020 for me. I made at least 12. And I suppose that shouldn’t surprise me. I’ve always loved the ‘quick-fix’ of a smaller quilt project. A great way to play with colors and fabric collections, without taking on a giant, overwhelming project. You can find the links to each project below.

Best quilts of Diary of a Quilter in 2020

Diary of a Quilter – Year in Review:

Row 1 (L to R) – Denim and Plaid Patchwork, Gray and White Irish Chain, Vintage-inspired Mini Quilt, Pemberley Economy Blocks

Row 2 – Modern Farmhouse Lattice Baby Quilt, Fat Quarter Star Quilt, Flag Quilt Blocks, Riley Blake Quilt Block Challenge

Row 3 – Precuts Patchwork Baby Quilts, Playful Precuts Fall Table Runner, Scrap Happy Rainbow Connection – new pattern, Regent Street Union Jack – new quilt pattern

Row 4 – Autumn Love wool sampler, Pink Patchwork baby quilt, Liberty Christmas Stars, Vintage Christmas quilt blocks.

Looking back I’m not just talking about achievements we can number – like quilts completed, or books read, or puzzles finished – but ways we have evolved or become better.

Round We Go English Paper Piecing Blocks


Here’s what I wrote at the beginning of last year about what I’d like to work on. Let’s see how I did, shall we?

  • Simplify even more – declutter my space and my time
  • More creating for the joy and satisfaction of creativity, rather than a deadline or a job.  
  • Use what I have – shop my stash or pass it along to someone else. 
  • Work toward finishing one old UFO (unfinished object) each month
  • Focus on my home – focusing on the house I live in as well as the people who live in it.
  • Make more time to Be Still. I’m trying to feel less frantic in my life, more present with my family, my faith, and my health. This will probably mean less sewing (and probably blogging) this year – and I’m perfectly okay with that. 

I think ALL of us would get a good laugh at the plans we had made for 2020. For example, we had BIG travel plans – all of which were totally scrapped. But I’m also laughing how many of those goals were fulfilled in very unexpected ways. 

I accomplished a bunch of these in ways that I never expected (and possibly because I was utterly forced to do so. lol) As in “Focus on my home – and the people who live in it.” YEP!

LOTS more time in my home, with the people who live in it to a level we have never experienced before! I’m grateful and so lucky that I genuinely enjoy my husband and kids. They’re at fun ages to hang out with and enjoy.

But I’m not going to lie – there were days I was dying for some time at HOME ALONE. I’m still missing my days of quiet alone while everyone was at school/work. But I’m adapting.

Which brings me to: Make more time to Be Still. YEP AGAIN! In that way, I suppose, this year was a gift. I got a lot better at just sitting still – whether because I was emotionally wrung out, or my kids just needed a real life person to sit and hang out with them, or I just went and read a book in the back yard so that I could find a quiet spot – there was more time to just be still.

Even with all of our canceled travel plans, I’m so lucky could escape to the nearby mountains for some solitude and deep breathing. And I’m thankful for that.

And thank goodness for sewing to get me through this uncertain, upside down, surreal time. It’s been my favorite go to restorer when I’ve hit my surge capacity.

There was often a swing between Service Sewing and Sanity Sewing.  It felt therapeutic to both sew to help (I made a LOT of masks last spring) and sew to heal. A little bit of both helped me feel balanced.

My plans to finish a UFO (unfinished object) every month were far less successful. (As in these two UFO’s are still sitting on my sewing table waiting to be finished since May. lol) And while I made some honest and productive efforts at using and purging my stash, I still have quite a ways to go.

And finally, to be honest, there were times my “Sewjo” was totally MIA and I was in a funk much more frequently than usual for me. 

But I’m learning to do a better job of giving myself grace, letting it go, or working on something simple to find my creative motivation again, and each time it came back.

I know life weighs heavy for so many of us. It has been a challenging year in so many private ways on top of a global calamity. And so many of you have had much bigger challenges or lost loved ones.

On top of all that we’ve been through collectively, I’ve also personally learned a lot about abruptly adjusting plans and expectations as we’ve been dealing with our son’s unexpected change in health.

As an unexpected result, I’ve had a tremendous shift in perspective this year, mainly because of those challenges. Being forced to simplify so many things has brought clarity and reminders of what really matters. It’s been a humbling time, and clearly I still have a lot to learn about life, but I can say with honesty that I’m thankful for what this year has taught me.

Hindsight, I can say without a doubt though, that 2020 has taught me SO MUCH. And in an odd way, I’m even thankful for those lessons.

So what is my plan for 2021? Make less plans. 😉

My motto this year is the lesson I’ve learned most from the past year: Come what may and love it.

More concretely: I think I’ll stick with a lot of those same goals as before: declutter, simplify, slow down, be purposeful etc. Those are probably lifelong goals.

At the same time I’m excited to dig in and start some new projects. (I always feel that way come January!)

Wishing you all the best for 2021. Thank you again for all the support and encouragement you show me here. I wish I could give you all a big group hug!

What about you? Have you done a year in review for yourself yet? What was they highlight of your year and/or lessons you learned? Let me know in a comment below!

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  • Reply
    Susan K
    January 1, 2021 at 11:31 pm

    This year has been crazy. I was able to finish some UFOs but then I created more too. I spent a lot more time with my husband than I ever have. He retired September 2019 but we had to concentrate on his parents. His dad passed in December 2019. Hubby and his sister were able to get their mom settled financially before the shutdown. She’s safe in an assisted living facility that has had minimal covid cases. We have our first grandson! And were able to visit him several times. There have been times when I greatly miss my sisters and mom and my friends but I know times will be better again.

    • Reply
      January 2, 2021 at 12:08 pm

      Strange times for sure. I, too, feel like there are better times ahead. And we’ll appreciate all them so much more!

  • Reply
    Mrs Jones
    January 2, 2021 at 1:45 am

    I totally hear you with needing more time home alone (much as I love my family)!

    • Reply
      January 2, 2021 at 12:07 pm

      I think one of the greatest ironies of this whole situation is that those who live alone feel so isolated and need time to be with real people. And that many who live with lots of real people – especially small people (even the ones we love most) – are in desperate need of some quiet time alone. I never could have imagined it.

  • Reply
    January 2, 2021 at 6:37 am

    Well, I feel better knowing someone else had the same emotions as me. It was a hard year, and although I am thankful I am still standing, I have a hard time being thankful for the losses of the year, especially friendships and conversations. Having everything cancelled and closed felt suffocating. I hope I can become a better person because of all the pain and not sink.

    • Reply
      January 2, 2021 at 12:05 pm

      I so relate. I never thought of myself as a “hugger” but I really miss hugging people that I love! Or just seeing them in real life!

  • Reply
    January 2, 2021 at 7:44 am

    I think I will work on UFO’s again this year. Last year I made a push to get some project done and got a lot done. But there’s so much more. Even found an incomplete runner that I need to finish quilting. As in, I found it had a portion that was unquilted, but it has a binding on it and I’ve been using it for 2 YEARS! Never take ANYTHING for granted! LOL! I also plan to do some organizing in our home. We have closets we just shoved stuff in when we moved in. It’s time to organize and purge! It makes me tired just thinking of it! Have a great weekend!

    • Reply
      January 2, 2021 at 12:04 pm

      I’m with you on recommitting to my UFO’s again. Good luck with your own projects and organization!

  • Reply
    January 2, 2021 at 9:28 am

    Ha! Good lord, Amy. You are powerful to have influenced all this activity this past year! I had said to my S.O. that I wished we had more time off together, and to imagine what retirement might be like. But I did not quite mean it to happen this way. If we only knew! At any rate, you have been busy making all those beautiful things; I hope this year is just as fruitful for you, and that you and yours have a very Happy New Year!

    • Reply
      January 2, 2021 at 12:02 pm

      Haha, okay, maybe I shouldn’t take all of the credit for sowing mass chaos. 😉

      Thank you. And Happy New Year to you too!!

  • Reply
    Rebecca Conn
    January 2, 2021 at 7:46 pm

    I finished one ufo this year, working on a second and third for 2021.
    My biggest thing was paying off my mortgage in April by selling stock. I’ve never had a clear home and still walking on air over it… and (re)saving money each month. Too bad it wasn’t on my 2020 list, but looking at a global pandemic had me shift assets for stability. For 7 years I focused extra money on paying off the mortgage. I guess it was my 2013 goal 😉

    • Reply
      January 4, 2021 at 7:45 am

      Way to go! That is a great achievement.

  • Reply
    Little Quiltsong
    January 3, 2021 at 4:53 pm

    Happy New Year Amy! Many adjustments this past year, but many blessings too. Was always reminded of the war stories told by my parents, and the hardships they had to endure. We had a warm home – peace, and enough to eat – and enough to sew :). So much to be thankful for.

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