Its funny. I had a whole post dreamed up that would summarize my last finished project of 2016, and outline my goals for 2017. It was going to be light, breezy, and maybe even annoyingly cheerful. Then, 2017 hit and everything got derailed. I started out the year by making the trek from Santa Rosa, CA (that’s about 50 miles north of San Francisco) to Portland, OR. Its a relatively simple journey up the I-5, and would have marked the end of my two week holiday visit with my family. Everything was going fine until we (I was travelling with my amazing boyfriend) hit Oregon. Just a few miles south of Ashland, OR, we were in a car accident. Thankfully, we were both okay, and the car, though undriveable, was far from totaled. What followed was us being stuck in Ashland for three days, snowed in between two closed mountain passes, spending money we really didn’t have, relying on the kindness of strangers, trying to find the positive in what has to be the most stressful start to a new year I’ve ever had.
I had wanted to start this year with a week at home before classes start. I was going to spend time making, drawing, baking, perhaps even getting a jump start on planning the spring garden. What I got was no where near that, but it did give me a good opportunity to put my survival skills to the test. It was a chance to see how I performed under immense stress that I didn’t see coming. And I rather believe I rose to the odds, if I do say so myself, because my boyfriend and I made it through, made it home, and even managed to have a bit of fun along the way.
I also got the chance to do a lot of thinking. I thought a lot about what I want out of this year, out of myself as a fiber artist, out of myself as a member of this maker’s community, and out of the community itself. What do I expect? What do I hope to achieve? With such an abrupt reminder that things do not always go as planned, and so much is out of my control, what can I do in my personal life to reasonably affect change?
I don’t have answers to any of these questions. But what I do have is a few goals for the new year that, after my surprise adventure, I feel confident I can achieve. In 2017, I want every addition to my closet to be handmade. This is a goal that I believe is within my grasp. It may take a fair amount of perseverance and self control, but I feel I have proven to myself in the last few days that I have what it takes to tough it out. Along with proving to myself that I have the guts to take on such a challenge, I also recently convinced myself that I have the skill needed as well. During my stay with my family, I had the chance to do a little bit of sewing. With my mother acting as a safety net, I took on the task of making A Verb For Keeping Warm’s Nell Shirt, and was utterly shocked at the results. This was a pattern I had purchased last spring, in the hopes that it would be accomplished sometime in the future when I felt ready to take on such a daunting pattern. At the time of purchase, I had yet to sew anything on a machine, and was convinced it would take me many finished garments to amass the skill necessary for such a complex pattern. I have never been more delighted to be wrong!
The Nell Shirt was only my third garment sewn on a machine. I did all the sewing myself, with very little use of my safety net (there was a few questions about how on earth you go about insetting a placket), and the result fit like a dream. There are a few hiccups here and there. The sleeve caps had to be sewn over twice to get a few spots I had missed on the first pass, the v-neck is a tad bunchy, and the front gather will never be perfectly centered. But it looks amazing on, and fits like a dream. And when I was stranded, and the thing I wanted most was to be at home, putting on a shirt that I had made myself provided me something of what I was craving.
Perhaps the greatest gift a homemade wardrobe can give us is the feeling of home.
So, that’s my great goal for 2017, to make every wardrobe addition handmade. My second goal for the year is to regularly publish blog posts. Look for regular weekly updates here on Sundays (with the possible exception of finals week!).
Hope you have all been having a less eventful year than I have! And if your 2017 has so far been as fun as mine, you have my sympathies! Feel free to share what the first week of the year has had in store for you in the comments below.
Nell Shirt Details:
Fabric: Linen/Cotton blend, purchased too long ago to remember the label