the big 2019 review and what’s coming for 2020 : predictions, wishes and plans

let’s start with what’s new

The second annual international scrap festival is in the works and it’s  expanding to an entire month. February will officially and forever be International Scrap Month. That’s one of the nice things about inventing a festival, you get to be the boss of everything and do stuff like that. If you have met me then you know I have freakishly strong hands and I like to be the boss of everything.
antique japanese textiles*The magic fabric above is courtesy of my Brooklyn neighbor Sri threads. There is more about it at the bottom of the post

Stay tuned for details, I’m gathering a bunch of cool projects for  scraps and creating a couple new tutorials for you.

And I wonder what you think of a scrap swap? Is that something you’d be interested in participating in? Tell me in the comments please. If you’re into it I’ll try to hook you up.

bat applique on a vintage linen

I’ve just added part 2 – embroidering the details to the bat appliqué – find it here.

More about what’s coming up in a minute – let’s look back

2019 went by so fast. And negativity bias is real. When I looked back my first thought was – what happened? I only made one new pdf sewing pattern and one new booklet for the shop. It seemed like an extremely unproductive year but then I scrolled through the year of blog posts and saw I published a record breaking 13 free tutorials. That was not my plan but it is what I did. Here’s the list in the order they appeared:

needle book
easy rag doll shoes
dollhouse fireplace
tiny dishes
little pants
doll bed
doll quilt
straw doll hat
bat -updated!
paper boat
penny rug
paper swan box
wax paper crystal ornaments

I’m already working on more tutorials for this year. You’ll see the first couple during the February Scrap Festival.

a couple other 2019 highlights:

*365 little paintings – I stuck to it, didn’t miss a single day. I found a rhythm and I feel like a voice is emerging. And I’ve kept going with the daily practice, still making a little painting (or drawing) everyday. I put them in the shop about every 6 weeks and there will be a new batch on Tuesday 1/21.

*And I made a  paper ship installation at the Squam Art Retreat and taught workshops in Los Angeles, New Hampshire, Vermont, France and Kentucky. Such a big year.

what’s coming in 2020

In addition to planning the second annual scrap festival January is for organizing and finishing. I get very spring cleany in January – do you? There are too many unfinished projects and too many piles of things waiting to be sorted. I’m tackling those things first.

stitching a soldier rag doll and owl

And by the time you’re reading this, I will be deeply focused on getting new sewing patterns across the finish line: the large scandalously nude rag doll, captain charmley (currently headless above) and the crow. Probably not in that order. And news is coming soon on 2020 Workshops – I’ll be in France in June and July and at Squam (spring session) in New Hampshire but those are both waitlist situations. You can join me in Vermont in March though for a super cozy workshop with French General and there will be more workshop dates for the fall very soon, I’m working out logistics now.

predictions, wishes

Looking ahead – I think and hope in 2020 we will see a resurgence of blogging. Blogging like it used to be. So many disappeared into social media. I love seeing people’s creative lives and homes. If you have a favorite blog please share it in the comments – I’d love to see. I also think smaller networks will continue to emerge – online meeting places where conversations happen and algorithms don’t choose for us.

And for me: there are all sorts of things I’d like to make this year and things I’d like to try – like printing fabric and sewing more clothes. I’ve got lots of ideas percolating and I bet you do too. My biggest wish for 2020 is margin. Putting some space between things. I’m very happy in just about everything I do as long as I don’t have to rush. I’m making a rule for myself to never rush again. I will definitely fail at this but I’m trying anyway, keeping it at the front of my mind when I’m planning things. I think it’s a discipline and will take practice. And I also believe it’s a choice.
I hope your year is full of ideas and projects and lots of time to make things.

And as always, thanks for showing up here – it makes all things possible,
ann

antique pink textiles

PS – Fabric is almost always where I start, and often fabrics that finds me. The glorious fabric at the top of the post appeared on my doorstep, a magical gift from Sri Threads. So much to think about, color combinations I would never have thought of, mending by other hands, all sorts of serendipity and  endless places to start. You can see more of it on my instagram story today and check out the Sri Threads instagram feed here – there is lots of inspiration there.

PPS – Don’t forget to tell me about the scrap swap – if it’s something you’d like to participate in please let me know in the comments and I’ll get to work on it.

123 Comments

  1. I have never participated in ant type of swap, but I am very interested in giving it a try! One of my goals this year is to involve myself in artistic community. This can be my start.

  2. I have a lot of scraps–more than I could ever possibly use. I’d love to swap them with someone who can use them. 🙂

  3. I often think of you (and your sewing followers) when I am about to throw out a piece of vintage lace, an old shred of ribbon or a frayed and faded scrap. Some of these pieces don’t thrill me like they used to, so one of my wishes for this year is to’ spread the joy’ and let someone else who does feel the thrill have my rejects. I have happily moved onto others though, not given up fabric swatching entirely I might add! So a SWAP sounds like a great idea. Maybe a cereal box of treasures could be winging its way from the UK and across the globe to a stitchy friend very soon?

    • Yay to no more rushing! I made that vow to myself some time ago. The biggest change I had to make was planning ahead; allowing WAY more time than I usually did. Sure, sometimes I get caught out and have to do a sprint, but more often than not I am early and not the predictable late I used to be. So much more relaxing. Good luck!

    • Sally-Ann Garrett

      I live in Ireland, and postage might be cheaper to me – just saying!

    • Hi Angie, .. I am in uk and just beginning with stitching, fabric scraps, stitch meditations as in small abstracts and in need of fabric scraps .. if you still have any as you suggest please email me.. sarahmaize at ymail.com (close the gaps) to arrange something.. sarah…

  4. Cynthia Drennan

    I would love to participate in a scrap swap. I am starting off the new decade by “refining” my fabric collection.

  5. I feel you on the need for margin, I can relate to the post you linked to so much. A mantra bubbled up for me recently-“You have all the time in the world”. I’ve taken to saying this out loud to myself, in my studio, in lines. I have lists and work that needs to be done of course, but don’t have to accept the self inflicted stress of not enough time too. (And count me in for the scrap swap!)

  6. Linda Karr

    Yes! I’m very interested in swapping. Please keep me posted on that! What a great plan to share. Lk

  7. Steph George

    Ohh I would love to do a fabric swap. What a lovely way to start the year – sharing some of my stash xxxx

  8. I would enjoy participating in a scrap swap. I’ve never engaged in any type of swap, however scraps are my passion.
    As for blogs I enjoy, there are few. As you mentioned, it seems many have been given over to other social media such as Instagram. I have chosen to not allow these platforms in my life. Having said all that, your blog and the blog of Jude Hill, Spirit Cloth are two that I continue to return to. I imagine most who enjoy your blog are familiar with Jude as well, but if not I highly recommend.
    As well, I offer you many thanks for the time and effort you put into your blog. I get so much from it.

    • Oh yes, I have been following her blog and her online classes for several years now. She is an amazing artist.

  9. Lucy Smith

    I would like to take part in a scrap swap too.I work with scraps for every thing I make.
    Lucy

  10. I have loved fabric all my life! I have a lot of scraps I could share and would be so excited to receive some from another fabric lovers stash.

  11. Yes! Definitely interested in a scrap swap!
    I have made several needle books and so love putting the fabric combinations together. Thank you for sharing so generously your creativity and magic. Love that you never want to rush, my motto this year is slow and steady.

  12. Brenda Parenti-Holland

    Hi Ann,
    I always look forward to your email blog site. It’s very inspiring. I have been making things from recycled denim for years. cutting up pieces patching them together making pillow covers , slip covers for furniture, throw quilts backing them with men’s shirting Fabrics, tote bags, etc.
    I have lots of leftover pieces in Denim and cotton shirting , lace pieces from yard sales, you name it . If it speaks to me I buy it.
    I have realized I will NEVER have time to use up these extra pieces. I am happy to give to others wanting bits of fabrics, I have bags and bags full.
    I would love to share the joy.

  13. Meliss Grover

    Let’s swap it up! I’m a scrap enthusiast and would love to share the heap of scraps I cling to. Looking forward to hearing more about this! It sounds right up my alley. Who don’t love some good snail mail?!

  14. I have had a very sporadic blog of my own. This year I hope to change that and have some people follow.
    Squam… my daughter in laws family has made it their retreat place for 50 plus years! I’ve been once and hope to someday participate in a workshop there. They look so fun.
    I love your positive outlook on emerging small businesses. They are so vital. They are honest and come from the heart.
    Planning. That’s a tough one but I have lots of ideas!
    Your painting is wonderful and I hope to see more.
    Scraps! You should see my wool scraps! I have found some ways to use them

  15. It is a funny thing – perception. I look at your year and wish I could accomplish half of what you have. Then my best friend comes over and exclaims about all that I have done and wishes that she had my energy. (She has much more energy than I.) I’m looking forward to doing only things that bring me joy. No more creating for dollars and to other’s specifications. I find that working for others limits my creativity. I am drooling over the Sri fabrics. I follow them and have vowed if I ever get to NYC, it will be one of my places to visit. I would love to swap. I think it would be a good idea before we begin to express our fabric desires. I have way more hand dyed/printed cottons/silks and crazy patch fabric than I will use in a life time and would love to share.

    • I forgot to mention that I so hope you are right about blogging. I miss starting my morning reading about the creative pursuit of others. So much more uplifting than the news.

  16. Karen Stearns

    A scrap swap sounds like great fun. I love scraps! It would be nice to have some fresh scraps to make clothes for my tiny rag doll (just finished). Count me in. BTW, I love your little paintings. What an ambitious goal, congrats!

  17. OK, sign me up for the fabric swap. I’ve been trying to wean myself away from the saving every bit. I can see, now that I’m doing small handwork, bits come in handy. sending some on vacation and getting something new might just be the push I need. Looking forward to seeing you again at Sugar House.

  18. Sharon Norvelle

    I would love to be part of the scrap swap, but I’ve recently had to move to another state. I had to leave behind what scrap treasures I had. I would love any recommendations as where to purchase scraps like you artfully use. If that’s ok.
    Oh, I should say that I insisted on bringing (at great difficulty) two smaller ships that I made using your patterns. They make me so happy and hang in my window.

  19. Kath Rimmer

    I miss my blog, and the whole community – yours is now the only one I make time to read! Since studying for my degree in textiles I have had so little time to actually create and that makes me sad, my sewing room is now an office full of fabric.
    I would love to take part in a fabric swap, however I am in the UK – if I still qualify, count me in!

  20. Leslie Rodgers

    I’m interested in a fabric swap too….let me know where to sign up and when.

  21. Scraps, yes, for sure, anytime, and my trade will be delicious shibori silk scraps that I’ve got loads of from a local dyer/designer. Ann, your output is fantastic and admirable. If I could I would too but life is too full to accommodate such effort on my part.

  22. I love your blog and style. You are so inspiring. I also hope for a resurgence in blogging. I’ve loved doing it for a long time but have def slowed down. My fave blog hands down and since the beginning of time is Posie Gets Cozy.

    I love the idea of a scrappy swap. Brilliant!

  23. sheryl mcgettigan

    I would be interested in a scrap swap too. I think it would be some much fun!

  24. Please count me in for a Scrap
    Swap, I would love to participate !
    ThankYou so much for all that you offer on this blog!

  25. We have a “Stash Bash” in Turners Falls, MA on April 18. Our church’s women’s group rents tables inexpensively in our hall and people come to sell their fabric, yarn, and lots of other crafting supplies. It’s all “tag sale” pricing and you can get some fabulous deals. People also swap among themselves and give away stuff. The whole idea is for people who have too much stuff to get rid of it, and for people who are looking to add to their stash to pick up things free or for very little money. It’s a great community building event as well!

  26. Am also interested in a scrap swap. Scrap hold such stories!

    A blog is truly enjoy is Improvised Life. It’s hard to describe but she gathers creative, innovative thoughts and ideas from many different aspects of life. Always inspiring.

  27. Yes!! Yes!! Yes!! Please include me in the scrap swap! I love the February scrap festival. I’m hoping it is online. I’d like to be included in that too!
    I, too, reach for fabric first. To relax, to worry, to cry, to meditate, to smile, to pray. It’s just where I go.
    I like to read the mending space on Instagram. She is very inspirational and, for a fee, she has wonderful scrap boxes she mails out.
    I love the needle book pattern. This was a big hit at Christmas! I will be watching like that yummy green velvet owl for your new news!!

  28. Carol A Schmitt

    Hello Ann – We met in Vermont. I hope to sit at your table again down the road. I would so love to be a part of a fabric, bits and bobs swap. Keep me posted. I am going one of the French General weeks in France maybe we will see each other there.

  29. Yes! Scrap swap!! And I adore receiving the email from you telling me you have things to share and show and say ~ you are inspiring!
    Several of my 2020 projects currently in progress are in total thanks to YOU for sharing tutorials & and via your online shop. Thank you!!!! Kas

  30. Not sure how you’d organise an international event like this, but would love to be a part of it!

  31. Shereen Jasper

    Ann, what a great Newsletter of ReCap for 2019!…
    I definitely would like to participate in the scrap swap.

  32. Patricia Quinn-Ortiz

    Ann, I’ll be seeing you at Squam, although I got shut out of your class! I would love to be part of a scrap swap. (I have so many).

  33. I’m following the link left on my blog by Jean Betts. My friend Gun in Sweden and I (Australia) host a monthly use-your-scraps get-together called ScrapHappy, which we started 5 years ago. It’s open to anyone making stuff from scraps (started with fabric, but doesn’t have to be, anything made from scraps is eligible). I’m so glad she’s pointed everyone at this blog, as you do make some gorgeous stuff, and it shows everyone just how lovely scrap-derived work can be. Sorry to barge in on your post, but I’d like to invite anyone who feels like joining a monthly scrap-using session to come and play. I send out email reminders a few days in advance, so contact me if you’re interested:
    (http://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com)
    Kate 🙂

  34. Leslie Alt

    Would love a pattern for your flowers. I absolutely adore every one of them.

  35. Bonnie Hayes

    I would love to participate in a fabric swap. I live in the middle of nowhere and it is 90 miles to the nearest fabric shop and they are mostly for quilters. My ideas for a swap would be different textiles like brocade or wool or fabrics from different countries or fabric dyed with different techniques to name a few. I have stuff from all over as I shop for my fabric almost exclusively online and being 68 yrs young have developed quite a stash. A swap would be so much fun as long as everyone that joins is committed to it. There were a lot of swaps back in the early days of the internet but I think they lost interest because people did not keep their commitments. There should be some way so people will keep their commitments.

  36. Erin Sloan

    Yes, I would be interested in the scrap swap. I took one of your wonderful bird classes with French General. This will inspire me to create another. I do enjoy your blog so much.

  37. A scrap swap sounds wonderful! What a great way to share…..count me in too, please

  38. I have a blog where I share adventures of the dolls I have made from your pattern get into. I share some craft ideas that I do with my daycare children and creations I make. You can find me at http://www.weewildchildren.com
    I’m still working out this blogging stuff so it’s not perfect yet

  39. International scrap festival!! Yes, I can get into that. I would love to do a swap also! I do hope your prediction is correct about blogging. I think I need to post just to help the momentum. ♥ 🙂

  40. Angela McElroy

    Always excited to spot your emails in my inbox, Ann. It’s about time I made time to start on some of the many projects you inspire me to do. Lord knows, I have enough ‘stuff’ to stock my own craft shop and then some! Think I’m a bit far away to take part in a scrap swap- but what a great idea. Who knows what I may have achieved by the time of your next blog- or if I may even have completed one of my many unfinished projects? Well, for now, it’s time to find some wool scraps for my koala pouch for UK Crafters for Australia, before the deadline on Tuesday. Happy creating!
    Angela x

  41. Shirley Baca

    A definite YES for the scrape swap for me as well – have never participated but would love to be included!!!

  42. Judith Walsberg

    I love your talent. I also would like to know more about the scrap festival. Where, how , etc.It sounds very fun and interesting.

  43. ann, i think a fabric scrap swap would be wonderful fun
    good for you in ‘no more rushing’
    i hope the same for blogging, your’s is such an inspiration I’m glad to know you plan to continue
    thank you

  44. Debora bartlett

    I would love to participate in a scrap swap!
    I love everything you do… and will never forget the makerie with you in Boulder!
    debora

  45. Scrap swap sounds intriguing. I love the thought of all those little scraplets winging their way round the globe.
    I also mourn the demise of blogging – one mention of Posie Gets Cozy in the comments section had me winging over there to get reacquainted with some old favourites such as Little Cotton Rabbits.

  46. Cindy Cooksey

    Yes, I am interested in a scrap swap. I have a good supply I’d be more than willing to share.

  47. January each year is my UFO month where I finish up projects and sort the studio, I so love the idea of February being scrap festival month .I think I might have to borrow this idea.
    Would love to see your scrap swan and I might show you my scrap crow ,she currently needs her legs finished and yes she’s a UFO, but next on the list.

  48. Oh how lovely! A scrap swap, is a magical idea ! I would love to participate!
    You are the best !

    Thank you,
    Debra

  49. I would be glad to partake in your fabric swap. I am a quilter, collectible hand made cloth dolls, not for children, and have a huge stack of very usable scraps, zippers, ribbons, tapes, etc.

  50. Anne Kasten

    yes please to the scrap swap.
    last year’s suggestions were so inspiring and fun.
    I deeply believe that when you get a treasured piece of something from another person you are getting far more than merely that person’s little bit. You are gaining access to dreams and fantasy ideas and other ways of seeing. You are given a different way to work and new energy.
    Your blog is a constant source of delight, your work is so much fun and so inspiring!

  51. yes, please, count me in for a scrap swap. And thank you for your weekly-ish missives, which are bright spots in my inbox.

  52. Marybeth Farris

    Yes!! Please include me in the swap!
    I want to come to Vermont so much but don’t think I can. Your work inspires me OH so much Ann. Thank you very much for organizing this swap ❤️ Marybeth

  53. Earlene Williams

    Please let me know how we’re doing a scrap swap. My daughter and I would love to join.

  54. Yes I’d be interested in receiving a green or neutral bundle of scrap swap 🙂 –

  55. I would love to participate in the scrap swap. I am doing morning stitch meditations this year. It would be fun to incorporate some swap material into my “meditations”.

  56. Jessica Thomas

    I would dearly love to do a scrap swap! I’m in New Zealand but would love to do oe by snail mail if anyone is interested!

  57. I’m a miniaturist and toy maker and although I love fabrics, the small scale on which I work means that I’m limited in the variety of textures and patterns that work with my creations. Your tiny doll is one of the sewing patterns I love most, and I will always be grateful for the number of people I met and who came to play in my world as a result.
    Living all the heck out in South Africa where we don’t have a postal service that works, and where creative people are few and far between, I rely heavily on the internet for friendship and inspiration. Bloglovin has done a lot to cement my blog reading habits because it makes it so easy to follow my favourites, I highly recommend it. I have seen a decline in blogging lately and it distresses me. Apart from Instagram, I don’t follow any other social media, I just can’t stand all the advertisements and the way our reading is shaped by algorithms which only display a fraction of what’s out there.
    Thank you to everyone who added their blog here, I’m now folowwing several of you! If you want to see what I’m making, you can read my blog at http://www.blog.creativeme.co.za.

  58. Sherry Ford

    Hi, Ann! I’d love to participate in a scrap swap! And, I enjoy your blog so much and apologize for not commenting before now. I definitely miss the many blogs that I used to follow and would love to see more.

    Sherry in Little Rock

  59. Carla Jean

    I’d so love to participate in the swap. A dear friend happy mailed me a box of scraps last year and they have given me such joy.

  60. I love reading your lovely posts! And I also would love to participate in the scrap swap. XO

  61. Christine Gross

    Yes, Yes, and yes to a scrap swap. I also reorganized my sewing studio in January and plan to make garments this year…starting with pajamas and a robe.
    I tackled using some scraps last December and made pincushions, it was fun and all that received one were happy sewists! But I learned, I have many more scraps still…would enjoy sharing the love of fabric thru scraps.

  62. Debi J Koenig

    I would love a scrap swap. It’s always interesting to see what others have in their stash! Especially if we can swap internationally; many great fabrics, lace, and trims from around the world. I really enjoy reading about the things you do. I know it takes a lot of time, so a big Thank you!

  63. How delicious to have a plan! When I was a working artist(retired now) I would spend all of January cleaning the shop—throwing away—reading magazines. I visited every home decor venue in the area, and culminated at the Gift Show in Chicago with all the vendors. Then I would sit down and plan out my year—my head full of new directions and old favorites.
    Inspiration is a strange bird, it flies overhead, or sits on your shoulder, or pecks you in the ear—you just have to duck, endure, or avoid—some of those ideas, but let those that stick-move you on! Very interested in your process and projects!

  64. I love the idea of a scrap swap. I mostly make traditional scrap quilts but also have some vintage stuff to share.

  65. I forgot to add that I am longing for a larger version of your tiny doll and clothes, I have an old metal doll bed all kitted out with bedding and it needs an elegant doll. Hopefully your nude doll will be just what I need , I can make a nightdress.

  66. Just recieved the kitty pattern. and rest of my order, thank you, Ann, for the extra “treats”.
    Can’t wait to get started. And yes, I’d like to participate in the fabric swap!

  67. Michele LaFon

    Scrap swap! Yes, please <3
    This year I am working on motivation and confidence. A new batch of fabric scraps might be just what I need!

  68. Mary McCarty

    I would love to be included in the scrap swap. I have just started collecting them from friends and would be happy to share. I love your blog, please don’t stop. I have decided not to start with instagram or Facebook so I know I miss some. Looking forward to more blogs and the international scrap swap. Thanks. Mary

  69. Bettsi Ledesma

    I would love to be in the scrap swap, Ann! I just came across two fragments of the world’s sweetest rose covered hankie last night and I used one, but I’m not sure if I could part with the second! That’s when you know you have a scrap problem. I miss blogging too and one of my goals for the year is to get back into the habit. BTW, I just finished the small doll. Her name is Miss Charlotte and she is great friends with the nice mouse who apparently was my gateway drug into the world of Ann Wood patterns! I hope to get them posted today on my instagram and blog. Thank you for all the lovely things and the inspiration! Happy 2020!

  70. I started my blog nearly three years ago – partly inspired by your 16/2/17 post – as a way of keeping track of my making and doing and of holding myself accountable. I’ve been blogging away quietly ever since. I regularly do the rounds of a number of different blogs, and would recommend Dances with Wool – https://lenealve.blogspot.com/ – if you haven’t already discovered it! I hope you’re right that 2020 will be the year of the blog comeback and am glad you plan to keep going with yours.

  71. Hi Ann! Yes I’d love to take part in a fabric swap…I have many antique scraps I’d love to share and see what others make of them! I attempt to make something each day, whether paper maché, quilting, painting…. I’m working on a fabric ship which I am making up and learning how to do it as I go along!
    I like to visit Letitia at https://www.merveillesenpapier.com and she has a YouTube channel as well…she calls herself a ‘paper magician’…truly inspiring and a very talented lady of paper maché in France.
    I’m glad you will continue blogging, I don’t do any social media, but maybe I will consider a blog if there is a fabric swap so I can see what others are making 🙂

  72. Yes! I am devoting the winter months to organizing my fabric hoard and would love to do a scrap swap.

  73. Anna Savelli

    Vivo in italia, ma ti vorrei come vicina di casa e amica: faremmo follie di stoffa!! Grazie per il tuo lavoro e la tua generosità!
    Anna

  74. I’ve participated in a couple of scrap fabric swaps over the years & always love to get scraps from around the globe, so I would definitely be interested. I’m heading to India for a month next week so hope it won’t be until I get home.

  75. Renee' Freidin

    I have become by default the keeper of the scraps in my area so yes I would love to share what has been shared with me.

  76. I have done a fabric swap with a small group of friends and it was fabulous. A scrap swap sounds wonderful. Count me in. I love your blog, and also enjoy seeing your projects and photos on Instagram. Can’t wait for your crow pattern!

  77. What? Scrap Swap? Is the pope Catholic? Oh, fer sure, please!

    The first swap I did was back at the very beginning of blogging….when I participated in a quilt block swap. I’d never made an actual quilt block, but no matter, I loved the concept. We each made three (three!!) 10 x 10″ quilt blocks each month & mailed them to the person whose name we drew that month; likewise, I would receive 3 blocks. Initially, participants were limited to the U.S. but it quickly expanded to international. I did it for 2 years and learned tons about the geometry of quilt block construction, cutting (measure twice, cut once) paper piecing, appliqué, all of it wonderful. There’s simply nothing like getting that sweet little package from a stranger, sent with love, in your mailbox. Nothing.

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