by Victoria Moorshead

Very late in 2014, I was chatting with a fellow stitcher and she told me about the year of finishing she’d recently completed. She’d spent an entire year just finishing works-in-progress and even went into the following year with the same resolution and didn’t start a new piece until sometime the following autumn.

Back at home, after looking at my various stitching works-in-progress, I decided that it was time for me to have a year of finishing and that it would be 2015. I’d completed a blackwork piece in December 2014 that I’d started at the end of October and was rather pleased that I managed to do it so quickly. However, I had a number of other works-in-progress that were just getting moved from one part of the sofa (my present work station) to another instead of being completed.

I gave myself a bit of flexibility to make the goal realistic. As a member of the TGS 40th anniversary committee, I could do the 40th anniversary ornament project that was going to be distributed in February 2015. I reasoned that I couldn’t very well not do the project. I also told myself that I could start a new stitching project in 2015 if it was part of a course I was taking as I couldn’t take the course and then just sit there and watch everyone else. I also allowed myself to buy projects for the future.

On the other hand, I did give myself some limitations too. Even if I had sorted the threads for a kit and made a card with the various symbols, I had to have actually begun to stitch the project, not just prepared it, in order for it to qualify for this year of finishing.

As the clock ticked towards 2015, I started to wonder if I had made an unrealistic goal. (I must admit that I started a new sewing project the afternoon of New Year’s Eve as we waited for our guests to arrive.)

The items I completed in 2015 were:
  • Christmas cube (started on New Year’s Eve, 2014, finished in January 2015)
  • Christmas gift exchange ornament (started in November 2014, finished in February 2015): I found stitching on card to be difficult as the “fabric” had no give, so I kept putting it down when I got frustrated. I realised a week before the December 2014 TGS meeting that it was not going to be finished in time for the gift exchange, so I happily put it aside for several weeks before buckling down and completing it
  •  TGS 40th anniversary ornament (started in February, finished in March 2015)
  • Square for Mary Wahl’s farewell quilt (started in October 2014, finished in May 2015): This was a tough one as the project was announced after my self-imposed moratorium, but I wanted to make a contribution. Anyway, I was cleaning out my sewing bag a few days later when I discovered that I had not finished a project from October of the previous year, so I just added smaller and smaller designs inside the original border until it was filled
  • Grumpy Cat bookmark (started last year, finished in July 2015): Birthday gift for my Facebook Scrabble buddy
  • Daffodil bookmark (started several years ago, finished in August 2015): A gift for my mother, however, apparently she doesn’t need a fourth stitched bookmark, (who knew?) so according to my sister it’s now a doorknob hanger
  • Stained glass scissor keep (started several years ago, finished in October 2015 despite losing the gold cord and having a free replacement sent by the company Textile Heritage): For a pair of scissors bought by my better half while he was in Germany (the land of scissors!) in 2012. Started in 2013 and kept at my parents’ home as a something-to-do sewing project. I had finished the front of the scissor keep and showed it to my mother when she said, why don’t you just duplicate the front design on the back instead of the much smaller design. I agreed and finished the back in much less time than the front took me
  • Blackwork pattern (started in October 2014, finished in November 2015): This aforementioned project was finished in December of 2014, but I kept looking at one section, unhappy with how it was denser than the rest of the pattern, so after staring at it for several months, I spent an hour unpicking the section in question and restitched the section in one weekend
  •  I also managed to complete about 10,000 stitches on my Albrecht Dürer’s A Young Hare work this year.
There were a few projects that I did not touch last year that are still unfinished, however, I made so much progress with the others that I feel quite comfortable resting on my laurels.

Over the year I was a little disappointed about not doing the TGS programming projects I was given and the various “virgin” kits I re-discovered as I sorted through my paltry stash, but I just squirrelled them away for 2016. I had a moment of weakness in the spring and nearly started a new project, but I valiantly resisted.

After a while, I started putting all my new projects into a large paper envelope and would add to it as the months passed. The envelope is now bulging, full of projects to sink my needle and thread into.

Given how well finishing went in 2015, I will consider doing this again — but not for 2016!


  1. Congratulations on all your finishes, Victoria! You did awesome last year! I have declared 2016 the year of UFOs for myself, so you provided me with additional, much-needed inspiration to stick to it - thank you!

    1. Thank you for your comment. Good luck with your own year of UFOs. I have to admit that it was a slog at points, but it was a great feeling to have completed so many pieces. This year is off to a great start and I've already finished 14 (very small) projects since January 1st.

  2. Great job Victoria, I think that I might have to do the same. Thanks for providing the inspiration - it's always nice to know that someone else was able to accomplish so much!

    1. Thank you for your comment. I highly recommend doing a year of finishing as it is very satisfying. I still have half-a-dozen unfinished projects, but nothing like what I had.


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The Embroiderers' Association of Canada (EAC) is a national non-profit educational organization whose purpose is to have a fellowship of persons who enjoy needlework and wish to learn and share their knowledge; and thereby to work towards maintaining higher standards of design, colour and workmanship.

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