The New Year always brings with it the opportunity to look back on the needlework projects one has accomplished in the past 12 months and provides a window through which to look forward to needlework activities in the ensuing 12 months.

One of the projects I plan to begin fairly soon is a birthday gift for my youngest grandson who will be 4 years old at the end of January. When he was at my house on Dec. 24, he spotted on the cover of one of my needlework books the photo of a crocheted alligator.

“Will you make that for me?” he asked. I told him I would. “Right now?” he said. I explained that making the alligator wasn’t something I could do right that minute, that it would take time. His mother reminded him that he had a birthday coming soon. Then, as he and his mother turned the pages of the book, he spotted the photo of a crocheted lobster. His eyes lit up.

“Will you make that for me too?” he asked. Of course, I will.

So one of my first shopping jaunts in the New Year will be to buy green yarn for the alligator and red yarn for the lobster, and a bag of fiberfill for stuffing the critters. And I better not drag my feet about it. Both the alligator and the lobster have quite a few parts which will require a lot of crocheting, stuffing and sewing.

One thing I like to do is “take stock” as the New Year begins. I set aside time to go through craft supplies I have accumulated and cull things I know I will not use.

I also like to spend an hour or so organizing fabric I have stashed away on shelves. I refold the pieces, organize them according to color and/or fabric content. I sort pieces and scraps I will never use to a “delete” pile which I will donate to a worthy cause or relegate to the local landfill. Usually, this pile is much smaller than I anticipate it will be.

As I sort fabric, I think about what I want to make with certain pieces of cloth and pair them with the appropriate patterns. That way, when I am ready to roll out the sewing machine, I won’t waste time looking for the pattern I know I want.

I also open the three totes that contain my yarn stash in order to reacquaint myself with what I tossed in there. I always find surprises, stuff that I tucked into the totes months and months ago, stuff I had forgotten I had. This usually spurs me to get started on a pair of socks or mittens. My goal for these totes is to use up the yarn in them, but I suspect that will take a few years to do.

One of my needlework goals for the coming year is to select some of my embroidered or appliqued pieces and finish them with batting, backing and rod channels so they can be used as wall hangings.

My only New Year’s resolution is this: Finish one project before starting another.

Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153 or email Don’t forget to visit her blog at