The 100 Day Project officially began yesterday but it isn’t too late to join in! You can start this project at any time but joining in now is extra fun since there is a whole global community taking part.
What’s the 100 Day Project? It’s a free global art project. You pick a project, do it for 100 days, and share it. I’ve been participating since the first 100 Days Project was launched by Elle Luna in 2015 (it's now led by Lindsay Jean Thomson) and this will be my 5th year joining in. I haven’t finished every year but I have made progress, and progress and community are the whole point. Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane to see what I’ve learned and accomplished each year, even when I didn’t finish and then I'll tell you about this year's project!
My Past Projects
The first year I did 100 Days of Stitching (#100daysofstitchingtc). My goal was to sew just one stitch on something per day. It didn’t matter what the something was or if it was hand or machine sewn so long as I took one stitch. I quickly modified the project to a goal of five stitches per day because usually once I took one stitch I wanted to take at least a few more! The project ended up being largely cross stitch even though I had intended to quilt. Cross stitch has always more portable for me than quilting and it is something that I can do in bed or sitting on the couch when I’m tired. I made lots of progress on a few different cross stitches that year and finished some mending as well!
Pleased with my success the first year I decided to make my project more specific the second year with 100 days of Quilting (#100daysofquiltingtc). The plan was to try out a different free motion quilting motif each day for 100 days, resulting in a reference quilt that I could turn to of 100 different ideas at the end of the project. It turned out that being overly specific wasn’t really the way to go for me, however, and this was a year that I didn’t finish.
Even though I didn’t finish I learned a lot, such as the importance of setting yourself up well for success. It quickly became apparent that the project was too time consuming with a full time job. I should have precut the squares that I was quilting on and I should have made the squares smaller. 5 square inches is a lot of space to quilt and each square often took hours of my evening when I was already tired. The project also wasn’t easily portable since I needed my sewing machine so if I was traveling I quickly fell behind.
I did completed 14 days, however, and made great strides in my free motion quilting confidence that has translated directly into my ability to long arm quilt today. I also learned some new quilting patterns that I love and now incorporate into my pieces.
I learned from the challenges of my 2016 project and in 2017 I went back to a broader goal: 100 Days of Crafting (#100daysofcraftingtc). This was another year that I completed the challenge and again I mostly ended up doing cross stitch. I made great progress on my planetary cross stitch, almost completed a Bob Ross cross stitch (there was just some backstitching left when the project ended), and made good progress on a cats and quilts cross stitch. I also got some quilting in that year and did a lot of quilted walking foot circles and made a few quilt blocks. Most importantly, I learned the importance of small daily practice. This was the year that I really noticed that I had gained a lot of confidence in terms my design aesthetic. I found myself making modifications to cross stitch patterns on the fly to ensure that they better suited my own aesthetic and later that year I actually rearranged an entire cross stitch pattern to make a personalized gift for a friend.
Last year the 100 Days Project fell during a particularly busy and stressful season of my life. I almost didn’t join in at all and then made a decision to try and do so at the very last minute instead of planning anything out. I decided to do 100 Days of Things that Make Me Smile in an attempt to see the positive despite everything going on around me. I did about 20% of this project before I fell behind and stopped. One of my challenges was that I found it difficult to find a good visual to put on Instagram for the things that were making me smile each day. Even though I didn’t complete it I’m glad I have those things documented to look back on and continue to smile about now.
In looking back, I see that I have completed the project every other year. So odds are good for me completing this year! And I’m excited to share my project!
2019: 100 Days of Documenting
This year my project is 100 Days of Documenting. You can follow along on my Instagram and with my personal hashtag #100DaysofDocumentingTC
I know this sounds like a vague project and it is meant to be since projects that are too specific trip me up. The idea is for me to take time each day to catch up on labeling and signing some older quilts and other art pieces that need to be documented. It’s also a chance for me to experiment with different documentation methods to learn what I like and don’t like and what works best for me.
Most importantly for me this year, I hope that I can inspire others to document their art and the things in their lives that are important to them. It can really be quick and easy to do and it is so very important! This is a passion project for me and I even offer classes (forthcoming) and a lecture based around the idea of signing your art!
I look forward to sharing tips and tricks along with my own progress these next 100 days! Keep an eye on this space for some round up posts as we hit major milestones along the way and again you can follow my Instagram for daily progress.
Photo credit: All photos by author.