Ever ask yourself about your quilting goals? What do you think you want to accomplish? There are so many different answers possible here. Are you a project person or a process person. Do you want to sell your quilts? Do you want to keep your quilts or give them away?
A project person has a distinct goal in mind — a finished quilt. There is usually a beginning and of course an end. You have a pattern, you have colors in mind, maybe you even have a location designated for it.
I am a process person. I may have a stack of fabrics and an idea but I have no general purpose except to create. I may not create a quilt — I may create pieces or parts and then decide where to go from there. Or I may lay them aside and move on to something else until I decide what to do next. This often gets me in trouble.
My friend Stephanie is a project person. She is always making something with fabric to use in her décor. One year it was a quilt for her daughter’s room. Since I didn’t have a daughter I thought I would make the same blocks for fun and sometime in the future I may need a quilt for a little girl.
I made these Bow Blocks. Definitely for a girl. I made blocks until I got tired and them put them in a box, labeled it and set them aside. Then one year, many years later, I needed a Christmas present. It was late October. I don’t know about you but once it is October time flies that much faster to the holidays. It is not just normal life events but also all the unexpected happenings. I turned things upside down looking for the box of blocks — then how to set them, What colors to use? With little Abi being the predictable little girl that she was pink and purple were the perfect choices.
Being a process person who plans less with a project you may find yourself in a pickle. You may not have enough of what you need. You used fabric saved for this project on a different project. You have no clue what or where you put the pattern if you want to make more pieces. You have to be much more creative and open to new ideas and a change your plans.
What I have learned from times like this: Set up a box with all the supplies together. Keep them there until the project is completed. Keep the book or make a copy of the pattern and keep it in the box as well.
Are there days you find yourself circling looking for something you want?
I wrote on my morning pages all the things I could do today. My list involved things I could do in my workroom. Clear out empty boxes that are taking up space. I checked that off. Then my stair stepper was in the way. I always kept it under the sofa in the living room should the urge to exercise strike. When we put down a new rug in the living room the stair step was moved to my workroom — yeah like I am going to exercise there? It went back downstairs to live under the sofa again. I need all the floor space in my workroom. Moving the stair stepper opened up enough space to set up my ladder to put yarn bins back on the shelf.
If you have followed what I’ve written you may remember I started sorting, and then I sorted some more, and then more. It was like an obsession. I am not an obsessive person. I just got to a point where I couldn’t find what I wanted when I wanted it. It happened again.
Since I have been going around in circles I thought it might be better to stop making new work and go back to working in a series which is what I like to do. I have to follow my instinct and my intuition. I wanted to find the last piece of art that was almost finished, but where did I put it? I am to the point where I can find everything. I have separated my finished works from my unfinished works and labeled it all.
I looked everywhere that I thought it could be for three days. Then I told myself, it will turn up I am certain. I was lost for what I may have done with it. Where did I remember having it last? The living room next to my favorite chair where I do my hand quilting, yes I still hand quilt special pieces which will probably never know a washing machine. One morning I thought of the most obscure place I might put it. I was knitting pet blankets in December, but then company was coming, so I fast gathered. Under the stairs there was a basket with bulky yarn. On top of the basket was the lid to a box I was using to put donation books into. I lifted the lid covering the yarn. Almost completely covered by the yarn was a corner of the quilt — hiding. I found you, my Very Colorful Quilt, a reason to celebrate.
Oh yes, what is it? Is it a flaw, is it too many things on my plate. Too many projects? Heaven forbid. I feel I am getting more organized — but am I getting too organized? I know I just saw that — but where is it now? I know I have a considerable amount of Auntie Grace fabric but I can’t find it and I know I just saw it.
I have decided it may be time to make a page in one of my notebooks, preferably the notebook labeled 2016 and it will say:
My father used to say if there was a flat surface I would find something to put on it. At the time I rejected that thought and those words, but it proved to be prophetic. I am a piler.
I just cleared off my worktable yet again. I purchased fabric last week certainly not because I needed it but because I wanted it. I bought 25% off Christmas fabrics. That was fortunate because I needed reds in more of a variety and Christmas is all about reds. I also bought solids. I think that I don’t sew with solid colored fabrics but when I am looking for them they are gone — must be Gremlins.
So I bought fabric. It took three loads to wash it all. I couldn’t wash the reds with the blues, I might end up with a shade of purple or something motley that I didn’t want like the time my mother forgot my new royal blue slacks were in the washing machine and she threw bleach and her whites on top of them. This was long before tie dye or I could have been a trendsetter.
I stuck with clearing off my work table much as I hate that job. I moved this from here to there, and that from there to here. I opened drawers and tucked angel’s wings (organdy) inside. I needed a plastic bin, but they were all full. Which one has the least? I opened it to find several unfinished projects — more WIPs. Do I finish them or find them a new home? I got to the stack of washed fabric? Do I iron it now, or wait until I use it in a project? If I iron it now I will never finish here. I had just emptied a laundry basket. I folded all the fabrics and gave them to the laundry basket.
I remember when Fat Quarters first appeared in a small basket in the corner of the fabric bolts. I eyed these with great intrepidation — what do you do with those? I promised myself I would not buy these — all my resistance broke down when I needed a certain fabric that I found had been cut into Fat Quarters. The good thing about Fat Quarters is the immediate variety available for only a few dollars.
I’m still working on reorganizing the space. Some things do not change though. When I was a kid I fell in love with pegboard. So it was only logical that one of the few walls in my workroom would be a pegboard.
This is also where I keep my embroidery – quilting frames. I still love hand-quilting some of my quilts. I also hang scissors and cutting grids here. When I do that I know I will be able to find them later.
I wanted open shelves to hold fabric. I didn’t want this many. Husband got out his calculator and measure the fabric measuring all the stacks. He informed me I would fill them and maybe more. Notice Riley really enjoyed them immediately.
There is a difference between being blocked and being in a rut. When I’m blocked I have no momentum, I flat out lack desire am just not interested or motivated. Is there a way to get beyond this? To solve this I go and sit at my work table in front of my sewing machine and be here for 15 minutes. I tell myself it will just be for 15 minutes. Since I am staring at my machine, I think I will wind some bobbins. I can always use bobbins in neutral colors.
So I begin pulling empty bobbins which I buy at least 20 at a time. It starts ecru, tan, light gray and dark gray threads I by on large spools. If I am not making clothes or doing top stitching I use basic colors. I’ll wind about four of each. It is such a pain to have to stop in the middle of a project to wind bobbins when you run out. Or if you are machine quilting it is a bigger pain.
Once the bobbins are wound I am ready for something else. Once you begin, the flow has started. If bobbins aren’t enough to get the juices flowing I like to fold fabric. The colors inspire me to start mixing and matching fabrics.
Come back we’ll talk about fabric tomorrow.
I found the top of my sewing table today. It was buried under sorting boxes.
I have so many fat quarters. They are like eating potato chips. I promised myself when I first saw fat quarters I was not going to give into the temptation and buy even one. I think it was the day I went to the fabric store and needed just a little of a certain fabric to finish my project but it was all gone. That was when I saw a basket at my feet and it had a fabric that looked exactly like the one I was looking for. I picked it up, yes, it was the exact fabric. There were also a couple more so I picked up three, but wait, they were 5 for $5.00. Do I need 5 of these? Five for $5.00 I’ll just buy two more.
So it started. My obsession for fat quarters. Then at a conference I met M’liss Hawley, don’t call her, Melissa. She would go on to write Fat Quarter books. Others had this addiction for fat quarters. Because fat quarters seem to multiply in the dark they are like Tribbles. There is trouble brewing. Today I decided to pick out 30+ fat quarters and cut them up into 2″ squares. It hasn’t happened yet but the space it cleared.
Tomorrow is Easter and I hope everyone reading this has a blessed day.
I made an Apricot-Coconut Cake this afternoon. That and basketball took up my afternoon. I’ll cut squares tomorrow — I don’t want to rush into this.
This is what is on the wall at the moment a long forgotten WIP = work in progress.
I opened three more plastic shoe boxes. Why am I doing this? Is it a new form of therapy? I think it must be. I’ve heard other women do the same thing. What shall I do with myself today — oh yes — I’ll sort.
One box revealed yellow and white blocks sewn into 25 square blocks. I remember making them. I guess I was trying out colors.
Then there were the Purple starts. Not sure what this was about either — test patterns like the old patterns on the TV when it went to sleep at night.
Then I struck it rich with the third box. These were leftovers from a quilt I made as a house warming gift for a dear friend.
This sorting also reminds me of what she said once, “when I don’t know what I am doing I resort to research. It’s what I do to avoid something I need to do.” . . . digging deep. She is a Marriage and Family councilor so I guess this is my therapy.