Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sewing Goals - April

This month it's going to be a simple list.  Motivation is waning!

  • sew something

March Sewing Goals - Recap

I can't believe it, but blogger ate my post. I wrote a ton of reflection, saved the draft, scheduled publication, etc. What happens when I come back here on March 31? The dang thing is gone. Eaten. Disappeared. Forever.

Below is March's final list.  See the previous list here.

  • Get started on the FFAII quilt
  • Finish Hocuspocusville #4
  • Make a couple of zipper pouches
  • Experiment with fabric

So, what did I learn?  I learned not to trust blogger with my drafts anymore.  I also learned that experiments are jut that-- experiments. It's okay if the don't work perfectly. The best discoveries came as results of failures. It's all part of the learning process.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sewing Goals - March

Because of February's drudgery, I tried some looser, more exciting goals.  Wish me luck!

  • Get started on the FFAII quilt
  • Finish Hocuspocusville #4
  • Make a couple of zipper pouches
  • Experiment with fabric

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Sewing Goals - Recap

I can't believe it's already time to review this month's sewing goals.  View February's list here.  The final list is as follows:

  • prepare backing for the 36-patch quilt
  • trace Hocuspocusville #4
  • piece the Christmas 9-patch quilt top
  • plan the grid and finalize block numbers on the wedding quilt

Overall, this felt like a to-do list rather than a list of goals I wanted to accomplish.  These maintenance tasks really killed my motivation, especially since there wasn't a whole lot of actual sewing involved.

So what did I learn?

I learned that I need actual fun sewing in order to be motivated.  A bunch of tiny sewing-related tasks does not sewing make.  They all felt like chores and everyone knows how much I hate obligation sewing.  As a result, my mind wandered to projects and possibilities that weren't even remotely related to my goals for the month.  Never again.

Additionally, I learned that it's easy to kill your momentum on a project by not allowing enough freedom.  I think I did this to myself by focusing on all the same projects from last month.  The only one I remained excited about was Hocuspocusville, but I didn't feel that I could continue to work on it after meeting my goal because the rest of the list was looming over my head.  Then, I came to resent the projects that needed to be worked on, even though I was previously excited about them in January.

Lastly, I learned that it's disheartening to achieve a goal, but not in the way I'd imagined it.  The 36-patch backing is technically prepared, though it's not what I'd envisioned.  I really struggled with meeting my goal versus meeting my vision for the project.  The need to strike that item off the list and get the whole thing to the quilter was pretty great.  However, the dissatisfaction with the whole thing was even greater.  Was it fair to say I had met the goal without having met my vision?  Sadly, these ideas all apply to the Christmas 9-patch, too.  Safe to say that these projects need to rest for a while.

February has been a tough month.  Perhaps the worst part of it all was that I met the letter of my goals without meeting the spirit.  I'm looking forward to what March has to offer.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sewing Goals - February

Here we go, the second month of my so far extremely productive adventure.  What can I accomplish this month?

  • prepare backing for the 36-patch quilt
  • trace Hocuspocusville #4
  • piece the Christmas 9-patch quilt top
  • plan the grid and finalize block numbers on the wedding quilt

You'll notice I skipped a step with the Christmas 9-patch.  I don't need to finish the rest of the blocks, because I already did it!  Okay, all but, like, six.  Easy-peasy.  The rest?  We shall see...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

January Sewing Goals - Recap

Sewing goals review time!  Here's my initial list.  And here's my final list:
  • Piece the 36-patch quilt top
  • Complete 24 Christmas wonky 9-patch blocks
  • Complete Hocuspocusville block #3
  • Sew and install drawstrings for my drawstring bag

In a previous post I talked about how great the goals were because they gave me a direction for my sewing.  There were many times this month when I was bored or agitated and the sewing list gave me a fool-proof plan-- I didn't have to waste time deciding what to do.  Instead, I just did it.  

What I didn't realize at the beginning of the month was how much work I had assigned myself.  Each of these goals took a lot of time and effort to meet, but I managed to do every single thing on this list and then some.  I don't think I've been this productive since the summer!

So what did I learn?


I learned that I didn't need to approach the list in order.  Instead, I worked on bits and pieces of projects throughout the month.  Doing it this way kept me from getting bored and frustrated but it also allowed me to accomplish quite a bit.


I also learned that I need direction.  This list kept me off the internet.  I didn't spend as much time browsing flickr and reading blog posts as I normally would have.  I haven't talked much about it here, but the inundation of blog posts, photos, tutorials, quilt alongs, swaps, giveaways, and popularity contests is absolutely draining.  For me, the internet creates a stressful amount of pressure and sucks the fun right out of sewing.  Setting these goals gave me a purpose and allowed me to once again enjoy my hobby.


I learned that success is a powerful motivator.  Crossing items off the list motivated me to keep moving to finish more projects.  Obviously that worked for me.  With direction and motivation I finished one huge project, almost finished another, and completed two small projects.  Pretty soon I won't have anything left to work on.

What's next?  I have a few goals in mind for February.  Stay tuned.


Friday, January 20, 2012


Things are going pretty smoothly with the January sewing goals.  I've accomplished a couple and worked on all of them!

Here's a picture of some of the progress I've made on my Hocuspocusville block; since last night I've stitched that whole area including branch, cat, and part of the trunk.  I'm ready to attack the treehouse tonight! 

There's the final layout of my 36-patch quilt.  Yes, that is my classroom floor.  I brought the blocks to school with me today so that I could finally work on the layout-- it was the only place I knew with a large enough surface to lay out all of those blocks!

*   *   *

Often, when feeling the desire to sew, I'm left with no direction because there are so many projects to work on.  I will stand listlessly in front of the sewing closet, unable to decide what to work on.  Sometimes I will even set up materials and equipment only to put it all back in the closet without even having sewn a stitch.

I thought I would regret setting these goals, but I really don't.  The goals give me direction for what to work on; having set multiple goals ensures that I have plenty of direction, even after having achieved one of my sewing objectives.  The decision of what to sew is already made for me; no more listless pondering required.  Also, having an agenda makes me more likely to sew and more likely to finish a project.  Lastly, the blog posts have created some sense of accountability-- people are checking in on my progress!

I don't know that I will be 100% successful on this month's goals; even so, I've already enjoyed a considerable amount of success!  It feels good to say you're going to do something and then get it done.  I know that I will definitely do goals again in February.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Alpha Xi Delta

Pictured here is a commissioned quilt comprised of many Alpha Xi Delta tshirts, all from the University of New Hampshire chapter.  Leah, the recipient, and asked only that the purple tshirt be featured in some special way.  She also relayed that she is currently into gray.  Beyond that, I was given free reign.


The finished quilt measures 79" x 95" (somewhere between full and queen) and is quilted with a large meander pattern in a gray thread called oyster shell.  As usual, the quilting is done by Rebekah of Kept in Stitches Quilting.  As usual, I can not speak highly enough of her customer service and skill.


I elected to use two grays, darker for the sashing and lighter for the border.  They are both Kona cottons, but I did not note the specific colors.  The darker gray is the same gray I always buy-- it is so luscious-- and the lighter gray seemed a good complement.  Because of the extremely bright sunlight and shadows, the colors look more purple than in actuality.  Trust me, though-- they are just gray.


On the back I have placed two of the tshirts, as I usually do.  I like these on the back because they sort of brand the quilt.  Sadly, I forgot to put on one of my labels!  Leah promised that she would tell all her friends and admirers that this creation came from me, so I'm satisfied with that.


From start to finish this quilt took me 21 hours to complete.  Seven of those hours were spent on attaching and hand finishing the binding.  I'm told that's too long, but I'm not sure I agree; 348 inches is quite a lot of binding to hand stitch!

I think Leah will be delighted.  The solid gray fabrics pull the tshirts nicely together, the quilting is immaculate, and the finished product looks fabulous.  Though Leah was expecting a much smaller quilt, I elected to make a large quilt for several reasons, chief among them that I think small quilts are somewhat pointless.

(Please note that I used a heavier interfacing for this quilt.  I have previously used Pellon sheerweight fusible interfacing; this time I used Pellon lightweight fusible interfacing.  I noticed a slight difference in the effectiveness, but not much.  The glue still didn't stick as well as I'd like.  However, the lightweight interfacing makes this nice and heavy-- good for New Hampshire winters.)