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.)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sewing Goals - January

Happy New Year!  2012 looms ahead of us, and what better way to approach it than with a good old-fashioned list?

My sewing goals for this month are as follows:

  • 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

These goals are simple and straightfoward.  That makes them easy to measure-- either I've met them or I haven't.  The official check-in date for these goals is January 31; at that time I will revisit my list and see what I've accomplished.