Tuesday, March 22, 2022


Some people know how to say NO! I think it's definitely a learned skill, and I wish I were better at it, but I often get caught up in the moment. I'm MUCH better, but still, a long way to go. 

I think it's super fun to get excited about starting a new quilt project - I like that as much as the next person, but I learned that if you get too excited, you'll end up with a ton of UFOs. You'll be frustrated and guilty because you have started so much, but nothing is complete. 

I've thought about some tips to help us get through the mess -- I won't call it a crisis unless it's affecting your daily life. And by that, I mean, if you are feeling guilty or depressed because of what you've committed to doing, I would consider that a mental health crisis, and it needs to be addressed - NOW. 

One way to deal with this is to STOP. Right now -- STOP! You need to get some paper and a pen. You're going to look around your sewing room and see what you're currently working on. That could also include life outside the studio -- family, pets, other hobbies. Take a note of how many projects are on the go. These are NOT the ones that you haven't started -- these are ones that you've made a block or two or you are behind or whatever. It could be time you spend with parents, friends, or other hobbies. Take stock of it all. 

Write down all your commitments or visible projects causing clutter in your sewing space. 

Now you need to think DEEP and HARD. You NEED to PRIORITIZE those items. Does something need to be done for a gift or a deadline (an URGENT deadline)? Is it part of a class? If so, if you're very far behind, then it's not a priority. If it's taking care of aging parents, can you find someone to help out for an hour or two, so you can sew or just take a breather? 

Before committing to what you'll work on, you also need to take stock of how much time you are prepared to devote to sewing. Remember, spring is here, and the weather is getting too nice to spend all day in the house. 

Now, go back to that list of projects and pick one or two or three or whatever you realistically can get finished. The rest? Get a tub or a box and pack them all away! Seeing all those UFOs can cause us great angst. If you do not have fun sewing anymore, get rid of some stress. I'm not saying you throw the items away, NO -- you just temporarily put them away, so they are not a visual distraction. 

This is very important --- guess what? You CAN NOT do it all! I should know better, and in my defense, I'm not starting anything new that I don't intend to finish. I did over-commit myself the last couple of months, and I've been laying low on other things I commit to -- I haven't submitted anything to a magazine for months because I know I don't have time to make it. 

The only new stuff I've started was for the sew alongs. 

Here's the thing  --- getting access to a whole lot of learning at one time is great, but it doesn't mean you have to take everything! Those same classes or projects will most likely be repeated. And if you don't get to make a certain project as the sew-along, guess what? There'll be another great project for the next sew-along. That's the same with fabric -- you see something amazing, and you HAVE to have it. Guess what? What comes around, goes around -- that great fabric may go tomorrow, but another one just like it will be out next year, and maybe then, you'll actually have a project to do. 

Some other tips for success in our lives and the great quest to learn new things. 

  • Do ONLY the homework for that month. Then put it away and wait until next month. If you leave it out and it bothers you to see the half-finished project, you'll want to go ahead and work on it and then not have time for other things. Put it away. That will free up a lot of time for another class or project. 
  • You don't have to do the entire project -- maybe you're only intrigued by one style of a block -- then make that into a quilt, and you are done! No one said we have to make our quilts like the original. Make a smaller version -- once you learn the technique, do you really need another full-sized quilt? 
  • When signing up for classes, remember -- paper piecing is paper piecing. I don't care how any teacher spins it -- the technique is pretty much the same! You can tweak a few things, but gosh -- it's the same! It's the same deal with free motion -- it's the same. You need to practice instead of taking another class! 
  • Make lists of what you have on the go. BEFORE you sign up for more classes, look at your list and then ask yourself if you have the time and the MENTAL capacity to take on something else. If we overcommit, we often don't do a good job, and then we get frustrated or feel guilty. 
  • Doing the work and approaching the instructor with your issues is the BEST way to learn. Lots of us think we can learn by watching, but the real learning comes from doing. IF you watched a demo on paper piecing, you wouldn't get it. But by actually trying the technique and stumbling through -- you'll know how to paper piece forever!
  • STOP feeling guilty! Just pack away what you can't cope with at the moment. You can deal with it later. 
  • As for FOMO (fear of missing out)  -- think about it this way. If you have FOMO, think of how much guilt or stress will be attached to that FOMO. If you are already struggling for time, why will you add an extra project to your plate? Do we ever have FOMO about life? If you are stuck in your studio -- where is the FOMO on spending time in backyard, watching the flowers grow, the birds in the sky, or just being. We do NOT have to do what everyone else is doing. BY getting yourself involved in what others want to do, there is the FEAR OF MISSING OUT on your OWN life. But no one ever tells you that! 
  • Start monitoring your time. There's an app you can use to help track your time. How much NON-work time do you spend in front of a screen? There is nothing wrong with it, but if it's wasting time, how much do you want to waste? 
  • Before you commit to a new project or new anything, evaluate how much time this will consume in your daily/weekly/monthly schedule. Do you really have the time to take that on? What will fall by the wayside if you're short on time? When I hear comments from my fellow virtual challenge friends, it blows my mind. "I didn't realize it would take so long." What? Do you think you're going to walk 4,000 KM overnight? In three months? Think again -- it will take me almost ONE year to do it, and I'm a big walker every day!! Take 4,000 KM and divide by 365 days -- OH -- that means I have to walk 11 KM every day. So do the same with your quilt projects. How long to complete one block? OH -- there are twenty blocks in the projects? Borders take at least one hour each and so on!! Figure out the time and how it works in your schedule before you commit. 

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. Take stock of your projects and time, and then make some TOUGH decisions. That's my plan for the summer -- well, I'm starting it now. I have my list of monthly classes/demos. Some of them will end in June, and the big question is how many will be added in September. At this point -- NOT many! I'm also looking at what is the most time-consuming and where do I get the most bang for my buck! That's where I'll focus, but I want more ME time. 

I also think I want to focus more on finishing and helping others finish or organize or whatever. And LESS time on prepping and making homework notes, as that consumes HUGE amounts of my time. 

As for me, I'm almost out of the woods for this month. Well, not really, but I'm gaining on the end goal, so that's a positive. The writing should be out the door quickly after finishing the blog, and I'll be at the long arm this afternoon after today's two presentations. 

I got a small quilt of my own done yesterday. 

My quilt - DONE

I did a whole lot of different quilting on it. You can't see the quilting in that background, so why bother putting anything fancy there. Stitch in the ditch around all the borders and then some free motion patterns in the wider borders, and lastly, I used a very small pantograph in the center part. I had to laugh as there was a ^%$&& tuck in the back. I can quilt large pieces with no tucks, and I get a tuck in a small piece? Well, it's staying. I'm not sure how that happened, but it's mine, so I'm not going to worry about it. 

The back of my wall hanging

The bottom line is that it's quilted! Now trim, bind and put a hanging sleeve on it. 

It was such a nice day, I left the back door open for the girls, and Miss Murphy likes to know she can come and go as she pleases. It was nice and sunny along the side of the house, so she watched me from outside rather than being in the studio with me. She is so smart -- she stops to look to see if I'm watching her. 

Murphy keeping an eye on me

Did you notice my sign on the top of the bookcase? That's so true!! I was on a Zoom meeting and had my camera and mic off, and I was just listening. I did a bit of sewing while listening and lots of antics as I waved at Murphy through the window. Thank goodness we can turn our cameras and mics off!

OK -- so if you like psychological thrillers, here's one for you  --- The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins.   Where do these authors come up with such creepy topics!!! I have to finish it today --- I NEED to know what happens. Thank goodness for audiobooks!

Here are the quilt shows that I'm aware of in my area. 

The Textile Show at the Gerrard Art Space (Toronto)  --- show runs until April 3!!!  (better hurry on that one!)

Colour with a U  -- a quilt show at the Orillia Museum of Art & History -- runs until April 9 

Common Thread Quilt Guild Ottawa) is hosting its show on May 6,7,8. 

Hamilton Quilt Guild -- June 3, 4

OH - it's my week for QUILTsocial, so be sure to check it out. It's all about accessories this week and one that I spent some time on.

And if that isn't enough, there's a Virtual Retreat this weekend, and I'll post the links tomorrow.

Saturday, March 26 -- starting at 6 PM

Sunday, March 27 -- starting at NOON. 

On that note, I'm out of here. 

Have a super day!!!


1 comment:

  1. I have a spreadsheet with different pages for USOs (unstarted objects), UFOs and finished objects. Having the finished list reminds me of how much I have done. Also, when I find that I have too many UFOs I start alternating between one UFO and one USO