Thursday, January 21, 2016

Happy, Happy. Joy, Joy.

As the ball dropped in Times Square, closing out 2015, many folks were making resolutions for 2016. It's mid-January, now. I wonder how those are working out?

As for me, I set out to create a simple plan to reduce the number of unfinished projects in my quilty stash. I keep 'saying' I want to do this, and make little steps of progress, but the unfinished projects remaining. And I've been outlining the three simple steps to my approach in the last couple weeks.

To Recap

A Plan. Keep it simple. Keep it flexible. And make a commitment. I showed you a copy of the journal I'm keeping to maintain my list and make notes from time to time. Basically my goal is to finish 12 personal projects by the end of 2016.

Focus. Choose one project and see it through to completion. Jumping from one project to another may create forward progress, but if the goal is to get something done, then you may be disappointed.


This week, the thing that pulls it all together is JOY. The 'fun' is the 'glue.' At the checkout at Ben & Jerry's in Vermont this past summer:

You know, all this journaling, listing, and focusing isn't worth a bit if the journey isn't fun. At least I don't think so. It would be so easy to power through my projects and just get 'em done. But, was that really why I started quilting? Is that what I enjoy most?

I had to decide that I like the journey as much as I like the completion. This Scrappy Star quilt is not done yet. I'm still working on the quilting in the border. I suppose it would have been done faster if I did a simple line of stitching a quarter inch away from each piano key seam in the border.

Instead, I pulled a star-shaped cookie cutter out of my kitchen cabinet and I'm tracing and sewing stars  - because, for me, anyway, it's more fun! It's taking me a little longer, but that's okay. That's why I built some flexibility into my plan. This is the back of the quilt at the border, I'm not sure if you can see it very well, but the stars are there in the quilting lines. They make me happy.

Another example. I started this small heart-shaped embroidery wall-hanging quilt several years ago. It sat in a basket until December last year. It was basted and ready to quilt. Why was it sitting there so long?

I could have simply quilted on the lines that I marked, but I remembered (way back when I started this piece) wanting to add some beads to the stitching in the center.

Well, once I got going with the beads, it didn't end with the center. . . .

Anyway, this little quilt is done now, and even has a label. No idea what I'm going to do with it. I have a feeling it'll be a wedding or shower gift before too long. Or I might just hang it up in my dining room. Might as well enjoy it, right?

My point is, if all you want to do is pull things together quickly and finish them up, that's great. It's done. Celebrate!

But if the journey has a few slight turns to slow things down, might be worth it to enjoy the scenery along with the ride to the finish.

Next week, we'll be onto something different, I promise! In the meantime. . . .

Happy Stitching!


  1. I love your little heart quilt! The beads really add a lot of interest to it. I've been working on an appliquéd wall hanging from 1999! Your UFO idea is a doable one and I'm trying hard to stick with it.
    Have a great time in Lancaster!

    1. Thanks so much, Gretchen. 1999! Won't it feel good to add that to the ta-done list!