Friday, October 9, 2015

Making Time For Hand Work

Sometimes I feel like nothing is ever really getting done around here. All I do is piddle. First on one project and then, on another. Mostly that feeling persists because my life gets very chaotic, but really, trying to keep up with all the demands on my time {by husband, kids, other assorted family members and yes, tending to the maintenance of life} tends to kill my superwoman efficiency powers.
Big Stars
There was a window of opportunity to sandwich and pin a couple quilts the other day. {I'm doing it in pairs these days.} Of course I had to rush to piece together the backs because I don't plan ahead for these things. By the time the quilt backing was taped to the floor, I was a hot, sweaty mess and it was dark outside. Lovely lighting don't you think? It really doesn't do justice to these quilts that were lucky enough to make it to the top of the queue.
Muddy Creek
This Big Stars quilt has been nagging at me for a very long time. I have definitely shied away from this one. So proud of it when I finished, but now a little less than thrilled with the quilt top. Sometimes I experience a great deal of trepidation in my own ability to stitch something that could make a quilt shine--bring it to it's fullest potential. That can make me like my quilt top a little less than it probably deserves. Such defeating thoughts and I actually allow them to cause a bit of paralysis. Grrr....  I'm not making heirloom quilts, nor do I feel that we have to. Quilting is whatever we choose to make it and serves a very individual purpose in all our lives.

So in the hoop it goes so I can start stitching what makes sense to me. I don't need complicated. Right now I don't even have the brain power to worry about the 'best' stitching pattern. Mostly I just need something in the hoop to quiet my mind and relax my body. The end.
In the hoop
In the little bits and pieces of time I gather throughout the day, there is also applique. It never feels very important as I'm doing the actual stitching, but it definitely adds up to something huge to me. Having applique in my quilts gives a little more to love about what I make. Because I connect with it. It feels right and true for me. But if I stop and really think about it, there is never time in my life for that. Never. And that can be overwhelming. So I just get everything prepped and then I fit it into my life however and where-ever I can.
Completed Vintage Red blocks
Like with these latest projects. I have slowly, steadily, persistently, tenaciously stitched until I have all of the Vintage Red blocks completed and now all my basket handles are done too. This is the only way to ever move forward with these sorts of projects because when you're stitching a bit here and stitching a bit there, the time never 'counts'. In fact it feels rather pitiful if you look at it that way and your progress always seems quite pathetic. It's best to change our thinking. Think of this kind of stitching as filling lost time or even taking advantage of little moments.
All the Summers End basket handles are done!
Stitch when there is opportunity and then put it away when someone or something pulls you away once again. Be willing to stop mid-block. No resentment, no irritation at being pulled away because we're not counting the time. We're making use of opportunity until the day comes when 'ta da!' our blocks {or pieces} are ready for the next phase. And it always comes, no matter how difficult the project or how tedious the process. No matter how simple, repetitive and/or silly it seems. And who cares if it takes an entire week to finish one block? Every stitch counts, not the time because that kind of time can't be recovered anyway.*wink


33 comments:

  1. I really like your big star quilt! I am so happy to be hand quilting again too, it sure does wonders for my soul!

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  2. Oh, yes. What you've said, exactly. Sometimes I think of it as stealing moments for me, piece by little piece of time.

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  3. My favorite thing to do is read real thoughts...love your post!!

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  5. It is difficult to be pulled away in the midst of "making", I feel. Somehow, it never seems the same when you return--which could be good or not...My back went "out" last week and i had to stop everything: quilting, knitting, embroidery--actually life and normal activity! Now that I am coming back, it all just "looks" different. We'll see how this goes...I am calling it "quilting interruptus"...hugs, julierose

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  6. Basting quilts in pairs - what a concept - lol! I like these quilts and it will be fun to watch how they progress :0) I piddle a lot over here too - if I don't make use of those moments I don't make any progress at all. I love the stitches you've put into your stars quilt so far.

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  7. Yes, every stitch counts. I totally get this,even though I want to finish and move on. Sometimes though, the amount of projects I have going on at once overwhelm me to the point where I "freeze" and do nothing. Better to just enjoy the process and keep plugging along. The Big Star quilt looks like it will be a fun one to hand quilt.

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  8. I really connect with what you are saying, and it's great to know how others relate to this quilting thing we do. As mothers and wives and daughters we have a lot of other demands that can and do interrupt the creative process. I now have slowed right down and tackle each task as "eating the elephant" if we look at an elephant it is huge how do we eat that? We start slowly and we go back and nibble away, this can never be a one sit down meal but bit by bit as our appetite dictates we will eventually "eat the elephant".....(no elephants were harmed in this analogy, it was pink and made of fairy floss and totally a figment of my imagination)

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  9. Great post! "Quilting is not a speed sport" - a quote from Karyn @ Millymadeit that came to mind as I read this. I love having a few projects on the go, ones that get worked on a little here, a little there, or ones that I'm more focused on the process rather than the end result! A couple of days, a couple of years... I usually get there in the end!

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  10. I love all of these projects, especially Muddy Creek. You are an organizational inspiration!

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  11. All so true. There is no way I could finish the amount of hand work I do if I waited for a chunk of free time. I just insert those few stitches Into my day wherever I can, and then something finished appears. I need those few stitches every day like I need to breath!
    Love the dark quilting on your stars quilt.

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  12. I don't recall the stars top so initially I thought that you had pieced them all this week! :) It's lovely!
    Muddy Creek, I do recall. A favorite of mine ...the colors...the way you mix and match them...a favorite.

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  13. Love that first quilt, the big stars, I would love to make something like that someday ...

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  14. Big Stars - whoa Audrey - this is beautiful! It's a constant battle for me - waiting for that substantial block of time where I can dive into a project and not come up for air. This is a rarity. Like you, I just have to grab those bits and pieces of time (and fabric) and soon enough, I'll come to the end.

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  15. Great philosophy on time. I think Big Stars is lovey.

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  16. Great philosophy on time. I think Big Stars is lovey.

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  17. love all your projects - the big stars is really great to me!! just keep telling yourself you are super woman and you CAN get it all done!

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  18. Fun post getting caught up on all your projects. Your big stars is wonderful but Muddy Creek speaks to me.

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  19. I love you Big Stars. A similar block is in my sampler quilt and I've been thinking about making another with more of them. The little basket handles are so attractive; my favorite colors...

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  20. I LOVE Big Stars. In re quilting...I'm never in a rush...I never have a deadline...I never feel bad if nothing ever gets finished...No matter how many projects I never feel overwhelmed...I'm not in a competition...I'm usually relaxing and having fun, experimenting, challenging, learning in every spare moment I can squeeze out of a day. All that other crap...stress, office politics, deadlines I leave at work when I'm stitching!

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  21. "Sometimes I experience a great deal of trepidation in my own ability to stitch something that could make a quilt shine--bring it to it's fullest potential." This is what keeps me from cutting into my fabric to start with! We quilters tend to be our own worst critics methinks.

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  22. Love your perspective on your progress. It seems amazing to me how much you do accomplish and how many quilts you finish. So I think your theory is definitely working for you. Gorgeous photo of the first quilt.

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  23. i absolutely love these 2 quilts , particular favourite being the big stars! I'm so glad you have bitten the bullet and started to quilt it. It will be so much nicer finished and being used. Perfect in your mnd but in reality still sitting in a to-do pile waiting for the "perfect" quilting design is pretty crazy(we all do it). I recently read a wonderful post (can't remember where) about how we constantly set the benchmark of our own quilting unrealistically high because we see such exquisite work at shows. blogs, books etc forgetting what our own abilities may be. As a result quilt tops languish in cupboards or in piles waiting until we have the "perfect" design when really we should be quilting them at our own pace . We forget tha twith each quilt we quilt we learn and improve. I too am guilty! I have a couple of quilt tops I made sitting waiting for that magic combination of design and ability! I think I'll put one on the frame this week!! I think you are amazing to hand quilt your quilts, I am too impatient! Your colours and fabrics and quilt designs are so unique and thoroughly gorgeous, I am always thrilled when I see you have posted something ! We all need to congratulate ourselves for the lovely handwork and machine work we do, and enjoy the process!

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  24. I think you read my mind before you wrote this, lol. Sometimes I feel like I'm wading through waist-deep water, trying to get anything done - and my kids are grown. I think I actually got more done when I was home-schooling them! I made sure I had "my" time in the evenings, and I don't do that anymore.

    I love your stars, I love both quilts. Take time to love them while you quilt them. This is a piece of you - a beautiful piece. If you can, keep a project in a bag that you can grab as you run out the door. Last year, as I was taking care of my aunt and mum, taking them to doctors and therapies, I kept stuff handy in the car and worked on it while they were at their appointments. It wasn't as comfortable as it would have been at home, but it got things done! You're in a busy season, and that will change - because seasons are temporary.

    I really love your Vintage Red. It just speaks to me deep in my heart. Not sure why, but it does!

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  25. It makes me smile when you say you don't feel very productive, as I am always amazed by how much you get done. I think your ability to make the most of opportunities is the key. It will be interesting to see these (two!) get quilted. I like them both, but Big Stars maybe feels less like an 'Audrey' quilt to me somehow. Not sure why. Vintage Red is going to be one of your best, I think.

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  26. I love that basket quilt. Especially the colors!

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  27. So much to think about! It really is about how the hand stitching helps me to feel... to relax and power down the mind.

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  28. Well, that is the way it works, a bit here and a bit there... and now and then more time to spend on our passion. Great work again.

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  29. You are so right! Except for the part about you're not making heirloom quilts - you ARE indeed making heirloom quilts. Every quilt tells a story and yours speak volumes. You have such whimsy and grace and a fantastic color sense! Let's face it, all quilters need more time to quilt. Let's partition the government to add one more day to the week and designate it for quilting ONLY! Thanks for another inspiring post.

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  30. Basting the quilt is the stumbling block for me. I have trouble getting on the floor to baste it,(or getting back up again.

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  31. I know you love baskets but I think I love your quilts with circles the best -- these stars, the circle blocks in Muddy Creek, and the circles in the quilt with red that bled in the wash. They are just gorgeous.

    I know I'm not as busy as you but still, I stop for a few minutes to quilt or stitch when I can, knowing I'll have a chance to go back to it again some time during the day. All those few stitches finally become a finish.

    I hadn't thought about layering and basting two quilts at a time (probably because doing just one feels like a lot of work and a huge accomplishment to me) but I may try it the next time.

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  32. I took several quilt tops out of the closet in order to make backings. I haven't had much time for sewing, but fit it in when I can. I love your two quilts!

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