Friday, January 5, 2018

Committing. Resolutions. Intentions. Keeping the Dial Down on Low....

 January seems to be the perfect time for reflection, organization and focus. Like everyone else, I see the many wonderful QALs cropping up and wonder if this is the year. So many are tempting for any number of reasons, including things such as accountability, efficiency, being frugal, using up scraps, being charitable, committing to something on that bucket list, etc. etc.
Solids applique blocks
Not to mention the wonderful lure of camaraderie and the potential to have like-minded projects! Mostly I just have to step away. Although I can cheerfully work on ten different projects in a single month, too many 'commitments' {in the form of QALs and other similar resolutions} seem likely to cause a great deal of anxiety. I start to feel great pressure to make deadlines, play by the rules and/or conform, spend lots of extra time commenting on others progress, and just generally start having a really lousy attitude about my own quilting endeavors. Sometimes just from the constant, inadvertent, comparison factor. I know it's probably irrational, but hey, it can be very real.
Another Big Basket needing more stitching 
So I break it waaaaaay down. Ask myself questions like, 'How does this lovely, tempting QAL benefit me?' 'Will it help me learn/grow/flourish?' 'How will it effect time spent with all the other wonderful projects I'm literally dying to get started on?' 'What is the real, base reason I want to join up with this specific challenge?' When I start getting to the root of what I'm trying to accomplish for the year ahead, it gets easier to know these answers and then, know more clearly which QALs will work in my favor as opposed to those that will work against me. At least for this particular point in time!
Two older quilt tops waiting for quilting!
So that's why I keep the dial down on low and don't get too many elaborate plans going. There are a LOT of projects simmering in the back of my brain and on my quilty countertops. These are important to me and don't deserve to be an afterthought or lost in the cacophony of 'keeping up'. After much thinking, signing up for Meredithe and Anne's 6in6 in 2018 Challenge feels right. It should fit in well with some ideas already ring circled for priority in 2018--I'm just plugging those priorities into a slot now. Progress, a little bit of motivation to deliver, open ended deadline? How hard can it be?  Of course, you have to know that I'm interpreting this in my own special way! For the 6 old projects there will be 2 particular ufo's that I want to see reach completed quilt top stage: Solids applique project carried over from last year and also, 'Another Big Basket' from the big basket series worked on last year. I previously started on the framework of the basket, but then allowed it to get shuffled to backburner status. Both are still very solid projects, but need some love and attention.

In a little twist to the spirit of the challenge, I will also be taking 2 orphaned parts and pieces sets {pictured below} and trying to make a quilt top out of them as well: a stack of cream, quarter circle cut-aways from a prior project and also, this set of patchwork triangle trim offs. The intention is for them to end up being two very separate projects. Working with such seemingly obscure beginnings is always especially intriguing to me and oftentimes gets the creative juices flowing in unexpected ways. It's time for this sort of challenge and I like the idea of submitting ongoing progress to a deadline.

For the 4th and 5th projects on the 'old' side of the challenge, I dug through all the completed quilt top drawers and grimly settled on these dark quilt tops pictured above. It is beyond time they have been addressed. This is my resolute intention, haha, whether I hand them off to my longarm friend or whatever else I decide {honestly, I have thought about just giving them away as is!}. These need to be true-blue finishes by the end of 2018! Do not misunderstand my intentions. There will most definitely be other quilt tops stitched and brought to a lovely finish. These are just two that I don't want to see remain at the bottom of the list for a whole 'nother year! Both were important parts of my creative journey and need to see fruition.
2 sets of orphaned parts and pieces
 And since the second part of the year includes 6 lovely new starts! Wowsers! How easy is that? My first one for the year will be this 'Melon Patch' quilt. Inspiration was found in an old book that has caught my fancy before, 'The Standard Book of Quilt Making and Collecting' by Marguerite Ickis.
Melon Patch, a brand new start!
This project is intended to be a long term hand applique project, which no doubt will be interrupted many, many times by other more pressing hand stitching matters. The green plaid is a shirt that I rescued from my youngest sons Goodwill donation bag and will be represented in all 20 blocks. I love that sentimental touch. Most of the pieces are drawn out on other appropriate fabric selections and now need cutting and clipping before further work can commence. This little start was my way of properly finalizing the first new start of 2018. Now I can 'see it' and yes! It definitely makes my motor run!

And as always, I will still happily be working on any and all current projects already in motion that are not listed. Plus--don't kid yourself. I'm not. There will be many more new projects than a measly number of 6. Really, who does that?


  1. I just got done looking at and listing all of my hand quilting tops to do this year and next and when you mention QAL's I think oh my god - I can't participate - I know I will fall along the way side - I started Round We Go thinking to do 4 blocks a month and I am 2 months at least behind. I have to do things at my pace - I love the quilts you show and good luck in your progress! and have fund don't stress :)

  2. I totally understand your thoughts on quilt a longs. I feel the same way. They stress me out! “Will my blocks be as good as others?”, “Will I have the time that day to Sew my blocks?”. I’d rather just do things in my own time.

  3. I understand where you are coming from on the quilt-a-longs. Last year I thought to get super organized. I joined Merediths, a monthly OMG, and some quarterly goal thing. I couldn't do it. Trying to post for this, that and the other....I lasted all of one or two months, I think.

    Even with the 17 in 2017, while I worked on the list, I doubt that I linked up anymore that 3 times.

  4. QAL's are great for those who can keep up. I find that slowly and steady works best for ME. I like to see other people's projects but so far this year I haven't been sucked into the whirlpool. Happy Stitching in 2018, your way!

  5. Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Quilt Along. Is a bunch of quilters all making a at the same time. They do the same pattern bit pick their own fabric. There is a weekly or monthly goal and you post about your progress along the way.

  6. I always love to see whats on your yearly docket! It sounds very doable and I love how you find focus on your projects.
    I have a pair of orange checked boxer shorts of my sons that gets used in small amounts in a few of my quilts. Always makes me laugh! Happy 2018!

  7. Audrey, QAL aside, stress and commitments.
    6by6 sounds like an interesting goal to open up in the universe and I always love to start new ones! I think I'm in. thanks for sharing.

  8. Looks like you have a few plans then for 2018, it all sounds good. I enjoy the occasional QAL, the one I'm doing presently is at a nice managable pace, it's quite relaxed and I still have plenty of time for sewing other things!

  9. I enjoy reading and following your thoughtful analyses about SALs/ QALs, and the stress and discreet competitiveness that seems a big part of many. My biggest pet peeve [well, one of them but it's a biggie] is the busy bee quilter who proudly displays her Block of the Month the ***very day after*** the block is posted. I was so discouraged a few years ago with this that I gave up on the lovely Noah and Matilda repro, and put it aside for ''someday" . I dropped out of another last week, when we were told that if our blocks were not done on time we'd be kicked out of the group! What fun is that!? I'd feel so awful--and anyone who knows me at all knows I always yes always, ok almost always, finish my projects. But maybe in my own way and time.
    Good advice, I am going to rethink and think again: What do I really want to be doing this year?



  10. What a great post! It is so interesting what draws us to the QALs and free BOMS, when we all have so many beautiful patterns just begging to be made but alas, we (at least me, myself and I) keep saving those blocks/BOMS. I am doing the 6 in 6 also and want to do the 12 in 2018 but would be a repeat (almost). Today So Scrappy did suck me in, but this year a block is provided for each month and they are easy. I work a lot of Reproduction quilts and the blocks are small, so I figured I could take one day a month and make 3 of the same block - different colors each month. NOW I did have the smarts to NOT make On Ringo Lake - That is an anxiety ridden quilt laced with STRESSVILLE. So glad Gretchen helped me make that decision. Anyway, so enjoyed your way of thinking and I will remember this if I am tempted with any other new things going on! At least not this year - I want to be 100% more productive! Have a great week-end. Nanette

  11. Ooo, those Melon Patch blocks are Stunning! No wonder you have been dying to get started on them. My favourite thing, a new twist on a vintage pattern. :D

  12. I'm in the same boat as you are. I am so tempted to do many of the QALs I see, but I've gotten better at not embarking on them. I like the you came up with to weigh out whether you should do a particular QAL our not. I'm looking forward to seeing your creations this year.

  13. It is so hard to keep up with challenges and QALs, even the ones I host. 6and6 sounds useful but I am not doing anything until the baseball pattern is done.
    And I have a small bone to pick with you, Andrea. (wink) How do you write such long, interesting posts so frequently? Mine are usually strict information (just the facts, ma'am) but yours go into such depth. A joy to read. I'd love to sit and hat with you for hours about each one. Kudos to you.
    I am intrigued by your orphan bits and pieces.

  14. I enjoyed reading your thoughts in this post. I can relate to many of them as I'm sure all quilters do. I never compare my work to others or feel like I need to only post spectacular works. For me, blogging is a journal of my quilting journey and a way to meet other wonderful quilters. It has been a wonderful journey.

    I wish you well on your goals! I will be following along as I do the same.

  15. That sounds like a wonderful challenge! I love the idea of taking 2 stalled/orphaned projects and challenging yourself to join them somehow!

  16. It is easy to get lured into all the new things that start in January and I am guilty of it like so many others. I like the way you think things through via your words. Is that your best thinking process?

  17. I was not through your post before I was texting a friend to read it, too. You have summed up the fervor behind QALs and how we get sucked in. They make blinders for horses. Are there such things for quilters? Maybe it's staying offline. I know if I said I will not join another before I lost 10# it would be a win-win! However it works for each of us, you did well to lay it out there in black and white. Digging ourselves deeper into the pit of quilt despair is not the best way to start a new year. Thank you, Audrey.

  18. Ah yes, the giant sucking sound of me getting pulled into a new sew-a-long. You are so right, it can be, well... I love the 6 and 6 idea. I know full well you will not limit it to six new creations, but getting 6 crossed of the list, I have no doubt you will accomplish. Have fun!

  19. I can so relate to your feelings on this. It feels like setting oneself up for failure sometimes with this whole new year blah blah blah... I like how you are approaching it and I look forward to seeing what comes of it. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and your stitching!

  20. One of my main goals should be to actually clean and organize my sewing and craft room! I keep running across things in there that I totally forgot about LOL


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