I was chatting with another quilter about how to keep the mojo going on
these long term projects, and thought it would be a good thing to blog about. Some quilters literally crank out tops at a rate that could make you dizzy. Other quilters work on projects that take years to finish. Both kinds of projects are great, that's the beauty of quilting. There is something for everyone. I tend to fall into the "years to finish" category, and yet, I can crank out a top in a hurry when needed. This wasn't one of them.
|Hand pieced Judy Newman Pattern|
With most quilts that I make, I tend to break down the project by PROCESS. This pattern has only one block, so the first process was making the templates. Since I would be reusing each piece, some over 120 times, I knew that freezer paper, even the heavy stock, would not hold up to repeated use. Once I had templates made, I started picking fabrics for each block.
The second "process" was pulling fabrics for the first few blocks. Once you do a fabric pull, the next step is to get out your marking pencils, sandpaper board, cutting tools etc. Start marking out one block and get it on the design wall. Mark 3 or 4 more, and this will set the tone for your future fabric pulls.
Keep going until you have all your blocks marked, cut and on the design wall. Once you decide on your layout, then photograph your top. Next, photograph each block, create a folder on your phone and move all the pictures there. Tackle one block at a time. I take the pieces off the wall, layer pieces that get stitched together first and pack it in a zip lock clear bag. Now you are ready to "grab and go"
Hand piecing is a perfect project for your purse or carry on bag. You can get little bits of blocks put together without sacrificing any "sewing time". I use a zip pouch that contains a few zip bags of pieces, needle and thread, small snips and my tiny pin cushion. We rarely go anywhere without our phones, so having the photos of each block gives me a road map to the layout of fabrics.
At this point, all your fabrics can be put away, and you don't need anything but a zippered pouch to carry this around with you. Those moments waiting for appointments, watching kids at sports games, going to the grocery store with someone else driving, relaxing with family in the evening are all opportunities to move these blocks forward. It takes up virtually no space as you only need to have one or two little zip lock bags in your pouch.
For everyone things are different, life interruptions happen. Work, kids, parents, home renovations, broken bones and broken machines. There are so many external factors that can inhibit traction on projects. Just know you are not alone. Your setbacks will be unique to you, but hopefully some of my habits may help you jump start a project or prevent you from putting it in a box on the back of a shelf.
The photo above is now a top, and the next steps to moving it forward are to make a backing, choose a binding and get it made and tagged, and decide on how it will be quilted (beyond the decision to hand quilt it) I'm leaning to a Baptist Fan so once it's marked, I can baste it and start the hand quilting. But it has to get in line, I have several in that slot already.