What Works for Me

Various podcasters have gotten together on a service called Big Tent and created a Quiltcast Supergroup. I don’t know the ins and outs of Big Tent, but it is basically a way for all the podcast listeners to get together and talk. I am assuming that this is like LISTSERVs back in the day or Yahoogroups used today. The nice thing about Big Tent is you can have one giant group with a bunch of subgroups and that is how they have organized it.

One of the podcasts I have started to follow is Stash Resolution. You can find it on iTunes. There is also a blog, of course. In the Big Tent Stash Resolution Group a week or so ago, some asked what people were afraid of. Someone said the Storm at Sea block. Another person said Mariner’s Compass. Someone else mentioned that she did not have much time to sew and wanted to guarantee success every time she had time. I thought this last comment was the most interesting. It made me think of whether I need success every time.

I wrote that I thought it would be hard to guarantee success every time. I think one has more success when one is more confident in their own technical skills and can assess quickly when the project is going well or not.

It occurred to me that I use some strategies to  maximize my sewing time and also to have more success. Here is what I wrote to the group:

1. take notes from the time the project is an idea until it is finished. This helps me get it organized, keep track of where I am and remember what I did after I finish the project, which is helpful if I want to do it or something like it again. Everything flat (e.g. paper, some fabric) gets organized in folders.
2. Take lots of photos and put them in computer files by the project name and printed out in the folder.
3. Remind myself there is always more fabric. This is so that if something is going badly, I don’t feel like I have just used the last piece of good fabric.
4. I focus on quiltmaking. The only other crafts I do is knitting and some paper crafts. I only knit when I cannot quilt and I do not keep a stash. I do the paper crafts at a local shop and try to keep the stash to a minimum.
5. I plan well for days when I am free, so that I am ready to go. I also do little bits, if I can, during the week. Cutting straps and interfacing, making patterns, cutting templates are all things that can be done in a little bit of time.
6. I warm up as I start. I use easy blocks (like 4 patch) that I piece from scraps to get me in the groove.
7. When I cannot be at my sewing machine, I read, listen and think about quiltmaking.
8. I have to play and realize that I will make mistakes and things will come out badly. It is just the way it is. I was a lot more successful when I acknowledged that and worked with it. Mistakes can be repurposed.
9. I make the same project over and over again, especially for smaller projects(tote bags, pencil rolls and journal covers are the biggies). Doing things over and over helps you get to know the pattern, your machine, your skills. This is much easier with sewn accessories like bags as opposed to quilts. You can make the same block over and over.
10. Always use good fabric, because you might not ever make the project again.
11. If one way of doing something doesn’t work, try a different way. I suggest making pillows to try different ways of machine applique’.
12. Take classes and learn.
13. Try it again next year.

I am not sure if these are my ‘rules’ for quiltmaking, but it is a pretty good list to think about.