No pictures today -- just lots of New Year musing.
In the final week of 2012, I made a list of 13 of my oldest UFQ's and announced that my goal for 2013 would be to finish them. I was confident that it was achievable since I had reached my 2012 goal of using 212 yards from my fabric stash. And while I did finish 26 quilts during 2013 and 7 of them were rather old, only 2 were on my target list.
It's been obvious to me for a couple months that I wasn't going to hit the mark this year so I've been thinking about what it means to fall so short of the intended goal.
I completely finished two of the quilts and made some significant progress on two more of them which are now finished tops ready to quilt. I sold one once I realized that it no longer held any charm for me so what was the point of investing any more energy in it. The sixth project wasn't even cut -- just a bag of stuff -- and it has been cancelled -- the pattern is in the give away pile and the fabric is back in the stash.
I've layered the 7th one and it is my next machine quilting project -- I'll use it as a warm-up for quilting a terrific sampler I've just finished. The 8th one will be layered for hand-quilting early next week and likely keep me occupied in the evenings for the next several months.
That leaves 5 that I didn't touch or even look at during 2013. They include a top ready to quilt, 3 tops that are almost finished, and the oldest, a stack of 23 scrappy pieced basket blocks. I'll keep them high on the list and aim at dealing with them this year.
I am often surprised at how quickly and with what focus I can work when I have a deadline. But after this year, I realize I often need more than a deadline, I also need a purpose for a project -- that surprised me! Why? Because I don't need a purpose to start a project. I think some of you can relate to that.
The primary reasons I finish quilt are for gifts, to donate, and as teaching samples. But everything I start is because some aspect of it draws me -- the color, the fabric, a new tool. Over the years, I have developed the habit of "justifying" new projects with a possible purpose and that helps. I know that maintaining focus and momentum is often a challenge for me -- not because I'm lazy but quilting can be a pretty distracting mine field of ideas. When I encounter a "speed bump" or "road block" on a quilt, it's scary how easily I can be distracted.
Case in point. Right now the sampler I'm finishing has to be finished by mid-January. The top is finished -- looks terrific! I've been thinking about the quilting for over a month, trying to ease into what is the most challenging part of quilt making for me -- designing the quilting. So what did I do? Started a new quilt -- Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice Mystery. I justified it to myself by adapting it to use Marti Michell's templates and decided from the beginning that it will ultimately be a donation quilt. If I couldn't work on the sampler, why didn't I pull out one of those UFQ's? But you understand -- it was so shiny!?! And today when Bonnie revealed the layout of the quilt, I could feel my attention turning to the next interesting idea I have rolling around in my head. Yikes -- finish the quilt top at least, Mary!!
What will my goals be in 2014? I started with a list of 8 "possibilities" which I've tentatively narrowed down to 4. I think the top goal has to be "focus on my quilting skills" -- both hand and machine. I've already signed up for a Craftsy home study course to kick that off. The second goal I'd like to tackle is to get back into a regular work routine and build my studio time back up so that I'm working at my craft 20 hours a week.
Focusing on those two goals will automatically move me along towards eliminating more UFQ's. My lack of success this year has made me think more about where the quilts will go once they are finished. I don't want them to end up on the garage sale table for $15, I can tell you that! So I'm thinking about friends and relatives who might like to own one of my quilts. And this past year I've personally donated more quilts than ever and that's been good. So there will be more of that. It's a win/win -- I get to do something I love doing while being compassionate.
Over the years, I've set many goals -- some of them I've achieved and others I've missed -- but always I learn something about myself and I get better. Seven years ago, my goal was to stitch every day!!! And I used a daily journal to track that. The journal continues and it's no longer a challenge to remember to stitch every day. That habit of stitching every day carried me through a very difficult year of helping my mother -- I ran away from the stress by stitching every day -- and if that habit had not been in place before hand, it would have been difficult to lean on it.
So we set goals and we have aspirations and we grow -- perhaps not as much as we had hoped but more than we would have without the goals.
Happy New Year!!