Saturday, January 7, 2017

having options or how to manage project ADD

i have project fidelity problems.
also know as project ADD.

i just can't stick to one project from start to finish without switching it up. part of this is because i like variety in my creative life. part of this stems from having a limited amount of time to play with my quilting, also known as splishing and splashing with my stash.

if i do get some time, i'm not going to spend it slugging away at something my heart isn't into at the moment.

this is my hobby, after all.
my play time.
i want to have fun while i'm at it.

occasionally i can be a good girl and stick to something just for the sake of getting it completed. more often than not, i go with what i feel at the moment. since my sewing is not obligatory, i don't feel the need to do otherwise.

hence the fabric floor party going on above: fabric stuffs in various stages of quilt process assembly all over the place just outside my blue sewing room doors.

i like to have a number of projects going at once that are all in different phases of the process. that way i can decide what to work on depending on what part of quilt making i feel like tackling when i have time.

yes, i like my options.

at the moment, my main projects are:

quilting queue:

quilting penny patch 2.0 (which i already gifted in it's unfinished state to my mom for christmas. this is an unintentional family tradition, started by her many years ago. it's just the way my family does things. try to make something for a holiday gift and give it anyway if it's not done. finishes will come later.)

you can kind of see the quilting in the photo and kind of not. currently, in the new year, i mark off one 4sq x 4sq grid at a time. i try to do one of these a day, or at least a couple a week. i've nearly completed 8 of the 14 rows, which means i'm 4/7ths finished with the quilting. a couple more weeks at my current rate will see it done.

since april, when i found out my mom has stage 4 colon cancer, (about a week or two after my husband's accident) and i decided to gift this quilt to her, this has been my priority project. but as hard as i tried, i couldn't make myself do only this. my time was so infrequent and sometimes i couldn't face the fmq. interspersing it with other projects is actually helping me get it done more quickly because i'm enjoying my quilt life more, which means i get up early to quilt more often.

 this beauty has been folded up on the couch just outside my sewing room since april, also. i was doing one row a day right after the accident just as a few quiet moments of therapy at the beginning of my day while my husband was still in the hospital. i was loving it, but set it aside once penny patch 2.0 took priority. a few days ago i decided to add it to the mix, just for fun. one row of those modern loops every now and then doesn't take much time at all.

today i was doing my one row of loops and ran out of bobbin thread right where my finger is pointing - about two loops from the end of the row! ugh. thread burying two stops and starts just for two loops. maybe i'll just leave this row as is.

piecing queue:

my big star hst quilt (here and here), at the back of the top photo.
it still needs the neutral borders put around the star and then the flimsy is done.

i'm also prepairing for putting the backing together, hence the large swaths of fabric laid all over the floor.

A photo posted by @hydeeannsews on

d3's christmas quilt flimsy is done, it needs a backing also. that's the green piece in the top photo. the top is under my star quilt pieces, which is pretty accurate for where it falls in priority: on the bottom. the stars really have to align if i'm going to give sewing time to kid projects right now. i do try to be a good mommy and fit those in once in a while.

this next project is in a couple stages, so it can be a piecing thing or it falls in the

cutting queue:

my gypsy child hst quilt
(here and here)

there's still this lovely pile of pairings to be cut into 3.5" squares, hsts to chain piece, or hsts to be trimmed after pressing.

i get to just take my pick.

this is my plate of the completed hsts so far.

i need 21 sets like these. with 7 finished, there are plenty more to work at.
(darn. i did mean to crop that dark corner out of the photo.)

so that's what i'm hopping and skipping around in these days.
and as much as i like to go by the spontaneity of what feels like fun at the moment, i do have a method for adding responsibility in the mix.

first, i decide if i feel like some clean up needs to be done in the studio. fabric folding or whatnot. sometimes that happens. if the room is clean enough, i choose to either do cutting/trimming chores or sit at the machine.

when i'm going to sit down to the machine, these ladies keep my moving around.

let me explain.

once apon a time, i hated changing threads or feet for projects and mostly just worked through whatever needed doing until a change was required. now i don't mind a bit the few seconds it takes to swap out feet or thread. mostly i still let the bobbin dictate what i do by working on a project until the bobbin runs out. that's my signal to move on. i keep my machine projects rotating by the bobbin and it really mixes things up for me, satisfying my taste for variety.

by the way, that pink thing holding the bobbin and spool together is the june tailor thread mate spool and bobbin pin. it doesn't actually fit the aurifil spool snugly, it's sized for standard spools. but it does help them stay in place well enough to keep my threads together.

the grey thread (aurifil 5021) is for the big star hst quilt.

the blush pink thread (aurifil 2415) is for quilting the loops on the triangle quilt.

the white thread (aurifil also) is for quilting penny patch 2.0 or piecing the gypsy hsts.
note the two bobbins here. i got to a section stopping point on quilting and saw the bobbin was pretty low, so i simply removed it and set it aside for piecing at another time, and put a full bobbin in place when i started quilting again. no way was i going to start quilting with only that much thread on the bobbin because it would require a stop (and burying threads) quite soon. piecing with it wouldn't be such a big deal.

in addition to the bobbin, i have a set amount of each project i will work on at a time: a row of loop quilting, a 4sq  x 4sq section of orange peel quilting, a set of hst pairs. i make myself either change projects or go do something else when i reach the end of a project's designated allotment. this keeps me from sitting at the machine too long (bad for the body) and from getting lost in the quilt studio when i have other things to do.

winter break has given me a nice chance to pick up quilting again. i hope it continues when our regular schedule resumes next week. if i can just get myself up a little earlier in the morning, i like to work for a small amount of time on whatever project the bobbins dictate.

how do you decide what to work on?
do you have a rotation method or just decide what you feel like?


  1. I like your bobbin rotation system. Very smart

  2. I'm very much a spirit of the moment sewist. Some days I want to be piecing, sometimes super intricate, sometimes chain piecing, sometimes paper piecing. Other days I might be in the mood for planning or cutting. I hate when I have a project that has a *must do* written on it, becasue then it's a chore, when actually it should be nothing but pleasure. Like you, sewing is my hobby and my fun time, so I don't have the energy to push through on things that aren't giving me joy.
    Love your list of active projects though. They are all gorgeous and look like fun.
    E xx

  3. I think your method is a fun way to switch things up! I tend to do what I fancy. With projects by my machine or next to the sofa so I can choose when I feel like hand sewing! You have so many beautiful projects and that plate of hst blocks is gorgeous! Xxx

  4. I would totally let the bobbin dictate, too, if I were in your shoes. Since I don't (yet) have a dedicated sewing space, I tend to work 1 project at a time (not counting hand projects, of course) and my tension is SO fiddly that once I get it set for a particular quilting project, I rarely work on anything else until I get the quilting finished for fear of never finding the perfect tension again. (Although, typing that up, I can see it sounds silly...) Once I have a space, and a machine that isn't so persnickety, I foresee a little less project fidelity ;-) So - you didn't mention your son's quilt - did you get it finished??
    (how is your momma doing? Goodness, you had a rough year!)

  5. I am TOTALLY with you on the number of projects on the go. It's my hobby, if I don't feel like it, I don't do it.

    Saying that, I once listed all my UFOs, WIPs, PIGs and future projects.

    Anyway, every now and then I produce a list of five projects. If I feel like I want a change, I go to my list of 5. One might be hand sewing, another might be quilting, maybe different colours... anyway, all things I feel like working on at the time.

    When I want to start something new, I collect all the pieces together and pile them up in a really pretty pile. Ooh, it's all there, ready to start... threads, fabrics, pattern, papers or glues or notions.... and I make myself finish SOMEthing first. So, I look for the thing I feel like working on with the least left to do. And that is how my number of UFOs never ever changes! Hahahahahah.. because I work like a maniac on something, while gazing at the pretty, pretty pile of newness, just so that I can start the new one.

    It seems to work.

    The other thing I am doing at the moment, is quiltalongs. I am taking part in 2 online applique BOMs, contributing to the facebook page, linking up to the designer's linky posts and commenting on other's posts. This is keeping me excited and on track about the 2 projects. AND I am taking part in a stitchalong for another quilt, but it's a stitchery quilt, and contributing to the facebook group etc. This gives me a little bit of variety, and no time to start anything else at the moment. Heehee.


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