Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'll get to it . . . someday

This week we’re going to take a little survey. Ready? How many of you finish one project before starting another? I see a few hands out there. Next, how many of you buy supplies for one project at a time? I see a few more hands. Last, could those of you who raised your hands find something else to do while we distracted procrastinators have a chat?

If you’re anything like me, you have a lifetime of projects strung throughout the house. Tucked under the sewing table is a quilt that’s finished except for the binding. In a basket in the living room there are two sets of embroidery blocks meant for babies who are graduating from college. A closet holds stacks of never-been-used pizza boxes filled with blocks from past swaps. And the dresser? Top drawer my things, second drawer Grandma’s things, and bottom drawer is relegated to the Great-grandparents’ leavings.

Sound familiar? Pitiful, isn’t it? Every single one of these abandoned objects started out as a fabulous idea. Fabulous until one special ingredient disappeared. Motivation.

Long, long ago in a faraway land—well, actually 14 years ago when I thought I wanted to be a quilt instructor—I led a little class. One of my students loved the design so much she decided to supersize it from crib size to queen. Fast forward to Summer 2010 when I invited her unfinished project to my house. The stack of completed blocks brought back vague memories, but what had we planned to do with the rest of the cloth?

Procrastinator’s Tip #1:
Before you set a project aside, label each fabric with its intended use. Make notes detailing the finished size of your quilt, total number of blocks needed, setting style, and borders. Think of this as a time capsule—someone WILL find it someday. How can you help future archeologists finish what you’ve started?




After fussing, fuming, calculating, and worrying the mystery solved itself—with the help of a photo. I’d completed a similar quilt for a favorite aunt, so I dug out the picture and counted rows and blocks. A little math, a little measuring, and soon solution to the mystery became clear.


Procrastinator’s Tip #2:
Take pictures of your completed projects, but be sure to get a view of the entire quilt. This will help you (or future archeologists) reproduce the original size and layout.


Isn’t it surprising how we can do something for others that we can’t do for ourselves? Finishing my friend’s quilt top was just the kick in the seat that I needed. After I dropped off her project, I came home with renewed vigor and determination to finish my own.



The first artifact to emerge from the catacombs of my sewing room was a project intended to celebrate our son’s high school graduation eight years ago. Pieces had been cut, blocks had been finished, so why had this project been abandoned?

Procrastinator’s Tip #3:
Before spending time and money creating a gift, investigate the recipient’s style and taste.
The graduation quilt was well under way by the time our son got his first glimpse. I could tell by his expression that something was wrong and eventually he admitted he preferred scrappy quilts.
“No problem,” I said, and Plan A joined a crowd of others in the closet while I moved on to Plan B.

Whether you are driven to finish one project at a time or spontaneously leap from idea to idea with abandon, Homestead Hearth has something for you. Our kits and block-of-the-month programs come pre-labeled, so if your attention strays or your intentions falter you will always have a road map to guide you back to simpler times.

Sue & the gang at Homestead Hearth

1 comment:

Vivian said...

O.k., I'm a little late to this party.....so I'm receiving BOMs from you -- how did I NOT know that you have a blog?!?! Adding it to the Reader as we speak...thank goodness for the QM "100 Blocks Blog Tour" for revealing this to me.

Great post and I have one addition to Tip #1. The reason we don't document in the first place is that we never BELIEVE that we are actually going to put the project aside or that it will stay aside for as long as it does. We always say, "I'm going to work on that tomorrow" (on the weekend, next week, next month, at the retreat, ect.) and before you know it a year or more has passed! (If you don't believe me see Pat Sloan's UFO Busting Tips series http://patsloan.typepad.com/pat_sloans_corner/12-ufo-buster-tips/ as proof).

So I'd change to the tip to: document what you intend to do AS SOON AS YOU DECIDE TO DO THE PROJECT and at every point you make changes to your plans. This way, no matter at what point you get "distracted" (whether intentionally or not), the seeds of your genius will be there when you get back.

I've had many projects (including a recently unearthed one) saved by having done just that. Now whether those plans are still relevant when you come back is an issue for another day (actually Pat covered that one here: (http://patsloan.typepad.com/pat_sloans_corner/2010/11/pat-sloans-12-ufo-buster-tips-tip-9-disassemble.html)

P.S. Very much looking forward to start receiving Civil War Chronicles in January!