I have been working on a project for some months now and have come up with most of the excuses in the book for avoiding it. You’ve heard them all (and probably used some of them yourself):
- “I am so busy right now.”
- “I have no room to leave my sewing set up. It’s disruptive to have to keep putting it away and getting it out when I want to sew. I have to figure out where I left off and have to start again.”
- “There are so many pieces! What was I thinking?”
- “This is boring! It is just the same thing over and over and over and . . .”
- “I hate this type of piecing!”
- “My blocks aren’t square. What is the point of continuing? This quilt will just be a mess!”
- “Maybe if I start a new project I’ll feel better about sewing.”
Believe it or not, a lot of this just boils down to attitude. Sewing (and I am using that term to include the many different types of sewing, be it piecing, applique, quilting, or garments) is a matter of efficiency and priority. Make an active choice, not excuses. If sewing is not a priority, if you truly can’t find even 30 minutes a day, then own the choice. Is there a way of streamlining your project and breaking it down into manageable segments? Have you organized your project and workspace for maximum efficiency? Do you use methods that may speed up the process, or do you prefer to focus on precision? Avoiding the situation won’t make it better, but a positive attitude and some perspective will.
Let’s tackle these head-on and start at the beginning. Yes, I am busy, and so are you. That doesn’t mean I can’t find the time if it is truly important to me. It may mean getting up a little earlier, or less time just browsing or playing games on the computer, or even saying “no” to some other activity that you feel obligated to do but are not looking forward to (like cleaning!). If I’m honest with myself, I have to admit that I am able to do a better job of using my time wisely. Scratch that excuse.
As to room, well, that may be the toughest situation. Having had my sewing area disrupted a number of times to accommodate family living needs, I am very familiar with having to pack up my work area and struggling to find my supplies. But, I can focus on smaller projects, do more handwork, or plan and cut pieces for my next project. These activities don’t require as much space and may aid in efficiency when my machine is finally out and I’m ready to sew.
Now, down to the heart of the situation and my current project, Criss Cross Applesauce by V and Co. The first time I saw this quilt, I thought it was fantastic. It reminded me of an updated scrap quilt that my grandmother might have made and I was excited at the prospect of having a good use for ombre fabrics. I have found ombres to be a challenge for me to visualize what the finished product will look like, so a good pattern that shows off the fabric effectively was intriguing to me.
Clearly there were many parts to this project that I didn’t properly pay attention to, like hundreds of blocks to sew and trim and sew again into bigger blocks. For someone who likes novelty, that can be a challenge. This brings me back to “There are so many pieces! What was I thinking?” Yep, there are lots of pieces, lots of colors, and lots of block sets. I am finding that instead of doing the math and thinking about the total, it is much easier and more encouraging to break the process down into groups. Bite-size pieces go down more easily.
As I mentioned earlier, I have been working on (or ignoring) this project for months now. But I need to be disciplined and get some things finished. This project has been completely cut and organized, and a number of blocks have been made. I really want to find a way to complete it without going crazy, so I have looked at attitude adjustments as a means of breaking the inertia and getting back to work on it. For example, this morning I got up early and spent one hour sewing. During that time, I focused on sewing two sets of half square triangles to blocks from two color sets. I could do that and it wasn’t very difficult. Instead of thinking about hundreds of seams, I committed to a smaller amount. Yes, there is still pressing and trimming to do, but that is a different small step that can be done during my next free hour.
Step 1 of the plan is underway. Check back as I continue to describe how I have managed to divide and conquer this challenge. The next step is to tackle the boredom of very repetitive piecing.