Step by step, inch by inch

Making a quilt is a process. It doesn’t happen with the snap of your fingers or take place overnight while you are sleeping. It starts much like how a new house is built; it takes a vision, a dream, a sketch, lots of thinking and planning and rearranging of thoughts. Often, designing a new house involves including other people besides yourself into the process: family, friends, designers, craftsmen, people whose opinions you value and respect . Making a quilt involves a lot of “what if’s.” What if we did this over here, and what if we moved that part over there? It is a process that is carefully thought out… slowly.

As quilters, all too often we rush into a project because we are excited, only to find out later that we didn’t take the time to plan as we should, and then we regret decisions that were made in haste. Imagine doing that with a new house! It would be a lot more expensive than a full-size quilt!

Once our plans are in place and everything has been measured once, twice, even three times, our task is to begin the construction process. If you’re like me, you start out with lots of gusto; you sew and sew and sew so that you can see some good progress and get a real feel for what the quilt will look like when it is completed.

After you have a good clue as to what the outcome will be, it is all too easy to set aside what you have accomplished and start thinking about other things. Perhaps it’s the next project you’re considering. Or maybe it’s a trip you want to take, or a shopping excursion to find that perfect whatever. Days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months, and before long you wonder why nothing is getting done. Hmmm. I wonder why?

There are steps you can take to make continuous progress; you just have to put the plan into action. If you have a smart phone or a tablet, it can be fairly easy to stay on track. I use an app called Wunderlist. I have the app on both my iPhone and my laptop, and they work together. On Wunderlist, you create a list of things you want to accomplish. Then, as you complete each task, you click it and it disappears from your list. I make a point of checking it daily, and it helps keep me focused. Seeing tasks disappear from the listgives me satisfaction that progress is being made.

Another way to continue to make progress is to set a daily goal for yourself. You make time to take a shower, right? Or to stop and brush your teeth? What about setting aside a few minutes to take a few stitches? I’m working on the 9 Patch Hand Piecing Adventure, and to continue my progress, I make a point of sewing at least one nine patch block every day. That’s nine little two-inch squares sewn together into one block. It’s not a large amount of stitching, and it doesn’t take very long, but every little bit adds up. Step by step, inch by inch.

With the 9 Patch Hand Piecing Adventure, I use up a lot of little 2.5 inch scrappy squares. I can cut quite a few in a half hour, and I toss them randomly into a plastic tub for later use. While I watch television in the evening, or while I sit on the deck on a beautiful summer day, I can trace my stitching lines for later. Again, it’s step by step, inch by inch.

How do YOU make continuous progress?

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