Friday, December 30, 2011

A(nother) New Year

As we start a fresh new year I am determined, as usual, to make it the most productive quilting year ever! I know that some of what I'd like to have happen won't...but I also know that some unexpected and exciting projects will fill in for those that are missing. That's the fun of it!

It all started over ten years ago with a simple list of UFO's pinned to the bulletin board over my sewing machine. This became necessary when I realized I didn't even remember some of the things I'd started with enthusiasm and abandoned before completion.

Today it has evolved into a 3-ring binder. Started in 2002 I had to move it all to a bigger one this year. It doesn't need to be fancy!

It still contains my UFO's (maybe even some of the same ones!) but I've added things like techniques I want to try, gifts to be made and ongoing projects divided into categories such as Tops Ready to Quilt, Sets of Blocks and Repair Projects. Throughout the year I cross thing off and add new ideas. It usually gets pretty messy. It's a work tool.

I'm ready for 2012!
I include pages to record monthly progress and at the end of the year I review it all and write up a summary as I get ready to start all over again with a new year.

In addition to choosing several things to prioritize, I focus on these three things each month:
  1. Doing some handwork - embroidery, quilting, hand-piecing, applique, knitting
  2. Doing something creative - no pattern, play with fabric, use scraps, try new techinques.
  3. Keeping my quilt collection updated - taking photos, measurements and other data about acquired vintage quilts and keeping notes on quilts I am making. This can really get away from me if I don't make a point of it.

Perhaps only a person trying to keep too many plates spinning in the air would need such a system but I don't think I'm alone. I showed my friend Gail my system a few years ago and she wanted to try it, too. She set up a system that works for her and we get together at the end of each month for a review. Neither of us is by any means a slave to the original plan. Sometimes it feels like we tell each other mostly what we didn't accomplish!

I can't say for sure, but I do think that setting goals and reminding myself of them on a regular basis helps me get things done. I think I am more conscious of how I choose to spend my time and what to prioritize... but if not, that's okay because I just really enjoy the process.

How do you manage your quilting life? 
Do you like to set specific goals for your quilting?
 If so, what is your system? 


  1. That is quite a system you have going. I am impressed. I have none. : )

  2. This must produce a good feeling of satisfaction as you tick off various completed projects. My "system" is random I'm afraid- I use skirt hangers to clip tops that are ready to layer and quilt, and hang them together in the closet. The other works-in-progress are "filed" in tote bags. But there are others that languish is a drawer or somewhere where they are not seen often. I like your system, and may do a written inventory for mine.

  3. I am way too afraid to write down or even count my UFO or what I like to call WIP. But since 1999 I have a journal I keep of the projects I finished during each year. Of course a couple of years are blank, that's when we moved to Phoenix and built our house. 2010 was pretty productive and 2011 looks pretty good also. Looking forward to 2012.

  4. Nancy - I use skirt hangers, too. Even for storing completed small things like wall quilts or table runners. It IS a daunting task to go through all the hidden places but it feels good and you may find something exciting and renew your interest in finishing it. Of course, ideally one could get rid of the things they KNOW they are no longer interested in...but I mostly find that hard to do!

  5. Lynn - Fight the Fear! I'll help you when I come to visit! Maybe we can trade and find excitement in each others rejects! I happen to know you get a lot done!

  6. I used to have an active quilt journal but have not used it for a couple years. I have thought about going back to it. I did get more done, but I was gifting a lot of quilts and had specific dates to complete them by.
    Something to consider again!
    Happy New Year

  7. Hi Jean - I came over from Small Quilt Talk to see your blog... but had to comment when I read this post. I keep my quilt list on the computer. I don't get as detailed as you but generally keep a list of ufos with start date, what's been done, colors. I've just recently (like a few minutes ago) started a finished list. Want to be able to record finished quilts and where they have gone. I also keep a printed list in the studio of 10 or so UFO's I'd like to finish during the year. 5 or so new quilts I'd like to make based on patterns I have either seen or I own. It reminds me to pay attention to things I've always wanted to make. I actually started a few from my I want to do list last year. Can't say I finished them though!


Thanks for adding your comments!