Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Yes, You Can

Do you think you don't possibly have time to make a bunch of small quilts this year? In my Yahoo group SmallQuiltTalk we are working our way through 12 quilts this year -  a challege to make one a month - same as we did last year. Every month I assign a quilt to work on from one of my books and it's been fun to see how many of you are joining us.

If you are serious about making a lot of small quilts this year, and make it a goal (as some of you have), then it's fairly easy to accomplish, even if you have other projects you need to work on at the same time. If you can only get around to making a few quilts this year, that's better than none.

Quilts this size take hardly any time at all.

In order to finish one quilt every month, try breaking the sewing into small steps. If you divide your work into weekly sewing sessions that will make it easier for you rather than stressing about finding a big chunk of time to make the whole thing at the end of the month.
Here's my plan and how I've managed to make so many small quilts:

Week 1 - Choose your fabrics and cut the pieces, following the directions in the assigned book. (The quilts for each month are listed in the Files section of the group.) This shouldn't take too long. Just have fun with this part of the process and don't stress about finishing the whole quilt right now. Put it aside and then spend a few hours sewing the pieces together next week. Just don't forget about it. The borders can be sewn the following week in just a little bit of time and, before you know it, you have finished your quilt top. Spend a little time quilting it during the last week.

Week 2 - Sew the pieces together into blocks.

Week 3 - Add the borders.

Week 4 - Layer the quilt with batting and backing and either hand quilt it or quilt it by machine. Add the binding. Before you know it, you're done!

For me, it's key if I stay organized. If I have a messy sewing or cutting table I find I don't get as much done. If you can work in a mess and need that to be creative, then more power to you. I can't and so it's much easier for me if I know where everything is and I manage to keep it somewhat clean. More room for the project to take over and develop itself, I figure! It always seems to do that.

You may want to keep notes in a notebook to help organize your monthly projects and keep to a plan. I am always looking for any good excuse to run to Target and buy cute little notebooks and new pens. Write down your goals for that week and schedule small sewing sessions. Then stick to it. It works for me.

My ongoing 9-patch lap quilt project. The remaining pieces are cut - 10 blocks left to go! 

It really helps me to stay organized. If  I'm working on more than one project at the same time, I will sometimes store my blocks and pieces in one of these slim plastic storage cases (typically used for scrapbooking, I think) -

I can clear it off the sewing table and put it away without worrying about the pieces getting lost while I work on something else.

I bought mine at Michaels and need to run over there for a few more. They also come in different colors  - yippee, more organization! Yes, my family tells me I am a little bit of a control freak . . . but hey, if it works . . . .

And lest you think that I am some kind of crazy, organized perfectionist, preaching at you - don't worry. I am just like you, struggling to keep it all together most days. Do the best you can and go easy on yourself. Reward yourself with fun sewing time after a particularly bad day. Since I work at home I always find myself scrambling around trying to get everything done around the house first so I have time to sew (and write), attempting to find time to shop for and cook healthy meals and lately also trying to find time to run to the gym to exercise too. I'd probably go nuts if I weren't a little organized about some things. And one of these days I will organize my small quilts even more. I promise.

Acckkk! Not sure you even want to look in here!!

My cupboard overfloweth. Sometimes they all come tumbling out when I open the door. 

Remember, these are SMALL quilts we're making, people, so this is definitely something that can be worked into a busy schedule. And you all know that being creative and making something feels sooo good. It's good for your soul and clears your head, look at it that way.


Anonymous said...

I tend to make quilts in spurts. I get inspired by a picture of a quilt or by browsing through one of Kathy's books and pick out all of my fabrics first. I mull over the fabrics for a few days and then begin cutting them. I get the sewing area set up with all of the cut pieces for next time. When I have a nice block of uninterrupted time, I begin the piecing on my sewing machine. This can span a few days and last but not least I pick out borders (my favorite part). I love to make tops so much, that I end up making lots of quilt tops and just saving them up in a pile for the quilting process. I think the planning, fabric selection, and piecing are my absolute favorite part of quiltmaking. Any ideas about how to make the hand quilting part more enjoyable?

Sue said...

I think I got two of the small quilts done last year so this year I am going to try and make at least half of them. Surely I can do this.

I too, love those cute little notebooks Target has. I buy them just because! haha And love the plastic holders for projects. Though I must have missed the boat on one of the projects because I was just looking at some squares and triangles on my cutting table and wondering what those are for! haha

Happy stitching!

claggle said...

Small house = small walls =small quilts. Doll size is perfect. I joined your small.quilt.website. thingy. Very inspirational, I will have a go. Best Wishes fron Carolanne.
ps Little by little & Bit by bit!

Sandra Giraud said...

I'm so happy to join you my first quilt is on the way to be finished. I realise that because the group have support me to do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I'm very very happy.
Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

You were talking about being organized in sewing. I have been trying to find a better way to organize my fabric. How do you organize yours, or have some ideas to share.

Jenny from Bristol UK said...

I do know what you mean Kathy when I've visited Michaels (when on vacation in USA) I turn into a storage 'maniac' - then get comments from my husband like 'who is going to carry all 'that lot' home?!' the fabric I've already bought is VERY heavy LOL

Kathleen Tracy said...

I organize my fabrics by color and I do the same with my smaller scraps. Those go into smaller bins that have drawers.

Ulla's Quilt World said...

Your quilts are so lovely! It's so nice to find other quilters all around the world!
Hugs, Ulla


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