Monday, December 30, 2013

Small Accomplishments for 2014

I love making small quilts with an antique look and, if you follow my blog, you probably do too. Making small quilts can be so much fun. Why, I've even made a career out making small quilts and writing about them . . . .

For the past few years my Yahoo Small Quilt group has attempted to make one small quilt a month from patterns in my books. Some members make all of these challenges and some just make a few. And every year I give them my suggestions to help organize and plan in order to accomplish some of their goals. Worth repeating here.
(Small Quilt Talk members, I know you've already heard this a few times - bear with me as I repeat myself . . . again.)

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It's almost a new year and I know we all want to make a bunch of small quilts again. I suspect many of you get very busy with other things at times. So much can get in the way of our quilting. Sometimes it's overwhelming. But don't let that happen.

This year, 2014, we are going to continue to try to make one small quilt a month all year long. Many of you have bought my books because you like my small quilts and feel they are doable. Make time to make some of  them and, trust me, you will feel so good about actually finishing a few. It does not take as long as you think. Remember, at the end of the year, if you keep up, you will have 12 small quilts made. Or maybe 5 or 6, or even 2 or 3, which is better than none.

Every year I post my suggestions on how to get these quilts finished. If you are determined to make a quilt a month you have to disipline yourself and really really want to make them. If a quilt for a certain month is not to your liking, then choose another from another challenge.

Some of you can make one of these all in one sitting. But I know it's not easy or practical for some of you to do it this way. Don't beat yourself up. Break it up into regular chunks of time and don't pressure yourself to make each quilt all at once. I think you can easily finish one little quilt every month if you do that.

Get yourself a "Small Quilt" notebook (Goody - another reason to run to Target for cute notebooks!) and keep track of your progress. Keep yourself accountable by writing down your small quilt goals every month and do your best to accomplish some of them.

1. First Week - Spend an hour or two to choose your fabrics and cut the pieces. Don't pressure yourself to finish the whole quilt that day unless you want to and have the time. Put this somewhere in a zip lock bag where you can easily see it and return to it.

2. Second Week - Make your blocks. This also only takes a few hours (sometimes less, because remember, the quilts are small).

3. Third Week - Put the blocks together. Probably takes an hour or two. Maybe add the border if you have time or at least cut the fabric for it.

4. Fourth Week - Finish borders, layer your quilt with batting and backing and spend the rest of the time finishing/quilting. This often takes the most time, but if you like handwork it can go fast.

All it takes is a little discipline. I find I work best with a schedule and some of you may find that helpful too. You just have to keep at it.

When I have a few projects I need to finish I write them down on a list (or in a notebook, actually) in outline fashion. Then I make a point of breaking the quilt into parts and then checking off the parts as I finish them (cut pieces, make blocks, sew together, add borders, quilt, add binding). This gives me something concrete to look at and remind myself of what I have accomplished on that project. Even a little bit of progress makes me feel good.

Bottom line - You can do this!


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Join us this month as we make a little Bear's Paw quilt from my book Prairie Children & Their Quilts (and also in the recent book 101 Fabulous Small Quilts published by Martingale & Co. )

(In case you're thinking you cannot do this, no way, keep in mind that all of these quilters finished their small Bear's Paw quilt tops in a 3-hour workshop! Thank you, Cedar Falls, Iowa, quilters for your diligence!)


Heartsdesire said...

Thanks for all the advice, Kathy. I know these sweet little quilts are doable as I've made quite a few and loved every minute of it. The red and white pinwheel (free pattern) has been on my coffee table since Dec. 1. I love the Bear's Paw quilt and am going to start that one right away using a journal as you suggested. It seems like a great way to get things done.

Quilting Kim said...

Can't wait to get started. I am already auditioning fabrics.

Tammy said...

I love reading your blog and am interested in doing a small quilt each month. What book do you use? Or is it all of your books??

Litamora's Quilt & Design said...

You just make the most gorgeous quilts!

tante aimée said...

Thank you for your small projects and Happy New year !!!
2014 Kisses !!!

Louise said...

Your little quilt photos are gving me the noodge I need to get back on task. Thanks for sharing..Happy New Year!

Nita said...

I'll be making a small quilt for a soon-to-be 8-year old. :) do you use batting in a doll quilt? I am wondering if batting would make the little quilt too stiff for a child to actually play with...

Karen said...

I love your little quilts. It's fun to see the fabrics and prints you choose for each one. Your blog is so inspirational to get me sewing again, but I am having so much fun with my grandsons, it's hard to find the time.

Karen said...

I also wanted to wish you a Happy New Year and I look forward to seeing your new quilt projects in the coming year.

Pattyskypants said...

I need to jump start my quilting habit and this seems like a painless way. So, howdy and hope it works!

Jan said...

Hi there, first of all I love your blog. This may sound like a crazy question but why make small quilts? What do you do with them. I am a new quilter, and I always start off big. With everything I do, I do big. I am in the process now of making a queen size Hawaiian quilt for one of my daughters.
I also don't like square. I always do rectangle or some other design. Am I the only one that asks this question. They are all so pretty but what do you do with them?

Janis said...

I love making the little quilts. I think that one of the things I love about quilting is that it calms me down and gives me something to do with my hands when I'm stressed.

Unknown said...

I am new here but I really love the idea of a quilt a month. I have been working on one of yours quilts. The Orange Peel from Remembering Adelia.


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