Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Staying Motivated

I'm a wonderful goal setter. Always looking to improve something, somewhere. Goal finisher? Ehhh. Making a Dear Jane® quilt is one of my bigger goals but it's been awhile since I made any blocks. Finding motivation to continue working on a big project can be a huge issue for me. 

I finished 6 blocks in April, 2 in May, 0 in June and only 1 in July. You can see the trend . . . . I became worried it would continue spiraling downward. Like many of you, I plod along making this quilt. Some years I'm good and some not so good. 2013 was not a great year for working on them until I decided I needed a little push to keep going and formed a Yahoo  Dear Jane®  Support  group for some of us working on the blocks (see sidebar for info).  So I challenged myself and some in the group by putting my name on a list for all to see and committed to making at least one block per month. Nothing like accountability. The idea was that one block would get the ball rolling for me and then perhaps I'd become motivated to make more. One block a month may not sound like much, but, you have to admit, it's still a lot better than NONE per month, which is where I was heading. 

Baby Janes??

I find I spend the longest time just going through and picking out the fabric I want to use for a block. Do you do this too?  A long time ago I pulled some of my favorite fabrics (some new, some very old) that I thought I'd like to use in the quilt. I set it all aside and now keep it in a separate DJ basket. If I buy a new print and want to use it, then I cut some off and place it in the basket. So at least that's somewhat organized and I don't have to go through all of it every time I begin a block.

Well, so far  my plan has worked pretty well. I finished the block for August in no time at all. Sure, it was an easy block, but sometimes that's just what I need to get back into it, you know? Once I decided to do this I didn't want to let myself down (or anyone else on the list. This was my idea so I'm supposed to be inspiring everyone else too, right?) 

I found I was able to become motivated to finish another block -

This one was a more difficult block for me -  I could not get those teensy pieces to line up right. Even after ripping it apart and trying again. Enough I said and decided to go with The Galloping Horse Theory on this one - If you can't see a mistake while riding past it on a galloping horse, then it doesn't matter. Looks okay to me from a distance. Up close? Don't go there.
So now I've finished two for August and the month isn't even over yet.  (Yes, patting myself on the back here. Completing even a small goal makes me feel good.) 

Here are some ways I try to stay motivated: I bring out the DJ chart I made from poster board with pictures of the blocks I've completed so I can see my progress. It's fun to fill in the spaces.

Here's how I made my chart - I drew a grid of squares to represent the blocks in the quilt on poster board, numbered the rows, then printed out pictures of my blocks in a small size and cut and pasted them onto the poster board.  Primitive, yes, but it really works for me and allows me to see how far I've come. (I cannot get the digital one that comes with the DJ software to work with my computer.)

Then I attempt to fill in some of the rows or work on the trip around the world motif in my quilt. I keep a list of the blocks I've finished by date and then also check them off on another list according to difficulty. I've finished quite a few of the easy blocks and need to work on some difficult ones now. Yes, applique and paper piecing. Easy for some of you, not so easy for me. 
Here's my main problem, though: I've been so  lazy  busy this summer that my sewing space is quite a mess. I drop things on the table and don't clean it up. Can you imagine? : )  The weather's been so nice and it's so much fun to do other things instead. I'm going to miss going to the beach when it gets colder but I'll be more productive, that's for sure.

I tend to not want to create in a messy space, however, so that's the real hurdle I have to face pretty soon or I won't get anything done. On the list for next month - CLEAN up the mess! 


Rebecca in AK said...

Well, at least you have started your DJ quilt!! I have the book and plan to make it, I just can't decide on a color way. I have seen ones in CW fabrics, just two colors or limited palette, scrappy, and bright more modern colors. It is such an undertaking I want to be sure. I think your idea of the poster board and the photos is excellent. I also think your blocks look great and I am not riding a galloping horse at the moment!

Kathleen Tracy said...

Take the time to decide and then just jump in. You can always make 2 LOL.

Rosa said...


No sé cuántos años llevo con el Dear Jane.Lo estoy haciendo en tonos azules y lo que hice para no estar pensando qué tela escoger,fui recortando las telas y poniendo sobre el esquema, algo así:


Espero que te ayude.Mi reto lo puse en hacer uno por semana y de momento me va bien porque estoy haciendo los paper piecing ya cuando lleque el aplicado será otro cantar porque me cuesta mucho.

Abrazos y feliz semana.

Rosa said...

Hi this is the link if you want to have a look to see how I put my fabrics and dont´t have to think which one to choose to sewing.Hope is work

Ann in PA said...

What a great blog post! I love all those luscious purple fabrics. Your blocks are beautiful and your progress is just does get in the way of quilting, but time spent on the beach with your darling puppy is not time wasted.

Plum Cox said...

You sound a bit like me with my Dear Jane! I'm hoping to manage a few blocks next week, picking up from where I left off some time ago.

I love your poster board layout. I wanted to make a colourful scrappy top, so set up a 'random' colour grid to use to guide me on my colour choices for each block. So far it seems to be working....!

lalaluu said...

Kudos to you for attempting the Dear Jane quilt! Definitely too busy (read: too much!) for me...
I find that in summertime, little quilting gets done because there is so much to do outside or around the house,. Even in hot & humid Houston, I am spending time outdoors, so I can just imagine (very wistfully) that the beach is calling your name all the time! Enjoy while the weather lasts, I say!

Shasta Matova said...

Congratulations on getting two blocks done this month - I haven't made one in a loong time. I really like the idea of the board - you can see at a glance your progress, which should help motivate you to keep going, and you can see how the blocks look together.

Jennifer M said...

Beautiful fabric, beautiful blocks! This has been a wonderful summer with the cooler weather, makes you want to get out more. Every time I see some Dear Jane blocks, it makes me want one. If it wasn't for so many other UFO's. I will keep admiring others and think on it more. Great post Kathy

cityquilter grace said...

i'm doing the civil war diary quilt and in the same boat....

Unknown said...

Kathleen, you brightened my day ... I love your "Galloping Horse Theory" ... You have a lovely heart and very talented hands. I really enjoy your posts. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Oh Kathy! I tried the "each project gets a basket" method to get myself organized and have everything together, too! Now my sewing room/guest room has lots and lots of baskets :-)
I guess as long as we enjoy our baskets and keep working along and enjoying it, we're fine, and in fine company.
All the best,
Cathryn in Corvallis


Related Posts with Thumbnails