Monday, October 19, 2015

Getting There

Thanks for all of your kind words about my "boring" blog. You all have put me in a sentimental mood with your nice comments. I have no intention of stopping the blog just yet. It's nice to have feedback and know some are actually reading it. Otherwise, it's a whole lot of wasted time. I do hesitate to share much because I often feel I am not doing anything of much interest to anyone else. Just living my life, you know?  In addition to working and teaching and taking care of the family here's something else I've been busy with for five years - 


There's almost no room in my tiny house to lay out all of my Dear Jane blocks but last weekend I put up a makeshift design wall of batting so I could finally see all of them together. It's amazing to see how much work has really gone into this quilt. Most of the rows have only a few blocks left to go. Yay! It's fun to see my progress. Almost looks like a quilt.


I know that there are some of you want to begin this quilt or get back to it if it's been put away for awhile. I so encourage you to do this. At the very least, if you began one and know for sure you will never finish - take the blocks you have completed and make them into a smaller quilt or table runner. Be proud of what you have accomplished. There is no shame in not finishing. It's not for everyone. 


Once you commit to making this quilt then you have to accept the fact that it will take you awhile; try not to become discouraged. Very few of us have the luxury of only working on this one quilt all day long, every day, until we finish. We also have work and lives and families and other projects we want to make. That doesn't mean you have to stop completely if you can't finish it immediately. I don't mind the long time frame as long as I can keep going, slow as it may go, one block at a time. I keep my book out near my sewing table where I can see it to have the constant reminder in case I become inspired. You just can't lose momentum or you will get stalled. Ask me how I know.


I let mine sit way too long too many times. But then two years ago in my Small Quilt Talk group (SQT for those not in the loop) we had a month where our small quilt challenge was to finish a UFO, any UFO. I decided to revive my DJ blocks that month and some people there joined me. That's why I started an online DJ support group - so we could keep ourselves accountable, move forward and get support and encouragement to finish by talking about our progress. Some have made fantastic progress. 

Three things have helped me progress - The DJ Electric Quilt software, my Yahoo DJ group (see blog sidebar for info if you're interested in joining us) and finally making the decision to tackle paper piecing, which I have always hated and put off learning.  See my post on this.  You can certainly make the quilt without paper piecing and I sure tried to avoid it for as long as I could but it's much easier using this technique to make some of the blocks. And when you've made a few difficult blocks that don't look half bad, well, then you become motivated to go on and make more.


To those of you who started but struggle with this quilt, all I can say is - Keep going! You have to find what works for you. Some do it methodically row by row but I chose to skip around so I could do more of the easier blocks first and not get stuck. By the time I made enough blocks I knew I could tackle some of the more difficult ones without quitting. Then I figured out that committing to making at least one block a month gets me motivated enough that I want to go on to make a few more. If it's been awhile since I worked on my blocks, then I choose an easy one to ease myself back into it. I am not an expert quilter when it comes to these small blocks. Many are difficult, but I seem to be able to focus better on the difficult ones when I am motivated. What works/worked for you? 


It seems longer but it's only been five years since I started my Dear Jane journey and I had to take some time off in between then and now. In the back of my mind I never really knew if I would finish. But, several years ago, during a long illness, I made a decision that if I do nothing else, then I will try to finish this quilt. So it got bumped up on the list of Important Things I Needed to Do. Working on this Jane quilt takes you into a place that calms you and if there ever was a time I needed calming that was it. Jane Stickle was supposedly an invalid and bedridden while she was stitching her quilt, did you know that? 


Kudos to all of you who have finished the quilt. You should be proud. It's an awesome accomplishment. I like to think I'm right behind ya!


Jane's quilt on display in Bennington, Vermont. I was thrilled to make the pilgrimage last year. 





24 comments:

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Such lovely blocks!

ES said...

sometimes its nice to have a long term project to work on, its always there when you feel like working on it, but then sometimes it just feels like you want to get it moving forward so you feel like you can finish it! You know what will happen after you finish it all off? You'll want to start another long term project!!

Anonymous said...

Your Dear Jane blocks are beautiful!! Love all the variety of color....some of the blocks really sparkle! You are going to have one amazing quilt when it is all done!
Sandra B.
scb304@juno.com

Mary @ Neat and Tidy said...

I feel the same way about my Farmer's Wife quilt (first book). It's on my design wall (the floor), and I just need to finish sewing the rows together. I will love it when it's done, but it's taking me forever. Don't we all wish we could have the luxury of quilting or stitching all day!!

I absolutely love your blog and follow your Facebook page. You have inspired me with your little quilts, and I will continue to read this blog forever. Please don't give it up.

quiltgrannie said...

Kathy, your blocks are beautiful. And I bet is is such a great feeling to see all of them up on your design wall. I have comfort in just knowing that my DJ is waiting for me to have the time to work on. I'm, looking forward to that time.....

Anonymous said...

Don't stop now! I just found your blog and am really enjoying it.

Jennifer M said...

Another lovely, inspiring blog post. Every time you post Kathy, you give my heart a sense of warmth and comfort and always wanting more. I think the design wall is a perfect idea at your point of your journey. I also love the Dear Jane group as well as SQT because what better way to accomplish our dreams, than with others that share our same dreams<3 I finished the last block for row A on my Dear Jane last evening. So I am pretty pumped about 1 row completely done!

Kathleen Tracy said...

Jennifer- that's fantastic! I am so proud of you.

Susie Q said...

Can't wait to see the quilt when it is finished. I love reading your blog and you have inspired me to make a small quilt for my husband's granddaughter for a doll bed we have gotten her for Christmas, so please keep blogging. Hugs, Susie x

Susan M said...

Great post on the Dear Jane quilt! I may just have to join your Dear Jane quilt group to get me started. I do love handwork and will hand piece mine I think. So wonderful that you got to see the originals!

Martine said...

It's such a pleasure to make the Dear Jean quilt. I like the colors of your blocks.

Anonymous said...

Kathy, your DJ blocks are all too inspiring. I keep fighting the urge to start one but I can feel myself caving! I know about the design wall issue, we live in an 800 sq ft cabin, sometimes there's just no place to hang those blocks. Hoping your blog continues to greet me in the morning, nothing you post is boring and I don't just look at the photos. It's like having a good friend out there telling me about her day, quilting or no quilting.

Julierose said...

What a wonderful post you have shared with us all. I have never made a DJ style quilt as it just looks to be overwhelming! How to choose all the needed fabrics, where to start--and, as you say, some of those difficult blocks! I applaud your perseverence in the face of all these things and your ability to see that you really don't have to make them all!! Hugs and kudos Julierose

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your encouraging blog! Although I love Dear Jane I have not even attempted it! However, I have many UFOs that keep challenging me to keep going! Your blog has convinced me to just "Get 'er done!"

Anonymous said...

Thank you for inspiring me once again to commit to getting these blocks started..Love your blocks..
Jane in Oregon

jane nj/wi said...

Congratulations on your DJ progress. Us Jane's are worth the effort. IMHO ;0)

Karen said...

Kathleen, you have accomplished so much with your DJ Quilt. I have enjoyed watching your progress and seeing the beautiful blocks you have made. I know what you mean about putting the time in, but you will love it when it's done and your family will be so proud of you too. You are indeed, an inspiration to me as well as to many others. We love your blog, whether your talking about your walks with your dog, your garden, or quilting...it's all fun to read.

OffOnAWhim said...

Beautiful job on that quilt! I follow very few blogs, but yours is on that short list, I always look forward to getting the email!

Patti said...

I have the DJ book, I love this quilt and want to start it. The problem is starting another long term quilt. I have a couple that I still need to quilt. Maybe once those are completely finished.... I love love to paper piece, maybe this will be easier than I thought. Where are the patterns for paper piecing? Or do you draw them from the book?

Louise said...

I really enjoy your blog! Want to thank you for giving me a little wake up regarding my Dear Jane.
Love seeing all of the Jane blocks you post.

Janie S said...

Beautiful blocks and fabrics. My Dear Jane Quilt has been in the making for almost 6 years with several stops and starts but I am now attaching the last row of triangles so I can share your feelings and satisfaction as you see the completion in sight. Next the hand quilting.
I look forward to reading your blogs and thank you.

kiquilter said...

I so enjoy reading your blog. I especially enjjoy the quilty things, but I also enjoy the nature walks you share. Any canine cuteness appeals to me too. Book recommendations are also appreciated. Your blog is a relaxed blog, almost like having a conversation with a friend over a up of tea. The thing about your blog is that it's an eclectic gathering of topics beautifully photographed that inspires, gently encourages and also gives me a quiet moment of reflection in recognizing a kindred soul. Please continue writing and sharing because I look forward to each posting.

Thanks so much.
Arti Mader

P.S. Your DJ blocks are awesome!

Anonymous said...

I hope you are not thinking about this blog being boring because this is my favorite place to read and look to keep myself motivated to finish all of my favorite hobbies and just be happy about life in general.
So you just get that silly notion out of your head and keep doing what you're doing.

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

I will never make a Dear Jane but I sure do appreciate and enjoy seeing them, finished and in progress !: )

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