Wednesday, April 6, 2011

If you need to get something done, you ask a busy person to do it...hmmmm

Happy Spring everyone!

I sincerely hope each one of you has been healthy and happy during my blogging hiatus. It has been a trying winter but everything seems to be back on course and I am finally able to devote a little time to my blog.

So without further ado, let’s talk quilts!

They say that if you need to get something done, you ask a busy person to do it. Hmmm. I never really understood this quote until I found myself with a husband, a home, a demanding job, pets, parents, and a passion to quilt. Then I understood – the busy person knows how to organize and prioritize. And, let’s face it, that seems to be the only way things get done. Now, I am NOT the poster child for getting projects finished but I do manage to get a little quilting in almost every day and thought I would share some of my organizing tips.

Tip 1 – Maintain a Project To Do List. I know – very scary. The first time I did this several years ago, I had over 30 quilt projects listed. This included small items such as finishing a binding, or adding a label to a quilt back, and big items such as designing my own Baltimore Album Quilt. The latter is still on my list by the way. Today, my list is a little longer (hahah) but I don’t worry about that. I use the list as a tool to organize the projects by technique, by what stage each one is at, and by due date if any has a deadline. I then select the top project in each category/stage and setup a workstation for each one. This brings me to Tip 2.

Tip 2 – Setup Workstations. Currently, I am blessed with a large workspace that I can leave set up to sew at any time. Previously, my “workstations” were plastic project bins. The idea is to have everything to you need to work on a project all in one place so that if you only have a few minutes, you don’t spend them gathering your tools.

Current portable applique project - sometimes I only get half a grape sewn.
Tip 3 – No amount of time is too little to sew. Just a few minutes here and there all add up to progress.

Blue Moon in progress - Design and kit by Charlotte Angotti

What my sewing room looks like now….

Workstation One is setup for piecing. The project is a WONDERFUL laser cut kit by Charlotte Angotti called Blue Moon.

Charlotte Angotti's quilt, Blue Moon

I must digress here and put in a plug for precut kits – they are the cat’s meow. This is the first laser cut kit I have ever worked with and to quote Scarlett O’Hara “God as my witness, I will never cut fabric again!” Okay, maybe that isn’t the exact quote. But, it’s wonderful to stitch. John Flynn cuts the kits to Charlotte’s specification using fabric she provides. The laser burns the cut line into the fabric so the edges are seared – NO raveling – and accurate to within the width of a human hair. Even more wonderful, the Flynn’s provide this service for us regular folk too. You can pack up your fabric, mail it off to Kate Flynn, tell them what you want; they cut it, and mail it back. How wonderful is that? And what a great time saver!

Workstation Two is setup for machine appliqué. The project is The Planets. My college-age cousin came down during her spring break with a photo from the internet of a quilt she wanted to make. Of course, there was no pattern to be found so we made it up as we went along. After Meagan picked all her fabrics from my stash, I taught her how to prepare the planets and rings using the templar and Starch method. I appliquéd the unit using Sew Art invisible thread in both the bobbin and top. I set a very narrow and short blind hem stitch. I left everything set up for her to continue in May after the school term is over.
The Planet in progress - block 1 stitched, 19 more planets and rings waiting to be prepped
 Workstation Three is setup for cutting. Again, waiting for Meagan to return and cut the strips for The Planet quilt border.

Workstation Four is setup for handwork. This includes a great light, a comfortable chair, the best view of the TV, and all handwork supplies within easy reach. The individual projects are stored in plastic bins and Ziploc bags. This way I can pull out the project I would like to work on and have all my tools handy. While at the workstation, I usually work on prep tasks that I can’t do elsewhere easily. I save the things that I can do outside of the sewing room for when we watch TV in the family room or sit outside by the pool.


As soon as Meagan visits in May and finishes The Planet quilt, Workstation Two will be transformed into a piecing workstation and Workstation One will become a machine quilting workstation. I know exactly the machine-quilting project I will be working on because it’s at the top of my Project To Do List!

In early December, we lost the world’s best fabric guard dog, Thaddeus. Although he lived a short life (21 months), we loved and spoiled him beyond measure. 
Thaddeus Malloy Savage March 13, 2009 – December 9, 2010

Later in December, Santa Claus brought me two little girls. Lucy and Ethel are sisters from the same litter born October 14, 2010. Here they are shortly after they arrived.

Lucy and Ethel at 10 weeks
They are now at 6 months old. They love keeping me company in the sewing room. I believe Ethel has an affinity for quilting because every time I turn around she is chewing on a fat quarter she swiped from my stash. Batiks are her favorite.
Lucy and Ethel at 5 months
Until next time...
Best stitches,
Mercy in Miami

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