Wednesday, 1 July 2015

2015 Finish Along - Q2 Tutorial - Building Momentum by Mary Huey

Hi everyone - I'm delighted to share the first 2015 Finish Along Q2 tutorial with you today.  Mary Huey blogs at Quilting through Rose-colored Trifocals and today she is sharing her thoughts on a topic dear to my heart - how to tackle your UFOs and make it through projects.  As part of my year 30 quilt project, I've been stitching every single day and it's amazing how taking 10 or 15 minutes at the end of each day to do a little something keeps me going.  Without further ado, here is Mary.  

My name is Mary Huey.  I’ve quilted for over 40 years during which time I've taught for 35 years and owned a quilt shop for 26 years.  In other words, I’m an expert UFO enabler!!  For years, I’ve been helping quilters start projects but since I closed my shop in 2005, I’ve been trying to help quilters finish projects.

I love the “cartoon” that circulates around Facebook every so often with two women chatting and one says to the other, “I hear it takes a long time to finish a quilt you’re not working on . . . . “  It’s funny, but it’s sad at the same time.  We love to start, but many of us forget that we also need to love to finish! 

Over the years, I’ve observed that an overload of UFO’s will kill creative energy faster than a cranky husband – the guilt that travels with UFO’s extinguishes enthusiasm relentlessly!

So how do you deal with UFO’s?  Certainly participating in the 2015 Finish-a-long is a good step in the right direction.  That end of the quarter deadline that is fast approaching can stimulate lots of positive activity!   I have always been a deadline finisher myself!

Several years ago I created a course for quilters to use to tackle their UFO’s more successfully and one of the topics I cover is "building momentum".  At the end of each lesson, I assigned participants several tasks.  The most important task and the one that was at the end of every lesson was “to work at your craft/art every day!”

I'm lucky to be able to commandere the couch every evening so I just leave my current projects out and ready!
It’s one of the most effective strategies I use personally to get UFO’s finished.  Sometimes it’s only 20 minutes, but it’s easier for me to find 20 minutes every day than it is to find big blocks of stitching time.  And if that’s all I can get during a busy week, those 20 minutes daily sessions equals over 2 hours a week?! 

I’m going to make a big assumption here – you quilt because you enjoy it?  So keeping at it on a daily basis is good for you.  Seriously, science has shown that it relieves stress and calms us down.  Using our hands bolsters self-esteem and confidence in all areas of our life.  So why aren’t you stitching every day.  You can’t wait until you have the time and the energy.  You have to figure out how to make it a regular part of your day.

I started an accountability journal almost 10 years ago to document my daily progress.  When I first started mine, there were days when I didn’t have anything to “tell” my journal so I would dash back up to the studio and sew madly for 15 minutes so I could make an entry before I went to bed.  Now it’s a routine part of every day.  One of the surprises you may encounter if you’ve never journaled your stitching is how much you really get done.  After 10 years, I still love to write “FINISHED” in that journal and add to my annual tally in the margin of the pages.  I now know that I average 45 finishes a year – feels good.

“Yes, but I work” you are saying.  The most important strategy I use to keep me stitching every day is to leave my work areas set up so I can plop down at the end of the day and just start stitching without thinking about what to do.  I find if I don’t have to think about the “what”, it’s easier to pick up my work and continue.  So I leave the next step set out when I leave my studio at the end of the afternoon.  I hand stitch or knit every evening – so before I head to bed, I thread the needle and organize the next step.  It’s waiting for me to return the next evening when I’m too tired to think.  It isn’t that we are too tired to stitch, we are too tired to think – our decision maker is just closed for the day!!

Ready and waiting for me to return -- no thinking required, just plop down and turn on the machine!!
I’ve also observed that stitching every day leads to increased skill without much effort – practicing every day really does work!  Your piecing will get better, your cutting will become more consistent, the more you do, the better you get!!  I’ve also noticed the creative solutions to challenges and problems has become almost effortless.  I think it’s because our subconscious keeps working on a project when we keep coming back to it each day rather than waiting until we have a couple free hours to stitch.  It watches quietly for ideas and searches that memory bank of experience we own without being asked.  Next thing I know, there is an "idea"!  Where did that come from?
My current travel stitching being restocked for the next outing -- the tools never leave the pouch!!

Quick personal story – my mother unfortunately suffered a horrible descent into dementia during the last year of her life.  I live the closest and tried to be with her every day.  Her anger and frustration was heaped on me and as time went on, it became harder and harder to endure.  Because I was already in the habit of stitching EVERY DAY, it became my respite.  It was an escape from my reality and soothed me every day to sit down and stitch.  Interestingly, although it was the most difficult experience of my life it was an incredibly creative and productive year for me as a quilt maker.   Had I not already figured out the importance of daily stitching to me as a creative person, I don’t believe I would  have sought that avenue to manage the stress.  I would have been too tired.  Everything in my life came down around my head, but my stitching soared and kept me afloat. 

If you don't stitch everyday, I encourage you to start today.  The benefits are astonishing and you won't be sorry.  You'll finish more, you'll be calmer, you'll be more creative and all that leads to more happiness!!

Mary Huey

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

2015 Finish Along - Q2 Finishes

Woohoo - it's the end of Q2 and time to link up your finishes!  I hope you've had a productive quarter and I can't wait to check out what you've been making.

Here is a quick reminder of the rules:

The Rules:

- At the start of each quarter there will be a linky party for you to link up your proposed list of finishes. You must link up in order to be able to be eligible for those prizes at the end.  Please only enter ONE blog post or flickr photo or instagram photo at this starting link-up.

- In order for your projects to be eligible, they must at least be a tangible project at the start of the quarter.  That means, at the very least, a pile of fabric pulled along with a pattern, or a quilt top needing to be quilted, or a half knit jumper. I love seeing your bee blocks, but they won't count unless you happen to be turning them all into a fully completed quilt!

- As you complete each of your projects on your list, write a post all about it, or a description of a Flickr pic.

- At the end of the quarter, link up each individual post/Flickr pic (please link back to your original list in some way). For each finish/link you complete, you get an entry into the draw, and therefore it's in your best interest to write up a separate post for each!

- A finish is defined as a completely finished project, eg a quilt, quilted and bound, a bag that's fully lined and functional, or a jumper that one could wear out in public. I'm happy for you if you get a quilt top completed in one quarter, but hold onto it for the next quarter and see if you can get it quilted and bound before entering please.

- You won't be punished if you don't finish your entire list, so feel free to make a big list and roll projects over from one quarter to the next if you need to.

- All qualifying finishes will be put into a prize draw, and the names drawn at random for each of the prizes donated by our sponsors for that quarter.

- The finish link party will be open for a week, and then the next quarter will open on the following day.

- During the week that the finish link party is open, there will be a series of tutorials appearing here on the blog. If you'd like to contribute a tutorial, please drop me an e-mail at adrianneonthewindyside at gmail dot com.

- The FAL is open to anyone, anywhere in the world.

I'd love if you'd spread the word about the FAL by popping my button in your post or on your blog.  You can grab the code for a large button or a small button below:

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

The awesome prizes for Q2 of the 2015 Finish-Along, provided by our wonderful sponsors:

Rachael from imagine gnats is providing a $30 gift voucher.

Sara from Sew Sweetness is providing 3 patterns of the winner's choice.

Melissa from Sew Bittersweet Designs is providing 3 patterns of the winner's choice.

Becca from sew me a song is providing a $25 gift voucher.

Green Fairy Quilts is providing a $25 gift voucher.

Mad About Patchwork is providing a $30 gift voucher.

Juliet from Tartankiwi is providing 3 patterns of the winner's choice.

Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts is providing a copy of one of her gorgeous patterns.

The team at Make Modern are providing a copy of the current issue of their magazine for two winners.

On the Windy Side

And finally, I will be providing a copy of each of my self-published patterns to a winner (full disclosure - at the moment there is only the one!).

So, start linking up.  The linky party closes on 6 July at 11:00 p.m. PST - if you're in a different time zone, please check and make sure you know what time that is in your part of the world so you don't miss the close.  World Time Buddy is my favourite time converter.  I'll remind you closer to the closing time.

Please make sure you link up a separate post for each finish.  If you need a refresher on how to link up, Katy from The Littlest Thistle did a post which explains how to use the link-up tool really well - you can find it here.

If you're planning to use instagram to link up, Katy from The Littlest Thistle has done another tutorial on how to link from instagram using your computer (here).  If you are working on your phone or your tablet, Rhonda's tutorial on how to link from instagram (here) is for you.

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Sunday, 28 June 2015

2015 Finish Along - Q2 reminder

Hi lovely people.  This is just a quick reminder to let you know that the linky for Q2 finishes will be opening soon (on Tuesday 30 June, in fact).  You'll then have a week to get your very last minute finishes done and linked up before the linky closes on 6 July at 11 p.m. PST.

If you need the code for the button you can find it right here:

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Get stitching and I look forward to seeing your finishes!

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Saturday, 27 June 2015

Caturday Wisdom #126

Always present your good side. Mila
Mila doesn't have a bad one, obviously, but for us mere mortals it's solid advice.
We have misplaced the SD card for our camera (sidenote: if anyone in Wellington has found an SD card filled exclusively with pictures of cats and quilts, get hold of Adrianne) and it's winter and dark by the time we get home so Ralph and Ivy photos have been a bit thin on the ground lately. Luckily Mojo and his sister-cat Mila have been very obliging.
We have a new SD card now so the cats can get back into model-mode this weekend, they will be pleased.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Caturday Wisdom #125

Keep your focus on the important things in life. Ivy
I loved reading about all of your 'freshwater cats' last week, clearly Ralph and Ivy need to put more work into their tap-drinking.
Today's picture is an oldie, I took it when this quilt was still in progress which couldn't be 'published' before being shown at Symposium, even in the background of a cat photo!
Adrianne was away for work one night this week which caused Ralph to meow despondently at me the entire time. The poor little dummies even got all excited because they heard a car park in the street outside and they thought it was her getting home. It's nice to know they care, even if they only show it when you're not there.