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Are you ready to start another new day with a new pattern? I hope so – life is great and affords us many opportunities to start fresh and new – and today is a great day to start making a new quilt: Ruffled Roses. Each month, you will find the pattern for part of this quilt online. Just print the instructions, cut, stitch, press… and before you know it, time will have passed, and you will be ready to enjoy your own Ruffled Roses quilt. What a wonderful way to start each month!
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TOPIC: I have to ask.............

Re: I have to ask............. 07 Jan 2011 17:20 #52901

Wow! What a great discussion! I feel re-energized and focused just reading the excellent ideas from Sue, Margo and the rest of you all. I remember Ricky made a point of saying "Time is the most valuable resource any of us has" or something like that at a Super Seminar I attended a while back, and I really believe that....need to renew my efforts to make better use of each day! Sue's suggestion for "tracking" how time is spent is a great one...reminds me of Weight Watcher's food tracking, which is very effective....think I'll give myself a wake-up call and try that next week! Thanks, everyone, for sharing your time and insight with us! Nancy
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Re: I have to ask............. 07 Jan 2011 12:14 #52887

  • eileenkny
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Thank you, thank you! To Margo, Sue, Annis, Kathy, Robin, and everyone else! I've never been very organized and it's gotten worse with fibro. I don't use it as an excuse, it's just a fact. I put away 2 rings early in the summer and even DH Mike can't find them! :cry:
I am plugging along, and I'll finish-just like the tortoise.
My biggest problem is that I want to do every single project I see. You should see my documents folder. :oops: My goals for this year are Ruffled Roses, Roseville Album and Dear Jane. Anything else will be icing on the cake.
This weekend I'm going to do a little work upstairs in the longarm room. I want to be able to do other things when my Intelliquilter is working. So I have some cleaning to do. :roll:

Oh yeah-I'm like Sue. I have the tv on but I don't watch much during the day. It's background noise for me. Evenings, on the other hand, I sit and vegetate in front of it. I'm planning on using that time for my hand applique this year.

from the beautiful Hudson Valley of NY
Gammill Classic Plus w/IQ
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Re: I have to ask............. 06 Jan 2011 23:40 #52868

So here's my goofy answer to what "sound track" I listen to while quilting. I love, love, LOVE gray noise. That is... SOMEthing going on in the background that I can listen to but not pay attention to. My gray noise usually ends up being tv, but I rarely WATCH it; it's just "on." In fact, I heard that advertisement on tv about "more bars in more places" and thought for months and months that it was a strange ad about more bars (as in more pubs)... until one day I looked up and saw the "bars" indicating that it was about signal strength for a cell phone. Is that silly or what? And my favorite programs are 1) hard core news programs and 2) reality shows - is that a contrast or what?!

Sue Garman
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Re: I have to ask............. 06 Jan 2011 23:21 #52867

I also think its a matter of what type of projects you are working on also. Now that I'm into whole cloth and trapunto quilting the added steps seems to take me longer. Like Margo I work to the hummmm of my machine mostly peace & quiet every now and again I will listen to my ipod sometimes this distraction is not good... I'll get to hiped up... LOL ! I don't watch alot of tv except on week ends when DH is home and alittle in the evenings.
I was once asked how quick can you make a quilt...my reply was: I can make one in no time really but to me it doesn't matter how long it takes me to make a quilt as long as you are enjoying the process along the way!
I'm one of the lucky one to stay at home so I quilt almost every day. Lately I have been drawing alot so I test practice alot of my patterns to see how I will like them. I want to see how I will like them before I actually use them in a quilt.
Today I trapunto one of my scroll patterns...cutting away the batting and fleese from this little piece is taking Alot of time and although it is very time consumming I think it might be worth it ya just never know.
My very first trip to Paducah quilt show I stood in front of one of the most Beautiful trapunto quilt and after examining the quilt well I was so amazed I had lil tears running down my eyes and I walked away lil sad. I was sad to stand near one of the most beautiful quilt with thoughts that I would never ever be able to make a quilt that beautiful!
A year or two passed by and I started to get into whole cloth quilts because quilting is my favorite part of the process. Our dear friend Margo saw my love of whole cloths and led me toward a lesson by Sharon Schambers then I looked through all Margo's lessons and with her guiedness and great advice I began doing trapunto! Every time I look at my first trapunto quilt hanging on my wall even with the lil mistakes its brings me lots of smiles. Never say Never!
My lil take here is as long as you enjoy the time you do have to sew no matter how long it takes to finish each quilt enjoying the process its the most important :)
Some quilts take years to make.
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Re: I have to ask............. 06 Jan 2011 21:19 #52866

  • ajclapp
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That's a lot of great information Sue. I think I need more handwork. Almost everything I do is by machine except for hand sewing the binding to the back of the quilt, so it's hard to take it with me. But I do sign up for the quilt guild day retreats twice a year when possible for 3 long days of productive sewing. It's only 2 miles from my house so no time lost in travel. The overnight retreats are nice too but I've only done that once a few years ago. I use a lot of quick piecing techniques and chain sewing. Right now I'm working on 52 paper pieced blocks for the final border of a queen size quilt. I'm chain sewing half of them at a time and as soon as I finish this I will be trimming the first half and starting on the second half. I try to divide my time between cutting, sewing, and pressing but sometimes I just want them done so do a little too much cutting at a time. Taking an occasional short break helps. And I think my break time is up for now.
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Re: I have to ask............. 06 Jan 2011 20:43 #52864

  • Margo
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Sue is a much better multi-tasker than I am! I need to work in silence. All by myself. When I'm with quilty buddies, I don't usually get much accomplished. And I can also tell you that I very seldom have a television on.
BTW...if you haven't been to Sue's blogspot lately, you need to go check out her Round Robin quilts! I've never seen Round Robins turn out spectacular quilts like these!!
(Scroll down to the November 30, 2010 entry) http://suegarman.blogspot.com/


It's Not What You Gather, But What You Scatter
That Tells What Kind Of Life You Have Lived !
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Re: I have to ask............. 06 Jan 2011 20:26 #52863

  • gynconnie
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I have another question for the highly productive folks like Margo and Sue. What is your "soundtrack" for quilting? Music? TV? Old movies? The sound of silence? What atmosphere do you feel makes you the most focused and happy?


from the Piedmont of North Carolina
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Re: I have to ask............. 06 Jan 2011 19:37 #52862

My sister, lindachandler, and I have discussed this very subject several times. We are both retired so we don't have a good excuse, but we don't produce like Sue & Margo. Thank you both for the tips and advice.
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Re: I have to ask............. 06 Jan 2011 18:56 #52858

  • Margo
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Did I mention that Sue is kind of organized??? Maybe that's how she got to be a no-kidding rocket scientist! :D

Sue, thanks so much for all these great tips for getting more done. Obviously, I need to get off the computer and get back into the studio!!


It's Not What You Gather, But What You Scatter
That Tells What Kind Of Life You Have Lived !
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Re: I have to ask............. 06 Jan 2011 18:50 #52856

  • RGold
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Yes, Sue, I've just spent 3 minutes or whatever reading your message, but you have some really helpful suggestions, and I am searching for ways I can expand the quilting part of my life. I can't retire yet, and I haven't yet figured out a way to earn money from something quilt-related, so that means work is a reality for me. So, I'm trying to find ways to be more efficient in my work so that I can spend more of my time quilting, and that probably means making my quilting time more efficient, too. With quilting, I'm a bit like the proverbial kid in a candy store -- I want it all! I'm happy as can be reading about quilting (history, technique, anything!) and I'm happy actually quilting. One thing my husband and I have been discussing is to try to make better use of our low-energy times of day (tends to be 4-6 pm). If we have dinner at 5 instead of 6, then I have more energetic time after dinner for quilting or working. Of course, that means I have to get him to come home from school (he's a professor) at 4, like he says he'd like to :wink: , because he cooks dinner! I'm also going to try to put quilting in that 4-5 slot -- I'll be more energized that way, too.
Sue, thank you for taking the time from your quilting to write! I appreciate it!!
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Re: I have to ask............. 06 Jan 2011 18:43 #52854

  • BethMI
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I am SOOOO envious of all of you who are retired or stay-at-home ladies and who have the opportunity to quilt all day! I have a full-time and very demanding job with lots of overtime required -- too much. I learned long ago not to sign up for multi-session quilting classes. I would invariably have to miss at least one because I had to work that evening or day. So I buy books and DVD's instead, which I can learn from on my schedule (and to which I am addicted). Out of the last 15 monthly quilt guild meetings, I made 3. I either had to work or was sick or whatever.

This year, I managed to make 5 baby quilts plus a larger lap quilt -- all before August 1st. I haven't touched a sewing machine since then. I think I got a bit burned out with deadlines and trying to finish everything with my crazy work schedule. Last weekend, I finally cleaned off my sewing table (which had become the family dumping ground) and am now beginning to get the itch again. Maybe I'll start one of those projects I picked up in Houston??

I have a wedding quilt to make for one of my daughter's special girlfriends ... and a quilt for my sister ... and a quilt for my sister-in-law's parents ... and a Gees Bend quilt for me (always last on the list), etc. So many projects, so little time! I can hardly wait!!!

On New Years Day, I sat down and hand-quilted for 1 1/2 hours. Heaven!!!

BethMI
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Re: I have to ask............. 06 Jan 2011 18:01 #52853

What a wonderful question, Eileen - and wonderful answers from everyone so far! So how DO I get stuff done? Well... there's not a lot of magic about it. First of all, I'm lucky. I don't cook (much), I don't clean (much - I try not to let things pile up), my kids are grown (though they and the grand kids get all the time they or I want together!), my husband loves to see me happy (which means I get to quilt a lot), and I have space to keep things "set up" (which sometimes translates into "space to keep messes lying around!"). Bottom line: I can find time to quilt.

Beyond that, I can offer some tips that are meant to save time when working on a project. Don't get me wrong - I'm not "racing" to get projects done - but because time is one of the most valuable resources we have, and it's limited, I like to make the best use of it! Here's how:
-- I always, always have one or more "take-along" projects at hand. It can be applique, circle-making, binding... something that is easy to put in a bag and take with me to work on if there is time. I keep scissors, needle, and thread for the project in zip-lock bags or totes so that when I pick up the project, it's all there, ready to go. It takes a little planning, but it becomes second-nature to do that. Then, when I go someplace I am ready to get some sewing done.
-- I look for - and use - short cuts that save time. For example, when I baste a block for applique, I don't baste just one piece at a time. I baste the whole block (or as much of it as I can at one time). Think how much less stopping and starting there is when all the fabric is in place, ready to sew, at the same time! I often baste a whole set of blocks for a quilt, wrap them around swimming pool noodles, and then I can take the set with me and work on one block at a time because they are all ready to work on!
-- I keep projects together in plastic bins or ziplock bags. This keeps the fabric and the pattern and the sewn/unsewn blocks all together - I don't have to hunt down the missing pieces when I open the bin/bag - it's all there! That way, if I put the project aside so that I can work on something else... it remains ready for me to pick up again at a later date.
-- I don't bother with tools unless they make the job more efficient. I think that sometimes we rely on too many tools. Example: I use regular paper for paper foundations. I don't have to run to the store to get special foundation paper when I do paper piecing. Now you can carry that too far - for example it would be easy to use only white thread for ALL sewing... but that doesn't make sense, right? So think about what is efficient.
-- I know it's silly but I track how much time it takes me to do things. For example, I know that it takes me 1 minute to applique 2 inches. What difference does that make? None... but if I am looking at 2" leaves, I can begin estimating that appliquing a leaf will take me 2 minutes and if there are 10 leaves on the block, it will take me 20 minutes to do them... and so I know how long it will take me to finish them and I can start thinking about what I need to do in 20 minutes. It's not really important to know how long it takes to do something - it's more important to think about what your next step is, while you're doing the current one, so that you can mentally plan what you will need next. Does that make sense? And I can think about that for multiple steps -- if I can estimate that it will take me 6 hours to applique 4 blocks, then I know that if I can work on the quilt 3 hours a day, I can finish the blocks in 8 days... assuming that I can work 8 days straight. Then... I start looking at my calendar. And I start establishing priorities and setting goals... to finish the 4 blocks by next Wednesday... and to work on the borders for the next 3 days... and to baste it on the following Monday... and... you get the idea. Again, the timelines are not as important as the fact that I am PLANNING ahead... and when I do, I am mentally setting aside the time to get the work done. I think that many of us (me included) sometimes just "let life happen" and time gets away from us and we wonder what happened. The only remedy is to not let time get away: capture it, tame it, and make it work for YOU!
-- Set goals!!! Decide what you will get done today, this week, this month, this year. I start off each year with a list of things I want to get done. Some things on the list are trivial ("move azalea to back yard") and others are more substantive ("make XYZ and ABC quilts"). I review the lists and sometimes divide them into months ("January-March: design and make Rose Medallion quilt") - so that I can check my progress during the month or year. Sometimes I set goals on my daily calendar (1/5/11-finish quilting 2nd block; 1/6/11-quilt half of 3rd block). This keeps me focused on getting things done.
-- LOOK at how you spend your time now. We all have the same 24 hours; we all just use it differently. I don't expect anyone to quilt more or less than I do... but for myself, I love quilting. So when I look at how I spend time in a day and realize that I could EASILY spend 4 hours a day in various 1/2 hour segments, in front of a computer... that's time when I'm not sewing or being with family or taking care of chores. It would be interesting for each of us to take a week and put our tasks into a journal: how much time is spent cooking, cleaning, shopping, at the computer, personal grooming, sewing, family, school, reading, other hobbies... My guess is that we would all have a real awakening "A-ha!" moment when we find out how we REALLY spend our time... or to put it another way... how much time we let slip through our fingers. Notice: I am not saying how much time we "waste." We all make choices - and what may seem like waste to one person is just chill-out or relaxation or take-a-breather time to another person. If I need that or you need that... so be it!
-- Be involved in the quilt world: join a guild, join a bee, invite folks over to quilt... I belong to a guild and 5 bees. It averages out to a day a week that I have a bee - some are just an afternoon, some are all day. But it is focused time when I can sew -- and I plan ahead (with those take-along projects so that I have things to do at those bees!) and get stuff done... but more importantly, those bees are places where my friends and I get excited and challenge each other to do more, try new things, learn new things, etc. Being part of a quilter community is important to me.
-- There are a lot more simple ways to save time and get more done - use bias bars to make stems, use paper foundations for piecing, do projects in parallel rather than serial steps, keep a clean work space (messes make me procrastinate because I don't like being around them!), take classes (you'll learn and when you do, things get easier to do), etc. Find what works for you.
-- Put down the things that you are working on that you don't enjoy or don't want to do. Work on things that excite you -- I love working on things that I can hardly wait to finish! They keep me energized - and that's how I get a LOT done!
-- And finally... you've just spent how much time reading this long note????? when you could have been sewing????? Well... I hope that you at least learned a thing or two!
Happy sewing -
Sue Garman
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Re: I have to ask............. 06 Jan 2011 17:08 #52849

  • ritzy
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If I really want to get something done, such as the BOM, I will get my chores done so that I have Saturday free to work as long as I want. I think, like the others have said it is a juggling act (because, after all, we do have families and other responsibilities) we have to make time and if we organize, sometimes we can work on it when we are sitting and waiting for other things.
Blessing from Northwest Indiana, USA
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Re: I have to ask............. 06 Jan 2011 16:45 #52846

  • Margo
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I hear you, Annis! That "other stuff doesn't get done" around my house includes vacuuming and dusting. I'll get it done when company is expected, and not before! That's my story and I'm stickin' to it! :lol:

BTW....here is a link to Annis's book! http://www.amazon.com/Year-Quilts-Leisure-Arts-3551/dp/1574863886


It's Not What You Gather, But What You Scatter
That Tells What Kind Of Life You Have Lived !
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