Wednesday Wisdom

Deadlines Met and Missed

I am driven by deadlines. I have regular deadlines in my profession and I work hard to get everything submitted on time, or better yet, early. I have found that having a deadline for a quilting project helps me get it done. The projects without deadlines are the ones that turn into UFOs. This month I had multiple deadlines come together. I had a big project at work, papers to grade from my class, QuiltCon submissions due 11/30, my One Monthly Goal, and St. Nick’s gifts I was making for my (adult) kids.

I am used to juggling a lot of deadlines, but then I had one unexpected quilty deadline thrown in just before Thanksgiving. I can’t tell you more about it yet, but it meant pushing back my other quilting projects by 2-3 days. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, it was 2-3 days I planned on spending on other projects. I was committed to submitting to QuiltCon because I accepted the fabric packet for the Modern Quilt Guild Floral and Vine Fabric Challenge. By accepting the packet of these lovely fabrics, I agreed to submit a quilt. The rules were simple – I needed to use 3 of these 4 fabrics, could add any solid I wished and any size up to 440 inches in diameter.

Because this challenge involved a promise to someone else, I prioritized it over my One Monthly Goal, which is a promise to myself.

I cannot tell you how many times I tried to figure out what to do with these fabrics. I ordered coordinating solids and cut out a great Mariner’s Compass, then realized I cut the wrong pieces in the wrong colors. I was determined not to buy more fabric, so I redesigned the Compass with the fabrics I had. Then I tried to sew the Compass together, but I used templates that didn’t work well for me and it was not laying flat. So I cut it into pieces.

I tried to use the extra pieces I cut in improvisational blocks, but they didn’t work. I set it all aside and worked on a couple of other projects, and put time on my calendar to figure it out. I finally decided to work off of the compass idea and made some arrows and a kind of a road. Here is the final quilt, named “Which Way?”:

Which Way?

I can’t decide which way should be up on this one.

I spent the day after Thanksgiving on my St. Nick’s gifts, and the rest of the weekend on the Which Way? quilt. Which meant that my One Monthly Goal of finishing the quilting on this table runner didn’t happen.

I thought about working on the table runner, Monday after work, but I was very tired, and could not get the runner completed by midnight. So I decided to let it go. It is unusual for me to miss a deadline, but I am glad that I decided to take care of myself and get some rest. The table runner will get done (eventually) and I will be happy to use it next fall.

How are you with deadlines? Do they motivate you? Make you nervous? Or do you just avoid them?

Wednesday Wisdom

Monthly Goals and Letting Go

I have been participating in the Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal ( for a couple of months. I am very goal oriented and I know that setting regular goals, and sharing that information somewhere where I need to be accountable is a good way for me to achieve hard things. I have been using the One Monthly Goal (OMG [isn’t that a great abbreviation]) to do something that would otherwise be put on a back burner. I don’t use it for the pattern deadline, which I WILL meet, or the 100-day project which only requires a little time each day. Last month I used it to move forward on a wedding quilt that is more than 18 months late. This month I used it to finish up this glorious quilt top. This was my first 100-day quilt project. I started it on June 1st this year. One of my quilty friends was posting her 100-day project and I figured that with being in quarantine, it would give me a little goal that I could achieve every day – just one square. It was also a great way to use up the big box full of irregular strips I had been saving. The 100 days were finished on September 8th. I had already ice dyed the fabric for the back. But by October 1st, I still didn’t have the borders on and I had no clue what I was going to do about quilting it. The finished top is 103 x 103 inches and I was dreading trying to baste it and quilt it on Bernie, my trusty Bernina 1260. So, my OMG for October was to finish the top and decide on the quilting. In early October we met some of our adult children in Memphis for a family holiday. Because we were driving (13 hours each way) I was able to take my 1951 Singer Featherweight. I cut the borders before we left and I took the quilt and borders, along with my mask making stuff. I got the borders on while staying in an awesome mansion in downtown Memphis. And I made a decision – While my husband really wanted me to quilt this and emphasize the diamonds. I knew that I couldn’t get started until January with my crazy schedule. So I decided to take it to a good friend who is a long-arm quilter. This was a huge “letting go” for me. I have always done everything on my quilts myself. I have had this friend quilt one baby quilt when I got really backed up, but letting her do a quilt that was important to me was a big step. I dropped the quilt off a week ago and I was thrilled with her ideas for quilting it. I can’t wait to see it and share it with you all.

100-day quilt mock up in EQ8

In the meantime, I am celebrating achieving my OMG and starting to think about what goal I want to set for November…maybe it is time to look at some of my UFOs?

I encourage you to take a look at Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and consider trying it for a month – you may be surprised at what you get done!

Wednesday Wisdom WIPs and PhDs

One Monthly Goal

Patty at Elm Street Quilts has this wonderful project called “One Monthly Goal”. If you click the link to her site you can read all about it. The basic premise is to set one (1, not 3 or 5 ) goal for the month. I like to set goals, and I am good at working toward both short- and long-term goals. But the idea of ONE goal was a revelation to me. I usually have multiple projects in various stages (right now I am working on 5) and the idea of making one goal seemed impossible. But I decided to try it.

I knew September would be busy with launching a business and a website, finishing one 100-day quilt, starting a new 100-day quilt as a quilt-a-long, making a new version of the Tree of Life quilt, and prepping my first quilt pattern for release (whew, I am getting tired just writing that). I wanted to make sure that other projects did not get neglected. So I turned to a quilt that is a very overdue wedding gift that always seem to be on the back burner. I had started the diamonds for my broken lone star quilt, but only had about 8 done of the 32 that were needed. My one monthly goal (or OMG) was to complete all 32 diamonds. I scheduled it on my calendar – and then moved it when other priorities came up – and then moved it again when something unplanned happened. And got to Monday, September 28th and I still had 12 diamonds to go. Because I had set the goal (and declared it publicly), I spent Monday and Tuesday evenings finishing up the last of the diamonds!

OMG worked for me – all of my big goals were achieved. And setting the OMG pushed me to make progress on another important project that was not quite so urgent.

Bottom line – Don’t let the urgent goal keep you from achieving the important one.