Sunday, November 05, 2006

WARNING - long rambly post!

Vicky had a lovely post yesterday about the direction she wanted her quiltimaking to go. Unfortunately when I tried to comment on it I got a blogger error and since then blogger seems to have eaten her post. :-(

Anyway it was a really lovely post about reducing her stash and working from the books and patterns she already has but mostly about having FUN with her quiltmaking. About not making lists of goals that only pull her down when she's not able to meet them. About taking her time and not acting like she's in a race and being happy with what she's able to accomplish and not fretting about what she thinks she SHOULD be able to get done. Or at least that's what I remember of her post as I've slept since I read it and don't have the best memory to start with.

Let me tell you ladies, it was a post I could have easily written myself! I so often set goals for myself and then get in a blue funk when I'm not able to meet those goals. Which is why I came up with my new motto - No Worry, No Hurry. My only "goal" for this next year (or 2) is to have fun with my quilting. I'll work on what I want and if it's a new project that I bought fabric for I won't feel guilty about the many yards of fabric I already own or the great number of projects I have already started. Not that there will be very many fabric purchases in the next year but I'll discuss that a bit later in this post.

I spent yesterday shoveling out my sewing room of all the stuff that's got tossed in there because there was no place else in the house to put it. It now resides in the spot in the shop where all those boxes of fabric I cleared out this past spring were living. See I bet ya'll thought I'd already given that stuff away. And Susan did take almost 2 boxes with her when she came to visit. But the rest has been sitting in the shop for months. I kept saying I was going to contact the lady in charge of the charity quilts for my guild and see if she wanted it. But I just never got around to it. Mostly because I don't think I was quite ready to let all of Mama's stash go. Even though I knew I'd probably never use it, it was still a link to her.

But recently my friend and co-worker, Mary, said she wanted to learn to quilt. Her son is a medic in the service (Navy I think) and just went overseas this weekend. She wants something to do in the evenings to keep her busy so she's not fretting over Simon too much. He did a year in Iraq 3 years ago and this time he's going to Germany so she feels better about that posting. But he'll still be gone for a year and he's her only child. Anyway, she asked me how much fabric she needed to buy to make a nice scrappy quilt. Well duh - NONE! I told her I had lots boxed up to give away and she was more than welcome to get what she wanted out of it and then the remainder was either going to the guild or goodwill or anywhere but back into our shop! So I toted 8 boxes of fabric to work and she took them all! She's been teaching her neighbor, Patricia, how to sew and there are many pieces in there that would make cute tops and shorts and stuff for Patricia's kids. And now Patricia and several other of their friends have decided maybe they'd like to learn to quilt. So I'm thinking maybe this is where Mama's fabric was meant to go all along and that's why I never gave it away before. :-) And I think Mama would be happy to know her fabric has now found a home with a bunch of ladies who are thrilled to have it and keep exclaiming over how pretty it is. And yes there were some very pretty pieces in those boxes but I knew I'd never use them. And when Mary was going thru the boxes at work I refused to go in the breakroom because I didn't want to start second guessing myself and take any of it back! And I know I would have. LOL!

Okay, back to my original story. LOL! Now I have all that space in the shop where the boxes of fabric lived. And all that stuff from my sewing room that doesn't belong there is now in the shop. Along with ALL OF MY UFOS! Yes I boxed up every single one of them. From barely started, to just needs border, to finished tops that have the backs prepared ready to baste. Well maybe not every single one. I did keep out 2 tops that are already basted - one even already quilted except for the border. And the Christmas quilt I'm currently cutting. That's a current project not a UFO. :-) The UFOs will come back in a box at a time and I'll seriously look at each project then and decide if I want to continue with it or not. Of those I really don't want to finish, almost finished UFOS will go to someone who'll finish them for charity. Barely starteds will probably have their fabric worked back into the stash and any blocks can go with my orphans for an orphan block quilt. Tops needing borders will have their borders put on and put with the other finished tops. Projects that aren't to the finished top stage that I do want to finish will get stacked in a cabinet to be worked on when I have a whim to work on them. And will probably be gone thru at least once a year to decide again if I still want to complete them or not.

Today I'll spend putting stuff that does belong in my sewing room away and making it a neat, clean, pleasant place to spend time. I find the messier the sewing room the more excuses I find to not sew. So it's time to try to not be so much of a slob and maybe be a more productive, happier quilter. I had planned to do Judy and Jeanne's new hour a day project but instead I think I'm going to use my hour a day another way. My Chocolat fabrics are scheduled to be delivered tomorrow so I think I'll be spending my hour a day working on that quilt. THEN I'll do the Gratitudes quilt. But I want to work with the Chocolat while I'm still excited about them. Because it's been my experience in the past that I'll fall in love with a group of fabric. Buy it in 1 to 2 yd lengths because I don't know what I'm going to do with it. And then I never use it because I can't find a pattern that uses the yardage I bought. I inevitably have too much of some and not enough of others. So while I am allowing myself to buy new fabric I am making myself pick a pattern first and only buying what I need for that pattern. With maybe 1/4 yd extra to allow for mis-cuts. And that's what I did with the Chocolat fabrics. Although there is one part of the pattern I'm not sure exactly which color would look best so I did buy 1/2 yard of 3 different prints to try out in that spot. But they were all nice TOT fabrics that will blend well with the rest of my stash. So not TOO bad an extra splurge. And this will be my last fabric splurge for a while unless I REALLY fall in love with another fabric group like I did with Chocolat. Because I have a special purchase I'm saving money for and everything I buy during the next year makes it that much longer before I'll have the money saved up.

So what will I be doing with all those finished tops I have and will be producing in the next year as I play in my stash? And what am I saving all that money for? Well some tops are slated as gifts for family and friends. Others will go to charity. But first they'll be used as practise pieces on the mid-arm quilting set up that will be my 50th birthday present to myself (in Jan '08.) I've wanted a long arm machine for many years. And when I had the space I didn't have the money. And now I can swing the $$$ I don't have the space. But we're in the process of building David a new shop and I'll be taking the current one which is 14'X20' and will have plenty of space for a quilting machine. But I've decided to start with a mid-arm. Much cheaper than a long arm and I just can't justify the price of a long-arm just to finish my own quilts. I'm not ruling out the possibility of eventually getting a long arm and doing this as a retirement business. But I think the mid-arm will let me decide how well I like machine quilting and if I even have an aptitude for it. Then I can decide if I want to trade up at a later date.

Thanks to a email from Evelyn back in March I've decided to go with a Hinterburg stretch frame with their Voyager machine. I had commented to a post on her blog about this subject and she emailed me a very detailed list of machines to look at and what her opinion of them were. She's done extensive research on this subject and made a lot of good points in her note. Of course I had to do the research for myself but in the end I've decided she is right on the money and that the Voyager is the best bet for me at the price I'm willing to pay right now. And it will accept the stitch regulator if I want to add that on at a later time. (I'm thinking that would be a GOOD Christmas present that year. LOL!)

And how will I be paying for this new toy you might ask? Well not only will I be saving all that money from not buying fabric and books and patterns and magazines. But I'm also NOT getting a new car. I've been wanting a new car for a while now. Not that there's anything wrong with my current car. It's only 4 years old with a bit less than 65,000 miles on it. But I WANT a new car. One with more features. Like power windows and power doors and cruise control. And one that's a bit more comfortable and not so noisy going down the road. You see I drive a Hyundai Accent. When I bought it David and I made about 1/2 what we do now. And we drove to work together since we only worked 1-1/2 blocks apart. So most of the time during the 1st year it sat at home. I only bought it because I had an old (1984) Toyota truck. It ran good but didn't have airconditioning and it was - well OLD! And Mama and Daddy were in poor health and I was having to run back and forth to MS a good bit by myself and I just needed more dependable transportation. So we bought the cheapest new 2 door car we could get that had an automatic transmission since David can't drive a standard and can't get his wheelchair in a 4 door car by himself. It was never meant to be more than do-fer transportation if you know what I mean. And then a year later my company bought out another trucking firm and my office was moved 25 miles away to another town. And now we couldn't commute together any longer so the Hyundai became my principle transportation. And it's been a good little car. Gets good gas mileage and I've never had any problems with it. I just WANT a new car. So we'd talked about it and decided to trade it in or a more upscale model that would have cost me about $200 more a month for the payment and insurance. But still easily affordable. Then I got to thinking if I just drove my car for another year I could put that money aside for other things I wanted - like a quilting machine. Cause, see while I don't mind financing a car I will NOT finance a toy so I need to have the money saved up first. And right now all our money is going into David's shop and the equipment for it. Which is fine since it IS being built in order for him to make extra money with. He does machine-work and hopes to be able to do one-of custom jobs both now and for extra retirement income. But back to MY new toy. LOL! I figure if I put aside the extra money I would have spent on a new car that will be enough to purchase the machine head. And the money I'll be saving by not purchasing other quilty stuff (based on an average of what I've spent per month in the last year) will be more than enough to purchase the frame (and maybe the stitch regulator too!) So it will be much easier to not spend money this next 14 months. Cause all I'll have to do is ask myself, "Do I want this bad enough to have to wait an extra month for my new machine?" And if I really, really, REALLY want it, then I'll get it. But I'm figuring there probably won't be too many purchases that will fall into that category.

Well I'm certainly not getting anything done sitting here writing this "book" this morning. LOL! If anyone's stuck with me this long, have a nice day. :-)

22 comments:

May Britt said...

Phuuu.... I read the whole post LOL
You are So right. We are supposed to have fun with our quilting, not feeling any pressure finishing things. I quilt whatever I want whenever I want. Rule number one.
I am so sorry Vicky's post is gone. She wrote it so well.

quiltpixie said...

sounds like you've got a solid plan for yourself. Not turning your hobby into "work" is a great plan! If you've got the money to enjoy quilting as a hobby, enjoy it, whatever that means for you. For some I know this is a number of quilts done, for some its giving quilts to charity, for some its making an heirloom, for others its dabbling... best to know what will bring you joy and stick to that :-)

Melzie said...

Aww well I missed out seeing her post but I love yours :) As a very new quilter and a mother of 3 boys and a wife etc I cant keep up with the "commitments" also. I do like the fabric diets but I dont feel bad when I come across a huge bargain. As that mother and wife I have to pinch pennies when I can lol. I too like the more relaxed mindset of it being fun not a race :) Good luck saving up for your machine! Sometimes when you start to get so tired of your car, go have it detailed, for a fraction of a new car price you can have a new car feel to it :) xoxo melzie

Libby said...

You are too right. I try not to make goals and lists -- just make me feel bad. I quilt because I love it and no other reason. While it's good to take stock from time to time -- that's all it should be, an assesment of what's going on. Good luck on getting your toy and enjoying your new lease on quilting -- NO WORRY NO HURRY.

Carolyn said...

Having a longarm business does turn quilting into a race to get finished, but the quilts usually aren't mine! I love your approach and should adopt it as my own. Since I started working, I'm not doing as many customer quilts, so it has been nice and quilting has become fun again. Think seriously about what you want before you make it a business. Easing in with a midarm is a great choice. And Vicky's post WAS wonderful, it really set me to thinking!

Pam said...

Sounds like you have this well thought out and planned. It will be well worth the effort to get the machine that you want and enjoy it. (And we both turn 50 the same year)Funny -- I don't feel almost 50!! Must be a mistake.

Susan H. said...

Mama is smiling right now. There is nothing she would rather have happened to her stash than for it to be used to introduce someone else to the joys she found from sewing and quilting. Congratulations on making the move to give it away and move on. I would say good luck on your savings plan for your midarm machine, but I know that is totally unnecessary. You have a strength of will that I wish I possessed. You will have your machine for your birthday, I have NO doubts.

Leah S said...

I enjoyed reading about your thoughts and dreams. From what I'm hearing, the quilting market is slowing down (quilt shops closing, etc) and hopefully that'll allow people to slow down and enjoy what they do have. :)

KCQuilter said...

I so loved reading your post today! And it helped me clarify my own thinking about why I quilt--thank you for that!!! Sometimes I allow myself to get caught up in the "race" going on around me--who can show the most quilts at Guild, who can win ribbons at the quilt show, etc. etc. And that is just so not me! Nice to hear someone else reiterate that we quilt for fun!!! Best wishes on getting your midsize setup---sounds great.

Hedgehog said...

I have to agree - everything turns into a race - more, more, more, faster, faster, faster - these days. I think your plan sounds great. Very logical and doable. The midarm sounds like a good plan, too. Glad you found the 'right' home for your mother's stash, too.

Anonymous said...

I was especially moved by the bestowing of your mother's stash in such a useful and immediate way. There is a right time for things to happen.

Everything in our lives seems to be geared toward "hurrying up" and regardless of how much you enjoy an activity, when it becomes a matter of a serious balancing act things become stressful. Good advice, hope we can all take it to heart!

Dianne said...

Wonderful post, Nancy. You've been a busy little bee, haven't you? What great progress you made getting things organized, and it's so great you found a good home for your mother's stash.

Loved your thoughts on quilting, and the journey being its own reward...words to live by!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and enjoy that new mid-arm machine when you get it...and post pics, ok?

Fiona said...

Well you know I like your philosophy, Nancy, heck, I even refuse to put monthly achievments on my blog, never mind about goals. Right now I'm frustrated 'cos life's getting in the way and I can't spend as much time quilting as I want. But that's because I enjoy quilting and I want to do it, not because I have a particular goal to meet. The mid-arm machine is good to look forward to - but don't feel you have to make it a goal :-)

Esteemarlu said...

Oh Nancy,I'm saving for a quilting machine too and I too had looked at the mid arm machine and I would love to have one. Hopefully nothing else will come along and bust my savings for it.I have been trying real hard by not buying any fabric and not going to many places. If I go places I know I'll spend money. I hate to just window shop.I'm getting my sister-in-laws Camry instead of buying a new car.LOL!

Vicky said...

Nancy, I find it so refreshing to read how you're dealing with those pesky UFOs. I tend to let mine sit there and taunt me until I finish them. I think boxing them up and putting them out of site for a while might be just the thing. You're right - if you go back to them and they're not something you want to finish, then they're out of there!

Kudos to you for setting a goal on the new quilting set-up! I'm going to be rooting you on! We'll all be ready to slap your fingers if you start poking those order buttons!! LOL!

I'm really excited for you! (And a bit jealous! No room here!) Just think of all the fun you'll have getting those quilts done in record time!

(Hugs)

Vicky said...

P.S. I forgot to say that a few of my friends have gotten that machine and they love it! Good choice!

Darlene - Dazed Quilter said...

Great post, Nancy. Like you I was fortunate to read Vicky's "pondering" post and wish now that I had printed it. ;-) Anyway, if you've read my blog you know that I've been in a serious sewing slump so I've been reflecting alot on my quilting and style of quilting. We do forget that this is not a race and that we should enjoy the process - thank you again, for you wonderful post.

McIrish Annie said...

Woww!! YOu don't post often but when you do you get us caught up quick!! Glad that you have let go of the fabric and UFOs and are now able to start fresh. It must be a weight off.

I am in your NO Worry NO Hurry club. I admire those that post their goals and are able to reach them. But lately I notice that when I do that it weighs me down so I am just "doing my own thing" when and where I can and enjoying the process. Great Post!! Quilt ON!!

Mary said...

It sounds like you have the year planned. I agree sometimes setting goals can make my quilting seem like work but for me I'm happy when I'm finishing things so I don't mind the pressure too much.

Your plan for the quilting machine sounds good also - I'm much rather have that than a new car personally.

In fact, we're selling the car I'm driving when we move - it's Keith's old Volvo with 80,000 miles on it (did I say I don't care what I drive?). Living right in the city - we won't even need 2 cars especially since Keith found out last week that his office is within walking distance - the one car we're keeping will probably sit in the garage as much as it's on the road. We'll spend more money renting a place in the city but will save on not having a 2nd car - it's all about deciding what is most important and putting your money there!

cher said...

you certainly have thought about what works best for you to enjoy your quilting to the fullest Nancy-you go girl! how wonderful to pass along your mama's stash to new quilters. They don't have to wait to have scraps-they can dive right in! Having fun is what I have been talking about with my friends as well-otherwise, what's the point?

Evelyn aka Starfishy said...

Hooray for sharing your fabrics - it was shared fabrics that gave me my start in quilting! And, good for you for coming up with a plan for buying your quilting machine!!! How exciting for you!!! I am not sure exactly what I wrote to you way back in March, but definately, if I were to get a machine today, it would be the Voyager/stretch Hinty. Ah, but I have that darling Little Boy who is ever so active - guess I will keep sending my tops out so I can play with him...

Keep up the easy attitude and keep your quilting fun. I am NOT doing any quilting right now, but am perfectly happy with where I am - and that is what matters.

Cheers!

Evelyn

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