Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Patience? What's that?

When I tell people what I do for a living (work in a preschool), 95% of the time, the next words out of their mouths are: "You must have a lot of patience!" I usually chuckle and reply something like "sometimes!" Because it's true. Nobody's perfect; you can be 100% patient all the time. Though I do love those kiddos and work my hardest to make it so!

 The silhouette of impatience.

With sewing, I'm often impatient. I get that creative spark and then I'm FLYING to the finish. Perhaps it's because I LOVE the quilting step (which is sadly, the second to last one). Usually when I start pulling fabric for a quilt, I'm already dreaming of how I'll quilt it. Such is the curse (and blessing) of the determined and passionate domestic machine quilter (and I'm sure the same kind of thing for all you longarmers out there!).

Sometimes, I have patience with a project. I always marvel at how I'll let a huge project sit for months or years when I was once so enthusiastic about it. Then I think about my AMH Medallion Quilt and why I let it sit in time out for a couple of years, and think, ohhhhh yes, that was necessary. Time out is good.

 Too much to decide in April 2014...

...resulted in this, March 2016. Still happily gracing our bed!

Right now, I'm working on a quilt that is much more time consuming than I expected. I chose to participate because I wanted to work on a project this summer that didn't involve much thinking. I got that! But it does involve hours of pinning, hours of pressing, and hours of ruler work. Three things I avoid when possible (actually, I love pressing, but hours of it - not so much). But that's okay.

I've approached this project the only way I know how: splitting it up and doing just a little every day I sew. Re-watching all of Mozart In The Jungle works well, too (an amazing achievement by Amazon Prime, in case you've never tried it! Just passing along the info!).

My nieces even helped a bit! Meaning, they pushed the sewing machine pedal (not pictured) and started a million other crafts (both enjoyable and distracting). :)

So, two questions for you: 1. What are your strategies for time-consuming projects with deadlines? 2. Who else loves Mozart in the Jungle? :)


  1. I like to work on something for an hour or so and then take a 15 minute break and repeat. I try to make sure I stretch a lot, too. Repetitive, time-consuming tasks can be hard to work through, but I almost always love the final product that much more because of all the work that went into it. You can do it!

  2. I break it up into manageable segments. I'll either walk, or swim, (indoors in the winter), before or after the segment. I listen to a lot of radio while I'm working, anything from rock to classical to jazz to Bloomberg. Yes, I love Bloomberg radio. Sometimes I have the TV on in the background instead. But if it's on, it has to be light and funny or Food TV Network or HGTV.

  3. I'm a mom; there are times I'm sitting in a waiting room or in a car with a few minutes or up to an hour. I often use that time to work on a quilt, especially when it's a quilt with an upcoming deadline -- I can't waste any time!!

    Of course, this means prepping in advance. So, maybe I'd sew a bunch of squares together, and in my waiting time, cut and trim them into needed HSTs. Or maybe I'd have a bunch of numbered pieces that I carefully pin together to match the seams, so when I next get to my sewing machine, I can zip through them. Or I'd use my waiting time to design, plan, and do quilty math.

    If I'm on a deadline, it's all about doing as much chain-work as possible. Pin all you can, sew all you can, iron all you can. I chain-sew and then pull pieces off the front to chain-sew the next bit on, w/o ironing in between. If you can't make progress on aspect of the project (say your sewing machine is being fixed), figure out how to make progress on a different aspect (cut strips for your binding fabric). Forward, ever forward!

    When it's crunch time, I also make my kids and husband get their own food and/or make food for me. :)

    There are of course times when there's no looming deadline and I can take a more winding route to finishing things, detouring when and where I wish! That's fun, too.

  4. music and tv certainly makes my chores easier (cleaning, endless cleaning.... want to buy a nice big house in Virginia?) Sewing, I usually listen to music. I want to try books on tape, or movies, my machines are set up so that I can see the tv in the family room large tv with ease.
    Or I just talk to myself hahahaha
    I am very easily distracted.
    I love pre-schoolers.They are like little clowns. I think they are much easier than teenagers, or even pre-teens.
    My grandbaby Sarah is 14 months old now and she is the cutest silly thing ever.
    I love this quilt you made for your bed. I really hope this new project, even though tedious, will soon get you excited - before school starts

  5. If I am at a point where I dread going to work on something but it needs to be done I can sort of trick myself by setting a goal like see so many rows/blocks/pieces or whatever. This gets me to the machine or cutting space. Then usually when I reach the goal I employ the just one more method. Which is to say that I am feeling good about my progress and try to ride that momentum a bit further. I honestly think I have undiagnosed ADD so often the starting to work is more difficult than the continuing to work part. And if I leave my machine on with something in progress on it, I have to go back when I take a break and usually continue sewing instead of tuning off the machine when the break is over. A little self deception, sad but it gets me through. That and the sour patch kids on my sewing table.

    1. I like the idea of using segments and tricking yourself! That works for me sometimes, too. :) Sour patch kids encouraged! My favorite is Reese's pieces. In the summer, a bowl of blueberries works.

  6. I try to break the project into reasonable goals and then break each of those into steps I can accomplish with breaks in housework, lunch with a friend, water the garden, feed the chickens, etc. I also allow myself reading breaks if I'm on target. And when I sew, I listen to audio books. Keep downloading them from the library and playing on my tablet!!!

  7. A deadline is my greatest source of inspiration. I put the blinders on and get down to work. I will usually break up the project into measurable tasks : cutting, stitching, pressing, squaring up. If I have 200 little block segments to assemble, I will divide them into piles of ten or twenty. I will then challenge myself to complete them in a certain time frame. This usually works and makes it fun! When I finish, I emerge from my studio feeling victorious!

    1. Dividing into smaller piles - deception! Good idea! I like to challenge myself too. Thanks for all the positivity! :)

  8. I love to listen to story CD's - and as Sandy mentioned above, I too like to put things into mathematical segments or different stages. This helps me to feel I'm progressing rapidly. You mentioned you love the quilting stage best. We'd make a good pair. I love everything that leads up to that point - and then it sits - sigh - I need to work on that part :)!

  9. Patience is something I struggle with! Like you, I love to jump in because I'm so excited about it. It usually sits the longest after its pinned and waiting for the quilting. I always have a hard time with that step! I have one project that sits and stares at me daily. My Technicolor Galaxy quilt! It may sit for a while longer too!

  10. If it's the weekend and I have a long stretch of time (but also household items to do), I set the timer. 30 minutes of sewing, 30 minutes of household projects. The sewing seems to go by very quickly even if I'm at a "eh" stage. I also tend to hurry through the household projects instead of getting distracted. I rarely put aside a project and come back to it unless it's to the basting stage. I wait until I have two to do at the same time.


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