Monday, January 11, 2021

Goals for the New Year: Part 1

 We are a couple weeks into 2021 already, and this week I want to talk about setting goals and making them happen. 

A lot of people tend to make new goals and resolutions at the start of a new year. When in the quilt shop the two I hear most are I need to finish what I have and I need to use up my stash before buying anything new. There is nothing wrong with those thoughts and goals, however how we approach that may be unrealistic. 

Sometimes the undertaking is just to big to actually accomplish without being discouraged. 

This quilt was a work in progress for quite awhile, it was actually supposed to be larger but I just wanted it off my mind so I decided this was big enough and finished it off. 

I have a couple tips about how to finish old projects and how to organize and work your stash so that your goals can actually be reached. Tonight I will talk about old projects and Thursday I will go into the stash. 

First go through the projects you have on the go and have abandoned. Make two piles, ones you actually want to finish a

nd others that just don't interest you anymore, maybe your tastes have changed, or the person you intended to make it for has changed (or grown from a baby to an adult). If you have lots on the go you can do this over several time periods, rather than all at once which can be discouraging. 

Now that you have two piles go through the ones you want to finish and prioritize them into an order of needs to be finished quick down to ones that you love but don't have an actual deadline. Maybe one needs to be done soon for a gift or it is seasonal and should be finished by the time that season rolls around. There could be some that could be finished quickly and others that are going to be a little more time consuming, you could make a couple different organized piles if need be. Now put them in your cupboard with the most important ones on top. I love using clear totes to store my projects so I can see what is in each one at a quick glance. 

When they are organized you need to make some more goals. How many do you want to be working on at once, do you work better with rewards or deadlines? That sort of thing. 

For myself I like to have a few different projects on the go at one time, in various stages. I like a difficult one to keep my brain stimulated, an easy one that if I have just  a little bit of time I can go work on it, and some that need hand binding as well. That is all that I will have out, the rest will be put away in totes, out of sight out of mind. 

This quilt was on my "to be bound" pile for a couple years, this past summer I moved it to the top of the pile and told myself it had to be finished by the end of the week. It got done!

I also like to set deadlines and rewards. I will tell myself a certain quilt has to be finished by the end of the month, and it usually ends up finished, sometimes it doesn't but that is OK, as long as I have made some progress. Another trick is to tell myself that if I finish these 3 projects I can pick a new one, or I can get that new fat 1/4 bundle I have been eyeing. I never try to make it a goal that is not achievable, quilting should be a relaxing hobby not one that causes more stress. 

I know Carrie chose 12 projects from her unfinished pile and labelled them each with a month of this year. When said month rolls around she will pull it out and work on it. She did this last year too and she said it really helped her feel like she was making a dent in older projects but still having time to work on new projects. 

A tip I got from another quilter was set aside one day or week of the month for old unfinished projects and just work on them at that time.

We started a PhD (Projects Half Done) accountability project during Facebook Live last week. We set the first Tuesday of the month as PhD Day, Esther made some goals for herself to have finished by the end of the month and encouraged everyone else to send in a photo of their project as well as a goal. Everyone that does will get entered into a draw for a gift, this month a Gift Card to our shop. It is a good way to have some accountability. There are others that know of your goal, and can check back with you to see if you accomplished it or not. (By the way it's not too late to join in on this, just send us a photo of your project and what you would like to have done by the end of the month, maybe all the blocks finished, or the top completed, or maybe just 5 more blocks done, whatever is an achievable goal for you)

Think about your self and your schedule and what would work best for you. Whatever you decide, make it a goal that is something that you can actually accomplish. 

Now that you have a plan for those projects you want to finish there is the other stack to sort out. 

There are a number of things you can do. You could just throw it out (don't get mad at me for saying that, if you truly no longer like it and have no love for the fabrics than that is one way to get rid of it)

Another option is to donate it or sell it on a marketplace or buy and sell group or yard sale. Just because you don't like it, someone else might, and they may be able to make good use of it, better use than sitting on your shelf and weighing on your mind. 

If you still like the fabrics but not where the project was going you could divide the fabrics up into scrap bins, you might use the fabrics up quicker that way, and then they are not just sitting there waiting to be made into that project you no longer have any desire to do. 

 If you have a number of blocks finished and feel like you have too much invested into it to get rid of it  you could just make it into a baby quilt, wall hanging or table runner. That way you didn't "waste" time making those blocks, and you get a project finished. 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with donating, selling or getting rid of old projects, if you don't like it the project will just take up space in your sewing space and in your brain, with very little chance of it every getting finished. 

Remember quilting is supposed to be a fun way to relax, it really is a type of therapy! 

I hope some of these tips help you to get your unfinished projects sorted out, along with a plan to get some finished. Thursday I will be back with some ways to organize your stash. 


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