Friday, March 14, 2008

How do you finish a quilt?

I have been avoiding my sewing machine for the last few weeks partly because I have become overwhelmed with the amount of projects that I have begun and didn't know where to start. My unfinished items have been piling up, and since many of the unfinished projects were part of swaps, it was beginning to weigh heavily on my heart that I had made commitments to others and I was letting them down. I needed to put these projects first as my sewing priorities and I needed to find a way to get them finished. It can be hard to determine where to start when so many projects are verging on almost finished as well as others that are barely begun. I often find myself starting an entirely new project just to avoid facing the decision of where to start.

Quilting friends, it came to me when I sat down to work on the most difficult one of my unfinished projects. There is only one answer to the question "How do you finish a quilt(or red work, or any stitching)?"

Regardless of whether you work fast or slow, all quilts are created the same way:


So I decided that on Monday I would begin the week and only work on the projects that were part of a swap and would be mailed out to someone I had made a commitment to. All week long I stuck to my plan and moved from one project to the next. My projects were small, but getting over the hurdle of not knowing how to start was huge. I kept telling myself that I would finish each of these projects the only way I know stitch at a time!

These two 6" pieces of red work were the most difficult for me to finish. It wasn't the stitching that kept me from finishing them. It was having to restitch them as the first ones were lost in the mail. The first package that I had put together had a quilting magazine and Amish newspapers and an set of Amish embroidery transfers and two pieces of red work that took many hours of stitching. I remember packing the box and including things that my partner would like. So I went back to the quilt shop found a replacement magazine and dug through my shelves of Amish books knowing that they may bring a smile to my partner's day
and finished them the only way I know stitch at a time!

January ended up not being a good shipping month for the international packages I mailed out, because a package that was shipped to Brazil was also lost. The package was full of nine patch blocks, beads and a magazine for my partner. Frazzled at yet another project that had to be restitched I avoided them altogether. Until I thought about it and realized that they would brighten someone's walls. I chose fabric that would brighten my work
and finished them the only way I know stitch at a time!

I am hosting the third of six organized swaps for dishcloths and after having knit 8 of these dishcloths I am getting tired of knitting them. But someone else is looking forward to receiving 2 of them from me in the mail soon and so I chose bright green spring cotton,
and finished them the only way I know stitch at a time!

I thought of a million things I wanted to say to the person who decide to drop out of a nine patch swap and not finish her blocks and didn't bother to tell anyone. Her partner never received any blocks. As the organizer of the swap I couldn't let one of the swappers go without receiving something. I contacted her and asked her about her favorite fabrics. The angels where smiling on me that day as she said Civil War repros. I always look at my scrap baskets and think about all the quilts that are hiding in there. So I grabbed fabrics for the quilter who didn't receive her blocks and finished them the only way I know stitch at a time!

News spread like wild fire through the forest that there was a crazy woman sitting at her sewing machine and the wildlife had to come see for themselves if it was true or just a forest rumor that the squirrels had spread.

While I haven't completed large quilts this week, I have finished projects that I made a commitment to. We all have invested time, money and sacrifice of other things that we could and maybe should be doing when we take time to quilt. Don't become discouraged when you see other quilters finishing quilts every week, or showing new projects that they are starting. Know that they finish quilts the same way you will too,
the only way you know how...ONE STITCH AT A TIME!