Progress review and ‘What is it with February?’

It is over ten days since I’ve sat here ready to tap out a new post.  Life has been busy and I have to admit I’ve been a bit down – on myself and just about life in general 🙁  This all kicked off last weekend when I resolved to review my words for 2015 and found little to cheer about.  I also felt horribly tired – taking to having naps in the evening to get me to bedtime then sleeping through as many hours as the alarm clock and my diary would allow.  So no chance of my early morning ‘creative power hours’. Frustration levels rose and I have to admit some grumpiness happened!  Anyway the cloud has lifted over the past couple of days and commonsense has come into play.  I read Susan’s post and recognised her short-lived grumpy state immediately and could agree with everyone who commented citing January into February as being an annual low time (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere that is).

Interim report on words of the year. FINISH –  this had my mood plummeting!  It took days of stomping around before I noticed the bucket bag I’d finished and could actually then acknowledge one finish for the whole of January (sigh).  Must try harder. LEARN – there has been more ‘on the job’ learning (see below) than watching and following tutorials. Room for improvement.

Having undergone this discouraging self-review I have had to re-evaluate my goals and ‘get real’.  Despite my best efforts I haven’t finished a quilt (instead I have lapsed into bad habits and started two!); mostly I have enjoyed the time spent at my sewing machine; there is far less time available in the week to sew than I care to believe; all in all, I need to recognise when my to do list becomes a burden rather than a motivating tool and adjust it and my expectations accordingly.

Apologies for all this navel gazing, now to the patchwork and quilting…  In my last post I celebrated the freeing experience of making blocks for a puzzle quilt with no plan just a basket of fat quarters and book of block patterns.   Well!  That lack of planning took me so far and then tripped me up!  I tried laying out a few of the completed blocks and making strips of smaller blocks (flying geese and the like) to fill the gaps…  A day of unpicking, re-measuring, cutting strips, re-sewing and discovering I was still ¼” short of the required width did nothing to lift my February gloom!  I just couldn’t figure out if the problems were caused by my wonky maths or wonky seams! I finally managed to construct a 24″ ‘multi-block’ with quite a bit of fudging and ‘extreme pressing’.

The first, fudged, 'multi-block'  and possible placement of blocks for the second.
The first, fudged, ‘multi-block’ and possible placement of blocks for the second, planned, multi-block.

And so I have learned to make a plan (be it a bit rough and not to scale) and have a method for constructing a puzzle quilt that is working.   Before putting together a group of blocks and thinking about the link blocks and strips to put between them, I lay three or four blocks on my design wall sitting room floor and then mark out their position on a drawn grid marked in 3″ steps up to 24″ square.

 

It's pretty rough but this plan makes all the difference!  I aim to draw a scale plan for the whole quilt top once it is completed.
It’s pretty rough but this plan makes all the difference! I aim to draw a scale plan for the whole quilt top once it is completed.

This has really helped me to accurately calculate seam allowances. The second 24″ multi-block went together without any trouble and the third is almost completed 🙂  I think six of these multi-blocks with a series of borders will make a reasonable size quilt. My goal is to finish it by the end of February.

But just for now my attention has to turn to a mound of ironing (it really has been put off for long enough!) and the welcome return of #1 son for the weekend 🙂

Allison

0 thoughts on “Progress review and ‘What is it with February?’

  1. Bless! I hope you are feeling you energy rising now as the days are getting just a little brighter. We all have periods of ebb and flow, and I know so many people who were poorly over winter or just really curled up by it. Nothing is forever. I missed most of January ! Xx

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