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Small Steps Lead to Big Progress

Hi there!  Today is my turn on the UFOvember blog hop and I'm going to talk about "Resume" -  how to get back to an unfinished project and GET IT DONE!  Yay!

When this blog hop idea came up, I got so excited.  I have a growing pile of UFOs that has been nagging at me and I needed some motivation to get down to business and get some of these things done.  There's something about being part of a group project like this that helps me want to work on something!  With all the social distancing we've had to do, it's put a big damper on sewing get-togethers and the little "oomph" that sewing days with friends gives us.  Doing something online like this really helps fill that void!

When I was preparing for this blog hop, I took some time to look around my sewing room and take stock of what UFOs I needed to work on.  Then I started thinking about WHY I had such a hard time getting them finished.  I have a lot of time, so I knew that really wasn't my problem.  I have plenty of space to work in, so that wasn't my problem either.  Then it dawned on me that my problem was HOW I looked at my projects.  I was looking at the WHOLE pile all at once and getting so overwhelmed that I couldn't bring myself to tackle anything.  I tried to think of only one project at a time, but I ran into the same problem.  I was looking at the WHOLE project all at once and feeling defeated before I could begin ("This will take me for-ev-er!").  UGH!

Then I got an idea.  I remembered the old saying, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."  What if I did that with EACH quilt project?  What if, instead of just writing down each quilt, I made a chart where I could break each quilt down into steps that I could check off?  That way I could get that sense of accomplishment all along the way instead of feeling overwhelmed with how long it was taking me.  Eureka!  

So I sat down at the computer and created a chart/checklist for myself.  I decided I might as well make it "pretty" too while I was at it so I would enjoy looking at it.  (If it looks boring, I won't look at it, and if I don't look at it, I won't use it!)  So here's what I came up with.



I'm so happy with how it turned out that I'm sharing it with you all!  You can get a complementary download of this Quilt Completion Chart here.

So now that I had my chart, it was time to write things down.  I filled in the blanks and found that using this chart helped me to see right where I was at with each project.  Instead of having this vague sense of a pile of unfinished quilts, I could see that some were more than halfway done.  That was really encouraging!  Here's what my chart looked like.

Time to get to work!  I picked the first quilt on the list and got out everything for that project.  This quilt was "Pinwheel Parade" from my Shortcuts with Precuts pattern collection, so I was working with precut squares and yardage.  It was a little daunting at first because I had started and stopped on this one so many times that parts of it were in all different stages of completion.

I had precuts marked for half square triangles.

I had some precuts sewn to yardage so I could cut half square triangles.

I had some blocks trimmed, subcut and ready for further assembly.

I even had the backing and binding fabric ready and waiting.

First thing was to finish sewing the rest of my half square triangles.  I have a special way to do this when combining precuts with yardage.  I cut a strip of yardage slightly larger than the precuts and place the strip face up on my work surface.  Then I place the marked precuts face down on the strip so that the drawn lines form a large zig zag and pin them in place.  I sew along the left side of the line continuously from block to block down the whole length of the strip, then flip the strip around and do the same on the other side of the drawn lines.  Finally, I cut between the squares to separate the blocks and trim as needed.  (This method is included in the Shortcuts with Precuts patterns.)

Next, it was lots of trimming and subcutting.  NOT the fun part, but I was determined to keep at it until it was done!  (Knowing I had to share this blog post gave me the kick in the pants I needed to forge ahead.  Nothing like a deadline to keep you motivated!  Haha!)

Then it was time to assemble the blocks.  I had 20 large 16" blocks to put together, so this part went a bit faster.  Seeing the blocks come together really made me happy!  I was making REAL progress!

In no time at all, the blocks were done!  Yay!  Check that off of the list!!  Now I could lay them out and rearrange them to my liking.  I don't have a dedicated space for a design wall, so our couch became my arranging area.  It was so wonderful to see all those finished blocks sitting there! 

From here, the assembly process went speedily! 

Sew blocks to make rows.....check!

Sew rows to finish quilt top....check!

And, tah dah!!  The top is done!  Time for a happy dance!!

Breaking each project down into steps really helped me get the ball rolling and make GREAT progress.  I can't wait to tackle some more of those unfinished quilts now that I have a handy plan to work with.  I hope it will help you too!  Don't forget to download your copy of the Quilt Completion Chart so you can start conquering your own stack of UFOs!

Don't forget to stop by the rest of the blogs on this blog hop.  I'm sure it will inspire and encourage you with your own projects!  Here is the full schedule with links to each blog/website.

Sun, Nov 1    UFO inventory     The Geeky Bobbin   

Mon, Nov 2   UFO inventory     Pretty Piney Quilts 

Tues, Nov 3   UFO inventory     Canuck Quilter Designs   

Wed, Nov 4    UFO inventory     Duck Creek Mountain Quilting

Thurs, Nov 5    UFO inventory      Storytelling Tees  

Fri, Nov 6    UFO inventory     Said With Love 

Sat, Nov 7    Resume      Sarah Ruiz Quilts 


Sun, Nov 8     Resume     Your Sewing Friend

Mon, Nov 9     Resume    Just Get It Done Quilts  

Tues, Nov 10     Resume    Snowy Days Quilting

Wed, Nov 11    Resume     Sunflower Stitcheries and Quilting

Thurs, Nov 12      Resume      Blue Heron Quilting

Fri, November 13    Resume     Sewing Corals

Sat, Nov 14     Resume     Devoted Quilter


Sun, Nov 15      Resume     Desert Bloom Quilting

Mon, Nov 16.    Rework     Tourmaline & Thyme Quilts

Tues, Nov 17     Rework      Better Done Quilts

Wed, Nov 18     Rework     Two Terriers Studio

Thurs, Nov 19    Rework     Cinzia White Designs

Fri, Nov 20     Rework     Slice of Pi Quilts

Sat, Nov 21     Rework     The Barefoot Crafter


Sun, Nov 22    Rework    Dragonfly’s Quilting Design Studio

Mon, Nov 23     Rehome     Quiltfox Design

Tues, Nov 24     Rehome     Quilting McCabe

Wed, Nov 25    Rehome     Stitching In Heels 

Thurs, Nov 26    Rehome     Ships & Violins

Fri, Nov 27    Rehome    Katie Mae Quilts 

Sat, Nov 28    Rehome    Cozy Funky Cool


Sun, Nov 29     Rehome    Line Design

Mon, Nov 30     Rehome    Nerdy Quilter 


Until next time, 

Happy Sewing!