Friday, December 31, 2010

I Need More Hands

I have several hand work projects and can't find a balance to get to them all. I'd love to know how you decide which hand projects to work on. Do you work on one a week? Or just work on it until you get to a certain place?

My poor Jane Stickle quilt languishing in the closet. I have the center and about 1/2 of one side of the triangles quilted. A good winter project, for sure.
My lovely wool crazy that hasn't been touched for awhile.
This is one of three little quilts that I want to hand quilt. I'll probably do a little machine work and hand on this one. It's all basted and ready to go!
Hand applique Beyond the Cherry Tree. It is slow going for me. It's small and portable so that's good.  I'm already behind and want to keep going on this, but not at the expense of the other projects. I put in about 2 hours a day in the evening working on hand projects.

Any great tips or ideas?
This has been a fun year of blogging for me. Thank you all for the wonderful inspiration and encouragement!
Let's bring on 2011!!


  1. The only suggestion I have is to make lists. One thing on my current is finishing my doll quilt UFOs before starting any others. I'm quilting the last one now.

    There are also projects with deadlines. I'm teaching four knitting classes in January and February and I have to have the class samples done by January 12th.

    I have a weekly list of what I want to get done and then break that down into daily lists. It helps, but it isn't perfect by any means. Many times projects are carried into the next week's list.

    My week is also not M-F and not always 7 days. It depends upon my schedule and what days I'll be home. I go back to work (I work part-time as a reference librarian and archivist at a university library) on Tuesday, so this week's list is today through January 3rd.

    Hope that is a little help. And I look forward to reading other's ideas.

  2. I stuggle with the same thing. Only advice is to really work on what is speaking to you, keep at it. I find that once I'm past a certain point on a project, I will become committed to finishing it. But many projects sit waiting for that inspiration to finish. Good luck!!

  3. You have some lovely quilts to finish! I work on the one that is calling - "Please finish me first!"
    Have a wonderful New Year's Eve and a great 2011!!

  4. Well I don't really have any suggestions for you Lori because I struggle to find the right balance with all of my hand work also! Oh and since I got a Kindle for Christmas, I haven't even picked up a needle and thread!!!

    I am going to read all of the comments so maybe I can get myself organized because I really like working on projects in the evenings.

    Happy and Blessed New Year!!!

  5. I don't have too many hand work projects going, but I usually put priority on items that are almost finished - for example, I always finish binding a quilt right away. I like to have projects to work on in the car/truck, especially while traveling far, so I like to have embroidery to do - that work better for me than applique or quilting while going down the road. I haven't done any hand quilting since I finished the first CC&C quilt, but may hand quilt the next one too. I also like to do hand work in the evenings (I figure I should spend some time at least in the living room with DH). I have a little bag ready to go with embroidery. I will check back to see what suggestions others have.

  6. I have the same dilemma, so I don't have an answer for you. I did tell myself I could not start another applique project before my big one was done, but my hand quilting and binding projects are still calling. If you find the answer, let us all know.

  7. I suppose I'm a pretty boring quilter, but I really don't like starting one project until the other is finished. That's how I work on most projects anyway. Hand-piecing is a little different because you can have that going with you wherever you go.
    My New Year's resolution though, is to not be so hung up on my own rules!

    Happy New Year and happy stitching. That's what I'll be doing today.

  8. I usually work on what I am inspired by to work on.
    When I work on a lot of applique I find I need to stop and make a little quilt or two just so I have a finish, something to show for it!
    I do make lists for a week and see how much I can accomplish in the quilting dept
    I am a big list maker, every day life gets one each morning and then quilting one for the week.
    works for me
    I would love to see you finish hand quilting your DJ what a masterpiece that will be when done
    and a major accomplishment
    I am routing you on!

  9. I have the same problem, too many projects to finish.
    I generally hand quilt primitive quilts and machine quilt all others. I like big stitching for hand quilting, no patience to do thousands of tiny stitches;)


  10. Those quilts will be beautiful when finished - hopefully that is inspiration enough to keep plugging away. Handwork is a slow process - that's what makes it so special! I have not found a solution either other than picking one project that is calling you and give it priority. That way you will have a finished project and you will feel that you have made progress. Eventually they will all get done.

  11. Don't know that this will help you, but I work on what most interests me at the moment. I definitely don't work in a straight line - I go from one project to the next and back again. May not be efficient, but most projects eventually get done. Usually 2 hours a day of handwork? No wonder you get so much done!

  12. I attempt to finish projects as the mood takes me. In other words, I don't finish much! LOL I try to give myself a goal. When I reach it, I give myself a a coffee with gingerbread creamer or an hour browsing quilt magazines without feeling guilty!

  13. Oh, do we need an answer! I have many hand projects waiting. I tend to work on what is most exciting to me at the moment. And sometimes there is a reason to go gung ho and finish a project all the way. When I get to that point, I have mental goals as how much I want to get done in a day or week. Looks like the ladies making lists are the ones with the answer.

  14. I can certainly relate to this as I have lots and lots of current hand stitching projects - some hand piecing and others needleturn applique. It is always a quandary to know sometimes which one to work on but often when I need a portable project none of them are at a suitable stage - what a dilemma. Happy New Year!

  15. Any craft that is done by hand IS time consuming! But oh so worth it.

    IMHO, is to focus on 2 of your WIPs and alternate them for variety. Go for the smaller projects first, so that you'll get a sense of accomplishment. Now I too need to subscribe to what I just said :p

    Happy New Year to you Lori!

  16. I am not one to give advice because for me it is all on a whim. I have found that I need to keep more of those hand project AND the thread for them, next to the couch making it more likely that I will pick it up and work on it in the evening instead of falling asleep :)

  17. Not sure where I read this, and it was some time ago, but a woman explained her process for finishing quilt projects. It was a little too stringent for me, but the basic idea was workable: Identify all your projects. If you have four, say, commit to work on project 1 the first week, project 2 the second, etc. Work only on that one that week whether you want to or not.

    At first you might not, but once you force yourself to pick it up, you'll get going on it, and won't want to stop at the end of the week, but you must set it aside for the next project.

    This way you have variety and don't burn out on a particular project, you get over the hump of starting to work on something you were bored with, and you make progress on everything.

    If you commit to a certain amount of time a week for the handwork projects then the rest of your week's time can be for whatever you want.

  18. Well, I have read all your comments, hoping I could find an answer as well. Lists seem to help several people. I use to make lists when my children were much younger, but stopped when I was told that list making put too much pressure on you. (Probably heard that on a "talk show".) Since I no longer watch shows like that, I think I will give the old list making a try. I have so many little hand projects waiting to get done that I have forgot what half of them are....I need to try something. Good luck to you as well.

  19. That is the dilema isn't it. Too many quilts, too little time. If I see a new project that I am really excited about I make myself finish something else before I start the new one. I also try to put at least one quilt in my local quilt show each year, that deadline looming makes me stay on track at least with that quilt. Other quilts are in my "I don't care how long it takes" catagory, I just enjoy the process. So enjoy all of your quilts, and Happy New Year Lori!

  20. I make lists that keep me very organized...or they would if I stayed with the list LOL. I try to work my list, but I often do what is calling to med at the moment. I like to do hand workinthe evening too.
    Happy New Year

  21. I have been wishing for an extra set of hands since the girls were born! LOL! I'm going to just commit to my UFOs in 2011. Finishing them! I want to wish you a very Happy New Year, Lori! Thanks for helping make 2010 such a special one for me!

  22. With hand work I usually keep working on the same project until I have it done and ready for the next step. With applique or hand piecing I don't stop until it's a finished top. Once I start quilting something, I keep going until it's done, etc. I always do bindings immediately after finishing the quilting.
    If I set something aside I lose interest in it.
    You have some wonderful projects to work on. I hope you find a system that works well for you.
    Best wishes for a happy, healthy new year! :)

  23. Seems you have a lovely stack there. Can't say I have any advice for you since my hand quilting consists of big stitch perle cotton embellishment! Thanks for all your blogposts this year, the quiltalong, and thanks for visiting my blog too. Happy New Year!

  24. HI Lori!! Happiest New Year to you! I only have one (surprised?) hand quilting project going at a time...and 49 piecing projects!! My lists help me, but I think that the idea of working a couple hours a night will do wonders for you.

  25. I'm sorry there isn't a solution, I try to buy time but is not on sale :)
    I wish You a New Year with more and more time to quilt, is the only thnig I can do!
    Happy New Year,

  26. Wishing you a happy new year. I try to work on large hand applique projects until they are finished. I try to not start another large one until the one is done. Back in 2007 I finished every UFO I had which was why I started blogging.

  27. Like so many others - I will pick up what suits my mood - it may be because the colors are soothing or things are just going so well. Of course, this doesn't hold true when a deadline is involved! Just spend the last 4 days cleaning the sewing room & will be writing about my new discoveries at the next blog posting.
    I was tempted to join in on a UFO challenge for 2011, but not sure I need that pressure.

  28. Your projects are so beautiful! I have several hand projects at the ready. Whatever the mood strikes at the moment is the one I grab when I'm heading off to an appointment or going to sit in front of the TV. I need a little variety so I skip around. I am looking forward to seeing your finished projects. They are awesome!

  29. Whatever the answer is, we all need it!
    You have been a great inspiration to me and I really wish I could help you in some way. I agree, it has been a great year blogging and I know we will have another great year. Happy New Year!

  30. There are a lot of good suggestions here. When I took my teaching classes several years ago, one of the things I learned was there are basically two types of people - those who are process oriented and those who are goal oriented. I'd say, first decide which you are. It takes off some of the pressure if you know you're process oriented.

    I'm goal oriented and knew it early on. If I have several projects going at once, it really stresses me out!!! Once I mostly catch up with the Cherry Tree blocks, I'm going to start the Salinda Rupp quilt but that will be one piecing project and one hand project and I can handle that - one day time and one evening.

    If I were the one with four projects waiting, I'd pick the one I could finish fastest to work on first but that's me. Or you could assign a time of day to each quilt - say 10 AM to noon for the Cherry Tree blocks and if you have any free time in that window, that's the one you work on. Other times get different projects. I don't work well from lists unless I'm shopping!

    Is this a long enough answer??? I hope one of us has helped.

    Happy New Year, Lori!!!

  31. The only suggestion I have is to enjoy the process and stop worrying about getting a finished product. I tend to work on things willy-nilly, as they 'call' to me. When I find myself thinking of a certain project, I pull it out and work on it - until another project comes to mind. It might be 2 days or 2 months later. As long as I am working on something and not wasting the time I have available to me, it's all good. Just enjoy the process :)

  32. It's all progress! I tend to be a project starter for awhile and then a project finisher. I'm not sure why it works that way for me. I've been in a finishing mood lately, but no time to work on projects!

  33. funny how those of us who love handwork all have the same problem!
    I've decided to go back to the "one a week" solution I tried a couple years ago and it worked for me...
    I've chosen my 4 top projects to finish in 2011 and gave them a number. Then each week 1-4 I work on that project. Not that this is a perfect solution (I still get excited and want to start something new) nor does it address the other umpteen started or ready to start projects here, but if I can just make some headway- AND ENJOY the process then it is all good.
    I think it is the enjoyment part we can't try to forget. If we do nothing will get done. Happy new year- I will look forward to sharing your stitching progress.

  34. Lori,

    I, too, always have a couple projects going simultaneously (plus ongoing knitting & needlepoint projects).

    Here are some ideas that work for me:

    1. Always keep work at hand so you can pick it up when you receive a phone call or watch TV.
    2. Before stopping, thread some needles and put a safety pin where you left off.
    3. Have a portable "hand project" bagged and ready to go for trips.
    4. For each project, make a step-by-step list of what needs to be done.

    I love your blog and look forward to more inspiration in 2011!

  35. I love the medallion quilt. It looks very English/Welsh.

  36. Ha - since I am a serial project starter, the best advice I can give is to enjoy the process, and I know you do that! It is fun to pull projects out of rotation and if at least a couple get finished every year, I'm pleased. Happy new year to you - always enjoy your blog!

  37. more hands? Yes, and an extra brain as mine has been overworked. Hmmm--how to allot time? No help here! Right now I've been toying with watching the calender. Play with what I WANT until Monday. Then work in some other projects. Some machine piecing. Finish putting a top together--its been on the wall long enough. finish a QAYG that needs some unstitching. Ah well, I keep reminding myself to ENJOY it! And I am!

  38. Lori you definitely need more hands , More hours in the day and years in your life.Perhaps not to keep being inspired by other quilts and going off on another tangent.
    Hey but that would be boring wouldn't it!

    I can't believe you have done a Dear Jane( Well perhaps I can).
    Happy Stitching in 2011 and hope we get to meet up.

  39. Happy New Year Lori!!!

    I always have a variety of projects I work on at the same time (its the Gemini in me!) Sometimes I write lists because they help keep me focused.
    I look forward to seeing more of your Jane Stickle quil.t

  40. I am so envious (sweetly, not maliciously so ;-)) of you for having advanced so much in your Dear Jane. I have just joined a european DJ group and am going to start mine this month, so here are my two pennies' worth of advice - get yours finished and show us your beauty!

    A happy and a prosperous new year to you and your loved ones!

  41. Hi Lori :O)

    So glad you stopped by!

    New bloggers usually bring something positive and fresh into blogland ;O)

    Wish you a happy new year and let it be wonderful and creative :O)

    We are all in need for more arms and al lot more time. I joined Quiltoholikers resoluting:

    Take care :O)

  42. Happy New Year. Great question and great answers. I love your quilts and I am sure you are enjoying the process. I do finish my quilts-eventually. Quilting for me is like life; is not a race to the finish line. Keep quilting and inspiring us.

  43. Love the cherry tree basket! your applique is so good....I'm just a piecer at heart! The one quilt I have that just needs the applique finished in the border --- has languished for a couple years now! I'm mostly focusing on 2 handwork projects. The hexagons are a "take along" and the pink DJ thing is an "evening on the couch" project. Any more than that, and I can't choose, so then I choose nothing, and nothing gets done!


  44. We all seem to be in the same boat. I to will work on the project that inspires at the moment. So many people makes lists and after reading the comments I started my own list, now I'm terrified. I'll get done what makes me happy.

  45. I am afraid no tips from here, I have the same problem. And a fight between wanting to do things by hand and machine!

  46. Lori, I just go great guns on one until I run out of thread, or cut and prepped pieces, or the cat throws up on some of the fabric I left laying around, in other words until I run into a problem, and then I move onto another project. Will that work for you? :)

  47. I have no rules. I just do whatever I feel like at the time! Well unless it is a gift and I really have to finish it at the last minute which is way too often!


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