Meet my 10-year-old monkeys

I like to get things done. Must get things done. Nothing makes me happier than a crossed-off to-do list.

So the various project boxes in my craft room staring me in the face drive me crazy. Especially the ones that are ancient.

Lap quilt from baseball team block swap
King-sized quilt meant for mom and hand-quilted

These two projects are remnants of our summer living in Kansas City when I had nothing to do but sew (on a tiny kitchen table, no less) and was just starting out in quilting. That was back in 2001. Which means these projects are 10 years old. Yowsers.

They’re also perfect illustrations of two of my biggest challenges in getting things done. Both of which I am getting better at, thank you.

No plan at the start. The baseball quilt was part of a block swap, my first and only. I was so excited to be a part of it, but once I had all the blocks, stymied as to what to do with them. So they’ve been sitting in an envelope, then a drawer, then a project box for 10 years now. Since the group I donate baby quilts to says they struggle to find good quilts for teen boys, I finally found a purpose and plan for these guys.

Not that it was easy. The blocks were way too big to make a small quilt. And I studiously ignored the fact that the Nationals aren’t included and the Expos are. Done was the goal. And now that I had a purpose (small quilt for teen boy), could come up with a plan (chop them down to make them smaller and more interesting) that got me there.

Underestimating resources. My parents own a house up in the New Mexico mountains. (Want to buy it?) Back when they first moved in, the downstairs basement room was fairly unfinished, although it had a bed. Which mean it had a lot of concrete and was pretty chilly at night. So I had the brilliant idea (new quilter, remember?) of making a quilt for the king-size bed down there. The quilt top itself got done fairly quickly, but then I was left with quilting this monster, which would never be able to fit in my machine. (I have since learned much that would have solved this issue.)

So I decided to hand-quilt the thing. And dang it, I’m actually good at hand projects. But I’m not good at marking, apparently as my template stopped matching up well and I couldn’t keep the pattern going correctly. Because, no-o-o-o, I couldn’t pick something simple with straight lines. I had to have a curvy deal. And I stalled. I’d pick it up every now and then, but just couldn’t get things moving again after I was about halfway through. I’d bitten off more than I could chew and lost motivation in staring at the monumental task.

Last May, I finally found someone who could finish it for me and was just thrilled at the prospect of it being done and in my mom’s hands. Then she was diagnosed with the tumor in July and that plan went out the window. As it was, it took my professional quilter a year to finish the center, then I did the borders on my machine. It’ll have a home at my sister-in-law’s, but my lack of understanding of what it would take to do this project will always leave me with a tinge of sadness over it.

Lessons learned? These are actually things that fall in the shipping emphasis Seth had in his program. Begin with the end in mind, thrash hard at the beginning and commit to ship once you start. If I had followed any of that, these guys would be a distant memory and my mom would have had time to get snuggly with her gift. Sigh.

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