Thursday, May 16, 2013

From Bits to Pieces

I'm just dying over here, trying to finish up these WIPS (Works In Progress, for you people that actually complete one thing before starting another).  They are the big projects that you can never get finished.  I have about eight of them right now.  I bought a book on procrastination three years ago but didn't get around to reading it until recently - that's not even a joke.  One of the exercises was to break down your productivity pattern to see where you go wrong.  So here goes:

Week 1:  I get the idea, and with it comes a rush of enthusiasm and planning.  This quilt/shirt/Christmas stocking is going to be AMAZING.  Plan for project, make shopping list, picture how I'm going to use it/who I'm going to give it to when I finish it next week.
Week 2:  Drive to three different fabric/yarn stores looking for the perfect material.  So fun, I wish I could just live in Week 2 forever.  Once I've bought it, I wash fabric immediately and hang it over the banister.  For the record, there are currently 22 pieces of fabric hanging there.
Week 3:  Iron and cut.
Week 4:  Sew.  Things are looking good and really coming along
Week 5: Sew, but just here and there, start to feel like it's kind of chore-like, but never as pressing as, say, doing the dishes or reading the Daily Mail.
Week 6: Come up against a problem.  Think about how I'm going to solve/overcome it.
Week 7-9:  Think, think, think.
Week 10-18: Forget about project.
Week 19: Come across project again, because it's taking up that corner of my sewing table, and I can see dust on it now, which drives me crazy-that means it's been there awhile.  Feel bad.
Week 20: Start working on it and fix problem (this usually occurs on a day with plenty of sleep and caffeine and childcare). Catch the fever again.  Finish a major part of it, like the top of a quilt.
Next couple months: Think about how I should learn to quilt better before I quilt this particular project.
Week 25: Realize I'm not going to be a better quilter before this project is done and quilt it.  Find myself surprised at how little time it takes since my skill level keeps things so basic.
Week 26-45:  Think about what a pain it's going to be to bind.  I mean, it's going to take like, forever.
Week 45: Bind during one episode of the The Voice.

This month, I decided to start on the little projects on my list, the things I wouldn't let myself do until I finished the big projects - and this has really turned things around.  The satisfaction of finishing anything, even something small, gives me the energy to tackle the big stuff.  It's working so well, I'm predicting three quilt finishes by the end of May!  In the meantime, here are some bitty projects that have paved the way for the bigger pieces:

1.  The first was patches on some jeans.  I was that girl in high school who pegged all the girls' jeans.  Did people outside of Seattle do that?  It was a thing in the late eighties, Levi's hadn't figured out that they could sell three times as many jeans if they made bootleg and straight leg and skinny legs yet; there was just one kind of 501.  If you wanted them skinny you either had to fold in the extra fabric and roll the cuff, or sew them up the side.  And I became quite expert at sewing up the side.  So it gave me a sense of deja vu when my sister-in-law asked me to patch her 15-year-old 501s.  I used fusible web  to hold them in place for stitching.  There's definitely an orange preference on that side of the family, so the result is pretty cheerful:

I managed to yank the leg down my sewing machine arm to sew the top and bottom of each patch, but I had to do the sides by hand (if you don't sew, think about the fact that the leg is a tube - if you sew straight through, you're sewing through the back of the leg too).  I did the littlest patch totally by hand and I actually like the messiness of that stitching the best.

I think they came out pretty cute, makes me want to buy some hole-y jeans just so I can patch them.

2. My second project were these little yoga pants for J.  I had this Target nightgown that never really fit, but the fabric was really, really soft and stretchy and I liked the print.

So I used a pair of her existing pants as a guide and just eyeballed it - I figured if they were baggy enough you wouldn't be able to tell - this was maybe the quickest, sloppiest, most impromptu sewing project I've done - there's not even a front or back on them, but they do the job.

Testing them out in Downward Dog:

3. Finally, I found this fabric at Cambridge Quilt Shop and fell in love.  Dahlias (the dinner plate kind) have been my favorite flower in recent years, and I just thought the white on dark blue gave it  a Japanese look I loved.

I bought the most simple shirt pattern I could find (requirements: no zipper, no buttons, no ruffles) and I actually think the simplicity of it goes nicely with the flower pattern - feminine but not too frilly.  I made one for J and one for her cousin.  Can't wait to see them doing twinsies this summer!

We are at a stage where I can't get J to stand still for a good picture (or if I'm feeling generous "she prefers action shots these days") - but if you stand her on a table in the rain and hold her hand she'll give you three seconds to get that shot:

Here's hoping I can keep riding the creative wave!

1 comment:

  1. You're on a roll!!! I love those clothes for J, so cute:-) You should read Steal Like an Artist, good ways to stay motivated.