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Slow Sunday Stitching – It’s On The List!

Making New Year Quilting Goals

Have you made any quilting goals for 2017? I read Kaja and Ann’s hopes and plans recently and I was inspired. Since then I’ve sat down and filled reams of notebook pages with goals, ideas and hopes for quilting, blogging and personal stuff (like exercise and reading). Making lists is pretty scary, I tend to over do it then berate myself for not completing anything.

Making plans for 2017 - list of quilting projects. www.dawnchorusstudio.com © Stephanie Boon, 2016. Cornwall, UK All Rights Reserved

List making begins. I was surprised (and relieved) that my ‘tops in progress’ list is relatively small (There are 8 in total).

I can do without giving myself an ear-bashing so I’m sticking to ‘SMART’ goals this year, I’m sure you’ve heard of them? (I think I’ve gabbled on about them before.) Try this method if you didn’t tick everything off your 2016 list (ahem, no comment!).  SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.  It’s basically a checklist to help you get things done.

SMART Stitching

Take a very simple example: one of my blogging goals is to link up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching every week. I’ve linked up as often as I could in 2016, but I want to make a bigger commitment because it’s a really inspiring marker in my week.

So I asked myself:

  1. Is this goal specific? Yes: tick.
  2. Is it measurable? i.e. can I track my progress? Yes, I just need to check my publishing dates. Another tick!
  3. Is it achievable? Probably… I worry that I’ll be posting the same old thing every week and bore the pants off you (as I’ve mentioned before). So I made myself a promise that even if I feel I don’t have anything interesting to share I’ll pop over to Kathy’s and see what you’ve been up to (I know that’s something I overlook). A tentative tick then?
  4. Is it realistic? This is the one I have endless problems with! My goals are realistic in and of themselves, but I have a tendency to try and achieve about a million of them in a week! So I’m going to qualify this question from now on: is it realistic and compatible with everything else I want to achieve? (I guess that’s asking myself to prioritise). This goal is high up on the priorities, so yes, it’s realistic…tick!
  5. Is it time-bound? i.e. how long am I going to give myself before acknowledging success or defeat? I reckon if I look back over a 6 month period I’ll get a reasonable picture of how regular my posts are, so yes, it’s time-bound. Woohoo! I’ll give myself the go-ahead then.

I often do the checklist in my head, but this time I’m writing it out next to my goals so that I get a really clear picture of what I’m trying to achieve. It’s working so far – I’ve already noticed I’ve tried to cram waaaay too much into January and had to make rather a lot of adjustments to my expectations!

Making plans for 2017 - pile of notebooks. www.dawnchorusstudio.com © Stephanie Boon, 2016. Cornwall, UK All Rights Reserved

A very long to do list for January – it got a bit of a culling!

Follow up your goal setting with some goal tracking! My follow up post includes a tracking sheet for you to download and use.

Navel Gazing

Life’s thrown a lot of crap this way over the past couple of years and I feel like I’ve just been drifting along. I don’t really have anything concrete to look back on and say “well, despite all that you still achieved x, y and z”. I focus on the things I haven’t done instead, get worried and anxious that life’s racing by. So I’m curious to find out whether putting my thoughts in black and white will actually free up space in my head, so that when I sit quietly and stitch I know everything else is taken care of.

I always think there are so many high achievers out there (I mean people that get lots done) and I wonder how they do it, then I compare myself and question why I’m not one of them. I ask what is it that productive people do that I don’t. I ponder why I want to achieve more and question whether I’m really that unproductive, or just don’t acknowledge what I have done. This tick list is designed to give me the evidence. As long as I don’t lose it…

This time of year is all about the questions isn’t it?  So much navel gazing and not really any answers.  Do you indulge, or is it just me?

On The Edge in December

On that note I’m going to turn my attention to the last thing I actually achieved in December 2016!

On The Edge (Floating Squares) is on today’s to-do list. I’ve claimed the comfy chair in a cosy corner of the house and I’m going to tackle the knife edge binding and plan a hanging tube. Some quiet stitching to start the new year off the way I mean to go on: relaxed, calm and in control! (hahahaha!!!)

A cosy armchair for hand sewing. www.dawnchorusstudio.com © Stephanie Boon, 2016. Cornwall, UK All Rights Reserved

My cosy corner set up for some Slow Sunday Stitching.

I’m linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching, but check out Kathy’s 2016 quilt review and her UFO list for 2017 too. What are your plans for this year – and how did you get on in 2016?

Happy New Year – and happy goal setting! (Don’t forget to download your goal tracker here.)

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnchorusStudio.com

 

 

23 replies
  1. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    I find your post inspiring today. I tend to have way too many projects on the go, and rarely do I finish one. It would be nice to be able to narrow my focus a bit and actually see some finishes. Happy New Year!

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Happy New Year Sandra! I counted up just one finished quilt last year (it’s ‘last year’ already?!?!) and I’d been working on that for 7 years, ha! I think that’s partially why I feel like I haven’t achieved anything, so it’ll be good to be able to look back at a list and see what my fingers really have been up to for months on end 🙂 I’m sure you haven’t got too many projects on the go (that’s not really possible is it), but maybe, like me, a list will help you see where you’ve spent your time? And, if you’re working on lots of things at once, just imagine them all coming to fruition around the same time – that’s going to feel like a very productive year!

      Reply
  2. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I always start off with good intentions but fall off the wagon far too quickly. Maybe I should take a leaf out of your book and get SMART. happy New Year.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Hi Sarah and Happy New Year! I usually fall off the wagon around March/April time too, or when something comes along that knocks me sideways (like unexpectedly having to move home). I don’t generally have New Year’s resolutions, but I think I’ll make an exception this year and will resolve to keep a track of my goals throughout the year – it’ll be hard work (knowing my usual pattern), but if I keep at it maybe I’ll realise the value in it! Do you make resolutions?

      Reply
  3. Karen Goad
    Karen Goad says:

    love your comfy chair in the corner – have fun quilting. I don’t bother to make goal list because usually they just change anyhow – most times I still get finished with what I aim to finish – have a great new year

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Oh I wish I could do that Karen. You’re right, things do change as you go along, but I’m impressed you still manage to get your original aims finished up too. I had a lovely day of quilting yesterday, didn’t even get out of my pjs – a great start to 2017!! Happy New Year 🙂

      Reply
  4. Deb
    Deb says:

    Great post! I think my only 2 goals this year are to stitch for 15 minutes each day (machine, hand or knitting or crochet) and walk more. Both very attainable I think but we’ll see. Happy stitching in your comfy chair.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Hi Deb, that’s a great way to encapsulate your goals – focussing on time, rather than particular projects. It’s pretty easy to track too, either you manage it or you don’t! Next time I post I’ll show you a ‘tracker’ I made, maybe you’ll find it helpful too. One of my personal goals is to exercise regularly. I’m usually a bit of an exercise junkie (it makes such a huge difference to my mental health) but since we moved home I’ve been living a sloth-like existence! I need to find more inspiring places to walk I think. Time to get out a map. Best wishes for the new year Deb 🙂

      Reply
  5. Kaja
    Kaja says:

    Happy New Year, Stephie! I like that you are working on attainable, manageable goal-setting. Isn’t it ironic that by cutting down on what you aim to achieve you might end up feeling more productive! (This just goes to show that so much of it is all in the mind). Also, I would say stop worrying about other people’s productivity. Your way of working is very thoughtful and labour intensive, so of course you aren’t producing a new quilt every other week.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Ah, Kaja, such wise words are just what I need to hear, thank you. I know I put huge expectations on myself, but have no idea why. I’d say maybe it’s an age-thing but I think I’ve always been like it. Given my great age and how long I’ve been doing it to myself it’s about time I learnt a lesson and gave up on the habit, haha! I think my goals are ‘perfect world’ things and I never take account of the usual things we have to deal with in life, like washing up, eating or moving home. A very very Happy New Year to you Kaja – I really look forward to ‘connecting and repeating’ this year – and I’ve put it high up the list! x

      Reply
  6. Maureen
    Maureen says:

    Oh what an absolutely smashing and inspiring post Stephie!! Your words on your SMART stitching really struck a chord with me and I hope you won’t mind if I try and follow your lead – I already have the notebook and pen out!!! Getting together my hand stitching and joining with Slow Stitching Sunday is on my list, I like the calmness which hand stitching brings, your corner with the cosy armchair and glow from the lamp behind looks very, very inviting! I wish you a Happy and Healthy 2017 and lots of time to make your beautiful quilts.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Brilliant, Maureen! I’m so glad it’s inspired you too. I think this method of goal-making has been around in the business world for years, but I don’t see any reason it can’t work for quilting too. I’m so glad you’re going to join Kathy’s link-up, it really is a wonderful party full of inspiring and encouraging quilters and sewers – you’ll fit in perfectly! A very healthy and happy new year to you too Marueen, I’m looking forward to seeing what you grow in your beautiful garden and in your studio this year 🙂

      Reply
  7. Ann
    Ann says:

    Wishing you a happy new year, Stephie.
    Less is more. Having too many projects weighs me down. It’s hard to stay focused on one all the way through but I’m trying to limit them. One of the worst aspects of blogging is the feeling that we must show frequent, rapid progress. I want to elucidate my thinking and reflections more.
    I’m planning to include travel photos. When you show pictures of Cornwall I see colors, lines, and figures that transpose themselves into your work and give it more meaning.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Oh that’s wonderful Ann, I love seeing your travel pictures. Like you say, it gives the reader an insight into what attracts and inspires you in your work. One of the things I want to do this year is really bring my art and quilting together (in fact just making more art would be good). I think I made a good start last year with Quilty 365, but I want it to become my main focus and experiment more. I’d love to read more on your process and reflections Ann, it’ll make really interesting reading. A very happy new your to you too and lots of good quilting 🙂

      Reply
  8. Robin
    Robin says:

    I think my goal this year is to find a comfy corner with excellent lighting like yours. I don’t make lists much anymore. I have a list of projects in progress on my computer that I update about twice a year and the rest is in my head. Nice thoughtful post.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Robin. I have to say having the lamp above me like that has made a real difference to being able to work in an armchair rather than at a table or desk with an angle poise lamp. It’s much more comfortable for a few hours of stitching. I’ve tried keeping track of things on my computer, but it just doesn’t work for me – it’s much easier and quicker to flick through a note-book and add things here and there. It’s easier to keep it with me all the time too and capture the ephemeral thoughts I generally seem to have. I can’t keep anything in my head long enough to remember it from one day to the next – I admire you for that!!! Have a lovely, healthy and happy new year 🙂

      Reply
  9. Bossymamma
    Bossymamma says:

    It’s been fascinating reading this post. Have you noticed how your self-criticism regarding your sewing conflicts with “slow stitching”? Just sayin’.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Ahem, no need for the ‘Just sayin” Dina. I’m all too aware of the contradictions – unfortunately the self-criticism always gets the upper hand. It’s a right pain in the ****!!!! I have an inner voice I call Mussolini that I never seem to be able to kick into touch. A few hours slow stitching helps to quieten it…which surely means I should do more?!?! x

      Reply

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