Who needs a deadline?

Norfolk Bricks lap quilt, work in progress, © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Slowly but surely this quilt is heading towards a finish…but if I don’t crack on soon I’ll be showing it to you every Work in Progress Wednesday well into the next decade!

Norfolk Bricks lap quilt - texture. © Stephanie Boon, 2015  www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Hand quilted texture

It was fascinating reading your comments about deadlines after my last post on Slow Sunday Stitching and it seemed unsurprising that most of us don’t function that way when it comes to needle and thread.  We do seem to be in a bit of a minority though!

“A deadline is the best way to get things done.”

says Diane Harris, Sewing on the Deadline: The Blessing and the Curse (Quilty Pleasures)

Really?!  Not for me it isn’t!  A deadline for stitching a quilt is like torture – it takes all the pleasure out of it.  So how generalised was this quote that I came across then? A bit more investigation (via the Google oracle) reveals that machine quilters do indeed have deadlines (and seem to like them), poor things! They’re frantically quilting to meet exhibition deadlines, magazine deadlines, birthday, Christmas, graduation, baby arrival deadlines…you name it, they’ve got a deadline for it!  I only found one article about a hand quilter trying to meet a deadline for an exhibition, and not surprisingly, she got callouses!!!

“I quilted at lunch time, I quilted in the evening. My fingers were sore–I kept quilting.”

Joy Rusonis, The Challenge (Celebrate Hand Quilting)

Hmm, why then do I have the uncharacteristic urge to give myself some tangible finish-line goals for this particular quilt? It feels like Norfolk Bricks has been hanging around for a while now; although that’s probably just because of the hiatus when Kim was in hospital. I’ve been working on it regularly over the last few evenings and have been wondering how long it might take to complete it.  I decided to try and estimate, so I counted up all the un-quilted blocks in the central panel earlier this evening and it totals 41.  I almost freaked – that sounds like such a huge number!  But if I could manage to quilt an average of 3 bricks a day, that would mean I could have it quilted in just 2 weeks. 2 weeks! All of a sudden that doesn’t sound so impossible.  In fact I’d say it’s given me the motivation I need to get it properly moving again.

Norfolk Bricks lap quilt, work in progress (do deadline!), © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Norfolk Bricks

Don’t be mistaken though: I have no intention of making this a definitive deadline! I suggest it’s more a ‘realistic opportunity’: something that could happen if I don’t get too side tracked along the way! And if I do? Well that’s the exciting part of the journey, isn’t it!

 A few articles on quilting to a deadline, if you are so inclined!

Linking up with Lorna for Let’s Bee Social and with Freshly Pieced for Work in Progress Wednesday, where there’s also a giveaway to join in this week.

Happy deadlines!

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20 replies
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Ann. I love steady progress, I agree it’s the best way to get a quilt done. If I had to work on one thing at a time to meet a deadline it would be pretty dull, steady progress on several things is much more fulfilling I think 🙂

      Reply
  1. Kaja
    Kaja says:

    I would be happy to look at Norfolk Bricks for the next year! But aiming to do a certain amount a day is a good way to keep things moving.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      I think breaking it down into small goals gives me a sense of achievement without feeling pressured into a deadline. I don’t think my creative mind likes to be told exactly when it has to finish something! In fact it probably rebels, digs it’s heels in and goes and sulks in a cupboard for a few months!

      Reply
  2. audrey
    audrey says:

    I don’t like hard and fast deadlines for my hand quilting, but I do like a goal date. Like you, I tend to divide my quilt into sections and try to have so much done per week. It isn’t anything I stress about though as my hand quilting is all about relaxation. It’s more to keep me on track because that’s the primary way I finish my quilts and it seems my quilt top output is much more prolific than my hand quilting fiinsh-ups.:)

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Audrey I think you’ve described the perfect process! A ‘goal date’ is more about a sense of achievement and tracking steady progress rather than heading full on to a deadline at all costs – what could possibly be relaxing about that?!

      Reply
  3. lapaylor
    lapaylor says:

    I have some projects with deadlines, and some that I just do when I feel like it. I mostly machine quilt these days, saving my hands for the slow hand work I love but don’t show. My husband hates deadlines but I admit I need them. Different personality types. I am an ENFJ on the Myers-Briggs inventory. How about you? LeeAnna

    Reply
  4. Victoria
    Victoria says:

    Hmm, interesting. I guess I’m a mixed bag… The idea of having them imposed on me makes me want to curl up in a fetal position, and yet I actually have always done very well with deadlines that I must meet, as the thought of failure is even more upsetting! But, I generally prefer not to work with them, and simply create at my own internal pace, which is sometimes fast and other times crazy slow and meandering. Good luck on finishing your lovely quilt in a timely manner. It is amazing what can be accomplished with small set goals, like your 3 bricks a day… sort of like that old joke, “Q. How do you eat an elephant? A. One bite at a time”. 🙂

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Ah the foetal position, I’m familiar with that one! In other areas of life I quite like deadlines, I work well under pressure I think, but I suppose I think of hand quilting in particular as something not to be ‘forced’. Or maybe I’m just not very good at estimating how long it’ll take me to finish a quilt and the resultant failure to achieve it is too much to bear! I really like that old joke – I hadn’t thought of it for a while, but it’s true! 🙂

      Reply
  5. knitnkwilt
    knitnkwilt says:

    I always say I won’t enter another unfinished quilt into a show. But then the call comes out and I look at the 8 months or so and think, sure, I can do that. And what seemed like enough time usually isn’t, and the nice relaxed pace wasn’t fast enough, and I end up pushing to finish. I don’t mind deadlines for shows, but I dislike deadlines for other people. So I don’t do custom work. I make things and if someone wants to buy fine. But I don’t want to give up the freedom to change projects at whim.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      I don’t really like commissions either Claire. I don’t know whether it’s because of other people’s expectations or because I just don’t work well within parameters other people set. The thought of them just puts me in the foetal position Victoria mentioned in her comment! It feels like being backed into a corner. Like you, I prefer to go my own sweet way and if someone else likes it and wants to buy it, that’s really thrilling.

      Reply

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