I’ll be heading to Quilt Market in Salt Lake City in a few weeks, and I always go with mixed emotions.
On one hand I feel incredibly privileged to see all the new fabrics, notions, books, and patterns that will be arriving in stores. Market is always a treat for the eyes, and the booths the manufacturers and designers build to display their wares rival the loveliest rooms in home decorating magazines. I get super excited about the plethora of products and can’t wait to get home and give them a try.
But on the flip side, Market makes me a little sad, because there never seem to be enough hours in the day to use all the glorious things I see. I come home excited about this quilt pattern and that new tool. I see handwork, garments, and wool appliqué I’d like to attempt. And then life—work deadlines and home responsibilities—gets in the way and the samples and ideas I brought back from Market get set on a shelf, and neglected.
Last year I was lucky enough to write a profile of Sherri McConnell for the February 2016 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. (Sherri and her daughter Chelsea Stratton are the Moda designers behind Bright Sun and Valley).
Sherri is one of those people who is always posting newly completed projects on her blog and on Instagram—she’s such an energetic and prolific quilter, designer, and author. I asked her how she accomplishes so much and she gave me a great tip: she always makes sure she’s got something ready to go in her sewing room, so she can use even small bits of time. She’ll cut things out and have them ready to sew, or stack fabric right sides together, ready for chain piecing, next to her machine. That way she can run up to her sewing room and get something accomplished even if all the time she has is 30 minutes.
I’m not one to try and “speed sew”—nothing can replace long afternoons in my sewing room, letting my mind wander as I audition fabrics or consider ways to change up a pattern. But once those “thought-intensive” aspects of making a quilt are done, it would certainly be nice to complete it in a timely way. For the kind of sewing that can be done on autopilot—ironing seams, stacking block elements right sides together—I’m giving Sherri’s methods a try.
There will never be enough time to act on all the inspiration I derive from Quilt Market. But if I stop sewing at a point where it’s easy to pick back up, I can take advantage of those little chunks of time and a finished quilt may emerge from my sewing room a little more often.
Do you have any tips for moving your sewing along so you can get on to the next exciting project?