Saturday, January 31, 2015

Increasing my productivity

I've been wanting to increase my quilting productivity, so I set a goal of quilting 30 hours this month.  So far so good!  I just finished a fun quilting session that brought my monthly total to 30.33 on the final day in January.

Here's what I have to show for it:  some significant progress on Tree # 7.

Here are some strategies that have been helpful for me in increasing my quilting time:
1.  I start by setting the kitchen timer, usually for an hour.  This way I stay focused and productive until the timer goes off, so I don't wander off and check Facebook. When the timer goes off, I either take a break or set it again.
2. I sometimes listen to audiobooks or music to stay motivated.
3. I record the total time I quilt each day on my calendar.
4.  I made a quick graph of this info:
Here's what I noticed from the graph:
There's so much variability, with a peak of 4 hours of quilting (that was on a snow day when I didn't have to work).  But there were 14 days with no quilting at all!  For February, I'm setting a goal of 33 hours.  I'll try to combat those 0 hour days by setting my alarm early and quilting before work.

I'm also experimenting with ways to make my quilting more efficient, so I get more done in the time available. That's a topic for another day.
What are your best tips for increasing quilting productivity?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Making progress

I'm making steady progress on Tree #7.  I made a New Year's resolution to quilt 30 hours a month, and so far I've been really good at sticking to it.

I'm trying to incorporate bigger pieces, with motifs cut out from large-scale prints.  Here's one of my favorite parts- a little armadillo peeking out. 

Here's a few more close-up shots:

I love these blue birds!  I have some pink fabric with birds from the same fabric line, which I'm going to use in the background.  I'm thinking I'll make the background mostly pink, with some yellow. 
My goal is to have all the fusing completed by the end of January. 

In other quilting news, I recently joined SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates).  So far, I've been really happy and excited with the opportunities from this group and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about art quilting. 

I'm linking this post up with Off-the-Wall Fridays.  Check it out to see many other exciting artists at work!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 year in review

Since I've neglected my blog for much too long, I'm going to do a quick wrap up of highlights from 2014, so I feel ready for a fresh starts of quilting goals (and blogging goals!) in 2015.

I finished Tree #5 (well, except for that hanging sleeve, but I'm going to still count it.  Don't tell the quilt police.) Overall, I'm happy with it, because I like how it has a range of values, from light to dark, and the bark actually resembles a sycamore.  An area that needs improvement is the transition from yellow to gold on the right hand side in the background.  It is too abrupt- it looks like a line, instead of the more gradual transition I managed on the left.
 Here's a closeup to show the quilting:

And here's a view of the back, which I really like:

I've also finished Tree # 6, and weirdly enough I can't find it right now to take a picture of it. (I'll take that as a sign that I should clean my sewing room!)
But here you can see it during the basting:
 I put a wash-away stabilizer over the snippets, and then rinsed it out after quilting.  It looks like a sheet of plastic, but it made the quilting much easier and it dissolves completely.

I also made this quilt with LED accents, which I'm tentatively calling "Effervescent." 

I'm still working on a video to show the LEDs in action.  
And to finish off the year, an LED bracelet.  It's hard to tell from the picture, but there is a twinkling light in the middle of the star.

And one last highlight from 2014- Seeing my quilts hanging in the Fine Arts division at the Ohio State Fair. 

I hope 2014 was full of happy and productive quilting for you too.  Here's to a great 2015!