My first job out of college (if you don't count my awesome waitressing job) was in radio advertising sales (Hello PYX 106 in Albany!) Like most newly minted college graduates, I suddenly had more money than I ever had before. What's a gal to do? Well, this gal bought a car. Then a wardrobe. Then a new sofa set. Since it was all on payment plans, shopping was a breeze. Until I sat down and realized that my weekly paycheck (yes, back then we got paid every Friday! How quaint!) was quickly diminishing. What's a gal to do? Well, this gal returned half the clothes (yes, unworn, tags still on), cancelled the sofa and kept the car. I needed that car.
So what does this have to do with quilting? A few years back, when flickr was hot, blogs were cooking and Instragram was just a twinkle in some coder's eyes, I was a swapper. And a bee-mate. And a Quilt-A-Longer. I joined just about everything that came my way. I had just moved to a new city, where I knew no one, so I may have been a tad bit lonely. My new found (on-line) friends kept me company and gave me something to do - sew things for them! And it was great. It was only 2 blocks per month. It was only a mug rug due in 6 weeks. It was only 2 more blocks per month. It was only a mini quilt due in June. Before I knew it, I was committed to 12 blocks and a few swaps per month. When it got to the point where I needed a spread sheet to keep track of everything, I knew it was time to back off. I fulfilled my obligations and I stopped swapping. Cold turkey.
Fast forward to now. These days, I'm very aware of my quilting "budget." Not money, but time. I work full time, travel/teach/lecture and like to see my family and friends every so often. I'm still tempted by swaps (just yesterday, I had my application for the Cotton and Steel mini swap on Instagram all filled out - it's only a mini! - and then came to my senses and deleted the whole thing. I will happily cheer from the sidelines and add my likes to those images that show up in my feed.) I will do an occasional swap with my guild, but only if I know I have time to do it and do it well (no one likes to receive a crappy swap item. Believe me, I know.)
As for quilt-a-longs, I'm doing my own personal quilt-a-longs this year. I'm resurrecting my Farmer's Wife Quilt (I joined that QAL over 3 years ago.) At the time, I thought, oh, it's only 2 blocks per week. Right. I made about 12. This time around, no pressure, just sewing fun. I cut a few blocks at a time, sew when I want, and it will get finished when it get's finished. To help motivate me, I made some cute design boards, using Lori Holt's tutorial. Mine turned out a little sloppy (I really need a better glue gun) but for now they'll do the trick.
|Farmer's Wife block 14 (I think)|
|Farmer's Wife Block 16 (I think)|
My second long term project is my EPP star project. No deadline on this one. I figure I'll need about 100 stars to make a decent sized quilt. If I get half way through this year, I'll be happy. Actually, even if I don't get half way through, I'll be happy. There's something about hand sewing that I crave lately.
|3" 60 degree stars|
|My EPP travel kit|
What about you? Are you a joiner? Are you doing any swaps or quilt a longs? (Even though I don't want to join any, I still want to know about them!)