Tag Archives: quilting

Thinking About Goals — 2117

Maybe *over*thinking about goals? The other day I posted about goals — not that I got around to defining any! But I did look at a couple of ways one might develop quilt-making goals. One question was from Lori at the Inbox Jaunt. She asked

Imagine it’s the year 2117--and a family member has just inherited a trunk of your quilts.

What will YOUR quilts say about YOU?

Do they say what YOU want them to say?

It’s a great question about legacy and how we want to be remembered. By extension, it prods us to consider whether we are making the quilts that will create the heritage we wish. If not, why not? Should we change (or set) goals for our quilting?

After chewing on this for a while, I realized that I don’t care what people a hundred years from now think about me, or about my quilts. My quilts serve three purposes:

  1. expressions of creativity
  2. expressions of love
  3. expressions of compassion.

The three purposes overlap, but depending on the quilt, the priority differs. All three are immediate needs for me —  I need to express myself. Quilts made from love and compassion, however, may have a different duration of impact. And that depends on the receiver more than it does on me.

I’ll never know most of the people who receive my “compassion” or donation quilts. I hope the owners feel the warmth of the “blanket” as well as the intention. And I hope the quilts are loved, used, and washed until they are used up.

My wishes are the same for the quilts I make for those I love. I hope the quilts are used, preferably for comfort or warmth, or for decoration. (I’d rather not know about quilts used to protect furniture while moving, or to coddle a dog giving birth, or to soak up oil on the garage floor…)

The quilt below was a wedding quilt given a few years ago to friends. It hangs on their living room wall. We visit often enough that I can still enjoy it, and they boast of how it can be seen from the street, as well as inside.


What legacy do I want to leave with my quilts? I hope that when I die, my loved ones will tell stories about my quilts and my quilting. Stories like how I took over our son’s bedroom for studio space while he was in college (and how he still hasn’t gotten over that, several years later!) Stories about a granddaughter working on a little brother’s quilt with me. Stories about the round robins my sister and I did. Stories about how a daughter and I got each other the same quilting book one year, a book long out of print and wildly expensive. I hope they will share the quilts I made with others, and I hope there are no pristine, never-used quilts of mine to discover one hundred years from now.


Instagram — All New To Me

I decided to take the plunge so many of you have already made. Yes, I joined Instagram. You can find me as catbirdquiltstudio.

Barbara Brackman had a great blog post the other day, on saving the Instagram world one quilt at a time. Her theory is that newer quilters largely have bypassed traditional blogs and blogging and gone straight to Instagram. The slant toward “modern” quilts, many from a fairly small set of patterns, narrows their perspective rather than broadening it. She has added hundreds of photos of historical quilts, reproductions, and other traditional quilts. It certainly provides a wider look at quilting!

So far I have loaded a few photos to #medallionquilt. It will take me a while to figure out this new (to me) platform. By the time I get it, the world may have moved on! If you use Instagram and have some great tips, please share! I’m all ears.


No followers yet!

Thinking About Goals

A few weeks ago I asked my personal trainer if she could help me define some fitness goals. I’ve already achieved my daily functionality goals (YAY!!) Beyond basic health needs, and being able to quilt with physical ease, I want to have strength and endurance for the day hikes Jim and I enjoy. I’d like a clearer sense of what training program I need, what markers at the gym I need to meet to achieve that goal.

Note that goals or commitments are not the same as challenges. The goal is the end point, while the challenge is a barrier to reaching the end. Opportunities are creative pathways to breaching the barriers. With the example above, a goal is to be able to hike with enjoyment. The challenges and opportunities are offered by my personal limitations and the physical training to get there. I wrote about challenges and opportunities here.

I’m also thinking about my goals in quilting. Lori at the Inbox Jaunt just asked

Imagine it’s the year 2117--and a family member has just inherited a trunk of your quilts.

What will YOUR quilts say about YOU?

Do they say what YOU want them to say?

Another way to think about goals is to ask, if you knew you only had one more year to make quilts, which quilts would you choose to make? Would they be gifts for family members, or donation quilts, or quilts to challenge your skills? Would your goal be to finish UFOs rather than to begin (and hopefully finish) new ones? Or would you want to spend your quilting time working with friends, regardless of finishes?

And even if you have a goal, it’s SO easy to get sidetracked, isn’t it? A friend just posted in Facebook:

Cleaning up bedroom, realize you need a pair of scissors. Go to kitchen to get scissors. Notice the floor is sticky, wipe up spill. Get coffee, go back to bedroom. Realize you forgot scissors. Go to kitchen to get scissors, past washer & dryer. Realize you need to start laundry. Take out clothes in dryer, put them in the bedroom. Realize you forgot scissors. Go to kitchen to get scissors, carry them to bedroom. Realize you forgot why you wanted scissors.

And quilting is just like that! Finish an important project; realize you have a deadline coming up for a guild project; look for fabrics to begin that; pull a favorite fabric you’ve intended to use for something else, as well as eight more pieces to go with it and the pattern; head to the kitchen for coffee; sit down at the computer for a few minutes; get distracted by someone’s Instagram post and decide that’s the thing you want to make next!

How will you spend your time? How will I spend my time? I want to focus on what is most important to me, on things to which I’m emotionally committed.

Sometimes it is easiest to start with the negative. What I am NOT committed to?

1) Making quilts for family.
2) Using scraps for the sake of emptying the scrap drawer.
3) Finishing projects in which I’ve lost interest.

What am I committed to?

1) Making projects that create puzzles for me to solve.
2) Teaching, both in person and on the blog, especially about medallion quilts.
3) Working with my local guild on quilts and other projects.
4) Building relationships with my small group.

These do describe how I want to use my time, but are they goals? Maybe not. They’re certainly not well-defined. A lot of sources on goal-setting recommend developing specific, realistic, measurable goals, and setting deadlines for attainment. ::sigh::  I guess this is why people fail at New Year’s resolutions.

But honestly, while I did this small exercise, I clarified for myself that “using scraps” for its own sake is NOT one of my goals. I don’t need to clean up piles of cuttings by making more quilts deliberately from them.

Okay. Goals. I have a goal related to commitment #4. One of my small group members developed a mystery quilt project for us, and I will participate. It is a specific project, it is realistic and measurable, and has a rather nebulous time frame of some time early this year. I actually can use scraps in it 🙂 though most of my cutting will be new. It will help forge the camaraderie of our group. And as a mystery quilt, it also suits commitment #1. I have my new project.

Have you developed goals for your quilting? How successful are you in meeting them? Is your current project lined up with those goals? I’d love to hear in comments. 


(I’ve shared this post before, multiple times. We have the right and duty in the US to vote, though there is no legal obligation. Consider the Suffragettes. Consider the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Consider that people continue to try to disenfranchise some of our citizens. The only way to ensure our rights is to vote. Please vote.)

Collection of the American Folk Art Museum

Made by Jessie Telfair of Georgia in 1983, this quilt embodies our collective political voice. From the American Folk Art Museum,

This is one of several freedom quilts that Jessie Telfair made as a response to losing her job after she attempted to register to vote. It evokes the civil rights era through the powerful invocation of one word, “freedom,” formed from bold block letters along a horizontal axis. Mimicking the stripes of the American flag, it is unclear whether the use of red, white, and blue is ironic or patriotic, or both.

Let freedom ring. Here is the Air Force Concert Band playing “America”.

And to maintain your freedom and our freedom, educate yourself on the issues, contact your elected officials to share your opinions, and VOTE.