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Thread: It feels like it's taking SO long...

  1. #1
    Member angelicak777's Avatar
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    It feels like it's taking SO long...

    I started piecing my quilt in 2014, right before my husband did an 8-week emergency stint in the Neuro/Cardiac ICU's. I put it away for a while after that, as he recovered (took a lot of my time and energy) and we moved across the state, then the country and I began school full time; general "life happens" stuff. Now I have dug it back out again and am trying to make more headway. I am hand-quilting 100% and I realize that will take longer, but holy buckets. I am ready to just get it put together and start the actual quilting!!

    My other problem is, I wasn't sure if I would like quilting when I started this project. That being the case, I didn't want to invest a lot into something I might not keep up with and I bought the ugliest fabric ever because it was on sale for a very good price. LOL. Now that I know I like sewing, whenever I visit quilt/fabric shops to grab supplies I glance through the fabric and have slowly started collecting some beautiful stuff. I just want to drop the one I have and work with the prettier stuff.

    How long did it take to finish your first quilt? Hand or machine? Is it "against the rules" to start a new project before finishing the last?

  2. #2
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    Hello and welcome to the board. First of all, hope your husband is ok. Second, love the helpers. Third, you sound like a very busy woman.

    The only "rules" about projects are the ones you impose on yourself. I personally don't like having more than 2 or 3 projects going on at once. Some on this board have a dozen or more. Others only do theirs one at a time, start to finish. That being said, my wife and I agree that we quilt for fun and relaxation. If something gets too intense or ceases to be fun, we would have no problem passing the project to someone else, tossing the unfinished work in the scrap bin, or throwing it out. Space is also a consideration. If you have "quilter ADD" and store a bunch of unfinished objects (UFO's) you may run out of space for your fun stuff. You are the only one who can decide.

    I will say that doing everything by hand would be terribly monotonous to me and I would tire of the project. If I were in your shoes I would look for a machine and use it to get this top finished. It sounds like you are nearing the end of your patience with it and it would be a shame to get so discouraged that you might not try again.

    BTW, I saw your fabrics on the other thread and didn't think they were ugly at all.

    Enjoy!

    Darren

  3. #3
    Super Member GEMRM's Avatar
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    My beginner quilt took 3 years to finish because I wanted to hand quilt it and I lost momentum a couple of times. I did other things in-between too. No hard and fast rules - whatever works for you!
    A husband is the perfect confidant to tell your secrets to - he can't reveal them to anyone else because he wasn't really listening when you told him!

  4. #4
    Power Poster Boston1954's Avatar
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    It is definitely not against the rules to do more than one at a time. If it were, most of us would be in the penalty box (hockey term). I have four going right now. Two machine applique and two pieced. Do what pleases you. I have UFO's that have been waiting for years.
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

    I am from the South....39 miles south of Boston.

  5. #5
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    No rules for quilting except that it has to hold together when finished.

    My first quilt took me about 4 months to piece. My husband and I were care takers for my Mom who couldn't be left alone at the time. I needed something to do! I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT QUILTING! It still seemed like a good idea...

    I bought the cheapest fabrics that I liked at Walmart. When the top was done, all I could see were my mistakes. I put it away for a few years, with a few instances of taking it out to see if I wanted to quilt it. Couldn't bring myself to do it!

    Finally, I had a friend quilt it. Turns out I love it, and use it fairly frequently. It reminds me of that time with Mom.

    Bottom line, if you are emotionally 'done' with it, put it away for awhile or give it away and let someone else finish it. Then move on to those beautiful fabrics!

    A secret - I really only quilt as an excuse to buy fabric. That is more true than I let on....

    Enjoy yourself with your quilting
    A quilt is like a good life. It's full of mistakes, but, in the end, it looks pretty good.

  6. #6
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    I had to give up hand quilting as it takes me a loooong time to do a full size quilt. There are so many patterns that I want to do that I had to develop my machine quilting skills. If you want to be done with the hand quilting, consider finishing it by machine.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Auntie M's Avatar
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    Life is way too short to spend copious amounts of time on something you don't like. I'm with wesing and have given away or thrown out a few myself. I figure no loss as I've always learned something from even those projects.

  8. #8
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    I hope things are going well for your and your husband. As far as "finishing" your first quilt, it's EXTREMELY hard to work with AND finish a quilt that you don't like the fabrics or the colors. I would set it aside and work with the fabrics/colors that have "caught" your attention. I would also machine quilt it, although I do have 2 king size tops done that I THINK I would like to hand quilt, they've been waiting for around 3 years, have the batting cut and the backing ready, just haven't had the time.

  9. #9
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    When I decided to learn to quilt I signed up for a class. Like you, I went for the cheapest fabrics available. I bought a bunch of patriotic fabrics at JoAnn's that were on sale since the holiday had passed. I made a bunch of blocks in the class, laid them out and decided that the fabrics were horrible together. So I put those blocks and the remaining fabric aside, bought some fall fabrics at Walmart, and made that first quilt. But I kept the original blocks. Years later, I pulled them out and finished up that patriotic quilt with the horrible fabrics - and I love how it turned out! Here's the quilt - http://www.quiltingboard.com/picture...s-t174293.html

    So, my point is that you may find that your tastes change down the road. Don't give up on your first quilt, but if you're tired of working on it then give yourself permission to start something else.

  10. #10
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    Working on more than one project at a time is almost unheard of here. I always have too many projects. At one time. And before I finish one, I find a couple more I want to try. This board gives me so much inspiration. If you are tiriyof your quilt try to set a smaller time per week to work on that one and give a go at a new quilt in the remainder of your time. As long as your are having fun do what you want.

  11. #11
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    welcome to the QB. quilts take as long as they take. whatever makes it a good journey for you.
    Nancy in western NY
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    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

  12. #12
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    drop it like a hot potato. Life is too short. The only rule is : if the fabric appears ugly, it is because you did not cut it into small enough pieces.

  13. #13
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    There is one thing I've always told my beginning quilting students.....many, many renown creators have left work unfinished:
    Shubert and Mozart, Mark Twain, Hemingway, and Chaucer, even DaVinci and Michelangelo! You would be in good company if you walked away, so to do or not to do, that is your question alone.
    Sometimes, even though your quilt is not finished, you are finished with your quilt. It's okay.

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
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    peacefully colors my world.
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  14. #14
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Had to chuckle reading your post... Wanting to start something else before we finish the previous thing is a VERY common phenomenon. We call it Quilter's A.D.D. So many of us have succumbed to it, probably because we get so many new ideas before finishing what we are working on.

    If you are bored with your first quilt and anxious to start something else, why don't you machine quilt it? You can do simple straight lines or a criss cross grid with a walking foot. That would get it done, at least, so you could move on to something more interesting.

    OR... do as we all do and just set it aside for later. The Quilting Police will NOT come to your house and arrest you if you don't finish.
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  15. #15
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I just had nine quilts going at the same time. I am now working to finish up the ninth. I should have it finished by the weekend. Normally I totally finish one before starting another. This time I was working with a huge bunch of scraps. Lately I have been making kids quilts to donate.

    Welcome to the board, lots of helpful people here.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  16. #16
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    I just finished a top that I really didn't like. There was no satisfaction in it, and I didn't even like putting it on the shelf with the others. I hope this will help me let go if this happens again. I think the difficulty I had was that I'd put so much time into it, it seemed like a waste of that time to leave it unfinished. But now I realize that finishing it just wasted additional time beyond what I'd already invested. It reminded me of a rule my Dad taught me about poker -- never throw good money after bad, (meaning, once you realize you have a bad hand, don't keep betting on it).
    Lisa

  17. #17
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    I've always got more than one project in the works. I did a sampler quilt and I mean "totally sampler". It was hand-pieced, machine pieced and hand quilted and machine quilted. It had paper-piecing and embroidery. It had big-stitching and smaller stitching. Had a mix of batting. Some of the ugliest fabric and the prettiest fabric. It was a totally scrappy even the backing. I used a few different stitches depending on what machine I was using or hand stitching. It was my quilt and now belongs to a little girl who just fell in love with it. It gave me a break and that is what I often refer to it; the break-away. I have another kind of sort of in pieces. I also had some embellishments on it. I guess you could call it a crazy sampler but they were actual blocks.

  18. #18
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    If I am uninspired while working on something, I have no problem putting it aside and working on something else. There are times when I lack concentration but still want to quilt, so I pick uncomplicated patterns and that seems to put me in a better frame of mind. It makes me feel like I've accomplished something, even if it was just a simple quilt or small project.

  19. #19
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    My first quilt took me 14 years to finish. It was started before rotary cutters were invented and we had to draw cardboard templates and use scissors to cut the pieces. Then the hand quilting also took a long time, partly because I used cotton/polyester fabric and it was harder to get the needle through. After that, I made one quilt a year for a long time because I was hand quilting. Eventually, I started sending larger quilts out to long armers and machine quilting my own. Such is a quilter's journey. Do what you enjoy and avoid what you don't!

  20. #20
    Member angelicak777's Avatar
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    Thank you, to everyone!! My hubbz is ok, he had an infection that settled in his heart and once he was hospitalized for that, a piece broke off causing an aneurysm in his brain. It was a long year. He will need valve replacement every 5-7 years now, but other than that it's like it never happened.

    Thanks for the great perspective on this project!! I think the hard part for me is I have already spent so much time on it and I am really not a patient person, haha!! I am hoping to get a machine by the end of the year. This is the first thing I have ever sewn and didn't want to invest until I knew I liked it. We have a cool place here that offers a studio space with machines to use for $12/hr so I will probably go check it out and learn to machine sew before I buy one.

    I am a relatively young person and I think part of the draw of hand quilting is that it's sort of become a "lost art" and is there really anything as beautiful as a quilt done by hand? I am the same way when it comes to cooking...I do everything from scratch, including baking my own bread. There's just a satisfaction in doing things the old-fashioned way. I might start looking for the pattern for my next quilt and getting the fabrics together while I slowly finish this one. Maybe it'll motivate me to complete this one faster. I just want to do at least one completely by hand.



  21. #21
    Super Member Abby'smom's Avatar
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    I totally understand -- there are several members of my quilting bee that finish a quilt within several weeks --me, it takes months and months as I have so many other things to do!!-- I piece and quilt by machine although when I first started quilting, I handquilted -- don't get discouraged or frustrated
    diane

  22. #22
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    My first quilt took 11 years - with Many done between the start & finish of that first one.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  23. #23
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    Truth be told, my first quilt never did get finished. One of these days I will fix the problems and get it done.

    Why don't you look at this first one as the maiden voyage into a wonderful hobby land. Learn from it and enjoy the process. You will look back at it with fondness and a sense of accomplishment.

  24. #24
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    There are a number of people that do the quilting by hand, but I honestly don't know of anyone on this board that pieces by hand (except English paper piecing, but that's different). I admire the fact that you want to learn a traditional skill, but hand piecing seems like torture to me! You will never see that sewing!

    Taking a how-to-sew class to introduce you to machine sewing is a great idea. I would suggest that you look at vintage sewing machines before buying new; you seem like the kind of person that would appreciate a classic machine, and for quilting you really can get all you need at a very good price this way. People in the vintage section of the board can give you good advice on selecting a machine.

    For your current project, if you want to get it done but keep on piecing by hand, consider making it smaller. I don't know how big you were planning on making it, but it could always be sized down to become a throw, or a baby quilt, or a wall hanging, or a table runner... Hand sewing fabric you aren't crazy about isn't nearly as much fun as working with fabric you love. It's always okay to reconsider a project partway through!

  25. #25
    Super Member Kitsie's Avatar
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    I would put that one aside (far, far aside) and make one with beautiful fabric that will inspire you to finish! I machine piece (Brother machines are very reasonable and good quality) and I then hand quilt.
    http://s1248.photobucket.com/albums/hh485/KitsieH/
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