Friday, September 09, 2011

Two quilters that I really admire are Bonnie, of Quiltville, and Judy of Patchwork Times. They are both dynamo quilters; I have no idea how they achieve so much in the same 24 hours that I get each day.  They are great role models for me; neither of them think 'Oh that's too hard, I won't bother, I haven't got enough time, it'll never work...'  They just get in and do stuff, and then they blog about it.  I want to be like them when I grow up.

One thing that Judy does is make lists and spreadsheets, and I've never been much of a list person.  If I make them, I lose them, or forget them until days later; I get distracted, tired, my life gets hijacked by some emergency.  Or when I sit down to make the list, everything flies right out of my head, and I'm staring at a blank page wondering what on earth needs to be done.  It's really pathetic.

Lately my life has been a shambles of one 'urgent' job after another.  I barely have time to package up one thing as done and dusted before I have to get right into the next one.  I hate having to work like that, it wears me out, and then I find it very hard to recover my momentum.  I'm not a dynamo person.  Not now.

The way I worked when I was younger was in big cycles of manic effort, weeks at a time of non-stop energy and enthusiasm, then even longer weeks of nothing much.  The manic part was great!  I got so much done.  In one 6-week manic phase I wrote my book on QAYG, and quilted all the quilts on my Janome, at the same time as running my family and household.  I probably got 5 hours sleep a night, but I felt wonderful.  There was a slow period after that, while I just pootled in my cottage garden and did the necessary chores around the house, but it was a recovery time after all that effort.

I'm quite a few years older now, and I can't muster that manic energy anymore.  I have to pace myself so I don't run out of energy entirely, and it's been hard learning to do that.  I prefer the boom and bust cycle, oddly enough.  But now life is more even, without the huge highs and, more importantly, without huge lows.  I'm grateful I'm still quilting and still enthusiastic about it all.

I run a pattern club for my digital designs that comes out each month, and I design between 20 and 30 patterns for that.  I also have a website for those digitised patterns that keeps me busy with orders and enquiries.  I help Mereth quilt the customer quilts that are problematic, or need complicated computerised quilting that she's not confident to tackle herself.  I fill wholesale orders for my printed patterns, and printed pantographs.  And what I haven't told the blog is that for the last 14 months Mereth and I have also done the mail run for our little town, which takes between 20 and 25 hours each out of our week.  Small wonder I have no time!  and maybe that's why I have no energy .......

I've done all this extra work to help pay for my shed, which I hope  is going to be the start of the next interesting period of my life.  Once it's up (next Wednesday they say they'll be here, fingers crossed) all sorts of options will be possible, and I don't even know which one will be the right one.  It's going to be exciting and tiring and exhilarating and exhausting all at once.  I really hope I have the energy to blog about it.

Which gets me back to the original premise of this long and rambling post; I need to learn how to make lists!   There has to be a way to keep all these balls and dinner plates and bowling pins juggling in the air over the next few months.  I'm sure Bonnie and Judy could do it, and so can I.


Judy Laquidara 7:29 PM  

But, you created Spiral Square panto and I didn't! :)

Here's what you do. Get yourself an apron or a pouch . . you have kangaroos there . . borrow a pouch from one of them! Stick a pad of post-it notes and a pencil or pen in the pocket. Every time you think of something you want to do or remember, write it on a post-it note. You may need to write a list of things to do on one, and a list of things to buy on another, or a list you need to talk to your husband about on another. Everything you want to remember, write it on a post-it note. I go through dozens each day. If I have something I need to remember to ask Vince, I stick that note on the fridge or at the dinner table. Do whatever works for you. I use google spreadsheets because I can access them from anywhere - desktop downstairs, laptop upstairs, iPad in the bathroom (oh . . TMI). At first it may seem awkward but if you try it a while, you'll know pretty soon if it's going to get easier and more useful for you. There was a time not too long ago when I didn't live by lists but now, I can hardly do anything if I don't have a list to check things off. It's just how it works for me but it may not work for everyone that way.

Mary 8:23 PM  

I'm a list maker too - with all the traveling I do, my tasks are assigned to be done between trips and with a working list, I can make sure I accomplish everything I want to get done.

I also seem to have manic times alternating with lazy times but as long as I'm ahead on my list I just go with the lazy times.

Sue SA 10:40 PM  

Find a spot to keep your white or blackboard that is permanetly attached on a wall or the fridge. That way you can add to it (and cross off) without it getting lost. If you do this you might need two lists eg one for patchwork and one for rest of your life eg take dogs to vet for shots, or even for work quilts/pantos etc, one for private patchwork where you can keep track of WIP and UFO's ...these lists can live in your work room and the third list for rest of your life can live in the kitchen.
Most important thing is that you cross stuff off when you do it, then when list gets messy (due to lost of cross off bits) you can re write it...but in the meantime you KNOW you achieved stuff because you can SEE how much you crossed off. Incidently I partially started my blog so I could keep a list on it of what I have made, so I have a record of dates as well as seeing how much i achieved.
If you dont like white/blackboard try pining notes on a noticeboard or one of those IKEA double sided picture frames and BIG post it notes. Or a diary?
Happy quilting, Sue SA.
PS I think you churn out reams of stuff, always been very impressed with your output, even more so now I know your work commitments!

sewprimitive karen 2:30 AM  

Hi, Keryn! Love the comments; will have to check back to see what else people say. I'm going to try Judy's pocket post-it method. I have a blackboard by my sewing machine for big quilty things, just erase as I do it or it becomes obsolete :-). Also have a private blog where I keep to-dos and have-happeneds.

Ginette 5:04 AM  

Oh my, I read your post and laid down for a nap I was so tired! It is obvious you already get so many things done but have a lively and creative mind and thus think of so many more delightful, interesting, creative things to do! You are truly wonderful. Love your quilts, love your posts.

QuiltingFitzy 6:54 AM  


I read YOURS because you get so much done! It's all in the perspective darlin'.

I don't happen to subscribe to the notion that the person who does the most in life is the happiest. I run on, "If I'm happy today, all is good....and I'm the only one responsible for that happiness."

I'm a simple gal.

You're doing fantastically!!!

Kerri 4:41 PM  

Keryn, you and your sis, and Judy and Bonnie, are my sources for encouragement and inspiration! I started a really good to do list this last Monday, following Judy L.'s advice, and went out and about happily checking things off, and got home and couldn't find my list! I laughed, and thought, I was hopeless. But, I started a new list today, and I'm not giving up. I am in awe of all that you gals accomplish! The list flipped out of a flap in my wallet a few days later, all crunched up.

Henrietta 11:24 PM  

I have to have a list but I am not as organized as Judy who I am convinced is the EverReady Bunny in disguise. Bonny is not human, she is from the planet Krypton.

I only have one list and if I lose it I can make another. I keep a magnetized list on my frigerator and write on it as things are getting low. We only shop every other week so that list is important.

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