Getting the New Year All Sewn Up

IMG_1984For me, New Year’s Day is usually the beginning of a fairly short-lived season of planning. The daylight hours are still pretty short, so it’s especially easy to get that “burning daylight” kind of feeling.

Time is certainly far more valuable than money, but time and money do have a few things in common. Most notably: time can disappear without a trace just as easily as money. In other words, both need a little bit of management.

Each year — at least until spring has sprung — I make up an elaborate little schedule to follow. I think I get a charge out of this because — not only does it give me the giddy feeling of being a student all over again — it gives me a glimmer of assurance that all of my little “irons in the fire” are at least getting hammered and honed once or twice each week. Left to my own devices, the TV comes on right after dinner and — before I know it — it’s time for bed! “Oh well,” I say, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

Unlike a to-do list which is a fairly short-sighted endeavor or a list of lofty life goals which is usually in need of whittling down into some specifics, a schedule is a savvy mix of both. Somehow, knowing that I have an appointed time to do something gives me some sense of purpose — even if that something is making dinner, reading, or exercising. The schedule is my very own little bespectacled schoolmarm who follows me around making sure that I’m getting at least a little bit done on everything that needs doing.


All of this, of course, puts me in mind of a new hobby I picked up in November: patchwork quilting. I know, I know! Another hobby? This is the last one, I swear!

Making even a small quilt from start to finish is a lot like managing your time while working toward goals. I started this small, nine-patch quilt by first making out my design and gathering the necessary fabrics. For my IMG_1938schedule, I made a list of everything I’d like to learn more about or experience more fully. I also wrote down a few personal things I’d like to improve upon and then threw in all of the necessary things that keep everyday life afloat.

The next step in the quilt was to cut out small pieces of each fabric based on the design I’d drawn. This involved very careful measuring and cutting, by the way. For my schedule, each day was divided into small parts and I carved out ambitious but achievable places for each thing I need to devote my time to.

The next move in the quilt was a big one — sewing all the patches together according to the design. Here, any IMG_1940inaccuracies in my measuring or sewing became more and more obvious as more and more patches were assembled. For my schedule, the big move will be putting it to work and abiding by it. As with every other time I’ve made a spring schedule, I’ll eventually discover I’ve left something out or I will see that certain expectations may not be practical — at least not the way I’d originally planned.

Finally, the last few touches were added to the quilt and it was finished. As individual pieces, the fabrics were beautiful in their own right. But, added together, they became something greater. Hopefully, by the time spring comes around and it’s time to either make up a new schedule or go “free-form”, I can look back on this winter with the same pride and sense of accomplishment that I feel when I look at this quilt which now hangs on our bedroom wall.


Examining the quilt up-close, I can clearly see that certain lines are not straight, my nine-patch blocks do not meet with the border as they should (actually they run right into it), and the green binding on the edges was not sewn by hand because I still don’t know how to do that. But, where there once was no quilt and I knew nothing about quilting, there is now a cute little starter quilt and I’ve got a new hobby that gives me another something to do with my time. I’ll bet my schedule will wind up somewhat the same as my quilt!

What are some of your plans for the new year? (notice how I avoid the word “resolution”)


~ by Jason on January 6, 2011.

8 Responses to “Getting the New Year All Sewn Up”

  1. yes that was so pretty on your wall .
    I can’t wait to see the next one …
    Love ya

  2. I’m taking a sewing class starting Saturday (!) to become a more confident sewer. (This is in hopes to start making some of my own clothes and gifts for family and friends.) That’s my big plan. I’m also thinking of finding someone to play some music with on a more regular basis…a little singing…a little guitar playing. I’m kinda feeling like I want to be more creative this year.

    BTW…how big is your quilt? I can’t get a sense not seeing it next to anything else. It’s really lovely!

    • The quilt is about 21″ x 21″… it was based on a design from “Quilting for Dummies”!

      I’m uber excited about your sewing class — I know you’ll be swell at sewing. I’m not sure I’d be up to sewing clothing since that’s such a precision skill (and I’m so rarely precise), but I’ll bet you’ll have fun dressing JB up in all sorts of things, won’t you?! 😀 James is into sewing draperies and things… as a group, we’re becoming quite crafty, aren’t we?!

      Music, of course, is always somewhere on the burners in my life. I’m excited about working with you for the concert, this spring. It’s going to be a ton of fun! My own personal musical dream is to one day have an oboe again and find a few folks to gather around a play Baroque music with me. Sigh… but it’s not as though I don’t already have enough musical instruments lying around, right? It’s gotten to the point where I don’t schedule specific instruments to practice, I just schedule “practice music” and I decide which instrument that’s going to be when the time comes!

  3. Hey you, You inspire me in so many ways…James has always done this for me for certain whether it be to do my homework or get on an exercise plan at last, he has always been my greatest inspiration and encouragement. I am so glad the two of you are together for so many reasons, you certainly compliment one another!
    Oh, Jason, I love reading your posts and always enjoy the colorful pictures you include. I think James should consider sewing a bit more himself… the question must be begged after all, “Where is the Jessie skirt?” This one may take some serious time, ha ha ha! Hope you two are enjoying your quilt, it is beautiful and bright!!!

    • Thanks, Jessie. James is definitely going to be sewing more in the new year, too. He’s already made a few things to cover some furniture in the bedroom.

  4. I love your quit. I simply can’t get enough of it. When I saw the little thumbnail I actually thought it was a mosaic (that’s a compliment). It’s the cutest thing since sliced bread. Keep up the great work.

    • Thanks, Monique. So far, finding a snippet or two of time to work on quilting isn’t the problem so much as having BRAIN power line up with that time. I’m still quite the beginner, so it actually takes a great deal of mental stamina for me to do quilting — even though it’s seemingly a simple matter of cutting out shapes of material. James got me lots of quilting supplies for Christmas, though, so I’m excited to make a new project soon.

  5. Yay quilting! Congratulations on your work of love… it’s so sweet!

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