My Quilting Roadmap for 2019

Success is rarely about finding the right solution to problems. It's about finding the right problems to solve.
Adam Grant

The last four weeks of this year have been a whirlwind of activity for me and my family, and I imagine it’s been the same for you. The holidays tend to be a delightful but crazy time of the year, don’t they?

Photo of antique buffet in newly remodeled dining room
The nearly complete renovation of my dining room.

 

At any rate, a break from the constant barrage of tasks that go along with running a website was in order, so I greatly appreciate your understanding as I stepped away from posting and emailing this past month. The time away allowed me to enjoy time with family and friends, catch up on some home maintenance projects, and most importantly, gave me the space I needed to sit back and evaluate what I’ve been doing here with the Scissortail Quilting website.

With bullet journal in hand, I’ve been trying to outline my quilting roadmap for 2019. But one important part in that process was to take a good hard look back at what I did in 2018. (This post will be a little more personal in nature than my typical post, so I hope you don’t mind my sharing. It helps me cement it all in my brain.)

Photo of Bullet Journal
My 2019 Bullet Journal

2018 would prove to be the year that this little website finally came to life. And took off.  After languishing on the web since early 2015, Scissortailquilting.com was relaunched in August 2017 at the encouragement of my two boys.

The goal was to solve a problem that I had as a quilter…  tired of jumping all over the internet to find the various chunks of information I used in my quilting, I wanted it all in one handy spot. Especially with regard to quilt blocks. Since 2016 I had been drawing a lot of blocks in Illustrator to use in my design process. (I had tried quilt design software but I felt like it was too limiting, so I had fallen back to using the tools I use in my work.) I figured those drawings might be helpful to other quilters, and I knew a Quilt Block Library would help me better organize the images and notes that I had accumulated.

And so the process began to build it. A labor of love, for sure…

But nonetheless, it’s been quite a bit of labor!

So much work. So little time.

If you have a website of your own, you may understand this next part. About halfway into last year, I became discouraged. Or maybe burnt out. I mean, a website can be a real beast.

Since I work full-time as a graphic designer, evenings and weekends were my time windows for working on the website and my quilting projects. I started spending so much time on website tasks that quilting projects were taking a backseat, and I was way behind in my pattern development goals. I could feel myself rushing through everything I touched and not liking my results. To top things off, I only completed about 4 quilts last year. (About half of what I had made the year before.)

The website started to be not so much fun. I began to view it as the job that didn’t pay, and I was having to push myself through it.

And it feels like no one understands

It’s kind of a given law that when you set out to do something, hardly anyone will understand it, or you, or your motivation. Your family will forget that you’re doing it and wonder why you’re still sitting at the computer after 6 hours…and ‘Why are we still out of turkey?’

Most of your closest friends just won’t get it, either. I don’t think my very best friend has even visited my website (But in her defense she’s a knitter and not a quilter.) I don’t really talk about it much to my quilting friends, so I’m not sure if most of them are very tuned in either. I don’t feel like that makes them bad friends. It just means they are on a different path and not paying as much attention to the one I’m on. Which is totally okay.

It’s not like this is new to me. The entire world of graphic design is sort of like this too. Almost any kind of art or design can be a bit lonely at times. In fact, if it’s not lonely, they say you might not be doing it right. I consider my website an artistic endeavor, and any type of artistic endeavor will not be a “run with the crowd” kind of activity, It invariably means marching to the beat of your own drum. And more than anything, it means being true to yourself and what you feel called to make and do. I find myself having to remind myself of that a lot..

But am I asking the right question?

Where I really started to question myself was this:  Am I really solving the right problem? I mean, there are thousands of quilting websites out there, and maybe the world doesn’t really need another one. Sure, I was solving my own problem, but was that reason enough to put in all this effort?

So, towards the end of last year, I was really needing validation. I was questioning whether all the work was really worth the effort.

Later in the year, two things happened that were a huge encouragement.

First, I saw a huge spike in website traffic starting in mid-October. And after that spike, a steady gain in the number of daily visitors to the site.

And second, I got a really special email from one of my visitors. (I think getting emails from visitors is the best part of running this website. Usually, they have quilting questions, and it’s just a big thrill for me to have a real interaction with someone who has connected with the website.) On Halloween, I received this email (Image below.)

Photo of an email
Email I received about my website.

Wow! That will put the wind back in your sails, won’t it?

Someone took the time to send this incredibly encouraging word. The really cool thing is that she runs a website too. I knew she got it.

I started to think just maybe I was solving the right problem. Just maybe, someone else out there thinks what I’m doing is worthwhile.

Ready to plan 2019

So, after a little soul searching about how 2018 went, I’ve come away with a roadmap for 2019.

First, I’m committed more than ever to creating what my family affectionately calls “the world’s greatest quilting website.” (Their words, not mine, ’cause I can tell you there is a list about a mile long of things that need to be done here.)

But I believe this website fills a need, and that little email helped validate that belief. I feel like there needs to be a comprehensive well-organized site on the internet (that’s not overly commercialized) where quilters can easily find quilt design information. As it stands now, I think ScissortailQuilting is a good start, but there is so much work to be done. I spent a good chunk of November and December auditing the site and identifying where the site needs help. I plan to get those areas finished up soon, and I’ve identified areas where I need to beef up and/or add new content, especially with regard to the Glossary and the Quilt Block Library.

photo of a journal page with task list for January 2019
Entry in my Bullet Journal for January 2019 blog tasks

 

Second, the designer in me just needs to be able to create more. That’s really my happy place. And that needs to happen more or I’m not going to be a happy girl. I have my fingers crossed that some semi-professional opportunities will pan out to spur me on in this direction, but even if they don’t, I’ve made a list of project goals to help me accomplish a little more on the “creative side” in 2019.

Oh, and have I mentioned that we have a big wedding coming up in June???

And there’s the rub

You can probably see the dilemma: something’s gotta give in order for me to have more balance. In order to be true to those two main goals, and still be a good mom to my growing family, I need to know how to divide my time between the two. I really have no idea how I’m going to accomplish all I want to in 2019, but I have set a few parameters for my “roadmap for 2019” and I’m hoping these parameters will keep me on course:

  • Scale back on the emails. I’ve had a lot of fun writing those weekly emails, but they do take a lot of planning, time and energy. It’s not just the email, but preparing a weekly cutting chart, testing it, uploading it, testing the download function, testing the emails, etc. You get the picture.  I’m not really sure how frequently I will end up emailing everyone in 2019, but I’m going to start off with twice a month – a monthly download related to something I’m working on and a monthly recap. Once I gain traction with projects, this may increase.  I’m not setting any hard and fast rules here; we’ll just see how it goes. I just know that weekly is not sustainable for me right now.
  • Block out better times for concentrated effort. Fridays for designing and project making; Sunday afternoon and evenings for web maintenance, email and blog writing. I was doing it the opposite way last year, and what typically happened was that by Sunday I was still in front of the computer instead of the sewing machine.
  • Scale up social media. Counterintuitive, I know, to add something back in. This took a hit last year, and the main reason was that I wasn’t posting was because I wasn’t making as many projects to show. I think this will easily resolve itself.

So that’s the gameplan, but what about quilting projects?

Here are a few of the projects that I hope to finish and/or start in 2019:

  • I’ve started the Sky pattern by Zen Chic (Brigitte Heightland). It’s for my new daughter-in-law (Have I mentioned we have a wedding in June?) We are doing it in an assortment of blacks, whites, and grays. It needs to be at the quilter by the end of January so you should see some posts on it shortly.
  • And I hope to finish A Little Flower by Blackbird Designs…it’s cut and ready to go, and I hope to get moving on it as soon as the Sky pattern is finished.
  • This pattern (Harriot by Sue Cody) has been in my pile since late 2017. I’m totally intimidated by it, but think it’s amazing. Hoping to dig into it by end of February.
  • Coastal Lily pattern by Minick and Simpson. I have loved this pattern since I first laid eyes on it. My colors will be a bit different, but still pretty scrappy.
  • My X-plus Quilt blocks are all made, and I’m ready to turn them into quilts. (You can read more about that here.) However, I’m waiting until my son moves out and we decide what size bed(s) go back in that room before I actually make the quilt(s). You will probably see posts on these this summer.
  • I’m longing to make something that uses 30-degree triangles, something using circles, and a pickle dish. These will probably find their way into the patterns I design in 2019.
    • I don’t want to give too much away here, but I have several projects sketched out, many that I plan to use in my home. (A few are holiday projects.) Earlier I mentioned that I redid my Dining Room. The walls used to be covered in this flourishing scroll green wallpaper (Think back to that Tuscan Villa craze). I wanted to have a more neutral backdrop for the room, so quilt designs placed in here wouldn’t compete with the walls. I’ve been slowly transitioning our entire home to be more of a “quilter’s home” — to reflect more of what I’m passionate about, so I can tell you that all of the projects on my list are for things I would put in my home. Later this year, we will be redoing some bedrooms, especially after our son moves out. (There’s a wedding coming up, you know!)
  • I have a couple of UFO’s that need to be finished and a small stack of quilt tops that need to be quilted. Several of these I plan to quilt myself on my domestic. I’m sure several posts will come out of this experience!

Well, thanks for hanging with me this long! I hope I didn’t totally lose you with my rambling on about goals for next year, but by memorializing it all here, I think I have a better shot at sticking with it! Of course, if you have some suggestions for things I should add to my project list, I am all ears. Shoot me an email (I love emails!)

Hoping all your goals and wishes for 2019 come true!

Happy Quilting!