There Comes a Time

There comes a time in life when reality sinks in.  I think I’ve had more little “reality checks” in recent times ever since I read the book Decluttering at the Speed of Life. (I reviewed the book on Christmas Day)

I’ve been slowly working through the sewing room asking myself “Am I really going to do this?”  At times I’ve said yes and then I’ve prompted myself to the “prove it”.  This was one of those days.

You might remember when Kalissa (my limited sewing daughter) was pregnant with Carver.  She had seen this baby quilt at a quilt shop.


She decided she wanted to make it for Carver.

It didn’t take her long and she made a pieced border for the panel.  Then it was time for a backing and she wanted to use minky.  That was fine.  I hadn’t quilted a minky quilt before but that didn’t seem overly challenging.  What was challenging for me was this…..

She wanted me to do this ABC panto on the quilt.  Well…if you’re a long term blog reader you know that pantos aren’t my thing.  I’ve never done them.  I’m for the most part happy doing free motion.

Well with baby #2 growing and Carver never getting his quilt finished, it was time.  So I decided it was time to prove I would use this panto and do pantos or move the panto stuff out of my sewing room.

So…I started watching videos.  It looked do-able.

Then I went to the machine and….nope.  I stood at the back with the quilt loaded and ready to go.  I tried to trace the pattern with the laser without the machine engaged.  Nope.  Yuck.  I didn’t have the control I needed to make it feel right.  Every video I watch suggested trying and easy panto first.  I already had the quilt loaded.

Ronda the charity quilter has encouraged and encouraged me.  I’ve talked to my friend Carla and she’s said that if I can free motion as well as I can, that a panto would be more time consuming.  Hmmm.  That got me thinking even more.  I appreciated the advice of both.

But…right then and there I decided it’s okay if I never do a panto.

I called Kalissa and told her.  She said that’s great mom.  I just want Carver’s quilt done.  So I hopped on the other side of the machine and away I went.

In a bit I was finished.  I feel so much better for several reasons….

1-it’s done
2-it turned out good
3-I gave myself permission to not have to be the person who can do everything.  WOW.  What a relief!  I can now clean out some of the stuff I’ve been hoarding with the thought that I have to become a panto machine quilter.  I can’t begin to tell you how much better I feel.  I’m going to have more space for what I REALLY will use and I don’t have to spend the energy to learn to do it.  Doing free motion is really enough.  YAHOO!!  Seriously it’s such a huge relief to let that go and not feel like learning to do pantos was hanging over my head.  Every time I loaded a quilt it was a reminder.  Every time I worked on a quilt, it was a reminder.  Now I don’t have to worry about it anymore and I can try to get better at free motion quilting.  Ahhhh.

So here’s the quilt as it came off the machine.

Kalissa loved it.

I love that this got finished…I love that it taught me a lesson too.  I’ve learned that there comes a time that it’s okay to let some things go.  Now rather than lamenting what I’m not, I can focus on being better at what I already do.  YES!!  That’s MUCH better.

Do you have some things that it’s time to let go of too??  I know I have more things…as I clean the sewing room I’ll share more.

Seriously, that decluttering book has been so good for me.

23 thoughts on “There Comes a Time”

  1. What an adorable quilt!!! It looks great! I have given up trying to learn appliqué! I took several classes on different methods but never enjoyed it. My appliqué looked really bad! I love how it looks but do not enjoy doing it! Finally I gave myself permission to stop torturing myself! I am happy that I did! We can’t be good at everything and why do it if we don’t enjoy it!

  2. I am still learning my computer quilting machine. I may never go beyond edge to edge designs. But, if I am happy about it that is all that matters. I will still be productive. Will not let the fact that others do much more complex designs make me feel bad or unworthy.

    Along the way of cleaning and contemplating my stuff, I decided that no new crafts would be started. Quilting and cross stitch are more than enough to keep my occupied and fill my time and space.

  3. That is an adorable baby quilt, I love that fabric. I haven’t seen that at any of our local fabric stores. I see a lot of people do wonderful quilting on their home sewing machines. Me, I just do straight stitching and a spiral. I’m not interested in doing more intricate work and I don’t care to take the time to learn. I think it’s great that people are that good on the machine but I don’t have to be. I’d rather spend my time on other things. Good for you to say you’re not interested in doing panto’s.

  4. Beautiful quilt and beautiful story. I cleaned out a drawer full of selvage strips recently and that felt good. Scrapbooking and appliqué are still in but probably need to go to the “prove it” stage. Hmm.

  5. It looks GREAT. I don’t have a longarm but have used my friend’s and pantos are easy I think. That one sure made this quilt greater. I was so scared when I read your title of today’s blog and knew you were decluttering all over the place and I THOUGHT…….she’s going to stop quilting and get rid of everything. You sure SCARED me. So glad it wasn’t that. I like that with pantos you don’ t have to think. Just follow the path.

  6. Hello, twin! I have a medium-arm machine (HandiQuilter). I have not tried a panto. I have a set of free-motion patterns that I think look amazing. I do not want to do custom quilting. To me, the beauty of a quilt is the design and color. I do not like to see quilts where it is quilted so heavily that it barley drapes. Quilts are for snuggling to me.

    The panel is adorable. I would love to find something like that for baby quilts. Easy easy!! Yours looks amazing.

  7. I’m planning the BIG sewing room overhaul this weekend; at least that’s when I plan to start it. This is going to take awhile. I hope I can really get rid of/pass on / donate all the things I know I will never use. It has been fun and encouraging reading how many others are in the same mind set. I like your “prove” it idea a lot

  8. I feel the same way about pantographs!! I’ve collected some, I’ve told myself to do it, I’ve prepped, practiced, but I have yet to subject my quilts to it!. I feel the same way about machine embroidery! My mom handed down a 5 yr old baby lock Ellissimo machine to me last year. I should be able to master it on that thing. But, I resist. Too many other things to do that I can do pretty well, piece & quilt!. Although, I would love to be able to free motion as well as you! Your free motion turned out super on that baby quilt!!

  9. The quilt is wonderful! I have found that as I have gotten older, I’ve learned more about myself, the finite character of time and that unless it’s necessary stuff, focusing on the work and crafts I enjoy mean better finished results and a happier me. I don’t mean I’ve quit learning things, I’ve just decided that if I can’t see myself enjoying something after I’ve given it a serious effort I don’t need to spend time trying to perfect those skills.

  10. Who needs more stress in their life? I think that you do beautiful free motion quilting and if you’re comfortable with it, then that’s the way to go. There are those who started out using pantos who can’t do free motion quilting and visa versa. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Good for you! Isn’t it fun making new discoveries and letting go of things both mentally and physically at this stage of your life? I liked that book as well. Your quilting is perfect and Carver will love it!

  12. Good for you, Jo! While I don’t have a long arm in the traditional sense, My 22 inch Gammill Charm is a long arm. I mostly do easy all over free motion, and occasionally spend the time to do some custom work. Recently a customer brought a Christmas quilt and wanted to ‘splurge’ and have me custom quilt it with a Christmassy design. I quickly told her I hope she doesn’t want holly leaves, because I can’t draw them. I have to be able to draw it to quilt it. Well, that’s kind of what she wanted on the background. Bummer. So after a couple weeks of trying to come up with another idea, I started practicing my holly leaves. I can finally draw them pretty well, and have graduated from doodling in pencil to ink! I have a way to go before I’m ready to try to meander holly leaves in a Christmas tree shaped space, but i’m at least on the way.

    Since your review of Decluttering at the speed of life, I’ve also read the book and tried to apply some of it’s techniques. We did pretty well in the storage areas of our home, and I hope to use it in the closet soon. I have a lot of clothes I don’t wear, and keep because I might need it for a funeral or something, but really , nothing is going to make me put on those dress pants from 10 years ago. And that little black dress, it probably won’t contain the extra 15# I’ve put on, and I no longer own shoes that would go with it. It’s time to declutter. Another thing that is really weighing on my mind are the cabinets of stamping supplies I have from 11 years as a Stampin Up demonstrator. I haven’t stamped more than a salutation on the inside of a card in more than 5 years. I buy cards at the dollar store because it’s easier than picking out an already made handmade card from my stash. It might be time to let that go, too… but all the money it represents! Sadness.
    Sorry to ramble. I enjoy your blog, and feel like I know you and your family… (I grew up on a small farm in SW MN, and can totally relate to small town living. Miss it so much.

  13. I don’t own a longarm but have dreamed about having one a lot. Than one day I realized I didn’t make
    enough quilts for the price of one, and that I could send them out to be quilted for less money. I do quilt a lot of baby quilts on my regular sewing machine and I enjoy that. The panto that your daughter wanted looks very difficult, none of the design goes across in a single row like most pantos do. Looks great with the all over design you did it in. Love the print of that fabric too.

  14. Its a lovely quilt and I bet its nice to have it done and let Carver begin to build memories loving his quilt that his momma made him. I don’t own a long arm and I feel pretty happy writing a check to those that do.

  15. The finished quilt looks lovely and Carver will be delighted his Granny made it for him. I haven’t read the decluttering book but I have been trying to declutter my home for several years. I certainly have got rid of a lot of stuff and try to take things to the Charity Shops on a regular basis. An example :When my husband and I finish with a paperback firstly we offer it to friends with the proviso that they either pass it on or donate to charity after they have read it. If none of our friends want the book it goes straight to the Charity Shop. I think you are making excellent decisions regarding simplifying your home and life. Way to go!

  16. I love the quilt. I’m with you on pantos. I bought half a dozen and then decided they weren’t my thing either. I passed them on to a new long-armer in my guild who was thrilled to get them. I was thrilled to give them!

  17. Good job getting that quilt done. It’s so cute & Carver will love it!

    When I got my machine I quickly learned that you really can’t practice pantos without the machine engaged. Like you said…no control. You really need a quilt or practice piece loaded. There is much more control with the machine engaged & actually stitching. I watched a video by Linda V. Taylor where she said that you don’t have to perfectly follow the panto lines….who’s going to know when they look at the overall quilt? That was so freeing and I remember it each time I use a panto. Anyway we all need to do what we’re comfortable with and now you can let go of the guilt over not using pantos.

  18. I think that the best lesson I learned when I lost my arm was that in order to be a “Quilter” didn’t mean that I had to be proficient at everything that being a quilter encompasses. I found that just being able to still piece a quilt was the most wonderful feeling I could accomplish. Sure, I need help with the cutting part of things, but if they’re cur, I can get them sewn. Yes, sometimes I loose the points or my seams don’t exactly match, but at least I didn’t have to give up my passion of piecing. I sometimes get envious of those that do such beautiful hand work with applique and embroidery, but my kids, grandkids and great grands love my pieced quilts, and that is a win for me. Jo you do such beautiful work and are so giving to the quilting community – who cares if you use pantos or not?? Not me!

  19. Your freehand quilting is wonderful, you have no need to learn to use pantos. My skills at freehand quilting are fairly close to yours but I love pantos. Mind you, what you chose was not an easy one, but there are several beautiful swirly pantos that can be done easily. I have my go-to pantos that can be done blindfolded, honestly! Also, it’s harder to follow the panto lines when you don’t have the thread engaged as it helps to control the movement.
    Happy Freedom Day!

  20. Susan the Farm Quilter

    When I first got my longarm, I bought a few pantos…just in case!! I have done one of them on a charity quilt for a customer. I don’t like not seeing the stitches on the top of the quilt. My favorite thing to do is custom quilting and the hardest thing is an E2E pattern. I’m holding on to my few pantos, but they don’t take up much room under my longarm.

  21. Because of your success at getting organized, I checked out the Decluttering at the Speed of Life book from the library, So far I have half of my basement storage area straightened and have been working on the closet in my sewing room. Love how the quilt turned out.

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