On Progress and Process

In 45 minutes the power will go off. Not enough time to write this week’s blog post, I told myself. Then I read another charming post by Wendy Tuma (her fourth this week!) and decided to stop making excuses and to keep my weekly blogging date.

So, here I am writing about my current WIP (Work in Progress). Perhaps it should be called a Work in Process because it has not been languishing in a cupboard but has been keeping me busy over the past few weeks. As I was pinning and tensioning the quilt I mulled over the two words and have discovered that progress and process are more-or-less synonyms. According to the OED (here I go again) progress is “forward or onward movement; advance or development” and process is a “course of action, [or] proceeding, esp. series of operations in manufacture”. It’s a fine line, but I think we should call the WIPs that have to wait in line to be finished Works in Process (rather than Progress).

Enough prattling. Here is the quilt I am working on, pinned and waiting to be quilted.

A few weeks ago I posted a photograph of the collection of travel fabrics that I was about to cut into. It will be a large quilt when it is done, so I have pieced it in three panels and will join them once each has been quilted.

It is not often that my oversized pin cushion is free of pins (what pincushion worth its use ever is?), but this happened as I finished pinning the last panel this week. Luckily I thought to take photographs of the historic occasion.

As my regular readers will know, I live in a small town and need to travel to the nearest city to get bespoke sewing supplies. This week’s trip to stock up on sewing machine needles, decent thread and other notions had a sad edge to it as my local quilt shop (LGS), Pied Piper, will be closing. I am going to miss Yolande’s expertise and good advice and wish her all the best. Luckily (for us) she intends to continue teaching. So, my last purchase from her shop was a bundle of hand dyed no. 12 perle threads and a collection of threads in shades of teal for the quilting of the quilt.

To end off, I would like to sing the praises of The Woodworker. Last year he noticed that I had used the two volumes of my trusted Shorter Oxford English Dictionary as a makeshift extension table when I was machine quilting on my domestic sewing machine. At the start of this year he noticed that I was working on a big quilt that would end up being quilted by machine. And so he made an extension table. It works like a dream.

The 45 minutes are up!

25 thoughts on “On Progress and Process

  1. Oh, I’m so glad you wrote this post. Your travel quilt is lovely with all those rich, beautiful fabrics. Fun to see the empty pincushion too. The Woodworker did a fabulous job on that extension table, and what a useful item for your quilting. I’m sorry to hear about your LQS closing; we’ve lost quite a few here too. Those teal threads are so pretty!


    1. Thanks for your positive and enthusiastic response Wendy, and for being my blogging muse this week. Yes, the fabrics in the travel quilt are very vibrant, aren’t they.
      It’s scary to know that speciality quilt shops are also closing in the USA. Thank heavens for fabric stashes.


  2. Ooh that travel memento quilt is coming along beautifully. You’ve pieced the exotica into a magical dream! Please share the finished article before you give it to the owner.


  3. This is simply scrumptious, Mariss! Could you go into more detail on the why’s of dividing the whole into 3 segments to be joined later? I have done a few ‘quilt as you go’ type quilts where each block is joyfully pieced and quilted individually then needs to be joined after all are completed. That’s where the joy ended for me! It gets complicated, but then maybe you have devised a ‘joyful’ way of joining! If so, please share!!!!


    1. Oh thank you for saying this about the unfinished quilt. It is the scrumptious and rich fabrics that do the trick.
      I too do not enjoy the joining of pre-quilted blocks or sections. But it is less irksome than quilting a queen sized bed quilt in one go, IMHO and IME (experience). You have probably used the same joyless joining method, which involves hand stitching to close the seam on the backing side of the quilt. Briefly the process is 1. Don’t quilt to the edge. 2. Join the two section tops by machine with no snarling or stitching into the batting and backing fabric. 3. Trim the batting from both sections so that it lies flush 4. Trim the backing fabric to seam width, fold under raw edge and slip stitch down ( while dreaming of the next quilt which will be made in one whole piece!)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Now I have to interject here that I do in fact enjoy hand stitching the binding…as it’s a form of hand work that also leads to a quilt/project’s ‘ending’ and gives me time to ‘let go’ of it.
        Just sayin’…


    2. As to why 3 sections: each section is 80 cm ( about a yard) wide and I have found this to be a comfortable width to work with when machine quilting. Each of the sections is the full length of the quilt ( about 3 yards long)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Now, this logic is good so I would venture into the joyless joining technique as it would serve the piece…And in this instance, there’d be only 3 long joins (almost wrote long johns – heh) all straight so maybe not as bad. Tedious, yes, bad? Let me know!


  4. I love the fabrics you are using for this quilt. They look so good together. And definitely a photo of a nearly empty pin cushion is historic. I got an extension table (I had to purchase mine) not too long ago, and I still marvel at how much of a life changer it is. It makes quilting so much easier.


    1. Thanks for your comments about the quilt, Shasta, and for appreciating the significance of a nearly empty pincushion! I am glad you have an extension table and agree that it makes all the difference. Happy stitching


  5. Can’t wait to see the finished quilt! It’s sad when nearby shops close, do you need to travel much further now? The extension table looks great, I am betting you’ll use it often and not only for quilting.


  6. I enjoyed your post and am glad you had time to write to all of us. The fabrics in your quilt are luscious; the textures look great together. I know the colors and designs would make me feel happy when working on a quilt like that. I’m a hand quilter but I have a brother who is a woodworker-maybe I’ll show him the photo of the lovely extension on your table.
    I often listen to podcasts when hand stitching. My favorite is called A Way With Words and is all about words, sayings, meanings, derivations, geographic differences, etc., all discussed in a light hearted manner. I liked reading your thoughts about process and progress-thanks for sharing your thoughts and work.


    1. Thank you for your lovely comments and for finding my blog, Kathleen. Yes, I am enjoying working with the rich colours and textures of this quilt. While I also prefer to hand quilt, I am quilting this one by machine because it is so big and because it is quicker. Will try to find the A Way With Words podcast to keep me company while I stitch. Am currently listening to a Poem a Day podcast and enjoying it thoroughly.


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