The Forward Motion

Real life often intervenes and it can be hard to find time to work on quilting projects. But the beauty of portable projects like these hand-stitched Dear Jane blocks is that you can take them with you and quilt most anywhere.

During the pandemic, we switched to a bowling alley with a good restaurant, and now that we’re eating in public again, we’re having dinner at the alley before bowling league once a week. And of course, you want to leave a little bit of time to digest your food before bowling vigorously, so we’ve been finishing dinner with almost an hour to spare before league starts.

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this … I’ve been trying to use that downtime between dinner and bowling to work on my Dear Jane blocks.

This was the first block I tried working on while waiting for bowling to start – and it’s shocking how much you can get done in 45 minutes a week. The only real downside is that the lighting is not great at the bowling alley.

Despite all the tiny pieces, this block was not too complicated. The only tricky part was the borders. Usually, when Jane adds a border to a block, she has one shorter piece, two medium-sized pieces, and one long piece for the four sides.

On this one, she decided to have all four border pieces the same length, so you have to start the first one, pause before you get to the end of it, sew all the other border pieces on normally, then finish up the first seam.

I had planned to have a photo of this, but I stitched the borders on in the emergency room (I told you that you can quilt by hand anywhere!). Surprisingly, the ER doesn’t have good lighting for quilting either, so I have only this one not-so-great photo of the border assembly to share:


You can kind of see at the bottom right where I paused before stitching the first border piece on completely. Once I got the other border pieces on, I would be all set to finish up the rest of that seam.

While I made good progress on the Dear Jane parts of the UFO Challenge in October, my rainbow quilt progress was decidedly lacking. I’d finished the quilting of the rainbow quilt the month before, and I had some vague idea that I would cut out the binding strips for it as part of my October goal.

But by the time October 37th (not a typo) rolled around and I hadn’t cut any strips, I threw in the towel on my October goal. You can see here that I completed one Dear Jane block, sashed two more together, and dug out the fabric I wanted to use for binding (pictured here as the background to the blocks):


In my new mindset of “How can I move it forward?”, I have now decided that part of the procrastination on the binding strips was not wanting to cut bias strips, but feeling like I should, since they last longer than straight-grain binding strips.

But really, is my child still going to be using this twin-sized rainbow quilt at age 40? Probably not. So let’s just move forward with straight-grain binding strips and get it done!

As a bonus, this gave me a chance to finally try out my new-to-me QuiltCut2 that I acquired during the pandemic. It’s not super useful for the Dear Jane quilt, where every block is different and the pieces are tiny, but it was pretty handy for cutting a bunch of strips for binding on October 37th:


My quilting progress isn’t always made when – or where – I plan, but I always manage to move it forward.

2 thoughts on “The Forward Motion

  1. Moving forward is good, how far is the question in this house!! I love seeing your progress and your delightful description of your month!! I haven’t done much on mine this year at all. My goal for next 2024 is to get cracking!! I will bring a couple of blocks to work on at our family dinner on Thanksgiving since the men have been relegated to clean up this year!! (PS: non of them are happy about this plan. We shall see what happens!) Happy Holidays to you and yours.


    1. Dawne, holiday gatherings are great for getting some portable quilting done! You can be present and interact with the family, but also make progress on your crafts. :)

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