There are some advantages to a family member who sells patchwork fabric.
I know that for some it is hard to envisage disadvantages in this situation but imagine fabric stash multiplied many times over (the phrase "fabric everywhere" in a literal sense!) and then there's also the temptation...sigh...
Anyway, I came home from a recent visit to my parents armed with a selection of new fabrics to add to my growing collection of fat quarters...
...some new designs and some pieces with minor flaws that I can cut around but couldn't be sold (these donations are a definite advantage of the situation).
Then I went through all my fabric and realised just how much I have...
...so after a small promise, to myself (and my other half!) that I would use some of the hoard to actually make some bears, I set to work.
I wanted to experiment with a more efficient system of working. I thought about the time it takes to work progressively through the stages of bear making. I thought about the time wasted getting equipment out and putting it away multiple times.
So I decided to try to work conveyor belt style.
I chose a few fabrics, got the ironing board out and ironed them, then started pinning the pattern pieces in place. Then I cut the pieces out, removed the pins and started on another piece of fabric. I repeated this until I had the pieces cut for nine bears.
By this time, I was thoroughly sick of standing at the ironing board and my fingers hurt from pushing pins through card and fabric. Plus it took AGES! I always forget how long this stage takes!
So I moved on and started getting the pieces ready to sew. I matched and pinned the pieces ready for the first round of sewing. It was a lot of pieces. So many that I ran out of pins.
Time to get the sewing machine out. Hooray! And to my astonishment, I was finished in an hour and a half! Having done all the preparation work, all I had to do was sit and sew. It was amazing!
Then it was time for the second round of pinning and sewing - completed in another hour. I began to think that perhaps this conveyor belt thing had its merits after all.
And then I hit a snag.
I wonder if you can guess? If you've read my bear posts before then you might be able to....
... let me give you a clue. What are my least favourite parts to work on?
You've got it - foot-pads!
I had left myself with eighteen foot pads to sew.
Plus the noses (although the rest of the head can be done on the machine, I always sew the nose part of the head gusset into place by hand for better shaping). Nine noses.
So I turned and stuffed the completed bodies and arms instead.
And then the excuses started.
"Well I don't have enough buttons to make nine bears anyway"
So I ordered some buttons and waited for them to arrive.
And finally I realised I didn't really have an excuse any more. So I gritted my teeth and, grumbling and complaining, I forced myself to get on with making just one of the bears. I sewed the nose (which I grudgingly have to admit took about 15 minutes!) and then used the machine for the rest of the head.
Then I pinned the first foot pad and started to sew. About half an hour later, I moved onto the second leg. And then that too was completed.
I had been procrastinating for two weeks over a job that took me less than an hour and a half to complete!
And would have been much quicker if I hadn't been fighting myself the whole way!
Sometimes I am my own worst enemy!
Anyway, I could now get on with the fun part: turning, stuffing, closing seams, jointing and adding eyes, nose and ears.
The bits that create and cement character.
The tasks that bring the bear to life.
And here he is...
Am I pleased? With the bear - a definite yes.
With myself? Sigh - one day I will learn that the things I put off are generally not that epic. That I allow them to appear bigger than they really are so that I can pretend that I don't have time. That I always feel far better when I get on with something than when I leave tasks hanging over me.
So much for efficiency! I have completed one bear in three weeks. Oh well.
I would have said that I don't have enough eyes for another bear but my wonderful mum has taken that excuse away by finding some amazing vintage boot buttons at a French craft show this weekend (you can see the photo on her blog) so all I have to do is wait for them to arrive! So exciting!
I think I'll go with this bear next: the head is already done.
What part of projects do you procrastinate over the most? Have you ever been surprised by the time a long-put-off-project actually took to complete?