Move Over, Mr. OCD!

We've all got our private rituals for detoxifying from the holidays and starting the New Year with a fresh mind (and a few extra pounds). Me, well, I take stock of what I've managed to accomplish over the last 12 months, and what I haven't–but fervently wish–I had finished. And in terms of my quilting life, man, is there a lot to be said!

As an editor of Quilter's Home, a quilt magazine that's lived through many major changes over the last two years, it's a crashing understatement to say that my partner, Melissa, and I have been busy. It's also obvious to say that in doing this job, we seem to eat/sleep/breathe quilting and creativity in all forms. But it seems we don't get to do it as often as we'd like.

And that's a big fat problem. See, I'm a list maker. I've kept copious, anal-retentive-symptomatic check-offs for years. One of my favorites is my list of finished projects. (My husband, Mr. OCD, just laughs when he sees me making lists. Hey, two can work at this organization thing!)

When I was working on my first two books, my list of projects done topped two dozen or more per year for three years running, including quilts, small crafts, knitted scarves and more than I could carefully detail and rest in the assurance that yes, I was creative.  

It's not just a number either. The more I create, the easier the creativity muscle is to flex. My projects become more sophisticated and better put together as I design and make more. (I'm not trying to get all metaphysical or anything. Just go with me for a minute.) When I'm regularly sewing or crafting, I'm more relaxed and my sense of personal pride elevates. It's the textile equivalent of an antidepressant, with a whole lot fewer side effects!

This hasn't happened for a couple of years now. I've put one or two things on the "finished" list lately, but that's a weak victory, people.

There's an old writer's motto that says, "Writers write." Well, I'm a writer and I've certainly earned the designation over the last decade or so. But I'm also a quilter and a crafter. I make things and while my preferred method of creation comes through needle, thread and fabric, I never turn my nose up at paper, jewelry and other make-it-mine joys. It's time to reclaim my identity.

So I'm officially declaring 2011 as the year of "This Quilter Quilts."

I have at least a dozen almost-finished quilts lying around my sewing room. My goal is to finish one quilt a month for the next 12 months. Because many of these are already half quilted, and have been for (in most cases) years, how hard can this be?

Here's just a peek at what awaits the needle in my house:

I'd love to have your help. To stay honest, I'll take pics and document my progress, or lack of. But if you wouldn't mind slapping me upside the head when I seem to be slacking, or throwing the occasional "atta girl" at me, it will help. And, hey, I can return the favor. (I'm really good at that head-smack thing-comes from having a hubby who likes to get in trouble!)

Melissa and I love pouring inspiration and motivation into the pages of QH, encouraging you to find your fabric bliss. But I'm gonna claim some of that for myself this year, too, and I hope you'll join me on my renewed dedication to the needle. I'll show you mine if you show me yours, deal?

Check in next Monday for my progress on the January project: Finishing the rabbit quilt, three Easters later… –Jake Finch

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