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Prepping to Prepare a Project

This year, one of my resolutions is not to feel like I am so behind all the time. In the past couple of weeks, I have been trying to be mindful of how much time it takes to get tasks done. I had a lightbulb moment while editing my last video that there is a whole step of prepping to prepare that I have never accounted for before.

I had received the first draft of my weekly video from my editor. Before I can start my edit I need to map all the files on my drives. Some are new and need to be downloaded. Some are from previous videos and I need to find where they are stored. Sometimes the files have slightly different file names (thank you Google). And sometimes files are just missing and I need to figure out what they are and ask my editor.

So up until last week I would have said this takes at most 5 minutes. This time it took over 30. Thirty minutes that I have never recognized that I needed to block time for.

Then, I looked at my crumb strip project sitting undone in a project box. I have transported this to and from my studio at least 5 times in the past month attempting to reboot it. So I thought I would test my new theory. I took time this morning and pulled it all out of the box to review it. It took me just over 25 minutes to count what I had, then prep a list of what I still needed to complete the blocks. It was only then that I could prepare the strips for finishing. Twenty five minutes of prepping to prepare. 

Then, I glanced at the quilt on my longarm. I thought I would have had it done by now, but then I thought of how I had stayed late the other night to prepare it. That is, load the back on the longarm, baste the top and batting, and set up the pantograph. There was a clunk in my brain Before I was able to do that, I had had to prep the top by giving it a good press, measure and cut the batting, decide on thread colour for top and bottom, and find a pantograph that worked with the top. At least 60 minutes of work that previously I had not accurately accounted for.

It’s crazy that I am just discovering this. I think I have been so busy moving forward, thinking about future quilts, juggling multiple projects that I have never had time to study how I actually use my time. Now I need to use this insight when I am making my calendars.

Speaking of how I have been using my time, you can check out my recent QuiltCon Haul video here. And I have counted my stash! Was there too much? Watch that video here. I ran through a gamut of emotions but I am very happy I made the effort and feel in control again.

Upcoming events

The next Live Q&A will be Tuesday, April 2nd at 6:30pm. You'll be able to ask me anything! Be sure to turn on notifications so you don't miss it.

My next Stitch’n Chat with Karen’s Quilt Crew is on Sunday, April 14th at 11:00am EST. If you are a member, you will find the zoom link on the Just Get It Done Quilts community page.

Still on the fence about joining me on my next cruise? We have a couple of spots left. On our days at sea, in the quilting class we will be making a Karen Brown original, The Kapella Cluster Quilt. Here are a couple of colour ways.

Not only do we get all the adventures in these destinations, but we also have 5 days to sew at sea. If you want to join in the fun, you can checkout the brochure here. 

Karen's Quilt Circle

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Stephanie Canada and talking about Vintage Patterns.

You can also watch my video with An Kesenne from Madame Sew as we discuss problem solving here.

Listen to any of my Karen's Quilt Circle podcasts on the YouTube Music app here. 

I'm looking forward to getting some new sewing projects rolling and sharing them with you. Thank you everyone for your continued support.

Take care

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This is funny. After many times of frantically sewing on binding hours before a Show&Tell at my guild meeting, I think I’ve gotten better at allotting my quilting time. It’s the housework that gets short shrift…I’ll just throw in a couple loads of laundry or take care of these dirty dishes—those things take longer than I expect and gobble up my sewing time.😖


While not realizing the prep time for a project, I am notorious for not realizing how much time I need to finish a quilt. After all, I just have to put on the binding. But then there are some threads that need to be hidden, a small area I hadn’t quilted, cutting and squaring up the quilt etc. So instead of just 1 day to finish a quilt it can take 3 or 4 days. And don’t forget about the label.


Prepping is super important. Part of why I can spend 15-30 minute's of my lunchtime at home, productively sewing, is because I keep 1 or 2 projects all prepped, waiting for me to pop in. I’m grateful I have a 10x10 bedroom to sew, instead of the dining room table where the setup and take down took so much time.


Just this afternoon I received my square timer. What I thought would be a 20 minute project took 60. I understand what you are saying about prep time.

Thank you for sharing yourvthoughts.


I think we all fail to realize how much prep time there is in any project!! That’s why I always think I can accomplish more than actually gets completed. That prep time is real!!!

Mar 18
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You hit the nail on the head! It also depends on what speed you are operating at- tortoise or hare😉

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