Saturday A.M. Quilt Break: SMART Goals for 2018


When it comes to my quilting goals for last year, 2017’s loss was 2018’s gain: the log cabin throw quilt I’d aimed to finish by New Year’s Eve was only about three-quarters quilted by the time the ball dropped. I was a little disappointed until I able was to post it on social media on January 7 as my first finish of 2018. A quilting friend was super-impressed until I pointed out that I had started it in September but had only just finished binding it. I don’t care—a finish is a finish.

Project Red log cabin throw by Mary Kate Karr-Petras

Project Red log cabin throw by Mary Kate Karr-Petras

A word about this quilt: I’m pretty happy with it. It’s my first log cabin quilt, but I know it won’t be my last. You can read about how I approached the design and the fabric I used in the quilt top (Project Red by Sweetwater for Moda) here. I used Gerbera Red by Karen Roti for Clothworks for the backing, and quilted it with Weeks Dye Works 40wt thread in Whitewash.

back of the log cabin quilt in Gerbera Red

back of the log cabin quilt in Gerbera Red

I realized that my choices were influenced by the work of Catherine Redford that I’ve seen while at work. The dimensions, the layout, even the quilting, were all inspired by this quilt of hers.

log cabin quilt by Catherine Redford

log cabin quilt by Catherine Redford

For my quilting, I used a large platter to draw an undulating line on the diagonal from corner to corner, then used a quilting guide bar set at 1” from the needle to quilt echo lines using my walking foot. I think that I need to actually read Catherine’s book or view her web seminar, though, because I found that my big, open curves got tighter and tighter the more I lines I quilted if I didn’t pay attention. I’d like to learn how to avoid that. Still, I’m very pleased overall with this quilt. It was a good way to start the year.

Since I didn’t reach my goal of completing 12 projects in 2017, I’ve again set 12 finishes as my goal for 2018. And I know I may sound like a downtrodden sports fan at the beginning of every season, but I really do have a good feeling about my chances this year.

I’m familiar with how the best-laid plans can be completely blown to bits by real life. I’ve learned that that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t make any plans; it just means I need to accept that setting quilting goals is merely a means to an end. The true goal is to accomplish the work of quilting: to create, learn new things, explore new looks and yes, ultimately finish projects.

With that in mind, I think my goal of 12 finishes in 2018 qualifies as a SMART goal. Not just smart, but SMART:

  • Specific, sensible, significant
  • Measureable, meaningful, motivating
  • Achievable, attainable
  • Realistic, reasonable, results-based
  • Time-limited, time-sensitive, timely

Let’s break it down. Is my goal of finishing 12 quilt projects in 2018:


Mostly. I came into 2017 with 22 WIPs and UFOs. (Wow, that’s a lot!) Out of those, I identified five that are priorities (including the already finished log cabin quilt) and five that are essentially low-hanging fruit and would be easy to finish in-between larger projects. That leaves at least two unspecified projects for those patterns and ideas that will inevitably spark my interest during the year and get my fingers itching to stitch something new.


Yes. The goal is 12, and 12 is the goal. Aiming to finish an average of one project per month gives me goalposts throughout the year to measure my progress instead of it all clumping up in December.


Yes. Is it also Ambitious? Again, yes, but certainly possible and even probable. Reaching my goal would set a new benchmark of achievement for me, a new personal best. Which is pretty cool.


Yes. See Achievable. Also, since a “finish” can be a project of any size that was already in progress to some extent when 2018 dawned, and not by definition a new project, it’s definitely realistic considering how many WIPs/UFOs are on my list. (How did I end up with 22 of them?!?)


Yes. The deadline is midnight Mountain Standard Time on December 31, 2018. That’s a pretty hard stop.

So again, I will extend myself grace if I don’t reach my goal due to all of the other things in my life I need to take care of. This is supposed to be fun, after all, and not an additional source of stress. I sometimes feel pangs of envy when I see what others are able to achieve, but I also know I am only in competition with myself when it comes to the numbers. And the numbers are only there to help me stay mindful of unfinished business and of keeping my projects and supplies from turning into clutter that needs to be managed.

With that, I wish you a productive week! Feel free to share your goals for 2018—I’d love to hear them.
Mary Kate

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