Friday Tip #4

It’s Okay to Stop in the Middle of a Project

There are many reasons why projects stall in the middle; boredom, a change in circumstances, perhaps the fabric/pattern is disappointing.

For me, the most discouraging thing I face when quilting is when I’m almost done with a quilt top and I discover I’ve made a mistake.  A mistake that could easily have been bypassed had I been paying attention and that will require a lot of seam ripping and repeat work.  I just hate that.

Sometimes, I just can not bring myself to take it apart and start over nor can I bring myself to move forward with a big mistake and I am paralyzed.  I may or may not say a cuss word and then leave the whole thing in a pile on the floor next to my sewing machine and then I go look for some ice cream.

When I can finally bring myself to look at it again, without crying (or cussing), I gather it all up, put it in a plastic container or plastic gallon bag and stick it on a shelf.

I learned to put it away for a while and let myself move on to other projects.  When I get it out, at a later date and I can see it with fresh eyes.  I find that I can veer from from original plan or can face fixing any mistakes.  The bottom line is that I am much more likely to finish it.

This is a quilt I made for my little niece.  I bought the fabric, cut it, and sewed all the blocks but I just wouldn’t come together the way I had envisioned. I put it away.  Two moves, nine years and a niece and nephew later, I pulled it out and looked at it again and could consider many possibilities that I just could see before.  I took it apart, found complimentary fabrics, put the blocks together in a different way that I originally planned and now it is one of the quilts I’m most proud of.













So give yourself a break. Discipline has its place but creativity in any form, should feed your soul.  It shouldn’t be drudgery and it should never make you feel guilty.

What about you?  Do you have a trick that gets you motivated when you get stuck?


Sara’s quilt

I’m making a couple of quilts for my sister Sara.  She wanted me to use this clean, modern line of fabrics by Michael Miller.  Although they aren’t colors I seek out normally, I love them!  They have been fun to work with. The fabric is a little heavier than I normally use in a baby quilt,it is more like decorator fabric. It softened up beautifully when it was washed, however and if this is a well used quilt, it will be that much more durable.























The patterns are large and I wanted to employ them in the best way possible.  I started by planning it with this Six Squares pattern but we wanted to use four different colors and the six squares didn’t allow me to use all the fabrics. So then I designed another quilt using more and smaller squares, using this and this as my inspiration, but no matter how I worked the design the squares were just too small.  So back to the drawing board, literally.  I went back to the Six Squares design and reworked it with eight squares.  It was just right.

I actually ended up making this quilt three times.  I made it in a lap size so I could work out all the bugs.  Then I made it in a baby size but didn’t notice the mistake with the orange square until it was already quilted and bound and I was taking pictures of it.  Ugh!!













I don’t understand it.  I looked at that quilt top for hours while I bound it.  I went over it every inch of it cutting all the tiny threads.  I held it up in a mirror after each block was sewn.  I guess I stopped looking at the design as a whole and just focused on the smaller pieces, until it was too late.

Luckily I cut out two of everything so that I could make a second quilt and Voilà!  Here is the finished product.



I’m really proud of it and can’t wait to mail it off.

What I learned?
Look at the pattern as a whole and not just the smaller pieces.