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?


Tips: Start Today


I’ve been thinking about what I wish I had known when I started quilting and thought I might share a few tips with you here.

#1 Don’t wait to start quilting until you have all the tools, the best sewing machine or even lessons.

basic quilting supplies

To begin, I would suggest you have a sewing machine that sews a straight line and the basic things in the photo above. (Photo by Amy Smart)

Having said that, when I started out I was home with small children, I didn’t have the time or money for lessons nor did I have everything included above.  From that list, I had a rotary cutter, cutting mat and ruler but I used my kids’ safety scissors as well as fabric and thread I already had. I don’t think I even had a seem ripper.  I used books and advice from friends and the internet a little.

Fifteen years ago YouTube hadn’t been invented and the abundance of resources out there, for things like quilting just didn’t exist yet.

Things are very different now, a quick internet search this morning for ‘quilting 101’ provided me with over 22,000 hits. Clearly, not every hit is going to be helpful but everything you need to make a quilt from start to finish can be found if you look around for a minute.

Amy Smart at Diary of a Quilter, has the most comprehensive beginning quilter series that I have seen out there, plus her pictures are pretty.

Tell me, do you like to learn things on your own or do you learn better with others around?