Works in Progress–Setting Priorities

Free Motion Quilting, Flowers, Sulky, Bernina

I have so many “Works in Progress” right now that I can’t count them all!  I have always worked that way…I almost never work on a project from start to finish without interruption.

Free Motion Quilting, Flowers, Sulky, Bernina

I am usually very enthusiastic at the beginning of a project and then I find my interest wanes somewhere in the middle.  Often I lose interest because the project isn’t working out the way I’d planned, or I run into some technical difficulty.   Sometimes I just don’t know what I want to do–too many options and I need to give the project time to incubate.  I often get waylaid with a new idea altogether.  New idea–new fabric-maybe a new ruler–quilt shop hopping?  Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Free Motion Quilting, Flowers, Sulky, Bernina

I wish I had a Minion or two to help me in my sewing room—(I’d have them binding quilts–a task I hate!)

Free Motion Quilting, Flowers, Sulky, Bernina

Usually I circle back around on the projects that are the best and deserve my attention, though sometimes it is years later.

Free Motion Quilting, Flowers, Sulky, Bernina

My sister does a regular inventory of her quilts and asks herself this question:  “Which quilts would I be sad if I never had the chance to finish?”

Free Motion Quilting, Flowers, Sulky, Bernina

I think it’s time to clean my sewing room and ask myself that question.

Free Motion Quilting, Flowers, Sulky, Bernina

What about you?  How do you work through a project—start to finish or with many stops and starts?  Are there any quilts in your closet that you would be sad about if you didn’t finish?

29 thoughts on “Works in Progress–Setting Priorities

  1. Lori, like you I have several projects going at the same time…for the same reasons you stated. When I hit a creative block I start something new to get the juices flowing. Just love your blog and how relevant it is to how I quilt. Have a great day!

    • Miss you, Patti. I think some of my issues started at Quilt Guild–I wanted to try every new idea from every presenter and class we took! I haven’t joined a guild here. Are you still at North Shore Quilters?

  2. Hi Lori, First let me say that I love your blog. I haven’t had time to try out all your patterns yet but you are the first place I look when I have no idea what to do. I too have a lot of unfinished projects. Mostly quilt tops. I say I’m a topper not a quilter. How about we help each other out. I’ll do your binding (because I don’t mind doing that) and you do my quilting. LOL Sounds like a plan to me! What do you think? LOL Keep up the good work.

    • I may take you up on that offer! Perhaps you are a “topper” ( I love that term) because you aren’t comfortable with free motion quilting. I hope this site gives you some help with that. Also, if there are any questions I (or our followers) can help you with, let us know!

  3. Hi Lori,
    This is so true for me too….maybe it’s a (good) sign of the creative mind at work. I’m working on a queen-sized ‘art’ quilt that will be gorgeous when done, but lost the drive to finish it. To get a jump-start on quilting this summer, I finally did a simple baby quilt in great fabrics to get back into it. I also lay the big one on my bed from time to time and that gives me inspiration to do more, as it’s more exciting laid out than it is hidden in a pile in my sewing room.
    Love waking up to your blog…it’s great for inspiration too!
    Barb, 55082

    • I do think “jump-starting” is a great idea…if it works. Are you working on your art quilt? What do you need to get started on it again? I’d love to see where you are in the process of your art quilt. Can you send a photo to share?

  4. that’s a really interesting mental exercise. i should think about doing it myself considering my unfinished quilts are still in the double digits.

    • I’m sure my UFOs are in the double digits as well. Perhaps people like us need to narrow it down to THE MOST Important three–otherwise we will be overwhelmed!

  5. Maybe that old saying “out of sight, out of mind” was coined by a quilter! I had one quilt that gave me problems. About a year later I was daydreaming and finally figured out how to do it! Thankfully, it was finished and given to my sister!

  6. O my, good to know I am not alone. Burden lifted. I am trying to adjust to my 820 Bernina. I guess, if I make enough mistakes now, quilting will go smoother. I am not a techie type person. : ) This machine is touchier than my old Bernina, versus my impatience – not a good combination. Glad I found your blog.

    • Sewing on the Bernina 820 is totally different than other Berninas. I went back to the dealer many, many times with my machine for help/tune ups. Stick with it and be persistent with your dealer!

  7. Love your blog, your picture tutorials are fantastic and so helpful in trying to break down a design. I’m one of those rare people who start and finish before starting a new quilt. I’ve tried having more then one project on the go but start feeling stressed and overwhelmed and have to finish one and then move on. I’m embarrassed to say I’m also one of those how also has a place for everything and puts things away after using whatever. I have no problem working in someone elses space that is chaotic but I can’t do it in my own space. It’s funny as the girls I know who quilt all have multiple projects on the go and two in particular are starters and never seem to finish. haha

    • You are my ideal! I wish I could work like that, but one thing I know about myself is that I can’t work that way. I get restless. On the other hand, I work to discipline myself to finish the most important projects. Thanks for sharing, Jackie!

  8. I work the same way. 🙂 I think it’s a family trait, as I actually inherited unfinished project from my grandmother!

    The oldest project i have on hand is a quilt I start in 1995 for one of my daughters. Hand quilted, of course. At this point, I’m looking for someone else to finish it to call it done.

      • 😀 yes.

        Also, my last count on quilts to finish was in the 20s. Oops. This doesn’t count non-quilting sewing projects. Most of my general craft projects I culled though.

        Is there a support group for people like us?

  9. Lori, I am surprised that you have unfinished quilts because I see such beautiful work that you do and your ideas are amazing! I usually finish each quilt before I begin another. I really can’t clear my head for another project until I finish one, yes I like everything in its place. Lol.

    • Judy, I love to hear that you work from start to finish. It is a foreign concept to me and I am jealous. My problem is that I have too many ideas. My challenge is prioritizing and focus!

  10. This spring I decided I didn’t want to die (not that I’m old OR dying) with a bunch of quilt tops or other WIPS to burden my children, so I did this: I put a WIP list on my phone’s NOTES app with quilts in different categories, the closest to finished being listed first. I have then been working my list from top to bottom. The only exception is if I need an Immediate gift AND I’ve been trying to stay UP-TO-DATE on my BOMs. I’m not starting anything new or joining anything new until the quilt tops are all completed. I started with seven quilt tops. THE RESULT: Last night I basted the last quilt top!!! I seriously have the feeling that I’ve gotten out of debt or something. 🙂

    • Congratulations! I am so jealous! What a great idea. I am going to do that, too. I have five quilts (off the top of my head) that I would be sad if I didn’t finish. I bet you do feel lighter and freer with those projects finished! Thanks for sharing your idea!

  11. Lovely work you do and I too have many projects still around needing to be finished. I like your sister’s idea of questioning whether she would be sad if a project went unfinished.

    • I think it is a great way to set priorities. I tend to bounce around in too many directions. Thanks for sharing, Gail. Let me know how many quilts are true priorities for you to finish–I think I have five!

  12. Oh dear, I am terrible at this. I try to keep track of what’s going on with a list on my studio wall, but to be honest it still runs away on me. I find that blogging helps, by keeping me honest. If I get excited about something and post it, it feels like its ‘out there’ and I need to stay accountable. (Unlike, say, the projects that end up in a basket when I do a studio ‘tidy’ and then rediscover 2 years later. Sometimes that’s a treat, especially if they are nearly done and I have fresh energy the finishing.) Having said that, I blogged month ago about a vintage quilt that I am repairing with English piecing and not one block has made it back to the actual quilt yet. Sigh.

  13. Oh my, we must share the same DNA hahaha! Me tooooo girl. I do like your sister’s motto, I will have to ask myself that question and get busy!!! I HAVE got to finish my Amish with a Twist 2. All blocks are pieced. Just need to piece the top. But before I do that I have a king size customer quilt on my frame…geeeeeez. Amie

  14. I’m afraid that if I gathered my dozens of started projects, and then decided it get rid of only those I don’t care about, I might get rid of everything! (which might not be THAT bad). I seem to gravitate to what ever is new today and easily lose interest in what I though was great yesterday. Maybe I have quilting ADD. Mostly, I just live in guilt for mostly buying but never getting around to making or finishing. Can I still call myself a quilter even if I don’t have many finished projects to show for it?

  15. How excited I am about a project really determines if I can stick with it to the end. I have one quilt top that has been waiting for quilting for about a year. Others for many years. I just lost interest in finishing them, or fell out of love with the fabrics or the design. That doesn’t mean I don’t have stacks of finished quilts, because I do. I may have to wander around my sewing room and take stock. What would be sad to never finish?

  16. I like so many of you have many many unfinished projects! I have now for the past two years made a pact with myself that I have to finish something old, then I get to reward myself with something new, and I have to finish that something new before I pull another something old out! It’s been working quite well. My list and piles are going down and I feel great about my accomplishments. As I go through the old projects, I decide whether I care to finish it or not — if not, then I give it or sell it away — maybe someone else will enjoy finishing it more than me. Finishing a quilt is a Wonderful Feeling! 🙂

  17. So often – more than I’d like to admit… I loose interest in a project when I’m mid-way done. Sometimes I march on but usually I just stash it away and start on the new shiny object that attracts me more. I’ve dusted off some abandoned quilts parts for charity and that feels good – they are perfectly nice or I wouldn’t have started them.

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