Friday, February 14, 2014

Why Having Several UFQ's Generally Works in My Favor

I don't consider myself to be {naturally} creative. My mind gets full of the busyness of life and I go to the quilt room to escape. When fabric and color work their wonderful magic on me, everything gets better in my world almost instantly! Instead of having to start from scratch (cue the panic!), lots of times it's better for me to dive into something that I know exactly what to do with.
The Pickle Dish/Wedding Ring quilt
Even when I'm not comfortable with the process or it's not my favorite piecing method. (ie: foundation piecing) there is still a plan of action to follow. It's usually just a matter of deciding what I want to work on that particular day and getting on with it.

Here's where it gets interesting for me. When I'm practically numb from sewing my 4th or 5th foundation piecing arc (or whatever other tedious sewing I'm doing), my mind starts doing calisthenics trying to convince me that there are other more fascinating things to be sewing. 'Hey, what about making a few Goose Track blocks--you know you've wanted to make them forever!!' And so it goes.
Geese Tracks
However, when it gets to the point that I feel like I'd rather chop off all my fingers than sew another set, I make myself sew another set. I know. Very perverse of me. But I try to ensure that whatever brilliant idea going on in my head is not just from the fugue state. Think of it as a two-fold preventative measure: 1. Play time has to be earned and 2. There's plenty of time to wake up and think while being tortured.*wink
Partial St. Paul blocks
So.. when I finally pack that project away for the day (big sigh of relief), I often take a moment to look at one of my unfinished quilts. Hmm... What to do? It's nice to check in with where I'm at in the process occasionally. Does it need sashing or another border? Am I stuck over making a fabric/color choice? Sometimes I take the time to audition a few ideas and then, more often than not, I put it all back in the tote without doing anything physical to the project at all. Yep. I know what you're thinking. All I did was look at it, play a little and think. Ha! Not so fast with the criticism there! Now it's very fresh and clear in my mind. What do you think my very curious and puzzle-solving subconscious is going to be doing the next several days while I go through my daily routine?
Random Sampler
And yes, there are projects that are waaay back on the back burner. I check on them occasionally too so they know I still love them. It's good to reassure myself that I'm still feeling the love for the fabric. Hmm... Project ideas? Maybe some more basket blocks, you can never go wrong there. Hey, what about that Basket BOM from Legend and Lace? Can I combine the two projects? Hmm... something to think about although those baskets probably deserve a quilt of their own. I wonder if I'm doing too many medallions right now--maybe this quilt should be more of a puzzle-piece type sampler? Ugghh... so not in the mood for that at the moment. Move on, move on, leaving the decisions for yet another day!
Flowers and Flying Geese
There are projects that I know exactly what the next step is going to be. I even have it all prepped and ready to go, especially in the case of applique work. Just waiting for the right mix of motivation and time.
Muddy Creek
Once in awhile I notice that my applique projects are piling up on me and still there's no burning desire to find the time to do the work. That's a very dangerous area for me. I've noticed that sometimes it takes a brand new project to jump start finishing the work for another. Uh huh. I make deals with myself that I can't start on the NEW work (applique, piecing etc.) until I finish off what needs done for an older project. Talk about brilliant reasoning--you have no idea how much that can motivate me!
Happy Flowers
Ahem. That's how I started my Happy Flowers actually. I wanted to make them soooo much that it made perfect sense to me to do some other applique work that had grown a little tedious to me. What's ironic is NOW I have the Happy Flowers projects hanging out in the wind all because I can't make up my mind about the setting triangle fabric. What if I get it wrong? Then they won't be happy anymore. It's a dilemma.
Hand Pieced Bow-ties
There you have it. Me and my wonderful justification for having a whole lot going on in the quilting room. Most of the time if I'm whining about not starting a new project (because of all the UFQ's piling up), it's because I know I'm procrastinating about something. Seriously, it's rarely about the number. The decision has probably been made, the fabric is no doubt available, and I'm just being a cowardly lion. lol Oddly enough, working on several different projects at once allows me to be more creative as the ideas seem to bounce off of each other, project to project as I work. Whatever works the best, I'm all for it!


  1. I have multiple projects on the go too - and often spend time just contemplating the next step with a particular conundrum. I think taking a step back and working n something different often refreshes your enthusiasm for a project. Not sure what I'll do if I ever have just one project on the go - I guess that would mean its time to start a couple of new ones.

  2. It's great to read about why you many projects on the go. I was so happy when i met other quilters and found that others have a few projects going at a time, I thought I was being scattered in my ways, now I know it's just part of quilting. I think it's good to step away from projects and come back to them with fresh eyes, or just have different types of sewing for different moods.

  3. I was bad this am and started another project. But I almost have another done, the thought of nothing to go to was scary, so that solves that problem. You have some great projects going, it must be fun to dive into one and give it some attention.

  4. you know a couple weeks ago I had not planned on making any new tops until a few of the old ones were done - I got bored :) and here I am working on two machine piecing tops at once - I just needed to -- we all have methods that work for us and yours certainly does for you!!

  5. You're an inspiration to us ALL!

  6. I think resistance is futile, Audrey. Now there's been several posts about how you're avoiding some new project that you really want to do! Please start it and let us in on the fun. :D

    This week I bought a new book and new fabric, should I be totally irresponsible and start a new project too?

  7. What a fun post. As long as there is joy, you are on the right path. These are looking wonderful.

  8. I know exactly what your saying. It's really a process, not just a justification for starting something new or leaving something to stew awhile. Multiple projects are many ideas at different stages.

  9. Great to see so many project, I have soooo many projects going.... at so many different stages, awful thing is, recently I found I work better when I work at just one project at a time......

  10. I think stepping back can be a good thing, especially if you are not sure what to do next. I have many many projects that are not finished. Maybe I will leave them for some one else to finish!
    Your projects are great, I love your colors too!

  11. I think that we might share a brain Audrey but rest assured that whatever your process you end up with truly lovely quilts. Don't change a thing.

  12. I love all your projects!! I use to be like you...several things going at once, but I've made a concerted effort to actually FINISH one thing before starting another. That's been tough for me because I want to do EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW!! But it's been a very satisfying feeling to finish a project before going on to the next :)

  13. I must have dozens of projects going right now...the process is what makes me happy so finishing them is not a worry...different colors feel better on different days...I do primitive rug hooking too...some projects just need to stew around in the brain for a while...if I get the overwhelming need to finish something, anything there is always a small quilt needing binding...

  14. I go through a very similar process. I don't think I've seen Happy Flowers before. Love it!

  15. Your thought process sounds eerily familiar. Great minds think alike, I guess!

  16. I feel so much better about my UFO's after reading your post!!! I couldn't have said it better myself!!!
    Happy Flowers... oh so lovely!!!

  17. What a great post and I totally get it. It's nice to know that quite a few of us share this thought/creative/work process, but none of us produces the same quilt. How great is that? Take care, Byrd

  18. I love your thought process! And each and every project you have going! The pomegranates are the bomb!

  19. No justification required. I think we must think the same way. Love what you are working on.

  20. Love the way you think Audrey! Great projects.

  21. oh gosh you have some wonderful projects in the works~!!~
    whatever your methods, you should stick with them as they are producing winning results and a happier you~!


  22. Amazing! Our minds seem to be in accord on this! After cleaning my quilt studio for the last two weeks, I found lots of UFO's. And every one of them calls to me. It was so hard to keep on cleaning and not stop and work on whatever came to the top of that pile I was sorting. (the joy of A.D.D.) I love the process of making a quilt. And I love the process of thinking about and making decisions on each quilt. Yep, looking at them gets those creative juices flowing! The hard part is actually getting the project finished sometimes. I do the same thing - make "deals" with myself to allow myself to jump to another project. But I love having lots of projects in process so that I can do whatever part of the quilting process that calls to me that day.
    What you're doing seems to be working just fine for you! If it works, don't fix it, and don't feel you need to justify yourself either!


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