How do you choose which quilting project to work on?

If you are reading this blog, chances are pretty good that you are a quilter.  And, if you are indeed a quilter, you have within your DNA  a unique bit of biological information that makes it nearly impossible for you to only work on one quilting project at a time.  Rather, it renders you utterly indecisive. Let me help you understand by giving an example.

I have many projects in various stages of completion. 

1) Redwork Owl DSC02875
2) My own Jane Stickle variation IMG_1915
3) Barn Owl

(Yes, I know, there is no owl there… yet. Leave me alone!)

Barn Owl
4) Feathered Star ESQG presentation
  5) Purple Reign Floral

It should be noted that this list does not include quilts which exist only in my brain.  I have found that QIB’s (Quilts in Brain) can be more dangerous than quilts which have

  1. emerged into semi-reality based on hours spent in Pinterest or magazine reading
  2. fabric which has been selected and is already in the home
  3. a sketched design
  4. any measuring that includes a ruler/yardstick/tape measure

And WHY, you might be wondering?  How can a QIB be dangerous?

A QIB sneaks into your consciousness at a moment’s notice.  It stays there, driving you crazy, and you try to force yourself not to think about it.  You tryg to make it go away.  But no.  You start seeing the design in your mind.  At first, you just see the shapes.  Then the shapes turn into various different color combinations.  The combinations morph into thoughts of needing more fabric.  And then quilt size becomes an issue.  If you must make it, how large of a commitment will this be?  Tiny?  Huge?  You don’t know how much fabric to buy.  Thoughts of a whole bolt tickle your brain.  It makes sense.  With a whole bolt, you will certainly have enough.

Eventually, you will begin to wrestle with yourself.  An argument ensues. 

“I really should not begin another quilt until I finish X number of quilts I have already started.”

“Yes, but this quilt will be SO FABULOUS!”

“But it will require me to spend more money on fabric that will just sit in my stash, taunting me.”

“I know, but if I don’t buy the fabric now, it might not be available when I need it.”

“Yes, but how will I hide the fabric once it is in the house?”

“I can put it in my sock drawer.  Nobody will find it there.”

“I will want to start the quilt as soon as I buy the fabric.”

“No, I won’t.  I will be strong!”

“OK, yes I will.  But this should be an easy quilt to piece/applique, and I can get it done in no time at all.”

“What about the quilt I am working on now?  That will never get finished if I start another one.”

“Yes it will.  I must finish that quilt.  But I need to start this one before I forget it!”

  “I need to find my car keys. Have you seen them?”


Yes, it seems funny.  But you and I both know there is a ton of truth here.

How do YOU stop the madness?  What is YOUR secret?

6 thoughts on “How do you choose which quilting project to work on?

  1. well right now I am working on 5 quilts at one time, granted some get more attention then others do. I am in a routine, I quilt in the evening for several hours while watching something on Netflix – while the news is on I work on my hexies or my applique – daytime here and there I work on machine piecing – nighttime I can't tolerate the news of sewing machine and always do hand work


  2. Living in the south, I spend my summers working on applique blocks and piecing. But when winter arrives, I pull out the finished quilt tops and start the hand quilting. I have a hexie project going to for a change of pace or something to take on the road. But, I love finishes and try to keep the number of projects going down to 3-4


  3. Oh, my – I love the dialogue! Sounds altogether too familiar to me! Those QIBs can be paralyzing sometimes – at least that's my feeling. If I don't start some of them, then I end up seemingly unable to work on anything!


  4. Give in to the creative voices. Eventually, the guilt of all those UFOs will kick in and you can have a finishing spree where you look like a rock star finishing a whole bunch of things really fast. Well, that's my technique anyway.


  5. OMG…that is true and funny all at the same time. I do a rotation of my projects and list the ones I REALLY want to finish…my UFOs for the year! Thanks for hosting the Celebrate Hand Quilting…love handwork!


  6. Oh my goodness, it's like you've been in my brain! I think if you are really inspired to start something new, you have to go for it – otherwise, what if you forget? The stuff that is started won't go anywhere, and sometimes working on it gets me out of a rut when I'm not inspired to work on anything, so really it's good to have some unfinished projects. Yeah – that sounds good, I'll keep telling myself that!


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