Wednesday, March 7, 2012


An avid reader who read my last blog post about fabric purchases I had made said I had inspired her to renew her quilting endeavors. That led me to ponder about what is the source of inspiration.  I have been on a new year's kick to get projects done and sometimes that gives me a high. But as I look at my last draft post on binding for the doll quilt, and realize just how long the finishing stage of a project can get, that high can fade to disillusionment and discouragement.  So here is my list of other activities that get my quilting motors running again.
  1. Blog about what I have done.
  2. Do a short quick project that requires no hand finishing.
  3. Start a new project even though the UFOs are still plentiful.
  4. Pull fabrics from my stash and see what goes together just for fun.
  5. Read other folks' blogs

Let me address each one in order of quickness to do and bearable amount of mess to put away:

1. Blog about what I have done.
Ta-dah! Self explanatory.  Some of you have seen my blogs on the still-in-progress-and-always-more-to-do doll quilt.  I have yet to post on its completion but I do have a pending draft on how I fussy cut the binding.  Can binding be non-boring? Yes, if you find a way to blog about it! I plan to put that info in a future blog once I have something more to add other than just binding. Until then, that blog sits in the drafts, reminding me I have done something. For now, here is a sneak preview of the fabric I found for the backing.

2. Do a short quick project that requires no hand finishing.
When I am in a slump, I make  pillowcases or more pillowcases or burp cloths. Each project can be completed in one sitting and there is a sense of accomplishment. Due to the small time investment, they make good, quick gifts to give away on short notice.  I pulled together a few burp cloth and pillowcase combinations for my sister who had very limited time and energy due to caring for our elderly dad. She is now in the process of settling his estate since he just passed away this summer, a few months shy of his 98th birthday, and I am trying to encourage her to resurrect those activities she loved. With fabric pre-cut, she would not have to clear a space to lay it out and could sew a few small projects that need no follow-up hand finishing.  I intended to mail these pre-cut mini-kits but before I did I was thrilled to learn that she has scheduled a visit to come out to CA to see me. I am looking forward to doing some mini-projects with her when she is here.  Here is a sample of some burp cloth selections for her next grand-daughter, due in May.

I packaged them and a few pillowcase combinations in this mesh hat box for her to pick from during her visit.

3. Start a new project even though UFOs are still plentiful.
I have been wanting to start a baby quilt for my nephew's second child but have tried to be disciplined about finishing other things first. I started it this past Saturday (even with lurking UFOs about) and what a lift it gave me! I made 15 of the required 30 blocks in an enjoyable afternoon and may make more than the 30 to make it larger. I told my husband I wanted to keep working on it a lot while I was still in the honeymoon phase of the project. You know. Nothing major has gone wrong yet. The new pattern is still interesting. The steep learning curve where you had to rip out or discard the first one or two blocks has flattened out. You have not yet realized you do not have enough of a particular fabric either because you did not buy enough or you cut it wrong. I decided to use a new technique I have been curious about. Plus the expectant couple requested pastels and I usually gravitate toward brights, so this is different for me. Here is a sample block- not of their pink/lilac/pale green color scheme- to show the technique. The bias edges are peeled back to make curves.

Here is the book it came from.

4. Pull fabrics from my stash and see what goes together just for fun.
I love to just go into my sewing room and pull out fabrics that might go together and see if they do. Here is a fabric combination I have gathered for a potential pillowcase I intend to encourage my sister to sew. She loves blue and I think she will love this fragile leaf fabric. The main body and border are two prints bought at different times and from very separate fabric lines but I love that they go together. Same thing for the narrow accent band. Doesn't that tiny strip just bring out the gold leaves in the main body? 

These green and purple polka dots really pick up the green frogs and purple birdies in this baby lamb print I got as part of a 50% pack of 10 random clearance fabrics.  This is another pillowcase contender though I have only have a 1/2 yd of the lambs and need 3/4 for a full size case.  But it is enough for a smaller pillow for a toddler. Again, all stash fabrics but still fun to play even if I never sew a stitch. After all, do people who stroll through an art museum ever paint any of the pictures they look at?

4. Read other folks' blogs or experiment with different crafts
Not only can this inspire you to do some sewing, but in and of itself this is a sewing activity worthy of your time and enjoyment.  Do we quilt because we need another cover on a bed?  Do we quilt because we need another placemat? Do we quilt  because we do not have enough fabric and must make do with scraps like the pioneer women? (This one gave me a chuckle.) No, we quilt for enjoyment and to use a part of our brain that makes us feel good. Get over the guilt of not having a product to show for it. It is process not product. My blog is titled DianeLoves2Quilt but I have posted about knitted Christmas stockings, a ribbon scarf, a ski cap, and am currently working a crocheted afghan. And I have spent countless hours reading other folks entries, and not sewing. Remember Scarlett O-Hara when she waived away any shred of guilt she might have with the phrase "– I'll think about it tomorrow–".  Well if you just think about it today, maybe you will be doing it, or even something different and better, tomorrow.  And even if you do not produce anything tomorrow or the next day, well you know what they say– it's the thought that counts! 

Completed projects:
  1. None. And I do not feel at all guilty about it!
Ongoing projects:
  1. Doll quilt - binding made, backing cut- but not seamed 
  2. Pastel crocheted afghan - within 3 rounds of end
  3. Pink/lilac/green baby quilt for grand niece - made 15 blocks
    No progress:
    • Chicken quilt - made binding and picked backing
    • Hexagon Mask Quilt - layout begun but overwhelming
    • Fire and Ice Quilt- sitting in closet awaiting decision on backing
    • Grinch Quilt - ripening on the design wall
    • Pumpkin/Iris/Blossom square wall hanging- needs backing and binding
    I want to start:
    • Presents with Bows quilt kit
    • The Ghastlies- strip quilt
    • Rubber Duckies strip quilt
    This week's stats:
         Completed  projects - 0 
         New projects - 1 (baby quilt)
         Currently in progress - 3

    WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


    1. Hi Diane! Robin pointed out your blog to me, and I have enjoyed reading about all of your projects. I just had to say that I am excited to see your Ghastlies quilt - I love that fabric line!

    2. I totally agree with your list of activities to stay motivated or renew our passion for quilting! Thank you so much for inviting me to visit. I really enjoyed spending some time looking around at your projects.

    3. Thank you for crediting me in your post. Your crafts are amazing! You are such a sweet sister to prepare the goody box - and what a neat idea to have everything pre-cut so she can start on the fun part of sewing without all the prep and mess. Good idea for lots of occasions.

      I made a little bit of progress on my quilting this week, and spent an unreal number of hours looking at craft/quilt websites for kits and ideas. I finally ordered a couple felt sewing kits to see how I like them. If you know I good place to get pre-cut quilt kits at a reasonable price, let me know. I don't have a lot of space or equipment - so pre-cut kits look like a wonderful idea.

      I love your "rules" about not feeling guilty. This is a hobby, done for pleasure. Why suck the fun out of it by beating yourself up. Good plan I intend to copy.

    4. Cool! Item 1 is, I still love that Lamb fabric best, but that burp cloth you put together is to die for :-)... That's definitely one of the nice things about a sizeable stash, being able to pair stuff like that! And the art museum metaphor is very apt.

      I will admit I also often motivate myself with "if I finish this, I can blog about it." I do like blogging about processes too, and have made a few power points and bitmaps of my own (can you tell we're related?). And I think Aunt M is going to love that hatbox full of crafts! I also like to look on the Fat Quarter Shop for inspiration, and trawl blogs like you do. Which reminds me, I should update mine some day :-)