If you have read some of my blog posts, you are likely aware that at any given time I have a number of quilting projects in various stages of finishing. I know I’m not the only quilter who finds myself surrounded by stacks of half-finished quilting projects, each bearing the promise of being a handcrafted masterpiece… someday. However, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I am once again faced with the temptation to start yet another project because let’s face it, who doesn’t feel the urge to sew heart blocks at this time of year? So I’m agonising between the guilt of knowing I “should” be finishing one of those many other projects, yet still wanting to start another fresh and exciting one. But while the guilt of all those existing in-progress quilts hovers, there's actually a compelling case for embarking on a new quilt project, even in the midst of a pile of unfinished endeavors.
Creative Inspiration can be unpredictable.
Most creative people will tell you that creativity doesn't adhere to schedules or project timelines and I’m no different. I find that the spark of inspiration can ignite at any moment. This also means that creativity can at times run dry, but as a designer, I have found that designs tend to flow better, with more practice. For example, when a writer gets writer's block, one of the exercises that can used to overcome it is called free writing. The writer sits down and starts typing anything and everything that they are thinking. It can result in some absolute garbage, but because they are creating, it kicks their brain back into creative mode and better ideas start flowing again. For me designing a new block or starting a new project is like free writing, it allows me to capture my inspiration and translate it into a unique and vibrant creation.
Avoiding Overwhelm and Burnout
While I’m aware that at some point I will need to complete all those projects, I’m also aware that if I undertake a marathon of finishing them all before I start anything new I’m probably going to feel overwhelmed and potentially face burnout. Given that my sewing and quilting time is supposed to be relaxing, I really don’t want that to happen. Therefore starting a small project that will be finished quickly might be just the thing to refresh my enthusiasm for that pile of Unfinished Quilts, preventing creative fatigue and keeping the joy of quilting alive.
Keeping your skills sharp
Every quilting project I start, I usually learn something and therefore a new sewing project always offers an opportunity for skill development and growth. Even the simple act of picking out a new colour scheme and auditioning fabrics together can help my growth as a quilter and quilt pattern designer. Embracing variety fosters continuous improvement and keeps the artistic journey dynamic.
For me, Quilting is both a form of self-expression and part of my self-care routine. It’s time I set aside for myself, to recharge. If I start setting limits on my creativity then I will stifle the joy it brings me and render that time useless. While I still feel some guilt for the number of projects I have in my cupboard, I probably shouldn’t. My UFO pile doesn’t hurt anyone, but it does give me options to help keep me occupied without risking losing my passion for quilting.
Therefore, while the sight of your own unfinished quilting projects may invoke a sense of responsibility or guilt, I say it’s time to shake that feeling off. New projects are essential to your growth as a quilter and quilting is supposed to be fun. If the guilt of a UFO pile is weighing you down, and making your crafty time less enjoyable, then who is it really serving? It is essential to remember that creativity is fluid. Starting a new quilting project is not a betrayal of unfinished works; instead, it's an acknowledgment of the ever-evolving nature of artistic expression. So, go ahead, and embrace the allure of a fresh start. Sew what you want when you want, and let the fabric of your imagination weave a new masterpiece. Keep that quilting love alive!
Now I’m off to start making some quilt blocks for Valentines Day!