Saturday, November 26, 2016

My Sewjo Is So Low

Friends, all is not right at From Bolt to Beauty world headquarters. My sewjo exited stage left, and with it went my enthusiasm for blogging. The root of my problem, I think, is some self-imposed deadlines and a dearth of finishes. Deadlines make this hobby feel more like a job, and although I have four quilt tops at three different long-armers, I won’t be getting anything back for a few more weeks. I need a successful finish to start feeling like myself again.

So what do I do? Play with fabric, of course—it gives my creativity a boost without pressuring me to accomplish anything. Right now, I’m working on assembling a fabric pull for a Scrappy Picnic Plaid quilt. This pattern, by Lee Heinrich (Freshly Pieced), was featured in the first Quilter’s Planner, which I have. Kitty over at Night Quilter is spearheading a quilt-along for this design on her blog and on Instagram. I won’t make the mid-December deadline, but I’m hopeful for a January or February finish.

I’m also considering tackling one of the following tutorials and making a just-because quilt—one that I make just because I want to make it, with no goals in mind other than to bust some of my fabric stash.

Amy Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew has released many beautiful tutorials over the years. I’m especially smitten with her Diagonal Strip Quilt Tutorial.  I can’t decide whether I want to chip away at my jelly roll stash or use this fabric, from Kate Spain’s Sunnyside line, as a palette inspiration and cut 2½” strips from yardage to match.

Sunnyside, by Kate Spain

When I saw Little Bunny Quilts’ latest tutorial for Moda Bake Shop, Favorite Frames, I knew it was for me. It features big squares—perfect for the large-scale prints I have on hand. I recently won the entire line of  Maureen Cracknell’s Nightfall collection in fat quarters. (I don’t win often, but when I do, I win big, people! Many thanks for Sharon Holland for holding the giveaway!) I don’t have the heart to chop up the line’s bunnies and owls, and with Favorite Frames, I won’t have to.

Favorite Frames, by Little Bunny Quilts

Nightfall, by Maureen Cracknell

Quilty confession #1: I don’t like pinwheels. They’re too traditional for my taste, but I’m open to a more modern take on them. I’m considering Lisa Calle’s Black and Pinwheels pattern, also found on Moda Bake Shop. The chunky blocks and Xs bring the accompanying pinwheels into the 21st century, and the high-contrast color scheme of orange and black is nice and modern.

Quilty confession #2: I also don’t like the traditional bear paw block. It’s too predictable, unless it appears in Live a Colorful Life’s Delta Breeze tutorial. Bear paws of different sizes in solid fabrics and oriented every which way? Yes, please.

There’s nothing like the anticipation of a new project to help my creativity. Does your energy to create wax and wane, too? If so, how do you navigate the creative doldrums? 

Follow on Bloglovin


  1. Yesss, that modern bear paw quilt is one of my favorites ever! I think we all lose our sewjo at some point. Sewing something just for me usually helps. I try to take on challenges, too (how can I design a different version of a traditional block?).

  2. Well, 2 years ago I was away from my sewing machine for months. To compensate, I bought fabric and patterns and saved tutorials. Now I have a list of at least 30 quilts I can't wait to make when I get time. If I'm tempted to shop again, I try to look at that list first! I have about 12 WIPs and at least 18 plans. I am excited to start each new project but try to have some discipline and finish something now and then!

  3. You mean "Allison" of Cluck Cluck Sew?

  4. My creativity absolutely waxes and wanes. I recommend creating a scrappy project, maybe just a simple patchwork quilt to help finish something. The diagonal strip quilt is on my list as well. Find some new blogs, read new books or magazines, podcasts, or go back to your pinterest boards. Sometimes a fresh persceptive can help get the mojo back. Also, I encourage people to get out and be active. Some of best ideas happen when I'm working out.

  5. Posting shouldn't be just about progress. Delving into your sewing thoughts and plans is just as fun and inspiring!

  6. Creativity definitely waxes and wanes for me over the year. Playing with fabric is a great help for me, as is doing something a bit different like coloring or taking a walk and sketching while outside.

  7. Your sewjo ought to be back with all the Maureen Cracknell entire collection of Nightfall fat quarters! I just knew I would win that. It sounds like you have a lot of projects swirling in your mind. You go girl!

  8. I'm no pinwheel fan either. BUT Jenny at Missouri Star recently put out a new pattern called, I think, pinwheel arrow, which is very modern, imo. I plan to make two of them for my teen girls. p.s. let yourself rest, burnout is real.

  9. Yes, even self-imposed deadlines can make sewing seem less like fun and more like a job.
    There is a lot to be said for a 'just because' quilt. Enjoy!
    (I am not normally a bear paw fan either, so I flipped across to see how it could be improved. Yes! I like it!)

  10. I absolutely LOVE that print from Sunnyside, I have it in more than one of the colorways. :) I'm not into bear paws either. I have yet to find one that I like.

  11. I think we all go through those stages. I think it is so important to fit those "for me" or "just because" quilts into all of the deadlines and promises. It was one of the last things my grandmother ever said to me (we shared a love of crafting/quilting). She said, "never call it a job, because then you won't love it as much. Make sure it is always fun for you." There is nothing like playing with fabric and letting your creativity lead the way. I hope your mojo is back and that you are happy with it.

  12. Don't cut into that sunny side until your whole being is committed to a project. I am heart, soul, and spirit are committed. P.S. want to drive to cape so I can buy the rest of the bolt?


Thank you for commenting! I almost always respond to comments by email. If my response might interest others or if you're a no-reply blogger, I'll post it here.