Friday, May 22, 2020

How I Trimmed My WIP List / Beauties Pageant 82

This baby quilt was a quick WIP to check off my list.

Last November, I engaged in some self-inflicted accountability and made a list of my WIPs. Usually, working on 5 or 6 WIPs at a time provides the variety I need to maintain my interest and be productive, but the count last fall was a whopping 21 projects.

Some of the 21 were finished flimsies. Others were piles of fabric with an accompanying pattern. No matter what state each WIP was in, however, I had committed to finishing them all. And now, exactly six months after my initial count, my list is down to a respectable 12.

If your WIP list is unwieldy—and we each get to decide how many projects is too many projects for us as individual crafters—here are my suggestions for pruning it ...

Start with the Deadlines

Quilt deadlines tend to live in the gray. How many of us have, say, promised newlyweds a quilt only to present the finished gift on the couple’s third wedding anniversary?

Last fall, however, I had a hard-and-fast deadline: submitting to QuiltCon. After I finished the project I hoped would get juried into the show (and it did!), I moved on to two quilts that I needed for gifting at the end of January or beginning of February. Done, done, and done!

Love Boldly was displayed at QuiltCon 2020, in Austin.

Tackle the Low-Lying Fruit

From there, I focused on projects that were further along in the quilt-making process. I was all about culling that total number of WIPs down, so a quick baby-size quilt was an automatic priority, as were tops that were already pieced.

Call in the Reinforcements

I almost always quilt my projects myself, but I knew I would clear projects from my list faster if I enlisted the help of a longarmer or two. One project (finished but not yet unveiled here) was a twin, and I wasn’t interested in wrestling it through my machine. It was the top candidate for a little quilting by check. Then there were a few Christmas quilts I was making for family and friends. They merited some special quilting treatment, too.

Insert Some Fast Finishes 

Along the way to a smaller WIP list, I took some breaks. I sewed some Christmas minis. I tried my hand at making vinyl zipper bags. I completed enough Popcorn Pouches for a small army. Trimming my WIP list was a fine objective, but a fast finish here and there helped keep things interesting for me.

These minis went to the three paraeducators who work with my younger son.

What is your plan of attack for WIPs? Are you a stickler for tracking your projects and your progress on them, or do you allow yourself the freedom to follow your creative whims? Or are you one of those quilty unicorns who works on one project at a time, not starting a second until the first is done?

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  1. Good morning, Michelle! I could not be further away from a quilting unicorn if I tried. I can't even imagine having only one project going at a time! That sounds rather boring to me . . . but whatever works for the quilter is just fine, too. I am quite impressed with your fabulous progress on diminishing your WIPs! Great job. And even with a few new projects thrown in for interest. I especially love your Love Boldly - I would have loved to see it in person in Austin. I know photos really don't do works of art justice. Thanks for today's linky party. ~smile~ Roseanne

  2. Your system is really working Michelle. I have been more than a little impressed with your productivity over the past months. Truly. I don't honestly have a system. I do a little of this and a little of that. - just keep plodding along. Right now, I have the unfinished quilt tops hanging in plain sight (over the headboard of the bed in my sewing room). I keep thinking that might encourage me to finish them. Instead, I started a new project this week. Sigh.

  3. Great suggestions, and looks like it's working for you! Pretty finishes. I have 2 UFO, waiting for inspiration for the quilting. One day I know it will come ;)

  4. I had 3 long term works in progress heading into this year that I wante dto finish up. My methodology was backwards: I tackled the one that needed the most done first because I was worried about running of steam. I'm down to the final project that just needs basted, quilted, and bound, and I am pretty sure I can get it done this year. Whoo!

  5. I have a ridiculously detailed Numbers speed sheet with quilt name, fabric, pattern, dates for start, top pieced, and finish, yardages cut-tracked by month for long term projects. I also spread sheet my purchases and track my total fabric -/+ for the year. I have the same system for my knitting. OCD, that's me!

  6. I also want to say that I am truely impressed with your widdling down the wip list. I have tried for years and I always/often seem to grow more than I finish :)

  7. Good ideas on working on those WIPS, Michelle! I work from a yearly "resolution list" of 13 quilts. Once I get those done, I'm free to skip around! Not saying there aren't squirrels that get in there! Just shooting for those 13 every year. I've got 11 of my 13 for 2020 done, thanks for coronaggedon.

  8. I have many WIPs :-O I've just basted one - it's used nearly all my pins so I'll have to quilt it to get my pins back :-D

  9. I just updated my list of quilt tops that need to be quilted...yikes 17 of them. I've been procrastinating because I don't know how to quilt them. So I just need to start and quilt one. We'll see how that goes LOL


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