Friday, March 1, 2024

Overcoming Quilty Procrastination / Beauties Pageant 247

I am a pretty disciplined person. I start what I finish. I make messes, but I also clean them up. I like completing projects and crossing things off my to-do lists. Its just the way Im hard wired. Every so often, however, I procrastinate.

A case from the archives: my Gypsy Wife quilt. I think anyone whos tackled that pattern will attest to the sheer number of decisions a Gypsy Wife requires and the challenge of following the instructions. Yet, I started out 2022 with the goal of finishing my quilt before the end of the year, and I had it pieced, quilted, and bound in March 2022—nine months ahead of schedule!

All of this is to say that deadlines work for me. I dont assign one to every project—that would make quilting feel more like a job than a joy to me—but when its hard getting something over the finish line, its time to look at the calendar and come up with a reasonable timeline. 

Here are some truths that Ive discovered in this journey from WIP to finish. Do any of them ring true for you?

Youre Likely Further Along Than You Think

When I pick up a long-procrastinated project, I am almost always further along than I remember. Its a nice surprise and, I think, shows how once an item is relegated to the back burner, its challenges grow in my mind. 

When I picked up my Gypsy Wife in January 2022, I was surprised with how far along I was with block construction. Did I still have a bunch to do? Sure, but I gave myself an entire year to wrap it up, and I was bragging about the finish in a blog post here just 12 weeks later.


Starting and Stopping Requires Time

I will never be a one-project-at-a-time gal. I like the variety that having multiple projects going at one time offers, and I enjoy the process of creating (not just finishing) as a result. Theres nothing wrong with putting down a project with the intent of picking it up again in the future, but if that practice becomes a cycle that doesnt result in a finish, it become a time suck for me.

Case in point: my Sandhill Sling, which is pictured above and below (and originally blogged about here). I started sewing my sling back in September 2023. I was very, very far along in the process when I realized a detail on the front was every-so-slightly off (Im literally talking about adjusting something an eighth of an inch, friends). Multiple times in the months that followed, I picked up the project, read the pattern, determined what fixing this minor detail would entail, watched a video about finishing the bag, and decided I didnt have the (emotional?) bandwidth to finish the bag.

That cost me! I wonder how much time I wasted processing the pattern information, putting the project aside, and then repeating the process a month or two later.

In the end, I assigned a deadline for the sling: I was going to finish it in time to take it to QuiltCon 2024. With that in mind, I reassessed the eighth-inch mistake and decided to live with it. Then I proceeded to watch that video yet again, hand-basted the lining, and attached that lining to the exterior with my machine. After that, I realized that the bag was too small for my QuiltCon needs and left it at home. But hey, I finished my bag!


Prepare for the Hit of Dopamine

Do you know what I think I can accomplish after tackling a long-procrastinated sewing project. Anything! Bring on the Y-seams, the curves, the free-motion quilting ... I just finished a WIP! Do not underestimate the power in that (and how much a brain enjoys the accompanying jolt of dopamine)!

So whats lurking in your closet or under your sewing machine table that needs to be finished?!

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  1. I think you are so right that we are often further along than we think on the projects we set aside. I am more of a one at a time kind of quilter, but I know I'm way more of the exception!!

  2. I definitely thrive on having more than one project on the go but I need to keep my sewing space in order or I quickly get overwhelmed and then procrastination sets in big time!

  3. Two pair of jeans that need to be repaired are lurking under mine. :(

  4. Well said Michelle. I work on many projects at a time and thank goodness for my blog - that's how I remember what needs to be done :-) Hope you had a good time at QuiltCon!

  5. So miss the dopamine hit of finishing a project 🙄… your Gypsy Wife is beautiful!!


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