Friday, February 21, 2020

Creative Decisions

Here's what I know: Quilters are creative people. Creative people are open to inspiration. Inspiration is all around us. We're always making creative decisions whether we know it or not.



Playing with fabric is inspiring. What should I make?? Decisions, decisions.

At times, most of us get overwhelmed by all these ideas that are swimming through our heads. We start something but pretty soon another idea pops up. We become distracted and move on to work on something else. I think this is pretty typical for many of us. With all of the inspiration available, who wouldn't want to create some of the beautiful things we see in patterns and books, quilt shops or on Instagram, Pinterest or other people's blogs?



But, when you lose interest or stop working on a project, ask yourself:  is it because you hate doing a particular task in order to complete it - like applique, quilting or binding? Or, did you lose interest because you don't really care for the project anymore?  This will blow your mind, but - I think it's actually okay if you do NOT finish something. I do this with books all the time (not finish reading them). I used to feel compelled to finish reading a book I started even if I wasn't sure I liked it. Persevere. Now, I don't waste my time on something I consider mediocre. Too many other good books to read.


(This book was one of my recent favorites. Got me started reading all of Ann Patchett's books.)

But, anyway, there will always be projects on hold that we come back to. For me, it's my Dear Jane. Yes, I always have many other things to work on and so it often gets pushed aside for a time. But I know I will always go back to it because I love it too much. Perhaps some of your projects are like this?




Here's that radical thought again: Not every project you start needs to be finished. Sometimes, I think projects come into our lives to inspire us to get sewing again if we've been feeling stuck or blah. A new project can be refreshing. Dwelling on all of the unfinished ones lying around only serves to make you feel guilty over something you started but didn't finish. That can be a heavy burden to carry around and a real drag on your creativity. Can you pass along an unfinished project to someone else who might be happy to finish something new (to her)? Maybe it's already served it's purpose for you.


This quilt is just a little off . . . . I have a feeling I probably won't ever finish it. I'm not crazy about the fabrics I used and I don't really care enough to spend the time. So, it will probably go in the "Eh" drawer of UFOs. Poof! It's already there. 

Occasionally, I sort through my projects and pull out the ones I really, really want to finish. Then I put the ones I'm not sure about or can't make a decision about yet in a drawer. If I can, I try to make a decision about the ones I haven't worked on for a long time and know I will probably never finish. Getting rid of the guilt over not finishing is kind of freeing. Try it.

Next time I'll show you some of the quilts I'm really really anxious to finish. I thought it would be this year but who knows. Working on a big project like a book takes up so much time and space in my brain that I just don't seem to get a lot of other stuff done. Especially around-the-home stuff. Right now we have bathroom issues from a roof leak last year. The roof was replaced but the damage to the bathroom wasn't fixed because I had no time to deal with it while I was working with deadlines. So fixing (and updating!) that room is what's on my plate right now.



Decisions, decisions.  My husband said: "I think I like the bluish ones best." Me, Blue Girl: "Oh, okay. If you say so." LOL 


And the winner is . . . Blue! But you already knew that.

Then there's that other bathroom that also needs work . . . . And now the rest of the house is looking a little sad and needs to be painted/updated . . . . It goes on and on. This stuff has taken a back seat to my work for way too long and now it's time to focus on doing some creative home stuff. Making some creative decisions about paint, de-cluttering and throwing out stuff.  This is creative too. Wish me luck!



                                            







22 comments:

Amy Jepson said...

Lovely post!

Candee said...

Totally with you Kathy on not feeling like a quilt project (or book) has to be finished. I’ll check that book out. I just finished Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. Loved it & miss the characters.

Kathleen Tracy said...

Candee - I read that book! Another one by him too but I can't remember the title now.

quiltgrannie said...

I agree with you too Kathy, it is freeing to pass on a project that we are no longer interested in to someone else. As the saying goes, one mans trash is another mans treasure. I will check out your book, looks interesting. Loved reading your post as always.

Ann said...

Im in the middle reorganizing my sewing room. That's exactly what i'm doing, pulling out UFO'S. Working on them or donating.
I like to cut out, must be that p lo saying with fabric. So today I pulled out 3 mini's that were only cut out. Did manage to do a bit of stitching on all 3. Out of the 3, 2 of them are Kathleen's.

sue bennett said...

I’m trying to organize my sewing room. I have to walk away a lot.. I know I have projects that will never get finished. Mainly I get stuck on a color and move on.
Your bathroom is going to be gorgeous. I know you are looking forward to the end of it..

SueB

Vangie Brake said...

Wow you are right on the money. I know how you feel, I continue to get bored with what I am doing, it is a struggle to finish tops, so I have been making wall hangings, place mats etc. lately. i used to sew every day, now I am not even motivated to go into my sewing room, its not like there's nothing to do there. So I thank you for giving me permission not to finish things and to be OK with that. I don't always finish books either............

kiquilter said...

What a wonderful post! Thank you, thank you!๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

Debbie said...

Thank you for this post. So helpful.

Diane Buhrmaster Byrum said...

Good Luck! And thanks for being sew freeing ๐Ÿ˜‰ creative kindred spirits and their creative juices cannot bw contained or we'll burst, maybe even hurt someone or something with our good scissors! Lol, thank you, Kathy

Kathleen Tracy said...

Ann and Sue - we will all get there with our sewing rooms. When things calm down here I'll post something that will encourage you and me too. Sometimes I get motivated myself when I can motivate others, you know? We're in this together!

Kathleen Tracy said...

Vangie and Diane - I hear you. Sometimes we have to let the creativity speak or we'll burst. Nothing wrong with trying new projects before we finish the old ones or maybe toss them. I learned long ago it's not always about the projects as much as it's about what the creative feelings do for us in the moment. Projects whisper in our ears and if starting something new can motivate us to finish something or clean our sewing rooms or motivate us to go on to make an even better quilt or maybe just make us feel good about ourselves, then I'm all for that.

Sue said...

Let's face it, life is just a bunch of obstacles preventing you from sewing!

Shasta Matova said...

While I agree with you that some old projects just need to be taken out of their misery, and mine, I haven't been able to do it. When I finally return to a project, I find that I was just waiting for the right tools and skill level to catch up. Good luck with your house projects. They too can be fun.

qypsyquilterdesigns said...

Kathleen, I sure hope your painting projects go quickly. I've been painting since February 2019 and have 2 more sections to go. In the upstairs bath, which is large, I did one wall in Royal Uniform Blue, a rather purple blue. Gorgeous. The remaining 3 walls are in white. We'll be going for a patriotic theme here. Keep us posted, we love to see other people's projects.

Renรฉe Welton said...

Thank you Kathy, great advice��

Cynthia@wabi-sabi-quilts said...

I recently listened to The Dutch House on Audible and loved Tom Hanks' reading! I agree with you - it's OK to not finish things. Painting projects are tedious but satisfying to finish;).

iowatallgirl said...

I have lots of UFOs. It's funny you should mention your Dear Jane. Originally, I wanted to hand-piece my Dear Jane just like Jane Sickles did back in the 1800s. Do you know how far I got on that? 1 block - 1 block. That was over 10 years ago! So, to participate in our Guild's challenge this year, I've decided I'll sew my Dear Jane on my new (to me) featherweight. I bought the fabric for my Dear Jane as a BOM over 2 years from a quilt shop. I REALLY need to make progress on this quilt this year. The challenge is not to finish the project this year but to make significant progress on a quilt that has been on your bucket list - a huge project you need to begin. We'll see how far I get.

Just a suggestion - maybe you could do a giveaway for some of the projects you know you will not finish. As you were talking about the small project where you just didn't like the fabrics you used, I'm thinking, gosh, I love this small quilt. I'd love to finish it. Just thought I would put that out there.

Binsa said...

Hello Tracy, loved your post. I started Dear Jane in 2007 and have stitched nine rows, working on the tenth.I can see my progress through the quilt over the years, but have gone to far now not to finish it.It is my only UFO, not sure if I will ever finish it.

Victoria M. said...

Thank you for your inspiring post. While not nearly as intensive as a Dear Jane quilt, I have been working on a Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt off and on since last fall. I find it so helpful to just pick one block to work on so I can feel a sense of accomplishment when I'm mired in indecision over some other project...what colors should I choose, what size should it be, how should I quilt it (that one is always a big hang up for me).

Also it's nice to know I have a shelf full of unfinished projects which I still like that I can pull out when I'm at a standstill on a more recent project. And I do like to have several projects ongoing at the same time, all at different stages...piecing one, basting another, quilting yet another, etc.

Alado said...
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liz said...

Read Ann Patchett "Bel Canto"
so good : )

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