Wednesday, June 11, 2014

a world of Quilty Challenges

How absolutely fascinating it's been to study your detailed and thoughtful responses to my question "What one main thing would enable you to enjoy this hobby more?"  Seems like many of you dug deep and gained a new, hopefully helpful perspective of your main sewing challenge(s).  Knowing where you're stuck is surely an important step in the right direction.  Kudos to you!

 quilty challenges

For my own benefit, I made a list briefly summarizing your challenges and noting which ones were most common.  (You already knew I geek out about fabric, quilts and color... Go ahead and add this sort of thing to the list!  Ha.)  Here are the most popular "needs".  Some are grouped together where I made connections:
Time Management + Organization - Many of us have to snatch our sewing in 15 minute intervals.  Especially when we have to pack our things away each time, this makes gathering supplies and getting started feel hardly worthwhile.  How can we keep our supplies, scraps and works-in-progress well organized so that starting/finding is as painless as possible?  Are there more efficient ways to sew in 15 minute intervals?  18 points

Focus - Inspiration abounds, overwhelms and threatens to distract us from just about anything we set out to do.  Many of us lose interest easily or abandon ship when we feel stuck.  When we have many things in progress we can't decide where to focus our energy.  How can we maintain momentum and still enjoy the process?  13 points 

Smaller Projects - Although we love to make quilts, we don't need a ton of them and we would so enjoy some faster finishes.  We're looking for small, practical projects for the home or to gift.  Extra credit if we can make them from scraps!  11 points

True Scrappiness - Maybe we've inherited fabrics, changed our style or made some bum purchases.  One way or the other, we have fabrics that we don't exactly love... and we still want to create from what's on hand.  Show us how to love real, clashy scrappiness.  9 points

Most of the other challenges mentioned have to do with developing a particular skill set such as free motion quilting, choosing fabrics, making design choices, etc.  These are the types of "help" that quilting bloggers usually offer, I think.

I had not at all anticipated the outpouring of interest in time management and organization!  And that intrigues me.  I guess, to be honest, that part comes kind of naturally to me so that I take it for granted.  I wonder if I could help out somehow along those lines?  It's all so personal though.  I'd hate to give the impression that doing things any one way is "the right" or "the efficient" way to do it.  Hmmm...

lately unloved fabrics

As it happens, yesterday I pulled out these not-so-loved fabrics and tried to think what I could do with them, using scraps as well.  (Disclaimer:  I do not hate these fabrics at all. They're just not my favorites right now.  I fully realize that I could happily use them in some contexts!)

unlovlies + scraps... fail

What I came up with did not At All please me!  I scrapped the whole idea.  Which is all to say that you're not alone!  I think the most sure-fire solution to unloved fabrics and scraps is to sell or gift them to someone who can love them.  But, I agree that using them and enjoying it would be way more rewarding.

Ok, that's lots for me to think about.  Thanks for coming through with such great material!  I make no promises, but I'll be brainstorming.




  1. It was interesting to read where other people get stuck in the sewing process (My problem also belongs to the organizing kind of problem. I'm really interested in how you are managing your time.)
    Love what you tried with your 'unloved' fabric. Such a good idea to find a way to integrate them. I've been getting monthly fabric parcels with stash fabric, which I don't always like. I will try this fabric play the next time some less loved fabric comes my way. Thank you.

  2. I struggle with the focus one! If anyone has orphan blocks, there is very good home for them here! I have cleared out all the fabrics I don't need/want anymore and all my old blocks that never progressed any further and I'm a lot more organised now! The quilts Alison has put together for the Mexican children's home from donated QAYG blocks are truly scrappy and very joyful - have a peruse and a chuckle as she's funny too :)

    1. Thanks for sharing! That's definitely a great way to move on with blocks/projects you don't want. Such a great cause.

    2. Hi Jo Jo! I hadn't read the replies when i wrote mine telling Rachel about Alison's Soy Amado project. We're on the same wavelength. :)

  3. Rachel I love your blog and your posts.
    In the case of blocks you don't love, I'd love it if you could take a look at Alison Roger's blog, Little Island Quilting. I and several others are helping her make quilts for former Mexico City street children - and sometimes this is a great project for those "orphan blocks" we all have. They just need to be a bit larger than 12.5" square before quilting them... please read about her Soy Amado project if you have a chance. Thanks!

  4. I missed the original question, but can completely relate.

    My struggles with time management and organization aren't bad when I am piecing. It's when I am quilting. To quilt, I have to move my machine to the dining table (the wall behind my sewing table gets in the way!). This also means that, when it's time to set the table, I have to move everything back. I also mark/measure with the quilt on the floor, which means I can't do it when my kids are home (and, specifically, one of my kid's friends, who ALWAYS steps on my quilt on the floor--he's a teenager, so I don't get this). And my prime sewing time is between school and dinner--I write (work) while they are at school because I need the quiet, go for a run, run errands, etc. So, yeah.

    Also, since we lost google reader, I sew/quilt/craft less. I hate bloglovin. I hate the frames, that fact that it is so hard to pin ideas and gorgeous projects, the fact that it is so hard to go from blog to blog hopping through a trail, because of all the horrid frames. Is there another googelreader like reader? I had no idea this would bother me so much, but ugh!

  5. Does the cute wooly eight eyed guy playing in your colorful scrap baskets have a name? :)

    1. Haha, I don't know! I bought him for Liam from a craft show a couple years ago. He was too cute to not take home! I think our cats have gotten quite attached to him, hence there was a time I'd try to hide him from them any which where.

  6. I have some not-as-loved fabric that I want to use up. I am thinking about using it the way people use muslin for string quilt blocks. (My family likes thick quilts, so the weight wouldn't be a problem.)

    I'm struggling with a weird feeling of guilt, though. Some of these unloved fabrics are pretty tragic (inherited as scraps from others), but I still feel like a jerk for hiding the prints. Am I alone in my fabric guilt here? Does anyone else feel bad for not adoring certain prints?

    1. I happen to think that that is a fantastic way for those fabrics to still make it into a quilt... fabric (muslin or otherwise) has to be the workhorse in that type of block to make a beautiful quilt.. in fact that fabric would be playing the most important part! I think the relief of using up that fabric would far outweigh the guilt of using it in this way! AND you will have a finished beautiful quilt to appreciate or give to another who will love it!

  7. For me alot of the finding the time to quilt is rooted in guilt. Like do I go and quilt or do I spend time with the kids? Or getting the wash done? get the idea.

  8. Sorry I missed your question originally but enjoying your recap.
    As far as unloved fabric goes, Bonnie Hunter says if it's ugly you just haven't cut it small enough.
    My biggest problem which I need help with is that I cannot visualize the finished product. I have to see it in the completed stage to know if I will like it. Drives my crazy to be so undecided about everything.

  9. Bonnie Hunter says if it's still ugly you haven't cut it small enough. Try combining little pieces of those fabrics with neutral solids--it should work better than combining them with each other ;-)

  10. Yes, time for me too. I get way too frustrated trying to sew when my kids are around. I'm not good with multi-tasking when it comes to sewing, I guess. So I try to sew when they are asleep. But most of the time, after they fall asleep at night, I have no energy to start. Ugh!


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