At this moment, I have five quilts in various stages of “done-ness” in opposite corners of my sewing studio. One is folded and put away in my storage cabinet. It is a fully pieced art quilt—intensely colored in blues, greens, and yellows—and is destined for a local exhibition. Destined, that is, as long as it is quilted and bound within the next two weeks. Another is a scrap quilt with lots of low-volume prints receding into the background, paired with my favorite bold and bright modern fabrics in the foreground. That quilt top has been itching to be basted for over a year. I even set aside the backing fabric, but then forgot what it was for and sliced into it for another project. Two more tops are partially pieced and pinned haphazardly to my design wall. The last is on the cutting table.
I think I have a problem—not with inspiration or with dedication, but with following through and finishing the projects I’ve started. Add my knitting WIPs to my quilting to-do list, and I’ve got enough to keep me going through the end of this year and well into the next.
Sometimes I wonder why I start something new when, clearly, there are plenty of ongoing projects just waiting to be finished. At first, I attributed my “serial crafting” tendencies to the excitement of starting something new. I’m the first one to admit that my heart quickens noticeably when I am inspired by a fresh project. I love to search in my stash for fabric, draw up a new design on graph paper, and plan my cutting and piecing. Inspiration, anticipation, and aspiration all collide and I dive in, again and again.
But after reading Kim Soper’s article, “Why Perfection is Ruining your SewJo,” I think there could be something else going on in the back of my mind. Maybe my quest for making something great each and every time is actually getting in the way of even making something good. It is slowing down my progress as a quilter. I will never be perfect, but I also won’t progress in my craft if I don’t actually do the work.
As someone who works every day with outstanding (and I do mean outstanding) quilters, designers, and authors, it is hard not to make comparisons. If I compared my quilts side-to-side with the works of other modern quilters, especially those in this issue, I might never get anything done! But I am learning to accept where I am on my quilting journey and to challenge myself to work through the self doubt. It’s time to keep my eyes “on my own paper,” as my third grade teacher once said, and do the work.
Kim said it best. “There is no prouder feeling than pushing through a challenging project, or taking on an unfamiliar process or skill, and completing the task in spite of all of its difficulties. It is in the discomfort that we grow as artists, makers, and humans.”
My wish for you is lots of quilt finishes in your future!
Table of Contents
Quilts + Projects
- Crossroads by Malka Dubrawsky
- Fancy Transparencies by Rebecca Severt
- Scrap Lattice by Heather Kojan
- Grids Rock by Debbie Grifka
- Woven Lightning by Kristine Lundblad
- Star Shadows by Krystina Hopkins
- Quarter Step by Betsy Vinegrad
- Hopscotch by Rosemarie DeBoer
- Trillion Dream by Becky Rico
- In the Shadow of the Plus by Sandra Walker
- Nurturing the Creative Soul by Kim
- Quilting is Big Business by Vivika Hansen DeNegre
- Stitch by Stitch by Timna Tarr
- Walking Foot Quilting—You Can Create Curves! By Catherine Redford
- All About . . . Linen by Jen Carlton Bailly
- Symmetry and Repeating Patterns by Florence Knapp
- Fab Fabrics
- Hot Picks
- Call for Submissions
- Project Index
- French-fold Binding
- Flying Geese Blocks—Four at a time
- Partial Seams
- Curved Piecing
- Hourglass Blocks—Two at a time
- Sew Perfect Y-seams