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March 13, 2013
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in a rut?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here.

Happy National Quilting Day! Go buy a layer cake or a jelly roll (not the edible kind, silly) and celebrate!

I have a quilt to “fix” up. I thought I was done, but whenever I looked at it I kept thinking “something isn’t right”. Friends who’ve seen it say it looks great. I think it needs more quilting. But I’m stumped as to what to add. Ever been in this predicament? I think maybe this is how many UFO’s come into our world. We get to a point in a project where something about it just isn’t right. The gorgeous colors we began with aren’t looking so great. Or the directions are unclear or even worse, incorrect! (I’m amazed at how many math mistakes in patterns go out into the publishing world.) Or we didn’t choose the value differences carefully enough. The quilting isn’t right.  There are all sorts of reasons for losing our “mojo” about a project. How do we get it back so we can finish things up? Leah Day, of the Free Motion Quilting Project, deals with this from her perspective in this video. See what you think about her advice.

I sometimes get myself out of a quilting rut by looking at other people’s quilts-going to a quilt show perhaps, or picking up a new quilt book or magazine. If the quilt show view does it for you, you may enjoy seeing these winning quilts from the Lancaster AQS show. I must say that what they call bed quilts, and what I call bed quilts, are very different. They must be talking about the size of the project, because I surely can’t envision any of these on someone’s bed. At least not in a house like mine where the kids and the dogs get up on the bed to nap and play!

Another thing I do sometimes to try to get my “mojo” back is to put ongoing projects aside and try something I haven’t done in a while, or perhaps have never tried before. I have started a project in really bright new fabrics with that old standby block The Drunkard’s Path. (Actually that’s a setting name, not a block name, but splitting hairs a bit!) It’s quite different looking in the blacks, lime green, magenta, turquoise, and yellow that I’ve started with. And today at the Big J store I was perusing the new quilting magazines, one of my favorite things to do while in line, and spotted the newest issue of Quilty. What’s on the cover? A traditional two color Drunkard’s Path quilt! I’m going to raid my stash and make another small piece in red and white-but use several reds and several creams and whites. (Thank you again, Helen, for that old Drunkard’s Path book you gave me. It’s getting a workout these days! I’ll bring the pieces to show and tell soon.)

Today I’m going to play in my fabric room, making fabric poseys instead of sewing. Really fast results via hot glue and Heat and Bond are another way to get some excitement for the project going again. Sometimes what causes me to bog down is the slowness of the process, or the length of time and amount of effort it will take to “fix” a quilt project I’m unhappy with. For this one-neither is an issue. The flowers are fast to make, and if I’m not pleased they go into the garbage. Small amounts of fabric are used for each-not worth trying to salvage the petals, leaves or whatever. Just make a new one!

What do you do when you get in a rut or lose your enthusiasm for a project?

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