new year, new quilt

I did something today that I very rarely do: I rolled up a piece in progress, put it away and started a new one.  Now I now that for 99% of quilters this automatic-city-control-442584is not that big a deal but for me – it’s a really big deal, like a huge colossal deal…

I always finish one project before moving to the next.  It’s how I work.  I like to see a project through to completion because the idea of leaving one quilt unfinished while working on another creates an uncomfortable level of stress for me.  Here’s why:  I know that no matter how good my intentions are it is unlikely that I will ever go back to  a project that I abandoned and finish it.  More exciting projects will always take priority and the one that I left behind will stay just that – left behind.

But in the case of this train quilt I decided today that I would give myself permission to walk away from it.  I started this quilt before I left for my trip to the Htrainouston International Quilt Festival and that was a mistake because the gap in between starting it and then being able to get back to it was too long and by then my enthusiasm for it had waned a bit.  Add in the distraction of the holidays and then another trip to the West Coast in December, being sick for a week with a nasty cold…well I walked into my studio today and came to terms with the fact that at this point I am sick of looking at the train quilt.  It’s making it hard to get motivated to work and want to start working on some more exciting projects.  So I am going to let it go and move on.

I have written a lot about UFO’s, the 7 stages of artmaking and how important it is to finish work you started so you can learn from it.  I still believe that is true  – you learn IMG_5054more from the pieces you finish than the ones you don’t – but after giving it a lot of thought and deliberation today I am giving myself permission to take a pass from my usual way of working.  Life is short, studio time is precious and sometimes you have to give yourself permission to walk away.  As long as it doesn’t become the norm and you don’t end up abandoning more projects than you finish it’s okay to walk away from a project that is not bringing you joy.  And the train quilt is just not feeding my artistic soul right now so I am going to leave it in 2018 and start my 2019 with a clean slate and a new project that does.  I did this rough sketch of  a “tree house” the other day and I am intrigued with this idea so I think I will spend the first day of 2019 working on turning this into my next quilt…


Wishing you a very happy healthy new year and an art filled 2019!

3 thoughts on “new year, new quilt

  1. I generally finish things before moving on, or have a small number of projects in process. Always very few UFOs. If it’s a UFO I don’t think of it as “abandoned.” If it’s abandoned, it needs to become something else or just go away. Either way, you’re always the one who gets to decide what and how to finish. If you come back to the train someday, fine, and if not, fine. No shame in it either way.


  2. Kudos to you for walking away from something that doesn’t motivate you that’s awesome I’ve been having a very productive day cleaning my house organizing things that I don’t normally do but always want to and I came across this tree houses the art and craft of living out on a limb book and I thought of you it’s written by Peter Nelson kind of had a few years let’s see if it has a year of publication in here bus to New York Houghton Mifflin company 1994 with the air text copy right


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