Thursday, 12 January 2017

Our top ten 2017 New Year's resolutions for quilters

Out in the real world, some of the most commonly broken New Year’s resolutions include losing weight and saving money. In the quilting world, we have a few of our own that seem to get broken before you know it – like finishing all the UFOs and WIPs, or not buying any fabric...sound familiar?

Just like in other areas of your life, it’s the most extreme resolutions that slip away the fastest. That’s why we’ve thought long and hard to come up with some resolutions that’ll make you grow as a quilter and stretch your creative muscle, while being easier to actually keep.

1. Only buy fabric you love
This mantra isn’t as strict as a full-on fabric diet, but it does keep you in check. Rather than buying things just because they’re on sale, you’re visiting a new shop, or it’s the line everyone is talking about, instead buy fabric you LOVE. Really, really love. Treat your stash as a carefully curated collection that reflects your impeccable tastes. The upsides: your stash will fill up with absolute favourites, and you will buy less. There are no downsides.

2. Learn something new
Before you make this resolution, you need to be specific. Do you want to try English paper piecing? Screen printing? Hand appliqué? Art quilting? Think about one thing you’ve always wanted to try ‘one day’ and make this the year you’ll be doing it. Then make a plan – from gathering materials to finding how-to-guides to setting a start date. Then do it.

3. Finish some WIPs
Some people love to start and finish projects in a linear fashion. The rest of us ebb and flow, moving from one project to the next, sometimes leaving a trail of WIPs in our wake. While we are not saying you shouldn’t have any WIPs, remember that too many can be overwhelming. If your WIPs are out of control, then make a plan to finish some, without being too strict about it. Let yourself start new things in between, but make it a goal to at least reduce your UFO count. If you need some encouragement, the 2017 Finish A Long has just begun and the word on the street is that the prizes are awesome!

4. Keep a design book
Resolve to design more. Whether or not you consider yourself a quilt designer or not, you will stretch your creative muscle if you start looking around you for quilty inspiration. It’s everywhere, from clothing to nature to man-made objects. Sketch your ideas, and before you know it you’ll be coming up with original creations. Tip: A graph/grid paper book (the one with little squares) makes turning designs into quilt blocks so much easier!

5. Try a new craft
We know you love quilting, it’s our favourite too. But sometimes it’s refreshing to try another craft, such as knitting, scrapbooking or cross stitching. Doing something else will help improve your eye for design and teach you new skills that might apply to quilting. And you’ll find that sometimes you just don’t feel like quilting and it’s nice to do something else for a bit. Then you can come back to quilting all refreshed.

6. Slow down
In the world of social media sharing we are always so busy trying to create another finish, write another blog post, and meet another deadline. Productivity is good, but too much of this can suck the fun out of quilting. Instead, start a complex quilt with no end point in mind. Relish in the taking it slow. A few years ago, I started an EPP project with over 2000 diamonds in it. People frequently ask me how long it’s going to take me, and I’m happy to tell them ‘forever’.

7. Make time to sew more
There are weeks when you discover that you barely have time to touch your sewing machine, let alone make any significant progress on anything. Set a time to sew every (or at least most) days. If you change out your routine to include half an hour of sewing a day, you’ll find another 182 ½ hours available to you over a year. Imagine what you could do with that!

8. Organise your space
We’re all for the imperfect, honest craft room, but if your sewing space is such a hot mess you don’t know where anything is, you’re going to waste time looking for things you’re sure you had, and money on things you didn’t need to buy again. There are a million ways to store craft supplies and inspiration galore on Pinterest, so start looking for solutions that fit your space and budget. We recommend housing your stash all in one area, making sure your tools are always accessible, and keeping your threads and notions in a single location.

9. Destash what you don’t love
When you sort out your sewing space, you’re likely to find things you no longer love, you know you’ll never use, and some that you don’t even know how they got there. This might be fabric, supplies from another craft long forgotten, and even UFOs. You do not need to keep these things. They take up space, induce guilt and don’t have a place in your creative arena. Sell them, give them away, throw them away... it doesn’t matter how you get rid of them, as long as you do. There are groups on Facebook dedicated to helping you find new owners for fabric you've fallen out of love with (try the Aussie Patchwork Fabric Destash Group or search for one in your area) or you can list fabric you're destashing on Instagram (If you've got a lot, you may like to make a dedicated Instagram account so you don't lose followers or try to post all of your fabric on a certain date and time so you don't clog up the feed. If you're in Aus, tag your photos with #greataussiedestash and you might even gain some new followers. Perfect timing: Cole & Taffy just published her top 12 tips for Instagram destashing).

10. Sew for yourself
We all love making handmade things for others, but it’s important to be careful that sewing doesn’t become a chore as you churn through your to-do list. Remember that it’s okay to sew for yourself (I don't believe in the term #selfishsewing!). If you don’t have a quilt for your very own bed, this is the year to put yourself first and make one! Happy sewing!

- JK & LM


  1. Thanks for the well thought resolution list. Nice job.

  2. Some great ideas. I really like the one what you love..I hope to use my stash this year. Will really think before buying this time.

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