To Be or Not To Be…

We all have had this issue, you have a quilt in front of you and after much tweaking the design won’t come together.  You have soul searched, prayed, and regardless of what you have done this project has gained the title the QUILT from HELL.


The question then arises, how do I get through this nightmare?

First it depends on whether it is a customer quilt or a personal project.  With regards to customer quilts, all I can say is “Pull up those big girl/boy pants and power through the design”.  I have found that rewarding myself in various ways has gotten me through those quilts that I wanted to tear to shreds.  Sometimes all it takes is a few pieces of chocolate, yes chocolate never hurts!  Other times I stop working and take a break from the negative feelings that are consuming me at that time. Removing myself from the studio for a small period of time often alleviates the frustration and angst. Whether I take an extended lunch, or call  a friend, doing something totally unattached to quilting can reboot my mind and give me the positive energy needed to tackle the project again.

Personal pieces; that’s a whole other ballgame.  images-41

Can you relate to the picture above? I know I can! Thank goodness it doesn’t happen often, but there are those quilts that just kill us.  You had a vision, you’ve dreamt about your masterpiece and all the beauty it would hold once it was completed.  The fabric that spoke to you, the design you’ve done and redone, somehow it just doesn’t come together.  AND that’s where it ends, for me.  Those rare occasions are what make up my:






So yes: unknown-18

Life is too short, for me, to spend several days, weeks, or months on a piece that I absolutely loathe.  Especially if I have tried rewarding myself, and have taken breaks from the project; yet I still  find myself out of tune with what I am trying to produce.  I conquer with Disney’s movie Frozen and say “Let It Go”.

How do you handle quilts that push you to your limits?

12 thoughts on “To Be or Not To Be…

  1. I’m right there with you. Sometimes a quilt just won’t make it for me and I will actually throw it away or, if in a state I can, reclaim some of the fabrics from it and throw away what is left or make it into mug rugs. Usually, I try really hard to fix the problems before I decide to do this though.

  2. I know I have one quilt that was on the frame 3 times before it actually got quilted…just could not come up with a design for the quilting. Thankfully, the quilt was mine but it was a challenge quilt for my guild so i just had to get it finished by a specific date! I currently have a quilt that is all applique and while I have quilted all the applique, trying to figure out what to quilt between the appliques has me stumped! It is a Texas Teardrops (which I totally love) so if you want to take a look at it ( and give me any ideas…that would be awesome! That is another way to get through a “quilt from hell” – ask others for ideas…who knows what inspiration you can get from their suggestions!! My UFO pile is because I take too long to quilt the dumb tops because I want everything to be custom quilted with lots of ruler work!!!

  3. it goes into the box of shame…not my shame….the quilt shame!!!! Then twice a year one of the blog I follow as an adoption event….so it goes to be someone else pain and/or treasure 🙂

  4. Oh I hear ya Sista!!!! I can find every way conceivable to mankind to stall a quilt when there is a mental block or just not my style of a quilt. But through this experience I have found it is better to CONQUER rather than linger to get’er done—I hang something I can’t wait to start to motivate me! It is all about mind games right?
    As for those master pieces that did not meet my expectations (I am really putting this mildly). Majority are stuffed into a dog bed that we make and donate to a local shelter. Or if I can somehow finish, it maybe become a charity quilt that someone would enjoy.

    Have you read the book about Tidying from Marie Kondo (I listened to while quilting) which has some really strange stuff in it but also some very valuable things too. Lets just say—if I feel no joy in the piece–out it goes!!!!

  5. I haven’t gotten to the point of totally “throwing it out the window” but I’ve had some close calls!!!! I usually have allowed enough time for each project to either clear my head with time spent at the piano or on my motorcycle.

  6. I have many quilts on my to do list so I am never without something to do. If I feel I am hitting a wall, I put it in a box and go on to something else. After a year I pull it out and either have a better idea of what to do, or back in the box. Sometimes I scrap the whole thing, use what blocks I have done and make a charity quilt. Over time I have learned to make one sample block before I cut up all that fabric. Sometimes that one block fills the need and I don’t need to make the whole quilt.

  7. On the theme of “let it go”, put it on the free table at the guild. Someone may take it on as a personal challenge.

  8. The quilt I worked over the fall months I named Green Lemonade because I was given lemons and it was green. I stitched those friggen gremlins into that quilt forever and then found UFO fabric for the back to make sure it stayed a UFO even though it was finished. Sometimes you just have to work 15 minutes at a time or until frustration mounts and then have a cool down by doing anything else, even scrubbing a toilet.

  9. I only quilt in my studio for me since I produce an average of 50+ quilts a year. When I have a quilt that refuses to accept my design, aka quilt from he’ll, I really take the challenge and totally rethink the design. After taking a few days off from designing, play with a different project, whatever, if the new design still won’t come together it goes to community service and becomes someone else’s headache and ultimately a cherished warm gift to those less fortunately.

  10. Don’t you hate smart phones that think they know what you are saying? My last post to you was supposed to read, quilt from hell, and fortunate. Duh! Not so smart are they?

  11. So I see quilts that I just fall in love with the pattern or color or whatever, but have learned to just do a block or so and see if I can commit to an entire quilt. I am intrigued by so many things, I am completely ADHD with respect to quilting. I have quite a few onesie or twosie quilt blocks. (I recently did some piecing and machine quilting on two different quilts for acquaintances and that was NOT FUN!!! ) There are so many things in life we HAVE TO DO, I try to keep my quilting as a sacred space and not let it be a drudge. I am collecting all the bits and pieces of abandoned tops and am going to run them through my accuquilt cutter to change them from squares to circles, etc and make a quilt of all the trial runs!!

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