Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Cutting Loose

Winds of change....

 Some of you will get this....the last week I have been going in and out of my sewing room (the place I make the quilts) and not really getting much done. Sometimes I just go and sit and look at quilt pictures and projects. Other times I was organizing things that really didn't need to be. I've been doing this for a few weeks. I thought it was maybe the "let down" of the book being done. I have been so focused on that, I wondered if now that it is done if there was anything else for me to strive for. 
Then I realized that I had this Dr. appointment this week. 23 years have gone by and yet it's there. Funny how it is in the back of my mind. Until you have faced that giant you probably cannot understand. It's not fear - I'm not afraid to die. It's not even about getting sick again. What I discovered it is about is the fact that a lot of years have gone by and I have lived more life than I have left to live. Something about the ski racer turning 60 this year......maybe? I don't know.  What I do know is I'm taking stock and contemplating cutting things loose.  Not just in my sewing room but in my house. I have so many quilts - show quilts and snuggle quilts and quilts I made when I was just starting out (not that many) and my house is full of them.  This list from my insurance agent for my land and sea policy that covers them is 2 pages long. So I have begun to look for ways to cut some of them loose.

So last night I was going through the lovely boxes up on the shelf above my design wall where I store projects in process (see the pic of my sewing room above and imagine about 2x as many as when that pic was taken) and asking myself questions like "do I even like this fabric" or "do I really plan to finish this" and "will this quilt make my heart sing while I work on it?" Honestly there are so many projects (and so much fabric) that I feel the need to clear out. I'm being brutal with the answers and several projects have already been cut loose. Luckily I have a BFF who loves random blocks and makes beautiful things with them so there is no guilt.  I can give them to her and put the rest of the fabric that was set aside back into my stash.

But I think the whole Orlando tragedy, the fact that I'm getting older and that another cancer anniversary have all converged into "what do I want to really accomplish before I leave this earth" and while I don't have the answer I feel energized at the process. Like I don't want to waste a minute.

So I have come up with some questions regarding my quilting; works in process as well as future quilts:

Will it make someone else happy to see it?
Will it make me feel good while creating it?

Is this show worthy? Do I want to invest that kind of time in the quilt?
Who else in my life needs a quilt made by me?
What charity group that I support could use one of my quilts for an auction?
Do I have any bed in my house that could use a new quilt?
Is there another book in me and is this project a candidate?

I have the answers to a few of the questions but time will tell hopefully about the others.  But it does not end here....

I also have a studio.  
My studio is where I quilt and embroider. It is also where a completed top goes and is no longer considered a UFO. I know that's a bit crazy but it works for me.

My "to be quilted" closet is full to the gills. Charity quilts, a few customer quilts and lots of quilt tops I have made over the years that were just for fun and are still not quilted.  Show quilts have a deadline so they get quilted and are not usually in that closet for long. But it's full.  I need to find time this summer to make a serious dent in that closet or cut them loose for someone else to complete.

And then there is the stash!

I have a relatively small sewing room with a large closet - it is full.  I have a cutting table that has a skirt and under the skirt are wire basket drawers that are full.  Bolts are under my sewing table and there are more in the studio that could be backings...... It's starting to come in on me, not so much that I want to get rid of it but more like "Get busy Missy and make some quilts!"   

I have gone through much of it and culled a ton of fabric that is now in bins for use on Quilted EMbrace quilts.  There is so much, I could make hundreds of quilts and probably not make much of a dent.

 And then there are the bins of string strips.  I love making those quilts but how many strings does one girl need?

So I'm reviewing everything.  Deciding what I'm really interested in working on and with and what I need to cut loose!

Now the question goes to you ~ the reader of this blog:   

Have you been where I am and what did you do to navigate it and did it inspire you to new a greater things and more creativity?  Please share below.

~ Blessings


  1. When Marvin died I was not a quilter yet. But I wanted to move closer to my oldest son Ken and his wife who were expecting their son. I have sewn since I was a child, and had a huge stash of fashion fabrics. So when I moved, I eliminated half of my stash (gave it away), and after I moved I eliminated half of that. I was still working, so I kept the beautiful wools and silks and others that would make great clothes. I still have a lot of that fabric. But it was freeing. I felt lightened, like I had lost physical weight and gained some sunshine. Then I started quilting, and began building a quilting stash, which for me is very different fabrics. And then I organized my studio...I recently redid that as you probably know...and it was freeing. At each turn where I elminated the fabrics and other things I wasn't going to use, I felt inspired and excited, and yes, it worked. I grew in my quilting. I encourage you to let a large percentage of the fabrics and projects go. Set yourself a bunch of realistic goals...with percentages for charity quilting, making stuff just for your own pleasure, and another for shows and/or books and base your decisions on that. I like your set of questions. You have done so much, you are overwhelmed right now. There may be a new direction for you. I've been there (I even had ovarian cancer 9 years ago). Blessings.

  2. Linda,
    I too am at the same juncture. Today I wrote my resignation letter to national quilters circle. I plan to donate fabric that no longer makes my heart skip a beat. I am going to diligently work on those masses of quilt tops I've made and designate them to loved ones or charities. I am also planning on having a massive sale... He who dies with the most fabric, still dies. So I have decided to sell what I can and use it toward projects for the future. Every piece and kit I have I will go through one by one. My grand daughter is now quilting , and I have nieces who love to create, so lots will head their way. I just don't want to carry this feeling of " I have to get ER done" with me everyday. I want to begin to feel that passion drive me again! I do know that I need to be realistic, with the Wright I have gained, I can't expect to lose it overnight... It took much longer to put it on. Same with the fabric I've acquired... I want to weed it down, but it certainly will take me some time. Love you girlfriend, looks like we are in the same boat. Now I have to go find Kate, she's fallen asleep in my room somewhere, lol

  3. My daughter was over yesterday and she helped me go thru a ton of stuff. I posted a photo on my churches FB page of things I was getting rid of. It's not junk, but not if I live to be 100 will I be able to complete these projects. It does my heart good to pay it forward and let someone have an opportunity to create some happiness. I didn't charge anyone, I don't need it, it was bought along time ago and some of these ladies are not able to get out and shop or can't afford these things. I'm glad you got an all clear at the doctor, and can't wait to see your new baby! God bless you!

  4. Linda, I am right there with you.. the thing that finally got me in gear, was the move.. we moved into a 1400 sf house, from a 2400 sf house. I couldn't take it all with me, and I realized I didn't want the burden of all of it anymore. I donated, gave away, sold and a number of other ways to get rid of. I kept only the fabric, threads, etc that really spoke to me. That said, "I will LOVE working with this." And Kelly, I went through every pattern, piece of fabric, piece by piece. I will never live long enough to use what I still have, but when I go to my sewing room and look around, what is still there, makes me happy. Makes my heart sing. So ladies, it is so freeing to not be burdened down by things. There is something that will cause us to take stock. He who has the most fabric, still dies. Thank you Linda T for this blog. It was again a reminder of what is important in life. hugs!!

  5. When I finally retired again, I saw the huge amount of fabric and kits I had acquired. This was in January. It was everywhere! In plastic rolling carts (4), plastic bins in the garage (4), under my beds, in two footstools that held storage, and decorative cardboard hat boxes. Oh, and a book shelf full of folded, completed quilts. I could go on, but my flash of reality came with the thought to simplify my life. I realized this was a lot of invested money. I decided to not buy any fabric unless I needed it for backing. My first thought, like you, is who could benefit. I began making table runners for our church memorial luncheons. Then I began a stash of baby quilts, as my daughter is at the age where a lot of friends are making babies. I also give to the women's shelter and Quilt for kids. I've stopped making big quilts for now and it seems to be working. Oh, but the fabric stash does not seem to be getting any smaller. But I will say, looking through all the fabric is as good as shopping! I am keeping my imagination open for ideas. My next thought is quilts to firemen and police departments for victims. I am not as talented as you, but I can make a comfortable quilt. Linda, I am turning 69 this fall. You do begin to wonder what difference can you make, my body won't let me do a lot of physical stuff that I used to do, but I've decided to be happy everyday, even if it's cutting roses and bringing into the house. I see beauty everywhere and it makes me smile. I ache for what is happening to this country and fear for what life will be like for my grandchildren and great grandchildren. It is our nature to be loving and concerned. You are a wonderful person and give so much of yourself. Good job, well done, keep on thinking your lovely thoughts. Bless you.

    1. This is exactly what I'm talking about. Good for you Vickee and I know God will bless your heart for your efforts to share some of your bounty and talent with others. Hugs.

  6. I just went through a purge of my sewing room. It was driving me crazy! Things were piled up everywhere, and I couldn't find items I wanted when I wanted them. I was brutal - if I didn't love it, out it went. I had a quilter's yard sale and sold some things. I gave tons of donations to various organizations. Yet, I still have plenty. What I have left are things that I enjoy and love. Now I can't wait to get into my sewing room. Purging is good for the soul.

  7. I also went through some inner musing, I realized the sewing wasn't fun anymore. I asked myself why and I just felt overwhelmed! I prayed about it and I believe the Lord gave me an answer. I put on my big girl panties and took a critical look at my stash and started pulling the pieces that no longer gave me joy. I contacted a friend, made an agreement with her to be head saleswoman, took it to a weekend sew-in, we sold a huge chunk of that old stash, made more of my friends happy with great deals and had a ball! Girl do I feel like a huge weight is off my shoulders! And I was a blessing to a dear friend in need! I'm in a happy place with my stash again and back to loving my sewing area again. Win! Win!

    1. It does free the creative soul! I know I'm much happier after coming to this conclusion and I'm even more motivated to get some UFO's done and outta here!

  8. I am right there now. I look at my stash of fabrics and think "how in the world will I ever use all this?" But then I see some dreamy fabric online or in a shop and immediately think I want some "just in case". God has blessed me with so much--now that I'm 63 I too have realized there is much more time behind me than ahead of me...and the realization that we have absolutely no promise of another day makes me want to deal with this excess now. I lost both my parents 6 days apart last year. I am still dealing with getting rid of, repurposing and sharing their things. It's been time/and energy-consuming. I don't want my children to deal with my excesses when I'm gone. This morning I went through several bins of fabric to donate and to sell. Thank you for your wise words and food for thought. It's so good to see you on the blog again. I'm sure your beautiful book has taken most of your attention. Welcome back and many blessings.

    1. ...and by the way....your beautiful book has finally arrived in my mailbox. It is a delight!

  9. this post sounds a bit like the last post on my KalamaQuilts blog. You can't make these changes over night, but it gets easier as you go along. Best Wishes, Sharyn

  10. I have an obscene amount of fabric. God blessed me with all of this fabric. What am I going to do with it?
    My church operates a meals on wheels program. We feed over 200 folks a day. I thought some of that fabric would make a happy pretty placemats for ome home bound folks. You have inspired me to stop talking about it and get busy. Bless you Linda

    1. That is so awesome. I'm sure having that special touch will make the meals even better. WTG!!! Blessings right back at you Kathy!