Inspiration to be bad

I don't know what possessed me to try to pick up something different this morning than the three projects I've been focused on.  Maybe it was getting the shirt finished and the pattern packed away that made me think I should pick up some other project and try to move it forward, along with the rest. 

So, I picked up my Jubilee quilt, because I'm feeling a tinge of guilt that I made a commitment to myself and now, my progress on that project is stopped.  It's a few days more than half way through my Jubilee year and 20 of the 36 blocks I'd planned are finished.  And, it will need quilting after that.  And, I need to make two more baby quilts before year's end.  Will I make that Jubilee deadline that is only being imposed by me?

So, I'm having a stern talking to myself and since I share just about everything else with you guys, there's no reason why I shouldn't share this conversation, too.

First thought is that this is my process (not sure whether to emphasize the "is" or the "my" there).  I get into something all gung-ho, and then other things come up and I put it down and it might sit for a couple of years or more and then I get back in the mood and pick it back up and work on it some more and maybe I finish it and maybe I don't, and if I don't, then I put it back down again for a while, maybe more than a year, and eventually, by working on it when I want to and when I can, I finish it, just like I'm about to finish this incredibly long run-on sentence that any English teacher worth their salt would fail this blog post for.

But, I claim poetic license because that run-on sentence is the best way I know to illustrate why my quilts take years to be complete and why you might see a picture of one started and then not see the finish for a very long time.  Maybe not until after the colors and fabrics have gone out of style.

It makes me very glad that I'm not one of the bloggers that will only post their finished work.  If I did that, I'd never have anything to talk about.  It's the process, not the finish, that I enjoy.  I'll only finish so many quilts in my lifetime, but because I fit quilting in with working and parenting and keeping house and having a beautiful garden and all the other things that comprise a very full life, I can't afford to only celebrate the finishes.  I have to celebrate each step in the race, just as much as crossing the finish line.

So, when I hear from someone that doesn't have unfinished projects, I celebrate that they are the kind of person that can do that.  And, when I hear from someone that is beating themselves up because of their unfinished projects, I try to encourage them with empathy, while discouraging them from the self-beating. 

Everybody does it different. 

Diane Gaudynski said in her blog post yesterday that she doesn't have unfinished projects.  That's her process.  If you read her books, she plans out every step of the process and works them in order from start to finish.  And, she's a famous quilter.  It works for her.  I celebrate that fact with her.

Bonnie Hunter seems to have a hundred different quilts in the works at any given time, and still has time to stop and make blocks from a quilt she saw in an antique store.  And, she's a famous quilter.  It works for her.  I celebrate that fact with her.

And, just like there's room in the community for art quilters and modern quilters and traditional quilters and machine piecers and hand piecers and long arm quilters and domestic sewing machine quilters, and quilters from every race and country and size and shape, there's also room for quilters that can work a project from start to finish without getting distracted by something shiny they saw in a quilt magazine and for quilters that start every quilt they like and leave a trail of scraps behind them in every color of the rainbow. 

As I write this, it occurs to me that the only kind of quilters that I don't want to celebrate quilting with are the quilters that want to be somebody other than who they are; the quilters that love to start a hundred quilts and never finish one and then talk about themselves as though they were somehow bad because of it.  You guys all have heard me talk about how I'm changing.  I'm an absolute believer that if you want to change, you can. 

But, you know what?  If you don't want to, you don't have to.  It's a hobby.  It's supposed to make you happy.  It's not supposed to give you an(other) opportunity to beat yourself up.

Some of my quilts hang in the closet for years at a time, waiting until I have that perfect inspiration to finish them.  So what?  It's who I am.  And, I'm quite happy with it.  And, those "projects in waiting" aren't hurting anybody in the world.  And, I know I can manage a project to completion because I do it at work, all the time.

But, I bet Rob wishes I'd hurry up and finish re-doing our kitchen.  I'm not sure he gets as excited as I do about projects that last forever, waiting for me to be inspired.  But, does the fact that I haven't finished make me a bad person?

Why, yes, it does.  It makes me a very bad person, though Rob has never said so.  And, you can see how much I regret all my bad behavior.

I'm so bad. 

Bad, bad, really, really bad.

Wanna celebrate being bad with me?

Bad.  Really bad. 

Smack yourself on the nose with a rolled up newspaper bad?

Maybe.  If you're into that. 

Or, not, depending on what you like.



Gisela Suski said...

I have been watching Bonnie Hunter on ICAM and she is giving me inspiration.
She is in Bali until 9/1. It has been so much fun. I have unfinished WIP - I get bored very easy but eventually they get done.

Auntie Em said...

Unless there is a deadline, I like to work on things as I feel like it. Sometimes its mindless sewing, sometimes more challenging projects etc. Thank goodness for my guild's annual show. It gives me a deadline to get at least one quilt a year finished for that. :-)

MelissaSue said...

Thanks for the chuckle today good sir! I love reading your blog and seeing all your works, finished or not! Take care!

Kath said...

Oh yes, guilty as charged Lane. I have at least 6 projects on the go, no,make that 7. The oldest go back about 6 years!! How bad is that and do I care? ha ha, seems I'm in good company xx

Terri in BC said...

I'll join you on the "bad" wagon. I love starting new projects, and I love finishing them, but it can take forever to do the in-between stage. I occassionally beat myself up about it, but since I have some of my mom's AND my grandmother's UFOs, I figure it come by it honestly!

Have you checked out Leah Day's blog (www.freemotionquilting.blogspot.com Aug 19th post) this week? She's going to have a UFO Sunday linky where you can post your progress. I've started a page on my blog listing all my projects so I can keep track and so far, I am up to 14 with way too many to add!

Lori said...

Let's celebrate 'being bad' ....'really, really bad' LOL

I often wonder if I'm a quilter at all, considering all my quilt UFO's compared to my other craft projects. I need to have a mix of knitting, crocheting, doll clothes sewing, kitchen painting (LOL) to keep me going.

And weirdly, some of my quilts have so much emotional baggage sewn into them - it's spooky. My 1st quilt (top done) and this Lady of the Lake quilt hold many, many unresolved issues for me! Thankfully, the others are pure joy - even if UFO's!!

No beating up over UFO's but working ahead to complete them - YES!!! I'm off camping tomorrow so some hand piecing by the light of the moon rofl!!! Have a good one Lane!

Samantha said...

LOL!! I have so many unfinished things it isn't even funny. I've finished more this year than any time ever. Not working outside the home and having two adult children still at home, not working, to take on more of the housework (they should since they EAT right?) has made it possible for me to do things I want to do, finally! :D

Bad? No. I have to start my ideas or I'll forget what I thought of!

lw said...

I'll join you-- I do get a lot things finished, but I have a lot more works in progress than any decent person should. And then I set it all aside to make baby clothes for the visit with my granddaughter. And the I-Spy quilts for both grandkids...by Christmas, anyway. I think Terri in BC and I may come out neck and neck with UFOs, but I'm afraid to really count.

Do they count if you figured out the project, bought the cloth, and haven't cut it out yet?

Linda said...

How funny! I have the rolled up newspaper in my hand now. I'm just like that. I do best with many projects going on at once. Some get finished quickly and some sit around forever unfinished. I'm the same way with housework. I start in one room, get distracted and end up doing something in another room. I claim it's the way creative minds work. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Coloradolady said...

I am bad too! So bad, I can't share!!! I have GOT to get something complete and soon....but all I want to do is start something new!!!

Elizabeth said...

Dear Lane,

Maybe Rob likes bad boys.

xo -E

P.S. You're completely right; it's all about the process!

scrappy101 said...

It's all about the journey. Have fun and work on wherever the mood leads you.
I heard that the quilts will talk to you, that too leads ones moods and creativity.
In any case, you are doing a fabulous job with all you do.
Enjoy your blog.

Vesuviusmama said...

The joy of UFOs is that i have all these projects I can pick up and jump into nearly any part of the quilting process - whichever part I want to enjoy that day. Bad to the bone, I guess.

qltmom9 said...

I've had friends try to pressure me to finish more of my UFOs. It doesn't work that way. I quilt for ME. Yes, I give MANY lovely quilts, but this quilting is *MY GIFT*. I am 100% sure I have more UFOs than you do, but I still took the time to make a dozen of Bonnie's spools she just recently posted. LOL! FUN!


Shevvy said...

I laughed a lot at the rolled up newspaper comment!

Yes, I'm very bad. I always have multiple things on the go and some things like my tapestries took 25 years to finish off and make into cushions.

Anonymous said...

I say they are not UFOs until I am dead! Before that they are works in progress! So there!Form