productivity

How to: Turning WIPs into FOs

It’s hard making time to make.

Often, it seems like our pile of WIPs (Works in Progress) far outweighs our FOs (Finished Objects). Quilt tops linger in closets and orphan blocks crowd our design walls. But taming the beast is possible! Here are a few tips for whipping those WIPs into shape:

1- List all your projects. Every. last. one. Go through every closet, shelf and drawer. Pull out every WIP at any stage, even if it’s just a pile of fabric that you have a vague plan for. Now list them out one by one. This is quite the reality check, but it gives you a very clear picture of what you have and helps you to prioritize and plan.

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2- Edit out what you’re no longer in love with. Maybe the fabric is dated. Maybe the intended recipient has changed their style. Maybe you’ve just fallen out of love. You might be surprised with how many projects you decide aren’t worth more of your precious time.  Find a friend or local charity that will take them off your hands. Some Project Linus chapters will take quilts at various stages of completion. Call your local coordinator to check.

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3- Prioritize. You can choose whatever criteria works for you to prioritize your WIPs. Maybe you want to get oldest projects done first, or those that are closest to completion. Or you could prioritize by the intended recipients… who has a birthday coming up? It’s really up to you. Just to remember that not everything matters equally. Your time is finite, and you should be spending that time on the things that are most important to YOU.

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4- Limit new projects. I know, I know… don’t yell at me! This one is so hard! I love shiny new things and starting projects is one of my very favorite things to do. I get it. But now that you have a handle on what needs completed, it’s a good idea to look at that list you made before starting something new.

Prioritize your potential project against that list… how does it compare? If it really is something important (like you just found out your best friend is expecting), yes, definitely add it in! But keep in mind that for everything you say yes to, you will say no to something else. Your other WIPs will move down the list, so make sure it’s worth it!

Often, we start a new project simply because we’re bored with what we’re currently working on. Instead, maybe we can add some excitement to our WIPs list by moving a current project one step closer to completion. I find that helps my need for something ‘new’ and novel without adding to my workload.

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5- Join a UFO completion group. Many local shops will have groups you can join that help keep you accountable to finishing a specific list of WIPs that you’ve chosen. Sometimes, there’s prizes to be won! If you don’t have a local group, there are several online ones. A popular challenge group is the All People Quilt UFO Challenge.  The 2019 Finish-a-Long is hosted by several quilty bloggers and is another great place to start. And The Crafty Quilter has a monthly UFO & WIP Challenge. There are lots more; find a group that you like and join in!

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6- Make the time. There is simply no way around it- if you want to finish projects, you have to set aside time to work on them. You’ll have to decide for yourself how that looks. You could block out 20 or 30 minutes a day, or set aside an entire day a few times a month. Look into registering for an open sew at a local shop if you want to socialize while you sew. Put sewing time on you calendar or add a reminder to your phone. Once you get a little momentum going, you’ll be surprised at how addicting it can be to advance your projects just one step further. And once you complete a project and get to cross that WIP off your ‘to do’ list, you’ll definitely be looking forward to your next FO!  

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7- Speaking of Finished Objects, track them! Keeping a record of the quilts you’ve completed and looking through it periodically is a really nice way to keep your motivation up. No doubt there are projects on your FO list that lingered. That you thought you’d never actually complete. Looking through the projects you’ve already completed gives you HOPE that yes, someday the WIP that’s driving you crazy will be done. There is light at the end of the creative tunnel. You are fully capable of getting those WIPs out into the world as FOs. You’ve got this.

Now let’s all finish some beautiful stuff!

Happy Sewing! ~L

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What I’m reading now

Here’s what’s been on my nightstand lately:

The One Thing

Ever had a book change your life? And then you apply the principles in the book and go around annoying everyone around you with the information? This is that book for me!

I first read through this a little over a year ago, and it totally rocked my world. I then skimmed through it one more time the same weekend underlining and taking more notes.

I am a super-distractable person, but the information presented here is really helping me to focus on what I want, define my priorities, and work on the most important things. I have spent a lot of time in the last year and a half reflecting and planning what I want my life to be. This book has really helped me take baby steps towards those goals.

I am reading it again to refresh and to learn things I may have missed a year ago. And it’s rocking my world all over again.

Ultimate Quilt Block Collection

A co-worker of mine bought this book and was saying how great it was, so of course I had to check it out! And I was not disappointed. Written by Lynne Goldsworthy, this baby has a ton of unique and beautiful skill-building blocks to choose from. It’s great for learning techniques as well as getting amazing inspiration.

I’ve only made one block from it so far, as I’m TRYING to finish WIPs before starting anything new. But I am looking forward to a possible sampler made with some of the blocks.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

I am a nerd; I admit it. I love classic literature and classic Sci-fi is really fun! I had read this on my kindle before, but then my daughter brought this copy home from school. Her English teacher was giving away old books…. yes, please! I like always having some fiction nearby as a diversion before going to sleep, so this ended up on my bedside table. Reading the paper copy is so much better- there’s something amazing about that old book smell!

Now that I’ve finished it- I need a new fiction novel to read! Any suggestions?

I’d also love to hear about your favorite sewing books- I’m always looking for new techniques or inspiration!

Happy Sewing, ~L