“Next time you’re found, with your chin on the ground
There a lot to be learned, so look around”
– High Hopes by Eddie Hodges &, Frank Sinatra
High hopes are what most of us have for our quilting projects. Sometimes those projects, despite our best efforts, just don’t go as planned. When that happens, it is time to re-evaluate our expectations and the project itself.
Are you just being too hard on yourself and what you created? You finished the project and are just not happy with how it looks? If so, take some time to sleep on it. See what others think. Sometimes, others will see the positive that you can’t. If they help you to love the project, it is a win-win. If you still can’t stomach it, give it away to someone who could really use it. Donations for auctions, shelters and other outlets are always needed. Don’t let you hard work go to waste.
Or is it just too much? Will it take too much to complete it and you just don’t have the time, space, energy, or desire to finish it? There are three options: simplify, modify, or pass it on.
Simplify your expectations. Instead of making a king-size quilt, stop short and make a throw. Rather than quilting it yourself, hire it out. Scrap the pieced border and add a plain one. Use raw edge or fusible applique rather than hand applique or machine finished edge applique. In other words, scale down your expectations and do what you can. You will be much happier with a finished project than another UFO. You are most likely the only one who knows about your grand vision. It is ok to do a smaller project well and complete it.
Modify your plans. I think Bethanne Nemesh is a master at this! She repurposes her free motion quilting samples into all sorts of smaller more manageable projects. Maybe your blocks would make better potholders or mini quilts. Maybe you can use them to practice embellishments? Embellishments are a great technique to hide things or make small projects shine.
Pass it on to someone else. This is not “kicking the can” or making it someone else’s problem. Someone else may actually want to finish this project for you. I have seen some of the women in my guild pick up UFOs off the swap table and make absolutely wonderful projects from them. Many of these are given as donations. Some of these women don’t have the resources to buy materials, so your unfinished materials allow them to play, when they may not have been able to afford to do so otherwise.
It took me until I was in my 30’s to realize that I didn’t have to finish every book I started. Not sure if that is a testament to my stubborn streak or it just took me that long to break the homework habit. The same is true for quilting. Unless you are entering the quilt into a show, you are the only one grading it or your ability to finish it as originally planned. There is enough pressure in life, without putting more on yourself. Give yourself permission to change your expectations. Make the project something you can enjoy doing.