Sunday, 18 August 2013

Top tips for getting back in the groove

Whatever you may call your urge to sew and create - groove, mojo, flow – it’s a fact of life that it is not a constant, unless you are one of the lucky few whose creativity won’t get interrupted by summer holidays, sickness or plain old boredom.

I, like so many others, have been having a hard time getting back into the quilting mood after the summer, and strangely enough, last week’s visit at the Festival of Quilts did nothing to improve it. Well, time waits for no one, my fall schedule is rather full and then there’s Christmas, so here are my top tips for getting back into the mood:

1) Clear your work space so you have room for creating.

2) Tidy your bobbin box. Wind a few with neutrals or other colours that you use all the time.

3) Dig out some scraps or strings and start sewing them together. Don’t worry about the next step, the goal is just to enjoy the colours, the feel of the fabric, and the humming of the machine.

4) Turn your stash of oldies and uglies into strips and shapes in whatever size with which you prefer to work. Mix them up with your other strips/shapes, or some solids and make a few of your favourite blocks.

5) Sandwich your weirdest top and start quilting it. If it is big, cut it into pieces – table runners, place mats, pillows. Keep the quilting simple to make a quick project.

6) Finish something that has been waiting around for a while. Finishing something will boost your drive/groove/mojo like nothing else.

Hopefully one or more of these will get you back into the exciting process of quilting.

I did go through a few of them myself today; I cleared the table, sorted out the debris from the Whatever marathon, sorted out blue scraps for a Nintendo pouch, sorted out squares for a table runner which should have been gifted back in May (I know, bad quilter, bad, bad quilter), and finally started quilting one of my oldest UFOs.

Looking for something in the basement earlier this summer, I found a huge plastic bag with UFOs from my early days of quilting. This one was primarily made with simple 4” squares, sandwiched with a rather fluffy polyester batting and thrifted backing, and hand tied in each square. It was wrinkly and a bit dusty after being stashed away for more than a decade, so I decided to machine stitch between the columns. I had almost forgotten what it was like to work with polyester batting, but it will be soft and cuddly and grandbaby, our little nester and king of the cushions, will love it as soon as it is thoroughly washed and dried. A scrappy readymade bias binding is stitched to the front so now I have some relaxing hand stitching ahead – and I have started quilting the second top.

Yup, my groove is back. How about you?


  1. Great advise! xox

  2. jupp, er tilbake og flyter stødig på rett vei. quiltefestivalen var ikke utslagsgivende for meg heller. men jeg var begynt å finne igjen sylysten rett før festivalen, og det hjalp mye på å rette fokus mot det nødvendige materialet (godbiter) og samle inspirasjonspåfyll!

  3. Such good advice. Whatever you do, DON'T avoid the quilt room or fabric.:)

  4. I enjoy your blog so much - from NC in the USA. I feel like we are friends! When my husband died unexpectedly in January, I had been on a creative HIGH, with two projects nearing completion and lots of ideas. Since then, I have wanted to sew, but motivation comes and goes. It is getting better now. Thanks for letting me share. I will try some of your ideas, too. Lori R.

  5. thanks for these tips.
    I hope to come back soon.

  6. Thanks for the tips. I recognize that I have used some of them already - cleaning, I hate to say, does help. I also think that having a reason to make some blocks helps. Like helping out a friend who is collecting blocks to make a quilt for charity... that always gets my motor going.
    Glad you are back!!!

  7. Very useful tips, it sounds like you have tried them all. The firs one is the hardest and most necessary for me!