Quilters’ New Year’s Resolutions

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We all do it. We sit down on New Year’s Eve and resolve to lose weight, spend more time with friends, learn a new language, or some other pledge to make ourselves a better person.

Many quilters promise to finish the UFO’s in the sewing room closet, become better sewers by taking a class, or learn a new quilting technique. But (and there is always a but, isn’t there) after the excitement of a new year begins to wane, how often do we actually keep those resolutions? Especially the ones that aren’t so much fun. Like, finishing those UFO’s.

We all make these resolutions with good intentions, but life gets in the way of actually acting on our personal promises. No matter how many years in a row I promise to eat healthier, get more sleep, and exercise 30 minutes every day, I can’t say I have stuck to any of it. And, I have at least five unfinished projects that I have been meaning to finish for over a year. So, yet again, one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2016 is to complete these projects that are lagging on my shelf. This year, I intend to complete these projects that I have been ignoring. Yes, I will!

Oh, but how do I do that? I took my question to the streets. I spoke to experts (other quilters), and scoured the Internet for answers. Here are eight steps I discovered to help make it easier for me (and you) to keep that New Year’s resolution:

1. Be honest with yourself. If you really don’t want to complete that quilt that’s been in your closet for the past five years – you no longer like it, or it no longer suits your home décor – get rid of it. Give it to a quilting friend to finish, or donate it to your guild. And don’t feel guilty about it. Someone else will love it, and you are contributing to the good of quilting!

2. Make a pact to not purchase any new fabric or patterns until you have finished one (or all) of your UFO’s.

3. Set aside time to work on your New Year’s resolution. Even if it’s just 5 minutes a day, that is 35 minutes a week that you would not have dedicated otherwise. You might find once you sit down for your 5 minute session, that it can turn into an hour and you’ll have accomplished so much!

4. If you have multiple projects, create an assembly line. Maybe you have several quilts that need to be quilted. Rather than completing one quilt before you move onto another, quilt all of them. Same goes for the binding. I had two projects that needed binding, I sewed on the binding by machine, and then took them with me to work on over the Christmas holidays. They are both finished now, and I can enjoy them!

5. Quilt with friends. Get together once a week, or once a month, for a stitching session. You’ll easily find the motivation to work on projects if there are others doing the same.

6. Don’t try to tackle a project all at once. If your resolution is to clean out your sewing room, do it in stages. Give yourself 15 minutes and do one portion of it – like separating all your fabrics into similar groups. Organize your thread drawer tomorrow when you have another 15 minutes.

7. Multi-task. Do your hand stitching while watching your favourite TV show, or on your train commute to work.

8. Celebrate! When you have completed your goal, reward yourself with a trip to the fabric store, register for a class, or purchase that new quilting tool you’ve been eyeing.