September 6th is National Fight Procrastination Day, and if you're like most quilters you have what feels like millions of things started. It isn't uncommon for the average quilter to have one too many WIPs (Works In Progress) in their sewing room. When better to learn some WIP-finishing habits than on a day all about beating procrastination? Here are some of our favorite tips for beating WIP overload - and all before National Fight Procrastination Day. See, we're already forming good, proactive habits!
Tip 1: Organize Your Sewing Room
It might seem counterintuitive to start with a task that has nothing to do with your WIPs, but hear us out. When you have an organized sewing space, you know where all your tools are and what notions are in need of repair or restock. Additionally, with cleared surfaces, you won't have to constantly find space to get work done. Instead, you'll be able to seamlessly move from one area to another - no more stopping in the middle of a project to locate scissors, scraps or sewing machine.
This step should also include organizing your stash. All quilters have their own approach, but we suggest color coding with clear storage bins and then using GO! Quilt's fabric stash feature to digitally maintain your collection. It will be like a fabric swatch book but it won't take up any space in your sewing room and it's all stuff you already own! No purchase necessary.
If you are looking for some organization for your AccuQuilt dies, take a look at our storage solutions section. We have tables built specifically to house AccuQuilt products and double as a workstation, as well as wire racks and protective die boxes.
Tip 2: Write a WIP List
As overwhelming as it might seem, take a moment to list out every WIP, whether you've cut the pieces, started the sewing or only have binding left. The point of this exercise is to have a handle on all the projects that might be cluttering your sewing room and head space. Do you have a deadline to hit for a few of your unfinished quilts or has the thought of basting held you back? With everything listed, you will be less likely to have that silent nagging at the back of your mind.
WIP LIST TIP: Use a notebook or digital spreadsheet/document for your list. Break your document, digital or paper, into at least 3 columns. In one column, place the WIP's name. In the second column, place the deadline if there is one. In the last column, note at which step your quilt is stuck. If you're tech-savvy or have space in your notebook, you can add a column for every step in the quilt making process, then check each box after you've completed it.
Tip 3: Be Honest: WIP or UFO?
If you wrote your WIP list right, you will see every unfinished project you started to date, some of which might not have been touched in months or longer. Before you can build a game plan to tackle everything on your list, you might need to have a little heart to heart with yourself. Are there any items on your list that haven't been touched in six months? Are you excited about the direction every project is going?
Sometimes quilters are overwhelmed by a WIP and just need some organization to complete it, while other times they have all but abandoned the project. Those poor, deserted projects are "UFOs" (UnFinished Objects) and they need a little more attention and care.
Determining WIP or UFO: If a project isn't finished because you feel overwhelmed and need time to get it done, consider it a WIP. However, if you think about a project and don't immediately feel excited by the notion of seeing it finished, consider it a UFO and place a star by its name. Those with a star should be examined carefully. Why have you lost interest in each? Did you run out of fabric? Does it not look the way you envisioned? Whatever the reason, there is a solution. From making the design smaller to donating the top to charity, if you no longer care about completing an item on your list, do something to get it off your mind. There is always a way to fall back in love with a UFO.
Tip 4: Break. It. Up.
With your WIP list in place, you should have a good idea of all the things you need to accomplish and which projects have specific deadlines. Look over the deadlines, prioritize the ones that needs to be completed first and be realistic about your time. Determine how many weeks you have until you need to finish the project, then work backwards from the deadline to assign weekly tasks that are both realistic and achievable. It might be helpful to use a planner while parsing out goals so you can easily see life events that take up sewing time or upcoming holidays that provide more.
If you have no deadlines or your deadlines are far enough out, we recommend tackling your list by finishing some of those smaller or nearly complete projects. Seeing more items crossed off your list gives a sense of accomplishment and can really motivate progress.
Tip 5: Make it a Habit
This one might be a little more challenging, but try to set a specific time in your week that is dedicated to your quilting. For instance, a few of our GO! Getters love to sew in the morning with a cup of tea, before the rest of the world (and their house) is up. Others prefer nights after everyone has gone to bed.
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This morning I woke up suuuper early before work to piece together my baby #ivyleaguequilt and sip on some Nepali Breakfast tea from my April @sipsby box! 😋 . . . How do you carve out “ME TIME” into your busy everyday life?? ❤️ . . . #pbsfabrics #painterspalettesolids #wrencollective #wrencollectivepatterns #sipsby #sipsbybox #tealover #modernquilter
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Whatever time you choose, make it something you can schedule more often than not, so that it becomes habitual. If you do it right, when your dedicated quilting time starts, you will find yourself naturally walking to your sewing space and getting started without even thinking.
BONUS TIP: Your quilting habits don't have to only rely on a specific time, but can also refer to how you quilt. Turn on music, start up your favorite sitcom, find a podcast or listen to the news. Whatever it is that makes you feel connected and engaged in your project is fair game and encouraged. This time is just as much about you as it is about finishing that WIP.
Tip 6: Don't be Afraid to Dive in
Are you one of the many quilters who buys fabric, gets home and immediately questions your decision? Or worse, you still love how the fabric looks together, but aren't so certain about color placement in the pattern. It's hard to feel confident making those irreversible cuts without a little sneak peek at the way things line up, so use our pattern customizer, GO! Quilt, to give fabric a test run. Even if you don't use one of the hundreds of free patterns in our gallery, you will get a good idea of how patterns and colors look next to each other.
Keep in mind you can upload already purchased fabric or use one of the many preloaded fabric designer collections. With the fabric questions answered, getting started is no longer an obstacle in overcoming your WIPs and UFOs.
Tip 7: Be Kind to Yourself
Have you heard the saying, "a finished quilt is better than a perfect one"? Well, that is a serious lesson in forgiveness and productivity. Don't let uncertainty with a new skill or technique leave you stunted (or worse, turn WIPs into UFOs). Instead, jump into what you don't know and allow yourself to make mistakes. Most of the time, you will be the only one to notice them anyway.
Being kind also means rewarding good work. When you cross a project off your list, give yourself a little treat. Maybe that means a night of relaxing in front of the television, a special dessert or a new AccuQuilt die. No matter how big or small, an accomplishment is an accomplishment. Don't forget to share what you've been working on with us! Tag us or use the hashtag #AccuQuilt when you share your latest WIP completion on social media. We'd love to see what you have been working on!
Do you have any WIP finishing advice? What tactics do you use to maintain the number of WIPs in your sewing space? Tell us in the comments! And be sure to subscribe to the blog for more insight like this!