My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

A side benefit of tidying up.

In my last post I talked about how I was using a paper planner to help me stay organised.  One of my sections in my planner is a quilts section and in it, I've listed my works in progress and some of the steps I need to move forward on them.

To list my WIPs, I had to know what WIPs I had, which meant laying hands on each one and tidying the pile.  I kept seeing references to Marie Kondo everywhere, so yes, I went and checked her out and, like many, I've developed an uneasy fascination with the tiny, bouncy, eternally optomistic woman.  I have not KonMari'd my whole house, but I did assess each WIP as to whether it 'sparked joy' in me.

For those of you who have ignored the Marie Kondo fad and don't know what the heck I'm talking about, basically I looked at each WIP while I was tidying and asked myself if I still liked it.  Did I want to carry this into the future with me?  Did I want to spend time finishing it?  If the answer was no, I then dealt with it, either binning it, putting it in the op shop pile, or if it was still in pieces, putting the fabric back in my stash.

I didn't let myself get caught up in any guilt.  Why should I finish something just because I 'should'?  My time is precious.  I'd rather spend it on something I'm excited about!

Working through my WIPs put me back in touch with my projects, a side benefit to tidying up.  I have a presentation that I do about how a little procrastination is good for us.  I believe that putting something away for a while lets the project 'ferment' in my mind, especially if I'm struggling with a problem.  Often, I'll pull out the project again and the solution will present itself.  But that method requires that I keep in touch with my WIPs, or the fermenting process bubbles out and I just forget about it entirely!

So I tidied up, got back in touch, and now I have a pile of things that I want to work on.

Of course I still want to start new things too....

'Heron Maiden' had been having a holiday in my WIP pile.  It was nice to see her again and realise that I wanted to finish her for the GNZQS.  So what was holding me back about finishing her?  I figured out that I didn't know how to quilt the big background hill and if I cracked that nut, I'd be away again.  So I printed out a colour photo and auditioned some quilting lines.  They looked good and I was inspired to continue.

You can see my quilting line design taped to the wall prior to starting to quilt.
So my long and rambling point is: don't get caught up in guilt about WIPs.  Go through your pile, keep in touch with your projects.  Look at WIPs with new eyes.  Is there something else you could turn it into that you would be excited about?  Is there a technique that was holding you back that you now have the skills to deal with?  Can you solve a quilting dilemma now that you couldn't before?

But if you pick up a WIP and truly wonder why you ever thought it would be a good idea, then just get rid of it!  You'll feel so much better.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts about your WIP pile!


  1. I became curious about Marie Kondo and fell under her spell. I've had a big tidy up and love the freedom that I feel.

  2. Oh great post Charlotte! I've been catching her series on Netflix and been working through my sewing projects. There a definitely two of mine that will going out the door pretty quickly!
    Heron Maiden - looking gorgeous and your quilting is amazing!

  3. I usually tend to finish a project once I start it (am a little bit OCD in that respect, wanting to see the final product ASAP) but do have about four WIPs/UFOs that I want to get out of the way. Also have two UFOs from the last symposium that I want to finish, if only I could find them (they must be buried somewhere in my sewing room...)

  4. I seem to remember that the one WIP I tried to throw out a certain quilter who looked a lot like you saved it! Meantime my huge uncatalogued pile of wips is very happy... And will all get finished in the goodness of time when I'm not starting something new.


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