I read, in a quilting magazine, readers' answers to the question, "What keeps you from completing more quilts?" And, of course, I began to question myself. I have said that my timeframe for a quilt is 3-years. And that has proven reasonably accurate.
I am in mid-project on three quilts: a 1930's reproduction quilt made from blocks I won in last year's Quilt Retreat challenge; a Stack-n-Whack pattern I am making for my own bed; and hand-quilting my grandmother's bedspread. I fully intend to finish each of these projects... eventually. I have only worked on one of them in the past month; I haven't touched the Stack-n-Whack since before my move in October. What gets in the way of completion?
1. Life: many of the women who wrote in to answer the magazine's query explained about their busy lives, their jobs, their families (often with small children), and other interests. Yep, I have a more-than-40-hours-a-week job, children (ok, I admit they are grown, but they still need me), a master's thesis to write, dogs, and a house to maintain. I'm a busy grrl.
2. Other projects: well, quilting isn't all I do with fabric. I make home decor items, I have a soft spot for making bags, I mend (or restyle) clothing, and every so often I sew clothes from scratch. I have dreams, plans and patterns for toys and other creative-y projects, too. Quilts are just one of my many interests.
3. New and shiny: my favorite part of any fabric project is the planning stage. I love picking out fabrics (the more the merrier) and dreaming of what this combination and that pairing will look like. (One reason I balk at using kits, and every month I toss aside 75% of the fabric given to my in my BOTM project envelope.) I like new patterns and new designs. I dream up alterations for existing patterns/designs. I am a designer/dreamer more than a do-er. I get into trouble by being seduced with the new and shiny; I go out and buy the pattern, or the book, or the fabric; I cut things out and sew a seam here or there. Thus, I have many, many UFOs. This exciting mental energy gets in the way of completing the longer-term projects (which are no longer as new and shiny in my mind).
4. The hard parts: every quilter has the parts they love to do, and the parts they don't-so-much-love. For me, after the rush of fabric selection, I most enjoy piecing small bits.
5. I'm slow: really, I am. I know this is partly from my ADD-tendency to get sidetracked numerous times in the accomplishment of any one task, from brushing my teeth to sending out a birthday card to completing a quilt down to the *done* stage of having the binding tacked down. I also know that my perfectionism makes me slower than others (even in the amount of time it takes to slap together a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich). I keep telling myself that life isn't a race, and most of the time my slowness doesn't make me feel bad about myself. It just is.
6. How many quilts does one need anyway? I don't feel like I should have completed more quilts than I have. I see the prolific quilters I know (most of whom are retired) making quilts for great-nephews, and colleagues at work, and for charity auctions, because they and all their immediate relatives already have one (or several) handmade quilts. I tend to be very practical: I want to know what is the purpose or intended recipient for quilt projects before I start them. So, when I buy patterns or books because I am excited about a particular design, I don't feel obligated to actually make the quilts: who is next on my list to receive a quilt, and what color or pattern actually appeals to that person?