Thursday, June 18, 2015

Letting go of the guilt...

(Recent fabric purchase from Mary Jo's.)

One of the comments I hear most often from quilters is how guilty they feel about how much fabric they have, how many supplies they have, how many ufo's they have, etc. It makes me sad when I hear quilters talking this way. Do our husbands feel guilty about how many golf clubs they have? Or how many power tools they have but rarely use? Do our kids feel guilty about...well, anything?

Why do we was women, and quilters, judge ourselves so harshly? I find myself wanting to go on a one woman crusade to say to all quilters everywhere IT IS OKAY!!! It is okay if you have lots of fabric, it's okay if you have multiple machines, and it is OKAY if you have dozens of ufo's!

Stop feeling guilty! RIGHT NOW. I want you to think about this for a minute...WHY? Why do you feel guilty? Why do feel badly about your unfinished quilts and unsewn fabric? What purpose does it serve to feel badly about it? Have you missed any deadlines? Has your fabric gone stale or rancid? Have your unfinished projects become unsewable? NO...They are fine. They are just as good as the day you bought them. Maybe even better, some of them may have become more valuable given that they are no longer available. 'Vintage' is in! 'Retro' is trending! Besides, mixing the old with the new isn't just for home applies to quilting as well. 

If your stash feels like it is weighing you down rather than bringing you joy, here are some suggestions that may help you:

1. Make a donation quilt from the fabrics you have or blocks that you have sewn but no longer plan to use.
2. Bag up what you don't think you will ever use and bring it to a local guild meeting. Those girls will snap it up like it's chocolate! Trust me, I've seen this happen plenty of times!
3. Find local charities that need simple sewn items and recruit friends to help. Sew up some tote bags for a food pantry, or book bags for kids in need. A few simple searches on your computer will reveal lots of great places in your own community that could benefit from your fabric stash and a few minutes of your time!
4. Have a Sale! Advertize in your local paper and on social media. Set a time and place and unload what you don't want while making a few dollars for something fun. Sell by the bag or the pound if you really have lots to get rid of. Designate a charity for a portion of the proceeds. People spend more when they know a good cause will benefit.
5. Make kits for community quilts. Pull together the fabrics and patterns for some simple quilts and donate them to church groups or sewing circles that sew for the needy. 
6. Make a quilt or donate the supplies to a charity for veterans. Many veterans spend years in and out of hospitals and rehab. A handmade quilt reminds them that they have not been forgotten.
7. Ask your local school or community that teaches craft classes. They may be grateful for fabrics, notions and supplies that you no longer need.

Or just set some achievable goals:

1. Finish or donate two ufo's before starting a new project. Eventually you will get caught up.
2. Finish one ufo per month, every other month, or per year. 
3. For each ufo you finish, give one away.
4. Make a list of the order in which you plan to tackle your ufo's.
5. Can any of your ufo's be combined? Turning them into something new may just be all the inspiration you need! 
6. Don't have enough fabric/supplies/energy left to finish that king size project? Turn it into a table runner or throw quilt. It's your project, you don't have to stick with the original plan. Make it work for you!
7. If your half finished quilt is no longer inspiring you, add a new fabric for the sashing or borders. Machine applique something fun on top of those points that don't match up. Practice your machine quilting on those smaller quilts. Try a new binding technique if that's the only step left. 

Most importantly, change your opinion about the stash/supplies/ufo's whatever... is making you feel guilty. You bought it because you loved it (or because it was on sale) so now choose to love it or give it to someone who will. Stitch with joy and know that it's okay if you don't finish every project. It's okay if you don't make as many quilts as your friends do.  Enjoy the journey, enjoy the fabric, enjoy just stitching...the guilt won't do you any good, so just let go of it!

Okay? Rant over.

You may now continue with your life (hopefully with less guilt and more joy!)


  1. I loved this post! I have a lot of fabric and do not feel guilty at all. It's my hobby/passion and gives me a lot of joy, no guilt at all!
    I love your idea about the ufo's......I also combine unloved projects and have come up with some good things!

  2. I love your post, I don't feel guilty - my best and happiest moments are making quilts for charity. I love organizing my scraps. The last 3 years I make a hexie quilt and just love all the scraps I used.

  3. I feel the same way when I hear thing is reminding myself THIS IS MY HOBBY. Hobbies give us peace and joy...but are not 100% of our day or week.....I'm a list think many will find your solution list helpful. I never feel guilty, but when I do get overwhelmed I do some of the things you listed.

  4. They should feel guilty if they are spending money they don't have! LOL But that could be for anything, not just your stash.

  5. Great advice! I do feel guilty about my UFOs, but not my stash. My stash has allowed me to make many quilts without purchasing anything--I expand my stash from sale fabric usually and is pretty much the only way I can afford to quilt. The UFOs will eventually get done and used and do often end up as charity projects, so you have helped lower the guilt factor!

  6. Thanks for the post! I sometimes feel guilty about my stash, UFO's etc., especially since my husband and I just downsized our living space and we had to move all of that stash! However, my sewing room is my happy place and a lot cheaper than therapy. Here is another good way to use up some stash: make scrappy backings and/or bindings.

  7. What a great post! I have never felt guilty about my stash!! I love being able to sew at all hours of the day or night and not have to run to the store to get anything!! We just downsized a year ago, so some of my stash went to the local church ladies. And I love have my new 'studio' downstairs, as that is where you can always find my and the hubs is always in his workshop!! We each have our own 'therapy' rooms!!!

  8. I have a lot of spending I can do before I catch up to the cost of my hubby's cache of "man" toys. Now if I could just stop feeling guilty about quilting when there are toilets to clean....

  9. All great advice! I'm sure my husband has ZERO guilt over his bazillion power tools. My guilt is gone. Thank you!

  10. Awesome post! You've offered some great ideas for using up stash (and helping others in the process)... great inspiration for this weekend!

  11. As I used to say, fabrics are like books : they don't expire !
    I don't feel guilty and I want lots of fabrics !! Lol !
    Bravo Diane, this is a super post !


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