March 09, 2023

Stick With It {Lessons from Quilting}

It's time for another Lessons From Quilting post! I've learned a lot of things in over 20 years of quilting and so many of those lessons apply to life away from the sewing machine, too.
Lessons from quilting |
In the first Lessons From Quilting post, I pointed out that sometimes it helps to take a break when we're getting frustrated with a quilt or some other work. Today's lesson is the flip side - sometimes we need to stick with it!

Have you ever noticed that quilts take a long time to make? I'm sure you have! It's one of the things non-quilters comment on most often, saying, "You must have a lot of patience to make that!" The bigger the quilt, or the more intricate the piecing, or the more dense the quilting, the longer it's going to take to finish. This is why quilters are notorious for having so many WIPS.

While I do run an annual WIPS-B-GONE challenge to help us finish more projects, I don't actually think there's anything wrong with starting all the projects that grab our attention. There's also nothing wrong with setting aside a project that isn't interesting us anymore. But there is something amazing about finishing a quilt and being able to use it, give it to someone we love, or donate it to help someone in need. That feeling of accomplishment never gets old!
Lessons from quilting - Stick with it - Devoted Quilter
When we really want to get through a particular project, a little focus and old-fashioned stick-to-it-iveness go a long way. Sometimes, though, we need some extra incentive and I've found a few different things that help me stay on track when I want to finish something.
  • I've promised myself I'd finish certain quilts in time to give them to someone for a special occasion.
  • I've had someone else hold me accountable. Usually that has meant submitting the quilt design to a magazine, so I'd have a deadline to finish it. Other times it was just telling someone that I was working to finish and asking them to ask me how it was going now and then.
  • I've made my finish goal public, and invited other people to join me, to help me keep working on it regularly. That's how the WIPS-B-GONE challenge came to be!
  • Most recently, I joined The 100 Day Project to help me work on some of my many scrappy projects. Though I doubt anyone on IG would even notice if I missed a day here or there, I find the extra accountability of posting daily to be a big incentive to keep working on those projects.
This Stick With it lesson is true for so much of life, too! From weight loss or fitness goals to learning a new language, there are plenty of things we might want to do that take a long time to accomplish. In my case, I'm still forcing myself to stick with physio exercises to improve my core, reduce my back pain and hopefully enable me to get back to running. The exercises are incredibly boring and it has often felt like it's taking forever to get me where I want to go. I do see improvement, though, and I'm feeling hopeful I might be able to start running again soon. Sticking with those exercises, even imperfectly, is making a difference!

When have you found sticking with a project or goal has made a difference? What tricks have you used to help you stay on track when a project was taking a long time? I'd love to hear what works for you!


  1. Like so much in life, it's all about balance, right? I probably focus a bit too much on the stick to it and don't start enough new projects (participating in Project Quilting this year has shown me the joy I have been missing from occasional just for fun projects).

    Sticking with something can take effort, when the payoff isn't fast or immediate. I'm slowly building back daily meditation into my life and while the long term payoff is worth it, some days I'm really annoyed to try and find the time to fit it in. Isn't it interesting how we get in our own way sometimes?

  2. I knit in public. I take a small knitting project with me when ii know I will have to wait. I have had peopleell me I must have a lot of spare time if I can knit. I think to myself that e are in the same waiting room, but I'm getting a couple of rows of knitting done while you stare at your phone. It might take days, or weeks, or months, but the Knitting eventually gets done if I do a bit every day.


Thanks for taking the time to leave me a message. I love hearing from you.