Link Love: Thoughts on Not Finishing

A highlight reel of what's going on in my life and a collection of useful links and information for the creatives amongst us - Angie Wilson at www.gnomeangel.com

The plague has lifted, school has returned and things are slowly going back to our version of normal. The Long Time Gone Sew-along is wrapping up and we’re a week out from starting our next two; Jen Kingwell’s Gypsy Wife and Tula Pink Butterfly. My Long Time Gone quilt is still in pieces and I’m ok with that, sort of. I’ve been thinking about it for the past couple of weeks as I starred at it on the design wall. I’m not happy with it. I’m happy with elements of it, but the whole thing doesn’t work for me and it’s really bumming me out – to the point where it was crushing my sewjo.

I went into the quilt without a full plan for how I’d make it work and it shows. I’ve been haphazard and reactionary in my fabric choices and there’s no cohesion. I’ve struggled with making a quilt that is all about colour. I love the fabrics, love the pattern and loved the event – but if it’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 12 months is you can’t force something that’s not there. Sometimes you have to be gentle, patient and willing to give the creative process some space. I’ve taken the quilt pieces off my design wall and put them in a box on the shelf while I moved on to other things.

I haven’t abandoned the project, I’m just giving it some time to percolate. I love running sew-alongs and watching the quilts come to life as people tackle them. There’s something so special about seeing the same pattern re-imagined through different eyes. I’ve seen some amazing quilts come to life through this event. However, just because I’m running the event doesn’t mean that I need to finish the quilt (in the event timeframe). In the same way that just because you might be participating in an event doesn’t mean you need to finish it if it’s not bringing you joy.

Prizes are a great motivator and I love having them on offer, but the chances of winning a prize is so slim that you shouldn’t force yourself and damage your sewjo just on the off chance you’ll win a prize. In my experience the people who have the most fun with these events are those that make the quilts that make them happy. You need to be in tune with your creative spirit; listen to it, respect it, nurture it and tend to it.

I know a lot of you were hoping to see my finished quilt, and you will it might just be next year before it’s done. It may also mean that we’ll have to run the event again so I can finish the quilt in the way that I want. In the meantime, I’m moving on to the next two quilts and I’m starting work on a secret project that I’m really excited about. None of these things would have been possible without the lessons that the Long Time Gone quilt has taught me – and that’s the real value in making and creating. You need to be able to learn and grow, not everything is going to be a screaming success and that’s ok. The real lessons in life are more often then not in the failures – you just have to remember to get back up and try again.

With that in mind I’m getting off the computer and returning to the thing that brings me joy… chocolate. Jokes! I’m going back to play with my fabrics (while eating chocolate). Wishing you a super fabulous week filled with love, laughter and fabric fondling!


Did you know that September 16 is National Sew a Jelly Roll Day? No, me either. But it sounds like the perfect excuse to cut into some of those hoarded pre-cuts. Click here to read more.

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Love the look of hexagon quilts but don’t have the desire to hand stitch? Then check out this super fun “cheats” version from Lori Holt. Click here to read more.

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Missouri Quilt Co. have just released a fabulous free tutorial to make this Twinkling Stars Quilt and they’ve used Keera Job’s debut fabric line, Daisy Days (through Riley Blake, click here to view the collection) and it’s perfection. Click here to read more.

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Want a free pattern to make that tells everyone that you’re a maker? Well, Kristy (of Quiet Play) is offering this great pattern for free for signing up to her new newsletter (click here to do so). She’s also releasing border patterns that turn this block into a modern mini medallion. You can pick up the first border for $1 on Craftsy. Click here to read more.

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I’d like to think I go through life with a rose coloured tint to my glasses, but that was before I saw DIY RAINBOW SUNGLASSES! Now I want to do this to all my pairs of glasses (could you image!). Click here to read more.
Have you got an event, a charity drive, a pattern release, a class schedule or something else that you think my community would be interested in hearing about? Why not drop me a line and let me know – I’d love to share it with my readers. Click here to email me.
  • Kerry (of Kid Giddy) and Sue (of Moss and Lotus) are running a Christmas in July Mug Club Sew-along at the moment over on Instagram. Last week I shared my kitten themed mug and you can do the same to win some great prizes. Click here to find out more. You can buy the Mug Club Set 1 patterns by clicking here and the Mug Club Set 2 patterns by clicking here.
  • Raylee and Barbara (of Sunflower Stitcheries) are kicking off a Quilt-As-You-Go Table Runner Sew-along on July 30. The project includes a number of techniques from embroidery, sewing and quilting – a great skills builder. You can find out more by clicking here.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase those items through my links I will earn a very small commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link, in fact in some cases I can offer you a better price via an affiliate link. I will not recommend something that I do not use myself. These commissions help me keep being able to provide you with great content for free. Thank you, in advance for your support!

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10 Comments

  1. Linda August 1, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Seems like you have whirl-winded into a dizzying array of new sewalongs. Its hard for me to think/begin something new before the final wrap up of Long Time Gone. I hope you haven’t forgotton about us.

    1. GnomeAngel August 1, 2017 at 8:50 am

      Hi Linda – No I haven’t forgotten, as per the event details winners will be announced on Wednesday 2 August (which is tomorrow – yay!). Hope this helps put your mind at ease. <3

  2. Linda July 25, 2017 at 7:15 am

    I understand your frustration. I find that when I am posting one block at a time that I tend to try to make an amazing stand alone block. Problem is that with all the amazingness there is no resting place for the eye. I remade 4 blocks because as time went on and the quilt evolved they didn’t. So take your time.

    1. GnomeAngel August 1, 2017 at 8:58 am

      Hi Linda – Yep, I think this quilt suffered a little from that and from my complete lack of planning when it came to doing the LTG. I won’t make that mistake again. I went into it thinking that using all one designer would help it be consistent, but I think I used too many colours (who knew it was possible!) for this particular quilt design. I’m still pondering which blocks to keep and which to redo… it’ll be a good holiday task this December.

  3. Stephanie July 25, 2017 at 4:54 am

    I love this post and I love your honesty. This has happened to anyone who is creative (quilting or other medium). I have gone so far as to put the project in the Goodwill pile. I imagine someone rescued it and made something wonderful out of it. I’m looking forward to the start of the Gypsy Wife QAL. I made a couple blocks a few years ago and then put it away. Now I’m eager to get going!

    1. GnomeAngel August 1, 2017 at 8:55 am

      Hi Stephanie! I’m yet to donate an unfinished project, but that’s a good idea. I’m not a big fan of hanging on to projects for too long if they’re not bringing me joy. I feel like they suck the good sewjo out of a room, so I tend to go back and find a way to finish them that makes me happy. I hope you love the Gypsy Wife event – I’m really having fun with this quilt.

  4. Susan July 24, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    I’m with you on sometimes being able to stand back, then give it time. I’ve had quite a few & have finished a few of them & a couple of others have even been passed on. Wonder how you will go about these 2 new ones. I love The Gypsy Wife especially, & am still toying with the idea of joining in. Just got to pluck up the courage to purchase the pattern somehow & then put aside time to do it. Do you need Instagram to join in? I’m not very tech savvy with either FB or Instagram. Glad you are feeling better. Have a good week & take care.

    1. GnomeAngel August 1, 2017 at 8:54 am

      Hi Susan! Everything is a journey and learning experience for me and so I’m chalking LTG up to a massive lesson as it taught me so much about myself and how I like (and need) to work. I’m not saying it’ll never get finished, but I am going to revisit some of the blocks. I’ve started with a new approach to my working (which LTG informed) with these other two quilts and I’m already seeing massive improvements in my sewjo. I can’t wait to share them with everyone!

  5. Kris Van Allen July 24, 2017 at 11:24 am

    I’m so glad you shared this. Just today I took a LOT (for me) blocks off the wall, puzzled at how to frame-to-equal-size and sash them. Somehow, when I hand sewed blocks from both the Farmer’s Wife 1930’s and the Happy Flower quilts, I ended up with sizes ranging from about 5 7/8″ to 6 1/2″ unfinished! I’ve tried to stretch, etc, and am just frustrated. I think the blocks and I need some time apart. A mini breakup of sorts. I usually end up just slapping everything together willy nilly and moving on to the hand quilting, which is my favorite part anyway. I need to be a little more adulty with these.

    1. GnomeAngel August 1, 2017 at 8:51 am

      Hi Kris! Yep, I’m all for a mini break. I found that when my blocks came out in a range of sizes the best thing to do for me (and my sanity) was to embrace a more… modern… setting. Try thinking about ways you can set them “off grid” and have fun with the various sizes. Hope this helps!