Friday, April 8, 2016

Beyond the Bottleneck

It's been a long winter and I've been churning through the quilts.  I LOVE machine piecing – so fast and so fun!  But now I'm in that tricky place where I've got a stack of quilt tops all awaiting finishing and the guilt is becoming more than I can bear.  

You know the drill – layer and baste, quilt as desired, bind.  Three simple steps.  No problem, right?  After all, you've already made all the big decisions about pattern and colors and fabrics.  You've already slogged through the cutting and pinning and piecing and you're looking at a finished quilt top.  Nearly there.  So close but yet soooooo far.  Because those three simple steps aren't simple at all.  Those three steps can be your undoing.  You've reached the bottleneck.

The problem is that finishing a quilt top gives you a pretty good sense of accomplishment midway through the process.  Your questions about whether or not you'll like the pattern or whether your chosen colors will play nicely together or whether you should have included that chartreuse green have now been answered.  The mystery, for the most part, has been solved.

To muster the energy to press on instead of starting the next project can be rough – all those new fabrics to play with, new blocks to try.  And this winter (ok, this year) I haven't been able to resist the siren's call of the next project and now my stack of finished quilt tops is 12 deep, not including the two basted quilts awaiting quilting and the two quilted quilts awaiting binding.  Hence the guilt.

It's a daunting pile of work, especially when I plan to finish a lot of it by hand, and it would be all too easy to reach for my rotary cutter instead of the batting.

But I remember what it feels like to FULLY finish a project.  To stitch down those last few inches of binding, bury the last knot, and set aside my needle.  To get up, shake out the quilt, and lay it out flat on the floor, finished.  To admire the clean, crisp edges of the binding and realize that, in fact, the quilting really does make the quilt.

And even though it's just another Wednesday night, you feel like trumpets should sound and fireworks should explode because you've finished!  You've used your imagination and your will to create something that did not exist before and it is gorgeous!  You stand there, hands on hips, gazing at your finished quilt and in that moment you feel like an artist, a rock star, maybe even a hero.

Joy, pride, triumph, and yes, relief, are all waiting beyond the bottleneck.  Press on.


  1. Thank you for the lovely inspiration! You literally made me feel the experience of finishing a creation, and that vivid reminder and the encouragement to keep pressing on is just what I needed.

  2. I am quite familiar with the bottleneck, and it's just as you described. So tempting to start a new project or continue piecing the one before that. And it does feel so good when you can put the final stitch in the binding! Thanks for reminding me of that.


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