Be intentional with the projects you choose to make

It’s so easy to get caught up in all the wonderful, creative projects that we see on social media, in magazines or at quilt guild meetings.

Realize this: You cannot make all the things. There’s no way humanly possible.

Designers are constantly coming out with new patterns, projects, fabric lines, notions, houseware, yarn, scrapbooking paper…you name it. Selling products is their line of work and everything they do is geared toward selling more product. That’s business.

You, as a creative consumer, have to be selective with where you spend your hard-earned dollars and your precious time. You must be realistic with time commitments, available budget and your willingness to see the project through to completion.

I used to think time was my biggest constraint as I still work full-time. Nope, it’s supply chain issues due to COVID. It’s impacting wholesale suppliers, brick & mortar quilt shops and online sellers. I planned to participate in an online QAL that starts 9/13. Most of the fabric line is stuck somewhere in transit. No kits are available. Appliqué templates are hard to find – I scored a set at a local quilt shop this week. I rarely ever use the exact same fabrics as the sample, so I wasn’t too worried about sourcing fabrics for this project. WRONG! I was able to pull most from my stash, but trying to find QUALITY colored pin dots on a white background proved to be futile. I spent 6 hours yesterday visiting 2 quilt shops plus chain stores in search of said fabric. What I did find available was too see-through. No, thank you. Found the fabric I wanted on Etsy. The seller estimates it’ll be here in 2 weeks. It should arrive the week I need it, but if not – fine. I’ll work around it. What else am I going to do? My back-up plan is to use solid white for the background, but the small gray pin dots on white will add so much more pizazz to the big block.

Learning to be intentional about the projects I choose to make has been the biggest challenge. I learned the hard way to limit myself to one big quilt project per year supplemented with several smaller projects like pillows, potholders, table runners and wall hangings. Why? Most of the projects I like are are very detailed and require extra time to complete. I’ve also discovered that I’m often attracted to a quilt because I want to learn a new technique. Rather than tackle the whole quilt, I’ll make the blocks that speak to me and incorporate them into other projects. The end result is always fabulous. This approach allows me to enjoy making these projects and still have time available for the other sewing that I like to do – charity quilts, baby quilts – plus making samples for my own classes.

My husband, who works in supply chain for a major retailer, advised it could take years for supply chain issues to be fully resolved. For my fellow F.A.T. (fabric acquisition team) members, this means you’d better buy the fabric you need/love when you find it! Might not be there when you return! Here’s to stash development!