Sewing rut…and what to do

I was a quilting maniac for a couple weeks after my longarm arrived. I breezed through my practice fabric and immediately put a quilt top on the frame. A quick panto and my first quilt was completed!


The quilting is not perfect or show stopping, but I’m beyond delighted with how it turned out. You might recognize the pattern – my original design Cascading Colors available here as a pdf download.

As soon as that was off the frame, I loaded up another one. It’s a prototype of a quilt pattern I designed for Moda Bake Shop. I was all set to try another panto on this one, but almost immediately ran into issues. The curvy lines of the panto I used above were a breeze compared to attempting some straight lines. I’m usually good with “close enough is good enough,” but this was not close enough.

So I ripped those stitches out.

I tried some ruler work next – loved the straight lines, loved the look…but didn’t check my tension.

So I ripped those stitches out, too.

Eventually, Minerva and I found our groove and I got the quilt top finished. (Pictures later once I release the MBS pattern).

But then I found myself in a rut. I needed to make my MBS quilt again, this time with different fabrics. I love the pattern and the construction is quick – I just found myself making excuses to avoid my sewing machine.

I sorted the fabrics into groups for my blocks, I cut all the solid pieces that I needed, marked lines that needed marking, really anything to put off sewing. I’d force myself to sew a few seams, but I felt miserable. I made tons of lists of things to do (I do love checking things off my lists), but no matter how small the the steps, it just seemed insurmountable.

Moda Bake Shop designs do come with deadlines, so I felt the weight pressing down on me. But the more I tried to force it, the worse I felt and the more I resisted. Last week, I had such good intentions of getting so much done.

I would trim the quilt that’s still on the longarm frame, get the binding sewn to the front and then work on hand stitching the binding to the back. We had a housewarming party to go to that was 2 hours away, so I figured I’d have plenty of car time to sew. I would have all the blocks done for the official MBS quilt finished, if not put together with the border on. I’d have binding made and ready to go.

None of it got done.

I managed to finish one block of twelve for the official quilt. The quilt on the frame? Currently still on the frame, untrimmed and unbound. I was in a rut, deep deep down in a rut.

Now, this is what worked for me to climb out of the rut. Your mileage may vary.

I told myself I couldn’t quilt for two days.

Instead of trying to make every second count – quilt every moment I was awake at home, hand stitch in the car (I’m the passenger), keep the baby entertained and away from my sewing machine and rotary cutter and scissors… just take a break.

It was just what I needed. The first day, I might’ve felt a bit guilty but we were busy with the housewarming party. And the second day, I just felt relief from my self-imposed pressure. By that afternoon, I wanted to sew, but I kept up with my restriction.

Since I took a break, I’ve had the best time sewing this week. My bobbins never seem to empty, all my points line up, and my blocks are all square.

What do you do when you’re in a sewing rut?

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