Multi-Tasker vs. One-at-a-Timers


Well hello! As always, I have to say a big thanks to everyone for their comments on last week’s post. I wish I could reply to your comments individually, but I’ll have to survive with a (pun alert!) big blanket thank you (ha!). I hope you know that I read every single comment and I feel so inspired by your messages.

I was comforted last week by the solidarity shown from my fellow fabric hoarders. It seems like there are a lot of us out there! And it got me thinking…

I’m getting a “Myers-Briggs Personality Test” vibe off of the “either or” categories. Are you familiar with that? It’s a personality test you take which gives you a 4 letter personality classification. Each letter stands for a specific trait. For example, extroverted (E) vs. introverted (I), thinking (T) vs feeling (F), etc. I am an ENFJ, last I checked.

After last week’s post, all we need is three more categories and we will have our very own “Quilter’s Mart Personality Test”. And I’ve already come up with the second category!

Just like there are hoarders vs. minimalists, our next pairing is “multitaskers vs. one-at-a-timers”.

I am definitely a multitasker. I always have more than one quilting project in progress - I’d say I average around 4-5 projects at once! Sometimes this is out of necessity, because there are so many babies on the way with looming baby shower deadlines. Other times, I get too excited about too many things and can’t keep myself focused on just one of them.

And sometimes I am working on a really large project that takes an especially long time, so I need a break from it to mix it up and get re-inspired. Working on a king-size quilt, for example, means that I don’t get the satisfaction of “finishing” a project for ages. But if I throw a table runner in the mix, I’ll get to the finish line much more quickly, which (pun alert!) scratches the (st)itch (ha!) and allows me to go back to the king-size with renewed energy.

The contrast is one-at-a-timers, or those who tend more towards focusing on one project from start to finish before beginning another. This seems like a more streamlined way to approach quilting, giving your all to one quilt instead of dividing your attention.

What category do you fall into? Multitasker or one-at-a-timer? Why do you prefer that method?

P.S. Next week, we'll delve into category 3 of the Quilter's Mart Personality Test!

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  • Carolyn Knees
Comments 31
  • Sheryl

    I am definitely a multi tasker. Nearly every time I try to do a project start to finish inevitably something else comes along. Not only that I am easily board so I need to keep things mixed up to challenge myself.

  • Angie H
    Angie H

    I am a one at a time personality. I agree, like to get it finished and feel accomplished. I really dislike when something happens and I need to start another quilt before first one done, usually to meet a deadline. I am always afraid I will not go back and finish the first quilt. Always had a strict rule I finish one before I start the other. Recently broke that rule and I have two quilts started and not finished and it causes me a little stress. Truely I dont know if I will finish them because i am to excited to go onto next quilt creation. I like to see that quilters personality test. That would be so interesting. I would find it so interesting to see how all of our creative minds work so differently.

  • Carol Burns
    Carol Burns

    I am a multi-tasker, I will have 5 to 15 different projects in the works at one time. I make & fix fabric items for others as well as make stuff for my family so I always have something to work on. Lots of times I have to wait on someone to make a color choice or new design idea before I can finish something’s. Some people give me free reign to do what ever( love them) others want to know every little detail of what I am making or fixing for them, so lots of projects going at the same time.

  • Marjorie Wernick
    Marjorie Wernick

    Congratulations to ALL of the multitaskers!!! When I was first learning to sew back in high school my mother told me I had to finish the project before I could buy more material. I started quilting classes back in the 1990’s and followed her advice. I was working full time and a mother of 2 in grade school. Not a lot of time to quilt. Also I did not realize how expensive it was. I’v been retired now for 7 years. I have taken several quilting classes over the years to figure out what gets me excited. Then I decided in 2015 to make quilts for my nieces and nephews. Ten in total and I finished the 10th one last month. Hurrah for me!!! I did manage to make some baby quilts and rag quilts for gifts also during that time. I became a hoarder when one of the local quilt stores has their flannel fabric on sale at 30 to 50% off and I have a container that has quilt kits in it that I purchased at a quilt expo or store. Now, my plan is to work on them one at a time.
    Happy quilting to all!!

  • Linda Ferritti
    Linda Ferritti

    I do both. It mostly depends on the size of the project. If it’s a larger project, I work on smaller ones simultaneously. At this time I’m working on three on-going projects, plus getting ready to quilt another one that is ready. I hand quilt only, so I do quilting at night while relaxing from a busy day which is when I do designing and piecing, trying to use up my huge stash Sometimes while digging through my stash, I’ll come across a piece of fabric that creates an inspiration and I get off on another tangent. But it’s all fun and I just go with the flow and enjoy myself without letting it frustrate me. If I live to be 150 years old, I’ll never use up my tremendous stash, so why fret about it. Someone will inherit a great amount of fabric and many great quilting tools when I leave this earth!

  • Deb Murphy
    Deb Murphy

    I am definitely a multitasking quilter! I always seem to have several projects going. I don’t plan it that way it just happens. So why fight it?! I just go with the flow of projects. I think that we hoarders are the ones who are the multitasking, because we see a new fabric or pattern and off we go! It’s fun and exciting to start a new project, and dome how ,eventually, they all get done! 😊

  • Juanita in OH
    Juanita in OH

    I am definitely a one timer. I have a quilt I started three, yes, THREE years ago and it is still not finished!! In my defense I do have serious and many health issues but, I am starting to feel a little better and I want to return to my new sewing machine and card making. It seems I LOVE the hunt because I am always buying stuff for the two hobbies, lol.

  • Beverly Constantine
    Beverly Constantine
    I can work on maybe 3 projects at a time. after that I get overwhelmed. I find if I do only a few, I will finish all of the projects. Not so much if I’m bouncing all over the place. My take is, whatever works the best for you!
  • Barbara Hughes
    Barbara Hughes

    I am a multi tasker also. I just see so many ideas and need to try them out, and having a large project on the go, means I would forget about something if I let it slip past, so I work on several at a time. Mind you it can lead to sever UFO’s

  • Cheryl Moran
    Cheryl Moran

    I am definitely a multi-Tasker! I usually have at least 4 projects on the go. (My work room looks it!)
    I get bored and I love the excitement of a new project. I think I would like to be a one-at-a-timer but the thrill of a new project is hard to resist! I also do others crafts, knitting, cross stitch and such.

  • Helen Roast
    Helen Roast

    I’m definitely a multi-tasker! There are so many ideas I want to try I have to start them. I don’t get bored then with the same project especially if it’s a large quilt. Slow to finish some but do try to finish in the end.

  • Darlene

    Definitely a multi tasker. It does get boring working on one thing for long periods of time, plus I belong to different groups and there are always projects for each group – some small and some larger. Of course, there is always the gift that needs to be dome and just pure inspiration that needs to be acted on. What works best for you as an individual is always the right way!

  • Chris

    I am a multitasker. I usually have several projects going at different stages. It keeps me inspired. Sometimes large quilting projects can seem daunting and you just need to walk away and regroup. A smaller, fun project is a nice diversion. It allows you the time to think about how you might like to quilt the top and how you might correct a problem you have encountered while piecing a quilt.

  • Susan A Rattray
    Susan A Rattray

    I tend to be a one at a timer gal. If I put a project away to do another, I seem never to get back to it.

  • Peggy Toomey
    Peggy Toomey

    I must be a mixture, because I have several unfinished projects from when I first started big time quilting (small project prior to real quilts later). After I finish with the center part, the focus part, I slow down. Two years ago, I traveled to my sister-in-law’s for a few weeks of sewing frenzy. We’re the only two in the family who has ever done sewing, quilting, painting, etc. It’s really a shame we are about 800 miles apart. But while there I worked on a quilt that was combined with embroidery that I started 8 years prior when I bought my first embroidery machine. If I had stayed longer, I might have actually finished it totally. It’s now stored with several others that just need a little more attention to be done!! Please tell me how to be a finisher!!!

  • Leah Mintis
    Leah Mintis
    I am a multitasker.I usaually have a least 4 projects on the go.I also do wool appllique and embroidery
  • Patty Crumrine
    Patty Crumrine

    Multi-Tasker. I took the Briggs-Myers a lot of years ago, and the lady told me I was incompatible with my hubby. We have been married 56 years, so apparently we worked it out. Anyway, it we don’t multi-task, we won’t have any UFOs to take to UFO Day at the quilt shop or retreat.

  • Valerie Clinansmith
    Valerie Clinansmith

    Multi tasking, I always have 3 to 4 projects going at a time

  • Eileen Johansen
    Eileen Johansen

    I am a multi tasker. Because of what I like in my quilts I have to always plan ahead. I dye all me fabrics and in the summer I do fabrics that are printed, resist dyed, etc, and in the winter snow dying – and always planning for the next quilts. Right now I am quilting an on-point log cabin with each block having 19 – 1/2 " strips, repairing a quilt that I made 35 years ago, paper piecing another queen size quilt, and starting smaller things for Xmas. I also only hand quilt and do embellishment mostly be hand so sometimes need a change. I seem to get more done when I have 3 or 4 things on the go.

  • Lonnie Lane - ENFP
    Lonnie Lane - ENFP

    I’m a writer. I just finished a (fiction) book; working on another(non-fiction) – both of them at the same time! What does that tell you? about multitasking? In between, I think about quilting … a lot. But I do more thinking about quilting and watching someone quilt on line more than I actually do it. How does one get over the initial actually making the choice of pattern and finally putting rotary cutter to fabric? Maybe your QMP test will help. I’ve mad a few quilts but with the help of someone else. Going it alone? I feel like I’m standing on a high diving board and am afraid to jump. Help!

  • Mary Salmon
    Mary Salmon

    Definitely a multi-Tasker! I get really bored working on just one thing to the finish. There are too many fabrics , patterns and new crafts coming at me every day…my mind needs stimulation and…Squirrel!!

  • Linda

    I am like a cat chasing a laser light. I see this at the store and want to make it. I start it and then my friend comes over and I love what she is doing and want to do that one too. Christmas is coming and I start three or four of my family gifts as well. New magazine out, want to do that too. I think it all falls in line with my fabric hoarding. Lots of projects and lots of hoarding. I think there needs to be medication out there for this disease. :0)

  • Rose GArcia
    Rose GArcia

    I’m much the same as you. When I have several things in process, I usually feel bad that I’ve spent all that money vowing to get them all done before I buy any more fabric. Well, that does last til I see a piece of fabric I just can’t live without. Then there’s the fabric I just can’t cut, am I the only one that has fabric they just can’t cut. Well I could go on and on. Done now I’ll go shopping.

  • Helen Jensen
    Helen Jensen

    I am project started, but put them away and never complete them. I am new to quilting in fact I am a beginner quilter but love doing them. I have set a goal that I will complete all the project that I have started. This is going to be a long line of different project, but I look forward to completing them so that my main focus is learning all I can in quilting. Your blog last week and this has me even more inspired, keep it up as I enjoy reading them.

  • Robin

    I am aMultitasker as soon as I have my current quilt basted and ready to quilt I find I am anxious to contemplate and start my next quilt.

  • Donna

    Definitely a multitasker! I get bored easily and need to shift projects for awhile. I also like to throw in a “quick and done “ project for almost instant satisfaction! I have 3 projects Started now with two more new Projects I can hardly wait to start! This time of year I like to start making teacher gifts!

  • beth d.
    beth d.

    I am a one timer. I usually do only one project at a time. then I finish it.

  • Carmen Grant
    Carmen Grant

    I’m definitely a multi-tasker.

  • Kaye Lee
    Kaye Lee

    Like you I usually have more than one project on the go. I find that I enjoy the variety & love the satisfaction of a completed job………sometimes I may complete 2 or 3 in the one week & then it may be a few weeks before the next is finished. I find variety is the key to inspiration as long as I don’t forget to finish any I may have put to the side.

  • Leora Smith
    Leora Smith

    I do have two quilts on the go, but prefer one-at-a-time. I feel this way because when I concentrate on one, I get it finished and feel accomplished.

  • Sharon Robinson
    Sharon Robinson

    Definitely a multi-tasker. I always have 3-5 projects going at once.

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