The Quilted Life with Carolyn


Quilts with a Deadline 12

Hello, readers! This week I’m coming at you with a problem.

In the past, I’ve written about where to find inspiration. But alas! I find myself without any! Or, perhaps it isn’t a lack of inspiration, but a lack of motivation. A project paralysis of sorts.

You see, I find myself up against deadlines for the two baby quilts I have underway. I like the patterns and the fabrics, and I love the families who will be receiving them (because they are my family!). But for some reason, I look at the tidy piles of pieces and I think, “nope. I don’t want to”.

I would liken it to a writer’s block, but for quilting. (Pun alert!) A “quilt block” if you will.

I find “quilt blocks” often happen when I am working against deadlines for my quilt projects. And when the proverbial “quilt block” takes over, not a lot of actual quilt blocks are made!

Sewing Area


The worst part is, the longer I wait and the closer the deadline is, the bigger my “quilt block” becomes! The problem just snowballs on itself. Yikes!

In regards to baby quilts, specifically, Nancy the Quilting Goddess has always lived by the philosophy that as long as the baby gets the quilt before they turn 1, your job is done.

I try so very, very hard to subscribe to this school of thought, too. But for some reason, I always require myself to finish by the baby shower. I don’t even give myself until the birth! What am I doing to myself?!

This project paralysis steals some of the joy from quilting for me, and just like cooking, I think a quilt is better when it is made with joy (and love!). The love isn’t lacking, but I worry that these deadline-quilts will not have the joy they deserve, and it will show.

I already have a full-time day job. And I have my sweet family, a house, a yard, cars, a social life, etc. that also pull me a million directions. So when a deadline makes a quilt project feel like a job, it is hard for me to find the desire to set aside the time. I’m working hard enough, so quilting can’t feel like work, or I just won’t do it!

I am sure that I will get these quilts done (probably with Nancy the Quilting Goddess’ help) as I always do. But maybe you all can help me not just “get them done”, but also enjoy doing it!

Does anyone else struggle with “quilt block” when up against a (possibly unnecessary, self-imposed) deadline? What do you do about it? Leave a comment below!

Debate - Pre-wash your fabric, or not? 48

Hey there! I’m back again for another Tuesday post, and this week we’re having a debate!

The topic of the debate is: Pre-washing fabric - do you do it, or not?

What is pre-washing? Thanks for asking! It’s when you wash your fabric before you start cutting, piecing, assembling, and quilting. The thought, as far as I understand, is that you avoid shrinkage and color bleeding if you pre-wash.


Pre-Washed fabric

Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash


But I also believe that it frays the edges of the fabric, which results in needing to trim/clean up before you can cut. And you have to iron the fabric before you can start cutting - although perhaps that is a small price to pay, in some people’s eyes.

I have a lovely mother-in-law, Nancy the Quilting Goddess, who never pre-washes her fabric. But my wonderful mother does pre-wash her fabric, and was shocked to hear that I had landed in the No Pre-Wash Camp.

Washing, trimming, and ironing before starting just doesn’t seem worth it to me. I blame it on my lack of patience. I like to just be able to start!

And in addition, I actually like the shrinkage that happens after finishing the quilt and washing it for the first time, because it makes the quilting lines stand out. It’s definitely a different look, so I suppose that is all down to a matter of personal preference.

In regards to the color bleeding, it would be easy to assume that I’ve suffered from ruined quilts because of this. Especially since I love to use vibrant contrasting colors. Those light fabrics are in danger with that first wash!

But I’ve got a solution! I use these color catching washer sheets so that bleeding colors are a non-issue. For particularly high-contrast projects, or for quilts which are especially large, I’ll even throw in two!

So where do you land - do you pre-wash, or not? Why do you operate that way? If you don’t pre-wash, how do you avoid color bleeding, and how do you feel about the shrinkage?

Share with me in the comments!
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