Regaining Your Quiltspiration
Quiltspiration. Quilting mojo. Whatever you want to call it, sometimes you feel like quilting and sometimes you don’t.
I have always been interested in this because no matter what, quilting always makes me feel better. Even when I don’t feel like making something, making something helps. For me, losing my quilting mojo doesn’t mean I don’t want to sew, it means that I am feeling too much pressure to be original or create something new. Or maybe I don’t want to baste my projects or press my fabrics.
These are some things that I find helpful to help get that quiltspiration back. You may find some of these helpful, you may find none of these helpful, but I think the process of just starting to think about what works for you is the first step to quiltspiration.
- Practice being creative regularly. I think we tend to consider creativity to be a mystical thing; sure, some people are more naturally creative than others, but we can all become more creative by practicing creativity. For me, this looks like sitting down to work on quilt pattern ideas almost every day for at least 5 minutes without any pressure to produce a finished product.
- Keep an eye on what other people are doing. I don’t mean to copy them, but to be inspired by them. For me, there are two important aspects to this.
- I want to be able to see what other people are making to be aware of trends in the quilting industry, to make sure I am not inadvertently creating something similar to what someone else is making, and to be inspired.
- In order to be inspired, I need to be able to feel happy for them and their success instead of feeling jealous or inferior. I consider this a practice in gratitude: I am grateful that you are able to be creative in an inspiring way.
- Try something new. Sometimes we paint ourselves into our own creative corner. Try something completely out of your comfort zone — if you are a modern quilter, try working with more traditional fabrics. If you do traditional piecing, try an improv project. If nothing else, you will be more grateful for the comfort of your comfort zone after trying something new.
- Find a purpose you feel passionately about. Whether making a quilt for a specific loved one or for a charity that is near and dear to your heart, sometimes a purpose will give you the push you need to feel inspired.
- Make a quilt from a pattern, using a kit. Sometimes just the process of making something without having to make any decisions can get you out of a funk. Buy a kit and make the quilt exactly as directed.
- Finish your WIPs. Do you have unfinished projects languishing in your sewing room? Are they haunting you and making you scared to start something new. Finish them or pass them on to someone else who wants to finish them. No more ghosts in the sewing room!
- Clean your space. I actually find that this one is not a huge help to me (unless I find fabric that I want to work with in the process of cleaning) but people tell me it helps.
- Make a scrap quilt! And don't overthink it. Cut some squares and just start sewing without too much thought about fabric placement. There is something magical about a scrap quilt!
- Start a project with your most favorite, hoarded fabric.
- Find a fun tv show, movie, or audiobook to watch/listen to while you are working.
If none of these work, I hope you are able to find your quiltspiration again. Sometimes for me, this just means powering through a quilt or two until I feel like I am back in the right headspace. The important thing is that you find what works for you.
I recently took in a new role. It is stressful and involved a move that has left me feeling isolated. My creativity has been quiet lately. I heartily endorse your suggestion to use a pattern and/or a kit. It does take the pressure back and just allows us to find the joy in creating something beautiful.
My shift is to make a small project that finishes fast— a bag, a handkerchief, a potholder, a little drawstring bag for board game pieces— then I’m ready to go back to my languishing larger project.
I think shifting to something different is a great idea. I come from an apparel background. After recently finishing a doll quilt with so many bits of tiny paper piecing, I’m shifting! I’m excited to sew some apparel and for some utility sewing. You have some great ideas! (Cleaning doesn’t work for me either. If it’s too clean, I feel like I shouldn’t make a mess again!🤪)