The Morass

Lately I have been feeling like I am in a quiltmaking morass. I tell myself that at least I am working and making some progress. The problem is that the progress is slow and doesn’t feel real. Morass is a word with a real negative connotation. I couldn’t think of a more positive word. I don’t feel negative, just a bit…..morassy. Finally, I had to sit down and face reality.

As you know,  I make regular lists of my projects to try and keep the UFO list low. I have gotten pretty good at finishing things I start. After reading Friend Julie’s post about balance, I think the problem is that I am working on too much at once. As a result, I can only make incremental progress on any one project. This is the down side of leaders and enders.

Leaders and enders is not bad. It is a fantastic technique and I get so much done when I use the leaders and enders method. Remember Fresh Fruit? I just reached the point where I expected too much out of it.

Right now I am working on the Peacock, Yellow Donation quilt #2, the En Provence Mystery quilt primarily. Primarily is the key word. I also started making some gift bags. I needed a finish, plain and simple.

The problem is that all of these projects are a different stages. Some need cutting, some need color choices. Others, especially The Peacock, need lots of thinking. The Yellow Donation Quilt #2 is the easiest to deal with. It is true leaders and enders. I can just stick the pieces under my needle without much drama. The thing about leaders and enders is that it works best for me if I have one thinking project and one mindless project. Three projects is too much.

I started working on En Provence, because I really wanted to try and work along as the clues were released. It didn’t work, but it was on my mind and I was trying. Now that the reveal has happened, I still like the design and since I started, I am loathe not to work on it. It might be easier if I paused working on this until I was done with the Peacock and then got back to it. I have blocks of time that are good for cutting, though, and En Provence needs the type of cutting I can do with these blocks of time.

The Peacock is actually coming along well. I have struggled along and am finally turning a corner. More on that soon.

Still, the projects feel like they are going slowly. I feel like I am slogging through ankle deep mud, but without the dirt and negativity. I blame the Peacock. I don’t know if it is just a difficult project. Or if I have lost interest and, thus, motivation or if the problem is something entirely different. I think I will be glad when it is done.

I did make some progress over the weekend and I feel like I am getting through the morass.

Author: JayeL

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

11 thoughts on “The Morass”

  1. I know the feeling. I have recently realized that I feel like this when I think I really have to complete a certain item but I strongly desire to work on or start something different. Sometimes when I feel like this, I make a Jelly Roll Race to use as a background or part of something else.

    1. Good idea. You are right. I MUST finish the Peacock top sooner rather than later. It is holding me up even though I feel terrible thinking about it that way. I haven’t figured out WHY I feel that way about this particular project.

  2. I discovered that I cannot work on more than one big project at a time. I can do several at a time in different media, I have a knit easy pick-up and put down- mindless one, a crochet animal mindless and random blocks inbetween…. but I cannot do leaders and enders…..or chain sewing. It fractures my brain and crushes my creative muse. I become a machine vs having fun. So do exactly what works for you. One thing at a time and the rest will be finished when it’s right. Create and find your spark.

    1. 😉
      Yes, I can work on on big project and one relatively mindless project using leaders and enders, but adding int he others has created this, I think. Also, that the Peacock is a difficult piece with almost no mindless sewing and lots of decisions all the time.
      Good advice. Thanks!

  3. Your post puts me in mind of “The Princess Bride”!
    But it also made me think about how I work which is one project at a time. So I am currently and for a long time, stuck on Kelly’s quilt #2. Top is done and am slogging thru the back. Wish I had used the 109″ white muslin I bought and wanted to dye instead of piecing it. I guess I still could. Two years I have been doing this!

  4. Great post! I think I have the same problem as you. I will have to be more thoughtful about balance in starting versus finishing.

    After identifying the problem, an interesting question to ask ourselves would be, why do we start so many quilts if we can really only make progress on a few (or one) at a time? I don’t know about you, but I think for me there is one big reason. Quilt making is slow going and time intensive with limited portability. Also, it is easy to just stop working on something and start a new thing. I get tired of a project or distracted by new projects. I sew, knit, crochet, and weave, too, and I hardly have any UFOs in those categories. The quilt UFO list is haunting, terrifying? I am unsure which adjective best describes it. 🙂

    1. Great comment, Misty! Thanks so much for taking the time. I think you are right in asking why we start so many projects? I have to think about that. I am not sure, for me, it has to do with how long it takes to make a quilt, because generally I don’t do my own quilting. I think it has more to do with deadlines or being excited about new fabrics or a new pattern.

  5. I think since you know you need to have one thinking project and one mindless project you should try to get back to that. Maybe physically put away all but those two for a while (with lots of good notes to yourself about the projects) to clear the decks and give yourself visual breathing room to recover from that morass feeling. I’m thinking “I Blame The Peacock” might end up being a pretty good title for that quilt.

  6. I’m so about your morass. Looking back at last January, I see that I felt like that, too. I guess that’s why I work straight through on projects and don’t (usually) start new ones. It helps to feel like you’re accomplishing something.

    I can only do leaders and enders if it’s one really mindless project. Sometimes I don’t even bother. I really just do it to keep my piecing from being all thready.

    You’re pretty close on finishing some of these projects!

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