The Emotions of Quilting – A Series: “Thankful for deadlines…in my own way…”

This month’s installment on our series titled ‘The Emotions of Quilting’ is brought to you by Alison Schmidt. You may also know her as one of the Tech Editors at C&T or, better yet, as one of the quilt exhibitors in the Modern Quilt Guild Exhibit in Houston this year!

Part 1 of the series: Do Quilts have feelings too? by Allison Rosen

Part 2 of the series: What quilting does for me…. by Kristyne Czepuryk

Part 3 of the series: Your Secrets are safe with Quilts… by Cheryl Arkison


If you consider yourself a modern quilter, today may be an important deadline for you:  midnight Central Standard Time is the entry deadline for the quilt show at Quiltcon, the inaugural modern quilt conference and show.

Did  you finish a quilt and submit it?

I didn’t.

I had a brilliant (if I do say so myself) idea.

And one that wouldn’t take forever to execute.

Neutrals ….

and neon….

Improvisationally pieced in a way that made so much sense in my head!

But first my go-to shop for linen was out of some of the colors I wanted….but as soon as they were back in stock, Natural, Sand, Putty, and Taupe were on their way to me.

Then I had to find neon….in cotton. In a slightly faded shade (because that’s how it looked in my inner eye)…

While it’s all over the trendy garment world, it hasn’t quite made it to the quilting world yet….

but Michael Miller will be bringing it to  you next year….

Which is no help when you have said aforementioned deadline…

So I got creative, hit up the malls, and found some cotton shirts in a neon oxford fabric.

I scheduled a quiet Thanksgiving and did this:

which became this:

And I pieced a quilt top that was what I thought I was aiming for….

and I didn’t like it….and the quilting I was planning wasn’t enough to make me love it.

And the deadline was looming ever closer.

So I pulled out some non-improvisational quilting, something already designed and cut, that just needed more time at the machine.

I  worked on some more rings for my Single Girl quilt, designed by Denyse Schmidt, and it felt great. I just stitched – didn’t have to make any decisions!

I kept going back to my design wall, I did some more hacking and inserting,


but my Quiltcon top still didn’t feel finished.

So today’s the deadline, and I’m not submitting anything.

But I learned something just as worthwhile to me as having a quilt in a show with my peers -

that I can’t do creative sewing on someone’s else schedule! I need time – a lot of time – to sit and stare, mumble and mutter, and try out different little bits of fabric, before I love what I’ve made. And I can’t keep sewing if I don’t love it.

What are your most productive sewing times?  How long do you spend on a project that’s not working before you move on to something else? Any tips for getting “unstuck”?

And did you finish and submit a quilt for Quiltcon? I can’t wait to see what IS on display next February in Austin!

This entry was posted in MiscellaneousComments closed


  1. Posted November 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    I totally understand the frustration of things not developing as envisioned. I managed to get my entries done in time (today) and I learned something about my style along the way which is probably way more helpful to me in the long run. Both quilts came from sketches and ideas I had brewing for some time and it was good to see the ideas come to fruition. But neither of them make use of my “typical” fabric choices and therefore in the long run just weren’t as inspiring to me as I’d hoped. It was good to work with something different and good to learn what truly inspires me when it comes to fabric.

  2. Posted November 30, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I really hope you do finish this quilt, Alison! I can’t wait to see it! It’s really hard to force inspiration on a deadline. You’ll just have it done and ready early for next year!

  3. Posted November 30, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Well, I can’t wait to see that quilt – whenever you finish it! And it made me SO HAPPY to stand in front of your quilt at the Houston show!

  4. Posted November 30, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    I totally hear you – I hate working towards someone’s deadline. I much prefer to work at my own pace, not even towards my own deadline. That’s why I submitted two quilts – one I completed last year and another I finished earlier this year.

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