It is often said, ‘teach what you know’, so when I was recently asked to be a guest contributor over at diaryofaquilter.com I chose to write about the rhythm in my life that leads to motivation. And, as I was writing the article, I had a moment of clarity and inspiration that led to my latest mini quilt design – Practical Magic.
Change requires you to think differently.
This year has been one of significant change for me personally. The time I have to dedicate to quilting projects is only about 20% of what it was just over a year ago. And I’ve found, when you are not thinking about, and actually quilting regularly, it is easy to lose the motivation that comes with a perpetual habit.
Knowing this, I have been using the tips I share in the article to keep my enthusiasm for the craft alive and well.
So far this year I have made 6 quilts from start to finish, quilted 4 quilts pieced in previous years, pieced 3 new quilt tops, and made 11 mini quilts – not bad for a day’s work each week ;).
Changing how we perceive motivation, and knowing how we can influence it can make a big difference to our creative impact, no matter what our circumstances might be!
Practical Magic Mini – The Story Behind the Quilt
In the process of writing the article for Amy, I designed and made this new mini quilt.
We often think of motivation as an elusive spark, yet in reality the spark is comprised of the collective habits of our life.
This Practical Magic Mini quilt is a symbol of everything I have come to understand and appreciate about motivation. Each of the block units have an individual role, they represent our creative habits, and yet it is only when these units come together collectively and interact that you begin to see the magic ‘spark’ emerge.
Everyone needs a little practical magic every now and then.
This year, mini quilts have been the perfect way for me to feel inspired and connected to my craft despite the lack of time I have had to spend at the sewing machine.
Each time I have put the final stitch in the binding of a mini quilt I have felt inspired to begin something new, or tackle an older project that has been waiting for me to regain my interest.
Mini quilts are a great way to start and build creative momentum. So, grab your scrap fabric and sew a mini quilt, or piece a single block and make it into a mini, and see where the adventure takes you…
Use the coupon code DIARY20 to receive a 20% discount off the regular purchase price of any PDF pattern in my shop here (AU, NZ, CN & US) or here (everywhere else) this week.
(If you are looking for a particular mini quilt and you can’t find it in the shop, then you will find it in my Payhip store here).
If you want to know more about the 5 things you can do when creative motivation fades, click on over to diaryofaquilter.com to read the full article. And while you are there check out my previous guest post where I share more thoughts on creativity.
Thanks for visiting today!
What do you do to stay motivated and create? Leave me a comment and let me know. I will choose two people to receive a PDF bundle of all 7 of my current mini quilt patterns later this week – good luck!
The winners are Jennifer and Shelley, who left comment #8 & #24 – congratulations!
Lisa schmitz says
What a wonderful article! I always look forward to and enjoy your posts. Keep giving inspiration. It is like creativity by osmosis!
Just found your website (from Amy’s post) and ordered Burnt Sugar! Just what I was looking for! Thanks.
I love reading your posts! Just love your patterns, I’ve made two of your patterns!
Beth Pyle says
Seeing other quilters creations through social media is a motivator for me at times. It helps me dream and plan. But mostly, creating with a person in mind to receive the gift I want to complete is a great way to actually get it started and finished. I love blessing others with handmade gifts because it shows how much I care and love them♥️
When working full time I don’t have so much time to sew. I try to leave my project in the place when it is easy to continue. Like this pile is now waiting sewing and these need ironing.
Following blogs and IG posts inspire, but always having a project in progress for little bits of time helps me be productive.
Love this mini! Especially how the blocks interlock together! I’m a huge proponent of sewing a little each day. Just 10-20 minutes adds up quick!
Thank you for sharing. I’ve been needing motivation to get sewing again after a move. For me I like to go through my stash, see what fabrics call to me, then plan a new project off of that. That usually gets the ball rolling and getting things done!
I have lost my motivation to quilt. I am trying to sew an hour everyday to get my desire to quilt back.
Heidi Crockett says
I make small goals.
I have always wanted to try a mini! I think my to do list motivates me – so many great patterns and projects that I want to keep my list manageable so I need to mark some off as I add more 😉💕
Sue P. says
Wow..love your article and quilts. Do you offer quilt kits too? I live in the USA.
Stephanie W. says
Following blogs and social media helps keep me motivated, as does just spending time in my sewing room even if I’m not quilting. Great article and pattern!
I try to make time each day to sew at least one hour, set a timer, work on something, anything and before you know it you have something completed!
Stephanie W. says
Following blogs and social media keeps me motivated, as well as just spending time in my sewing room even if I’m not quilting. Great article and pattern!
Mary on Lake Pulaski says
I read wonderful articles like yours to stay motivated! I also post a list where I can see it of the next five things I would like to sew. I have a bulletin board on the wall right in front of my sewing machine.
For me, if I need to get motivation going again, I just sew something, even if it’s something I’m not really excited about. Often I will just sew little pieces of fabric together to create a small improv block. Just getting something under my needle often reboots my mojo.
I like to sew everyday, even if is only an hexagon shape for my epp quilt. Look at ig profiles make me want make everything but with no time I only make what make me happy.
Loved your article on motivation. I’ve also been making mini quilts this year between other projects. It definitely keeps me motivated to finish something.
Lisa L says
Super cute mini and love your words. This year has been hectic…creating mini’s is a perfect way to fill my sewing/quilting need and see something finished! RxQuilter
I stay motivated by taking a break! Instagram is a great source of inspiration for me, but I also find myself trying to copy the style of other quilt makers, only to get frustrated when my fabric choices don’t go together as I hoped they would…in the process, I’m actually de-motivating myself. So that’s when I know it’s time to take a break, step back, and refocus back to my own style and preferences. It’s so much easier to sew when I know it’s my unique vision!
When I lose my creativity, I switch to another craft for a while. Also looking at the beautiful things others are making and going through my fabric stash helps bring back the mojo.
I love your patterns and just got fabric to make one of them. Can’t wait to get started. I get together with a group of quilter friends every week for a few hours to sew and share projects.
Your IG feed is a big inspiration to me. Honestly, you’ve never posted a single creation that I didn’t absolutely love.
What helps me stay motivated is having a plan and working that plan. While I can go to the extreme with the list making, it helps me to easily see what the next task is. And it’s soooo satisfying to check off items as they are completed! 😬
Sewing for #ProjectLinus is a great motivation as well.
Nancy B says
Just read your post over at Amy’s, and followed you here. Loved everything you wrote, and you’re right! I try and sew something everyday, and it helps me to have someone in mind, I love making something for people I love!
Gay Lynn says
I follow blogs and love to watch shows am classes on craftsy (Bluprint) to regain motivation and of course I set my DVR to record the old faithful quilting shows on PBS -just listening to them while I do my chores helps motivate me to get creative in my free time!
Debby Daniels says
I discovered your website this summer and look forward to new posts from you. I, too, was feeling discouraged about my quilting productivity. My job takes far more than 40 hours per week and I was beginning to be angry with everyone about the lack of time in my sewing room. I had admired your mini quilts and decided that’s what I would make for my office walls. I have ~ 7 finished and one more ready to quilt. Every time I walk into the office I look to the wall and smile, rather than look to the pile of work on the desk. It has helped tremendously. Thank you for the motivation to try something new and to keep going.
I’m new to quilting… but I’ve been trying to sit down a few times a week and just keep trying…
Thanks for designing/sewing that beautiful mini quilt!
I peruse Pinterest—firstly my own board of quilts I’d like to make and then sometimes I do a general search. Even seeing the season’s decorating (esp the colors) ideas can really help. I also clean my sewing room before starting any new projects and then have a look through my stash.
After a long break from quilting, I made a few mini quilts, and the joy if seeing a few finished projects helped me gain momentum and finish UFOs. Finishing something is my motivation!
Sue P. says
Hi. Do you offer kits? I love the fabrics you used in the Practical Magic mini.
I sew almost every morning after dropping my kids off at daycare. Other than the gym, it’s my only “me” time so I try to make the most of it. There is so much inspiration out there, in fabric, the guild I belong to…my list of what I want to make grows daily. I once read that ending a sewing session by preparing for the next one makes it easy to keep going on a project so I try to practice that.
Robin Preston says
I have been in the same slump. Although it is a little self induced…I’ve gone back to school. I knew with this decision my priorities would have to change, but I wasn’t expecting a famine. The classes have been a little tougher (or maybe I’m just almost too old ).
I haven’t even finished my memory lane quilt. But I sure am missing it. I always love seeing your wall of mini quilts on your blog… Maybe I just need to pencil in a little time for something mini. Thank you for your encouragement. 💝
I love this mini quilt!
I read somewhere (I think from you) to try to see just 15 min a day. My life has become very complicated & while I can’t see everyday, I do try to do a little something whenever I can. I have my quilts in project boxes & take time to cut for awhile or sew for a bit.
Like someone else’s comment, I also have to step away from IG sometimes.
Maureen Fry says
Reading blogs, seeing what others are making, and looking at new fabric collections and patterns all give me a boost to get sewing!