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How Many Quilt Orphan Projects is Too Many? And- How To Tackle Them

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Is there really a limit of how many quilt orphan projects is too many?

I’m not sure I want to or have ever counted the unfinished projects I have sitting around. Not sitting really, more like stuffed.

If you are like me and can relate to this special ability to have many quilt projects going at once, then you’ll agree. There is no limit.

I know a few quilters who decided that they weren’t going to start another project- ever. Until they had accomplished or finished all the unfinished projects first. And they had a big list! But they kept to it. Nothing new.

I could never do that.

I also know a few quilters who made a plan of – one unfinished project, then a new project, then an unfinished project, then a new project. Just rotating through each one, so they are making sure they were having fun and sewing up current projects while still ticking down the list of orphan quilt projects that they had wanted to do earlier.

Great idea….I think about it, but not sure that I could actually follow it for long! I kind of play by the ear and just work on what I want to, when I want to.

How to tackle your orphan quilt projects –

Set a timer.

Get the project out, set the timer for 30 minutes or 10 minutes or whatever time you choose. Then work on it until the timer goes off. Put the project away after that and work on something new.

Taking just a few minutes every time you sew will help you make progress and you’ll be surprised at how quickly the project gets completed.

Plus, you still get to work on what you’d like- not giving the orphan project all your sewing time.

Write the steps out so you have something to follow and check off when complete.

There is something about getting to check something off when complete. Whether you have made your own quilt kit or use a project tacking sheet- these are great for helping you not only plan ahead with the supplies, but keep up on where you’re at and what step is next in the process.

It’s one of my favorite things! Writing the steps out will help you actually understand what is left- usually getting rid of a that overwhelm- and you’ll know exactly what to work on next when you get a moment to sew.

No guessing, rethinking or reorganizing to do.

You can find the make your own quilt kit here and the project tracking sheets here.

Needing some ideas for getting back to sewing?

There are a few pointers in the 10 things that help keep your sewing projects going that you could follow.

Is there a Limit on Orphan Projects You Should Have?

Short answer to the question- no. Some quilters have a lot, some have very few. Depends on their personality, space, time…etc.

I currently have one box that is all quilt tops. Yup. Tops. They need to be quilted. I have a long arm. It sits with no quilt on it. I’m behind for sure on getting those tops quilted.

Some of you may gasp at the thought while others could probably win a prize for more than me if we took the time to count them.

At some point, I do realize though that having a lot of orphan projects, unfinished quilts can really wear you down.

The guilt.

Yes, if you didn’t know this already- the guilt that these projects can make you feel is sometimes a lot!

At points, it will even keep you from sewing on anything. Not just the orphan projects, but any new project as well.

What I have found that helps with this guilt is to plan ahead, keep a tracker and set aside some time specifically for working on the orphan project. Not necessarily exclusively, but doing just a little bit at a time while still working on other newer projects. Mixing them into the sewing schedule has helped a lot with tackling the orphans and moving them closer to completion.

Learn more about how to tackle those orphan projects and quilt blocks!

Get ideas, help and encouragement moving those orphan projects forward.  We have a week long series featuring articles a challenge and tracking sheets all about orphan projects!

Click here to get all the details!

Love the Orphan Project Challenge?!

Check out the other posts in this series:

What do you do to help you keep interested and tackle those orphan projects? Let us know in the comments below-

2 thoughts on “How Many Quilt Orphan Projects is Too Many? And- How To Tackle Them

  1. Michele Kara Loveria Wallen

    I feel like I’m behind if I have more than 3 quilts I’m working on. I can motivate myself when I find a new quilt I want to work on or someone commissions me for one. I can’t start a new one until I complete something that is already in progress. I allow myself Three. One that is in the cutting stage, one on the piecing stage, and one in the quilting & binding stage. This does not include the scrap sorted into containers for scrap quilts or that last minute quilt I want to gift (like a baby shower gift). I’m a procrastinator! I also have 100 patterns I want to try, so sometimes my motivator is the next one can’t be started until I finish one. The projects I chose for the orphan project challenge are ones that I’ve lost some mojo for so I needed a way to push myself. Thank you! I’m setting small achievable goals each night after I finish for the day.
    Thank you again for doing this because it’s been a big help. I need to finish these to start on Christmas commissions.

  2. Mea Cadwell

    I’ve always called my “orphan” projects UFO’s – UnFinished Objects. lol

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