Something to Think About

Quilty Procrastination

I feel the crisp air now of California, now that it’s finally mid-November (apparently the effect of climate change) and coming soon is Turkey Day.  (For a turkey prep that will change your life, see *here.*  We did it last year and I’ll never do anything else now.)  And then, you know, The Big One, and I’m not referring to earthquakes in California.  Yes. . . Christmas.  My friend has already sewn multiples of her gift for family and friends, and I’m just now kind of thinking about it.  I am already behind.


So I’m skipping all that, and going right to the New Year and its projects.   Because it’s never too late to focus on something in the future, where I’m going to live, than to spend time moaning over the fact that I have nothing sewn for Christmas, which will soon be in the past.  All this is because I seem to be an expert at procrastinating.  According to Timothy Pychyl, interviewed on *this site,* I have demonstrated several of the key unproductive responses to a dreaded task (from *his book*)[my comments are in brackets]:

  1. Distracting yourself, and thinking about other things
  2. Forgetting what you have to do, either actively or passively (usually for unimportant tasks)
  3. Downplaying the importance of what you have to do
  4. Giving yourself affirmations, focusing on other your values and qualities that will solidify your sense of self [even though you aren’t getting your work done!]
  5. Denying responsibility in order to distance yourself from what you have to do
  6. Seeking out new information that supports your procrastination (e.g. when you tell yourself you need to have more information before you get started on something)[a classic grad school trick]

So, in order to model for you number 1, 3, and 5 nearly all of them, I hereby give you:

2016 Projects

Projects for the New Year (or earlier, if I want):

  • Unpin Shine: The Circles Quilt after I spend close to 3 hours pinning it, take it apart and layer on another layer of wool batting, and then re-pin it in order to quilt it, or merely obsesses about quilting it, as the case may be.
  • Start the Spelling Bee.  I’m still trying to think of a theme or a pithy phrase to have my beemates make for me.
  • Continuing Chuck Nohara block creation.  There is no date by which these have to be finished, so it’s pure sewing enjoyment.
  • I’m the Queen Bee for Mid-Century Modern Bee in January and I already have my idea (I’m not telling).  We’ve had some changes, and have 2 openings for quilters who have their own blog –or– a body of work on Instagram/Flickr.  You also have to be over 50 (the Mid-Century thing), be vetted by our committee, have a modern tilt to your sewing, are a capable sewist, and love to be on time with your bee projects.  Leave a comment if you are interested.
  • Four-in-Art has a new yearly theme (Color) and Simone has announced our first quarterly challenge: Microscopic.  I’m totally jazzed.  We also have a couple of openings, and the same criteria apply — except for the age thing.  We’d also like if you would be willing to be creative and try new approaches to quilting. We make our quilts and post them on our blogs/Flickr accounts (we do not send them anywhere, so perfect for international participation).  Up to this point, they’ve all been in the 12″ square format, but we are now leaving the size open to the artist.  Leave a comment if you are interested. The guidelines we came up with are:

1. Members should have a desire to expand their creativity.
2. Have a body of work on line that members can review via blog, Flickr or Instagram.
3. Make a year commitment to the group, and do their best to make deadlines- unless some crazy life occurrence happens.
4. Be willing to review other Four-in-Art work and leave a comment within the first week of publishing.

  • Write my pattern for Spectrum, a mini quilt, and get that up on Craftsy/PayHip.
  • My time with the Traveling Threads Bee is almost finished.  Just waiting on one more package from the quilter ahead of me, and then I’ve completed all the blocks for my beemates.  My blocks have also been returned to me (all the Alison Glass fabrics in the corner up there) and I’d like to dive into that.
  • Plan out the Halloween Quilt my friend Leisa and I are doing:

HalloweeenQuilt 1008dollars

Apparently all my readers are more clever than I (but I knew that already) and have located the pattern for me.  Thanks very much to Leslie in Rome, and everyone else.  You are the best!

It’s called “Hallowe’en 1904,” and is from Blackbird Designs.  Common Threads in Wisconsin seems to have it back in stock, which is great news!

See how easy that was?  And how I didn’t think about Getting Ready for Christmas once?

But according to Pychyl, one of biggest recommendations to avoid procrastination is simply to get started. “Once we start a task, it is rarely as bad as we think. . . .When you find yourself thinking things like ‘I’ll feel more like doing this tomorrow,’ ‘I work better under pressure,’ ‘There’s lots of time left,’ I can do this in a few hours tonight’, let that be a flag or signal or stimulus to indicate that you are about to needlessly delay the task, and let it also be the stimulus to just get started.”

Happy mid-November, y’all.  Let’s get started.


17 thoughts on “Quilty Procrastination

  1. I don’t have a blog . . . no time, but I love to quilt and would love to be in your Bee. Love all things about quilting and have been doing it for several years!!

  2. Good morning Elizabeth! I will not procrastinate in my response to you! As always I enjoy your posts. You’ve hit the nail on the head when it come to procrastination. I do several of the “warning signals” you mention without realizing what I was truly doing!
    I am interested in a bit more information on the Mid-century Modern Bee and the Four in Art. I can’t commit to both but would like to learn more. I’ve always been a bit curious about them….
    Thank you sew much!

  3. I have the Halloween pattern and would be happy to let you borrow it, and I want to make it one day too! I love the idea of the Mid-Century Bee and would love to join. I am 58 so I think that is one qualification I meet!

  4. I am interested in the Mid-century Modern Bee. I think I meet all your criteria, even the “over 50” one. Sigh…I like to challenge myself and have tried my hand at more modern quilting a couple times. Any information you can send would be much appreciated. My quilting blog is quite new, but I am committed to blog regularly. It’s called Grannycanquilt and its at

  5. A few years ago I decided not to sew gifts for Christmas. It was too much stress and took all the joy out of sewing. I’m also pretty adamant about not wrapping presents on Christmas eve.

  6. I’m feeling like I am back in nursing school where we were all convinced we had every disease we studied when we read the symptoms! I’m certain that I suffer from procrastinationitis!!! I definitely like looking forward to the new year. I can see that you are going to have a great year ahead.

  7. This was a fun post. We are both feeling the same–sort of. I like the idea of skipping to the new year ; )
    Great Turkey recipe! Thanks for sharing that.

  8. You always have such insightful thoughts and quotes to relay, and I appreciate them. Thankfully, I don’t think I could be called a procrastinator, though I will admit to having UFOs I don’t want to work on. But that’s about not caring at all, not about guilt! I am astounded by the quantity of 2016 projects you have already identified! You and I are opposites. I do not work well with a list hanging over my head, so I will leave the list-making to those of you who appear to thrive on it. For me, a list is just a reason to beat myself up for not completing it! Hence the reason I do not enter those quarterly finish-alongs either.

  9. ahhh . . . great minds think alike. I have a draft post started about procrastination. Even mentioned it in my latest post. Perhaps I’m procrastinating on my procrastination. I do find that when I procrastinate on one thing I motivate to do other things that I need or want to get done so I always feel productive even when it’s not the one thing that I should do. I’m also thinking to the new year. I usually think about the new year once it’s here and then don’t get that jump start I envision. I want to start 2016 on day one. As for Christmas, we have simplified so I don’t make for the holidays other than a small fabric gift for our guild party. It’s more stress free and enjoyable.

  10. Ah! The Chuck Nohara book….I am SO tempted by this project! I love the Halloween Quilt….too sad that it is not easy to come by that pattern. Your group sounds great too! It will be a great New Year!

  11. I would definitely not lump you in the category of “People Who Don’t Get Things Done” (different category than “People Who Don’t Do Things They Don’t Want To Do”). My motto is if I’m not excited about it (e.g., Christmas sewing), find a replacement solution that’s easier and faster. Of course, there are things we have to do in life even if we don’t like to do them, but Christmas sewing ain’t one of ’em.

  12. Seems the need to sew for Christmas gifts is more of an American thing. I only sew for Christmas if I have a gift and recipient specifically in mind; I don’t try to fit the occasion to the people I am giving to.
    I definitely agree with the idea of just getting started. It seems to work for me!

  13. You know I’d love to play with either group, but have no real online presence. Dang it, it’ll motivate me to get started yet. Hope the Spelling Bee group gives me some cred eventually.

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