Quilter’s Attention Deficit Disorder; Giveaway!

Quilter’s Attention Deficit Disorder: Do you have it? I do. I call it


I wake up many mornings with so many ideas swimming in my head, it’s impossible to know where to begin. The conversation in my mind goes like this:

Should I open EQ7 and do some design work? Make blocks? Add borders? Finish binding?

winner 01 block Quilters Attention Deficit Disorder; Giveaway!

Block by Belinda Karls-Nace

Maybe I’ll play on the design wall.

designwall111 Quilters Attention Deficit Disorder; Giveaway!

These strips are on my design wall right now.

Or pull fabrics for that idea I had last night.

ufos Quilters Attention Deficit Disorder; Giveaway!

My overflowing baskets of UFOs

I should finish up some UFOs.

I’m teaching soon and I need more samples.

dunkers Quilters Attention Deficit Disorder; Giveaway!

My six-month-old grandson doesn't yet have a quilt.

My new grandbaby deserves a quilt. I have quilts in mind for several family members.

There’s that new pattern I bought last week—dying to start on that!


QM20512 Quilters Attention Deficit Disorder; Giveaway!

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 5

And the blocks in Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks are calling my name. There are so many I have got to make…

You get the idea. I’ll bet your head fills with similar projects. I find this mental tug-of-war to be paralyzing. What’s a quilter to do?!

When this happened to me recently I did something so simple, and it helped me so much, it’s almost embarrassing to share it.

I made a list.

It looked like this:

list Quilters Attention Deficit Disorder; Giveaway!

Somehow having everything listed in one place helped me sort through the creative jumble. I could see quickly what was most important and what could wait.

list222 Quilters Attention Deficit Disorder; Giveaway!

I've been able to cross a few items off my list.

Once I identified the priorities, I was able to stick with them and get several things finished—completely crossed off the list. What a great feeling!

Next time you’re overwhelmed with quilty ideas, try making a list. I think it will help.

Do you have QADD? Leave a comment below by midnight Tuesday, July 10 and I’ll send a bundle of quilty fun to one lucky winner. The winner is #58 Brenda, who wrote a great UFO poem! Thanks for all the great comments–some of them will go into a future blog post.


About Diane Harris

I'm an editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I wrote pattern instructions, product reviews and how-to articles. Then I spent four years as QM's Interactive Editor, working to generate much of our online content. Now I'm back to patterns and how-tos, which is a great fit for me. I still love writing about quilt-related topics for Quilty Pleasures, and I always have my finger on the pulse of the quilting world. I teach a variety of quilt classes and give guild programs, too. Reach me by email: editor@quiltmaker.com.
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71 Responses to Quilter’s Attention Deficit Disorder; Giveaway!

  1. Pingback: What To Do If Your Child Is Diagnosed With 22Q11? | Parenting Special Needs

  2. Ev says:

    That sounds like me – glad to have a name for my ‘illness’! And we all know there is no cure for this, just some good management to keep things somewhat under control. It’s loads of fun to think about and put many of the ideas into projects that will get done ‘some day’.

  3. Claudia says:

    It has been a while since I made a list, but I used to do it at the first of the year, and then mark things off as they were finished. Was satisfying to look back and when you thought you hadn’t gotten much done, to see the projects that were crossed off. To go do one right this moment would be a staggering feat. But maybe I should, right after I finish the present project that needs to go out the door this coming week.

  4. Carla G says:

    I have so many things I want to make too… I really should make a list instead of my ufo’s piling up cause I keep starting new projects. :)

  5. Linda Bott says:

    Oh can I relate…so I make a list and loose it in the clutter from looking for one of the things on the list…

  6. DebbieKL says:

    I have so many things I want to make! I’ve tried to not leave too many UFOs around. With little time and too many ideas, it’s tough!

  7. Nancy Noah says:

    All I need to do is look at my UFO pile and I know I have QAAD! There are just so-o-o many possibilities, and so (Sew) little time.

  8. Linda says:

    I LOVE making lists! I make them for everything…and if I’m having a REALLY bad day, I’ll put stuff on there that I’ve already finished so that I can cross them off and feel better about my list! How sad is that!! LOL

  9. Sew Very Sherry says:

    I don’t know if I have QADD or if I just simply don’t have enough time to do all I want to do. Hmmm, maybe that’s a fine distinction. I think I need a list to prioritize all the other stuff in my life that’s getting in the way of my quilting :)

  10. Sharon Judkins says:

    I have been stressing out about this very thing for the past few days. I went through my sewing room Saturday and actually put away some things I thought I was going to start but knew I really didn’t want to. There was a mystery project on a blog starting Saturday and I had been looking forward to it but when the first clue came out, I said no. No, you are going to finish some things you have already started. No, you don’t need another project started that you might not finish. I have been so overwhelmed lately. I want to also make a baby quilt for a special new baby. The list thing might work for me. I have a UFO list on my board but that’s not what this is about. Thanks for the reminders.

  11. Carmen says:

    I haven’t gotten into QADD yet, but I can certainly relate. I suffer from KCADD – knitting and crocheting ADD. I have a very difficult time sticking to the project(s) I’m working on when I fall in love with another.

  12. Martina says:

    Oh thanks for this great idea.I think this would definitely help me and I hope I will have the fun to cross things on the list. This must be so satisfying.

  13. Sharon W says:

    I am happy to know that there is a name for my disorganization. I have so many projects started, that I can not even remember starting some of them. It is nice to hear from others who are in the same situation. Thanks for your ideas and give away.

  14. Brenda says:

    When counting those with QADD,
    Please don’t forget to include me.
    I wrote my list – oh, what a scare
    When faced with how many things on there!
    Can I be the World’s very worst
    At deciding “What do I do first?”
    Sort my stash for a cute table runner?
    (That snowflake pattern would make a stunner)
    And those gorgeous fabrics would make a great bag?
    (All the choices are making my shoulders sag)
    How about my group’s Challenge? Or complete a quilt top?
    (By this time my brain feels like it will pop!)
    So – a list is ideal for those lucky to be
    Better decision-makers than me!!

  15. Cecilia Young says:

    I have it too! I have only a few projects lined up, but when I go into my room and look at them I feel a little overwhelmed. I don’t know why I never thought of just making a list. I like to stay organized, but it never occurred to me to apply it to the projects that are waiting for me. Thanks for the help! Now to go and make a list. :)

  16. Jackie says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one with QADD! I have a lengthy list of UFO’s, all kinds of fabrics, patterns, ideas, etc for future projects and always many current projects. I’ve found it helpful to make a new list at the beginning of each month, no more than about 10 items that I plan to work on that month including a UFO project. I never complete the list but it helps me to focus and be less distracted. When the month is over I toss the list and decide what my priorities will be for this month, there’s always a new project to add!

  17. Celeste says:

    I sure have it, and I think it’s a progressive thing!! I also started out working on and finishing one project before starting another. Somehow, that changed and I notice my to-do pile just keeps growing, my WIPs keep growing, the “idea” drawer is almost overflowing, etc. A list would help but I fear it’ll be 2 pages or more. It’s all good, and it’s all fun!

  18. Sylvia S says:

    Yes I have it. I have made lists and then find one under a pile of something that was really important once. I love it. Crazy and all.

  19. I have exactly the same problems! I started by cleaning out and rearranging my sewing room so I didn’t have any “outflow” to the dining room any more. I make quilts for Project Linus, pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer, sew quilt tops from pre-cut pieces for my daughter’s church quilting group, and am trying to finish a king-size quilt for our own bed. I am finishing two P.L. projects today, then on to the next in line. Wish me luck, and thanks for a chance to win!

  20. Sandra Timmons says:

    OMG That is what I have. Yes, indeed. Make a list. Great idea. Also need to make a list for things to do when I get out of bed. Getting older and forgetting things that I need to do around the house. You think of something and then you suddenly forget what it was you just thought you needed to do or look for. It all happens to all of us. It’s ok. Thanks for the idea and the chance to win.

    Sandi T.

  21. SewLindaAnn says:

    Oh yeah, I’m definitely in that label. When there’s too much around me I get over-whelmed and go start something new.

  22. Cathy says:

    I have the disease in a bad way! When I mentioned to a non-quilting friend that I have 30+ projects all in various stages of development, she was aghast. “I’d lose my mind if I had that many things started,” she claimed. Well, I hate to tell her this, but I probably lost my mind years ago and I’ve been “looking” for it in piles of batting, fabric and magazines ever since.

  23. Well, I have always wondered what to call this problem that I have of too many projects on the “to-do” list! It now has a name!! LOL. Now my next problem is that most of my projects are lost in the mess of my sewing room…LOL. I have to clean up to find the parts I need. Have seen those boxes for projects I may try soon to keep me organized…Any other ideas?

  24. KT says:

    I have it! I have lots of lists, don’t know if that helps me or not, but it does make me realize how many projects I have in process as well as ones that I want to start. Problem is I’m always adding more to my lists–there are just so many great ideas out there that I want to try! Thanks for the chance to win!

  25. QuiltSue says:

    When I first started quilting, I always made myself finish one quilt before starting the next. Now I’ve been quilting for a good few years, and I definitely have QADD. I daren’t even think how many things I could/should go and do right now. When that happens, my solution is to play on EQ7. Lists don’t work for me, I am quite capable of totally ignoring them!

  26. Rachell R says:

    I sure do have QADD!
    I started a list on a blog post for my private blog a while ago. Then I started keeping notes on my iPhone on the “notepad” utility. Two days ago, I woke up from a nap and just had to type an idea in before I got up (and my toddler bounced on me) and I forgot. Then I couldn’t resist taking it to the computer on the QuiltPro that night, to see what I could do with it. I’ve already designed or started several other quilt designs in Quilt-Pro.
    And that’s not counting the blouse and skirt I have cut out, plus my WIP sampler quilt, plus the need to quilt my “To the Rescue” wall quilts.
    And, I’m setting up my quilting blog. I have a lot of designing and figuring out how to do it, left to do.

  27. Margaret Magri says:

    I am glad to hear that I am not the only one with QADD? seems somedays housework and gardening get in the way…..but how I get around it is I have a pile of patterns, pics etc. and I try to do at least one of those a day. A list is a wonderful way also, I definately will have to take your advice.

  28. wordygirl says:

    It is so reassuring to know I’m not alone in this. And I think it’s good to remember that sometimes allowing something to fall lower on the list makes room for something that needs to be done right away–a quilt for someone in need, a project that will be so much better if created while you have the spark. So it’s not always bad that something lingers, because it may have allowed you to focus on something that couldn’t wait.

  29. Cathryn H. says:

    I’m afraid I have a major case of QADD – starts about mid day at work for me. I start thinking about all the projects I want to finish, all the projects I want to start. And then I realize I can’t do a thing about it until I get home from work. Lovely idea to see how many of your “viewers” have this marvelous disease!

  30. Karen says:

    I was keeping myself under pretty good control until a coworker took up quilting. She has been buying fabric like crazy and brings in her projects and quilting magazines to show me. Now I find myself buying fabric and patterns while I still have too many UFO’s to finish. I definitely need to make a list now!

  31. Rhonda says:

    Well, I never thought of it as QADD but I guess I do have it right now. I’m being pulled in all directions with other obligations and have one baby quilt close to finished and two more I intended to start and complete before the end of July (ha, ha). I may be lucky to finish that first one that’s “close” to finished. Thanks for chance to win!

  32. Carol says:

    I’ve also found that having a list is very helpful in knowing where to start. Having my space neat and ready to go also helps!

  33. If I make a list and see all I need to do, it stresses me out and I don’t get anything accomplished, lol. So, I tackle one thing at a time and before I know it, I have done it all, or at least I tried;)


  34. I definitely have QADD! A big nasty virus of it! When I have time to sew I often can’t decide whether to hand quilt, or cut fabric, or sew blocks, or machine quilt…and I hop around from task to task, and project to project…it’s a terrible sickness! Is there a treatment?!?

  35. jmniffer says:

    I was suffering from QADD earlier this year. All the WIP’s, want to’s, need to’s and such were driving me crazy. Like you, I made a list and life is so much better now. My mind rests easier if things are put on the list. Glad you found what helps you too.

  36. connie kapralos says:

    I too have QADD..quilt attention deficit disorder..unfortunally there is no cure or medicine to fix it…just have to live with it!!!

  37. Bev C says:


    Oh Yes, I use little post-it notes and also have a page with a list. Though I do tend to write them not in list style,more just over the page randomly. It makes it less like a homework list then.

    Happy days.

  38. Ali M says:

    Boy do I have it, but making a list would just make me stressed! ;) Participating in a sew along, a swap and a class all at the same time is enough, but I want to make other things too, so the amount of projects I’m doing on a weekly basis is creeping up ever time I look!

  39. This is interesting. My whole family has ADHD for real — me, my husband, and sons, which makes for one chaotic, stressed-out, panic-stricken household more often than not. But, other than the Island of Misfit Mending Pile (by the time I feel inspired to darn a hole or sew a button back on, the clothes never fit anymore or they are no longer in style) — other than that, I don’t really have any UFOs. I have a million ideas in my head, I keep buying books and patterns and Pinteresting more ideas and inspiration, but I only work on one project at a time until it’s done or until it kills me. I get distracted throughout the process, sure — I drag out a bunch of fabric for a future quilt, I lose a couple of hours on the internet and can’t account for how I finally ended up on a leprechaun site when originally I just wanted to check email (which I forgot to do, anyway, on account of the leprechauns).

    However, I could not function as a grownup without my List. If I’m supposed to do something and it doesn’t get on my list, it’s just not going to happen. I have sections: Home & Family is for the yucky stuff I HAVE to do, like schedule the doctor’s appointments and haircuts, laundry, pay bills, buy groceries, or pick up dog food. Then I have a special sewing section that looks more like your list, and because my List is a Word document, I can cut and paste, move things around, and highlight the things I want to do TODAY.

  40. Lynn D in NC says:

    Oh, I definitely have QADD and the only way to pull out of it is make a list and focus on one at a time.

  41. Terri in BC says:

    I love that term! It so describes me. I also have to make lists, plus I have to play little games with myself in order to get the housework or other work done – my reward is time in the sewing room!

  42. Becky Greene says:

    I have some type of Quilting Disorder, but I am not sure it is QADD. Mine is a perfection disorder, but not the kind that makes me crazy about whether or not my seams match and all my stars have perfect points. No, mine is the paralyzing form that makes me think there might just be a better use of that fabric, so I better keep looking. I have a fear of commitment – that’s it!! But I am in a program and it really only has one step – make the first cut. Once that first piece of fabric is cut, everything seems to fall into place. Help me practice, if you wish, by sending some quilty goodness my way!!

  43. Sandy A in St. Louis says:

    Oh this is SO me! DH says I can’t finish one project because another one tempts me away! :) I am going to try and make a list of all the projects I have started and work on them one at a time. I hope I don’t get distracted!

  44. CelticRose says:

    I’m fairly new to quilting, but I already have a case of QADD to add to my NADD (needlework ADD). In addition to my first quilt top, I’m working on a block of the month, I have a kit waiting to be started, and I’m fighting with myself not to start a scrap quilt that I have enough fabric on hand to begin.

    A list won’t work for me since this is all for my own pleasure and I have no deadlines (except for the BOTM).

  45. Rachelle says:

    I only have 2 quilts on the go atm as I’m fairly new to this, I do however suffer from KADD (knitters ADD) and SADD (spinners ADD) and the same thing for clothes and house sewing so I think it’s fairly likely I’ll have the same issue with quilting!

  46. JanetB says:

    Of course, I have QADD. I thought it was a pre-req for a quilter. To make matters worse, the garden is coming in so I have spent the last week canning and haven’t been able to touch quilting at all! All canning is done. The weatherman is calling for rain so looks like quilting is in my future. Great suggest to make a list and prioritize.

  47. cynthia meredith says:

    Oh, yes–I have it, but it’s just undirected energy! A list really helps, but the QADD also leads to spontaneous creativity, so often I just go where the impulse leads me!

  48. Karlene says:

    Definitely have it! Also use the list–I have a dry erase white board and keep it hanging right near the sewing machine–a much easier way to have a list.

  49. Christine M says:

    Maybe that’s my problem. I need to make a list. I have several things on the go at the moment. I’ll go into the sewing room and instead of starting to sew, I audition fabrics for more projects!

  50. Hueisei says:

    Yes. I do. I think I should make my self a list too.. My UFOs are growing too…

  51. Vicki says:

    QADD? What is that? Oh, yeah, I know! A LIST? Oh, of course. I’ve made many of them. And can’t find them because they’re under my projects….QADD? Oh, yeah! Now if I could just find my lists. But first I want to iron that fabric. No. Make another block. No. Check out a blog. No. Find that thread….Oh, find my lists. I guess I have to focus. Thanks for the give-away!

  52. MarciaW says:

    I lost my comment – grrr – not good for me as I suffer from QADD. My mother has quilted for more than 65 years, finishes her projects before cutting/sewing another, and DOES NOT HAVE A SINGLE UFO. I have a list of quilts that I want to make which keep next to my chair for reference. Why is it that I wander off track and do something that is not on the list? I have some (ahem) aged projects — and I haven’t been quilting that long either. Dr.Quilty, is there a cure for my QADD?

  53. Joanna says:

    I do make quilt lists, funny thing, because one month recently I completely forgot about an online BOM in which I participate and a fmq challenge as well. Now my list is near my computer and each month I make sure to check the sites for the next requirement. But my list is not as long as your list is, thank goodness:)

  54. Kaye M. says:

    I think a list is a great idea! What’s even greater is that you have gotten to cross off some things on your list! I have a little mental list of 3 projects that I need to finish but there are many UFOs folded in boxes that I’ve “almost” forgotten about. Maybe if I write them all down it would help to keep me focused!

  55. Jennie P. says:

    Yes, I get totally overwhelmed sometimes!! Making lists helps!

  56. Annie K says:

    I fight it, constantly. I even go so far as to bundle up the fabric and the pattern, and stack them neatly in the order I think I want to do them in. Then I see a cool color combo, or leaf through one of my magazines and books, and there’s a whole new idea to add to the growing pile of NESPs (Not Even Started Projects). I need a list, and I need the focus to stick to it. LOL!

  57. Donna Amos says:

    I have had QADD for years, just didn’t know its name! Thanks for post. I used to make lists, but have gotten out of the habit…..think it is time to start again. My list of UFO’s probably will fill two pages.

  58. robin says:

    I have one in my brain, and it felt so good to cross an item off the list on Saturday!

  59. Sunnybec says:

    I never use to but I have now, perhaps this makes me a “proper” quilter! When I started quilting nearly 2 years ago, I would make and finish one quilt at a time…not now I have quite a few things that need finishing, but there is always something else that I need to do, like make a birthday present, or get some Christmas presents done. Right I am off to finish something…..or shall I start making that bag I have the pattern for………….mmmm

  60. Kris says:

    OMG – yes! If it weren’ for my lists (to be pieced, to be cut, to be quilted, etc.), I don’t think I’d get too much accomplished.

  61. I get QADD daily and I found as well that having a list really helped a ton!!! I like to divide it into subcategories and then assign levels of importance. It really helps to get me going and finish things :)

  62. Carol in E TN says:

    Yes, I have the same disorder! And I have to make a list to focus on what needs to be done. Thank you for the giveaway.

  63. Mary Katharin says:

    I not only have major QADD (about 25 UFOs in my pile), I also have KADD which is knitting attention deficit disorder. Between the 2, I have trouble finishing anything!

    My oldest quilt UFO is actually from my great-grandmother and passed down through generations to me. It is 30 hand pieced Sunbonnet Sue blocks made in 1924 for my mother’s birth. My great-granny gave them to my granny to finish for my mom. In 1988, my granny gave them to me (still not pieced into a quilt) to finish for my daughter. They are still just blocks!

  64. DebrafromMD says:

    Oh, I definitely have QADD. Add my multiple knitting projects to the mix, and it’s a wonder I ever get anything finished.

  65. Pam in KC says:

    Oh, yes. I thought I had it under control for a while, but then last week when it got so hot it broke through — good thing it was too hot to even sew in the a/c or I would have three new quilts started and I have 4 that I have to finish by the end of the month!

  66. Ack! I’m afraid my list would be 2 pages!~ at the least! LOL I think I have a really bad case of this disease~ and I love it!!! :-) Thanks for the fun!

  67. Judy says:

    Yes I do! What can you do when there are so many projects you want to make and so little time.

  68. Rae says:

    I have terrible, terrible project ADD. Lists help, but I find myself adding to the list and then jumping to the new stuff. I should probably work on that…

  69. Jocelyn says:

    Yes I am afraid I do have it. You are so organized to make a list!!! I think I may have to try that. Maybe I can get more things finished ;-)

  70. Janice says:

    I too have QADD, and have found that making a list lets me at least identify those projects that I really want to get finished. Great post!
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  71. Kristen says:

    Yes I have it and I really have it. I need to make a list and make it now, although I’m a little afraid I’m beyond help. :)

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