Sewing on Deadline: The Blessing and the Curse

It seems like much of the time, I’m sewing on a deadline. You know what I mean. There’s a baby expected, or a birthday, anniversary or graduation. When you’re in the publishing business, the deadlines have to do with issues, blog posts or contests.

dianesewfulopt Sewing on Deadline: The Blessing and the Curse

Sewful Things, designed and made by Diane Volk Harris for Quilts from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, Fall ’14. Definitely sewn on a deadline.

When I’m sewing on a deadline, as I did for Sewful Things, above, I always wish I could be rid of the deadline. I think about how nice it would be to sew casually.

QMMP 140200 DIANE 450 Sewing on Deadline: The Blessing and the Curse

Scarlet Spin, designed and made by Diane Volk Harris for Quiltmaker, Jan/Feb ’14 issue. Sewn on a deadline.

I daydream about the freedom of sewing at a relaxed pace. When I’m making something like Scarlet Spin, my frenzied head yearns for lazy stitching hours.

All Drezzed up Sewing on Deadline: The Blessing and the Curse

All Drezzed Up, designed and made by Diane Volk Harris for Quiltmaker, March/April ’10 issue. Sewn on a deadline.

Even as I made All Drezzed Up, one of the most enjoyable projects ever, I wished and wished for the deadline to disappear. But recently something unusual happened. I was completely out of deadline projects.

thebigd Sewing on Deadline: The Blessing and the Curse

This comes before quilting.

I had declined the chance to make one of my own designs for the upcoming Quilts from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, knowing I had family visiting around the deadline. Few things come before quilting, but my only grandchild does!

And I found that when I got to my sewing space,
I was unsure of where to start.

Should I quilt this little number? It’s basted and ready to go and it would be great practice.

deadline1 Sewing on Deadline: The Blessing and the Curse

I could quilt this because it’s ready to go and it would be great practice.

Should I bind this quilt? It is my first longarm project and I learned so much from it.

sissies9 Sewing on Deadline: The Blessing and the Curse

I could bind this quilt, the first project I ever did on a longarm.

Perhaps I should tackle this basket. Surely you have places that look like this, too, don’t you?

deadline2 Sewing on Deadline: The Blessing and the Curse

Am I the only one with this in her sewing space?

This stack of magazines and patterns should be sorted and filed. That would be a good use of my time.

deadline3 Sewing on Deadline: The Blessing and the Curse

Magazines and patterns to be sorted and filed

And of course there are dozens of UFOs (that’s quilt-speak for UnFinished Objects) waiting patiently to be finished up.

In the end I wandered around and didn’t do much of anything because there was just so much to choose from. What a waste of precious time! But I learned something important:

A deadline is the best way to get things done.

So I guess it wasn’t a waste after all!

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:
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11 Responses to Sewing on Deadline: The Blessing and the Curse

  1. Pingback: Who needs a deadline? | Dawn Chorus Studio

  2. I think that deadlines are like the Force; they have a dark side and a light side. ;-> The good thing (the light side) about deadlines is that they compel you to get things done. The dark side of deadlines is that they cause stress! So there has to be a happy balance of projects that have deadlines and those that don’t.

  3. Too funny… I totally relate!

  4. Sandy says:

    Yes, there are places in my house that look like the basket overflowing with, in my case selvages, scraps! This year I started off with a bang and have 2 quilt tops nearly finished and ready to be sandwiched for quilting. I am piecing another top and all of these need to be finished for Christmas, that Blessed deadline! A closer deadline is travel in September. If I quilt while my husband drives, it is such a benefit to both of us!

  5. My mother has told me since I was a teen (and that was a LONG time ago) that if I didn’t have a deadline, I wouldn’t get anything done. And you know what?… Momma’s are always right. But it is nice every once in a while NOT to have a deadline. Enjoy that grandbaby! I know you will! Mine are coming in late July! Whoo Hoo!

  6. I love a Deadline! Gives you incentive to Finish a project. If not it usually gets sidelined to the UFO totes by Current tempting quilts I see online and in Magazines.

  7. Keri Lyn says:

    I also found when I had all the time in the world to quilt – I didn’t complete anything. Now, with deadlines looming, I’m finishing ahead of time and cleaning up some of those UFOs. GSo, much for the freedom of retirement, old habits die hard and I still need that extra push to keep me on track.

  8. MargaretK in VA says:

    As a member of Quiltmaker’s Scrap Squad for 2014, I can say I was REALLY productive when I had deadlines. I had to make those 6 quilts, and so I did…plus a number of others. Now that I don’t have the deadlines, I find I am a lot slower to decide what to make, and with no rush to complete a quilt, that takes longer as well.

  9. Emily C says:

    I have this same problem. If I am taking a class or making something for an occasion, I have no problem finishing on schedule. If I am making something for myself and can relax, I can’t seem to get anything completed.

  10. Diane says:

    I like lists. They help me get things done. I rarely complete the whole list in the time I think it will take me but at least I get to cross off one or two items. Sometimes it’s a daily list, sometimes, its weekly. I guess it’s my way of setting deadlines for myself.

  11. Kaholly says:

    I think we’ve all been in a similar place for one reason or another. It’s very frustrating to have the creative energy and no flow. Enjoy your company!

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