Dream Big, Experiment Small

Do you have more than a few unfinished quilt projects?

Do you have so many that it feels a little overwhelming or like you can't move onto a new project? 

If so, this one idea is going to be a game-changer.


    Quilt Experiments

    Are there tons of different methods you want to try out, but you just don't have the time?

    Let me introduce you to the quilt "experiment". 

    Whenever I try out a new technique, I start with an Experiment.

    An "experiment" is a small or scaled-down project that you make before investing the time and materials in a full-sized project.

    So often we want to try out a new technique, so we buy a lap-sized quilt pattern. It takes us FOREVER to finish the project, if we do finish it at all. And sometimes half-way through, we realize-- I don't really like this technique after all. Or I wish I had done this a bit differently.

    This might mean making just one block or a scaled-down version of the pattern.

    If you don’t love the technique, no worries, it was a worthwhile experiment, it didn’t take too much time or materials, and you may use what you’ve learned in a different way later on!

    Think of these experiments like sketches in a sketch pad. Every sketch will not necessarily be turned into a full-sized painting-- most are just experiments.

    If you do love the technique, then you can try a full-sized project, if you like.

    This is going to help prevent a huge pile-up of unfinished projects.

    It will also allow you to try out lots of different techniques and styles quickly, so your creativity, skills, and style will really bloom.


    Your Experiment Bin

    Often we are hesitant to try something new because we don't want to "waste" fabric. 

    Enter the Experiment Bin. 

    I keep a basket in my studio called an Experiment Bin. This is where all my orphan blocks, abandoned projects, and miscellaneous precuts go, as well as fabric I don't really care about. 

    Then whenever I am going to start on a new "experiment", I dip into my Experiment Bin for that fabric.

    Since I'm not using fabric that I love, I'm not worried about "wasting" fabric, and I can take risks and try something that I'm curious about that might not work.

    This is where the magic happens!

    Make Your Own Experiment Bin

    It is super simple to make your own Experiment Bin.

    Grab a basket or tub and fill it with:

    • orphan blocks (leftover blocks from past projects)
    • precuts that you don't have plans for
    • that stack of 4" squares you cut out but never used, etc
    • abandoned projects

    Once you have your Experiment Bin in place, you can dip into it whenever you have an idea for an experiment you'd like to try! 



    If you’d like to join a community of quilters from around the world who are constantly experimenting with and learning new styles and techniques, I think you’d love Meander. Learn more about Meander, here. 


    I'd love to hear from you! How big is your "Works in Progress" pile?? Leave a comment below!

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      • Thank you, thank you, thank YOU!!! This is very freeing information!! I just started a project notebook to keep up with my works in progress. Slowly I am being overwhelmed by the number of projects I have begun that are in varying stages of the process. A friend of mine did this with me and neat little bonus that we found is the thrill of swapping unfinished projects! Something that I have zero desire to complete anymore might be just the thing to get her creative juices flowing! Now, not only do I NOT have to deal with it nagging at me… I also will enjoy her enthusiasm of bringing it to completion AND I get to see the finished project. Win/Win!!

        Margie Lantz
      • This is the second email that I’ve received from you! I found them so inspirational. What a new way of looking at things in general not only quilting! I was brought up that you always finish what you start which produces the feeling of failure. Thank you so much keep your emails coming!

      • Such a simple approach and I love it! It makes me cringe when I think of all the quilts waiting to be born in my studio. And I feel that I can forgive myself for over buying in the past. Now I am giving myself permission to scale it back a bit. Thank you.

        Bobbie Molony

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