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Permission to Ditch

Sometimes you just need permission to ditch a quilting project. Maybe it has been on your list for too long or maybe you just fell out of love with it. Either way, it’s okay to let it go! We are here to help walk you through the process!


Let’s talk about expectations. No matter what type of life you lead or roles you play, society will always place expectations on you. “Norms” you should follow or keep up with. Some of these expectations are unavoidable and part of just adulting. But how many of those expectations could we potentially let go of and just say “No”? How many of these expectations are causing us an excess of stress that could be avoided? And how many of these expectations have we placed on ourselves?

This last Christmas season I was stressing about all the things I needed to do or felt I had to do. As I was rambling on about these things to my mother, she said, “Well which things can you ditch?” At first I thought, “None of it! I have to get it all done.” But then I started to realize that some of the things I felt I HAD to do was just me putting pressure on myself. So I picked a few things that I could be okay letting go of!

As crafters and hobbyists, it’s sometimes hard to let go of ideas or projects we plan for! We know we can do it and we know we want to do it, but do we always need to do it? No. Raise your hand if you have fabric sitting around waiting for a project you planned to work on but no longer feel inspired by it. Do you still feel the pressure and expectation to finish it anyway? Don’t. Get rid of it! Pass it on. Sell it.

Does it Bring You Joy?

Raise your hand if you started a project that no longer brings you joy. You have permission to ditch it. Raise your hand if you feel the need to make a handmade gift for every birthday and holiday on the calendar. You have permission to buy a gift instead. Raise your hand if people keep asking you to make things for them and you are too nice to say no. I am here to give you permission to say, “No.” 

The list goes on. But the stress and/or pressure doesn’t have to. I am notorious in my home for getting rid of things if they sit unattended for too long. It makes me happy to go through closets and drawers and shelves and purge things that no longer get used or no longer bring me joy. I recently decided to do the same with my fabric stash. And do you know what? I felt lighter! I felt like I had given some power back to myself! Just by allowing myself to get rid of things I was holding on to- I was able to feel more creative, and enjoy my craft more! 

Do not allow yourself to consider this a failure. You have not failed. You have chosen to let go of one thing and to move on to something better! This, I would consider, is an even greater strength!

Checklist to ditch

As you plan and set goals for the year 2022, keep in mind that you do not HAVE to do it all. We craft and quilt because it makes us happy! So what part of your craft is making you unhappy? You have permission to ditch it and here is a checklist to help guide you through what projects to keep and which to ditch.

1. Have you worked on the project within the last 3 years?

2. Dose the vision for this project still align with its purpose?

3. Does it still make you happy or excited to think about?

4. Does the idea of working on it cause you dread?

5. Is the fabric feeling outdated or no longer appeal to you?

If you answered yes to at least three of these I’d recommend that it’s time to ditch it.


Repurpose the ditched

Although giving yourself permission to ditch a project can reduce stress it can also bring on guilt. I don’t want you to feel guilty about doing what’s best for you. Here’s a list of the top 3 ways you can repurpose them.

1. Are you part of a local quilt guild or have any in your area? Many guilds participate in multiple charity projects and rely on member and community donations of fabrics and projects. Your ditched quilt top could be given a new life through a guild, providing comfort to a child in foster care, a fidget quilt for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, or even to a vet who is transitioning into life after service. Not sure where to find a guild near you? You can start with this guild searching tool.

2. If you no longer like the fabric from the project you can always find it a new home. Many guilds offer a FREE table, or fabric trading table. One person’s unwanted fabric could be another quilter’s treasure. You can also sell your unwanted fabric at Feel Good Fibers, a website for de-stashing the fabric you no longer need. This will also make you more sustainable in your quilting.

3. Donate them to local schools or boys and girls clubs. Many education programs can sewing programs for during or after school. Donated materials are a way of helping the art of quilting continue on to the next generation. I’ve also found fabric at thrift shops. Quilting is an expensive hobby and finding good, affordable fabric can be like finding treasure. 


Bonus idea for those quilt blocks you’ve made and like, but no longer have time to finish, you can turn them into a pillow! Read our blog on turning a quilt block into a pillow here.