Flashback Friday: Learning to let go

Do you have a hard time letting go of things you have made?

I have been looking critically at some of my finished and unfinished quilts and have decided that it is time to let a couple go and to donate them to the local association’s community quilts program. By my donating them, they might get finished by other members and used by people in need. At my house, they are collecting dust and sending me into spasms of guilt.

First to go is my first quilt. I think I was about 15 when I started it and close to twice that age when I finished. Sort of finished. I hand pieced all those hexagons as a teenager but did not know what to do next. When I started, and mum taught me how to English paper piece, we did not feel the need to worry about the next stage. With all those hexagons to sew together, we knew it was a long way away, and we had plenty of time to figure it out.

Many of the fabrics were scrounged off my mum. I am sure I recognise a yellow jumpsuit from my childhood and other garments in some of the fabrics.

Much, much later, I found the hand-pieced hexagons in a box. Still not having a clue what I was doing, I added some polyester wadding – all that was available back then – and backed it with a sheet. I had a go at hand quilting, but it could use a lot more quilting.

Although it is very old, it has not faded a bit as it has never seen the light of day. It has lived undisturbed in a blanket box for a very long time, hanging out with some of my childhood stuffed toys. I have kept it because it was my first and because I hand pieced it, but it is time to let it go.

Granny’s garden hexagon quilt

If I were to make a hexagon quilt now, the hexagons would not be as big as these.

Granny’s garden hexagon quilt

Fabrics chosen by 15-year-old me.

Granny’s garden hexagon quilt

I had not yet learned about bias binding the edges of a quilt, but I still like the wide border/edging.

The other project to go is a crazy quilt WIP. This crazy quilt started as a plan to recycle a mattress protector that was too small for any of our beds. It was a fun project to work on, but I have not touched it in years, and it has sat in the Cupboard of Shame.

Instead of keeping it with me, someone who means to finish it, I will hand it over to someone who really will finish it. It goes with its pre-prepared binding and a couple of skeins of embroidery thread. If more is needed, at least they have the DMC number to colour match.

Pink crazy quilt

I am sure that this is not the right way to make a crazy quilt, but when things are supposed to be crazy, is there a right way?

Pink crazy quilt

This is where I stalled – I lost momentum working on all that herringbone stitch.

In fact, to prevent anyone from talking me out of it in the comments, they have already been handed over. Earlier this week at my sewing guild’s end-of-year wind-up, everyone was asked to take and show our first quilts. It was a lot of fun. I have never seen so many ancient and well-loved samplers and hexagon quilts in one place. The earliest shown was made in about 1980. Some quilts still look amazing; others have faded beyond recognition. Hilarious stories about learning to quilt without a single lesson, from magazines and the hard way from one’s mistakes were shared. I was not alone in starting blindly, without a clue what I was doing! I showed my hexagon quilt and then promptly handed both to the community quilts team.



No more guilt.

Hmm … Maybe I can start a couple of new projects now!


27 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Learning to let go

  1. Pingback: The cupboard of shame | Granny Maud's Girl

  2. This is great Carla. I too have a couple of unfinished things I should pass on, but I still think one day I might do it. Maybe in a few more years I will admit defeat ; )
    Yes! Start two new projects ; )

  3. Carla they are just beautiful, well done very liberating. I am having a huge cleanout here. So much fabric etc to go. ?? Anne would also take them for the Charity auction her husband does. Carol.

  4. I must tell you that your design sense has evolved massively since those early days! It’s an impressive hexie quilt for a beginner, but I think Dear Jane is much more your style these days… Your posts are still not appearing in my Reader, but the link in my side bar is now showing your latest, which is an improvement!

  5. I don;t seem to have a problem with letting go of finished items but works in progress even if I’ve lost interest I seem to be hanging onto feeling I should finish them. Letting go of them is hard and I admire you giving up these so they will be finished and go to a good home!

    • I am the same. I will happily give away a finished quilt, but I felt guilty because these need a bit more work. I should have got rid of them ages ago and spared myself the guilt, but it is not that simple.

  6. Ahhh, very good! It is so fun to see these beginnings of yours! I have always, until quite recently, given my finished quilts away, usually the reason for starting it in the first place! I am sure these will be well received and well loved!

  7. I can totally relate to what you are saying here! I sold a couple of older, ‘dated’ quilts at a trash and treasure market a few years ago and have never regretted it! I find it quite liberating too! I will probably do it again soon, or give them away to a charity perhaps. We don’t keep clothes or furniture we don’t love anymore, do we? Better that someone else loves them than have them languishing in a cupboard somewhere….

    • I like to keep photos of things I make too, even when I happily give them away. However, part of me is glad that I do not have photographic evidence of some of my teenaged clothing makes. Oh, that high school ball dress I made in Year 11! The bows were bigger than my head! And the ruching! Yikes!

  8. There is definitely something very liberating about letting go of things. They’re not really gone… we have the memories (and in our cases, the photos and the blog posts) to remind us. If someone else can get some good out of an item, it’s better than it taking up precious space in our homes or minds. We’re working on being more minimalist around our house… or maybe, better said, just being more mindful of stuff and the power it can have over us!

    • I would fail completely at any attempt at minimalism. My groaning bookshelves and closet alone prove that! However, I do try to periodically go through each cupboard in the house and asses items. Do we still need it? Can it find a better home elsewhere? I guess that makes me mindful even if not minimalist. 🙂

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