06 April 2023


Before I get started with today's blog post, let me first explain that it's written with a smile on my face and a song of hope in my heart. This is NOT Debbie Downer! I am happy, and I am anxious to keep creating... when I have time.

Ten years ago this month, I discovered the quarterly Ravelry WIP challenge for the first time and quickly jumped on board. I've been recording my quilt progress via the challenge and my blog ever since. I've been motivated to finish my extensive WIPs, which at one time was totally out of control with something like 45 unfinished quilts!!!

Several times since my husband's Parkinson's diagnosis, I have wondered whether I should continue the quarterly challenge, thanks to time constraints and too many months of failure to progress. Now it's been more than six months, I think, since I've finished anything larger than a table topper. I don't think I've touched my sewing machine in two months.

The challenge was so much fun for so long. When I joined the winter quarter in January, I thought I couldn't imagine my life without the challenge. That was three months ago. My mood has been continually changing all quarter long. I've spent this entire week (unsuccessfully) trying to talk myself out of quitting (or, perhaps, just taking a break).

So many of the self-imposed challenges and deadlines I've placed upon myself have become more of a burden than a fun way to get things done. One by one, I've had to start letting go of some of my goals so I can keep things in perspective and focus on making life for Lizard as enjoyable and pleasant as possible. The process of simplifying has ignited a full spectrum of emotions, and I'm sure I'm not done yet... with scaling back OR with fighting back tears as I walk away from another goal.

One of the things I've been telling myself and Lizard (and anyone else willing to listen) for a couple of years now is that we had more adventures in our short 14 years of weekend warrioring than many people experience in an entire lifetime. It's the same way with my creative challenges. In the last ten years, I've finished 91 quilts, thanks mostly to the Ravelry challenge!!! And there have been an armful, or two, or five, of quilts I started and finished during a quarter and did not have to add to my WIP list, which probably is the biggest thrill of all finishes, to me.

Thanks to the Ravelry challenge, I think I've actually learned how to pace myself, not just in quilting, but in many aspects of my life.

One of the reasons I've decided to walk away (for now) is because part of the challenge is to cheer on participants. I have not been able to do that on an acceptably regular basis (to me) in so long, I feel guilty, especially after all the joy other quilters have helped me feel when I finish a project. That guilt is what put this challenge on the chopping block. I have enough challenges at home right now that I don't need to beat myself up for not being able to do everything I want or plan to do.

I remember back when my kids (both adopted and both special needs) began going through a very difficult time. Our afternoon bike rides morphed into therapy visits, court appointments, and then community service... What Lizard and I are experiencing now sometimes is traumatic, often is draining, and seldom is over-the-moon joyful. But you know what??? I'd rather be taking care of Lizard than reliving some of those choice moments of the '80s and '90s. Teenagers can and do cause gray hair!!!

When Lizard sleepwalks in the middle of the night and winds up knee-deep in a snowbank in his pajamas looking for his phone (which is always on the kitchen counter), I get scared. (Yes, we are having alarms installed on all the doors.) There may come a time when I have to enlist help in finding Lizard when he wanders. But it's nothing like having to leave work to pick up a kid from the principal's office, the police department or juvenile detention facility, and even Lizard's medical bills pale in comparison to surprise $300 phone bills, wrecked cars, broken windows (from kids sneaking out in the middle of the night) and court costs.

Sometimes I think what my kids put me through prepared me for what Lizard and I face now. Even on bad days now, it doesn't feel like the end of the world. We can always find reasons and ways to smile. Some days it takes a little longer than others, but that just makes the smiles feel more rewarding.

I learned back in the '80s and '90s it's okay to put away quilts I want to design, sweaters I want to knit or crochet, and clothes I want to construct for a while to focus on what's most important and perhaps make life better for someone who really needs what I can give. There will come a day when I can craft without distractions or interuptions. I don't want to rush into that day at all. I want to enjoy my time with Lizard while I can. While HE still can. I don't want to feel guilty for not finishing a quilt by the end of the month each and every month. Or once a quarter, or even once a year. I don't want to feel guilty for not being able to spend much time on the internet.

I hope to still be able to finish presents on time, but all my loved ones know now gifts might be late, and that's okay. They want me to enjoy my time with Lizard, too. Chances are, not a single family member is truly going to miss an anticipated handmade quilt from Aunt Deb or Big Sis Deb.

My current quilt WIP list still stands at 12. Last autumn, I'd hoped to be down to three or four by now. In January, I really believed I could finish one each month and be done by the end of the year. Right now it feels almost as if I'd be doing well to finish one more WIP by the end of the decade!

I'm not going to stop blogging. (Yet.) I'm not going to stop crocheting, sewing, quilting, designing, dyeing, photographing, dreaming, learning. (Even photography has not been as much of an attention hog in my life the last several months, but I don't plan to stop doing that altogether, either.) I'm just eliminating deadlines for now. On the very bright side, maybe escaping deadlines might actually help me get over the finish line on an unfinished project or two!


  1. Life sure is challenging enough. We do not need more pressure. One day after the other. We do what we can do. And sometimes just sitting and doing nothing is challenging enough. I'm with you! Happy Easter! Regula

  2. Wise choice. You are doing what is most important, and what you will be glad to look back on someday. Many hugs to you.


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