Process or Product…What’s Your Quilting Style? (+ Giveaway)

Giveaway-GoldI know from years of teaching that students approach projects with different expectations. Some will work on the same quilt for several weeks or months and see it through to completion, while others bring in new projects every few weeks. Sometimes these projects get finished and sometimes not.

I have always considered myself a “product” person. I have a goal or deadline in mind and work to meet it within a certain time frame. This has always worked for me and has made me happy in my quiltmaking experience. Today, while sifting through a stack of quilts in search of a class sampler, I came across this one.

"Pieced Buttercups" made in a seminar with Mary Ellen Hopkins.

“Pieced Buttercups” made in a seminar with Mary Ellen Hopkins.

Finding this quilt felt almost like running into a long-lost friend who asks, “So, where have you been?” All the wonderful memories of one of my very first quilting experiences came flooding back. Five days spent with the one and only, hilariously funny, and inspirational Mary Ellen Hopkins changed my life forever. I often wonder where she is. I am so grateful for the spark she ignited in me and her encouragement to push forward into the world of teaching.

All those less than perfect points. Do they really matter in the big scheme of things?


How sweet are these quilting stitches – some of my very first!


There that quilt sat, folded among so many completed quilts, still waiting for the final quilting stitching and binding. I had truly forgotten about this cute little quilt. Why did I never finish it? Guess I just got busy and moved on to other projects.

How about you? Do you work to complete your projects or do you often set them aside waiting for just the right time to finish them, and possibly never finding that time? Do you then donate them or, like me, keep them folded among other projects?

I would love to hear your stories. In an attempt to do a bit of housecleaning to help clear my mind from the overload of  a huge project (more on this later), I’m giving away some of my unfinished blocks to one interested reader. The ten 8″ finished, red-and-white pieced blocks were made . . . I’m guessing in the early 90s. Simply tell me your style (process or product) and why you might like to win these blocks by end of day June 14th, and I’ll announce the winner with my June 18th post.

Ten 8" finished red and white pieced blocks.

Ten 8″ finished red and white pieced blocks.

Look forward to hearing your stories. Until next time, happy sewing everyone!


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34 Responses to Process or Product…What’s Your Quilting Style? (+ Giveaway)

  1. Pingback: Inspired to Quilt: Remembering Mary Ellen Hopkins, My First Quilting Teacher |

  2. Carol says:

    I’m a newbie quilter so I don’t quite know whether I am process or product. At this point I would say I’m more product oriented. Some of that is due to the easy projects I have been doing – mostly small applique quilts and minkee squares made into baby quilts. I usually have a deadline for getting these done to give as gifts which helps to keep the momentum going to completion.
    Having said that, along with doing the applique quilts, I’m now close to trying new skills and anticipating some different type projects. So I have also been in the beginning of the process mode of gathering fabrics for a log cabin quilt (black & white with a very small red center square) and for an “I Spy” nine patch quilt. It will be interesting to see if I work on completing one before starting another.

    I would love to have your wonderful blocks. My good friend, Joan Reed, has been instrumental in getting me interested and started in quilting. She also is good at pushing and encouraging me to get beyond my comfort zone and try some different things besides applique. She is crazy in love with anything red and white and I would love to make a quilt with your blocks and give to her as a thank you for all her patience and help.

    I’m signed up for a class with you in August and I am so looking forward to it and learning new skills. Thanks for your inspiring and interesting blog. I always look forward to reading you.

  3. Gerrie Sue says:

    I just love that creative rush of starting a new project or learning a new technique. I have managed to finish a few quilts but tend to get bored towards the end and can’t wait to start the next thing. I read in a neuroscientist paper that our brains secrete dopamine ( the feel good neurotransmitter) when we do something new or go someplace new or learn a new skill. I had an ahaaa moment. Maybe that is that feeling I am getting with each new project. So process oriented I guess.

  4. Mar says:

    If I love the process on the project, I keep going until it’s done. I can’t wait to see how it turns out! If I do not love the process or the result, I put it aside for a while, and sometimes I give myself permission to abandon it. I can always use parts for other projects like bags or even garments. Red is a favorite color of mine!

  5. Adrienne Alvey says:

    I’m both; lots of products but lots in the process, too. However, those pretty red blocks would quickly become a product if I had them. Besides – it would be a real treat and honor to have a quilt with some of your blocks in it!

  6. Deb Anderson says:

    I love those blocks and would be thrilled to win them. I adore red & white together.
    I can picture those in a quilt already.

  7. Debbie Sedberry says:

    I like to finish projects, but there are always so many more new things to do! So many quilts, so little time…

  8. Anna says:

    I used to be a starter and not a finisher. Now that I’m a member of a guild (Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild) I’m a finisher. I love our show and tell. It really keeps me motivated to complete my projects. I love the freshness of your red and white blocks + I LOVE house blocks and anything with triangles. Thanks for sharing your archived projects. I thinks it’s important to keep a reminder around of where we started from in our chosen crafts. Cheers!

  9. Marjorie says:

    I think I am both, on my chair in the front room is seven quilts, five quilted and just need binding. The other two tops need quilting. I am afraid to count the unfinished projects which I fell out of love with or have cut out and waiting for the right time to start them. Last year I finished, including binding, twelve quilts, most were old projects decades old, found in closets and dressers when I retired. Now my goal is to work on one unfinished projects when I start a new one. This appraoch is working for me. Reduces guilt of the ufos, left alone and the excitement of new designs or exciting colors and fabrics.

  10. Sandy says:

    When it comes to taking quilting classes, I want to learn a process. I’m not interested in coming home with a product. I do like to use patterns sometimes, but choose my own fabrics. Other times a photo of a quilt or an object will be an inspiration. I have a number of UFOs that may get finished someday. Or maybe not! Your red & white blocks would be fun to work with, but I really don’t need another project, so please pass them on to someone else!

  11. Florence says:

    My quilt projects are usually made with family members in mind. It’s always great fun choosing fabrics and designs I think they would like. Although I enjoy the quilting process, I think I am a product person because I can’t wait to see the completed result. I would love to win your beautiful red and white blocks because they would be perfect to use in a quilt I plan to make for my oldest granddaughter who is going off to college in the fall. Her new school colors are red, white, and black. Thank you for your generosity and making an unknown someone very happy in the near future.

  12. Bev Aguilar says:

    Laura, I really try to be one who finishes a project. But I’ve found myself leaving many that perhaps don’t become a favorite and starting others. Therefore I have many UFOs! I won last weeks ruler so I don’t expect I’ll win again but if I do I think I’ll put the blocks together & donate the quilt to someone in Moore,OK.

  13. Lizzie says:

    I’m definitely a process person– I stop and take pics halfway through projects. Just today I looked at a photo and saw that I had written down a possible song name, and I went and looked it up! I would have forgotten that if I hadn’t slowed down for the process. Still, I usually work from start to finish on a piece, and if it has to sit I feel mighty sad. I am aiming to work on several at a time, with different difficulties or goals. I’d love to use your red and whites as a jump off for a sample quilt, where they are the constants, and mine are off the path in other colors or sizes. What a collaboration that could be!

  14. Some times I whip thru a project and finish it in record time. Other times I rotate projects, hopping from one to another, never seeming to be able to finish one.

  15. I start making blocks for my quilts, don’t know what kind that makes me

  16. Susan Melgaard says:

    Oh Laura you are so right about the not finishing projects. I need to complete a good dozen or let them go. We had Mary Kerr come to our guild last year and give two trunk shows. In one of them she had groups of quilters each take a block, like you are giving away and creat a small quilt from that block. It was mind blowing. I would love to start a group with your set of blocks to see what could be done with them. Thanks for the offer. This one is a winner.

  17. Debbie says:

    I loved Mary Ellen Hopkins. I have a lot of her books and have seen her lecture. I loved some of her sayings, such as “all reds go together”, She was really inspirational and funny. I love the whole quilting process. I like to make wall hanging size quilts a lot so I can try different techniques and patterns.

  18. Sandy A in St. Louis says:

    Well, hubby says I have quilter’s ADD, so I guess I jump from project to project. I do tend to lose interest in something, set it aside, then go back to it later. If I have a deadline, I am great at getting it done, but if there is no hurry then I tend to put it aside for the next great project.

    I would love to win these blocks because I am going to a friend’s house in Chicago in June to go to the quilt show there and also help her put together a couple of charity quilt tops. These would be great to add to a charity quilt!

  19. Generally, I have a purpose for my projects when I start them; meaning they are not random but planned. I usually have one or two machine projects, and one or two hand projects going all at the same time.
    These blocks are delightful and I think they’d make a lovely new wall-hanging for my wall. Thank you for offering them to one lucky person.

  20. Jane from MA says:

    I need accountability – and motivation to complete my projects. Usually, through intrique or just trying to hone a new skill I try a block or two – then maybe they go into a tote or pillow – But –
    give me a reason to complete that quilt – and I will. So I guess I am an inbetweener – BUT one thing I know – I would love those blocks!! Thanks for the chance, Laura.

  21. Laurel says:

    I like to have multiple projects going, something to piece and some appliqué or binding for at night in front of the TV with hubby. My goal is a finished project each month. I keep a notebook of different quilts with a place to “check” off when completed. So satisfying! Most are given away to family or charity. Some go on the wall for decor are a bed to brighten a bedroom.

    I am a lover of red and a goal of mine is to make a red and white quilt. Those red blocks would make a great starting point!

  22. Lisa Cristwell says:

    Since taking your class two summers ago I’ve started (and sometimes finished) about 20 quilts. I try to be the person who completes each quilt started but I guess I have ADD or something (squirrel!) because often some have-to-have pattern or fabric jumps in front of me and I “need” to work on that right now. Or, a pattern just gets too hard for me and I put it away until I feel the strength to start again…

    I think your red and white blocks are gorgeous and would love to turn them into a quilt for my guest bedroom!

    Hope all is well with you and your family!


  23. Linda Stone said it all for me! Thanks again Laura for giving me a memory that had been put back in my memory……..those days at Empty Spools were wonderful, and such a good memory. I started with dolls and Eleanor Peace Bailey, remember that ole lady wreath doll? Then on to quilts etc. Just yesterday I came upon a quilt, the first one I made with Diana, and while it isn’t perfect, I could never part with it. I have many unfinished projects, but I’ll get to them. Thanks for your friendship, teaching and memories Laura.

  24. Linda Stone says:

    When I saw today’s post that said “giveaway”, I thought, “yay”, but stopped short when I saw what it was. Alas, I have my own blocks from my own first quilt class! Some of those same blocks, too. So I’m not asking to be included in the giveaway, but just to say thanks for reviving a lovely memory . . . yes, from the early 90’s . . . 1992, in fact.

    In the early days I started and finished quilts but I wanted to do it ALL so now I must have 12-15 (at least) UNFINISHED quilts! In my heart they will be completed one day, but in my mind I know they probably will not . . . at least not ALL of them.

    I credit my teacher for instilling a love of quilting that is stronger than ever. She had us making our own templates with graph paper, rubber cement and file folders! Of course, I don’t do things that way any more but it was a great basic start. I was lucky, too, because there were lots of quilt shows on TV at the time . . . including yours and Diana’s . . . I devoured them all.

    Thanks for the beautiful memories.

  25. Sharri Marich says:

    I truly try to finish one project before I start a new one( but sometimes it just doesn’t work out ! ) I love choosing fabric with a special person in mind, I try to gift most of my quilts! I quilt for Hospice so I can always find a good home for my quilts and your lovely, lively red blocks would cheer someone up! Choose me, choose me!

  26. I have a stack of red and white blocks and there are not enough to really make anything. If yours and mine were put together, I think I’d have a beautiful quilt.

  27. Sherri says:

    First I would love to win those blacks because Iw ant to do a red and white quilt, I never can find enough red so I am always on look out for red. My quilting style is I want to complete an quilt before I move on to next one, i will sometime finish one to three tops then go back and quilt them, I love the piecing process but not that actuallly quiliting but once I start the quilting I do enjoy it. About 10 years ago I started my first quilt and I decided it was going to be an king size quilt, and a crazy quilt with memory pictures, this one is not done- I did not like the job I done on it or the colors, but I have decided to turn it into a shower curtain that way all my guests can see the photos and it will remind me how far I have come in quilting. I am taking your crafsy class and want to thank you for your excellent instructions.

  28. MargaretFritz says:

    Most of my quilting is finished with a goal of completion for gift giving. My style of quilting is tailored to the recipient of the quilt. I “step out of the box” with quilting for my own pleasure.
    My first quilting class was in 1996 with you Laura. My then pregnant daughter-in-law took the class with me,but due to early delivery for my granddaughter, we were not able to complete the class and {guess what?) neither one of us has completed our quilt ! :) What a JOY it would be to take the opportunity to add some of your unfinished blocks to our quilts to add to our memories of beginning our quilting journey!!! Also, I can see a table runner by adding some blue & white to finish off the red & white to celebrate Flag Day, June 14th! Thank you for a welcome “spark” to bring out the unfinished quilt tops!

  29. lattegirl40 says:

    I would have to say that I am a combination of both! I have about 9 ongoing projects right now, crazy, but true!! But when I needed to complete a quilt for a friend I had no problem working many hours a day till it was completed!!
    I would love to receive your blocks, one because they are beautiful and I have wanted to build a red quilt, and two, because I had a fall and right now all I can do is sew, but no cutting (can’t but too much pressure on my arm!) I’ m sure wherever they find a home they will be treasured!!

  30. Anne says:

    I am both I think process and product. I have a Drapery workroom that supports my family. So I have to be a product person. I see projects completed everyday ( or I don’t get paid ) I have always seemed to get other projects completed but never my own. I’m a professional longarm quilter but I have not one quilt in my own home. My children and extended family all have quilts thou and that’s what’s important. One day I will finish my own. I am in a block swap where I swap with one person a month. My theme is red and white blocks so I will eventually get my quilt finished with the help of others. I would love your red and white blocks as they would bring me a few blocks closer to completion.

  31. elle says:

    I’ve changed. I started lots of projects because I wanted lots of quilts. But now that I have some and some not finished I am enjoying the process. I’m taking time to ‘smell the fabric’! lol

  32. Rosemary says:

    As a retired Home Economics teacher I can definitely say I am a process quilter. I enjoy learning a technique and then moving on. I guess that’s why I can’t make a quilt with all the same blocks over and over. I know I did do this when I first started quilting, but now seem to have a “short attention span!” It’s also why I enjoy the Craftsy BOM because each block is different and it fits into a large project. I have been cleaning out my sewing porch in preparation for a temporary move while our house is renovated and have come across many unfinished projects which I am attempting to complete. I have a large stash of old (vintage!) fabrics that I hate to part with so I try to incorporate those fabrics into new projects. Some in my collection would be perfect for potential grandchildren but as yet none have appeared. My son-in-law recently gave me new hope as he completed his PhD and has taken a job paying “real” money as opposed to living on grants/loans. I have been trying to eliminate as much as possible as my husband is one who throws things out and cannot understand my desire to save things.

  33. Sheila says:

    I am the type of person that starts many projects , takes part in many BOM projects and most times I finish them but not always in a timely fashion . I gift many of my projects the rest decorate my home in one way or another . I would love to win these blocks as I love red and white quilts , thanks for the chance.

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