Often someone will mention they’ve lost their quilting mojo of they lack motivation and ask how I stay motivated.  Believe it or not, I hesitate to offer advice on much of anything but I will share a few ideas that keep me motivated.

Probably the most important of all quilting advice I’ve ever received was when I got my first quilting machine.

Yep, that’s it!  The advice I was given should probably have been:  Run, Judy, Run! but, the advise was to set a realistic amount of time each day I could spend with the machine.  And then no matter what happened every day, within reason, I would spend that set amount of time with the machine.  Most everyone who has tried this, including myself,  has found that just getting started is the hard part.  Once you get started, you’ll probably find that you don’t want to stop.  Believe it or not, there are days when I have to make myself get started quilting but once I start, I never want to stop.

Another incident that has kept me fired up  through the years happened at an estate sale back in 1997.  In Louisiana, I never attended estate sales where the belongings of someone who had died or was downsizing was all spread out like a garage sale and everything was sold.  I realized that finished quilts, no matter how poorly constructed or how fancy, or how worn always sold right off the bat.  Tops that weren’t finished, either the piecing wasn’t complete or the top wasn’t quilted, just sat around and usually went with another box of sewing paraphernalia for $1.  Not what I wanted for my tops!

And, I’ve mentioned it here before.  I love my stash!  You love your stash!  When you and I are gone, Chad and your kids are going to see it as clutter!  Well, your kids may not but Chad definitely will . . just get it out of the house!  I’ve been to too many estate sales where fabric was sold for 10¢ per yard or bundle. Not my fabric!  I’m using every square inch of it . . or that’s my goal anyway.

Those three things keep me motivated.

If you’re feeling a lack of motivation, here’s my advice:

  1. Is your sewing room tidy and organized?  This is one of those instances where I’ll have to say do as I say, not as I do! 🙂  Really though, if your sewing room is a mess, sometimes it’s just hard to face the disorder so if you think that might be your problem, pick a day . . pick an evening . . pick something this week and clean up enough that your sewing room is a fun place to be.
  2. Think about how much time you can spend sewing each day or even each Saturday.  Figure out what works for you.  Don’t overestimate your time because you may feel like a failure when you can’t meet that goal.  Hey . . I heard there’s a real good book out if you have an hour a day in which to sew!  🙂
  3. Look at your unfinished quilts.  If they’re buried, don’t waste time digging them all . . just mentally visualize them.  Do you want them sold for 25¢ when you’re gone?  No?  Then get busy and get them finished!  Even if you can’t quilt them, you can donate them to groups who will quilt them and find good homes.  QOV is one such group if your quilt fits their parameters.
  4. Fondle your stash!  Yumm!  Good, huh?  Do you want that sold for 10¢ a yard when you’re gone?  No?  Then get busy and use it!

Feeling motivated?  I thought so! 🙂


  1. 2


    Words of wisdom………You are so right. I somehow manage to sew every day. Not always at the machine. Sometimes handwork but I spend time with needle and thread every day.

  2. 3


    Great post, Judy. Thank you! I follow the Flylady and break everything down into 15 minutes. I find that if I do something for 15 minutes, even when I’m not really in the mood to tackle it, my mood changes. That goes for cleaning up the sewing room, working on a creative project, or dealing with the paperwork that accumulates everywhere. Once I feel that I’ve been productive, the slump seems to lift. It also helps to follow people like Judy Laquidara to keep the mojo fresh!

  3. 4


    I agree with the keeping your sewing room tidy. For me, it has to be my cutting area and ironing board that stay cleared off, even if my shelves and drawers aren’t neat! Also, since I have a small bedroom as my sewing room, I hang my tops with their backings on hangers so I see them every time I get into the closet (no doors, just curtains to push back on my closet). I only have two tops right now as I am not a prolific quilter but it does cue me to get working on them. I also cut and piece my binding while sewing the top so that’s all ready to go too when I get the quilt made.

    Someday I will have a bigger sewing room when youngest DD is grown and gone, at which point I hope to double the size of my cutting table. But I’ll still want it to be clean and ready for me to work on at all times!

  4. 6


    Good tips here……and I can vouch for the fact that the book you mentioned is a GREAT one for those who can only sew in one-hour (approximate) blocks of time!!!

  5. 8


    Great advice! I would also add making public commitments…whether it be on a blog, to a quilting group, or just with friends or family members. I find that I hold myself more accountable when I have told others what I want to get done!

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    Something else that I think holds people back is that they feel that every quilt has to be “just right”. They don’t. They don’t even all have to be quilted. It’s OK to tie a quilt. People love to have cuddly quilts and most of the don’t know a tied quilt from a quilted one or a machine-stitched binding from a hand-stitched one.

    DONE IS GOOD ENOUGH is my motto sometimes!

  7. 13


    Great post and advice. Thanks Judy.
    I want to transform my domestic sewing machine to a short arm, like your very first one, thinking it will help a lot. Here um my country there are just a long arm dealer and the price is really very expensive, not for my pocket. I’m studying how to make the adaptation. Don’t you want to write a post about how your short arm was made? It will help a lot.

  8. 14


    Good advice, Judy. As I was sewing today and stopped to look for something, I thought I need to decide how I want to store things and tidy up some. Thanks for the motivation.

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    Diane H in Alaska says

    Thanks for all the good advice. I know sometimes it’s hard to just get started but when I do, then I have a hard time stopping. I helped with an estate “fabric” sale and it was an eye opener for me. I want to sew it all up or give alot of it away to someone who will use it.

  10. 18


    I agree that a tidy workspace makes it easier to sew. I try and take a few minutes when I leave my sewing room to get things ready for my next visit. I also try and deal with scraps as they occur.

    I agree, it’s hard just getting started. I work outside the home full time and sometimes it seems like I just don’t have a big enough block of time. Really, even 15 minutes can make a huge difference over time.

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    Did I ever share with you that my mom and grandma had a fabric store in the 60’s and 70’s? And when they retired they kept every bolt that didn’t sell? That stash, polyester and all was a great resource for our family over the years. Need a costume for the school play? Go look in the stash for fabric. Need ric rac for a craft project? Go look in the stash for what you need.

    Last year when my grandma passed away my sister and I had to weed out some of the fabric. We kept what we felt was the good stuff, but auctioned the rest. It was heartbreaking, but we both could not store it anymore.

    Since I have all boys Judy, I can only imagine my fabric will be in the same boat as yours. For quite a few months I have been putting sewing off because I felt I could not dedicate a lot of time to it. Though, after reading your post, maybe I should look at giving it a little bit of time every day or so. When the remodel is done, I might just do that!

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    Nancy says

    Great advice Judy! I often loose my motivation when I am working on the longarm machine. I want a new design, but yet don’t want to spend hours and hours working on this person’s quilt. Often times I do exactly what you said to do, I want to be in my sewing room, but not really motivated to do anything else. So, I begin touching fabric…my mind begins working and the next thing I know I have cleaned my room! LOL Happy quilting!

    • 22.1


      I love a clean and neat room. But, I love sewing better. My room is a mess but will be clean this afternoon. My motivation is the company that supplies my oxygen will be here to check the unit so I have to get the room neat. I also don’t like for anyone to see my mess.LOL Rosetta

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    I do a lot of charity quilts and find that my motivation comes from knowing that the quilts are getting into the hands of kids who NEED a hug. Kids who are in orphanages, abandoned and knowing that this tangible bit of love will be held by a child as soon as I can get it finished up motivates me to work a little longer than I normally would. Knowing that the quilts will be delivered soon makes me work faster. If there isn’t a deadline for delivery, I tend to put things off. I will work slower on quilts for family, because I don’t see the immediate need to finish them up as quickly because family has me to hug and doesn’t need the quilt as badly. At least that is how I feel about my quilting. I still love to try new things with my quilting and make the quilts beautiful, but I don’t have a lot of time to spend on each quilt. there are just too many kids out there who need a special hug in the form of a quilt of their own. Plus, people donate more fabric than I can work through and if I stop to make a perfect quilt, I will be buried in fabric by the end of the year!

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    Whoa, the estate sale bit is pretty amazing. I spend just as much time constructing tops as I do quilting them. So sad to think they could end up in a “bargain bin” if I don’t finish them.