Confession - I Don't Like Fussy Cutting!

These Ice Cream Soda blocks have been weighing on my mind for months. I really like them, and I'd love to make a whole quilt from them, but instead of the project being fun and new and different, I haven't enjoyed it. I've had to push myself at every step...

fussy cut ice cream soda blocks

Shouldn't I love fussy cutting?

Fussy cutting, I'm learning, is outside of the usual flow that gets me excited about making. It's more thinky and fiddly and when I choose fabrics and cut them out, I feel like my brain cogs are grinding. For months now, I've had this unexamined thought floating around my head that if I love EPP and I love Anna Maria Horner fabrics, that I really should love fussy cutting. That it's a waste not to use these fabrics this way. Or, that if I'm running a business that people are drawn to because of beautiful blocks like Jackie's, then I should make the most of it and promote fussy cut blocks, too. And, I definitely shouldn't tell anyone that I'm not having fun and I want to quit, because maybe that will make them want to quit, too.

original Ice Cream Soda quilt

Willing to Be Vulnerable

And so, I made some time to sit with these uncomfortable feelings and bring them out into the light. It feels a little vulnerable to admit it when I spend so much time encouraging you sew for joy, reminding you that it's not a waste of time or money if you try something and discover you don't like it, and that you are worth the time spent experimenting, making mistakes, and getting to know what you love, with the freedom to quit when you discover you don't. It feels vulnerable because I still have this idea that because this is my job and not my hobby, I should hold myself to a different standard. That I should be willing to do things I don't love for the hope of extra sales. It's funny isn't it? I chose to work for myself so that I didn't have to do what someone else told me, and then I've become my own demanding boss! 

It made me go back to my old Ice Cream Soda quilt, my original version, that I've always thought was pretty rough around the edges. I've always wanted to remake it because I learned so much about colour and contrast and print placement from the blocks in it that I didn't like. I wanted to make a version where all of those lessons were put into practice and I loved ALL the blocks. But, when I pulled it out, I remembered that I love this quilt because of it's imperfections. I love that it's messy and scrappy and random. It feels so me. And, making a quilt where all the blocks are perfect is the kind of pressure that makes me shrink and buckle, not thrive.

more fussy cut ice cream soda blocks

Giving Myself Permission

So today, I gave myself permission to quit. I feel sad that I'm not the kind of person who loves fussy cutting, just like I'm sad I'm not more organised or outgoing or able to live on junk food and noise. But, I've reached a season where I feel like the point of life is to get to know who I am, rather than trying to shape who I am or fit into who I thought I was. I feel like that saying, “Bloom where you're planted” is misguided. As a very terrible gardener, I know from experience that hardly anything in nature just blooms where it's planted! It needs the right soil and the right light and the right nutrients. And for me, that's messy, scrappy quilts, and the freedom to flit between projects, to try new things, and to stop when I realise it's not working out how I imagined.

ice cream soda quilt original

Make Your Own Wonderfully Imperfect Ice Cream Soda Quilt

So, while I can't make a fussy cut quilt that makes you want to stop everything and cut holes in your favourite fabrics, I hope you're encouraged to tune and learn what you love, what makes you want to come back, what doesn't feel like work. 

If you want to make your own wonderfully imperfectly YOU version of Ice Cream Soda, I've made a how-to video to get you started! 


  • E

    To be honest? While the fussy-cut quilts I see all over are stunning examples of the art, I know that I am not driven enough to create perfection. Seeing one fussy-cut quilt after another starts to feel like a barrier to entry, while seeing scrappy quilts “celebrated” makes me feel like I can do that too!

  • Trish Gimbrone

    We are so hard on ourselves sometimes. Your quilts inspire me and bring me joy. I recently saw the honeycomb EPP wreath quilt and fell in love. What we do should bring us joy, it doesn’t always, but it should. It’s good to stop and reflect on what you love and what you loathe. I love the scrappy quilts i see on your Instagram page, it’s an expolsion of shapes and colors. Keep doing what you love. You already have a distinct style, and it draws me in every time.

  • Louise

    So glad you know yourself well enough to know what gives you joy. I can’t wait to use my new templates because I love the look of fussy cutting so your preferences won’t discourage me. Who knows how I’ll react so thanks for including photos of those blocks, too . Continue to find your joy. That’s inspiring.

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