Pick the Quilt WIP Closest to Finishing - Sandalwood Quilt

When your quilty works in progress (WIPs) start to overwhelm you, choose the easiest-to-finish quilt, and take it across the line! Easy progress is a great motivation boost for making further progress.

sandalwood quilt draped over lap

Peak WIP

I'm in a season of trying to get things finished. Trying to make progress. I have hit what I like to call "Peak WIP." I can't focus on anything new until I clear out some of the old projects that are taking up space in my WIP cupboard, on my quilt top ladder, and in my head. It happens to me every so often, and I'm not entirely sure if it's related to my hormonal cycle, if it's seasonal (a post-Christmas/New Year Spring clean), or if it's contextual (I just got back from a big exciting trip and I don't know what to do with myself). But, when it does strike, I try to make the most of it. I embrace having multiple quilts in progress at once, because I know from experience that every so often I'll enter some kind of finishing frenzy, and they'll all become finished quilts in the end. 

I want to add here, that Peak WIP for me is NOT connected in anyway to shame. I'm not embarrassed by how many quilts I have on the go, I don't feel that I need to finish some before I'm allowed to start anything new. I know from experience, that I have a cycle of hitting around 20-25 WIPs, usually including around 10 quilt tops. Once I hit those numbers, I find it hard to dive into a new project, even if I want to, or even if it would be good timing in my business. I don't think I hit these numbers because I've done something wrong, or that I should avoid these numbers to avoid this discomfort or creative block. I just think it's my natural rhythm. 

corner of sandalwood being held up
sandalwood on chair

Grab the WIP That's Closest to Finishing

When Peak WIP hits, the first thing I usually do is find the quilt that's closest to finishing and finish it. And that's what I've done with my Sandalwood Quilt. Most of my 'finished' quilt tops aren't actually ready to baste and quilt. They need the final edge pieces added, papers removed, and they need to be pressed. But, Sandalwood was actually done and ready for choosing a backing and basting.

Now, sometimes it's not as simple as choosing a quilt top and a backing and WHAMO - finished quilt! Usually my quilt tops build up for a reason. My floor's a mess and I need to tidy it up before I can baste. My table's a mess and I need to tidy it up before I can get to my sewing machine. I can't see my cutting table under all the cut fabric that I haven't put away. So deciding to finish a quilt usually starts with enough of a tidy up to make it easy to sew. But, I find that once I cross this hurdle, all the rest flows easily.

Evie sitting with finished sandalwood quitl
sandalwood quilt with corner of backing

An Easy Finish for My Sandalwood WIP

I used Rifle Paper Co's Cabana Stripe for the top, and I was excited that when I dug through my drawer of yardage that I buy on sale for backings, I found this Rifle Paper Co floral lawn. It was just the touch this stripey quilt needed to finish it off perfectly, and I had just enough to cut and piece it into a backing for this 50" square quilt. 

I decided to hand-quilt Sandalwood mostly because I wanted a zig-zaggy pattern to follow the blocks, and I really don't like stopping and starting and moving a quilt around in my machine. My go-to quilting is straight line machine quilting, but I thought that might compete a little too much here with the stripes in the quilt. I like that hand-quilting can be a lighter touch, and let the shapes and the fabric be the main event.

hand quilted details on sandalwood

An Easy Binding Tip!

Once I finished quilting, I trimmed only the top and the wadding, and then trimmed the backing 1" from the edge of the top. I then folded it over to the front to act as binding. This allowed me to use the floral for the binding even though I had run out of the print for the back. I love the colourful painted florals against the fawn and white stripe! It's so soft. I think it would make a perfect baby quilt. (Or teen quilt - my 13 year old has claimed it already!)

Sandalwood is the third quilt pattern in my Hexie Handbook. It's a traditional tumbling block pattern. I used the fabric requirements guide from this post to work out that I needed 3 1/4 yards of the stripe, and then very carefully cut the stripe so that it was always facing the same way on each diamond. I love how even though they are simple tumbling blocks (three diamonds sewn into a hexagon), what you see moving in and out across the quilt are stars.

sandalwood quilt draped on chair
sandalwood quit draped with backing

What's your next quilt WIP finish?

If you want to make some headway with your quilt WIPs, I highly recommend starting by choosing the most finished and taking it across the finished line. It's such a satisfying way to feel progress quickly, and then, if you're still motivated, you can make the most of that clean floor and clear table to baste another! 

Want more tips and encouragement for finishing or embracing those mounting WIPs? Check out more WIP posts here!

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