Work with What You Have

Work with what you have - from Shiny Happy World

Sometimes working with limitations leads to awesome results – creative choices you wouldn’t have made if you had unlimited access to supplies.

Here’s one of my favorite examples.

red quilt with wonky yellow squares and one lavender square

Many years ago I designed this quilt for a book called Simple Contemporary Quilts. I had already made a smaller, lap-sized version for myself, and that’s what I sent in for my pitch. They loved it and accepted it, but wanted a larger version for the book.

Here’s the thing – the smaller version was all yellow squares.

When I made the larger version I miscounted the yellow squares and ended up one short when it was time to sew the blocks all together.

And I was out of the mustard yellow fabrics.

And I was on a deadline.

I didn’t have time to go out and try to find more of the same yellow fabrics – so I decided to work with what I had. I made the last square lavender and LOVED IT. In fact, I think that lavender square is what makes this quilt.

(Luckily the editor of the book agreed.)

Give it a try sometimes. Make a small project using only what you already have on hand. Or work with what you have to solve a problem that crops up in the middle of a crafty project.

I’ve been trying to play around with lettering this year, and one of my goals is to make something new every week. I naturally gravitate toward stitchy letters, but this week I had no time. What I did have was an iPad, some patterns I had already created, and about an hour. Here’s the result – and I learned some new skills in the app (Procreate) I’m trying to teach myself.

Working with what you have doesn’t always result in a masterpiece – but it almost always pushes me to try something new. 🙂

Happy stitching!