Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ten Ideas to Bring Closure to Your Partially Finished Quilt

What can I do with a partially finished quilt that I know I will never finish? This is a question that was left in a comment recently. What a great question! And there are lots of good answers, too.

A partially finished quilt can be in many stages of life.

  • Cut yardage with an intended pattern
  • Pieces all cut out and never assembled
  • A group of blocks that have not been put together
  • A finished quilt top
  • A quilt that has been layered and is eithe
    r ready for quilting or is partially quilted
  • A quilt that is quilted and just needs to be squared up and bound

Here are ten ideas for bringing closure to that partially finished quilt:

1. Sell it
There are plenty of avenues to sell partially finished quilts. My first choice is to sell them on which is perused by both makers and lovers of handmade items. It does take some time to take good photographs, write descriptions, and such. If you don't want to put in that effort, you could try Craig's List, a simple ad in a local paper, or a yard sale. 

If selling it is way too big a hassle, then consider donating it.

2. Donate to a local quilt guild
We are fortunate to have several local quilt guilds in our area. One of them has a charity quilting group and they are often interested in partially finished projects. They will take them, give them the attention they need to be completed, and then donate them. Another of our local guilds has door prizes each month and would love to offer a partially finished quilt (especially a finished quilt top) as a door prize.

3. Donate to a charity organization

I was certain that if I donated my partially finished quilt to an organization such as Good Will that they would chuck it straight into the trash. Well, they don't! A number of my quilty acquaintances are also avid thrifters, and they absolutely love finding partially made quilts and other crafts. There have been many occasions at show and tell time at a guild meeting where the shown item would come along with the comment, "I paid $4 dollars for this at the Good Will!" I love it when that happens. All quilts need to find their way to a loving least that's my goal for them.

4. Donate to a quilt teacher
Don't know a quilt teacher? Ask about this at your local quilt shop or guild. In general, a machine quilting teacher would love to have small quilt tops ready and available for their students to either practice on in class or to send home with the students so they have something to quilt right away. 

5. Pay someone to finish it
If it is a quilt you would really like to keep and see finished, consider paying someone else to do it. In our area, there are a good number of long arm machine quilters who could quilt up a top fairly quickly and at a very reasonable price if you stick with a simple design. What if you have already started quilting it? That gets a little trickier. There are people out there that enjoy doing this sort of work. Again, those resources are best found by asking either your local quilt guild or local quilt shop. In our area, there is also a church ministry that hand quilts. The wait is a bit longer but they do great work.

6. Cut it down to a smaller size

Maybe you would finish it if it were smaller. If this is the case, don't hesitate to cut it down to a more reasonable size and finish it.

7. Turn it into a tablecloth
I attended a very nice luncheon where the host had used a quilt top as the tablecloth. I thought that was a great idea. It was a nice addition to the table and it didn't matter that the edges weren't finished. It was a great conversation piece during the lunch, too, since of course, every quilt has a story.

8. Make pillows
Some might gasp at the thought of cutting up a perfectly good, partially finished quilt, but I would do it without hesitation. If it is going to sit in the depths of a closet or bin for the rest of its days, why not cut it up and use it. If your quilt is only at the block stage, there may not be any extra cutting involved. Cut it up, stitch the edge, and insert a pillow form. Done!!

9. Create hot pads and pot holders
Another way to use up those parts. Cut them up if needed and turn them into hot pads and pot holders. This is especially fun if your original quilt had a holiday or seasonal theme.

10. Gift it on a note card
I love doing this. Buy blank note cards and envelopes. Cut a rectangle from your partially finished quilt and use spray adhesive to attach it to the outside. A unique and custom card in a matter of minutes.

Don't let those unfinished objects and works in progress sit forever, especially if they are ones you know you will never finish. Sell them, breathe new life into them, or donate them. Then move on to that new project you know you can't wait to start!


  1. Great ideas! Many I had never thought of. When we are settled after our move I will be utilizing some of those clever ideas.


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