How to choose what craft project to work on - 4 super quick steps

Yay, it's craft time!

Ok, let’s go. Grab one of your projects.

I’m waiting.


Oh, I see the problem. You don’t know which project to pick!

You have so many projects, both new and unfinished, and now when you finally have time to craft you don't know which one to work on.

Having too many choices can end up being a barrier to crafting.

And any barrier that gets in between the decision to craft and the actual crafting is a huge problem, because even the tiniest barrier can be all that it takes to kill your motivation.

You need a plan so the act of choosing a project doesn’t lead to no crafting at all.

Here are my 4 super quick steps on how to narrow down the choices so the decision becomes easy.

1. Assess your location.

Start to narrow down your projects by assessing your location limitations.

You can probably eliminate many projects in less than 5 seconds.

For example, if you’re headed to a doctor’s appointment and you want to craft in the waiting room, you’re probably not going to drag a sewing machine with you, or a box full of card making supplies. So those projects are easily nixed.

However, an easy crochet project could be perfect. Maybe you like English paper piecing or coloring books. They're all compact with minimal supplies needed, great for the doctor office location (or in my case above, the Apple store).

Assess your location and eliminate the projects that aren’t an ideal fit.

2. Estimate the time you have available for crafting.

Do you have a lot of time to craft or only a little?

Will you likely have lots of interruptions or one uninterrupted block of time?

If you have a limited amount of time, it’s probably best to work on a project where you don’t have to get a bunch of supplies out which sucks up a lot of time.

If you expect interruption, it may be a good idea choose a craft that’s easy to stop quickly and is easy to remember where you left off. I love embroidery for this.

On the other end, if you have a large amount of time, break out that king sized quilt top that you’ve been piecing together for the last seven years (my situation), put on a good podcast and get sewing for the next few hours.

Eliminate the projects that don’t fit the time you have available, or the amount of interruptions you expect.

3. Determine your mood.

Craft time should be a good experience. The BEST experience. So if you try and force yourself to work on a project that you’re just not “feeling” right this moment, then you’re not going to have a great time. And even worse, you might start to resent the project.

Here are questions to ask yourself to determine if a project fits your current mood.

Do I just want to relax and not think?

After a long day I want to work on a craft that hypnotizes me into total relaxation and lets the stress melt away. For me that means choosing a craft with repetitive counting and minimal decision making required. A simple crochet, knitting, or cross-stitch project does the trick.

Always make sure to have a “relaxation only” project in progress so it’s there when you need it.

Do I have a project idea that I can’t stop thinking about?

If this is the case, it’s almost always a good idea to work on this project. If an idea needs to come out then you should let it. Allow yourself the grace and creative freedom to go for it. There is always something to learn and gain by exploring your ideas.

Exploring your ideas is what makes you an artist. But only if you get them out of your head!

Am I feeling ambitious?

Are you pumped and up for anything? It might be time to break out that large project that you’ve slowly been making progress on and now really forge ahead with it. Or maybe it’s time to give that new craft a try that you never started because you were too scared.

When you’re feeling ambitious it’s time to use all that strong creative willpower to do something scary, big, and exciting.

Do I want to finish all of the things?

Occasionally I get in the mood where I can’t stand all the projects piling up and I feel compelled to “finish all of the things!” Do you ever feel this way? When I’m in this mood I go with it. Look at your unfinished projects. There are probably a few in there that can be finished quickly or get to the next step quickly.

Wanting to “finish all of the things” often means your brain needs an “easy win.” Pick an unfinished project that you can complete in the time you have available. Get that win!

Determining what mood you’re in can often narrow your project choices to just one or two.

4. Go with your gut.

Ultimately this is one of the best ways to make a decision. You can do this right away, even before you go through the other steps. If you feel strongly about working on something, you’ll figure out how to make everything else work.

Look at your remaining projects. Touch them.

Which one is pulling you towards it the most?

That’s the one to work on.

It takes practice to go with your gut instead of doing what your brain says you “should” be working on. The trick is to give yourself permission to choose your gut over your brain without guilt. When it comes to crafting, you’ll almost always feel more fulfilled when you go with your gut. Remember, that “should” project will still be there later, and next craft time your gut might tell you to work on that one.

Trust your gut. It’s is pretty smart.

I encourage you to try using these 4 steps to pick which craft to work. The goal is to get as much out of craft time as you can, both physically and emotionally. Your craft time is precious. Follow these steps and you’ll be crafting in no time.

Now that you’ve picked a project, I invite you to come craft with me.

At 9:30 pm central time every evening I LIVE craft on Periscope.

It’s a time to relax, work on a project, hear some tips and tricks, and chit chat. I love hanging out with viewers and we have the best conversations. Periscope allows you to type into a chat box, and I can see what you say LIVE and can respond. It’s so much fun!

To chat and participate in a LIVE Periscope with me, download the free Periscope app from the itunes store or google play store, then search for and follow “penguinandfish”. Your device will notify you when I’m LIVE.

You can also watch without downloading the Periscope app by going to at 9:30 pm central time. You can still watch LIVE online, however you won’t be able to comment. For that reason, I recommend using the Periscope app.

I hope you join me for nightly #RelaxAndCraft time. I’ll see you on Periscope!

I'd love to hear how you choose what project to work on. Do you have lots of unfinished projects? Lots of new project ideas? Do you use Periscope?

Lemme know.

Comment below, or feel free to contact me (Alyssa) at emails [at] penguinandfish [dot] com (type out using the “@” and “.” symbols with no spaces).


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  1. What fabulous tips, Alyssa. Must try some of these. I do find myself with 2 or 3 projects that I do, all at the same time.Whew! So I will try these tips. Thanks.

    1. Thanks, Jenny! I hope it helps you out next time you don't know what to choose. Have a great rest of your week!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Im doing this when i was 5 years old but i forgot all about that.!

  4. This is my hobby special when lazy time. Thanks for remembering us.

  5. I like #2 with time available. I try to do the bigger projects at home and save the smaller ones for on the go. I could finish several small projects in a large time frame to say they were finished and then not having anything to take with me

  6. Thanks for this Alyssa.

  7. I am going to print this out, so I have a reminder!!
    I have been watching you on Periscope, since I discovered you through The Splendid Sampler. I didn't jump in at the beginning, and start making blocks, but I have been working on some blocks here and there. I did get the binders, and I am making copies of every block, so that I do have them for the future. See you tonight, Alyssa!!

  8. Thanks for sharing this site. Your design was so great. I really Love it!>

  9. Your tips aré excellent . I feel many many times lost among all my UFO's. This guidance is very helpful for us who Do crafts. Saludines
    Maru from México.

  10. Yolanda R. McAninchMarch 4, 2018 at 12:00 PM

    I really like these tips...I usually do have 3 or 4 projects going, and now that I have a good spot that I can lay them out so I can quickly access as needed, makes it much easier...and as you say in #2 and #3, I agree 100%; time available and mood are so very #1 is the mood
    Thank you so much for sharing these very important tips..


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