Monday, November 8, 2010

A Word About UFO's

Over the weekend I cut patches for more Churn Dash blocks and sewed up some Flying Geese units. I quickly used up two of my background fabrics. That meant a trip to my LQS to see what I could find that would work with what I already had. Remember, this project started back in the day when I only bought the occasional half yard or full yard cut. I've always preferred multi-fabric quilts over those made of only two or three prints. Unfortunately, when a project gets put away for 15 years it can be hard to find coordinating prints.

When I think about it, I've never been one for planning very far ahead. If I'd been thinking far enough into the future with this project I might have purchased more background fabric. I would have realized I would need more in order to sash the blocks. But I didn't have enough experience back then to know how much fabric sashing eats up or even how many blocks it would take to make a quilt for a full size bed. I suspect in the back of my mind I pictured myself working steadily on this and being able to buy more fabric as needed. Live and learn!

Now I have more experience under my belt and I know myself better. Still, I found it hard to wrap my brain around the idea of changing this project from what it was going to be into something I would actually make and finish. In some respects I'm not so good with change. In fact, there were two quilts I wanted to make back when I first succumbed to the quilting bug. One was a Bear's Paw featuring burgundy blocks on a neutral ground. The other was this "Pioneer Quilt." Both were going to be bed size quilts. Ha.

Now I know I'll probably never make that Bear's Paw quilt (never say never!) but at the same time I have struggled with changing up the plan for this "pioneer quilt." It's been hard to let go of the original plan and change it into something that excites me enough to actually get it finished. I'm not sure why that is. I do know that unless some changes were made this would remain a UFO.

And that's what I wanted to say about UFO's: that they get put aside for a reason. Sometimes it's just a matter of not having time to work on them but sometimes it's because we've become bored or disappointed with the project and we may not even realize it. It was a big step for me to realize that I had outgrown the original plan for these Churn Dash blocks. Once that had come to light I was able to ask myself whether I still wanted to make blocks in this color scheme, whether I still wanted another bed quilt, and what process would make me excited to work on this again. I'm not interested in sashing a lot of the same blocks together but I have been wanting to have a go at a medallion style quilt. Voila! That's how the arrangement on the design wall came to be (see previous post).

Now I have a new dilemma on my hands. I want to keep cutting and piecing and put this top together but I made a commitment to complete the two children's quilts and get them in the mail before Thanksgiving. I think I can alternate machine quilting and cutting patches without disrupting things in the studio too much. So here we go...
:- )


  1. Good luck finishing it up. I know how you feel and it must just be a quilter's block we have. (No pun intended.) I have been to so many estate auctions and have seen and sometimes bought lots of vintage quilt blocks. I can't help but wonder what the original maker had in mind for them.....

  2. Great to hear how this process evolved. I agree, I stop working on a quilt when I'm disappointed or bored with it. Putting it away, and waiting for my own growth, maybe is the best thing.

  3. Excellent post Sue!!! I'm soooo glad you mentioned doing it, and then did it! I'm going to mention it in my post today, I think it would do many of UFO pledge quilters a lot of good to read it.
    What happened to you is almost exactly what happened to me back in Sept/Oct. when I combine those Y2K siggy blocks with Jacks over Six. It's such a liberating feeling. To see the old "plan" die, and a new more exciting one take its place. To rise from the ashes and become a whole new thing!
    I hope if you must do that quilting to space it with working on this project that stirs your creative fire right now. Hugs, Finn

  4. Your post is so timely for me! I've committed to a UFO challenge beginning in January and I've had serious doubts about some of my "put away" quilts. Do I want to finish them? Would I be better off donating them to organizations here is Oregon to be finished or made into something new? Would I be able to put these on my Challenge List and when that month came be able to, fairly, mark them off as done if I decided to just give it away, unfinished? Your post has made me decide that I should at least give any one of them a chance at a new life. Maybe not as I originally planned but creatively as something totally different. Thank you for this perspective! Toni

  5. Great post, Sue. I think anyone that's been quilting a while has run into the same situation - bored or discouraged with a project. I know I have! And it's good to know/realize that it's OK to move on to another plan. I agree, change is hard. But coming up with a direction that excites you is the only way to get that UFO done. I may have to do something like this with some of my old UFOs too!

    I think your plan is very exciting, and it's been fun to watch you work on this. Keep going! Don't lose your momentum, if possible. I hope you can get both projects done at the same time.

  6. What a good point you made--It's how I sometimes end up with a few orphan blocks myself. Eventually, I use them elsewhwere.

  7. You hit home with a lot of your comments and new understandings. Oh, the things we learn!

    I have been working on a quilt started maybe 4 years ago. I ruined it, took it apart and am reusing the pieces and made something new. Waste not, want not and giterdone!


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