Taking stock of UFOs

I know a lot of people sit down at the beginning of the year (usually January) and decide what to do with unfinished projects, whether that be to actually finish them or donate them.  I’ve never done this, because (so I thought) I pretty much finish what I start within a *decent* time frame.

I’m afraid I was deluding myself. Just because I have never gathered my UFOs in one place doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Today I decided to take stock and –at the very least– put them all in the same place to remind me THERE IS A PILE! I’m a little bit shocked… 🙂 And this has made me wonder what happened for me to leave these particular projects unfinished. I mean, I also knit and crochet, but there are no UFOs there. I really do finish what I start. So why have I accumulated these unfinished sewing/quilting projects? Let’s see…

This first project I actually love! I made it a couple of years ago… and I think it was one of the last PP projects I made. I don’t know why, but after having been a BIG paper piecing fan for years, I suddenly developed a dislike for the technique. (I’m glad I made this before that happened!). And I got stuck because I just couldn’t decide how to quilt it. (Suggestions are truly appreciated!)

Then there are projects that I just was never happy with, and were put aside half-way through. I don’t have the heart to throw them out, but in order to finish them need to come up with creative solutions.

Here is a more recent UFO. At first glance you might say “that isn’t a UFO!” It’s been quilted, it has a sleeve attached, and the binding is on. It even has a label!

The thing is, this was (is) supposed to be a dimensional project, featuring a Rose of Sharon design. And that’s all that’s missing. Don’t ask me why I set it aside…

I then have this Debbie Mumm panel, that was given to me as a gift several years ago. It’s basted and ready to quilt. And that’s as far as I’ve gotten. I think I have resisted it because 1) it isn’t my own design; and 2) it isn’t true applique… it’s just a panel! Now that I have an industrial sewing machine, though, I’m thinking that at the very least it would make good quilting practice…

I also found this bag… it only needs finishing along the top edge! But I don’t like it. Maybe someone else would? I mean, it wouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to finish it!

There are also loose blocks… When I was preparing projects for the My Dream House CD, several of my friends helped me sew some of the projects so we could include photographs on the CD. This one I had hoped to include, but as often happens when more than one person is involved, the blocks turned out different sizes, and I just didn’t have enough time to deal with this project and finish it in time for publication. Oh, yes… one person pooped out, so there still is a block missing, plus the top half of the second house, as you can see in the illustration on the right. And yes, I really would like to finish it (sometime), but this is definitely not at the top of mi list of priorities.

I then have another project I actually love, but haven’t finished yet. In this case, the original design was pretty much what you see in the photograph. All it was lacking was the borders and three figures, two of which were to be partially appliqued onto the borders. I liked this project so much that as I was nearing the end I decided to *expand.* And I got stuck in the design process. It is still going to take some time to figure this one out… On the right are some preliminary ideas, but I’m still not clear on this. Such as no, I don’t think I want hot air balloons in the sky. Or do I? Trying to decide these things kills me!

These next projects also turned into UFOs because of indecision. Do I want them to be bed-sized quilts? Or maybe lap quilts? Or maybe it would be best to make them into wall hangings… I actually made up my mind (finally!), so now can add borders to the first one (which will be a wall hanging), and sew another row of blocks plus borders to the second one for a bed quilt. Naturally, now that the decision is made I still have to wait because for the last two months we have not been able to find batting locally, and are still waiting on that. So this is a legitimate excuse. Sort of.

The next project is still at the block stage. This was the Heavenly Angels BOM project we offered our members two years ago! I actually followed along myself, and made all the blocks…except for the paper pieced ones! (Have I mentioned my growing dislike for this technique? I know, it’s so unfair, particularly when I used to love it!) To resolve the issue, I actually redrew the PP designs… as applique blocks (in the foreground). I could now actually piece the quilt top. And once again the doubts begin… do I want this to be a bed-sized/lap/wall hanging quilt? Grrr…

The next project is truly an embarrassment. I think it’s been sitting around for 7 or 8 years. The jacket pieces have all been cut out, but only the back has been (hand) quilted. It was supposed to be a journey jacket, with lots of inside pockets in which to carry passports, money, eye glasses, etc. This is to avoid having to carry a purse. I had already made a pieced jacket with this pattern, and loved it. It was really practical for traveling. The fact is, however, that I don’t really travel any more, and it rarely gets so cold here to justify having to wear a jacket. I usually get by with a sweater. I can’t see that –if I were to finish it– I would really wear this jacket much. Maybe I should just settle for a vest? Even that seems to warm…

I also found a couple of project that aren’t strictly UFOs, because they are finished. I made them during my early quilting years… and I obviously still had A LOT to learn. Such as squaring up the top before (and after) adding the borders, and putting on a binding correctly!!!! I can’t stand them, so I have decided to take the borders off and redo them.

And that’s not all! But when I reached UFO #15 I decided I needed a break. There are still another four or five projects, but I’ll leave those for another day. In the meantime, I’ve decided the only way I can reduce this pile is by leaving some of them out, and set a deadline for myself. So these are the projects I am going to try to finish by the end of February. Think I’ll make it?

How do you deal with UFOs? Any practical suggestions?

This entry was posted in Sewing/Quilting. |Comments closed


  1. Posted February 14, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Wow you sure have lots to get done. I have even more ufo’s and that includes lots of stitcheries and embroidery projects.

  2. Posted February 15, 2011 at 4:58 am | Permalink

    Usually my UFOs are the projects I didn´t like the outcome. Sometimes it is a wrong choice of colors (this really bothers me) or I just get bored with the whole thing.
    I keep them for a while then check them out again and, if I don´t gag or throw up I try to finish it.

    As a rule……well…..I give them away. Now I´m feeling guilty, but it is true. Life is short.


    • Posted February 15, 2011 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Well, I’m thinking I need to loosen up and give a couple of these projects away. No need to feel guilty, right? It’s better for someone else to enjoy them rather than have them stashed away!