Already this new program has generated a lot of questions, mostly about how we're defining a UFO. I've thought about this quite a bit and decided this is the definition we're going to work with:
A UFO is any project you have left and must return to.
That's pretty simple, right? It's any project you've made some start to - picked out fabric colors, cut out pieces, began sewing blocks, etc, but you stopped working on it and have left it alone for some time.
No, I personally don't think UFOs are only dusty quilt tops on a shelf you haven't touched in 5 years, though those would certainly be a good choice to start with!
This week I worked on a UFO that's pinned to my design wall that I look at every single day, but I haven't touched in 3 months. It's still a UFO because it's unfinished and I must return to it.
It is the returning factor that is important here. Returning feels pretty distinctive and not always pleasant.
When you start a project, you have the pumped up, excited, adrenaline feeling of starting something new. You're ready to go and enthusiastic about working on the new project!
But if you stop working on a project, if you get bogged down about it and for whatever reason walk away from it, the feeling of returning to it is very different.
Put it this way - no one ever walks into a quilt store and says "I need to buy some fabric I'll cut up and stuff into a bin for the next 3 years!"
No, we buy fabric and cut it up with the best intentions. Now we just need to return to those intentions, pull out those projects and decide what is worth finishing and what needs to go.
Oh boy...did I really say that?!
Yes, you need to DECIDE what you WANT to finish and what quilts are not worth your time. Time is a precious resource and it doesn't make sense to waste time working on a project you hate.
So this week take a look at your list of UFOs. What is the one you want to work on least? Ask yourself why.
Is it the construction? Can the quilt be fixed or repaired? What bothers you most about this project?
It might be a good idea to take 30 minutes to journal about the project. Write down your feelings and dig into the emotion behind it.
Yes, abandoning and returning to a project is emotional. You might find projects you can't return to because of issues beyond the fabric and thread. That project may have been started right before a difficult time in your life and looking at it reminds you of that time. This has certainly happened to me with Sinkhole, which is why that quilt ended up being caught on fire.
As for what to do with quilts you just can't finish, consider donating them to your local quilt guild for charity quilts. Another alternative would be to sell it on Ebay. Sometimes the best thing to do when a project gets too heavy and bogged down is to release it to someone else who doesn't feel the same way about it.
But of course not all UFO quilts are like this! Sometimes a quilt is a UFO simply because you haven't had the time to finish it, or there's a bit of construction that's intimidating. That's been my case with this 365 quilt:
What's the problem with this quilt? There's really two problems: 1. it needs to be pieced together, then finished by hand, 2. I have no idea how the borders are going to work.
So here's a short video about this quilt and how I decided to work on it this week:
As you can see in the video, the 365 quilt is in a real state of disarray. I have one huge panel put together, but the other strips are stuck to the design wall needing to be put together.
I only had a few hours to work on this quilt and began putting the strips together. After 3 strips were together, I realized this wasn't a very logical way to proceed with this UFO.
Here's why: if I walked out of the room, I'd have another big panel of strips put together, but also still a mishmash of unprepared strips with no binding. It would still be an overwhelming monster and not something I'd feel excited about working on.
So I simply focused on completing the most basic step: I attached binding to all the strips.
When I left the room yesterday, it looked like this:
With all the binding attached, suddenly this quilt doesn't feel so time consuming to work on anymore. When I walked into the room today, I could see how easy and fast it would be to get these strips together and be able to get this quilt off the wall. Suddenly the excitement is back!
No, I still don't know how I'm going to deal with the borders of this quilt, but I really shouldn't be worrying about it right now. This quilt needs loads of hand work to be completed before the borders will be attached, and hopefully during that time I'll figure that step out.
So I hope this story helps you see how to proceed with a UFO you have in progress this week. I really hope this new program helps us all to tackle our unfinished projects and make a solid stab at getting them finished.
Sometimes you just have to pull it out and get it through 1 single step. Just get the blocks together, or get the blocks connecting into strips, or get the quilt basted. It doesn't have to be a huge step, but a step in the right direction.
Instructions for Linking Up Your Blog or online photo:
1. Write your blog post. Publish it on your blog. If you're linking up a photo, first upload it to Flickr or Facebook.
2. Copy the link of the specific blog post. This is not just the link to your blog itself (www.freemotionquilting.blogspot.com), but the link to the specific post: http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2012/01/quilt-along-2-quilting-in-rows.html
3. Click the blue link up button above and paste your link into the box.
If you have any questions about finishing your UFO, make sure to post them clearly within your post. 5 questions will be selected and answered on Monday's UFO advice article.
By the way, if you'd like to share this program on your blog, grab a button below!