Tuesday, November 3, 2020


On Sunday, Bobbie from Geeky Bobbin wrote about "things that lurk in the closet taking up space and emotional energy".  She was not referring to Halloween ghosts and ghouls, but to our UnFinished Objects, those quilt projects that we were so excited to start but somehow never finished. In an effort to help us bring them out into the light, she has dubbed this month UFOvember and invited us to take inventory then resume, rework or rehome our UFO's.

I'll manage the inventory part just fine.  I'm not so sure about those 3 R's, but at the very least, taking inventory might help me put the brakes on new "just because" projects and encourage me to work in a few older projects in my leisure sewing time over the next few months.

UFO's have many manifestations.  They might be cut fabric that never reached the sewing machine.  Others are blocks and block parts that didn't graduate to quilt top status. Finally there are the quilt tops that never got quilted.  Looking at my UFO collage I think you can guess where my projects get stuck! Looking through my project bins confirmed that I have no UFOs in pieces and parts.  They are all finished tops, languishing, waiting patiently for me to quilt them.

I remember a time when I wouldn't start a new project until I had quilted and bound the one I was already working on.  I felt very virtuous. That was a long time ago.  At various times over the last 15 years I have had a stack of tops languishing, then got mostly caught up, but I have never been back down at zero.  I've come close, but the lure of the next project always proved too strong.

This citrus version of Focal Point is the oldest UFO in my studio.  I pieced it in spring 2015 as a test piece for my first magazine publication (American Patchwork and Quilting June 2016).  By the time I had custom quilted the three different versions the magazine published, I was all out of inspiration and this one was tucked away in a box.  Every time I thought about pulling it out and finishing it, another deadline would crop up and this poor little runner went back to the end of the line.  I still love the fabric choices and desig, and I want to finish it, but I still have deadlines.  In fact, I seem to be accumulating deadlines as Canuck Quilter Designs picks up steam. Maybe I need to start thinking about re-issuing this pattern on my own to nudge this piece over the finish line.  Perhaps a Spring 2021 pattern release deadline?

Next up is my RSC Butterflies quilt.  I started this one in January 2017 as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project. I designed the block (see the tutorial here) and happily pieced a block a month.  I didn't sustain my enthusiasm for 12 months, but the 9 blocks I made turned into a quilt top in January 2018, after much debate about the layout.  It sat for a year as I pondered how to quilt it, then I decided to use my quilting rulers to machine quilt it.  I pulled it out, promptly decided I hated the layout I chose, wished I had chosen differently, and put the quilt away again.  I finally started quilting it earlier this year but I'm still not excited.  It's back in the UFO pile.  It isn't a candidate for rehoming, as hubby likes it, so I will eventually finish it, but I think it is firmly in UFO territory.

The rather uninspiringly titled "Tiles" is also in the UFO pile because of flagging enthusiasm.  This one was supposed to become a pattern.  I pieced it very quickly over the course of a week in May 2018 and was thrilled with it.  Right about then other life priorities took over for a bit, and by the time I came back to this to quilt it and write the pattern, it didn't make my heart sing anymore.  I have the backing and the fabric for the binding, to match the triangles on the edges, but I just can't muster up any enthusiasm for it.  At the same time, I love the fabrics.  The picture doesn't do these Northcott shimmer fabrics justice.  So, it's a 50/50 split between rehoming and hanging on a little longer in case inspiration strikes again.

My other remnant from 2018 is this ombre runner.  I wanted to play with ombre fabric, and I wanted to try making prairie points from a strip. This doesn't suit my home at all and I set it aside to see if it would grow on me.  Turns out it hasn't.  Unlike Tiles, this one didn't really excite me much as I was piecing it, so I suppose it shouldn't be surprising that I can rehome it with no regrets.  This one will find its way to the guild "free stuff" table when in-person meetings resume eventually.

The rest of my unquilted top UFOs are all casualties of lack of time.  I haven't set them aside because I've lost interest. As more of my quilting time becomes taken up by sewing samples for my patterns, less urgent projects get booted to the back of the line.

Connecting Geese is a fine example.  I had to piece it quickly to test the pattern before sending it off to Connecting Threads in April 2019, but it didn't have to be quilted, as Connecting Threads would make its own sample with their featured fabric collection for the November 2019 catalog. Quilting cover quilts for my independent pattern releases came first.  I do love the rich colors in this top, and am sorry I didn't get it quilted up in time for this fall season as I had planned.  With that in mind, is it bad of me to already be plotting a second version, using frosty blue fabrics I used for these placemats?

Is a project a UFO if it is less than a year old?  That would be a personal judgement call, I suppose.  I'm slapping the UFO label on any project that has come to a screeching halt with no idea when I might pick it up again.  I found it rather disconcerting to realize quite how many I created this year alone.

Next up is the impulsive project. I had been drooling over these Botanical Blues florals from Connecting Threads for a while and bought some for a different design that I ultimately decided to shelve.  I just couldn't not use this fabric.  It was just too darn pretty, and well, blue.  I love my blues!.  Since my original Cascade, made modern in greens on a black background, had come together so easily and quickly, I thought the pattern was a good candidate for a quick "just because" side project.  It was, except that I didn't have time to quilt it, so it's another UFO.  But someday I'll make time, and it will be gorgeous, so I'm keeping it! 

My original Cascade resulted in another UFO.  I pieced scraps from the top to make a scrappy back for it, but I liked it so much I decided to keep it as a separate top. I think I'll call it Waterfall, but it's not getting quilted anytime soon.  I think my son would love this at some point, so it may get finished for his first apartment after college graduation.  I have a couple of years to squeeze it in.  It's a long range plan, but a plan!

My first version of my Shuffle placemats went into the UFO stack when I realized the three greys I chose for the accents didn't show up as very different in the photo.  As the three shades were meant to be a feature of the pattern, I decided to make a different set for the pattern cover.  These blue and grey ones are still lovely thoufgh, and since I have the backing, batting and binding all cut and ready to use, I think these will migrate off the UFO stack before Christmas.  I'm sure I can think of someone who would love these.  Another plan!  I may shrink the UFO stack after all!

These curvy sunflowers from Sew Kind of Wonderful using their mini quick curve ruler were on my "want to make" list for a long time and I treated myself in March, when the pandemic hit and I needed some down time.  I had expected to have it quilted by now, and I'm sorry it's in the UFO pile. It is, as so many of my tops are, a casualty of my pattern sewing.  Meeting deadlines took precedence this year as I work to build my design business.  However, I do love it and I know just how I want to quilt it.  I'm going to save it for when I need some down time again.  I'm sure the winter blues will need to be chased away sometime in the next few months, and these sunflowers will be the perfect project to help with that.

Well, I'm not sure my inventory has been terribly helpful for you, but it has helped me get a grip on what's lurking in the bins.  It turns out the stuff lurking in my UFO pile may be taking up space, as Bobbie wrote, but looking through the projects has actually recharged my energy instead of using it up.  I'll let go of the one project I really don't like anymore, give some thought to rehoming one, and resign myself to finishing the butterflies.  All the rest have me itching to fire up the sewing machine, so it's all good!

I hope you will take the time to visit the rest of the UFOvember bloggers this month.  Some will focus on inventory, while others will focus on one of the three R's (resume, rehwork, rehome).  I'm going to enjoy seeing what's in everyone's UFO stack and how they tackle it. I suspect many will be more proactive  than me!

Blog Hop Schedule

November 1 – Bobbie Gentili –  Geeky Bobbin
November 2 – Becca Fenstermaker – Pretty Piney
November 3 – Joanne Kerton – Canuck Quilter
November 4 – Sue Griffiths – Duck Creek Mountain Quilting
November 5 – Ashli Montgomery – Me and Coach
November 6 – Anne Boundy – Said With Love
November 7 – Sarah Ruiz – Sarah Ruiz Quilts
November 8 – Teresa Weaver – Your Sewing Friend
November 9 – Karen Brown – Just Get It Done Quilts
November 10 – Bobbi Bridgeman – Snowy Days Quilting
November 11 – Raylee Bielenberg – Sunflower Stitcheries
November 12 – Althea Gyde – Blue Heron Quilting
November 13 – Kenzy Hogan – Sewing Corals
November 14 – Leanne Parsons – Devoted Quilter
November 15 – Jessica Caldwell – Desert Bloom Quilting
November 16 – Laureen Smith – Tourmaline & Thyme Quilts
November 17 – Karen Kehl – Better Done Quilts
November 18 – Stacey H – Two Terriers Studio
November 19 – Cinzia White – Cinzia White Designs
November 20 – Laura Piland – Slice of Pi Quilts
November 21 – Rachel M – The Barefoot Crafter
November 22 – Kathryn LeBlanc – Dragonfly's Quilt Shop
November 23 – Judit Hajdu – Quiltfox Design
November 24 – Lyra McCabe – Quilting McCabe
November 25 – Jill Therriault – Stitching in Heels
November 26 – Cristina De Miranda – Ships and Violins
November 27 – Kate Starcher – Katie Mae Quilts
November 28 – Valerie Prideaux – Cozy Funky Cool
November 29 – Kim Mastromartino – School of Line Design
November 30 – Natalia Knowlton – Nerdy Quilter


  1. Wow, that's a lot of unquilted quilts! I like the colors and layout of Tiles. You've got you work cut out for you.

  2. We're not going to talk about my Rack of Shame, okay? And we're going to deny the Closet of Shame even exists. But I am like you in having a lot of unfinished tops. My reasons for having them are different (squirrel!!!!), but they do sometimes nag at me. Having a tangible list of them has helped me decrease them in the past and it sounds like your list is doing the same for you. (I should probably go make myself a list now, right?!)

  3. You have some beautiful quilt tops waiting! I too have quite a few at this stage and some block collections as well. Maybe I'll have to take an inventory sometime this month.... might need hubby on standby with smelling salts though =)

  4. You have so many wonderful creations. I have far too many UFOs in all stages of production--from fabric and pattern in a box, to tops draped over hangers in the closet, and everything in between! I don't think I can go there now. I am depressed enough with Covid and the elections. I don't think I want to know how many projects are lurking in the closet and cupboards! LOL

  5. All your pieces are so pretty and modern and fresh! I understand how the UFOs can start to weigh you down. I started quilting a bunch of mine and now the stacks of quilted but not bound pieces are weighing me down! And they take up a LOT more room than tops. I better keep plugging away at them :)

  6. Congratulations on having the courage to look! I thought I was doing OK with UFO's until I really started to look around in different places and then added them up. My reasons are different from yours- just have to have more than one thing going on at a time to add to the mix!

  7. Reading 'I remember a time..." I was nodding in agreement. It could have been me writing. lol

    Your work is beautiful and I hope you eventually make a pattern for Tiles. We are moving and I have my fingers crossed that I find inspiration to finish some UFOs in the new place.

  8. Good on you getting everything to the quilting stage, even if you didn't get any further with these. I have a few sitting waiting too (and my pile is a little higher than yours). Wishing you happiness as you work through some of these to completion :-)

  9. That's quite the collection of projects!! Best of luck on the finishing.

  10. Unlike Sally, I do not think that’s a lot of unquilted quilts. This is probably because I have several of my own as well as several still in the blocks stage! I like reading through why they became UFOs and I think it would be good for me to evaluate my pile at the end of this year perhaps as I look forward to 2021. Deadlines certainly do interfere with finishing projects.

  11. I made a set of your placemats last December as a Christmas gift. They turned out well. I definitely have increased my UFO pile this year because I've been home, so my goal for next year is to get them finished amongst the new projects I start!

  12. I loved the review of your tops, they are all so pretty!

  13. I love your citrusy Focal Point and would love to have a pattern for it. I also love Tiles and hope you can sum up enough motivation to write a pattern for that one too. Thanks for sharing your list; I loved seeing the UFOs and hearing their stories.


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