They lurk at the back of our craft cupboards, taking up space and emotional energy: the UnFinished Objects.
You started the project with the best of intentions, but then you ran out of something: materials, time, passion for the project, motivation, direction (how do I quilt it????), the skills to do it justice…
You’ve invested precious time and money into the project, so you’re not about to trash it. With the pandemic putting further pressure on our crafty budgets, time, and energy, this is the perfect time to dust off those UFOs and help them back on their journey to completion (and potentially fast track some holiday gifting!).
Welcome to UFOvember! Over the next 30 days, I invite you to join me in examining our crafty orphans and deciding whether to Resume work on them as planned, Rework them with a Plan B, or Rehome them to another crafter, who can joyfully get them across the finish line.
Feel free to share all about your UFOs using #ufovember!
I’m going to start with an inventory of my UFOs.
Tula, Tula, and more Tula
I never had an actual plan for using my City Sampler block when I started the 100 Days 100 Blocks sewalong in 2018. In fact, I wasn’t really planning to make all 100 blocks! I figured I’d start and see how long I lasted. 100 days later, I had poured my heart, soul, and precious out-of-print fabric scraps into making 100 EPIC blocks.
But I still had no plan for how to put these blocks together into a masterpiece worthy of their individual awesomeness.
When I started the Trinket sew along, I was in the exact same mindset, except by this point I had some idea that I wanted blocks of different sizes to pull together in an eclectic riot of Tula. I only made a handful of 3″ blocks before I dropped out.
Along the way, I decided to throw in one of my oldest UFOs: the blocks I started when I took Jen Carlton Bailey‘s Sew All the Curves workshop through the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild. I love the blocks I made in class, but I don’t see myself finishing the planned quilt. I’d rather incorporate them into this theoretical Tula madness.
Started: all over the place
Status: accumulating blocks
Plan: Rework, eventually
I love Lizzy House. I love her fabrics, I love her wonderful gentle spirit. I love her quilts. I took her Meadow workshop mostly just so I could hang out with her for a few lovely evenings. As with every quilt that I love, I wanted to make it a king size for my own bed. I upsized the planning sheet. I made a dozen blocks. Then once the workshop ended, it went on the back burner.
I never did decide on a perfect fabric for the borders.
Along the way, I’ve waffled on whether to keep going on the king size, or bump it back down to the more manageable throw size. I figure I’m going going to need one king size quilt, so when I make it, I should be sure it’s The One. That’s a lot of pressure for one quilt! Much better to finish it and have it be one of many throws around the house, right? Or maybe I can turn these blocks into a quilt coat?
Started: August 2018
Status: some blocks made
Plan: need a direction. Resume or Rework.
Weight of Love
I took this class to hang out with Libs Elliott, back when I was a fairly new quilter, before we were quilty friends and collaborators. I loved this design, which is not available as a pattern, only as a class. I had been collecting purple fabrics to make this quilt, and agonized over my fabric pull. I finished the blocks pretty quickly, and kept working on it fairly steadily.
I started to doubt my colour choices as the quilt came together. These particular purples weren’t having the effect that I had envisioned. I was 2 seams away from finishing it, when I messed up. I joined 2 columns incorrectly, meaning an entire long row of Y-seams needed to be picked out.
You know I’m no slouch with the seam ripper, but that really deflated me. The project went into time-out, and it hasn’t come out since then. It’s so close to being finished! But my lack of love for the colours is holding me back from putting more energy into it. Maybe this should be my quilt coat? I’ll have to drape the top over myself and swan around in front of a mirror and see how I feel.
Started: August 2017
Status: almost fully assembled
Plan: Resume, or Possibly rework as a quilt coat?
But I love that Octopus!
I started this one early in my quilting journey. I came home from a quilt show and found that all the fabrics I’d bought at various booths worked very nicely together and wanted to be a quilt! I found this free pattern and made a few blocks. Somewhere along the way I discovered my octopuses were slightly smaller than they were supposed to be. Unsure how best to proceed, I set them aside. I love these, but I don’t really see myself finishing them. Anybody want to swap these for some apple or feather blocks? (more on those below)
Started: May 2017
Status: some partial blocks
No longer a baby, not yet a pattern
My best work is done with a recipient in mind. I started designing this baby quilt for a friend who was expecting her 2nd baby. I knew that I would also end up making this a pattern for a Block of the Month. I bought a cushion from IKEA so the fabrics would perfectly match the nursery. I got more than half of the blocks made, and then got distracted by other projects. From a business standpoint, I didn’t have a big enough audience to justify releasing a BOM yet, so other patterns got bumped ahead to the front of the queue.
I’m going to expand the design to a throw size quilt (hopefully I can find enough fabric to make it work! That background is so out of print!) and will eventually gift it to the recipient.
Started: April 2018
Status: some blocks finished
Plan: Rework as throw quilt
Baby Number 2
I was so excited about this one! Dear friends were expecting their first, and I asked what themes and colours they wanted for their baby quilt. Mum wanted greys. Dad wanted brights. Theme-wise: “Space? Dinosaurs? Space dinosaurs?”
I grabbed the FPP dinosaur block bundle from Stars and Sunshine, researched the actual sizes of each dinosaur, chose the right block size to make them all to the right scale, and arranged them around planets, which I would add on at the end using the 6-minute circle method. (I had considered whether it might be better to group them by era, e.g., Cretaceous, Jurassic, etc., but size won out.)
It seems I had forgotten how time consuming FPP can be.
That baby is now a toddler, and has a baby sibling coming any day now. Yay, a new deadline!
I think I’ll finish up the FPP blocks I’ve already started, and embrace the speed of applique for the remaining dinos so this quilt can make it to its recipients before both kids are in college.
Status: some blocks finished
Plan: Rework with applique
This pattern by Jacqueline de Jonge was the most beautiful quilt pattern I had ever seen. I was absolutely captivated by it. I bought the pattern, came up with a fabric pull of plummy, teal, and lime Tula Pinks, and dove into this Block of the Month. And then things got busy, as I published a dozen quilt patterns, hosted a quilt along, and generally hustled my butt off. I eagerly look forward to carving out some selfish sewing time to work on this gorgeous quilt again.
Started: January 2019
Status: 3 of 16 blocks done
Improv North Bee
I was the queen bee for September in the inaugural year of the Improv North Canadian improv bee. My plan was to get 3 apple blocks from each of our 10 quilters, resulting in 30 apples: an apple a day for September. Some of our bee members had dropped out by then, so I’m a few apples short of a bushel.
I also have a partial block that I didn’t finish in time for inclusion in its quilt. I wish I had offered to send the incomplete blocks! Now I’m not sure what to do with this one.
Status: not enough blocks
The Red Feather Quilt
After I assembled, quilted, and donated the Red Feather Quilt in 2018, I said I would keep making quilts as long as folks kept making blocks. I reached out to a few organizations to include the quilt in their fundraising plans, but wasn’t able to make a connection. That meant that these blocks sat, some of them in unopened envelopes in my inbox.
Recently, the Red Feather Quilt post has been making the rounds again, and quilters have been reaching out asking for the pattern. It seems that the Feather Bed pattern by Anna Maria Horner is no longer a free pattern. We need a new plan for a pattern, either for folks to purchase the Feather Bed pattern, or preferably a pattern by an indigenous artist. As with so many other things, there’s work to do behind the scenes to get this one moving again. I’m open to suggestions!
Status: accumulating blocks
Plan: Rework with a new pattern.
Totally forgot about these!
While I was gathering these UFOs for the inventory, I came across a couple more:
This one was supposed to be a 40th birthday present. Then when I picked it back up for the 41st, I couldn’t find a missing chunk of it. I might need to get ‘er done for Xmas!
Started: May 2018?
Status: Almost pieced
These strips were from Steph Skardal‘s precision piecing workshop at QuiltCon this year. The fabrics are all freebies from the goody bag, a giveaway, and Liberty strips that Steph kindly offered. I felt like the Liberty really pulled it all together. I brought them home and played around with layouts that would incorporate everything I learned at QuiltCon. Then the world promptly shut down, and so did my studio.
Started: February 2020
Status: Awaiting inspiration
Plan: Rework with a new pattern.
I think I only have 2 tops that are complete and ready for quilting, both from Summer 2019: Progress > Pride, and my Living Coral Pantone COTY 2019 entry, Coral Crash. I have a good idea how I want to quilt Progress > Pride, and even have a bunch of excellent candidates for the perfect backing and binding. It’s just going to percolate until the time is right.
Started: June 2019
Status: ready to quilt
Coral Crash was made with test blocks for my Glitch quilt pattern. I’m feeling like I’ve gotten as far as I want to with Coral Crash. This one might need to be rehomed.
Started: April, 2019
Status: Ready to Quilt
Check out all the other UFOvember bloggers, for inspiration on getting your UFOs DONE!
9 thoughts on “Welcome to UFOvember!”
What a lovely collection of UFOs. Can’t wait to see how you finish some of these. I’m rooting for you!
Helpful to see your assessment and decision process. I did this process once, at least 7 years ago (maybe closer to 10) and it was very helpful. I rehomed several projects, officially gave up on several (salvaging any uncut yardage to return to the shelves), and put the rest of them kind of in order beginning with “most excited and/or closest to finished” at the front of the queue, receding off into the mists of “someday”. The first couple of years I got quite a few finished. And then I was usually able to knock out at least a couple each year thereafter.
However, it should be noted that I only count a finished top as a UFO if I actually have an intended (and date-specific) purpose for it. Otherwise, they are “inventory” awaiting a purpose. When a purpose or recipient makes themselves known, then I will invest in having the top quilted! Eventually, if no purpose / recipient appears, at some point they go to philanthropy.
Hi, if you want to rehome Coral Crash or But I Love That Octopus for charity quilts, I would finish them or see if someone else in our guild will! DCMQG has just tallied up our 2020 effort…236 quilts to charity this year!
I enjoyed your interview with Karen of JGIDQ. It’s good to know that even the professionals have UFO’s. I have Tula fabric I love, but just haven’t cut into it yet! Those red feather blocks look like a table runner in the making.
Thank you so much for spearheading ufovember. I don’t usually follow along through a whole quilt along. This time I was hooked! I came back to the list and read every day. I saw some old “friends” and made some new ones. I gathered many ideas and learned a lot. Thanks to the many bloggers who shared.