Thursday, May 13, 2021

Why does a project become a UFO?

For the most part, I'm happy with all my quilt projects. I like the fabrics I picked to work with, I like the pattern instructions, and I like the design. My issue is that I take on too much and literally run out of time to work on the project and that's why most of my UFOs are UFOs. Once I drag a UFO out and start to work on it, I get that same feeling of excitement as when I started. 

However, I have ONE project that's a nightmare. I've stitched a fair number of mystery quilts in my time and I'm done. I doubt that I'll ever do another one. The last one almost did me in. If a pattern is written logically, with good instructions for fabric choices, mystery quilts can be amazing, and I've had some great ones, and I've had some bombs. One bomb related to color was totally my fault. I should dig it out and show you. It's a good lesson in color. 

Anyway, Sunday is our UFO club, and I had chosen this UFO as my project. Since it's almost Sunday, I'd better get to work. 

This is a mystery from 2010? 2011?? For whatever reason, I decided to make the lap size AND the queen size. What the heck was I thinking? 

Here's the colorway for the lap quilt. It's done - well, the top is done, and it's sitting in the "to be quilted" pile. 

The fabrics for the mystery lap quilt

For the queen-sized quilt, I decided to buy the fabric recommended in the pattern. I'll start by saying this fabric is so NOT me; I have no idea what possessed me to buy it and make a QUEEN-sized quilt from it. It was a weak moment, to say the least. 

So, here we go - here's the pattern to the end of Step 7 or something like that. 

The center of the quilt as per the pattern

And YES, my quilt top looks the same. At this point, the top is 63" by 63" or something like that. 

My version of the center of the quilt

For the most part, I kept up with both projects. However, I distinctly remember having the final installment while I was working on Number 7. I did NOT peak ahead - big mistake. 

We merrily made these blocks which you figure are for the border of the quilt. 

Blocks for the border

So far, so good. THEN, I opened up the final installment, and I see this. I was MAD - hopping MAD. What designer would do this? YES - that outer border of the red is put together in PIECES. And the seams butt to each other in THREE PLACES along that seam. The instructions say to press the seams open to relieve awkward bulk. 

What a nightmare mess for pressing

This is how the border was to be assembled. 

Does this make sense? 

Let's say that I was not happy. Oh - I said that already. The project got shelved. I've tried to resurrect it on several occasions, and it just makes me mad, so it got put back on the shelf. I ran into the designer at a local show and complained bitterly about the pattern. OK -- I didn't complain bitterly, but I told her that I didn't like her instructions and that there were MANY other ways to put this together that made sense. 

Her response? "My quilt testers thought it was fine." Does she even use quilt testers? If so, they need to be taught how to press properly, or she was just trying to appease me. I don't know, but that was the lamest excuse in the world. Normally her stuff is bang on, with great instructions, EXCEPT that her pressing instructions are BAD. She did a sew-along several summers ago, and the pressing was totally wrong in the pattern. 

Well, after several attempts to figure out how to rejig those blocks into a border, I said SCREW IT. I'll make two quilts. 

I can't remember if I said I would have both done for Sunday or just one, but I'm aiming for both. 

I laid the blocks on the design wall. So nice to have the Long Time Gone quilt OFF that wall. 

So the blocks don't look half bad like that. I'll remove the red sashing along the right-hand side and add a row of sashing between the rows of blocks. Not sure if I'll add a cornerstone or not. 

The blocks on the design wall

I still have quite a bit of fabric to work with. I remember the quantities being an issue, or perhaps it was just for the back? I don't remember, but I know that it took a long time to find some of this fabric. 

The fabric I have to work with

Oh -- I had to laugh as even way back then, I was twirling seams!!!! 

Twirled seams

And here's what the quilt looks like after a bit of sewing this morning. The first two rows are together, and I think it's going to look just fine. I'll likely add a red sashing, and then who knows. I'll let the quilt tell me when we get to that stage. 

Progress is being made on the "new" quilt

Gosh, I've listened to so many podcasts, YouTube shows, and comments or posts on Social, that I can't remember where I saw this next idea, but I thought the idea was brilliant. 

In the mess of fabrics above, I found a charm pack. It was broken open, so I don't know if I had to steal from it or what. Anyway, how many of you have charm packs and have NEVER touched them?

A charm pack

That goes for pre-cuts as well. OH -- I think I read this in a magazine from 2013 that I had downloaded from the library. NO -- it was on the MODA fabrics blog. Anyway, this person popped open her charm packs, her jelly rolls, and her layer cakes. She then sorted them by COLOR and used them as her scraps!!! Now that is a brilliant idea. I know you're horrified, but I think it's a fabulous way to use these pre-cuts. Why? 

So you've bought a LOT of pre-cuts, yet you haven't used them. They look too pretty. And let's face it - so MANY of the colors, especially from the same designer are the SAME Color. Slightly different pattern, but SAME color. And most of the time, the fabrics within the pre-cut are useless to make a quilt. Not enough lights or darks, too many mediums, and then there's at least one or two (or more) that just don't belong. DO NOT BELONG!! What were the designers thinking? Oh yes -- they needed 42 fabrics, so let's just throw some oddball thing in there. 

Anyway, this idea of making scrap bins from pre-cuts is the best thing I've heard in a long time. 

I'm feeling in pretty good shape work-wise. I'm relaxed and calm, although the quantity of work that needs to be done is huge, and I don't seem to be making a dent at all. But that's OK - just keep plugging to the next deadline and try to avoid URGENT deadlines, and life will be good!!! 

However, this morning, a bad thing happened, and I knew it would happen, and I did nothing to prevent it. This is how accidents happen in the house. I was back and forth to the design wall, and a VERY LARGE sewing machine was sitting on an angle between me and the design wall. I was careful to sidestep around it. Then when I wasn't looking, the machine moved right into my path, and I whacked the side of my foot on that machine. Let's just say that the pain was so intense, I didn't even have the time or the breath to say a bad word!! Thank god it wasn't my toe because it would have been broken for sure. 

Let's just say that it still hurts, but I'll get over it. And I'm sure there'll be a HUGE bruise on that little toe later today. But life goes on! Can you tell that I grew up on a farm? There was no time for babying small accidents like that - you just move on!! I should be fine to walk this morning, but gosh darn it - that stupid thing hurt!!!

Another busy day ahead of me. One presentation, more writing, and a custom quilt. Thankfully, it's not huge, and I've got two days to get it done. Quilts to trim, embroidery to finish designing and stitch out  (I'm LOVING working with the embroidery software), and so much more. In the words of Alex Anderson, this is our hobby (OK - so - it's more than a hobby for me), but we should be savoring our projects. There's no need to rush through them. Savor your projects, work slowly on them and enjoy the process!!!!  I see so many people start something and have to RUSH to get it done. Why? Sewing is NOT a competitive hobby. Just saying. 

Since today was all about UFOs, I want you to dig out another UFO as I think we did that last week. How are you making out? Get it out - decipher what needs to be done. And do you want to finish it? 

On that note, I'm out of here!!!

Have a super day!!!



  1. I've been plugging away at a UFO using up my 2" squares box. Yesterday, I got it to flimsy stage! Wohoo!!!

    Free pattern here if anyone is interested:

    I also attached binding to 2 UFOs that were quilted last month. I hand stitch the backside so that will come over the next week and they will be done!

    Happy Thursday :-)

    1. Thanks for that pattern. I have one of those projects with small squares - not even close to flimsy stage!!! You are way too organized!!! Kudos!!!