Jan 21, 2014

The Year of the UFO

I have more UFOs than I can count. I'm not bragging. It's not something I'm proud of. In fact, I'm afraid  it has turned into a really bad habit. 

And all of these UFOs are starting to overwhelm me. It seems that I get going very enthusiastically on a project and then somewhere in the middle or, even worse, close to the end, something happens and I get interrupted. Then I lose all motivation for what I was working on and I move on to another project. Sometimes I have all the blocks finished and I don't even sew them together. Other times I get to the border-stage and can't make a decision on what fabric I want to use or how many borders I want to add. As I write this I'm starting to wonder if I just might be a little tiny bit ADD. :)

The worst UFOs are my finished tops that I haven't quilted. I feel the guiltiest about those. Some of them are even sandwiched and ready to go. But I just can't do it. Either I can't decide how I want to quilt it or, more commonly, I don't feel confident enough with my quilting skills to obtain the results I desire. 

So this is going to be THE YEAR OF THE UFO. I have gone through my UFO pile and have selected the ten that I want to finish. I have prioritized them too and I have them in a nice neat stack. I think a goal of one per month is reasonable, so I'm going to try that as my timeline. I will begin the first of February since I already have a project I'm trying to finish this month. 

Some months my UFO is going to require more hours to finish because the top still needs to be pieced and/or borders need to be added before it gets quilted. Other months I just need to quilt. Some of my projects are quilts, others are wallhangings, and one is a really cute pillow I started ages ago. 

In addition to my UFOs I have several projects that I want to start (and finish!) this year. I want to make a king sized red and cream quilt for my guest bedroom, a Christmas quilt and a quilt for my sister in law. I am also doing a block swap with friends and I have my appliqué project, so I think I have plenty to keep me busy! 

I took pictures of my UFOs so that I can keep track of my progress. Here are my projects for 2014.....

For February I want to finish this wallhanging that was a round robin I participated in way back in 2000-2001! Yes, it really is THAT old! I hang my head in shame!

This project was so much fun! One group member graphed this layout and assigned each block a coordinating month. We picked our own theme for our round robin, made a theme block and journaled about our vision for our quilt.  On a specific date we all mailed our block. Each month we were working on a block for a friend's quilt and then mailed it on its way. We had no idea what our own quilt was going to look like until we held a reunion the next Spring. The reveal of each quilt was so much fun. I sewed my blocks together, put on my borders and started quilting. I was marking my quilt with a blue quilt marking pen to help guide me as a quilted. When I put water on one of the blocks to "erase" the blue ink, my quilt bled! I was so upset. And it was MY BLOCK!! It was a red DMC thread that I had used to hand blanket stitch my flower. I was so upset. I took the thread out and worked on my quilt to remove the pink stains. I got all of it out except one small spot to the right of the flower-right along the seam where the next block meets. 

I was so upset with myself that I put the project aside and never came back to it. Well, now I have gotten over it. I think it's time for this UFO to be finished and see the light of day. I even have a specific place I am going to hang it as soon as I am finished. Right over the mantel in my great room!! A place of honor for all to see. And I am not going to even point out the tiny little place where the pink stain remains. :)

My March UFO is going to be a very easy quilt. In 2012 I swapped Civil War reproduction fabric "bricks" (2 1/2 X 5 1/2" rectangles) with four friends. We mailed 5 of them to each other every month, along with the blocks we were swapping for another quilt (the UFO I will be working on in April). The idea behind these bricks is to sew them together in long vertical rows to make a narrow quilt to fit a soldier's cot. But, of course, I wanted mine different, so I sewed sashing between my rows to make my quilt wider. This is as far as I have gotten-

I need to sew one more strip together and then sew all of the rows together. The quilt does not have a border at the top and bottom. So, 14 seams and this top will be finished and ready to quilt. I think I can do this in one month. It's my March assignment. 

For April my UFO will be the block swap quilt from 2012 I did with four friends. (I blogged about it here when we started this swap.) I have all the blocks sewn together-but no borders on. I picked a black and cream stripe for my outer border and it needs to be mitered to look great. The problem is.....I have only mitered corners on one other quilt--and I had a really hard time with it! So, I sat this aside until I got all psyched and ready to tackle it. That day just never came and it got moved off the design wall and into the UFO pile. I think April will be a great time to perfect mitered corners and get this quilt finished. 

May and June are going to be sister finishes. This quilt is called Carson's Courtyard and I blogged about it here. In 2013 I swapped blocks with five friends (same four and we added a new friend). This time we used 1930s reproduction fabrics. It was fun to work with bright cheery fabric. We swapped blocks for 10 months and now have 60 blocks. They are 11" squares, so it would make a VERY large quilt. Since I like to make lap quilts I decided to make two quilts with my 60 blocks. As it turned out, half of the blocks were predominately pastel and the the other half were brighter. 

I arranged the pastel blocks by color diagonally and have them sewn together in rows already. I just need to get the rows together. I am going to put a narrow white border and then a piano key border of reproduction fabrics on it. It should finish up somewhere around 70X81" when I'm done. 

I haven't sewn any of these blocks together yet. I am going to put a narrow white border on this quilt too and then a second border of the blue fabric. It will finish about the same size. 

In July I am going to finish a small project. This is another round robin-this time from 2002-2003. We decided to do four 4" blocks-each person picking their own theme and fabrics. I wanted to use my Indigo fabrics from Africa. I had quite a collection of fat eighths and thought this wallhanging would be a fun way to use them. I mailed my fabrics with my project because I didn't expect anyone else to buy these just to use for my quilt (they are not easy to come by either!) The blocks were all so cute, but I packed them away until I could decide what I wanted to do with them.

Since the blocks are so little everyone paper pieced them. Last year I removed all the paper, cut the sashing and sewed all the blocks together. This year I am going to get it quilted and done! I did make a chart in my notebook that has the name of each block and its maker. I am going to record all that info on fabric and use it as my label. I can't wait to finish this one-it's just so darn cute!

For August my UFO finish is going to be a block swap I did with my friend, Pam. We both love Jo Morton Civil War reproduction fabrics and have quite a stash of them. We had been looking at the Paducah Nine Patch quilt in Pat Speth's Nickel Quilts book for years. I blogged about this top here-it was one of my first blog posts.

My top is complete and I LOVE it! And this is the year it is going to be quilted and finished! I can't wait!

Since September has me bringing out Fall decorations I am going to finish this little wallhanging. I bought the pattern and made this about four or five years ago, but I have never gotten around to quilting it. 

October I am going to tackle my most difficult UFO of the year. I blogged about this top here and here and never took a picture when I finished the top. I need to trim my setting triangles and then this will be ready for quilting. I have purchased a template that I think I am going to use to quilt the star blocks. 

If I make it this far, my last UFO for the year will be a pillow. I bought this Winter Blooms pattern  at the Houston Quilt Festival in November 2010. 

I'm not sure why I haven't finished it. I have the fabric, buttons, pillow form and even some cute rick-rack that I decided to use on it. But again, I got part of the way through it and quit. This center section is already appliqued and quilted. 

It's 15 X 32" when finished and I already have the perfect spot picked out for it. 

So, (sew?) if I make it through the year as planned I will have these 10 projects to move from my UFO list to the finished column. Wish me luck! I think I'm going to need it! 


  1. Wow, I am impressed. You have so many different and wonderful projects to work on. What a wonderful year of stitching ahead of you. Good Luck with keeping up with your goals.

    1. Thank you! I hope I can just keep up. Life has a way of keeping me out of my quilt room. I need to stay focused-and I'm hoping that putting this out there for everyone to see will keep me motivated to stay on track.