Archive for the ‘UFO’ Category



November 27, 2011

I’d like to offer a huge “Thank You” to everyone who responded with votes and opinions for my Mariner’s Compass book title dilemma. I was impressed with all the creativity and I must admit the one that made me laugh out loud was “Origama-mama, Folding Your Way to a Mariner’s Compass”. I’ve made my decision, but you’ll have to wait until the book comes out to see which ones will be used :-)!

That being said, let’s get to this week’s topic: Leftovers!

Isn’t it more fun, when a project is completed, to start something new rather than clean up the leftovers? I think this is one of the reasons my studio gets so cluttered …… small, leftover project piles everywhere. Ugh!

When I do finally decide to clean it all up, there are always chunks and strips of coordinating stuff that I don’t know what to do with. If there are just a few portions of a few strips, I shove them into my  “light” and “dark” scrap bags, but sometimes I really overcut and, since I put a lot of effort into coordinating the fabrics, I hate to randomly throw them into the bags. So the piles sit.

Wait until you see what I came up with :-)!

There’s a new “Jelly Roll” technique making the rounds that is a lot of fun. The idea is to sew all the strips in the roll end to end until you have a verrrrrry long strip. Then you grab both ends of this long strip and begin to sew it together lengthwise until you meet at center. Cut the fold so the unit is half the length and double the width. Continue halving the unit in this manner until you have a strippy, scrappy quilt the size you want (this will really depend on how many strips you started with).

I decided to try this new technique on a pile from a bargello quilt I made a few years back. Those strips have been sitting out ever since – probably feeling very unloved and unwanted.

Sew, I laid out the leftover strips in value order. Then, before sewing them end to end, I realized I could take the leftover stripped units from the project and cut them into the same size strips

 and put them in the mix.

Once that was done I sewed them all end to end and the fun began!

I now have a lovely lap quilt, ready for borders and quilting, and no leftover strips! Hooray!!



November 23, 2010

I enjoy taking on a quilting challenge! Please understand, I don’t mean that I like it when I’ve sewn an entire seam right side to wrong side and I’m challenged to do 40″ of unsewing! A challenge made by other quilters is what excites me. Whether a fabric is chosen and a variety of stitchers are asked to do something original or an organization comes up with a contest, I can’t resist jumping in.

Last week the program chair at Wandering Foot Quilt Guild (thanks Jody) challenged the members to put a UFO in a brown paper bag, along with all it’s components, and exchange it at their next meeting. Each member was asked to complete the UFO they picked up and it would be their’s to keep. Doesn’t it sound like more fun to finish someone elses project than  one of your own that’s hit a dead end? I’m intrigued. (to read more about UFO’s click on that category in the right hand column)

I’ve also been challenged in other ways by some of you through this blog. I’m still thinking about my Liberty of London fabric thanks to the challenge from Pat. That one is in the “marinating” stage :-).

What’s the most interesting challenge or contest you’ve participated in? I’ll tell you my favorite on Friday!


UFO Musings

June 17, 2010

FORTY-SIX! That’s how many UFO’s I had in my bins! I figured that would make everyone feel better, but Lois Jarvis beat me with 67! Lois is also a teacher and she has a delightful blog:

While digging through my bins I decided to have my husband take a picture and….notice the smile. I’m adopting Pam’s positive attitude towards UFOs. They are just waiting to be needed :-). The one I’m holding is from 1991. Can anyone beat that? 

Many of my UFO’s are class samples. That’s not an excuse – just the truth.

In looking through my bins I found 2 crib sized class samples that are already quilted and only need binding. I’m stating here that I will finish them and send them off to Project Linus before the end of the month.

I also found a wall sized top in patriotic colors. I’m going to add borders until it’s the right size for Quilts of Valor and get that sent this month too! I’m writing this here so someone will check up on me and make sure I keep my word :-).

I’ve belonged to a number of guilds that have attempted to address the UFO dilemma and here’s a few of their ideas:

Years ago Linda Marcou, a member of Common Threads Quilt Guild, challenged the members to choose one  in January and bring it finished in December. As a reward all those who were successful were given one of her  handmade labels. I still treasure that special addition to my finished quilt. 

I currently belong to Patched Lives Quilt Guild. Last year they offered one entry into a drawing for each UFO finished  in a year with an exciting prize for the winner.  Many took up the challenge.

Evelyn Link is a friend who’s guild in Arizona asks members to bring 3 UFO”S to a meeting and the guild votes for which one should be finished. Let’s take that to another level – you grab 3 to show to a friend, let her pick one to finish for you and you do the same for her! I wonder who I can get to take up that challenge – hmmmmm.

So often UFO’s are just tops. If you

1. can’t afford to send them to a long arm quilter 

2. don’t have time to hand quilt

3. like free motion quilting, but don’t like to meander,

try this: quilt that next project with the design you doodle when you’re bored. You’re probably really good at it, it will flow easily and the quilt will be done without too much effort. Or, take a free motion quilting class and when you return home, practice all the techniques you learned on a UFO you aren’t really attached to. Then donate it to charity. The recipient will love it and they won’t see all the mistakes that jump out at you. By the time the quilt is done your free mo-ing will have improved!

Hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you’ve been inspired to get something done! I’m rather excited about the accountability I’ve forced myself into in this post. If you’d like to gently commit yourself as I have, feel free to write it in a comment here :-).



June 14, 2010

bins, bins, bins

When a quilter uses the term UFO, it usually refers to Un-Finished Objects (specifically quilts). Now I’m aware there are some unusual quilters out there who don’t have any UFO’s, but I’m quite sure they are the exception, not the norm. In my “stash” post I mentioned I dislike bins, but what else are you going to do with UFO’s?

A year or so ago a friend showed me some UFO’s she had purchased from another quilter. She thought they looked like fun and was planning to practice her free motion quilting on them. I told her I probably had a few I’d give her for free and (can you believe it?) she was excited. This led me to dig through my collection, pick out a few to “donate” to Patricia and then to count those that remained. SCARY! I’ll share the results and some ideas I have for what to do with them in my Thursday post. In the meantime please share your thoughts on UFO’s. How many do you have? Do they cause you guilt? Have you any thoughts on what to do about it? I’d love to hear from you!

PS Wendy Rieves and I teach quite a variety of classes at Waukesha County Technical College and there are still a few openings in our Summer class schedule. My Mariner’s Compass class has been a popular one over the years and I will be offering it again on July 8th. To get the details go to: ; click on Class Search; put a dot in Summer 2010 and type “quilting” in the Course Title/Subject box, then click on Submit. You’ll find this class plus all the others there. I’d love to have you sign up! Blessings, Chris