Saturday, February 26, 2011

UFOs, Letting Go of Guilt and Discovering Connections to the Past

Hi, I'm Terri from UFOs and UBIs, and I don't have any tips on how to reduce your stash or a great pattern, but hopefully I can give you some insight into dealing with your UFOs (UnFinished Objects).   Recently I was lucky enough to gain a crafty room, so I did an inventory of my UFOs.


These are the ones I came up with in the first go-around - I count 18 in this picture alone! And I know there are some more hiding somewhere!

The blue and red one on the far left-hand side is my oldest UFO.  It dates back to 1978, when I took my first quilting class at the local community college.  It is made from assorted calicos and poly-cotton blend solids. The teacher was a diehard traditionalist and led me to believe that it could only be quilted on a large frame.  That led to it being put aside, not having the room or the money for a frame, even though all the blocks were finished.


There are several kits as my local quilt shop does a lovely job of putting them together, I just never seem to get to them!  And my newest project is in there too, a mystery quilt from the magazine Vignette by Leanne Beasley.

But I come by this trait to accumulate UFOs honestly.  Check out these ones:


These belonged to my grandmother!  They are all hand-pieced and the fans were completely assembled, folded in the box. 


 I believe they date to the 1940s, based on the fabrics used.  This Snow White print is one of my favourites:




My mother wasn't a quilter (she sewed clothing) but she inherited these two projects.  At some point in the 1990s, she whipstitched the Dresden Plates onto a yellow poly-cotton blend.  Again the family trait raised its ugly head and we now have a 3-generation UFO!  I'm determined to finish it this year by adding a solid circle to the centres of the plates, some simple sashing and simple quilting (and maybe I'll get my daughters to help with the quilting to make it a 4-generation quilt).  So future quilt historians aren't confused, I'll be sure to put a label on this one as the fabrics will span a 70-year period!


Here is the second project.  I'm not sure what pattern this is, but it is interesting to see how my grandmother constructed it.  She started with the centre square, then added a 2" square on each side, and then added the next "ring" of squares. Here's a closeup of how she did it.




It seems so foreign to me, who learned chain piecing and assembly by rows.


I have a number of blocks, all in various stages of construction and I'm debating not completing the quilt, but having it framed to show all the various stages.  I think it would make a great piece of art!

Having these UFOs/projects in my possession has given me a new insight into the past and my own habits and a wonderful connection with my grandmother and my mother.  It has also given me an opportunity to revel in my own UFOs and not feel guilty about having one or two left undone (although 18+ is too many).   I love handling the fabrics, imagining my mom and grandma working with them and wondering if my grandma ever did finish a quilt, as I don't have any and don't remember seeing any.

So how do I plan to deal with my UFOs and let go of my guilt? 

As I'm organizing them, I'm bundling them in a package, making sure it is complete with the pattern and some notes about when I bought the fabric, pattern and who I plan to make it for.

I started a blog to keep myself accountable and add a list to prioritize my UFOs, and that has led to completing 3 this year already!  Here is a picture of my latest completed flimsy (for a new baby granddaughter due to arrive in June):

  
And I don't let myself start a new project without completing an old one.  This means I can still play without getting bored, which I can easily do.

The best part about finishing some UFOs?  I can add the leftover fabric to the stash, and start all over again!  So dig out those UFOs, add some notes to them for future generations to enjoy, just in case you don't get to them and leave the guilt behind.  And if you get some done, share them for all to enjoy

I have a giveaway!~


Leave me a comment here on Stash, and then come on over and  visit me here.
become my follower ... and you can win this...
Book Marie Osmond's.. Heartfelt Giving...


( Madame Samm did this review)

Good Luck everyone and thank you for having me Madame Samm and all of you
who visit Stash. It was indeed my pleasure.
Terri in BC

WINNER
congrats. Terri, 
chose the lucky winner of this great book...

#25 is Laura from Quilting Fun




Marie Osmond has heart and she pours herself into this delightful book of sewing projects. From aprons to pillows, to doll quilts and tween quilts, she has something for everyone. Her patterns are all included in a pretty pink envelope, her designs are tasteful

and well illustrated. Her customized ruffled shower curtain is a must for all those who are looking for a feminine bathroom. If you can sew a straight line you will be able to stitch this up in a day, add some coordinated bath towels and you will end up with a one of kind look that will become your favorite room in your house. This is a must read and one you will want to own if you are looking for multiple projects for all ages. 

67 comments:

  1. Does it really count as a UFO if you inherit it ... gosh darn it ... now you've added to my guilt JUST KIDDIN'!! Love your post and thank you for sharing!

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  2. Many are on this journey with you. It is rather exciting really. Each quilt/project finished provides a certain life liberation. I am cheering for you. Can you hear it?

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  3. I can't even imagine trying to hand sew anything. I love the idea of a 4 generation quilt!

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  4. I love your idea of completing one UFO for each new project, I think some success can be accomplished using this strategy this year.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    plnewhou(at)juno(dot)com

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  5. I've declared this year "the year of UFOs". Hope to complete one quilt each month. January and February quilts are finished. So far so good. LOL

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  6. The history to those quilts are fascinating

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  7. My great-grandmother was a quilter, but if she left any UFOs, they didn't come this way.
    I do have plenty of my own & am determined to finish at least one of them before next month's guild meeting...I have a finished African Folklore Embroidery block that I want to make into a pillow. And next month, our speaker at guild will be Leora Raikin, who brought these wonderful things to the U.S.!
    Good luck to you in your UFO finishing quest!!!

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  8. You make me feel so much better about my own UFO's!

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  9. How wonderful to have a quilt your grandmother and mother have worked on it will be a very cherished family heirloom I am sure! It seems many of us are working through our UFO's this year I have finished organising all mine into there own project containers that's a start right? Love the bunny quilt, one spoilt baby!

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  10. I am trying to finish some UFO's but other projects keep calling me.

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  11. Now I know not to worry about my ever expanding UFO's. I shall just leave them to the next generation to add their bits to them. Having seen Barbara Chainey's collection of antique's many of them are unfinished and just as beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us.
    Shirley.

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  12. I made a similar resolve this year, and finished a quilt I began in the early 1970's see Flikr links, there are several more to finish but find that when i am in the final stages of one project my mind has wandered off to the next:
    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/55642760@N07/5328730484/in/set-72157625304142605/]
    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/55642760@N07/5362501918/]

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  13. Very insighful. Like you I too am trying to complete a UFO. Not much more to go. Thank you for the inspiration.

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  14. Good Morning Terri....what a great post...I inherited quilts but not blocks from my family. I would have loved to see how they did it back then and feel the fabrics...they were almost batiste, they were sew thin in those days...Such treasures you have in your midst...and NOOOOO uhuhhhh I don't think they can be counted as UFO's no mammm lol. You are an absolute delight and your bunnny quilt is beautiful...

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  15. Love the fabrics in your Grandothers quilt.

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  16. Great UFO's. I am a first generation quilter so I didn't inherit any, but I have accumulated plenty of my own.. The next to last one you show, pieced in rings, is what the old timers up here call "Trip around the World"... or "Trip around the Mountain" (as we are in the Smokies and everything is "mountain" here). Very popular with the older quilters in our area. For your circles you are going to add on the Dresden plates, you might try Linda Franz/Inklingo's new circle collection she just introduced last night. Would make those perfect circles so easy. Love your post. Thanks for sharing...

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  17. Enjoyed your post, it was very thought provoking. I am almost at the point you describe. Now all I have to do is start finishing UFOs.

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  18. Love your grandmother's ufo! I inherited my Nana's ufo. It is a quilt top, hand pieced, fabrics from her aprons, my Papa's old shirts, and her dresses. It is all 1940's fabric. I should sandwhich and quilt it by hand. Reading your piece has brought it to mind again. Thanks for sharing...

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  19. Oh ya...the blocks with the tiny squares are also know as a Beggar's Quilt. If you google it, you should get the info you are looking for. I have one on the go. Love those vintage fabrics!

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  20. I love your bunny embroidery and that's actually one of my UFOs too! I have half the embroidery done - I'm doing it on a very soft white flannel and I love it. But other things have reared their heads wanting attention too so that's on a back burner. Thanks for the post. blessings, marlene

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  21. I too have many UFO's that I'm trying to get done. I might have to give some away because when I look at them I wonder what possessed me to start them in the first place. Love the vintage fabric in your grandmother's block. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  22. Great post! I love the fabric in your grandmother's quilt!

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  23. Great minds must think alike. I am doing just as you are. Before I can start a new project I have to finish an UFO. It has worked. I have finished 2 UFO's this year. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  24. I have tried to not let too many UFO's pile up but it seems they have anyway. It's hard to go back and work on them, I probably didn't finish it the first time because I didn't particularly like it. Sew much more fun to move on to new fabric.

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  25. What a lovely inheritance.. I had no quilting in my history. My mother didn't quilt anything until after I had moved into adulthood. There are some lovely things to learn from grandma's UFOs.

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  26. What a wonderful post! I love the idea of a 4 generation quilt. And....great idea on bagging ufos with information about them! I have no idea how many ufos I have so sometime soon I will gather them together and see. I'm afraid at what I will find but I see the value in what you say. Thanks!

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  27. Thanks for sharing! I am frist to quilt in my family it is somthing. My grandmother chocheted and because of quilting I have gained and appericate her art so much more. UFO's brins me to my 1st quilting class at the Quilt Cottage in New Orleans, LA where I am from well I never finished the class as on of my yourger sister's (I am one of 7 girls and 2 brothers) engaged,then on Mardi Gras night called to say she was expecting. Well she was in the process of making her wedding dress and I was doing the beadwork and lace so... putting quilting aside I did the hand work on her wedding dress as my grandmother, my mother and I did on my wedding dress, fast forward... her bundle of Joy is graudating from GA Tech this spring and last summr I decided I would finish the small quilt 2 blocks peiced 2 applique and give it to my niece as a grauation gift! I have the blocks finished ( finished last spring started cutting the boarders) I need to put them together and quilt all hand as well. Funny thing is March 8 is Mardi Gras (thankfully this date moves from year to year with the full moon etc) So this UFO must get back to the top of the list! Thnak you for the insperation! I just put receent UFO together last weekend in the same manner as you (weird we both doing same thing!) last night I finished my current project ready to go to be machine quilted!)My quilting group has a contest who can finish the most UFO's in 12 month's we started last August. I am not going to be in top 5 but it has these women working to our UFO stack smaller! Thank you! God Bless! pamela rose of NOLA now TN

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  28. What a great piece of history you have. I thinking keeping the UFO in parts and framing it, will be a work of art. Thank you for your story on your UFO stash, I do not feel so bad.

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  29. I loved this statement from your article:
    And I don't let myself start a new project without completing an old one. This means I can still play without getting bored, which I can easily do.

    Great idea...I am going to use it! Also loved your blocks from the past...how lucky you are!

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful article and inpsiration! Hugs!

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  30. What a wonderful project you have going on! I have a friend who found 20 finished dresden plate or fan blade blocks that her mother had made way back when. Trouble is, they didn't lie flat, and I suspect that's why they have resided in a box all these years. We decided to resuscitate them, and that's our ongoing project, too. Iron them as flat as we can, put a circle in the middle that is bordered with rickrack, then we'll applique them to muslin. They will be 19" square when finished!! She's going to make two small quilts to go on her guest room beds. There they'll be loved and appreciated!

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  31. I would suggest taking the pieces in progress and show the evolution of the quilt block by applique them to a foundation. you could then have a finished usable quilt and a teaching quide at the same time.

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  32. You make me feel so much better about all my UFO's! :) I love the vintage fabrics in your grandmother's projects. That is so neat to have them passed down to you.

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  33. How lucky you are to have some of you grandmother with you! What treasures they are! I love to read about family members who all sew or quilt! I learned form my grandmother and my mom & sister quilt to! Congrats on your new space I sure hope it gives you many great times! Hugs, Ellen

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  34. How fun to see those old fabrics:) With the price of fabric heading up it would be interesting to know how much Grandma paid for her fabric.
    Love the bunny quilt:)

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  35. Thanks for such a great post! You are so blessed to have the UFOs from previous generations. It must be awesome to handle those and work with them, thinking about "these are what my grandma played with, too" - that is so cool.
    Love the one with little squares; from some of the comments, it looks like it may have several names! Marie's book looks lovely. Thanks for having a giveaway!

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  36. Oops, I forgot to identify myself (I don't blog, so I have to give you my email addy!!) LOL
    Jacque in SC
    quiltnsrep@yahoo.com

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  37. Loved reading your post about UFO's! I have been going through mine and like you I am trying to complete some while working on new things. I definitely think blogging helps create incentive.

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  38. What a treat to have quilt pieces made by your grandmother. I love the history of them. Thank you for the post and give away. I learned right away not to have guilt with quilting. I am doing this for fun, so not guilt. No off to you blog!

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  39. This is so neat. My great-great grandmother left a UFO from the 1920's and it was passed down til it finally reached my mother, who does not quilt. She passed it on to her MIL who found the original pattern and finished it by hand a few months ago, including the quilting, so it would be as close to the original would have been as possible. SO cool! Thanks for sharing your family UFO's. :)

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  40. Oh my UFO's are my downfall as well. I have organized mine & am slowly chipping away at them. Please enter me in the drawing & thank you for the story of your UFO's what a piece of history you have.

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  41. Thank you for taking the guilt out of my UFO's!I'm trying to finish one UFO before starting a new one. It doesn't always work!
    I love the history contained in the passed down blocks. I am a follower.

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  42. Thanks for giving me the inspiration to get out my UFO's so that I can finish them. Thanks for a chance to win Marie's book.
    lraetaylor@gmail.com

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  43. I am also trying to finish a UFO between each new project. I am wondering why I never finished some of my UFOs. I just stopped. I think I probably had another project with a deadline and then put the UFO aside and forgot about it. Thanks for sharing with us. THe 70 year UFO was the best.

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  44. Serioulsy adorable UFO's. No guilt that can dampen the fun of what this is all about. I adore the fabric in these older pieces.

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  45. Great post! I have a three or four generation quilt that I finished. It is a Grandmother's Flower Garden that my grandmother and maybe my great grandmother hand pieced in the 1930's. My mom did about two thirds of the quilting on it and I finished it. I love that quilt. I would encourage you to finish the quilts your grandmother started and treasure them.

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  46. I adopted the "I have to finsih a UFO before I begin a new project" idea as my New Year's resolution. It has really helped me. Thanks for the encouragement and for sharing your grandmother's projects with us.

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  47. Hi, Terri, many thanks for the great posting on UFO's, I am surely going to use some of your ideas. Would love to win that book too, pick me, pick me! lol.
    Marie in B.C.

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  48. I'm not a fairy princess girl by any stretch of the imagination, but that Snow White print is just so adorable!!! I've never seen anything like it from that time period. Good on ya for all of that organization and good luck with your UFO finishes.

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  49. I think UFOs are part of life. I have a friend who has over 60, so 18, not too bad. I adore your grandmothers how lucky are you to have them. Thank you for your post! I better go and look at my UFOs!!!

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  50. There is so much inspiration out there. I think blogging has only increased my unfinished projects. Due to I feel great competition with others who always seem to get so much done. It's hard not to compare yourself to others, but I'm trying.
    I think you are very fortunate to have your grandmother's UFO's.

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  51. I finished a two generation quilt a couple of months ago. The first generation was ME, the second my daughter who got so frustrated waiting for me to finish a 23 year old UFO that she quilted the borders. I'm going to put a label on the back to document that it is a 2 gen quilt.
    Thanks for the wonderful post.
    Gail

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  52. Such treasures - lovely to have UFOs from your family of quilters. I'm trying to complete mine as I go - yet think I starting to become a UFOer. Thanks for the lovely post. p.s. I'm not entering your drawing for the book.

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  53. I hauled out my UFO's last year, and posted them on my blog hoping to inspire me to finish them. So far not a hole lot of progress, but I keep plugging away at them or at least thinking about plugging away at them! :-) Some great finds in your UFO's they will be quite the vintage treasures!

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  54. I have some UFO's that I plan of fining this year also. I already finished the largest on a King size quilt I started 5 years ago for my middle daughter. It was suppose to be a grad gift and was not started until a couple years after the grad. Thank goodness my hubs starts and finishes every project and built each of our daughters a cedar chest for their graduation. I just say the best is yet to come.

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  55. I have inherited some projects that I've not figured out how to finish. I keep hoping for inspiration to hit me.

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  56. I found Sun Bonnet Sue blocks in my MIL's things about twenty something years ago in about the same condition as your Dresden blocks. You have given me new incentive to get it out again for another look-see. I like the idea of finishing a UFO before starting something new. Thanks for offering Marie's book. You can reach me at nbtay@sbcglobal.net

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  57. With the prices of gasoline and cotton goods going up, I'm staying home and "shopping" in my fabric closet (sorry, quilt store owners). I am also trying to finish those pesky UFOs and use up some of my stash. That is one reason I love Stash Manicure and read it every day except Sunday. I get so many helpful hints in busting that stash!

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  58. what fun to have generational UFO's - puts them in an entirely new perspective. Thank you for the wonderfulpost

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  59. I have never counted UFO's but soon will get a chance since I am moving my sewing room. Boy ... am I in trouble!!

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  60. You make me feel so good! Normal is having at least a dozen UFO's or WIP's, right? And it's OK to admit it. I haven't counted mine for a while, but I too inherited a bunch when my Mom passed away and I've always suspected that they multiply when left together in the closet.

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  61. These UFOs are such a gift of connection and remembrance. Thank you for sharing your ideas with us on how to organize our own UFOs.

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  62. Interesting post! Both my Grandmothers were quilters, but I have no idea if there were any leftover UFO's as I wasn't involved in going thru their items... Thanks for the organization ideas.

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  63. I did take my Grandma Jessie's embroidery blocks and make them into a quilt for my Mom. That was my favorite project.

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  64. Oh, I wish I had a UFO of my mon's or grandma's. That is SO nice.

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  65. What a treasure to have ufo's from both your grandmother and your mum. How I wish I had some from my grandmother. She was a seamstress though and made clothes for a living. Those genuine vintage fabrics are wonderful. Love the snow white one. Great post.

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  66. What a wonderful post. I love the vintage blocks you shared. Gorgeous!!!

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You think they are just words...they are sew much more than that...your wee messages tell me, you are kind, smart and important...