The UFO Diaries

melissa • October 06, 2017 • 2 Comments

A large-scale room switch at our house has meant dismantling my office and fabric/craft storage area. And that has naturally led to the unearthing of UFOs. I’m not going to be anal enough to actually count how many there are, but let’s just say I can stay plenty busy for the next, oh, six months.

One of the UFOs was this practically-done wall hanging I call Wooly Harvest Moon. (It just needed hemming and a little big-stitching…one hour tops!) The leaf shapes and moon are layered onto a checked woven background, and decoratively stitched with floss.

It’s an original design, and could just as easily be enlarged and used on a pillow or tote. The individual leaves could also be stitched on mini-banner shapes and strung to form an autumn bunting.


What did I find next? These two Christmas ornaments. The fancy little house (whose designer I have long ago forgotten) only needed a hanging loop. Yeah, that was like five minutes. The tree, another original design, begged for a little stuffing and a hanging loop. So basically 15 minutes.

Feeling quite smug, I looked at the next UFO, which was that jacket I started making in 2009-ish. The fabric is actually more in style now, as is the barely-there peplum. Then I remembered it needed solid black to create some hanging interior pockets. Umm, not today. So it went back into the bin (with all its UFO friends) for another day.

That’s kind of how it goes with UFOs. But it made me think about what gets a thumbs-up to be finished and what gets ditched again. Some thoughts:

Try to figure out why you stopped working on it.  Was it a lack of time? Or did you get derailed by technical problems? Maybe the fabric is no longer your style or maybe it a class project that no longer enthralls you.

Can you cut it up and create a more exciting design? Maybe you could cut up and re-shuffle the blocks or pieces. Or pare down what was supposed to be a full quilt into table runners for gifts.

Try to take $$$ out of the equation. If it’s uber-expensive yardage, you probably would not have gotten stalled on the project in the first place. But you still feel as if you’re throwing money away by not finishing it—and you can’t re-purpose the remaining fabric–donate the entire project (and instructions!) to a local thrift store or charity, and get a tax receipt for the value of the fabric.

Be honest about your feelings. If the remaining work would be, well, work, then don’t force yourself to devote time to something that is no longer satisfying. Because we always have more fabric than time, right?

How’s your UFO population these days? What made the cut to be finished recently, and what didn’t?


Quilt. Sew. Live. Breathe.


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  • Dot • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #1

    I love your tree ornament! Going to get out my alphabet beads! My UFOs are all projects that hit a snag somewhere along the way. But the best quiltmaker I know said, “Not all quilts are worth finishing. Use what you learned from them and move on.”

  • Heather Hasthorpe • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #2

    My UfOs tend to be designed by other people that I have lost interest in. I take them along to quilt group and pass them over to someone else.

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