The Big Three–Quilt Focus –Open Line Friday

Friends.Baltimore, Lori Kennedy, AppliqueGood Morning, Quilters!

Do you remember our Quilter’s Notebook Series?  The Notebook is a tool to keep all of your quilting organized and to keep you focused…

Well…I was focused for awhile…then came–well, life (and a Craftsy video!)…

I guess that’s why we need Quilt Notebooks!

Friends.Baltimore, Lori Kennedy, Applique

In the series, we discussed picking “The Big Three”–Three quilts you would feel really sad if you never finished–The plan is to work on them most of the time-with breathers to learn new techniques, etc.

Well, I have been extremely remiss!


The status of my Big Three:

#1 Claire and Andy’s Wedding Quilt–My daughter and her husband celebrated their first anniversary in May–and there’s no quilt on their bed!  I did plan some quilting HERE and last week I pieced the blocks–slow progress, but it is progress-finally!

#2 Friends of Baltimore-My enormous appliqué project–After more than a year off–I am working on this beautiful quilt again.  I have five blocks and one border complete and I have been working on it most evenings–alternating with doodling…again–slow progress, but progress

#3 Boxes and Vines–I don’t even know what closet it’s in!  Goal–find said quilt!

Friends.Baltimore, Lori Kennedy, AppliqueNow that I’ve come clean about my lack of quilt focus–what about YOU?

Do you have “The Big Three”

How’s your progress?Friends.Baltimore, Lori Kennedy, AppliqueThey say the best way to get a project on track is to tell other people about it and then you are more accountable–so let’s help a sister out!

I’d like to help YOU be more accountable…

while YOU help ME get focused!

Tell us about YOUR Big Three and YOUR Progress!

We’d LOVE to hear…(i.e. misery loves company!)


PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!

61 thoughts on “The Big Three–Quilt Focus –Open Line Friday

  1. Just this morning I got up and decided this weekend, I have 3 nagging finishes to accomplish in varying stages. A finish is getting the top together. So your post this morning was right on schedule! if I can finish those three, I will feel accomplished. My husband if off to Tampa for 3 days of training so I can sit and sew. Thanks.

  2. A redwork wallhanging. All the embroidered blocks are finished and now I just need to join them with sashing, corner posts, borders, etc. My goal is to finish it by our Oct guild meeting…it’s been sitting idle for about 3-5 years…yikes, it hurts to say that!

  3. At my weekly quilting group our main focus for the year is UFOs. We nominated the quilts we wanted to work on. By the end of the year for each completed quilt we will receive 1-3 tickets depending on the amount of work done on each. Three $50 prizes will be drawn.

  4. I am sad to say I have more than The Big Three:
    I have four quilts ready to quilt for a family from church. They are new friends and have three boys and expecting a girl anytime now.
    I have a personal quilt, Kathy’s Tears, commemorating a rough year in my life. It too is ready to quilt.
    I am working on a graduation quilt for my nephew, who graduated in May.
    I have two tote bags for carrying my sewing equipment to classes that need to be finished.
    I have to plan and make a quilt for my new grandson, EDD November 12 or sooner.
    Then I have a granddaughter due in March, who will need a special quilt of her own.
    I am enjoying your blog. Thanks for writing and sharing your ideas!

  5. For me it is quilting the dozen quilts that I’ve pieced. I’ve recently bought a long arm and can do a few things really well…but still dealing with the intimidation of not ruining a quilt I’ve spent a ton of time on. So for me it is more doodling on the long arm and then just doing it!

  6. I have way more than three… but you have to start somewhere. The first is Laura Nownes Craftsy Block of the Month 2013? just needs quilting…. A boy scout tribute quilt for hubby…. half of the top is pieced…. a figure skating quilt for my daughter has 10 out of 12 blocks. Realistically, none are going to get worked on till January, but heck, I am going to pull out that Craftsy one today! There’s got to be a half hour here or there. Best of luck ladies!

  7. My list includes, but is not limited to, 1) a queen sized English Paper Pieced star quilt which is basted and just waiting for inspiration, as to how to quiit it. I may have made progress on the how to quilt it front yesterday. 2.) 96×96 inch Fresh quilt from Camille Roskelley’s book Simply Retro. Done in Marmalade fabrics. I’t beautiful, but i’ve been waiting for my FMQ skills to catch up with my ideas of how I want it quilted. I’m making progress there, too. (Back is also pieced, with a completely different quilt pattern.)
    3) Radiant Star from EB’s book. Fabric purchased 13 months ago, (by my mom), Started work on this queen sized quilt for one of Mom’s guest beds in March at a retreat. Still not done. Needs borders. 4) I’m also actively working on 2 more EPP quilts and have 2 more EPP quilts planned in my head, and have fabrics and patterns pulled for 3 more quilts. I love starting quilts.

    • I think this applies to lots of quilters … Including moi! I have nine in various stages of completion, not to mention my “little” projects and I am hard pressed to choose my “big three”.

      • That’s the trick–most of us have a dozen (or dozens) of quilts in various stages. I recommend you choose three, put blinders on to the rest and as you finish one, you can promote another quilt into the BIG THREE.

    • Seems we all love the “starting phase”. I do recommend that you pick THREE, then put blinders on to the rest. Otherwise your time is too fractured to really accomplish enough on each quilt. Plus, finishing one quilt is a huge motivator for the rest.

  8. I’m a great starter – not so much finisher. 😀 Out of all the UFOs there’s only really one quilt that is languishing.

    Since 1995 or so.


    I improv pieced a quilt for my daughter using my new serger. Then decided to HAND quilt it. This was not a good plan.

  9. I created a spreadsheet of UFO quilts over a year ago. There are 12 on the list still getting their tops completed, One is out to be quilted, two are ready to be quilted and 13 have been finished. I need to make and quilt a banner by November, there is a sketch for the design, patterns created for most of the pieces and some of the fabrics have been cut. I also pledged $$ to complete a baby quilt by November (not started yet) and I pledged $$ to complete the top of a tree & house quilt that I started in 1991 by next April, the tree & house quilt is the one that I’d be most sad not to finish.

  10. I’m trying to finish a whole quilt I started as a wedding gift, but I’ve gotten stuck. Lori, see my question on your video. I also have 60 mug rugs to do for a conference. They go do fast if I just choose the colors and cut strips–I’m doing quilt as you go method. I also have a Civil War quilt that has half the blocks done so that’s a definite project I can get out next month. Thanks for the reminder!

  11. I have maybe 5 or 6 seams left to a finished top for a queen-sized batik Bento Box quilt. Started at retreat last November and this one is for me! I think this one is headed to the long-armer. I just finished a cute kid quilt top that is waiting to be sandwiched. This one I will FMQ myself after I narrow down which of your lovely motifs to use. The third project is a Christmas wall hanging as a gift for a friend who leaves for Florida on October 11th. Guess I better get cracking on that one. It’s just that the weather has been so nice (unseasonably warm) and there’s still so much garden and yard work to do and the deck needed sealing, etc.

    • I live in Minnesota where winters are so very long–I vote for gardening while you still can–HOWEVER–the five to six seams quilt–I think you could squeeze that in this week! (I’m really good at saying, but not doing!–I probably wouldn’t get the garden or the quilt finished–I’d just go out and take photos!)

  12. I guess I am the oddball, I do not have a single quilt UFO. I so enjoy every part of the process that I start a quilt, and complete it in a couple of weeks, then start the next. Now if we count bags of fabric with nothing planned or cut, then I have more than I can finish, LOL!! My UFOs tend to be in hand needlework and painting projects. I have a set of embroidered Christmas ornaments that has been a UFO over a year, and I am determined to get them done on Sundays while watching football this year.

  13. Our Quilt guild has a peanut butter jar that we write our goals for the year on a piece of paper. Every January it comes out and we can see if we reached those goals or not and fill it again. I have done pretty well on keeping that in my mind the last few years. I also retired in May. My goal was to finish all my UFO’s and I did! ! ! Now I have a “bucket list” Quilts I want to do before. . . . I have fabric for a couple One Block Wonder quilts. and I really want to do a “doodle ” quilt. I have hand dyed some fabric I am hoping to use for the top. I just have to get the confidence in my FMQ to start it.

    On that note, I have been thinking about the process of practicing. Your small quilts you used in your video, Do you finish those for placemats or small quilts or do you combine them for a larger quilt? I hate to see all my practice sit in a corner and I have plenty of placemats.

  14. One more note. I went back and read about your Quilters notebook. For us newbees, I did not know you had done this sort of tool. It would be wonderful if you had a tab for your different projects like this. I have found your Mystery QAL but nothing else is under that tab. Also a tab for your “doodle quilt” I find references and a few pictures as I click on different links to past posts but I have never found a collection on these tuts in one place. Although it took me awhile to find yur search button:(. LOL

  15. I haven’t been quilting long enough to have many UFO’s, but I love your organization hints. Since I love many kinds of quilting, my goal is to have a donation bed quilt, an art quilt, and a hand applique quilt in progress. I also am dedicating next year to precision: practicing techniques and using tools, and learning best practices for my new sewing machine.

  16. I really have more than 3…all in very early stages. This is very good because in August I finished a queen-sized grad. Quilt that had been hanging over my head forever! Number 1 is a retirement gift for a friend…have the pattern and am treating myself to a trip to Yoders in Shipshwana this weekend. Number 2 is a Very Hungry Catepillar baby quilt…fabric and pattern decided…will cut fabric today. And number 3 is a fall table runner…maple leaves all pieced…now the joining. Thanks for helping me organize myself…a quilters notebook sounds like just the thing!

  17. I have 2 quilts on my ironing board to quilt and finish quilting- then there is a BOM that started in 2008 that I still have one block to construct because some of the blocks were done in a hurry and were not pieced well…I am determined to finish these soon as possible so I can do a couple of gifts for Christmas!! The universe is conspiring against me this week, but I am hopeful for this weekend as well….

  18. my daughter’s wedding quilt, sits on my quilt table, hardly started because it took a long time to figure it out (she had to choose this one). I want to get it done by her wedding in May and it will take every week to do it. I am doing Berties year by hand, have done months through May. I need to get June ready to work on. Machine quilting of a show quality paper pieced quilt, I am going to do walking foot because I need a lot more practice with fmq. I am afraid to do fmq on my eight or nine tops because I am so unhappy with my work. I am going to take your craftsy class, hope it gives me courage.

    It bothers me that I have been working on everything but these quilts…

  19. You are so right about telling other people your desire to finish a UFO. Our quilt guild had us sign up for 6 UFO’s to complete over a year. Our leader chooses a number every two months and that project should be completed at brought to the next meeting for show and tell. No pressure, but a great challenge. I just finished a fussy photo project and just love having it done.

  20. I have a vintage modern redwork baby quilt with disappearing nine patch blocks alternating in progress. I have just the block with baby’s name to finish embroidery on, then piece the top, and get it quilted. Of course… baby was born in June!

    I have a version of Tone it Down about 1/3 cut out, currently languishing. It’s got a scrappy background, so I feel like I need to cut all the background fabrics before I start piecing, in order to get them all mixed in properly. *sigh*

    I REALLY need to pull out the embroidery blocks for my daughter’s bed quilt again. I might even start over, as I’ve found I really prefer working with Cosmo floss.

    To add insult to injury, I won my guild’s block lotto last month. I was really only doing each month’s block to build my skills. Now I have a stack of blocks for something WAY out of my zone that I have to come up with a solution for.

  21. Lori I really enjoyed this soul-heart searching blog. I am a beginner quilter and look on all your works with awe and wonder. I probably will not be able to do all the things I want, but I love mostly 😀 all the 20 quilts I have made in the past year. They are simply pieced and I am still learning for sure…I know I should never look back as my pickiness will come to the forefront in a big way. My goal is to learn to free motion on my machine. Time is of the essence…maybe this year.

  22. My big three begin like your list with a quilt for my daughter and son-one-law. they bought an old Craftsman house in the Bay Area a year ago and I cane up with a Craftsman-looking pattern. it is all pieced now, including the back, and is basted and ready to quilt. my second is a “phone book” scrap quilt basted and ready to quilt for a foster child. the third is a small art quilt I haven’t finished the top of. Thanks for the challenge, Lori. I might just finish them!

  23. I love your idea. I am going to think on this and try to select my Big Three this weekend. Sometimes we get so busy doing things that have to be done that the “I want to do” list doesn’t happen.

  24. …a baby quilt, a landscape and and African print – in-between “life” !!!!

    p.s. The last quilt I finished was my “kids” wedding quilt. They got it a year and a half after their wedding 🙂 It has been accepted into the La Conner, WA Quilt Museum’s International Quilt Festival, so I’m REALLY glad to have finished that one!!! Thanks for all of your inspiration

  25. Project 1: finish alterations that are due tomorrow!
    Project 2: Alter daughter’s bridesmaid dress by Oct.1
    Project 3: Keep working to finish other daughter’s wedding ring quilt. When we chose the fabric and colors she told her fiancé…”Oh look! we’re getting a quilt for our first anniversary!” She knows how I operate, so your post encourages me!

  26. I have a twin size quilt, Scrap Basket Blooms, that I need to sew the rows together, put borders on, and do appliqué on the top and bottom borders. Not something I’ll get done this weekend but I’d like to at least get the applique cut out-ready to sew down.
    Then I have a small pillow I need to finish. And some half finished red and white HST to make into pinwheels for a QOV quilt. None have real deadlines but I neeed them finished so I can tidy up my room and make a baby quilt for my first great-grandbaby due in Jan. I love this idea, Lori, of choosing just 3 items to focus on, it stops the floundering around feeling. And the ideas for Guilds are good ones.

  27. My big 3. First, finish a wall quilt for my grandson which is near completion. I just need to make a few decisions about the quilting and get it finished. Second, finish a wall quilt I started for a friend. It needs a lot of colored stitching so the planning will take some time. I keep thinking I need to get a piece of Plexiglas to fit over the top to help with the planning. Third, cut and sew a rag quilt for my nephew and his wife. They fell in love with one I made for my niece’s baby and I promised one to them. The fabric they chose has been a bit challenging to me and I’ve procrastinated finalizing the design. I refuse to just make basic squares with x’s quilting them together and sewing them together in rows. Rag quilts can be prettier than that.

  28. Lori, I’m about to began working on a Double Wedding Ring Quilt and see that you mentioned that you’re also in the process so wondered if you could recommend a particular book or pattern for that quilt that you found worked well?? I just very recently finished quilting a King sized quilt on my long arm called Summer Bliss pattern by Marti Mitchell which was great fun to create and to quilt. First king sized quilt I’ve ever done and wow, amazing how huge a king size quilt is.. I’m happy to say the double wedding ring will only be a queen.

  29. I really loved the notebook project, I’ve been much more focused since I started using it. I had one project though that had me stumped. I had seen a queen sized feathered star with a very unique applique border. It had elaborate hand quilting, something I love to do. It was love at first sight. It was a raffle quilt and since I didn’t win it I decided to make one. I bought 100 fat quaters in a rainbow of colors in batiks, I tracked down 9 yards of just the right shade of beige for the backround fabric. Washed and pressed it all and the there it sat. I studied the picture I had of it, bought 2 feathered star books, templates, but still coulded get started. Finally after about a year I decided to get started by making 300 1 3/4 inch half square triangles in 20 different colors. Then I cut and made 1 12 inch feathered star block, the quilt needed 16 blocks on point with plain alternate squares for that elaborate hand quilting I imagined for my masterpiece. I pinned it on my design wall and looked at it for a few more months. I finally admitted to myself that the thrill was gone, I knew in my heart that I would never do that gorgeous appliqué border. So I made that single feathered star into the center medallion of a very lovely wallhanging. I named it “I could have been a Contender” and scanned a picture of the inspiration quilt onto the label. I used the leftover half square triangles to made 2 minis that I am hand quilting. I will machine quilt the wallhanging this weekend and move it’s page to the completed section of my notebook.

  30. I don’t have a “Big 3”; I have a board. On the board are strips of paper. On the strips of paper are the IDs or names of all the projects. The left half of the board are tops to be quilted, which may or may not have batting and/or a backing attached .. but they *are* completed tops.

    The right half of the board are my UFOs, in varying stages of completion. Sadly, I don’t think it lists ALL of my UFOs, as I’m sure there are some lurking about, mocking me.

    My original intent was to get the tops quilted and that half of the board cleared off. But then, after I pondered the situation, I realized that … at this stage of my life, I have few years ahead of me than behind me. My adult daughters, when they go through my stuff, will know what to do with unquilted tops … they will get them quilted!

    But the UFOs? They probably won’t have a CLUE what my vision is for these projects. Sometimes, what I want to do is only in my head .. and if I’m not around, it would be awfully difficult to extract that information. 🙂

    Soooooo .. my current goal is to work through that list of UFOs and turn them into completed tops. I want to see the right half of my board become more empty as time goes on. Maybe I’ll even become inspired to do a *deep* cleaning of my sewing studio to rediscover all those other UFOs that are hiding.

    Eventually, I want to get to the stage where I will have a Marathon Quilting Adventure and end up with a plethora of real, honest to goodness, *quilts*! And then?? Oh gosh .. dare I even hope? … work on ONE machine piecing project at at time! (oh, and one handwork project, which is my Forever Project, for working on when I am away from home and my machine).

    That’s my goal. Get my UFOs transformed into tops then luxuriate in the relaxed atmosphere of one project at a time.

    I better live to be 200 years old. 🙂

  31. I too have a pile of quilts in various stages. Several months ago my LQS hosted Judy Niemeyer. I went home and started pulling fabric out and refolding it for better viewing. I thought I had it all out, but have since found more places it was hiding. I also found more UFO’s than I thought I had. I have a Sweet 16 that is almost 3 years old now. I am working on my first attempt at a full sized quilt on it, an embroidered quilt top that I did several decades ago – I had started hand quilting it at some point but did not get very far. I ripped that out and found a better backing for the quilt. It is on the table and I quilt at least 2 of the 30 squares every week – goal was one a day but that didn’t happen. 8 completed so far, one I need to rip out, bobbin had flaying issues, so I purchased pre-wound bobbins that fixed it. Once it is completed next up is a quilt top from a block of the month from a guild I was in a couple decades ago. In between the current quilt on the machine I am piecing a quilt in a class at my LQS, so that’s three. And I purchased a B 580E barely used earlier this year and am taking classes on it. I’m at my LQS quite often right now; my husband says I’m there more than at home. Not true, otherwise I would have those 8 blocks done. I also work full time outside of quilting.

    • also, I’m learning from the current quilt on the Sweet 16, need to have extra wide boarders or add to existing boarders for the quilting. The edges are troublesome. I’m still on the blocks, sashing will be after with some of Lori’s motifs in them!

  32. You have a lot of replies to your question. I’m going to pick three because this is a great idea. I really want to be accountable. #1 Star quilt with black background (BOM from 15 years ago?) There’s no pattern and I don’t know how to put it together. #2 Lisa Boyer’s turtle quilt. Fun, but why don’t I finish it? #3 Civil War Quilt – I’m thinking it needs to be bigger. 🙁 Not sure how what to put next to an appliqued border. Star? Flying geese? However, I’m going to work on these. I’ll be back to check on you. 🙂

  33. I have made great progress this year on lots of projects finishing ten! But I have 3 I would like quilt by the end of the year.
    One is quilt I call “Twas”. It is a red-work machine embroidered quilt that has the first four lines of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” in the border and a Santa in the Chimney in the middle.
    Two is a quilt that depicts things in my state and life that are precious to me and my family. Every block is different. We are suppose to show them in December at our Christmas Guild Luncheon
    Three is a hand embroidered red-work quilt of Old Fashioned Santa’s. (Can you tell I love red-work and embroidery?)
    Those are my big three for the next couple of months.

  34. Just this week I pulled myself in and said I need to focus on the following:
    1. My gaudy Christmas quilt. Made with a whole odd collection of Christmas fabric I have on hand, the crop has been finished for 2 years now, but I want to free motion quilt it and just need to get it done. Now Christmas is coming, it would be nice to have done for the season.
    2. My Celtic knot wall hanging. I’ve been putting it off because I don’t know how I want to quilt it. I just need to get it done
    3. The crafty Jinny Beyer BOM quilt. I’m behind in the appliqué so I need to just get her done and catch up

  35. In the UFO holding pattern right now are two Christmas wall hangings – ready for quilting this week (using some of the things I learned in your Craftsy class, Lori) !! My UFO problem is a three-stage addiction to (1) identifying quilts I want to make, (2) buying the fabric, and (3) placing each project in a beautiful bag or container…..they look lovely….but they aren’t even started….sigh…

  36. My No. 1 project is finishing a grandmother’s flower garden top started by my great grandmother, probably in the 1930s. I haven’t quilted for over a decade (partly life with kids and partly I managed to break the tension knob off my poor old Singer), so when the quilting itch hit again, it seemed like a good choice since it is hand pieced. However I only had the unfinished portion of the top, not the remaining blocks. I posted about it on Facebook, and found that my aunt had the remaining blocks! She sent those to me right away. I received a candy box full of the blocks, an assortment of scraps, a pattern ripped out of the Kansas City Star, but none of the gold background hexies or fabric. But the cardboard pattern she used to cut the hexies was there. So after not making it to a quilt shop to try to match the gold for over a year, I finally ordered a Kona color card, found a match, and the fabric should be in the mail tomorrow 🙂
    My No. 2 project is a southwest themed quilt I started for my Mom which came to a halt when I discovered the flying geese sashing had turned out too short. How to fix? And I broke my machine.
    Or maybe my No. 2 project is getting a good basic quilting machine, then the southwest quilt 😛

  37. I have one that I must finish. I started it when my daughter was 13, she is now 30. It will skip a generation. It has horses on it for when she was pony mad and I didn’t have the skills or time to finish it.

  38. I have an art quilt partly started on my design wall-it’s the school behind Louisa May Alcott’s house. I took the photo, so no permission needed. I’m working on The Roseville Album by Kim McLean from Australia. I’m on my 3rd block for that. I’ve wanted to make Judy Martin’s Shakespeare in the Park for the longest time. It’s still in the dream stage.
    Those are my top 3. If you mean it about misery loving company, then I’m your girl.

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