The Six Year Quilt–Why oh Why?

Boxes and Vines Quilt

Good Morning, Quilters!

I was just looking through my Quilt Notebook…Remember The Quilt Notebook Series?

I pieced this quilt, Boxes and Vines (my own design) in 2010.

I added the appliqué in 2012…(It was one of my Big Three Quilts in 2012–See Notebook Series:  Setting Priorities)

Boxes and Vines Quilt

And then it languished…

Why, oh why?

Some quilts are Six Year quilts--I am working on a Baltimore Album Quilt that will take me more than six years and I’m fine with that.

But Boxes and Vines is NOT a Six Year Quilt…

Boxes and Vines Quilt

I really like this quilt, so that’s not the problem…

I know how to do the next step, so that’s not the problem…(Skills Inventory–Quilt Notebook Series)

Boxes and Vines Quilt

If I had to be completely honest, the reason I have let this quilt languish for six years…

After the quilt was in my lap for weeks of appliqué, it needed to be ironed and….


Boxes and Vines Quilt

Saying it out loud…I hear how ridiculous that sounds!

Boxes and Vines Quilt

I pulled it out this weekend and stitched the final border…

(Still haven’t ironed it.)  ***Sigh*****

What about YOU?

Is there some part of the process that holds YOU back?

Is it as silly as ironing?

We’d LOVE to hear!


Lazy Lori

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!


65 thoughts on “The Six Year Quilt–Why oh Why?

  1. Since I bought a seamstress iron I Love to iron! It holds about 4 cups of water in a base and has a 8′ cord from the base. It makes ironing so easy. I dare say it’s fun to see how beautiful the pieces are after a good press. I wish I lived closer I’d do your pressing for you so you could spend more time creating- the part you love! Have a great stitching day?

      • It’s a steam iron but rather than having the water in the iron it is in a separate reservoir. This gives you complete control over the steam. You can have lots, a little or none. The water never sits in the iron so no residual steam if you want a dry iron. They are more expensive but last longer and do a fantastic job

    • Barb I was going to suggest a new beeeauuutiful IRON. Maybe that would help. I love the pressing too – I HATE CUTTING. ugh. I think because I’m not very good at it yet. Im kinda new at quilting. I am impatient and you can’t be that way with precise cutting.

      • When I started quilting it was templates and scissors, so I am very grateful for rotary cutters and rulers!!

  2. That’s a hilarious bit of introspection. Lori. I get hung up making a quilt backing. I hate those large bulky seams. I have given myself permission to buy backing fabric, but sometimes they are just not the right design.

  3. I can beat your time! I have a quilt that has stayed unfinished for close to 16 years. Iwas making it for a friend to her specifications (I have since learnt NOT to ask ‘what colours/style/size’ would you like. I just make quilts and the recipient can like it or lump it!) but the size was far bigger than I had ever made before, and the colours (purples, dark pinks and blues combined) were somewhat out of my comfort zone. There were lots of glitches on the way. I was not happy with the layout of the multiple blocks (evening star and puss in the corner) until I decided to set them on point, Then I lost half the setting triangles for the border when a friends daughter came to stay and my sewing room became the ‘guest room’ (she stayed, ultimately, for 3 months!). Eventually, I finished the top…then….oooh…the pieced backing. But….it is huge, and the thought of layering it is too daunting (I don’t have floor space that large without shifting lots of furniture). I have since decided to have it quilted by someone else but the decision of who to choose again is daunting…and so it languishes….

    • Take your quilt to a community center with a large recreation room. I once laid out my quilt in an empty ballet room while my daughter was taking a class in the other room. Or a church, if they have a large room you can use during the week. Ask your friends if one of them has a large family room floor they wouldn’t mind you using. Don’t give up! (Unless you really want someone else to quilt it…)

  4. I procrastinate over pinning the quilt sandwich together. I also face the same hurdle joining my pieces of knitting together.

  5. Hee! It’s a great quilt, love the colors.

    Some quilts I get bored of, or they aren’t looking like i thought in my head. Or I’m out of batting, and I have 20 quilt tops so one bag isn’t gonna cut it and I can’t afford an entire roll right now and…


    But I’m all super organized right now! I started a Trello board here and even made it public so people could follow along.

    It still doesn’t have my oldest UFO listed. *gulp*

  6. I often come to a halt when it’s time to baste.. or make a quilt back… or deciding what to quilt. Usually once I decide what to quilt, the process goes pretty quickly. I once waited 2 years to quilt because I was waiting for my quilting skills to improve enough that I felt ready. It was the first quilt that I ever used quilt shop fabric, hence, the most I’d ever spent on fabric for a single quilt. In the end, I’m very pleased with the outcome.

  7. the constant onslaught of new fabrics, patterns and techniques that come at me in emails, on Facebook and blogs have given me quilting ADD. It is so easy to “collect” new projects without ever leaving the house. Who doesnt love receiving packages in the mail, especially of fabric! Hence new projects accumulate at a pace faster than I can keep up. Then there is laundry, cooking and this thing called life that gets in the way of quilt completion….mood and energy level also dictate what I will work on like quiet chain piecing or crawl around the floor quilt basting. Finishing my quilts really comes down to exhibiting some self disipline to finish my million projects…and I can when the mood strikes! oooh look a new quilt catalog…shiney!

  8. I usually get stuck when it comes time to attach the borders. Seems so big and bulky. Not to mention heavy. And then there’s the sewing of the border … BORING!!!! Long, straight seams. UGH! Hahahaha!

  9. I’m okay with the quilt top construction processes. Ironing is not my favorite thing to do, but I do it. I tweeked my ironing board and attached a 54 x 24 padded board to the top of it so that it is rectangular instead of having that tapered end and long enough to accommodate even wide width home-dec fabrics.

    What I really hate about the quilting process is basting. I send everything larger than a twin out to a long armer mostly because I hate basting. Something large like that can’t be spray basted and it takes forever to sew baste or pin baste. I’ve experimented with many basting methods, let’s face it, you can learn just about anything from some online resource, but still can’t manage to tolerate the basting chore. I have even used a basting gun, which I find infinitely better than pins or thread, but are a pain in the neck to remove when you’re done quilting.

  10. LOL! I had many. I say had because I donated my squares, tops, etc to a group that was asking for UFO’s that we didn’t want. They were making quilts for victims of wildfires in Washington state. I also donated 48 squares to a church group in Canada. I felt RELIEVED that I no longer had this burden and it was not wasted. It only cost me postage instead of hours of pulling my hair out trying to make something out of them. Most of these were early attempts. My skills were not the great. Some other UFO’s were just no longer my taste. The oldest was from 1999. All were used by these two groups. I have about 4 UFO’s and a few small wall hangings now. You just can’t throw away fabric. If you don’t love it anymore, donate it to a local group for charity quilts.

    Happy sewing. I am going to bind a quilt and sandwich another this week.

    Aileen in FL

    Now I have to update my blog! Hummm

  11. I have ufo’s that are about 8-10 yrs old. If I’m making a quilt as a gift (baby quilt) then it gets done right away, but my ufo’s are just quilts I’ve made so I guess I don’t have a reason to finish them. I’ve never finished a quilt for my own bed. The part that I drag on about is borders on bigger quilts. I don’t mind layering and basting or binding. I love quilting them. I’m also at a time where there are a lot of babies being born to nieces/nephews, my daughter’s friends and now my first grandbaby is due in October. Baby quilts work up so fast, so they are satisfying. Last year I started a quilt specifically for my bed, and yes it just needs borders, but 3 baby quilts await.

  12. Squaring up my finished quilt is always where I delay, delay and delay again. It gives me the screamin’ meemies.

  13. Lori, I love that quilt! Don’t let a little thing like ironing get in the way. Better yet, send it to me and I will finish it for you (I might forget your return address tho) chuckles
    My downfall is making decisions on fabrics. Right now, I have a picture frame quilt that is a great start and the fabrics are perfect … So far. I just can’t seem to bring in other fabrics that work with it. I’m stuck. Any suggestions?

  14. I put off the quilting sometimes, because either I don’t know what to quilt or I’m afraid I’ll make a mistake. Which is ironic because the actual quilting is my absolute favorite part of quiltmaking! But the more I quilt on my longarm, the more that’s going away. It also helps that I’ve had several friends ask me to quilt things for them and so that forces me dive in and start stitching. Your quilt is beautiful! I love doing hand applique!

  15. I have a 3 generation quilt that lays lanquishing in the closet I just can’t bring myself to finish. My grandmother made the Sun Bonnet Sues by hand with flour sacks I have no idea how long ago. My mother retrieved it after she passed and started appliqueing them on 12″ blocks and quilting the blocks by had as she went along. She set it aside and never finished it. About 3 years ago she showed it to me. I decided that quilt needed to be finished so the 2 of us worked on it. We finished all the blocks together and I started adding sashing between the blocks. Mom got sick and died 6 months later. I just haven’t had the heart to pick that quilt up and finish it. All I have left to do is hand stitch the sashing on the back, quilt the sashing and bind it. But I just don’t seem to have it in me yet to work on that quilt. Maybe one of these days when it doesn’t bring up so many emotions I’ll be able to finish it. I owe to my grandmother and my mother to finish it. It doesn’t need to go to another generation to complete.

  16. Trimming the edges to add the binding is what brings me to a screaming stop. Don’t have the room to spread out the quilt to properly add the batting and backing let along the binding….. Any ideas for me to figure out how to get over this hurdle?

  17. Good morning Lori, Reading all the above has made me realize that it depends on where life is as to what part of the process gets to me! I also have some quilts that need to be finished! I started a quilt for each of my three children when they were young and I had just learned to quilt in anticipation of making them an heirloom one for them to pass onto their kids and now they may be the quilts that I make for their kids to pass on! (more than 12 years have passed!) I hate ironing when they are very small pieces and I am in a hurry! I hate piecing, when I am in a hurry! I hate quilting, when I am in a hurry(I even have a longarm!)! Sheesh… I guess I hate to do ANYTHING when I am in a hurry, so I just let whatever else I NEED to get done first, get done and then get back to sewing and knitting as my mojo time!!! “Life is evolving to whatever the times of the day dictate and making do is growth in its self!” by ME.

  18. HI Lori, I’d come over and iron it for you. Ironing is my favourite ‘housework’. I know it seems a little odd but it is time spent with fabric and garments/quilts that brings so much joy – not to mention how wonderful things look once pressed! It offers time to feel the fabric and examine the item in fine detail – and nobody bothers you while you have an iron in your hand (in case they are asked to do it). If you stand still too long in my house, you either get quilted or ironed… I hope you come to at least like it a little bit. Judith

  19. I, too, don’t like to iron. After 20 years of putting the military creases in my husband’s uniforms, I told him he would have to iron his shirts if that’s what he wanted. ‘Iron’ is a 4-letter word and I don’t do 4-letter words. I ‘press’! Try thinking of it that way!

  20. I loath pin basting the quilt sandwich together. It takes so long to do a big quilt. I improved my attitude about ironing when I converted a 2’x4′ table into a large ironing surface. Now I can iron larger surfaces comfortably and it goes really fast.

  21. I have a slowdown when it comes to FMQing on paper pieced quilts. I just never know how to pick a pattern and do it. At present I am doing rocks and not sure if what I am doing is really right so I keep procrastinating getting the job finished.

  22. I like this almost quilt of yours. I actually love to iron, I listen to an audio book and press away, i usedan to hate the actual quilting, mainly bease i had a small machine. Abut a year ago i bought a sit down long arm and started reading your blog. So, I am loving free motion and things are getting quilted. ( I owe you some ironing for that alone) . I have a UFO that I started 13 years ago, then crazy things started happening and I put it away. I have done, many quilts and clothes in the meantime but, had,almost, forgotten my big applique project. I pulled it out last month and have started again. I really do love it and hope to have a great sense of accomplishment when I finish it or, at least not have the feeling of it weighing on my mind.

    • I say “ditto” to all of the reasons mentioned above – (I also have significant quilting ADD) but borders seem to be the most consistent spot that I stop – a pieced border takes as much time as the pieced quilt top! If I want to add an appliqued border, the timeline really lengthens.
      I think it was interesting to hear that other people have also hit roadblocks based on the colors of the quilt- piecing for me is such an experience of playing with color- probably similar to the current craze for the intricate coloring books. The suggestion to donate the quilt top is a great one but it is hard to give up on all of the time that already went into the project….
      I found ironing is not so painful with a new iron and a new wider than usual ironing board. (Ironing was actually pleasurable when L’Occitane sold scented “linen water” but unfortunately they don’t sell it anymore – the scent was beautiful!)
      Lori, your blog has helped me to get past the FMQ hurdle – so thank you – you get credit for the quilts that I quilted and did not have to wait until I could afford to have them quilted.
      Now with Spring there are a million other things to keep me out of my sewing room – the garden, the bicycle, etc.!
      Happy Quilting

  23. Love your blog! My issue (was) distractions of new things and different creative outlets. I have boxes and boxes of UFOs in the closet. Some more than 20 years old. I don’t quilt much now except for grand baby quilts and my problem with that is just to get started. And it’s just not as thrilling as it used to be.

  24. Lori, your quilt is beautiful — keep going! I stop projects because I get carried away with new ideas and want to start the next project before I’m finished with the current one. But I’ve committed to a “No New Projects June” and I’m only working on my stash of UFOs this month. So far, so good!

  25. Hi ya, get the right equipment, good iron with water storage, big board ironing board or make a huge one on a table, get 3 6′ foot tables for cutting, pin basting etc., music, chocolate, whatever. Good movie or ball game, Simplicity even has a fabric cutter!
    I remember what my Grandma and Aunt Winnie had, mostly just each other. A treadle machine, hand quilting. STOP! BE HAPPY. Git ‘ER done ,!!!!!! Lois in Omaha

  26. I don’t mind pressing or ironing, as a matter of fact, I find satisfaction in how tidy a piece looks when neatly pressed. I like to make blocks, but deciding about sashing stops me in my tracks. I always have something in mind and can never find the “right” fabric to finish off a project, so I have stacks of blocks. I guess you could say I have a LOT of unbound12-inch quilts.

  27. Trimming the edges of the quilt after it is quilted is where I get hung up. I think it’s because I don’t have enough table space to do the job easily.

  28. I’ve been working on UFOs quite diligently. Recently, I’ve finished ones from 2010 and 2012 – though I do have a few older ones. What a spectacular feeling it is to FINISH! My biggest hold up to a finish is generally that I start something new and in order to have room, the other projects get put away someplace. I do love the excitement of new things. I’ve come to realize that unfinished quilts may actually be thrown out but a completed one will be enjoyed by either my family or someone new. Angela Walters said, “A finished quilt is ALWAYS better than a quilt top.” That’s my new motto.

  29. I have a mental block when it’s time to machine quilt. (I see the irony of admitting it on this blog.) I just finished a quilt that was on my “Quilts to finish in 2012” list. But Facebook recently popped up a top I started in 2008 – people are asking to see the finished product – it’s a bit embarrassing to admit it’s still not done, but I’m still terrified to quilt it.

  30. The part of quilting I dislike the most is creating and wording the label–probably the part that takes the least amount of time!
    For those who hate to iron, here’s a tip. Place your ironing board very close to your sewing machine and at the same level as your sewing table. When you need to iron, just turn your legs toward the ironing board and you’re done in no time!

  31. Not that its a contest, but I do have a quilt top from the 80’s in progress on my Sweet 16 – in progress is a relative term – It has been on or near the Sweet for a year now – about 40% done. I spray basted this full size quilt and stitched all the sashing rows to stabilize it. Then I found some of the batting had shifted – have come to accept that issue and have some ideas to mitigate. Each of the squares take 1 hour to quilt around the cross stitched roses, I think 18 of 30 are done, and then the 4 inch wide sashing will need quilting. A few smaller projects have completed during the 3 years I’ve had the Sweet 16 – and this big quilt is pushed to the side.
    Basting is probably what holds me back the most – finding the area to spread the whole quilt out. Pinning takes forever, which is why I’ve gone to spray which sometimes works well and sometimes does not.
    Time is a bigger roadblock – as I tell people, I work for a paycheck and that is time away from these projects.
    I love your blog and all the comments.

  32. Ya l get excited about new projects, then before you know it you have 20 tops.
    Now that l am working hard to finish these tops into quilts l find myself stuck to know how to FMQ them. Have finished a couple lap quilts since l found your site. Presently working on a single bed quilt using the zippy car tutorial. Your instructions, Doddle then quilt it has helped beyond my wildest dreams, l Thank you so very much! So just a small request for tutorials for planes and trains to move forward. Lol!!!!

  33. Sometimes, I think it is good to acknowledge that you never plan to get back to a project and then take action to get it off your list. Tastes change or perhaps you just don’t like a project enough to waste more good supplies and time just for the sake of finishing. Before you invest more time or supplies, look at the project and decide how you can end the project (make a smaller top and give it away unfinished, return the uncut fabric to your general stash, save blocks or pieces you like for a different project etc.). It is very freeing to come to those decisions.

  34. I realized years ago that making a quilt is a huge process with a ton of steps, and, if I really wanted to end up finishing the quilts I wanted to make, I had to find a way to like it all, every step, at least enough to do it, or I’d never get those quilts done. Of course, at times I’m kidding myself, but with the quilts I really want to finish, I tell myself that I enjoy each step and, because it’s getting that quilt moved along toward done, most of the time I actually do end up enjoying at least the result of each step. In this case, kidding myself has worked out pretty well. I haven’t managed to convince myself of liking some of the other things I have to do in life (such as our tax return), but I love making quilts enough to make it work. Or I find other ways to kid myself — like doing the tedious boring stuff as quickly as I can and stopping that day when I’m done with that step, whatever it is, so, next time I can work on it, I can get on to the more fun parts. I find making binding tedious if the quilt is done and waiting for it, so I make it before I do the quilting.

  35. I always say that I’m an aspiring quilter! My first quilt was started 18 or 19 years ago in a class. My second quilt was started a year & a half ago. I wouldn’t say I have procrastinated, but let life get in the way. Since the first one was started my daughter has gone from kindergarten to just graduating from grad school. She played four sports and hubby coached basketball & was a school administrator. There was one move across the state, I got a bachelors & a masters degree, and a full time job. I work on my quilt periodically, usually just a day or two at a time. I still like it. Since finding this blog I have the goal of machine quilting it. I originally wanted to hand quilt it, just to say I did, but considering it is queen size & the length of time I’ve taken to get this far I think I’d better go for machine quilting. Lol!

  36. I like all of the quilting processes…yes even ironing! It came to my mind, that if you have quilting friends you visit with, or maybe even quilt with, who like to iron and would love to iron the quilt for you! Maybe make a trade…they iron…you help plan what quilting to go on their quilt or pick colors for a quilt. Just an idea. I always have trouble choosing fabrics and colors…I always try to have help or opinions on that.

  37. My daughter and I just pulled out a quilt she started just over 2 years ago now and finished today 🙂 Funnily enough we both laughed when it was finished and wondered why she didn’t just finish it way back when.

  38. I started quilting July of 2008 so I have no ufo’s older than that. Today I finished quilting my grandson’s baby quilt while at a retreat. It is the only thing I worked on. the top had been done for at least 6-8 months. Now just needs trimming and binding. He turns one on the 24th of this month and it will be done before then.

  39. I have a seven year quilt. A wedding ring for my son and his wife. The wedding ring part was done by the wedding but I decided to do applique…. I hate doing applique. I have it out to work on it but keep pushing it aside to finish something else or some other immediate thing. I was planning on having it done for their 5 year anniversary. Now 10 year is on my list.

  40. I used to hate pressing as well. But when we made my quilt studio, I took a recycled desk base and added a top to it – making the top the same size as the largest ironing board cover/padding and cutting board I could find to buy. Now with the giant pressing area, it isn’t as daunting to get the whole quilt top on it to press. I found I just hated doing it on a regular sized ironing board! When debating about what size to make the cutting/pressing table it was weeks before I had the flash of duh! to make the same size as what I could buy to put on it!!

  41. Oh, basting every time! Space issues notwithstanding, I have tried clamping on tables, pinning and spray. I am challenged by it (aka rubbish at it) every time and it takes Ages to get it half way decent enough. I have settled on accepting my knees will just have to deal with the floor, the cat will run away from the spray can, my husband will put up with the swearing and allowing myself chocolate as a reward aterwards.

  42. Ironically I do not mind ironing fabric that has to do with quilting but have always disliked ironing clothes. As a child when things were less wrinkle free, most things got ironed even sheets and hated it then. I still only iron clothes that I absolutely have to iron. Otherwise my go to item is Downy Wrinkle Release which I spray on certain clothing when I take it out of the dryer.
    With quilting , my least favorite part is the binding.

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