What Do Our Quilt UFOs Say About Us?

The Quilt Notebook

Last week, we made a list in our Quilt Notebooks of every  one of our UFOs (Unfinished Object or Unfinished Quilt).   See more HERE.    This list should include everything… from table runners to king-sized quilts and hexies to Baltimore Album quilts. How many projects did you list?   If you’ve been quilting a long time, you may have required several pages to list all of the quilts.    Now ask yourself:  Is the number of unfinished projects within MY “comfort zone”?   If you are uncomfortable with the number of projects that you’ve abandoned, perhaps it’s time to do a bit of evaluation..

Every quilt begins as a wish, a Great Idea, a Grand Plan.  Every quilt in our cupboards began as a quilt we really wanted to make and COMPLETE.  We  have already spent a great deal of our resources–both time and money-on these projects!  So why are they now relegated to the bottom of a plastic bin, the back of a closet, or some scary corner in the basement?         The question we must ask ourselves is:

What happened between The Great Idea and the time it was tossed aside?  To answer this question, we have to go back to the beginning…

For each quilt on your “Unfinished” list,  write down the origin of the quilt... Answer the question:  What made me start this project?  What was your inspiration?  What was your Great Idea for this project?

  • Did you chose/buy the projects yourself?
  • Did you acquire the quilt from someone else’s unfinished pile?
  • Did you inherit the quilt from a relative?
  • Did you buy  the quilts, fabric, kits because they were on sale?
  • Did you start the quilt at a workshop or retreat?
  • Did you see the quilt at a store and immediately buy the pattern and all the fabric to make it?
  • Is the quilt a group project?

The Quilt Notebook

Once you have a clear understanding of why you started your quilt projects, we can look at why we let each project languish.

For each quilt or project on your list, ask yourself (and write down)  Why have I not finished this quilt?  Some questions to consider:

  • Did I stop work on this quilt because I didn’t like it anymore?
  • Did I stop work on this quilt because I saw something new I liked?
  • Do I like the planning and buying phases of quilting better than the quilt-making?
  • Do I lack a necessary skill to continue with this quilt?
  • Did something go wrong along the way causing me to dread work on this project?
  • Was I required to work on a quilt with a deadline (like a baby or wedding quilt) and then forgot about this quilt?
  • Is there a part of quilting I don’t like at all?
  • Did I put this quilt in a box during a move and just forget about it?
  • Do I over estimate the amount of time I can spend on quilting?
  • Do I underestimate the amount of time each quilt project requires?

The answers to these questions should offer some clues about our long list of incomplete projects.

It is through our Quilt Notebooks that we will be able to see trends in our work and buying habits over time.

One thing that I believe is universal to all quilters:

 We all underestimate the time it takes to create a quilt (including the time required to learn the skills.)

Now two questions remain…(Coming soon to a blog near you…)

What should I do with my current UFOs?

We will discuss ways to move the UFOs to our “Works in Progress” list, re-purpose unfinished projects, re-work quilts,  and give away quilts…

How can I avoid adding any more UFOs and banish this problem forever?

 We will discuss ways to avoid impulse buys, the art of saying “no thank you” and other ways to keep our quilt projects manageable.

Next week:  Setting priorities: Moving UFOs to the WIP list…

The Quilt Notebook

Your  Quilt Notebook Assignment this week:
For every project on your “Unfinished” list, answer two questions:

Why did I start this project?

Why have I not finished this quilt?

Good Luck,


All images, tutorials and information is the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and for personal use only.  You are welcome to Pin and re-blog with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thank you!

You might also like:

Choosing A Quilt Notebook 

Reasons to Begin a Quilt Notebook and Information to Include