I don’t know any quilter without an unfinished project. Or two. Or seven.
A quilter’s pride may be the size of the fabric stash. A quilter’s secret shame is the number of UFO’s (Un-Finished Objects).
Why all these unfinished projects? I have a couple of theories.
Conspiracy Theory I: Quilts inspired by fabric collections. I recognize the conspiracy of fabric manufacturers to get my money coordinating colors, patterns, and textures. I am truly grateful they provide me coordinating fat quarter bundles, pre-cut strips, and blenders. I find it easier to design and construct my quilts when everything matches.
Conspiracy Theory II: The unopened fat quarter bundles in my stash, or quilt kits still in their original packaging. I do have a plan for them. Really, I do.
My list of quilting UFO’s reads like a baseball line-up, including the relief pitchers deep in the bullpen.
- The Around the World baby quilt using Eleanor Burns’ Quilt in a Day method. The baby I think I was making it for is now 8 years old.
- The Dear Jane quilt. Three blocks down and 222 left to go. This is a great project for using up scrap fabric from my stash, but, oh, so many tiny pieces in those four-inch blocks. Apparently, Jane had more time on her hand during the Civil War.
- A block-of-the-month Civil War story quilt with an appliqued eagle in the center. The pieced blocks wait for the eagle to hatch.
- Grandmother’s Flower Garden. The blooming flowers need their garden’s border. Yes, sewing the borders is simple when compared to the Y-seams of the hexagons. Nevertheless, the border fabric lays folded beneath the stored top.
- The Redwork Quilt. Once upon a time, I bought several redwork embroidery blocks at an antique show, then added sashing and a border. I have no idea how to quilt this because of the embroidery.
- A quilt inspired by Civil War reproduction fabric. The top is complete. The backing is ready. I even have the batting on hand.
- The winter scene throw quilt. Since I can’t leave a pre-printed panel alone, I cut it up then added pieced sashing and borders.
- Polar Bear Paws in Winter is a tone-on-tone quilt in cream shades. Even though this is one of my early quilts, I haven’t decided on the batting. The original concept called for a wool batting. I still haven’t decided.
- The partially quilted Family Tree wall hanging. There have been four family weddings and five babies born since I started this quilt.
- Toile inspired throw. This one stalled due to a miscalculation of the yardage needed for the backing.
- The Blue and White T quilt. 254 six inch blocks of triangles. Need I say more?
- Miranda and Her Friends throw quilt. Throw-sized means easy-peasy except when the pattern is paper pieced for sharp points. And has curved seams. And is appliqued to look like cats.
- Norway. This is a variation of a log cabin pattern. I love the colors I chose. I love I can use pre-cut strips. I love the pattern is called Norway, the birthplace of my great-great-great grandparents.
- Angela’s Wedding Quilt. As she is getting married in September, this quilt is quickly moving up the Need-To-Get-It-Done list.
- The New York Beauty quilt in cheddar and white. I saw this quilt at an antique show and said to myself, I can make that. I ordered six yards of cheddar fabric from a website specializing in reproduction fabrics. The fabric I got strikes me more as like the blaze-orange my father wears for hunting, even after washing. I suppose if I let it collect dust for 100 years and fade in the sun it would look less like the block of cheddar cheese in my refrigerator. I don’t have that much time.
Which brings me to Grandma’s Hankies. Several years ago my aunt asked if I could make her a quilt using her mother’s and mother-in-law’s handkerchiefs. I said sure, and she sent me the thin hankies. I came up with a design, then life happened in the forms of a complete basement remodel and two job changes.
My original design started with the hankies and two soft shades of pink. I backed the hankies with fusible web to give them a little more body, then cut the hankies into quarters and overlaid them on the background fabric with the edges toward the inside of the block. I wanted to make a larger 4-patch block by alternating the hankie units with a slightly darker soft pink floral background. When I laid the fabrics out with the hankies I didn’t like it, and the project stalled for several years.
Coming back to this project I decided I needed another color and chose bright white to contrast the light pinks. I’ve sketched alternative layouts and calculated the final size if I decided to place the blocks on point instead of in a row and measured the yardage of the fabric I set aside for the project against the new design. Though still not settled on the design, I am closer to a direction for this quilt connecting my grandmother, my aunt, and me.