That Flimsy Pile

One of the things that I told you I wanted to work on and get caught up on is my flimsy pile.  I told you that WAY back at the beginning of the year…before cancer…before my husband died.  I had so hoped that I would catch that pile up and have no quilts in the stack by now.  That didn’t happen.


This is where quilt tops go to live until I get to quilting them.  I still want to get them caught up.

I started out okay this year.  I had two tops that were done that went straight to the quilting machine and one that was done from the pile. But then January 24th came and we found out Kramer had cancer.  From there…everything stopped in the quilting room except for Gannon’s baby quilt.

So this is what is there that needs attention….There are two here….both are for charity.  I made them both.  One is baby sized and one is lap sized.  Both are simple and only squares sewn together.

Next is Kelli’s “Show Off” quilt.  The pattern for this can be found at Quilted Twins.  It’s one of Becky’s MANY free patterns.

I have one of these cut out and in my UFO cabinet.  See?


Next up is Bricks in the Barnyard…I’ve started to try to match backings with tops…this might end up working together.

Then I have Texas Braids.  This one has stalled out as I am afraid to quilt it as I feel like it needs feathers.  After the  seven months I’ve had, I’ve kind of lost the fear.  It’s just a quilt after all.  If I hate it, I can rip it out or I can make a whole other quilt.  There are so many more things in life that deserve worry rather than the quilting motif on a quilt!


Here are the two blocks of the month that Kelli and I did.  Each has a backing prepped.


I figured if I could at least get backings made, I’d be one step closer to finished.  It’s MUCH easier to grab and go if a top had a backing already prepared.

This is a string star quilt I made sometime back.  I know I’m not keeping it for me but an occasion to gift it hasn’t arrived so it’s sat.  I think I have a purple fabric for the backing somewhere.  Hmmm.  I should round that up.


This is Kelli’s Cheddar Bow Tie quilt.  I love it.  I found fabric for the backing the other day.  It needs to be seamed up so is sitting next to the machine for when I have a moment.

If I counted right, that makes NINE quilts that need attention.  I don’t know when I’ll get to them all but I have made a commitment to try to not add to that number over the next year.  I’d love to get completely caught up but I’m okay if I don’t.  Not adding to the pile is enough of a goal.

I have two here that are charity tops here that I need to do and as I write this, I just remembered my Double Wedding Ring quilt is finished too.  I guess that number is 12.  Oh I wish it were at least under 10.  For now, I’ll get the backing made.  Every step is one step closer to a finish!

Where are you with finished quilt tops?  Do you have a stack?  How many are in it?  Inquiring minds want to know.

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35 thoughts on “That Flimsy Pile

  1. Betty from Canada

    What did you do with all the blocks you got for your birthday? I would like to see what happened. I may have missed that blog. Hope I didn’t.

  2. Lisa B

    My flimsys go the my fabulous LAQ as soon as they are done. Spreads out the cost that way. My problem is the stack of quilts that need borders, my least favorite part for some reason.

  3. Donna T

    I have 30+ quilt tops that need quilting. Since we live outside the USA for my husband’s job, I keep busy sewing quilt tops; mostly for QOV. My husband plans to retire in a few years and we will move back to the USA. He wants to become a long arm quilter! I am saving the quilts for him to quilt. You were kind enough to hook me up with Cheryl in Dallas a while back and she answered all our questions about long arm machines!

  4. Mary

    I had a short lull in my longarm business after taking a long vacation. I thought I’d get caught up but forgot to count all my mother’s quilts too. So I managed to get 2 of my Bonnie Hunter mysteries, 4 lap size and a couple of baby quilts done in a 2 week period. Unfortunately my pile keeps growing as my mother keeps sewing. My pile of tops is currently at about 10 and now my business is back in full swing. I suppose my pile won’t shrink anytime soon.

  5. Brooxie

    They are all lovely! As a red lover, I find your Texas Braid to be striking and inspirational. You are using the method that works best for me with any large project – break it down in small increments! Love your blog!

  6. Donna Pheneger

    I have no flimsies (Spelling? ) right now…just a couple of quilts crying to be pieced!

  7. Ruth

    Jo, you are so right about the Texas Braid quilting motif question!! Life IS too short to bother about what quilting motif to use! Just choose one (let the longarmer choose) and get it done. Then someone can really enjoy it after it’s bound. There are so many quilts out there, and so many in the works, that there will always be other quilt questions to consider. Make a decision and move on. You are doing very well!

  8. Tina in NJ

    I’ve had health issues the past year and am only now getting back in the swing of things. I’m behind on high school graduation quilts, with the last two graduating this coming year. I find my quilt guild’s annual show to be a great inspiration for finishing quilts.
    My problem is the small quilts. I send the bed quilts to the LAQ, but I try to do the small ones myself, and they tend to pile up.
    Have you considered sending the Texas Braids quilt to Carla (I think that’s her name)? I bet she’d do a great job!

  9. Judith Fairchild

    I have 4 finished tops and 3 wips I’m a slow quilter as I do it on fits and starts. I started quilting on my sewing machine so the pile doesn’t grow waiting to be quilted

  10. Sherry Whalen

    I have a ‘sit down’ machine so I have the added step of layering and pin basting. I try to pin 5 (this number is based on how many pins I have lol) at a time when I set up my 2 6′ tables on risers. It works out great for me. Right now I have 3 queen sized left that are pinned plus 3 or 4 littler wall hanging/baby sized donation quilts to do. I finished quilting a log cabin last week and moved on to a sampler quilt that will need some custom quilting which will take longer, but the machine is cleaned with a new needle and the thread is chosen and loaded. I struggle with making decisions on the quilting patterns as well – which of course leads to procrastination! I also have several (can’t count right now because we are staying at one of our son’s houses with the grands while mom and dad are vacationing. There will be no quilting today, but at least 5 lol) more flimsies ready to be pinned and like Lisa B. – there are 2 that need borders, which is just another decision!! After years of sewing quilts, I remember my excitement when I realized – not every quilt needed a border, so some of mine don’t get one!! Jo, I think your pile looks pretty normal!

  11. Hedy

    I don’t have a number but I’m thinking it’s in the 20’s. The oldest is ten years old and I think it needs something special too. There are large spaces in some of the blocks. I think feathers would be great there and I’m thinking I need to send it out just to get it done!

  12. Elle

    I have 1 flimsy awaiting it’s turn. I plan to load it tomorrow! Once I get a quilt to flimsy stage, I can hardly wait to get it quilted, binding applied and then the ever so fabulous hand-stitching for final finish. Love putting my final hand-stitched touch on my quilts.

    You’ll get through them in due time.

  13. Julie Letvin

    I agree – it’s so nice to get the backing pieced and have it ready. I wish I could quilt my own, but that is not a talent that I possess. I have a stack of tops that need to be quilted – some are several years old, but I want to hand quilt them. Just as soon as there are more hours in the day! My problem now is that if I get them quilted, they are going to take up more space, and I’m just out of room!

  14. Susan

    I have a closet full of tops too but I don’t have a long arm. I havent had a great year either but it’s just been too hot to wrangle these quilts under my machine this summer. So I see that 3 of those quilts are Kelli’s. Does she not quilt any herself?
    I find it interesting that I can big stitch quilts faster than I can do them on my machine- probably as I can pick away at it in the evenings watching tv. They certainly are more portable than being alone in a room with a machine!

  15. Debbie Collins

    Gosh, I’ve been so discouraged with my flimsiest, but after reading the comments here I don’t feel so bad. I have 6 quilt tops, 3 table runners, 2 mantle covers and 3 Christmas wall hangings in my pile. My only advantage is that when I finish the top I piece the back and make the binding, so if I ever get them as far as the LA, I’m ready to go…I just can’t seem to get them to the LA and it’s only 1 floor down! There’s always something (or someone) stopping the progress! Right now I’m doing “Make it in Wool” outfits for my grandchildren who will show their sheep in the wool promotion Lead-In at our county fair! Just a small distraction before I can Quilt On!

  16. Carla

    Hmmm, your inquiring mind got mine thinking….I have a baby quilt that needs to be sandwiched and tied off. (I tie most of my quilts with crochet cotton) I have a 74 inch square quilt that I made up as I went along of old Cranston fabric from my mom that needs to be put together. I LOVE it! I’m 20 blocks away from finishing a string quilt from the book “Every Last Piece”. And I’m starting to sew on a new quilt named Garden Pathways from Quilt Sampler magazine. I questioned my decision to start a new one before the others were done, but….I guess I’m not too far behind. Unless I factor in my knit, crochet, and crosstitch UFOs. Clearly I am no where near your output haha!

  17. The Eclectic Abuela

    I’m a compulsive finisher, so I don’t have any waiting right now. I just finished quilting a monster–110 x 126–so, I’m glad to be piecing again! The actual quilting is my least-favorite step, so I just plunge in and do it when it needs to be done rather than thinking about and dreading it (too much stress for me). I use my DSM to quilt everything.

    You have some beautiful quilts waiting. I’m off to check the pattern for the Show Off quilt.

    Have a lovely weekend.

  18. Jill Klop

    I have ‘a few’ that could be quilted. I laugh at myself because I couldn’t wait to get a longarm. I’ve had mine for a couple of years. But, in the last year I’ve found that I enjoy the Big Stitch hand quilting! I’ve hand quilted two. I have one in progress and I have one waiting to go. Living in south Texas, it’s too hot to have a quilt on my lap, so I’m waiting to get back to it. I’ll get started after our 100+ degree days are done! I do use the longarm to baste, but for some reason, I hate basting on it. I feel like it takes almost as long as just quilting it! When you said you had 12 quilts to do, my first thought was to get one done a month…kinda like the UFO programs. You could even assign each a number and draw the number out of a hat every month. Whatever number comes up, that’s the quilt that you finish!

  19. Norma

    I have 20 queen size tops of my own to quilt with many other WIPS! I have worked in a quilt shop and lead clubs there for 23 years so I always have too many ideas. I have had a long arm for 25 years but I quilt for others so I feel guilty when I do my own. I never seem to catch up. I do not quilt at night but I do piece so that’s what happens! And yes, some of those quilts should have custom quilting which will take more time! I have done some faster designs on a few but need more time. I’m gradually decreasing my customer load so maybe soon!

  20. Cindy F

    I think I have 13 flimsies that need quilting. I keep a white board up in my sewing room with a list of quilts I am piecing and those that need quilting. However, I just looked at it and realized I haven’t updated it in a couple of years! It might be demoralizing once I update the quilts that need piecing as I have 4-5 Bonnie Hunter quilts in progress on top of other projects that are already listed. My husband was helping me by adding cabinets and a new cutting station in my sewing room and I’ve had to work around the mess so a lot of sewing/quilting hasn’t been getting done. His job position changed and he has little time so there doesn’t seem to be an ending date in sight now so I’m trying to figure out what I can do.

  21. Whitney

    12–that’s just one a month! Pick a date to load a quilt each month and see how that goes! I’d love to have my own long arm, but since I don’t, my stack of flimsy quilts usually gets to about 3-4 before I drive up to Dubuque to drop it off at my long arm quilter! She has four of mine that I’ll pick up in October, then they’ll get added to the binding pile! Hopefully cooler fall nights will have me relaxing watching a movie or show while binding!

  22. Linda White

    I have about 6 that are flimsies, however I won’t quilt them until I know who they are going to. I find it easier to store them as flimsies. Most of these are patterns I just wanted to make for the fun of it so I might even end up keeping some of them. So far I have made almost 300 quilts and have yet to finish and keep one for myself!
    Almost all of my quilts are gifted comfort quilts and I make them specifically for the recipient, so those get finished and sent along quickly as there is a need for them.

  23. Lois

    My number is over 10, I am not sure I want to know the exact number. Seems like I only quilt the ones for a specific purpose. Good luck Jo, good to keep those g pals front and center.

  24. Linda

    Quilt one a month & you will have them all finished in a year. You could probably do more than one of the smaller ones, and remember, winter is coming. Outside work will end and you should have more time for quilting. I have a couple that need quilting, a couple more in block stage, just started another at our quilt group sew day on Wednesday. Come to think of it there are a couple of baby quilts that need to be finished and a couple tops I bought on eBay several years ago. Do you suppose any quilter exists that doesn’t have at least a few unfinished projects?

  25. Mary Ann

    I am afraid to could mine. I have told myself I will stop until I clean out, well except for Bonnie Hunter’s mystery quilts. I have also attempted to stop buying backing and batting. I am piecing bckings out of what I have in stash and batting out of my large pieces. Cleaned the sewing room once and found a couple more. Gotta stop doing that! LOL. BTW, family is in my prayers each night.

  26. Amy

    I had 13 unfinished tops made at the beginning of the year. I have challenged myself to finish 1 a month. So far 7 have been completed. And 3 are at the long-armer. I’m pretty confident I will meet my goal. I just started a new quilt this week. Hoping not to have a pile again.

  27. Susan the Farm Quilter

    I have 50+ quilt tops waiting for me to quilt them. Being without my LA for 3.5+ years, I can piece but not quilt while caring for my dad, not much is getting done. Why don’t you send on your charity quilts to the lovely quilter who does so much charity quilting? That would get your list down to 10!! Be patient with yourself…this is been a particularly difficult year for your family and you need to give yourself time to find your footing. No one but you is pushing you to get everything finished!!

  28. Christa Barnhizer

    I have 5 that are actually quilted and just need the bindings sewn on… which is my least favorite part of the whole process and explains why a few of these have been waiting for bindings for… a couple years. At least. Then offhand, I can think of 11 that are awaiting quilting, one that just needs a border, and at least 8 that have all the blocks completed, but aren’t sewn together to make a flimsy yet. And that’s what I can think of without going downstairs to the sewing area to actually look. I’m sure if I did that I’d discover a dozen more flimsies and block sets that I’ve gotten tired of looking at and have stashed in the big storage bin of “things I’m ignoring until they seem new again.” I’ve been trying for years to use up the stash and finish all the UFOs… but I have to pack up my sewing stuff again so we can seal the basement, insulate it, and finish the space for an office, a bathroom, a family room, and a spare bedroom that will actually be my sewing area. So I think I just have to accept the fact that a lot of this isn’t going to get done this year. Or probably next year, either. But it is an excuse to use the Featherweight at the kitchen island and everyone will just have to live with it since there won’t be anywhere else for me to set up. Ha.

  29. Carolyn

    I agree with the comment that winter is coming… inside time and the nights are long so, my suggestions is to do what you are doing. I like to match up my fabric for backing and get it ready and I cut my batting as well. I put the quilt and the backing together, inside the batting and start the stack! My goal is to try to quilt tops from the 15th of the month until the end of the month and then on the first of the next month, I am free to piece, clean, tidy, organize, whatever it is that is going to make me happy. I have a white board but I use small post notes on it and I list each project on a separate piece from the post it notes and have them under columns. So, under ‘needs quilting’ I have anywhere from 5 to 15 quilt tops listed. It feels good to move the post note off the board when the top is done. But it also helps me to look over the list and see which one appeals to me the most. Sometimes it is the smaller one but lots of times, I grab the one that is the largest and will be the most time consuming. I read somewhere that you should never leave your long arm without a quilt loaded… if a quilt is loaded, then it is easy to grab 20 minutes and do some quilting. I find that if my backings are ready and with the quilt top, it just seems so much easier to grab and go and get it loaded. Sometimes I just load the back and walk away… but the first part is done and easy to do the rest the next day. Then easy to quilt for a bit and walk away. Good luck. But, remember, winter is coming and you will be glad to have your long arm for company on a cold night.

  30. LaNan

    My goal this weekend was to finish three quilts and start a fourth…well that didn’t happen!! The first I was short four rectangles and the material is at home, second quilt is for our grandsons fifth birthday in two weeks and it’s all triangles…very, very scrappy…well I made the first row and realized I’m probably 1100 triangles short…what was I thinking!!! So back to my stash when I get home and maybe shopping tomorrow!! The third quilt is a tshirt quilt and yes I’m going to finish it!!! Hurray!! And starting the new quilt will probably wait for another time!!! And yes there are probably six quilts hanging behind my sewing room door waiting to be quilted!!! Must all be in our quilting genes!! But it’s not worth stressing about…it’ll get done sometime soon!!!

  31. Patricia Boelens

    Oh, Jo sweet. You forgot Georgia’s quilt. You’d best finish it before you even try to quilt any of the others. Hers is most important of any of the quilts you showed us, I don’t care how old. Then I like the idea of 1 a month. That way if you can stretch it and do another fine, but if not, 1 a month isn’t bad. And the 2 charity quilts you have you could pawn off on one of your volunteers to finish. Not what you anticipated, but nothing was, so just gift them to someone else to finish. For the record I only have 4 or 5 tops waiting to quilt on my sit-down long arm (Yes the pinning is awful!). But I am not a volume quilter. Like you I have many things going on in my life and when I can find a little time to quilt, I love it. Prayers and peace be with you.

  32. CindyC

    I have 6 ready to quilt ranging from a table runner (quilt group challenge project) to king size (New York beauty that I have been working on 5 years. I have two I am piecing and I don’t know how many are cut just waiting for piecing. I have a quilt retreat planned for September so I will be sewing then. I also find that if I have the backings ready to go, I am one step closer to loading the quilt. I don’t seem to push myself as hard as I used to. I take my time more now and enjoy the process.

  33. Stearns Carol

    I pulled out some bins from under my guest bed recently and was surprised to find one full of tops needing to be quilter and also a bins of checks and plaids that was so old, I couldn’t even remember how old. The plaids went to the church and are now part of an LWR quilt. Four of them I think. And at least two of the tops are now finished quilts. I read lots of blogs and saw this from Barbara Brackman today where they are looking for fabrics. Its in your area of the country so that you might want the info. http://barbarabrackman.blogspot.com/2019/08/aqsg-fundraiser-repro-print-scrap-bags.html

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