Getting Real with my UFOs

With the finish of my Garlic Knots quilt, I stepped back and decided to take a real look at my UFO projects.  It’s ridiculous that I have as many as I do.  It’s ridiculous that I make a list year after year and still don’t really jump in and get them all done.  I’m not judging everyone else.  I’m just judging myself.  I hate that UFOs are taking up room in my sewing room.  I keep telling myself I wish I had more room so I could everything behind cupboards and look neater but what do I do?  I grab a new project and I don’t actually sew on the UFOs.

I decided it is time to get real.  Will I actually finish any of these?  Is it time to pass them on?  Is it time to just buckle down and make it a priority?

Here is my UFO listing from July of 2021.  I’m going to share where I am and my thoughts on each of the UFOs.

1-Virginia Bound:

This one is a top…sort of.  I have the center section done.

Virginia-Bound-Center-1
This is the original quilt….

Virginia-Bound-Center-3
But..when Kelli and I were in Moline for a quilt retreat with the Mississippi Valley Quilters years ago, I saw this one that June did….this…
It’s applique around the outside.  I think I want to do something like this.   She had awesome quilts for the show and tell.

Virginia-Bound-Center-4

I love the look and like the challenge of trying something a little out of my box…BUT, it’s out of my box and I don’t gravitate toward picking this up.  I would need to take time.  I would need to challenge myself.  I would need to take extra time to learn how to do the applique.  It’s so much easier to pick something else.  But…In writing this, I came up with a plan.  One of the things that’s holding me back is coming up with the applique pieces.  I suddenly remembered Lori Holt has some awesome applique templates.

I bought these…Lori Holt’s Simple Shapes Granny’s Garden.

Now hopefully that will help with coming up with an applique design.  I’m one step closer…still far from there but it’s a start.

2-Hawaiian Sunset- I had so hoped I would finish this one…alas.
If you’re a long-time blog reader, you know I’ve wanted to do this for YEARS.

I had hunted and hunted for this magazine and Kelli found it for me at a grocery store and bought it for me.  What’s holding me back??  I think it’s because I love the quilt so much.  I think their colors are perfect and I don’t have confidence in myself that I’ll pick the colors as well.

I’m not giving up on this one…I think I need to take a day and dedicate it to pulling fabric and making decisions.  It’s so much easier to pull and easy pattern.  This one needs some time and I’m going to find a way to find it.  I think if the fabric was pulled, I’d buckle down and sew it.

3-Garlic Knots- I got sewn into a top!!

I’m celebrating that success.

4-Floribunda- I haven’t touched this.
This is Bonnie Hunter’s quilt:  I have most everything here to make this.  I collected floral scraps over the years.  There was enough for me and Kelli to make the quilt.  Kelli ended up taking the fabric and cutting strips for us both.

That’s as far as the quilt got.

It is supposed to look like this.  (Picture from Bonnie’s blog)  The free pattern for this quilt is HERE.

Bonnie Hunter's Floribunda (With images) | Quilts, Purple quilts ...

I can tell you EXACTLY what is holding me back on this one.  The border.  I love the border on this and there are no instructions for the border.  UGH.  I think this is another that the border makes the quilt.  So what’s a girl to do.  I would need to sit down.  I would need to make dedicated time to figure out the border.

I am certain I could figure it out…but again, it would take some time.  Again, it’s easier to pick a different project that doesn’t need the extra time.

Hey, wait.  I think Kelli has made this into a quilt top.  I’ll check with her and see if she figured out the border.  That’s the plan with this one.

5-Oregon or Bust- Last year I cut up the shirts needed for this but didn’t make any progress in getting it cut out.

This is another Bonnie Hunter quilt.  It’s from the book Scraps and Shirttails II.  I have long wanted to make this ever since I found Mary from Country Threads version.


I collected shirts for several years as Mary’s version was made with only blue and orange 100% cotton upcycled shirts and I wanted to make mine like hers.  I am in love with Mary’s version.  I have the shirts deboned but that’s as far as I am.

I really do want to make this.  Again…I need some time to see what goes where with this to make it like Mary’s.  I need to study her version against the pattern and figure out how to cut it out.  It’s a time factor again.

6-Sofie’s Quilt- I haven’t touched this.
This is a quilt of a friend of mine.  They found it in grandma’s cedar chest.  I’m really nervous about this and just need to quit worrying and try.


I LOVE the design.  I’d like to replicate this quilt.

This has stalled again…because of TIME and because I’m nervous about it.  It’s one of those, I have to pull up my big girl pants and just DO IT!

7-Sugar Bowl- I haven’t touched this.
This is another FREE Pattern from Bonnie Hunter you can find HERE.


I have some strips cut but that’s about it.  This finished quilt (Picture from Bonnie’s blog) suppose to look like this….


HERE is a link to the instructions.

This is the quilt I am likely least interested in making at this point.  I started cutting this out when I was doing full-fledged childcare and needed to do something during nap time that was quiet.  This was the quilt Bonnie finished at the time so I just decided to make it by default.  It doesn’t mean I want to get rid of it.  It’s just at the bottom of my list to finish at this point.

Sugar Bowl Quilt FREE Pattern from Bonnie Hunter | Bonnie hunter ...

8-Show Off-
This is a free Quilted Twins pattern.  This is a 100% cotton recycled quilt.  (Find the pattern HERE)

This one I finished.


I gifted it as a wedding present.

Kelli just made on in all blues…She added the piano keyboard which the original pattern called for.

9-Scrap Vortex is now a top.  I did work on this and get it this far.

10-I have this project in the basket on the right, with the red square in the middle.  I’d really love to finish that up.  It was so fun to make.  I haven’t touched this.

I really want to finish this up.  It’s one of my favorite projects of the bunch.  I didn’t jump into this one as I had just sewn on Scrap Vortex.  I love sewing with tiny scraps and crumbs but I don’t like to do several in a row.  So, being Scrap Vortex was on the front burner, this one got put on the back burner.

11-Double Wedding Ring Quilt
I hope to get to this soon.  I want this finished.

This is how it was.  It’s a top now.  That last seam is sewn…and I found that binding fabric but that’s as far as I am.  Some progress even if only a little.
This has been lingering since 2019.  It’s time.

The reason this one stalled is because of the longarming.  This needs custom longarming and that takes a chunk of time.  I wouldn’t doubt it would take me 20 hours.  Longarming is likely my least favorite part of quilting so I put it off.

I think the key to getting this completed is to load it on the frame.  If it’s loaded, there is no turning back.  It will get done.

12-These were started back in January of 2020….
I still haven’t touched these.  I’ve yet to grab onto an idea to for finishing the blocks.  I’ve designed a couple of things.  Readers had sent me a couple ideas but…Nothing has stuck.

These I have been tempted to pass on…but, I sure do like having something like these in my sewing room if something comes up and I need a quick charity quilt or present, so I’ve kept them.

I really don’t think I have any other UFOs besides these that are listed.  I have projects I am currently working on but no UFOs.

So…it’s currently the end of April as I write this.  I started this UFO list on July 1st of 2021 with the hope of following along with Mary at her Chicken Scratch Country Threads blog as she picked a UFO number and I was to complete that quilt during that month.

Well a couple of things derailed me right off the bat.  I didn’t finish the quilt in the very first month.  Then I felt bad and fell off the wagon immediately.  I tried to jump on but then needed a number that wasn’t chosen to be finished for a wedding present so I was “off” again.  Then my cancer and now I cross stitch a lot.  So what’s a girl to do?

I came up with this plan…
I am going to get some borders put on Virginia Bound.  I’ll start watching a few of Lori Holt’s applique videos and try to get a little more comfortable with applique.

I am going to pull Hawaiian Sunset.  I am going to figure out where I am with that and what needs to be done.  I am not going to try to make it any bigger.

I am also going to focus on trying to get the three quilt tops through the longarming process.

I am also going to pull project #12 and set it on the sewing room island.  I’m going to count how blocks there are and see where I am at with that.  I’d like to make at least a single bed sized quilt.  I have the matching gray so I could make more blocks if need be and then just sew them together in a plain old setting and quit worrying about the perfect setting.  We’ll see.  At least if they are on the island, I’ll start thinking about them again.  Hmm.

I know several of you will be tempted to tell me to pass these projects on.  I’m not going to.  I still really like them all.  LOTS.  When I went through the list I had a big hope that maybe, just maybe, I would find at least one I wanted to part with.  There weren’t any.  Each has a reason it is still in my sewing room.

Someone might say…”if they don’t spark joy”…well, most of them do.

As I said at the beginning, I am doing this for me.  I’m not judging anyone for their abundance or lack of UFOs…you do whatever you like.  I just know for me, I want more space in my sewing room.  I want to feel more organized.  For me, that mean getting the UFOs finished.

My goal is to have 6 of the 12 projects completely finished by July 1st when the Dirty Dozen is over for the year.  Wish me luck.  I’m going to need it…and what do I do??  I started another quilt.  JO KRAMER!!  What do you think you’re doing???  You have to buckle down if you’re going to get these UFOs tackled!!

35 thoughts on “Getting Real with my UFOs

  1. Janice Sosh

    Jo,
    I have complete confidence in you. I know you will get it done. My youngest son’s youth pastor asked his class one night, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer, “One bite at a time.” Everytime I have a big project or overwhelmed with something, I always go to this and remember just one bite at a time or one step at a time.

    Reply
  2. Toni Wood

    Jo, the quilt you want to do the applique border on is similar to one I did several years ago. It was all plaids, the border was a solid red plaid and I did raw edge applique. It fit the homespun, rustic feel of the quilt plus I had it done in one day!! It was gifted as a wedding quilt.

    Reply
  3. Cheryl Regan

    Good job looking at things without judgment. Glad you are giving yourself a break then starting! The hardest part about starting is….starting! Good luck!

    Reply
  4. Lisa

    I had to laugh when I read this post, it sounds like my UFO piles! I’m trying to finish up some before I start anymore projects! Good luck on your quest!

    Reply
  5. Mary E

    Jo – should I loan you the orange and blue quilt to inspire you? I get too bored with quilts so end up making them throw size because I just want to be done and that, Dear Girl, is why I don’t have many UFO’s! Haha! Every time I save a quilt picture to Pinterest I am tempted to start it but stop myself. Could I meet up with you and Kayla some Saturday? I’ve been saving things for her and your child care kids and the pile is getting big. And yes, I will start the Dirty Dozen again on July 1 – maybe some of your readers want to join in!

    Reply
  6. Elle

    I am with you Jo! And good on you for having only 12.

    I started this year with 26. 9 are finished and 1 is quilted so I’m down to 16. These remaining have a TON of work to be done. I would be super happy to have less than 5 of these left going into 2023.

    Cheers to finishing UFOs!

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  7. Colleen

    Jo I think you just need to take some of the tops without birders and quilt them as is. Someone would love them as a cuddle quilt. As for the Double wedding ring don’t custom quilt it. I find an all over swirl works on any k8nd of quilt an let’s the fabric shine. Good luck. I have 3 or 4 at my long arm errs now. I have a couple tops that just need finished like Bonnie hunters unity. Just the last couple borders. It just got too emotional. Anyway good luck!

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  8. Cynthia from Nebraska

    Jo, you could always have someone else quilt that lone star quilt. I know you occasionally do that with quilts you submit to magazines. It wouldn’t be cheating!

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  9. Robin K

    You go girl. I get bored sometimes making the same block or 2 blocks over and over I just have to put the project to the side. I also have some old UFO’s that I will not give away…. They’re mine. We all have our own pace. Anyone who judges is not nice. We should all try to be NICE.

    Reply
  10. Susan from Michigan

    I am thinking 12 ufo’s is a small number. Whatever you choose to do as far as finishing them is just fine. I just finished a large quilt and I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with what to do next. I want to just ask myself what I want most to work on, and do that. This is supposed to be fun.

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  11. Lorraine

    Jo, have you ever tried fusible applique? So much more fun and forgiving than needleturn. Yes, I would be one to say “Let a couple of those go.” LOL. Good luck!

    Reply
  12. Karen N

    Jo, you have some beautiful UFO’s there. I too am trying to tackle my UFO’s which mainly consist of quilt tops getting quilted. I just wanted to let you know I have been using Lori Holt’s applique method and it suits me well. I avoided applique for so long but I really wanted to make a quilt with a friend that has some applique on it. I have tried needleturn and other methods but Lori’s just spoke to me. I am hand appliqueing my pieces down though. I have done more applique with this method than I have with any other method. I bought Lori’s interfacing and have found it easy to work with. You may already have something similar at home. Also the Clover point to point turner Lori uses improved my applique pieces. I was using other turning tools I had but am glad I bought the one Lori uses. i definitely don’t think I wasted my money. Good tools that work well for you can make tasks easier.

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  13. Kristy Wilkinson

    Jo- I think you can do what ever you put your mind to! If you need any help or encouragement with Lori’s templates I would be happy to help! I have made 6 of her applique quilts using her Sew Simple Shapes. They are easy to use and fun to work with. You have all the edges turned under and ready to sew by hand or machine. The turning is the fiddly part. You just sew on your drawn line. If you need me I am happy to help! Kristy- lkw2x6-apq@yahoo.com

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  14. Judith Fairchild.

    I have a large container of u.f.o.s I got back to them towards the end of last year then I moved. Started a new project with my niece and haven’t touched any thing else for over a month. An honest excuse I ended up in the hospital with an infected foot. Orders were to keep it elevated if I wasn’t walking. I’m not a big fan of hand sewing. Sooooo. Do whatever is best for you. I have noticed that you pretty much do what you think is best. Enjoy what you are and do.

    Reply
  15. Roxanne

    The Hawaiian Sunset quilt is a project made for you. The fabric is everything and you’ve got fabric. You also are great at studying color and design in quilts. Once you start I know you’ll make an amazing quilt! You always do!

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  16. Stearns Carol

    You have twelve. Do one a month. I just pulled a languishing top and finished it and donated it to LWR. So happy for it to leave the house. Pick one of the longarm projects and finish one. Then load another and finish it. You can do it Jo. Its just that the call of a new quilt is so enticing. I have binding to do on Rhododendron Trail. All quilted nd binding made. Just need a big space to sew it on.

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  17. Jane

    Hi Jo—this blog made me feel good: I am not alone. This past week I finished three needlepoint pillows dated 1979! They are lovely, and I’m sorry I didn’t enjoy them all these years! I’m going to frame the angels and the poinsettia cross stitch as soon as I have a whole day with no doctor, dentist, or repair man appointments. Any year now!
    The floors look great! You’ve accomplished so much. Congratulations!

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  18. Jane

    Jo—you wood floors look great! You’ve accomplished so much!!!
    Your post was encouraging. I too want to finish some of my ufos. Last week I made up 3 needlepoint pillows dated 1979 and starched 9 of the dozen snowflakes I tatted three years ago. NowI want to frame the cross stitch poinsettia I stitched in 1994 and the angels stitched in the 80’s. Lol!

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  19. Jane

    Jo—you wood floors look great! You’ve accomplished so much!!!
    Your post was encouraging. I too want to finish some of my ufos. Last week I made up 3 needlepoint pillows dated 1979 and starched 9 of the dozen snowflakes I tatted three years ago. Now I want to frame the cross stitch poinsettia I stitched in 1994 and the angels stitched in the 80’s. Lol!

    Reply
  20. Sandra B

    Jo, you have some amazing quilts on your UFO list! I have a number of UFO projects as well… they will all eventually get done. Like you, I have continued to start new projects, but, for me, it is just part of the process. I look at it like this…no matter my mood, or available time, there is always a good assortment to choose from!
    And….I am itching to get back into cross stitch on a more regular basis!
    Anyway, all of that to say….work on them, or not, as you want! Your quilts are all amazing, so just forge ahead, and have fun! Looking forward to following along on your journey!!

    Reply
  21. Sharon F

    Jo, I understand what you mean that the obstacle on proceeding with some of your UFOs is the need for a large block of time to figure something out, or learn a new technique, or pull a set of fabrics. Like you, I can do a lot by sewing a little bit whenever I have a few minutes. It is hard to come by larger chunks of time to tackle the big tasks, especially with your schedule. You have a great plan for proceeding! I’m sure you will be successful in making progress, and your quilts will be lovely.

    Reply
  22. JustGail

    I think you accomplished the most important 1st step – reviewing the UFOs and deciding if you really still want to do them. Then listing what needs to be done on the ones you do want to continue with. Knowing what’s left to be done can make it easier to decide which one to pull out and complete.

    Reply
  23. Jean

    When you showed Mary’s version of Oregon or Bust in blue and orange it was love at first sight. After getting off to a good start other things intervened after the center was finished. I only hand sew and am making mine bigger than Marys. But I’ve started again and loving again. The gazillion little finished 1″ squares in the border are going to take a long time but it will be worth it. Can hardly wait to see how your version will turn out.

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  24. Carolyn

    Jo, your list isn’t too bad… but I totally understand that starting something new is more fun that digging out a projects from ‘before’. When I am frustrated with myself over UFO’s… I try to tell myself that I need to finish one before I start something new and, quite often, while working on a UFO, I start something new as the leaders and enders. The other thing to do is aim for one a month… or set aside one Monday a month that is UFO day. I do that with quilting as well. I try to have 3 quilt tops matched with batting and backing and ready to go. And, loading the quilt is the first step that always seems to be the stumbling block. Once the quilt is loaded, then the quilting just seems to happen. I have a lot of quilt tops waiting patiently and figured that one per week would be 4 or 5 a month. That is a good number! But, again, getting the backings made and batting cut is a boring job and, I find messy, as I pull out backing choices so, just taking an afternoon to get a few ready, makes a difference for me. And, in the end, it is creating of space, having things look organized and little tidier, things off the floor, always makes me smile and feel good so getting something done and gone from the clutter is a good thing. One project at a time…

    Reply
  25. Sue Orfila

    Your UFO’s are just gorgeous and I love that you have plans to finish them, but feel slightly overwhelmed. I ordered zippered pouches from Amazon, and put each one of my UFO’s inside. I was shocked that there were 21! My suggestion is to have the pouches where you can see them and change your plan for finishing them. I would bind the Virginia Bound and forget about the border. You could do that with some of the others and get them finished. Does a border make a quilt? Yes, but in order to plow through the UFO’s, does that matter anymore? Or, send some of them to one of your finishers! Or give yourself permission to say, “I am never going to finish this” and give it to your favorite thrift store. Someone would be thrilled to purchase them!

    Reply
  26. Michelle

    You know you’ve got this! Regarding Floribunda…if Kelli doesn’t have the border math figured out, maybe you can put the center dimensions in your EQ8 program & then add the blocks & keys…I finally bought it this year as a quilty gift to myself but haven’t mastered it all yet so can’t speak to how easy that would be but hopefully that might do the trick if needed!

    Reply
  27. Kris in WI

    I liked Sandra B.’s comment: “I look at it like this…no matter my mood, or available time, there is always a good assortment to choose from!” While I was late getting started, Mary’s Dirty Dozen has helped. I haven’t completed one UFO a month, but at least I took a good look at what needed attention. And Jo, I still like them all!

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  28. Jan Smith

    It was surprising to me to read that you question your color confidence on the Hawaiian Sunset pattern. Your color work is what I admire most about your quilts!

    Reply
  29. Wenda

    Fusible appliqué with some topstitching, zigzag, or buttonhole stitching really is not hard and looks so fancy when it is done! You will enjoy completing that one!

    Reply
  30. Kathy Rockey

    There’s no shame in doing raw edge applique with heat n bond lite on the back of the shapes. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be pretty, and finished. Trace shapes to the paper side of heat n bond Lite (it’s the one you can sew through) iron to the back of the fabric and cut out shapes, pull off paper, iron to the border fabric. Straight, zig zag or blanket stitch around the edges on the sewing machine. You can use invisible thread but a fine thread disappears, and if you want that blanket stitch look, a darker heavier thread works.

    Reply
  31. Janice

    Hi Jo, I made a quilt similar to Sophie’s Quilt and like you I was horrified to try it. I ended up making a “practice” quilt, about 36 inches square. I also read a few articles on making the star. Making that practice quilt was such a good idea. I learned many things – have spray starch! I did get the quilt made (flannel) for Christmas for my son’s family and they treasure it. It is one of my best makes. It was big – probably 104 x 104. This year they want a “modern” quilt (I don’t care for them) and I’m having trouble working on it!
    Hugs – Janice

    Reply

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