Lori's assignment on Friday was to review our progress and she asked us how many UFQ’s we have – not sure I want to admit an exact number but it might convince you that when it comes to UFQ’s, I know my stuff?!?!
Over the weekend I revisited my list, added a few more UFQ’s, and re-counted. . . . . . . (can you hear the quiet groaning . . . . it seems like I should be making more progress). I’ve been dealing with UFQ’s since closing my shop, Erie Street Quilts in Willoughby, Ohio 9 years ago. I’ve made steady progress as a once full shelf of the UFQ department in my sewing room has been given over to large fabric hunks because the UFQ's that lived there are finished (or gone)!! One of the results of my progress has been to organize what I've learned about dealing with them into a four lesson home study course, UFQ ASSAULT TACTICS (and some pretty entertaining guild lecture programs). This week, you have a chance to win a tuition free opportunity to participate in my program. Read on!!
|Hard to believe this is about 30 quilt tops -- the top shelf is big hunks of fabric -- the backing department!|
Without a doubt, my biggest group of UFQ’s are tops ready to be quilted – and that in itself is a huge clue to my most common stumbling block. As a teacher, I feel it’s important to do the majority of my own quilting so I can help my students with that aspect of making a quilt. But for a long time I’ve justified not moving past this point of making a quilt because as a teacher, a quilt top is easier to haul around than a completed quilt. (Two attitudes that don’t exactly complement each other, do they?)
|Detail of a piece I finished with "big stitch" hand quilting -- now one of my favorite ways to "get it done".|
There are 40 quilt tops on my list of tops ready to quilt (TRQ’s?) – really? (But there were 72 in 2005.) It was a productive exercise as I was able to thin out 5 tops to donate to charities – designating a reason to finish them will motivate me and some can be donated in an unfinished state. 37% of my TRQ’s have been made since I closed my shop in 2005 – I do much better these days at moving all the way through a quilt from beginning to end than I used to do. I still have 17 tops that were made before 2005 – that’s getting pretty old.Lori’s advice in January to pull all our UFQ’s out and review them is a good suggestion but just getting them out isn’t enough. To get fired up about old projects requires understanding why they aren’t finished already. The reasons could be manifold – life interrupted your work flow, you didn’t enjoy the process as much as you thought you would, you hit a fabric blockade, you went back to work full-time, you got ill, and so on.
|Finally off the shelf after about 25 years and proudly hanging by the back door!|
Here are some common issues (stumbling blocks) I’ve helped students through.No time you say – 15 to 20 minutes a day of work amounts to 2 hours a week and that’s significant.
Not the skill you need – once again, 15 to 20 minutes a day of work on that skill specifically will yield marked results and in less time than you might think. I machine quilt all my charity quilts because it improves my ability to design and execute machine quilting. There’s more to developing skill than taking a class -- you have to do it often -- think practice the piano 30 minutes every day!!
Ran out of fabric – that is a creative challenge that will spur you on to step outside the box. I ran out of fabric so many times in 2012 when I challenged myself to use a big hunk of my stash and still made some of the best quilts of my life (which I finished). Now I look forward to running out of fabric!
I don’t like it anymore – then repurpose it. Make it smaller – put an applique on it – chop it up and make a totebag or placemats. Explore blogs and pinterest for fresh ideas.
Not sure how to proceed -- asking questions of quilters who can do what you don’t seem to be able to do has been a good strategy for me. I have a friend who moves through a quilt from start to finish most of the time. She might have 3 or 4 unfinished projects at any one time (amazing?!). Once I realized that the designing of the quilting was a stumbling block for me, I talked with her asking specific questions about how she approaches that part of the process. Her answers gave me a completely different perspective and changed my approach completely to the design aspect of quilting a top. Coupled with all the practice quilting I do on charity quilts, I now finish two dozen quilts a year.
|Detail of the BIG hand quilting project I finished this winter -- top made in early 1990's. Yea!!!!|
Knowing that a quilt with a purpose is more likely to get finished, I visit the “quilt top shelf” every time I want to give or donate a quilt before starting a new one. Most of the time, there is a finished top sitting there waiting for a purpose and “ta-da” it gets finished.Today my major goals as a quilt maker are to use all the best fabric in my stash (don’t want it to be a yard sale steal) and to have all the projects in my studio set into quilt tops with people’s names on them (so they aren’t yard sale steals either).
What is your goal?
Leave us a comment -- how many UFQ's do you have and what do you think is your most common stumbling block? Friday, we'll chose a winner and that quilt maker will be on her/his way to a personal UFQ ASSAULT plan. And if you don't win, you can start your own conquest by ordering UFQ ASSAULT TACTICS at http://www.maryhueyquilts.com/catalog/c1_p1.html