10 March, 2009

"Let's Talk" Tuesday...

UFO's*; we all have them, they plague us. Our Guild has a UFO challenge going on this year to prompt us to finish a project a month, there are even prizes for incentives.

* UnFinished Objects

"How many UFO's do you have, do you know why you start another project before you finish the first and does this bother you?"

I counted up my "works in progress" (limited them to quilting projects) and I came up with 29. I know, that sounds like a lot. I tallied everything, including projects that hadn't even been cut out yet but were intentional purchases with a pattern; from those to quilts that are quilted but not yet bound. Why do I have so many, and how did this happen? I had to think long and hard about that, I'm not a quitter, I am a finisher, of most things. I never stop in the middle of meal preparation and begin something else entirely. I don't get in my car to drive somewhere and suddenly turn and head in an entirely different direction. I don't start a book and abandon it in the third chapter. But with quilts, for me, it's the need to dabble in many techniques and processes at the same time. My mind wanders while I work and I remember that stack of machine applique blocks piled high in the closet, they beckon me when I am machine quilting and I drag them out after lunch. The machine quilting takes a back seat for a while and I'm consumed with applique. I may tire of a color combination or a certain block become repetitious and I abandon it for a while and decide, at long last, to make the binding for a patiently waiting quilt. Does this bother me? Only slightly. For me, jumping from one thing to another keeps it fresh and interesting. I do finish up my quilts, in due time, and I'm not afraid to donate projects that no longer hold any interest. I know that I will never run out of things to work on, and for me... that's OK; actually, it's great!

...and sew, "let's talk"...
Life is Good!

26 comments:

leigh anna said...

i'm looking forward to one of your ufo's being finished and here with us!
but i'm also ok with waiting!

Connie W said...

I am guilty of having UFOs also and it doesn't bother me too much but I do wish to have them, most of them anyway, completed by the end of this year. To hold myself accountable, I posted them on my blog and have the photos of each one on my sidebar to serve as reminders to me, so I can have no excuses. There must be something about quilting that stirs up our creativity to such a level that we cannot have only one project active from start-to-finish and thus must have multiples in-progress. I can't explain it but I know the feeling. For me, perhaps it is linked to becoming bored with a particular project, or because I am not enjoying it at the moment so must move on...or it's simply I want to do it all...at once. ;D (but cannot!)

*karendianne. said...

I love this topic. Because for me, I allow Spirit and the inspiration to be my guide. I'm not a quitter either. I trust in myself and my Spirit that we'll be again inspired to finish a piece just as we are hooked in to start or work with a piece. My time quilting is precious, acutely aware I don't know how much time I have to quilt. So never count what I have going, I never trouble with my UFO's. I completely 100% trust in Spirit. I am an allower...

SubeeSews said...

I am not going to count my UFO's. Not that I am afraid of doing that. No......I am not afraid. Honest. I am sure mine # is more than your 29. I do like the fact that two of my UFO's became birthday gifts last week as all they needed was a border and to be quilted. Kinda like a frozen dinner in the freezer that you can spark up and then it looks like you cooked all day.
I consider myself an artist and all my fabrics and kits are my paint colors. An artist cannot limit themselves to just a couple colors. I work on what I feel like working on. I never run out of projects!
Subee
P.S. today is my birthday!

ranette said...

I'm similar to you in how I work on projects. I always have several quilts in different stages going at once. I didn't used to sew like this but I think I might be suffering from quilters add.
Also I have learned new techniques that I want to do so that has added to the list which numbers appx. 15, not including quilts that need to be quilted...lol

Janet said...

As far as UFO's that are actually started projects, the number is not really that bad - maybe 4 or 5. But the projects that I have in mind with fabric and patterns waiting - that's another story. But it is also fun to go looking through my stash and find a surprise of something I wanted to do a few months (or years!) ago and still want to make it. Buying and fondling fabrics are my guilty pleasure!

mamaspark said...

HAHAHA, UFO's huh? I have lots. I have some of them listed on the side bar of my blog. It is one of the things I want to work on this year. I only counted the ones begun not the ones that I intentionally bought for. so if it has not been cut into it does not qualify and I have about 30 or so. Does it bother me? Not really. I know they will get finished sooner or later. I feel like you do that I get caught up in one technique and go great guns and then need to do something else for a little while. Like binding for instance. It hurts my hands to do too much for too long so I have to do it in short spurts. The same with embroidery or any other hand work.I've sent 8 quilts to the LA quilter since January so they are getting finished. Don't you think that sometimes a "have to" (family or friend needs a quilt) jumps into your otherwise planned "to do" list and makes those become temporary UFO's? That happens to me all the time. I have been able to keep the "have to's" to a minimum so far but know it won't stay that way forever! Thanks for asking!!

Karen Newman Fridy said...

I think you said it perfectly...jumping from one to the next does keep it fresh and interesting. Sometimes I just have to put a project down for a while to get some perspective on what else it needs. Sometimes I get sick of the stage it's in - especially so with repetitive blocks on a traditional quilt...I'm not good at sticking with repetition. Although sometimes that's a good thing to work on when you're stuck on some other project.

Maybe it's ADD...but whatever the cause, it works for me!

quiltkeemosabe said...

Just like the old tag line, "We will serve no wine before it's time", when the time is RIGHT a project will get finished. If you have to fight with it and yourself to finish it, the time is not RIGHT. A project may stall out, you're bored with it, you don't know what to do with it, you don't know how to do it, etc, etc. and so it languishes and then one day, you pull it out and it suddenly falls together almost effortlessly and you wonder why you waited so long to finish it. The reason is that the time wasn't right. This is my theory and I'm sticking to it!

Libby said...

Oh my, I haven't counted up my UFO's in some time now - I would guess there are a dozen or fewer. The last time I did, there was a flurry of finishing activity only to be followed by adding new projects to the list. Guess I should do a count and assess whether there is any hope of getting them done.

Salem Stitcher said...

You know me...your UFO queen.

Like you, I count kits and fabrics I have bought with a specific purpose. I like to jump from project to project and tend to wait until I have a huge stack of quilts to baste before having a basting day.

I think my count right now is 123. Yes, one hendred twenty three...not a typo...which is better than the 209 is was a year and a half ago.

Nane said...

I probably have 10 and I am to the point that there are some UFO's I don't want to finish...its time to give them away to someone who wants them. I can't be forced to work on something I no longer enjoy (unless there is a deadline involved!)

Shasta said...

Wow - I didn't count the projects that are kitted up but not started. Makes the official UFO number lower that way - but I like the idea of counting them, because they are on my mind as projects I need to finish up, and because this way when I start something "new" I am still working on dwindling down the UFO pile. Yes they make me feel guilty, because I know that if anything happens to me, they will never be finished. But I do enjoy working on more than one project at a time, in different stages, so it is a wavering guilt.

dianne said...

UFOs? how many? hmmm ...... i don't think i have any UFOs ... not any that i remember, anyway.

i am blessed with short-term memory loss ...... if i don't package ALL of EVERYTHING that i need for a quilt, i forget what i bought the bits and pieces for (and sometimes i forget about the package and then it is like Christmas morning) ... that is my story and i'm sticking with it.

my youngest daughter loves my stml disorder ... she will hold up a fat quarter or pattern or yardage and say, "Mom, do you need this for something in particular?" and, of course, i have to tell her "no", because i have NO IDEA if i need it or not.

i'm sorry ... what was the question?

nannergirl said...

I'm trying hard to keep my UFO numbers down. I had a big 'finishing' year last year and I don't want to do it again. I think right now I have 4 on the go. I hate leaving things unfinished, so I keep working on ones I don't like. And then I put those uglies in a cupboard and try to forget about them!

LauraQuilts said...

Seems like with dieting, I know what I'm supposed to do, but real life intervenes. I have many UFO's (don't I wish there was another acronym for tops that are indeed finished, just not quilted yet!). I promised myself that this year I would do a better job of completing all those tops I have stacked in the playpen. They are just so overwhelming sometimes. The good news is I love 'em all, and I have to give up the just sitting part of my day!

Quiltdivajulie said...

I just checked the list on my blog's sidebar ~ there are 13 specific projects waiting (not counting binding and finishing) plus Priority Quilts and Mountain Baby Blankets projects... so, yes, absolutely, I have lots of UFOs (in LOTS of different stages).

I go through periods of time when I have multiple projects running at the same time (like right now). Then there are dry spells when all I can do is sit with my fabric and be.

Does having too much ahead bother me? Only when the pieces are scattered everywhere and the confusion/chaos/clutter keeps me from thinking clearly. [which means it is time to stop and reorganize the mess & my mindset]

I like the way KDL described the process ~ it's all about honoring our inner spirit and intuition, and listening to those wonderful voices of creativity that whisper (or sometimes shout) in our heads.

Quilt Memories said...

I NEVER started a project I didn't finish before starting another one until......We started traveling and visiting new quilt shops everywhere....Now,It hurts my brain to think about how many I have.....I'm glad I am not home now, so I can't count them,but I am sure theres way more than I could do in several years.Does it bother me, YES, YES. So much so, that I haven't even mentioned going to find a shop here in Atlanta, and probably won't...I have my machine with me,but haven't sewed a stitch on it. I have been trying to get my red work embroidery done and that should be finished today or tomorrow.That is one project I want DONE!Then maybe I will get back to the sewing machine.
I do worry that at my age I may not live long enough to do all that I plan and want to, hopefully , when we get home I can get really serious this time and get a lot of these projects done.
Have a great day!

paula, the quilter said...

I haven't counted up my quilting projects in a while, maybe I should. I used to keep a spreadsheet on them and 'hide' the row of the completed project. I should update that when I get home from work (it is currently lunchtime, ahem). Now you have me wondering. Of course, some of my UFOs are actually some that I inherited and may never become a completed project.

Domestic Designer said...

Don't all quilters have a lot of UFO's? In my sewing guild we have meetings fairly often that are simply to work on UFO's. Like you I think that I just like to try new things. I have always had several different things going at one time, but I do finish them...eventually!:) It really doesn't bother me that I have, well let's not say how many UFO's I have. I guess I just assume I am a normal member of the crafting/quilting world. Have a great day!

Trudi said...

UFO's.... oh yes, I have many, I know for sure that I have at least 18 tops waiting to be quilted alone. It's that dreative drive to try new things, I do finish them, I have little sprees of achievement! do I feel guilty..... Nooooooo. Its part of the creative process, its the way I am. :o)

Carrie P. said...

Well, I feel pretty good because I don't have as many UFO's as you do. That does not mean there won't be some before the year is over. I start a new project because of the new patterns and fabric that just keep on coming. I have definitely slowed down with UFO accumulating since I don't get quilt magazines in the mail anymore. Now I just buy them as I see patterns that I really like.

Grandma said...

I also have quilters ADD. I have so many going at once but nice to see that others do too. I only count my UFO if the fabrics been cut. If I counted all the kits I have bought, it would be overwhelming. Diane in Alaska

quiltmom said...

Well Mrs. Goodneedle,
this is an interesting question- I do have a few UFO's - under 10- I am not counting the 2 or three kits that I have bought but not started. I can only have a few UFOs at a time or it becomes overwhelming- I have one longstanding one of about 6 years that is just sitting waiting for me to get moving on it- Its a quilt that I have struggled with the technique so I have put it aside to when I have a little more time to pay attention to what I am doing. I like having some variety but not so many that it seems like an impossible number to manage. The other question that remains is what constitutes a UFO - if you have learned a technique. does that mean that the project you have made has to be a finished product always or can some of those things be samples that one uses as a learning experience without the intent to finish.
I would like to start a new quilt but won't until I finish up two that I have going right now.
I guess each one of us has a magic amount that we have to sustain our creativity but still gives us that satisfying feeling one gets when a project is finished.
Regards,
Anna

Rhonda said...

I'm not telling how many UFOs I have! Too afraid to count them. lol

I start new projects because it makes me happy ...*U*...to work on something new. No guilt here! lol
Eventually, I'll get back to finishing up those older projects.

Nan said...

I have several UFO's - I don't know the exact count - and the reasons for it are varied. Sometimes I'll start a project with high hopes and then it doesn't look like I hoped it would or isn't coming together like I thought, so I will abandon it for awhile. OR, someone's birthday or a holiday is coming up, and I want to create something just for that, so I drop what I'm doing and work on that. OR, I get bored making the same blocks day after day, and move on to something else.
Other days, I will pick up a UFO and finish it, and then pick up another and finish it, etc. I guess it all depends on my mood.
New fabrics and patterns are like sparkly gems to me - they catch my eye, and I'm smitten, and must work on them next!! I'm a fickle quilter, I guess. As a friend of mine says, it's good to let projects "age" sometimes!