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WIPs and PhDs

Facing the UFOs One Day at a Time

Last year, participating in the first UFOvember made me take stock of my unfinished objects (UFOs). I decided that there were some that I very much wanted to finish in 2021. Here is one approach that I have found very effective.

I noticed that I felt overwhelmed with where to restart UFOs and how to keep moving. I decided that I needed a way to “break the surface tension” and get moving. In 2020, I made a couple of 100-day quilts. For the 100-day quilts, you piece one block or one section each day for 100 days, and at the end you have a quilt top. I allow myself to do more than the minimum, if I want, but I schedule about 15 minutes a day to work on the project. I found it was a great way to keep moving forward on one project and finish in a set amount of time. And I wondered if it would be helpful in tackling my UFOs.

The first UFO I decided to finish was a wedding quilt that was due three years ago. I took the two finished wedges of the Bluebonnet Broken Star and worked on adding one strip a day. Sitting down to the machine every day, I found that I often did more than the minimum. In a couple of months, the Bluebonnet Broken Star was pieced. I used the same approach of doing one piece a day to assemble it, add the borders and finish a scrappy pieced back. Then I sent it off to Prairie Folk Quilt Co. to get it quilted, so it did not go back into my UFO pile. Here’s the finished quilt:

Bluebonnet Broken Star 2021

I love the way the quilting shows off the piecing.

Next, I decided to tackle a Double Irish Chain that was partially pieced and sitting in a box. Originally, I planned on using this as a weight loss marker quilt with one block for each pound. Unfortunately between the stresses and life and the pandemic, I was not losing weight. Looking at the quilt made me upset that I did not meet my original goal, which wasn’t helping anything. I loved the color combinations and still wanted the finished quilt, so I decided to redeem it and finish it using the 100-day method. I already had about 30 blocks finished out of the 122 planned. I started making one block a day and finished the blocks and borders in a couple of months. I also sent this king-sized quilt to Amanda at Prairie Folk for quilting.

Irish Chain on the quilting frame
Irish Chain back

This quilt is now my Zoom background for teleworking. My November goal is to get it bound so I can put it on my bed. I’ll be sure the share the finished quilt with all of you.

My current one-step-at-a-time quilt is my Singapore Sling quilt. You can read in my earlier blog how this was designed and how I won a pack of Good Vibes Fabrics designed by Christa Watson for Benartex. I used the one-block-a-day approach to finish the blocks, assembly, and pieced backing. I got it basted and quilted according to my plan. Unfortunately, I was disappointed in how the quilting turned out. It clearly needed much more quilting than I originally planned. I put it aside as I finished my QuiltCon entries, then I looked at it again. While I still had questions about my quilting choices, I decided to keep going and quilt one line a day. At this rate, I should have the quilting done by the end of November. I already have the binding made, so once it is quilted, it is a quick finish. Check out my progress on Instagram.

Approaching my UFOs one day at a time has helped me complete three major, bed-sized quilts this year, in addition to the new projects I started and finished. Just 15 minutes a day or less. Which of your UFOs could use the one-day-at-a time approach?

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