Thursday, March 29, 2007

UFO question

When does a UFO become a UFO? This is not just a rhetorical question. Thanks to my pledge to reduce my UFOs this year, I actually need to define it for myself to know just which projects get priority. Now some projects are obviously UFOs.

My Summer Sorbet quilt that I've put aside to chill until I can figure out what to do with the borders is an obvious UFO. (here are all 12 blocks -- although I am thinking I do like this layout, any opinions?) So is the small flannel receiving blanket sized quilt I started while pregnant and still need to quilt. So is the "Monsters On My Bed" quilt that I pieced when dd was two months old that is basted and waiting for me to quilt. I have plans that all three of these will be finished this year, and again, since two out of the three are in "flimsy" stage it's obvious that they qualify as UFOs.

But, the question still stands. At what stage of a project does it become a UFO? Does it start when you've actually cut some of the fabric? If so, does this count? These are a bunch of 2 1/2" strips of fabrics I have used in other projects in the past year. I found a cute scrappy pattern in Quilter's Home that uses a technique I've been wanting to try. So, I have the collection of print strips I need, just need to cut a ton of background strips. And, while I did cut these strips to this size with the pattern in mind, they were scraps in the first place. I simply cut them down as I was either putting away scraps for later use and/or as I was finishing the projects they came from. So, while the fabric has been "cut" does it count as a UFO -- or is this simply gathering materials?

And while I'll even accept that a project may be a UFO if anything has been cut (and I'm tempted to believe that) where does that leave this one? These (not the cut squares in the background but the folded batiks and prints towards the front) are for a quilt for my mil. They will be her Christmas present. (No, I'm not worried about her seeing them, she already has -- my theory on this one is that if I am going to make this for her, I want to be sure she is going to love what I make so she knows about the quilt). I haven't cut anything, but I have begun to prepare the freezer paper templates and all of the fabric has been purchased and pulled from the stash. So, minimal work in, but ready to begin the work at any time. This one is the most troublesome for me because I have anywhere from 15 - 20 projects like this. The fabric is purchased, patterns selected or settings designed, everything is kept together in project bins and/or drawers, but nothing has been done with them. Do these also count as UFOs? Or are they simply projects that may or may not ever be begun and the fabric is simply hanging out in a special part of the stash? Except that I won't use it as part of my stash since it is meant for another project?

I really don't know -- and I suppose that the only reason I'm having angst about the subject is because I started a new project this week. The angst is because it is none of the projects mentioned above -- instead it is an entirely new project that wasn't even on my radar until this weekend. I was trying to decide what was next after my little bags and came across another pattern from a recent (I think) issue of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting (hmmn -- a lot of magazine patterns cropping up here, then again, by actually doing some of these patterns I can justify purchasing them in the first place). I had thought the pattern looked interesting when I first saw it, and when I looked at it again I realized I had a grouping of fabrics I had collected with vague ideas of doing something with them that would work. A quick trip down to my stash to check -- and yep, I could do it, and better than that I could do it all from my stash with only the possibility of some thread being purchased for the entire project.

So, instead of finishing one of my UFOs or one of the other projects that I have all of the materials for -- I started something else entirely. I really will get to the UFOs and the other projects. Eventually. Probably. I hope? In the meantime, a little tease of the stash fabrics I'm now playing with. Really, how could I resist? So, all of the fabrics ironed, cut down if necessary and cut to assembly dimensions -- and now to piece the blocks!


Anonymous said...

I believe that a UFO is not a UFO unless some of it is sewn and then it's put aside from boredom, lack of ideas etc. A WIP (work in progress) is what you're doing now. A PIGS (project in grocery sack) is fabric and pattern gathered together to make "some day". Does that help? Sounds to me like you have some PIGS and WIPs but not many UFOs LOL.

Thanks for dropping by my blog - I bookmarked yours, I enjoyed reading it and looking at your pics. I LOVE the sherbert quilt. What about a narrow border in plainish darkish colour, then piano key border to finish it?

Rose Marie said...

My definiton of an UFO is one that has already started having pieces sewn together and then abandoned for something else.
Great colours for all your projects that you have going!
I think Sandra's idea for a border for your sherbert quilt would work quite well!

Tonya R said...

In my mind it's not a UFO until you have several blocks pieced for it and still have intentions to make it. You are allowed to have sample blocks and then change your mind about making the quilt. Then you have orphans and no UFO. Not even begun sewing? Definitely doesn't count "against" you.

My only recommendation with that cut up fabric for projects you haven't started yet is to be free with it. If you do actually start sewing another project and that fabric would work, go ahead and use. Don't save the fabric. Reevaluate periodically and decide if you still want to make the unstarted projects, and if not, toss the fabric into the scraps pile.

My husband complains about "retinal burn" as well, tho not in those words. he covers his eyes and cries "it hurts, it hurts."

Samantha said...

I love love love that summer sorbet quilt! Can you share the pattern name?

I am looser with UFOs- I don't like to count pieced unquilted tops. I finished the tops, right? But aproject that is truly started beyond the purchasing stage, and then gets put aside while other projects get finished, now that's a UFO...

Elaine Adair said...

Oh dear -- UFOs? That pink, yellow strippy thing .. sorbet? -- hey, it's really great and apparently needs only a border. Just slap one on and it will be DONE! And it's so cute anyway - please don't let it sit with no one to love it!

I LOVE it already!

Sue in western WA said...

I like Tonay R's definition of a UFO. I really like SharonB's ( term WISP: work in slow progress. That allows time for simmering and consideration while working on other projects!

amandajean said...

that quilt is gorgeous!