So to start of this column I have 134 project bags in my studio, 46 of which have been started and are officially UFO’s. For those who are counting, one year ago I had 125 project bags.
I know what you’re thinking: that I’ve not made much progress in a year. Okay no progress. Backwards progress, if we’re going to be honest. I have all the usual excuses. There was a new baby in the family, I made last-minute gifts, such-and-such event snuck up on me, there was this great sale. Fill in your excuse here. Most quilters do this. We have the best of intentions. We think that this is the year that we’re really going to clear out our backlog of projects. Really. And then we’re going to give our sewing rooms a good cleaning before we start on the next big thing. Right.
Here’s the reality – there’s always something that comes along that is more fun, or more exciting, or more important to work on right now. So the backlog doesn’t really get cleared and the sewing room doesn’t really get cleaned. Ever.
For myself, I move the piles out of the way a couple of times a year so that I can dust and vacuum. And every time, once things are moved back, I’ve misplaced some strips, or a label or some other critical component of what I’m working on. It never pays to clean up and yet I continue to do so; on a semi-regular basis.
The latest casualty of cleaning up is a label that I had ready to put on a pineapple quilt I finished just in time to enter into this years’ county fair. (Yay me!) I’d swear that there were two or three labels in that same pile and I can’t find any of them. Not a problem for the fair; those entries don’t need labels. My Guild’s show is another story. I need both a label and a hanging sleeve for that one. These things that I lose generally turn up eventually. I just hope this one turns up in time for the show.
In an attempt to find the missing labels, I decide to tackle the things that are on top of the piles. And I do have piles. There are two quilt tops in need of borders on the ironing board. There is a partially quilted top draped over a chair back. There’s a partially quilted tablerunner on that same chair seat. I’m not sure what all is on the cutting table, but only about half of the surface could be used for cutting. And there are three small wall hangings to the left of my sewing machine with, I believe, most of their backings and bindings somewhere in the pile with them. Egad what a mess. But at least it’s dusted, right?
So not long ago I had purchased double borders and backings for those two tops on the ironing board. Or so I thought. Normally, I’m pretty good at pinning notes on fabric that say “binding” or “second border” and so on. Not this time. For the life of me, I can’t remember what borders were purchased for which quilt. Whatever it was, I don’t like the combinations of borders that I have in front of me. I do put borders on one of the tops but then am off to the quilt store for different borders for the second. Of these two, I think I’ll quilt one and send the other one out to a longarmer. So I have progress but not completion of two more quilts.
Moving on to the covered chair. I can’t work on the partially quilted top draped over the back because I just don’t feel like wrestling with something that big right now. And the tablerunner on the seat? That one is waiting for me to pull out some machine quilting because I’ve changed my mind on the pattern. So of course that gets put off again.
There’s some hope for the cutting table since a lot of the mess is just various papers and bags that were put here because it was a convenient horizontal surface. Once those are put away there are only 2 or 3 actual projects here. One of which is a Halloween panel that I bought at a quilt show last weekend. I’m not normally a panel purchaser, but I’m a freak for Halloween and couldn’t resist. You what’s coming next right? I pick border fabrics and start cutting strips and there’s another project on the list.
Also on the cutting table is a non-quilting-but-I-need-to-make-it-for-a-birthday craft project. I had forgotten about it, but now that the extra piles are gone it has surfaced and reminds me that it needs to be finished also.
Somewhere off to the side of the other piles, I think there are two or three outreach quilt tops in here waiting to be quilted too. Not because I made three outreach quilt tops, but because I can’t say no when a lonely little top needs me to step forward and finish it up. And then there is a sew day for our military outreach group. I think we all know that I don’t need another project to work on but it’s a good cause and, as usual, I can’t say no. I sew up the interior of the top but need to get to a quilt store to buy fabrics for the borders and backing. Sound familiar? The only saving grace here is that outreach quilts, not being “my” projects, have never been put on my UFO list.
Are you getting the feeling that I’ve made no progress this time? Me too. If you count the nautical quilt kit that I bought at a quilt show – and you know we have to – I’m at 135 project bags, 46 of which have been started.
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