Avoiding UFO quilts

Paper piecing, quilt, quilting,
Wind Rose quilt

2,555  of 3,179 pieces of fabric to go. When I think of it in  pieces of fabric the completed quilt feels like Christmas morning that’s never going to come when I was 10. One of my customers told me it would take me a year to complete, I laughed and told him I would have it done in a month or less. Had I not started all over to change the color on the medallion I would be much further along. But I am glad I decided to swap out the color on the scallops for blue.  Since I opened my big mouth and said I would have it completed in a month or less I created a time line that I have to meet to save face. Wish me luck.

All of the templates for the medallion are completed so after some cleanup this evening I’ll start on the outside blocks.  They will piece fairly quick because they aren’t as complex as the medallion, with the exception of an anchor block.  Cheers to the person who created paper piecing. Can you imagine trying to applique or hand piece the blocks in the photo above? If discouragement didn’t get to you first, frustration would set in very quickly and it would be yet another ufo in a box. Other than un-quilted tops, I only have 1 ufo quilt. To be honest, I will never finish it, its destined to be a cushion cover for Enzo. Even dogs like nice things.

How to avoid ufo’s. Don’t start another project until you have finished what you are working on. That’s the best advice but we all know its not always possible since babies and wedding happen. But what about those quilts we start then somewhere along the way we lose interest, get frustrated or discouraged because its more difficult than we thought? Most of us will choose to start on the easiest aspect of the quilt and save the hardest for last. Starting with the easiest we  create an avoidance,  begin to dread the hardest section, and in the back of our mind we know as we progress we are getting closer to the end. Sometimes we give up before we are half way there because we’ve created this negative idea in our mind that  the most difficult section is a beast.  We have convinced ourselves before we reach that part there are going to be major issues piecing it or maybe convince ourselves we lack the skills needed to complete it.  By nature we avoid negative things. The best way to prevent this scenario…start with the hardest first. When you get a pattern look it over well and just because the designer says start here and complete in this order, doesn’t mean you have to do exactly that. There are no pattern police waiting to break down your door. By beginning with the most difficult, you are starting with strong motivation. You know there is light instead of darkness at the end of the tunnel. And then when your reach those easy blocks, they are like a well deserved reward.

Another thing I have learned, some patterns just ” don’t make sense “. I have purchased patterns that the instructions were more complex than the design and I wondered if anyone short of a PhD could actually follow them.  That is when I grab a highlighter pen and sit down in a quiet room. I begin reading the directions and highlight what I cannot change or pattern specific useful information such as, you must stitch templates A and B together before stitching template D to template A. Or, piece these sections with your light fabric and those sections with dark fabric. So…if you purchase a pattern and open the directions and get that voice in your head saying you cant do this, STOP! Look at each template, do they look easy or do they look like a headache waiting to happen?  Grab a highlighter and with no distractions start reading. If you’ve paper pieced before YOU CAN DO THIS. If you still are not sure and are worried you will destroy your paper templates, pack up the templates and head off to your local office store or print shop. Copy the templates and try piecing with your scrap stash first.  If all goes well you still have your original templates to begin again, if it doesn’t you still have the full pattern. What’s the alternative, will you place the pattern on a shelf with other patterns to save for another day that will never come?

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