Sunday, February 13, 2011


Perseverance pays off... All those lines that took me eons to quilt, 
really turned out nice on this quilt.  Sticking to it, when you reach
your breaking point, or boredom on a quilt can be rewarding...
If you can find that umphf! to keep going... I have a new found
appreciation for this quilt, and for myself that I stuck it out and
Finished it...  

Do you find sometimes it's very hard to push forward and continue
on something that once had you so excited, 
that you've now lost steam on?

 Sometimes it's in the design process... A piece of fabric can set me 
off on a design whirlwind, but you can't find just the right thing... 
So You try a million options, like when your feeling crappy and 
you have to get dressed up and you try everything on in your closet 
thinking one is going to make you look fabulously better than you 

Awww! Process... Don't you love it!
But when it's works and you've persevered 

It makes it all worth it...

So what makes you persevere?
or do you just put it away and wait for inspiration to strike all over again?

I think about all those quilt tops I buy that are unfinished in thrift stores,
and wonder what made the maker run out of steam...
A new idea?
New fabric?
A new event?

If someone came to your house and cleans out all your UFO's
What would you say about them?

This is what happens when you take a break, and relax, and think to much... 

I'd love to hear your thoughts about the quilt tops that never made it to the finish line...


  1. Something really nice to ponder over!

    For me, It is the designing that gives me the ultimate fun. I don't mind a few unfinished quilts. What I really should do is use those unfinished/undesirable quilt tops into the backs of my new quilts. It would be a win win situation.

    Mostly, if my tops never make the finish line is because of the time and effort it takes to quilt them..That process also seems monotonous and repetitive to me.
    These days, it is my hands and shoulder that stop me from machine quilting..
    Still having fun creating!

  2. Great topic. I just posted about something similar on my blog. I didn't think of it as "what makes me run out of steam" I was just thinking of how those UFOs make me feel. SO, what does make me run out of steam? I think it is that I get bored with something. This year I have made a commitment to myself to finish one (or more) a month so I can get that albatross of "stuff" off my neck.

  3. Wonderful Quilt! Oh my, I just love your perseverance in your quilting. Congrats!
    I have been enjoying that proverbial second wind with a quilt I just blogged about this afternoon. "A quilt worth making": worth my time, my effort, my patience, my perseverance, my vision. I found myself trusting that eventually I would see the way it would come together. And I find myself trusting the process more and more. Many of the projects that are not finished yet, are waiting hand-quilting, a process I enjoy profoundly, but don't seem to have the time for lately. Otherwise I am really trying to be honest with myself about the quilts that I would miss for the rest of my life if I don't make them: those quilts 'worth making'!

  4. Great topic because I have a thousand UFO and a thousand more pieces of fabric that need to be made into quilts or stuff. And The task looks and feels daunting. How did I let myself get so out of control?

    Some of the things that have helped me keep going are very simple things. For example, on this Don't Touch My Junk quilt, I was ready about halfway though to give it up and go elsewhere. It didn't look like I had expected it to. But the interest others on the list had in my quilt gave me the "steam" to push through that feeling. It is finished to the top now and I have plans for the quilting.

    I join the UFO Challenges in my three guilds and put my deadlocked quilts on those lists. And Patchwork Times has an interesting twist on UFO Challenges. She makes you list your pieces by number, and each month calls out a number to work on.

    Those things make the work seem not so monotonous, keeps things in front of my eyes and brain and adds a bit of fun and interest to the work.

    I will always have UFOs.....sigh....but maybe now I will have LESS of them!

    glen: thanks for your motivation, you are wonderful at that.

  5. I have come to be believe that not every quilt is supposed to be finished. Sometimes I get to a point in a piece and I realize I have learned what I was supposed to learn. Then I move on. For me the danger of having too many ufos hang around is that my tastes and abilities change (and hopefully improve!). I can't work on something I no longer believe in. For these tops I donate them to charity or give them away to quilting friends. Keeping them takes up too much space in my mind. The stuff I really love but don't know what to do with -- I put those on a wall in my studio. Everyday when I walk in the door I see them but don't see them. Eventually an idea will strike. Right now for example I have a painted whole cloth quilt that has been hanging around for years. I was going through my stash of pieced unfinished quilts and then it hit me hard that one of the quilts I was working on last summer would be a perfect background for the whole cloth quilt. I am so excited. I began to cut the quilt from last summer to piece it on to the whole cloth. I love the results. It's on the machine now for quilting. I even plan to enter it into a show next month. I guess mine is a weird process but it works for me. Hopefully I am learning and growing from this.

  6. Interesting... I have very few that didn't make it to the finish line (as you put it). I have one really ugly thing stuffed in a drawer, the result of a few hours of playing with left over HSTs, but I tend to finish what I start (eventually). That's just my personality, I guess. Too much guilt :)
    Last night I completed the second of three unfinished quilts. None of the three were even close to being "tops" in January - just pieces and strips. If I had a resolution for this year, that would have been it - to finish those three. One left before I move onto to new ideas and projects! And I'm looking forward to this last one because it's my own design and it's for my daughter.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post. I really love the closely-spaced lines on that first quilt.

  7. Quilts are great, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE that photo of toes in the tub!! Wow!! Frame that and put it on the wall. Awesome!

    And as for quilts -- every quilt I finish makes me feel good, even if I don't much care for it anymore. If I *really* don't want to finish it, I give the top (and whatever else needs to go with it) away for someone else to finish/cut up/whatever.

  8. LOVE your quilting on this quilt. SO worth all the boredom!

    Just yesterday I was reminded about how finishing something--or working toward it--brings new creative energy.

    I was struggling with a challenge from a friend (you know who), so I left it on the wall and did a bunch of boring work on an unfinished quilt. Listening to a book helps with the monotony.

    Then, at the end of the day, the design challenge suddenly fell into place! I felt it was the reward for my hours of finishing work.

    I need to keep this in mind, get out the UFO's, and rent books to listen to!

  9. One of my UFOs is a king size, red orange and yellow 9 patch that I've sewed together solid and ran out of steam... I think the making was the purpose of that quilt top. I was very sad at the time - my adult son said I should seek help - I did! I made the quilt top by hand... the sewing and the bright colors were my therapy, and I got through to my daughter that you don't need all kinds of fancy machines to make a quilt... fabric, scissors, needle and thread will get the top done like in the "olden" days. (Just because there is technology doesn't mean you have to use it.)

  10. I see all of quilting as part of the process -- picking fabrics, piecing, hanging stuff on the design wall and even the flimsies waiting to be quilted. I have too many in process -- maybe a dozen -- and sometimes I can let go of them, or sometimes they take time to season. a technical question though: are you using the walking foot on the Juki for those closely spaced lines? I'm finding mine is a bit clunky -- and loud. what's the trick there?

  11. First off, both quilts turned out just gorgeous!! Might I say the pedicure is pretty nice too. Good to relax! Things that make me persevere are deadlines, the excitement of what the quilt or the outcome will be. It just makes you want to see. What makes me loos steam is that something else more interesting has come up or just plainly, I need to relax. For me it is as simple as that! I would never let anyone take my UFOs, they mean too much to me! Enjoy your relaxation!!

  12. I don't even want to think about quilt tops! But I have to say - your finished quilt with all those curved lines is amazing! I love it!

  13. I lose steam when:

    --What I've gotten together so far is less exciting than I was expecting.
    --I had to clear the decks for some reason, and the project was then out of sight.
    -- All that's left is deciding on the borders.
    -- All that's left is making the backing.
    -- I didn't have a plan when I started, and now I don't know what the next step is either!

  14. Gorgeous quilts! I love all those beautiful quilted lines.

    I hate it when I run out of steam! I usually get distracted with too many ideas that won't fit in my head anymore so I have to start writing them down and executing them while the inspiration is hot. But I am determined to finish my UFOs this year (only have about 6). I also really hate basting, another reason I haven't finished those 6 quilt tops.

    You are always inspiring to me because you manage to finish so many!

  15. You are a great inspiration! The two quilts are beautifully quilted - and the quilting is what makes them complete! The first one with the close lines are amazing.... What is the secret of basting / pinning it, Victoria?
    ; )
    Usually there are two ways to finish quilts for me. Some are started and completed without any major stops. Some are finished tops that needs "maturing" to come up with a quilt design, a suitable backing, or even a redesigning. Right now, I am working my way through some of those. Sending them off to a longarm service helps. Especially when arms and neck need a break...
    And it's so rewarding finishing them off, handsewing down the binding!

  16. I think if someone came to my house and cleaned out all of my UFO's (after all the sneezing from the dust storm was over) I might say that it's clear I hate binding :)

    I really love how the quilting on that first quilt looks. Does it feel nice or does it not matter because it's a wall-piece?

    Also, the photo of your feet? Spectacular. Really lovely and peaceful.


  17. With about 18 tops waiting to be quilted, I have very few that are really old now, since I;ve been making myself quilt an older one in between the newer ones. It's working! I have one that needs taking apart and repiecing, cos it's all wonky in a bad way. a couple that are too big for my frame, but I now have a plan for those, espeially since space is no longer an issue. The rest, I do just as the mood takes me. Somtimes it's the quilting design that halts me, other's I just am not thrilled with at the moment. I only have one top in piecing I HAD to put away for sunnier days, I found it very depressing. Other piecing projects probably got put to one side for more exciting things (read as fabric or project) at the time. I'm working on them :) It's great to revisit with fresh eyes and new ideas about them. Some projects are just piles of fabrics with a pattern, I'm learning to put the fabrics back in the stash and move on. It's ok to no longer be thrilled by it, far kinder on me too!

    LOVE the wavy line quilting, I must give it a go on a big scale like that.

  18. I have been thinking of quilting my Intuition Quilt just the same way as you did the quilt on top, lots of long boring lines. I love the look of straight-ish line quilting, but boring to stitch for sure. I find that if I quilt a little at a time, like half an hour, I can push through the boredom and make it to the finishing line.
    Most times quilts are left unfinished because I have a short attention span and a restless mind and often get the been-there-done-that-so-what-comes-next feeling when I’m nearly done and want to move on to other projects, but sometimes I really don’t want to quilt a top because I love how it looks unquilted. These tops will eventually get finished though.
    And, I tend to start on stuff just to make something every now and then; string blocks, appliqué blocks, anything really. These are put aside in my Treasure Box; little treasures just waiting to be put to use or kick starting a new project. Love them!
    My UFOs are pretty much happily guilt free; I’ll finish them if I want to, but I do love UFO challenges as finishing them does give me a feeling of accomplishment. I’ve got to say; nothing gets me as motivated as a deadline!

  19. Funny that you posted on this topic THE VERY DAY that I took one of my current projects (intuition)off my wall and set it aside to cook (in my subconscious) for a while. Until the muse strikes again. In the meantime, organized/cleaned my studio, found some really interesting stuff! Not too many UFO's anymore, if I totally lose interest, I donate or make into a charity quilt. Lots of UFOs just drag me down - I'd rather be revved up by something fun and creative!

  20. As a relatively young quilter, I put tops away unfinished because with no free motion skills I felt I could not quilt them up in a way that would do the tops justice. I have finally learned to FMQ well enough (certainly not very well!) to feel I can finish them now. I had to get to a place where I accepted my own learning curve.

    I am often distracted by a new project/idea and go with that for a while. I think that joy of new discovery is a big part of what fuels the "zen" in my quilting, so I do not resist. And that passion helps the new project come together well, I think. An idea put away for later/a better time is often lost.

    Love your site and quilts, Victoria. Love the blogging about process.

  21. I have the one GFG vintage hand pieced top I bought that I wonder why it was never finished. Maybe that's the one I need to work on for our sewing day!!!

  22. I am a slow worker....late in my comments as well. My quilts are sometimes in process for years. I have joined support groups in order to finish quilts I love. My UFO's are mainly ideas that have not worked out, so I am saving them for the next generation of quilters to puzzle over.


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