Tuesday, May 31, 2011

UFO's, another Mini-Quilt finished, and more biking!

I sat and pondered this morning about all of you and UFO's.
When I first started quilting and embroidering in 2005 it seemed a ludicrous thing that anyone could possibly amass UFO's in their crafting. I stitched every day after discovering the delights of what needle and thread could make for my home, family and friends, and what it did for my mental state of being - that constant need to create which until then only found it's expression in my love of the culinary arts. Unfinished projects simply did not exist for the first two years of my stitching journey. As soon as a project was planned, the cutting of fabric done, and the thread colours chosen, it was head down-bottom up until it was completed. Satisfaction followed soon after.
However, like all good stitchers and quilters, bad habits crept in. The fondness for fabrics of all colours and designs was soon apparent and a hefty stash began to inhabit drawers, bookcases, and plastic tubs. With the purchase of these fabrics came ideas for projects - some were quickly begun, others left to simmer in my mental photo stream. Those which I began (but never finished) gradually increased and one day I discovered I too had succumbed to a life of ever increasing UFO's hidden away and no longer filling the excitable spaces of my mind. Guilt ensued. Shame followed fast as I tried *not* to calculate the expenditure made on these projects that no longer saw light.
And then an answer. Stop.
Stop buying more fabrics. Stop starting new projects. Stop looking ahead, and turn your time to what is already before you.
Relief soon followed.
This is a recipe I can highly recommend. A key ingredient to this recipe was donating as much fabric, patterns, and 'bits and bobs', as I could over the last six months. I gave some to friends, some to New Beginnings, and the rest to our local op-shops. It was freeing indeed, and even though I loved most of that fabric, it had sat there for too long unused and I knew that realistically it would not be chosen for anything in my current style. Once gone, a weight lifted, and I was finally able to set about making my creative space (shown HERE and HERE). Everything I now have will be used, and I still do not need to buy any more fabrics for a verrrrrry long time.
Now, back to UFO's.
These are my UFO storage drawers. There are 10 of them, so 10 UFO's live within.
Gradually I am making my way through each one, and the first UFO completed just last night was this Huswif, a free pattern from Kaaren...
I had all the stitchery done, but needed to add the felt, ribbon, wadding, backing, and then bind it. It took me an hour and I now have a gorgeous new sewing caddy - with fabric that has been crying out for a stage.
On Saturday night I chose fabrics for the second of my 12 mini-quilt challenge projects from Sarah's book. (You can see my first one HERE.)
Mine is very different to Sarah's original with the American stars and stripes effect...
 As I began to cut the fabric and make the templates for the triangles I was struck by images of a circus tent. So I present to you, my version of 'Rebel with a Rotary' - 
"Saturday at the Circus"
This mini-quilt is 16 inches square, and I LOVED making it. 
Lessons learned: 
* How to make a plastic template (and not be afraid to use it after years of just rotary cutting)
* How to cut the stacked strips accurately with 45 degree angles.
* How important it is to make the quilt 'my own' with fabrics of my choosing - to not be influenced by the fabrics and colours chosen by the quilt designer. 
On Sunday Mr E and I rode with the Townsville Ullysses Club for a Poker Run up to Tully Heads. As we have an extra 260 klms added to our day's riding due to living in a different town, Mr E and certainly had tired bodies that night. We did a 700 klm round trip, leaving home at 6.45am and arriving back 11 hours later. 
A Poker Run is fun. There are five checkpoints on the ride, and at each checkpoint you choose a card from the deck of cards and that card is recorded in your 'hand' by Rhonda...
At the last checkpoint we each have our poker hand and the three with the best hands get the prizes. Our checkpoints were Yabulu, The Frosty Mango, Ingham, Cardwell, and our destination Tully Heads. 
Our stop at the Ingham checkpoint was McDonalds and the poor staff did not know what to do when 25 bikes arrived and the riders and pillions are piled inside for some breakfast! 
Mr E and I didn't win any prizes, but we had a great day - his smile says it all. :-)
Have a lovely week!
(and maybe make a plan for your UFO's...)


Marg said...

UFOs do grow, don't they. I did some sorting recently and was amazed at the number. I'm trying to get them finished. Can't quite give anything sway yet. I've sorted mine into boxes and have them displayed so I can't "forget" and when I think of a new project they keep staring at me accusingly!!

BubzRugz said...

I love your UFO storage cupboard - I have been trying to think of how I could do mine so they are easy to see ... and then get done... I will look out for something similar... thanks for sharing... and I love your new sewing caddy...

rosie said...

I am going to try and finish things this year, but I am finding I am busier now than when I was getting paid to work!! I like your ten draw system Jen, good luck with it..Great post...

Unknown said...

Know where your coming from Jenny...I Love that Little Sewing Caddy it is Gorgeous & your backing Fabric is too Cute...Thanks for the Link..

RobynLouise said...

I can count my UFO's on one hand but the list of things for 'Ron' is becoming so big I hope he has a brother or two!
Lol, do you and Mr E ever spend weekends at home now! I think the travel bug has bitten.

Andra Gayle said...

LOVE your mini quilts! I was trying to design my own and make it for each month of the year but I only got January and February done so I am WAYYYY behind.

Larissa said...

I also know what you mean about UFO's. Between cross-stitch, knitting, sewing and crochet projects I have more than I even know I have - I have been thinking I need to get them all together in the one spot, separated in their individual projects, so I can just grab one when I have some craft time available and no specific project to do. I am loving how you've separated your projects - might have to find something similar myself!
I am also loving your new sewing caddy - such cute fabric, and gorgeous embroidery!!
Also Loving your second mini quilt! I am very tempted to get this book after seeing your works so far! Thanks for pointing out this fantastic looking resource!
Good luck with getting on top of your UFO's!

Miss Hillbilly said...

I am not a fan of UFO's; but I am making changes in how I do things. I am slowing down and really trying to learn new techniques. And enjoying it. Non machine applique is soon on my list.

I do have a lot of fabric; but I have given away alot on my blog and keep doing that here and there. There are always people that want it; I am not buying new even though I want to so badly sometimes. I need to use what I have first!

Vickie said...

My hubby often looks at me when i start a new project and syas "UFO to be or not to be"...good onoyu for targetting yours-love your caddy it is gorgeous.Ouch my body ached just reading how far you rode,cheers Vickie

Kaaren said...

I just love your huswif, Jenny.

It was my dream when I designed it to see them popping up all over the world and that's indeed what has happened. It's amazing to see how each one is different, just with individual fabric choices.

Thank you for sharing yours!

Susan said...

Love your enthusiasm for getting rid of fabrics you still like/love and only ending up with 10 UFOs. I wish. I am NOT good at getting rid of anything - even when it is going to go to a good home. BUT I am very good at starting new things. And then you present us with another project we will all want to do. (Love the coloured drawers - if my projects fitted in drawers I could copy that too!)

Anonymous said...

I wish I was as brave as you & could give away those fabrics that have lived in my stash for far too long!!Maybe one day.

Juliettecherry said...

That sounds like very good advice to lessen the stash and clear up the UFO's.

Your den looks so neat and organised now. I will try to use the STOP word a bit more.

The bike sounds like it was fun.

Marilyn said...

I guess we all have differing ideas, and that is the good things about all being different. I feel no problem about having my pile of UFOs, and know that bit by bit they will be finished, and the new projects get worked on too.
I feel more frustration at not starting something I would like to do than worrying about getting the UFOs finished before starting something new.
But my fabric stash - hmmm. What is too much to have? Most of mine will be used for my projects and the rest - scrap quilts and charity quilts. Got to have plans as well as UFOs and new projects.
Thank you for your challenging post, and your sharing your riding adventures with us.

Melody said...

Fabulous sewing as always. Thanks for sharing.