Friday, August 30, 2019

UFO's 101 on Off the Wall Friday

Paul:  Nina what are you doing?

Me:  Nothing?  Well, playing a game.  Why?

Paul:  Because its 2 o'clock on Saturday and you've been
          laying there since  11.  Weren't you going to sew?

Me:  yawnnnnnnn, yeah but I don't know.
         Maybe I'll take a nap.
Paul:  Maybe you should go sew.

You know, I knew there was a reason I married him (well besides that he's really cute!)  Now that I've woken up from my blue period, I'm really not sure where to pick up on my creative journey.  I mean I have so many false starts in my studio I feel kind of overrun.  So I thought before I started anything else I would start finishing some stuff!!  But.... What to finish??  And How???

That brings me to a video I recently watched Karen Brown, at Get it Done Quilts which really hit the nail  on the head from what was holding me up getting some of these things done.  I liked some of her ideas but wanted to give my own spin on....

A Remedial Course

So most of us are experienced quilters and have plenty of UFO's to prove it!!   Here is a quick course on how to organize them and get them off your To-Do list forever.  I plan on going into my studio over the long holiday weekend taking this course myself! 

Step 1:  Organize

Go into studio (aka your sewing room) and pull out ALL your UFO's.  I suggest you make two piles...Your LOVE IT or LEAVE IT.   Any piece you absolutely love goes obviously in the LOVE IT pile.  Any piece that doesn't speak to your heart goes into the LEAVE IT pile.  Now, like old boyfriends,  just because you are leaving those pieces doesn't mean you hate them.  Its just that they aren't a good fit for the person you have grown into.  Its really YOU not them.  So you can give themScrap Blocks Box"  If you don't have a Scrap Blocks Box yet, you should get one.  This is where all the odds and ends from projects go that had merit but no real use.  Someday though they could  repurposed into something else.  (Like I said - its you .... not them)
away, throw them away or take pieces out that you like and they go into a "

Now this is important....Any project that is put into the LEAVE IT pile should not be revisited.  This is final kiss goodbye.  You are also saying good bye to the guilt of not finishing it.  If you like some of the ideas with the project itself....get out your journal and write them down or better yet a blog post on what was good about the project but what ultimately made you decide that he  it wasn't for you! (Note to self: this is a good idea for another post!)

Step 2:  Evaluate

So now that you just have  the pieces you love, its time to take a closer look at them.  Where did you leave off on each one.  Do you have some that just need binding/facing/labeling? (Stage 4)  Do you have some that need quilting?  (Stage 3)  Which ones are still in the piecing phase? (Stage2)  Which ones didn't make it to your sewing machine (Stage 1) (yes I have some of those ....pathetic I know)  Put them in piles by STAGES.  (If you are a list me...make a list of each stage!  Those get put on your design wall or bulletin board)

Step 3:  Make a Plan
My suggestion start with Stage 4!  Pick one day a month for binding/facing/labeling...pick a good movie or audio book to help you get through them.  This is a good time to make sure the hanging sleeve is on too!

With the rest....I suggest you pick 2 or 3 that really are calling to you.  Maybe they have specific deadlines ....maybe its an idea that you think is really working....maybe its one that is nearly to the binding stage.....whatever.  You commit to work on those projects.  

When you get done with those... you pick 2 or 3 more.

Now if you're like me, I'm committing to getting them all done before I start another big idea.  I know that this "All In" plan might not be good for everyone.  For me though, these UFO's are starting to feel like dead wood in my studio when they were meant to bring joy and beauty.  Not to mention as I work through them inevitably I'll be struck with new jumping off points for my next great piece. Another note to self:  Write down ideas that jump into my head while working on UFO's but don't start anything new.

So I know what you are thinking, Nina, that sounds a lot easier than it actually is in practice.  NO KIDDING!!  There will be roadblocks along the way in this process.  I'll need to stay organized and driven to get these done.  

Also, there were some really good reasons why these pieces ended up on the UFO pile.  The biggest of which at one point (probably around Stage 1 into Stage 2) where the design wasn't working.  I mean REALLY "What was I thinking" not working.    So what to do then?

  1. Decide what is not working
  2. Brainstorm ideas of what will help 
  3. Add to the ideas cutting up the piece entirely
  4. Hang on Design Wall and Make concrete Deadline for Design Decision
  5. Audition ideas, Make Final Decision
  6. Commit to new idea before Deadline
  7. If you love it, continue
  8. If you love the piece but hate the idea repeat steps 1-6
  9. If you now hate the piece add it to the LEAVE PILE

Step 4:  Celebrate Your Completions!!  

I believe this step is super important.  I love, love, love posting a completed project.  I think I even love more checking one off my To-Do list.  I think I will even love it more seeing my UFO shelf totally empty!!

Now I've posted before about getting projects done on here before but I never had a clear idea on how to actually do it.  Its kinda like losing weight and getting in shape....yeah you know you need to do but if you don't have a plan in place  it probably won't get done.

Hmmmm maybe I should start a group called UFO Watchers.  We could strive to get  for PiecePoints for working on our unfinished pieces!!

I'm really committing to this plan for the next four days.  I hope some out there will join me and let me know how you're doing.  

You can always reach me at ninamariesayre       at       gmail   dot com.

So what are you doing creatively?

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Kathy S. said...

LOVE all of your tips of finishing old WIPs. I finished one today. It's not my cup of tea, but it's done and off the list. It turned out really soft. Somebody is going to enjoy it now that it is done. :) Have a great weekend.

Chris said...

I love the process. Most of my blog posts have been about the process of the different stages of making a quilt. Along the way, I have completed some. Mostly because I had a deadline. Last year I did 26 blog posts about 26 unfinished quilts. It was a fascinating journey of reflection about what was going on in my life at the time of each project. Will I complete them? Maybe. This year I am not starting anything new so I can focus on completing my doctorate and writing a book, but that has not stopped me from reading about and dreaming about starting a few more. Only 4 more months until the new year.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I have been busy cutting pieces for a historic quilt I am making that needs a zillion pieces - no kidding this round alone takes about 700 pieces and I think the pieces so far is 38 inch square and has about 600 now next round will bring it up to about 41 inches maybe?

Norma Schlager said...

A great post, as always. I don't have a lot of UFO's but I do have a LOT of fabric that should be used.

Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Nina, great tips but....4 days? Will that really get you through all of those UFO's? I hang up my UFOs if they have been pieced, otherwise each gets a container with everything needed for it. That way, when I feel like working on it, it won't take me forever to find the right fabric etc. I don't stress about UFOs except when I've promised the finished piece to someone...and even then, I warn them that it may take a long while :-)