Thursday, 12 September 2013

The story of "Pupe"

I have a question for you: how do you determine which old UFOs are worth the time and effort it will take you finishing them up and which to let go?
 
How far it is along? The time you have invested? The money you spent on those insanely expensive hand printed fabrics when you should have bought your kids new shoes? Need to fall back in love with it? A deadline like a UFO challenge? In dire need of a quick gift for someone’s birthday tomorrow which you had totally forgotten and it’s in the middle of the night and the UFO is sitting right there in front of you and just need the binding hand stitched to the back? Don’t understand the question; what on earth does green little men from outer space have to do with quilting?

For me it’s more about the feel of the project than what I have already put into it. As an example, let me tell you the story of "Pupe".

Pupe began its journey back when I was a new quilter, working mainly with thrifted fabrics and scraps from my early days of sewing clothes and costumes for my daughter. After a while I had gotten tired of cutting everything into 6 ½” squares to be used of all kinds of blocks, so I moved onto simple 4 ½” squares. Some were appliquéd, but most were just plain squares. I had big plans for them, making quilts to give away. This was way back when we still had dial up modems and Internet was used for bare necessities like emails and ordering quilting books from the US.
 
So I pieced a few tops, like this one, lovingly made from thrifted duvet covers and a quite a few squares from my first US fabric purchase ever – a scrap box of 100 fat quarters from Keepsake Quilting. Totally awesome! My batting of choice at the time was the fluffy polyester kind which came on a roll and had to be manhandled through the sewing machine with both arms and a crowbar, so I would tie these with cotton crochet yarn. After tying this first top, my initial donation idea fell through, so everything was set aside on the top shelf in my sewing room closet.

I found them there a few years later while rearranging my fabric stash, and put everything, including years of accumulated dust for sure, into a huge plastic bag to be stored in the downstairs spare room with all my finished quits. When we later rearranged the house before grandson was born, the bag was stashed  away under the stairs for storage. I found it there this summer while we were looking for something, and brought them upstairs to see what I could do with them. The red quilt was lying on the floor when grandbaby came over, and he hugged it and said pupe (pute means pillow in Norwegian, and at 1 ½ all pillows and quilts and blankets and cuddly things are pupe to him). He was dragging it around, hugging it, sitting on it, and playing with it, with no worries about the raw edges and the noticeable shade of dust caught in the batting.

So what else could I do. I stitched vertical lines in the ditch, having fluffy polyester batting flashbacks, bound it with scraps of bias tape and it was done. On Monday grandbaby got sick with chickenpox and wasn’t feeling well at all, so I threw Pupe in the washer, and handed it over on Tuesday, fresh from the dryer and dust free.

Will Pupe ever win a prize in a show? No. Will it make the cover of a magazine? Not very likely. Will it provide cuddles and softness and warmth for my grandboys? Very much so. Does it feel good to finish a really old UFO? Yes ideed. Was it worth it? Well, what do you think?

15 comments:

  1. As a quilter for 20 years, I have more than a handful of UFO's.
    Your words inspired me to finish some of them by heart!

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  2. It's worth it, he loves it and really it's quite nice, the colors are wonderful. I have one that just needs binding then donating, it's hard to go back when I've come so far in my learning, but maybe someone will love it.

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  3. Absolutely....I would love to cuddle up in that, grand babies are lucky. xox

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  4. Most people come to our quilts with fresh eyes-- they don't see a project that dragged on our consciences forever-- they see great colours and textures. So yes, I finish some of those oldies, and then they become goodies. watch my blog tomorrow for pictures of some of them!

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  5. That may possibly end up being one of the best loved quilts of all time! Great story!

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  6. Hi! I think this should win a prize in a show and to be in the magazine cover! It's most beautiful and I love the puffiness! Colours are great and tied knots make it special! I'm sure this quilt will be loved!
    x Teje
    PS. I haven't made so many quilt yet so there is only one ufo - I love the pattern but the quilting doesn't work and takes long time to rip away. It's going to be puffy as the batting is from ikea duvet.

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  7. What a lovely blog post Nina Lise! I think it should win a price for persevering and the lovely look and cozyness! If not for the name of the quilt, which is totaly adorable too!

    I have so many unfinished quilt projects that I fell out of love with. When I think of the money spent and the work involved, I should really finish them...

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  8. What a lovely story! These are the true reasons we make quilts. Made do with what we have on hand, experiment with techniques and materials, and give it to someone who will love it and use it up.

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  9. So sweet and so true. Pupe is a beautiful quilt, full of love. So sorry the little guy has chicken box, but glad he has pupe (and you) for comfort.

    SewCalGal
    www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

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  10. Definitely worth it! I think it's grand... it's red. Love the prints and the fluffiness. You put a lot of love into it, and that makes it.
    Hugs

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  11. Your blog post really touched me. Love it all.

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  12. So great to hear that your grandson has a soft cuddly quilt from g'ma and you finished up another ufo! I have definitely finished up a few ufo's trying to give a 'personal gift' and felt good about that, plus it helped ease the guilt of potentially abandoning a project. It's not the money (although that's part of it) so much with me as the time spent that makes it hard for me to totally let go.:)

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  13. Sometimes it is nice if a quilt is just a quilt:)

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  14. Thank goodness a little guy with chicken pox can have a pupe from his Grammy. Love the bright colors.

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  15. Pupe is beautiful and just the right comforter for a little boy with chickenpox. My nephews are in the throes of it too and I'm sure a pupe would have made them feel better too (It's ok, they have my version of a comfort quilt to snuggle).

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