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?