Too Many Projects! You Too?

Like many quilters, I use my dining room table for most of my sewing, and the machine stays parked there like a true family member for most of the year. But come the time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, and the machine is back in my office area, rarely touched. January finds it returning to the place of honor in the dining room, because I am eager to use it.

Cleaning Your Sewing MachineAnd, like many of you, I have lots of projects going at once. You know that I like variety, and there are so many sources of inspiration out there and so many new things to try! So this year, January found me assessing my UFO’s and the waiting PIGS (projects in grocery sacks) and frankly it was overwhelming.

I decided to break it down into smaller piles and prioritize them. I settled on keeping my mending and one hand project out, for those quiet moments by the TV or while waiting for the new tires to get put on the car. The one commissioned project had to get finished. Everything else was fair game for being deferred, or pushed to ‘current’ status. I figured that five projects in queue was great—the rest were packed away.

After looking at about two dozen UFOs, I settled on three to keep out and plow through. Two were easy choices, they are basted and the binding is prepared, so finishing the quilting and putting that binding on means that I can have two finishes pretty quickly. One is for a client, the other for me, which feels like cheating—almost! I am hoping that some speedy finishes will be motivating.

The third UFO that has risen to the top of the pile is one that started with the In The Bag Challenge a couple of years ago. My assigned partner had sent me two yards of “challenging” fabric, and I had dug through my stash to round it out to a quilt. Inthebag quilt challenge final fabricsAlong the line, she made a gorgeous quilt from the “uglies” I had sent her, but I got side-tracked. The green/orange/purple quilt that I am creating from her fabrics has been named the Mardi Gras quilt-for its colors and also for the people who will own it when it is done. Friends were getting married and moving to New Orleans, so it seemed like a great wedding gift. Now we are heading toward their second anniversary and I am determined to get it in their hands. Guilt pushes it high on the list, but truly it is a simple quilt and should go fast.

Frankly I think the fourth selection is more PIGS than UFO, because it had started cutting it out, but got stalled. Now I know it will be like starting over to get my brain back into it. Transparency Quilts bookIt is to be a wedding quilt, for my son and his bride. They knew it would be late, as they had a surprise wedding and the only thing I had time to sew for that was the simple cocktail-style wedding dress. Together we picked the fabrics for a batik version of a quilt from the book Transparency Quilts. It  is a “system” sort of assembly which should mean it goes relatively quickly as well. Time permitting.

The fifth selection is a PSQ and not to be started until the others are done. This is for a cousin who is facing some long-term care issues, and I hope that the wild variety of fabrics in a PSQ will entertain her.

Since the mending is ongoing, I am not saying much more about it, but we all have items to hem and buttons to sew and such.

Just Plain Hexy boxFor my handwork, I have selected my hexagon quilt. Making hexies is as addictive as any charm quilt. This is the first time I have tried to make a full quilt using English Paper Piecing, and it has me hooked. I love Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilts of yore, and this will be a variation on that. While I am doing the other quilts in order, this can be worked on at the same time.

When these are done I can set the next set. In my imagination, I am hoping that is soon, certainly before summer. I need an accountability nudge from time to time. I promise to post as I finish them up, but if I seem to be taking too long, please holler at me!

And I know that I am not alone. How many UFOs do you have going? What are you doing to get through them? How do you prioritize finishing them?
Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot comSignature© 2014 by The Curious Quilter, thecuriousquilter.net, maryeoriginals.com. All rights reserved.

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14 Responses to Too Many Projects! You Too?

  1. mego98125 says:

    Oh man…I hear you. I am so overwhelmed. I finally pulled out all he PIGS and scraps, cut, filed and cleaned. Put on two bindings and shipped them out the door. Set tops with backs and batting in a pile (I might send some out just to get DONE!), organized my magazines and kitted up some quilts for when I need a ‘quickie’. Whoosh!

  2. I’m pretty fresh out of the sewing box per say and am already stuck on 2 projects. I a personalized mug mat for my Twin Sis’s Bday next month and an I Pad tote for my niece. I didn’t plan out the little tote I just started sewing. NOw kinda stuck of how to make the edges of the bag and make an envelope type enclosure. I’ll figure it out. Happy Creating!

  3. Pam in KC says:

    Sounds like you have a good plan. As for my UFOs…. I have dozens on my list (not including the PIGS) so I carved out a list of about 20 (of 77) projects that I either want a finished top by the end of the year to a finished quilt. I picked them based on due date, revised due date, and ease of finishing. At the beginning of each month I’m picking a couple to work on, but I’m only pulling one out at a time. I need to add a hanging sleeve to the latest quilt, make this month’s block for my BOM then “make significant progress” on the next quilt by Friday to meet my goal. The plan is to keep working on the next quilt until it’s at least a top – but there will be one deviation as it won’t travel well to a retreat I’m going to this weekend. Whatever doesn’t get done this weekend will be bagged up to take to a retreat this summer.

  4. knitnkwilt says:

    I have a very fluid list of prioritized WIPs. They are in two stacks in my bedroom/studio. The only ones that do not shift position are the ones with due dates for challenges. Others peek out and say, “Hello,” and if I am inspired I work on them. I make no promises about not starting new till the old are finished. I’m here to enjoy the process.

  5. Katie z. says:

    I don’t have so many, but I have to tell myself not to look too far ahead or I do get overwhelmed!

  6. A few years ago I found myself with nearly 30 UFO/PIGS and, for me, that was decidedly too many. I have been whittling them down and am below 10. Three or four active projects works well for me. That way it stays fresh. One of them is nearly always a leader-ender PSQ variation. This year I am trying to finish one a month. January was easy. I really hope I make February. It will be close.

  7. djmat says:

    There are about 22 ongoing projects calling for attention in my workroom. To avoid being overwhelmed, I sacked projects in humungous ziploc bags that hold front & back fabric, binding, batting, thread, id squares, sketch or pattern, & date the bag) so I can encourage myself to finish each one & it makes it easy to find where I am on the list. The funny part is where in the stack to put the new projects I find. I must learn to be more picky about adding projects as I keep getting called back to work out of town for months at a time. I did make space in the out of town tiny condo to at least be able to cut for swaps so when I get home I’ll be able to add them to the ongoing projects. I keep a hand sewing ziplock in the trunk of my car for quick projects during long waits. I would rather be home in my warm workroom, playing with all that sweet fabric in peace & quiet!

  8. Lea Springer says:

    Hi there. I want to thank you first of all for allowing me to receive all those lovely charms as a “newbie” last Fall! One set came from Boras, Sweden which was such a lovely surprise as that is the city where I was born! What a coincidence! I now live in Canada.

    I’m not sure how I am to participate for the coming swap in March. I have not accumulated much of a “stash” yet but hope to have something to share. Do I just get any size charms ready or do I have to have some of each size and how many of each?

    Please let me know as soon as possible so I can be ready in time. Thanks so much. LMS

    • Welcome back, Lea! You choose the size you want to use. Some people do choose to do more than one size, but most pick just one. Hop over to the PSQ pages for all the details, and find the chart that tells you how many charms you need to make a quilt-there’s a big difference in quantity needed between 1.5″ an 2.5″. More info to come, but pick a size and start cutting now!

  9. Doreen says:

    I have 4 tops ready to be sandwiched, 1 quilt I’m quilting (outer border) and have finished GS’s grad. quilt (for this coming Spring grad…..yay!!! done!!!) and a fun “Gypsy” quilt for myself (or to give?? Posted on my blog). I’ve been in stash busting mode since the 1st of the year and doing pretty well. Sounds like you’ve gotten a bit of a “handle” on your situation!!!!!! Hugs…………..

  10. Adrienne says:

    I am super overwhelmed with UFOs too. I had a spreadsheet once and it had about 30-35 projects listed on it. I lost the spreadsheet, but I think I have about 12-15 of them left after the last couple of years. I like to have 3-4 project out at a time (also on the dining room table). I like to have ones that are on different steps, i.e. one is being cut, one pieced and one quilted. However right now, I have three sets of blocks I need to make into tops and a set of blocks that are half done. I hate when they are get to the same step and I have to slog through them one at a time.

  11. Thread crazy says:

    It seems like at the beginning of each year we quilters always reprioritize our UFO’s or projects yet started! Yes, I did that earlier last month, This year I have three quilts started that need to be completed by early spring. After that…well, lets just say there’s more to keep me busy for many years…. After recounting my bags I have some 30+ projects to do….so its best I keep my buying down of additional fabric unless it’s to finish or add to a project I’ve already purchased. I too place all my projects in large plastic zip-lock bags with backings and pattern too, and stack them in my closet and two cabinets in my studio, Always something to do.

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