Monday, January 2, 2017

Know Your UFOs

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

If you’re anything like us, you probably have a  few (dozen) Unfinished Fabric Objects (UFOs) sitting around your sewing space. Our projects range from small to large, from unfinished purses to incomplete quilts. The time has come to take action on these projects, so today we kick off a series of posts that will walk us through the sorting, tracking, organizing, and making progress on all of your UFOs!

Finish Your Projects

Here is the schedule for this series:
January 2: Know your UFOs
January 9: UFOs-Knowing when to Surrender
January 16: UFO Tracking
January 23: Organize Your UFOs
January 30: Make a Plan of Attack for your UFOs
February 6: Find Time for your UFOs
February 13: Don’t UFO alone!
February 20: UFO Buster Challenge Link-Up and Drawing

Ready to go? Let's get started!


UFO Buster Challenge


So you’ve committed to working on your UFOs. Yay! Before you dive head first into stitching on the very first project you come across in your stash, it’s a good idea to gather them all into one space and evaluate each one individually. We’ve identified four potential action steps you can take with each UFO you have. Read through this list, then gather your UFOs and sort them out so that you have a plan of action for each project!

Projects you want to finish


This is the easiest category of projects to identify. It’s a project that you loved when you started it, and it still brings joy to your heart when you look at it now. But be careful with this category of projects; make sure that this isn’t your automatic default pile where you put projects to avoid expending the mental energy to evaluate them. Evaluate each project carefully and be discerning with the projects you want to finish, especially if you have limited time available to sew.

Projects you want to salvage and transform into a new project


This can be a rather fun category of projects, as these are the ones where you still like something, but maybe not quite enough to want to finish the whole thing. Instead of throwing it away, take what you have finished and think about how you can pivot the materials to a new project. This is an especially great way to use orphan blocks from quilts that you just don’t want to finish, but you still love the blocks themselves.

A few ideas for transformation include:
  • Pillow
  • Handbag
  • Checkbook cover
  • Wall hanging
  • Table Runner
  • Container from Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Style Accessories


Projects you want to surrender


It can be challenging to discern which projects belong in this category. We tend to have an emotional attachment to projects that we’ve already put sweat equity (and possibly blood and tears!) into, and this can make it hard to set projects aside. Next week we’ll have a whole post dedicated to knowing when to surrender on a UFO, but in the meantime just remember that if a project no longer prints you joy it’s perfectly fine to remove it from your mind and your home.

Projects you want to donate


This category is really a subcategory of surrender, and might provide a less emotionally draining way to remove projects that you no longer love from your home. If you’ve decided you’re not going to finish a project but can’t bear to throw it away consider donating it to an organization that can use it for charitable purposes. Many quilt guilds make charity quilts for both adults and children in need of a little comfort and warmth, and your UFO quilts might be ideal for helping them produce more of these items in less time. Sometimes these organizations have a hard time creating quilts that are more “adult,” so your unfinished quilts might help to fill a desperate need for them.

A second place to consider donating your UFOs to is to an organization that puts on fundraising boutiques for special causes. As an example, my partner’s mother is the head of the auxiliary guild for a local hospital. The guild puts on a holiday boutique each year with the profits going directly back to the hospital to help with a specific project. They raise thousands of dollars each year towards expensive and life-saving hospital equipment such as dialysis units and ultrasound machines. They’re always looking for fabric and crafting items to add to their stash of materials so that guild members can “shop” the supply closet for projects to create for sale in the next boutique.

UFO Buster Challenge Assignment


Gather all of your UFOs into one place and sort them into four piles.

  • Finish
  • Transform
  • Surrender
  • Donate

Track your progress throughout the UFO Buster Challenge using our free printable tracking worksheets and our UFO Buster Challenge Workbook! Sign up below to get instant access to these worksheets.



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1 comment:

  1. Great idea and I really need to do this soon! I have been cleaning and organizing my sewing space to make room for some new craft furniture. Then i will go through my UFO piles!

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