The Free Motion Quilting Project: UFO Sunday #3 - Stitching Out Limitations

Sunday, September 9, 2012

UFO Sunday #3 - Stitching Out Limitations

It's UFO Sunday again and time to pull out a UFO and give it some serious attention for one day.  And when I mean "serious attention" I mean do MORE than just pull it out and look at it, feel bad about not working about it, then put it away!

I was in that kind of feeling bad / guilty / but accomplishing nothing cycle with this little UFO:

free motion quilting | Leah Day

Yes, I have gotten back into beadwork.  I stitched tiny beads together from about 6th grade when I bought my first $7 bead loom to college when I was forced to pack it all up due to lack of space, lack of sanity, and a whole boat load of limitations that made the craft no fun.

Now I'm stepping my toes back in, but this time challenging myself to try out all the aspects of the hobby that I never tried before.  Most specifically stitching beads on quilted fabric which seems to me the perfect combination of these two crafts.

But for some reason beadwork has a pretty high UFO count for me.  I'm great at starting projects, but they take SO MUCH TIME to complete all the slow, methodical, sometimes excruciatingly boring stitches that it feels easier to set the project down and leave it to collect dust.

Not this time though!  I'm determined to approach this craft from a different perspective focusing on building a collection of beautiful beaded jewelry I love and really want to wear. 

Before I focused mostly on making things that would sell, not pieces I actually liked or enjoyed wearing. 

That focus really wrecked the craft for me in a lot of ways.  Coming back into it after more than 10 years of growth in another craft, I'm far less limited in my thinking and ready and willing to try new things that before would have been "off limits."

But that still hasn't stopped me from creating another UFO!

free motion quilting | Leah Day
This cuff was started with hand dyed fabric which were stitched with stabilizer to create a solid base for the beads.  I never stitched beads in such a free form pattern before and never used cabochons, so this project was a good first step to stitching my way out of all the limitations I had back in high school.

I got the cuff created, the coral cabochons secured with seed bead bezels (the thingys that hold the cabs in place) and then the whole project wound down.

I knew I wanted to fill the space between the stones with more beads, but how to do this?  I don't have any experience with stitching beads on this way.  And then which color to pick?

It's embarrassing to admit, but I stalled for weeks on these questions.  Finally, thanks to starting this UFO Sunday, I saw this cuff for what it was - a UFO in need of finishing.

Somehow that has made it easier.  Knowing this project might go the way of hundreds of other beadwork projects I had over the years and just end up collecting dust on my desk somehow revitalized my desire to work on it.

Picking a color and stitching method suddenly became easy because I was NOT going to leave this project behind.  I actually want to wear this cuff very badly so I need to finish it now!

A few days of stitching, with help from a few movies on Netflix, and this cuff was completed.  Just like the 365 quilt, this project transformed from being a languishing UFO to a work in progress I stitched on a bit every single day.

free motion quilting | Leah Day

It feels great to have this project completed and I can't wait to wear it with my favorite red t-shirt!  This is actually a first - creating a piece of jewelry for me, not for sale, that also stretched my boundaries and limitations of what I used to think beadwork was all about.  Whoo hoo!

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UFO Sundays on the Free Motion Quilting Project
Let's go quilt!

Leah Day


  1. I'm not generally big on jewelry, but that cuff is GORGEOUS.

  2. How cool! I love cuff bracelets! They make me feel like Wonder Woman! My favorite childhood character;)

  3. Очень стильно получилось! Понравилось.

  4. Good job on the bracelet...I also enjoy beading, but only after quilting

  5. Leah, I love BOTH versions! The fully beaded one is def. more Goddess like, in a Xena Warrior Princess mood. However, if you ever felt the urge to make another one, the UFO version looks to beaded cuffs as a Modern quilt looks to pieced quilts. I like it too, very much.

    Just my $.02 from Tina in San Diego


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