I admit to a bit of 1 step forward, 1 step back. While yes, I have finished many UFOs over the last few weeks, some of the big guys remain clogging up my sewing room and weighing down my life. It's time I come clean. Hi. My name is Leah. I have a UFO problem.
Am I insane to admit that my UFOs are talking to me?
I know this sounds really weird, but hear me out. I swear there are some projects that yell with a loud voice, demanding to be finished, and others that just whisper nasty insults, and yet others that lay on the guilt like spreading softened butter on bread.
Case in point: James's Space Quilt hasn't been basted, despite ample opportunity to take the quilt to the next level, despite plenty of time to get it done, here it is:
And there's the 365 quilt which I was making pretty good progress on until I started waking up at 5 am and going to bed at 9 pm, thereby killing all my usual evening handwork time.
And then there's the voices of the patterns and books I haven't written yet, but are in some form of planning or construction. All the businessy things that I've said I will do, but haven't yet gotten around to.
Some are obvious and generate questions and comments often - like the How Do I Quilt This Series for which I never finished the final set of videos. That final quilt - the show quilted version - is still unfinished and sitting in a bin upstairs.
It's not easy to have your UFOs so blatantly obvious to the world. It's like getting a monthly email reminder of the number of UFOs in your closet and asking exactly when you plan to finish them, or worse - WHERE is the finished quilt? You SAID you would make it, so where is it!? It tends to make me feel like a failure.
These projects shout at me, usually nasty insults. "So when are you going to finish this project?! People are EXPECTING it to be released soon. You promised. You gave your word. Are you just going try to wiggle out of it and pretend it never happened? How pathetic!"
Am I crazy, or do you too hear the voices of your UFOs bouncing around your head?
It might not even be a voice, but the weight of so much left undone.
I know from practicing yoga that intention is a powerful thing. When we start a project, we set an intention to see that project through to the end.
I don't know anyone who buys fabric saying "Gosh, this would make such a beautiful UFO for my closet shelf!"
So whether we realize it or not, when we start a project, we WANT to finish that project. But then, for whatever complicated reason it doesn't happen.
And the weight builds. And the expectation. And the guilt.
All the excitement and joy of starting something new gets bogged down with the intense weight of so much left undone. I now see my unfinished objects as small time bombs - chaos creators - that are constantly ticking away, adding to my daily frustration and anxiety.
Am I insane to hear the voices of my UFOs? Maybe.
But I now have a goal for my sewing room. It's a simple goal. It might require some drastic action - some destruction, some trashing of perfectly good projects, some wanton waste of fabric and thread. There will be few survivors and many casualties.
But end the end, I will find what I seek in my sewing room: silence.
The peace of no projects yelling at me. The lightness of no weight on my shoulders. This is my goal.
Since starting this UFO Sunday project, I've received a lot of emails about trashing UFOs. Mostly quilters asking for my permission:
Is it really okay for me to throw away this project that is making me feel guilty?
There's a part of me that doesn't feel like it's my place to give this permission. That these words of clemency should come from within yourself.
But then all I have to do is remember the Sewing Machine Review, or the How Do I Quilt This Series, or my original Volume 1 and Volume 2 books and DVDs (all horribly public UFOs) and I know exactly what relief it would be to no longer have to answer to these
Yes. Please. Throw it away. If that project is beyond redemption, if it is making you feel terrible and you wish you'd never started it, and you don't even remember WHY you started it, and you have absolutely NO desire to finish it, do the world a favor:
Throw that bitch in the trash and wash your hands of it.
I can hear all your "buts" already:
But it cost so much money!
But the fabric is so beautiful!
But it feels so wasteful!
Yes, you will feel and think these things, as I think them myself. Will we be forever consigned to a prison of weight and guilt? Will there never be a movement of peaceful silence without the reminder of all those projects left undone.
If you can, pass your Unfinishable Unfinished Projects (UUPs) on to someone who can finish them for charity or themselves with no weight or guilt or any of the bad feelings bogging you down.
Here's a list of linked up charities that have indicated they are comfortable taking anything and everything fabric and quilt related.
If you can't find something like this, or your project is totally unsuited for passing along, spread it out in your back yard and catch it on fire. Trust me...this works...
So your homework this week? Work on your UFOs, yes, but work with a purpose. If there is a particularly loud or heavy project in your space, either knock it out or trash it!
Instructions for Linking Up Your Blog or online photo:
1. Write your blog post. Publish it on your blog. If you're linking up a photo, first upload it to Flickr or Facebook.
2. Copy the link of the specific blog post. This is not just the link to your blog itself (www.freemotionquilting.blogspot.com), but the link to the specific post: http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2012/01/quilt-along-2-quilting-in-rows.html
3. Click the blue link up button above and paste your link into the box.
If you have any questions about finishing your UFO, make sure to post them clearly within your post. 5 questions will be selected and answered on Monday or Tuesday's UFO Followup article.
By the way, if you'd like to share this program on your blog, grab a button below!