The Free Motion Quilting Project: UFO Followup #4

Monday, September 17, 2012

UFO Followup #4

Wow!  Our little UFO Sunday group is really rocking!  I love that so many quilters are linking up and sharing projects and getting the help and advice you need to need to get moving.

By the way, if you jump on a UFO project, please continue to link up and share even if you feel that it's now a WIP (work in progress).  I personally find that UFO projects need a bit more motivation and they're easy to set aside unless you have the drive to take them all the way to the finish line.

Reading through the many linked up blogs from yesterday's post, I found a super funny comment from Chris at Passion Quilting:

I sure had some trouble binding this quilt, I think I must have been drinking when I wasn't looking or something...

LOL!  I think I could use that excuse for more than one quilting catastrophe!

I also found some questions on Malini's blog My Quilting Journey:

For a busy quilt how to do choose the thread color, if you're going for a look that blends well with the fabric?

Even a busy fabric should have a single dominant color that is usually a good choice.  If you're quilting over a multi-colored busy quilt, pretty much any color can go so long as it's in the same color value as the quilt (pastel with pastels, bold with bold, etc).

I've heard many sayings that dark green, olive, gray, or blue could be quilted over any quilt and blend nicely.

But the fact is - it's your quilt!  I don't think there's a single, ultimate, BEST choice for any quilt.  So long as you like the look of it, so long as you can see where you're stitching and don't get lost constantly in the quilt, then any thread color will do.  Just pick a color you see within the quilt and don't obsess about the places it contrasts with the other colors.

Photo from Malini's blog My Quilting Journey
If you were to quilt this one would stop and use a different thread color for the white diamonds?

First off, is this a bed quilt or a show quilt?  If I'm working on a bed quilt, I really, really try to quilt the quilt with the greatest amount of speed and least amount of fuss possible.

And no matter which way you slice it, changing colors is more fuss and will always slow you down.

So personally, I'd probably quilt this quilt with blue or green thread.  All over it.  One single color.

Yes, those colors would contrast sharply over the white sections, but mostly blend in all the colored areas.  Personally I'll take a bit of contrast in exchange for probably 50 less thread breaks!

Finally let's finish up with a quote from Karin at The Quilt Yarn:

This is what happens ...I come up with some ideas, get very excited about them only to go back to the more familiar designs that really don't challenge me that much. Hence, I then think...hmm...too boring and go back to some more exciting ideas and so the whole thing starts again...going around in circles and losing a fair bit of momentum on the project. I wonder whether other people suffer from this annoying indecision syndrome...

Anyone else suffering from this challenge / fear / boredom cycle Karin's talking about?

I certainly can relate to this situation!  It's so easy to get caught up in a wave of excited inspiration, but then get smacked in the head when reality and that very REAL quilt is in front of you.

Suddenly your brain starts a fear spin cycle of questions "Are you really going to try that new pattern out on this?  How will it look?  Are you sure it will look good?"

These kinds of questions can get you very, very stuck in one place, stitching the same designs, wearing the same well-worn path over and over because you're basically stuck in a fear loop.

Personally I was stuck in just such a loop almost all summer and found relief only when I cracked the pages of The Artists Way and began journaling with Morning Pages.

What is this?  Basically it's 3 solid pages of your mental crap.  Whatever is on your mind.  Whatever comes out first thing in the morning.  And yes, it has to be 3 pages.  No cheating.

For the first couple days, my morning pages were filled with anger, frustration, and bitterness.  I let these feelings flow out of my mind and onto a page and suddenly, I didn't have to think about them anymore.  I acknowledged the negative and positive feelings within and gave them the space to exist rather than trying to ignore and suppress them.

Soon I was writing about quilting and the words "I want..." were dominant on the pages.  The number of things I wanted to do, but for some reason felt blocked from doing, filled page after page of my notebook. 

Specific issues on my quilts, specific fears that had blocked a project up for months were suddenly easy to work through.  I write about it.  I write down all the fears.  I yell at the quilt and I yell at myself and at some point....the right answers come.

I can't explain it other than to encourage you to try it.  I now wake up at 5 am to have time to write my pages before getting James up for school.  A few months ago I would have laughed at such an idea.  Now I know it's the conduit that keeps my creativity flowing.

So if you're finding a particular UFO very difficult to work on, very difficult to even take the first stitch on, or looping with the same fears running through your mind unchecked, consider writing about it.  3 pages.  3 solid pages of hand written text and you're sure to find an answer by the end.

And just to nail home the point - it was through writing these morning pages (and sometimes evening pages too) that I first got the idea to start this UFO Sunday series.  And I'd say that this project has unblocked my quilting, and my life, in a MAJOR way.  Give it a try and see if it helps.

Let's go quilt,



  1. I just finished a Baltimore Album quilt that took over two years to complete and hand quilted. When I finished sewing the binding on I felt elated and looked at the quilt and said "oh, now that is a beauty". Thanks for inspiring us to complete those UFQ's.

  2. Thank you Leah for your encouraging comments. I think writing about it on the blog already helps. The other day I had a comment from Joni who quoted an ad saying 'just do it'. Ha,ha...that did it for me. Thought, yep, stop the negativity and just do it. Started literally straight away with a design that I like...the UFO Sundays are truly a great motivator. I reckon my project would have easily ended up being an UFO again without it.

  3. Thank you,Leah for answering out questions.
    you always seem to know what to say.

    Thanks again!

  4. Glad I could give you a giggle :) I am a firm believer in the old adage, laughter is the best medicine!
    Thanks for continuing to encourage all of us, and I hope we encourage you as well. (Quilting symbiosis?)

  5. Thank you so much for sharing! I had courage to try a new stitch on a baby quilt, but lost that courage in the middle of the corner section. I am working on ripping out the stitches and then I am going to try again after I have practiced some more on some sample squares!

  6. I am new to quilting (1 year) and have already amassed too many UFO's! It truly is the excitement of the possibilities - like a kid in a candy store, I want it all! But I've been focused on the BOM I started last October. I had gotten behind, and was tempted to throw my unfinished blocks into a bin, and start something new. But i decided to focus on this one project until it's finished. UFO Sunday and all the posts have helped know this was the right decision. I've finished my blocks and am getting ready to plunge off the giant scary quilting cliff of batting, backing and quilting. Wish me luck!

  7. Sand I very you feel so good about doing it all. Good luck!

  8. My sister raves about Writers Way and with a huge quilting block of my own that I'm battling with am going to give the writing idea a go while I pebble away - not writing while pebbling as I'm not that good yet!


Help us create more quilting tutorials! Check out our quilt shop at