The Free Motion Quilting Project: UFO Sunday #6 - Snowball, but still have fun

Sunday, September 30, 2012

UFO Sunday #6 - Snowball, but still have fun

It's UFO Sunday time and what are you working on today?!

This week I've been taking a look at my UFO list and seriously wanting to cut it down by half in a hurry. It seems there's loads of projects that just need something small, like binding, a name tag, or a hanging sleeve.

Why do these small things not get done? Why leave them to pile up when that quilt could be being used and enjoyed?!

So today we're going to learn about the Snowball Effect.  

This is a term used by debt advisers to help you pay off your debts quickly.  Basically you budget a certain amount of money, let's say $200 to pay off debts.  The first month, you knock out all the tiny debts, like $50 here and $25 there.  All those little guys get paid off first and only the minimum balances get paid on the big debts.

Then the next month, you still have that same $200 budget, PLUS any money freed up by not having minimum payments or fees on the small debts you paid off.  You use all that money to pay off the next biggest debts.

And on it goes, slowly snowballing up until you only have really big debts to pay off and knock them out with big punches every month.  It's really a great way to pay down lots of debt and get control over your finances in a short amount of time.

But is this a good way to bust through UFOs?

I decided to test the theory this week with 3 UFO quilts clogging up the shelves of my sewing room.  Each one only needed about 1-2 hours of attention - mostly binding, hanging sleeves, and a bit of quilting needed to finish them up.

free motion quilting | Leah Day

So I busted through all three in a couple days and it really felt great!  I could feel the snowball effect of enthusiasm and energy being sent straight into my sewing room.

Picking these now finished quilts up and bringing them upstairs to the couch also felt really good.  Three less things in my sewing room - YAY!

But...and yes, there is a but to this....after finishing so many things at once, I really, really, REALLY wanted to start something new.

So I did.  I decided not to resist the temptation to create something new because ultimately it's what I needed this week.

Keep in mind that unlike paying off real debts which really NEED to be paid off or they hurt us down the road, UFOs don't hurt anyone.  They just take up space and drive us slowly crazy because of all the pressure and stress they bring by sitting in the corner of the sewing room whispering "finish me...finish me...finish me..."

So here's what I made: I had loads of tiny scraps left over from James's Space Quilt, which I had not thrown away yet.  This is pretty unusual for me, as I could previously be known as The Ultimate Scrap Fabric Waster.  It must be a side product of finishing so many UFOs and not buying more fabric, but I'm tending to get a lot more frugal with my fabric.

free motion quilting | Leah Day

But what the heck do you do with this?  These are literally shreds from squaring off the edges of fabric and none were wide enough to even get a seam allowance out of.

Normally, back in my UFO Creating Days, I would have shoved all these in a bag and thought "I'll get to that later." and left it to fill up yet another bin, shelf, or drawer in my sewing room.

Those days are long over!  I wanted to keep these shreds, so I'd better do something with them - NOW! I pulled out some wash-away material, sandwiched those shreds between, stitched it quickly with some funky designs, rinsed away the stabilizer and ta-da a bright rainbow scarf was made:

free motion quilting | Leah Day
Clearly I forgot to comb my hair today...but my scarf still rocks!
I love making stuff like this, but rarely do it.  This time it felt like a fun reward for finishing so many UFOs and I really enjoyed making something new and functional out of all those scraps I would normally have trashed.

So that's the lesson for this week: yes, make a list of your UFOs and yes, spend a day knocking out all the "small debts" that can be completed in a few hours.

But also find something fun you can make as a reward.  All work and no play makes a quilting no fun!

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 (, but the link to the specific post:

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.

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



  1. Leah I so enjoy reading all your posts! You are so wise :)

  2. So timely. I pretty much did the same thing, and experienced the same thing, only I started a new quilt :-O. Ooopse... I did make UFO progress though. Hope to post later...

  3. So true, that wonderful feeling when you finish up a bunch of little things and can work on something new!

  4. That is such a great idea, Leah! I always have those tiny scraps left (from squaring up blocks mostly since I use my larger scraps for backings) and I never knew what to do with them. I am definitely going to do that with my next set of tiny scraps!

  5. I LOVE what you did with the little scraps--what a great idea, thank you!!!

  6. I love the snowball analogy, and it makes sense to me, but my problem is I don't have many small jobs - just a couple of big ones. I've just realised I've got another one just now, a huge thick cotton african animal print that needs making up into a hanging... Things like that that I've just got an idea about but not even started. That's my kind of UFO!!!

  7. Hi Leah,
    This week's UFO is really more of a WIP, but. . I did finish a big quilt last week. Need to get a pic.
    Love your scarf! My friend and I use to pick thru the little waste bins on the tables at retreat to get enough trimmings to make scarfs. They make fabulous gifts!

  8. Love that scarf!! So bright and cheerful. I will have to try that technique.

  9. Your scarf is just great. You're so clever, I save every teensy bit but wonder what I'll really do with it all. Nice idea for gifts, too. thanks!

  10. salve.........vorrei contattarti più volte ti lascio commenti con i miei non mi rispondi.che devo fare???

  11. Sell patterns for the scarf idea, great one.

    I have to say (being anal) that if you are focusing on getting rid of UFOs that you should only start a new project if you are prepared to finish it before doing anything else, otherwise there is a real danger of adding to the UFO list constantly.

  12. I discovered that I can actually participate this Sunday. I have some patchwork headbands/headwraps that are UFO's. Can't wait to finish them and post.

  13. Wash away stabilizer !!!!!! Got to get me some of that !!

  14. That is a great idea. I do a similar thing when embroidering. I machine embroider and keep a little baggie tapped to my sewing desk. All the threads after trimming are put in to the baggie, then the next time I do some free standing lace I place all the yarns between two layers of net. The result is quite amazing.

  15. love the snowball effect info~thank you.
    that scarf is beautiful~!!!~



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