Quiltmaker 100 Blocks

Quiltmaker 100 Blocks
My block is in the November 2015 issue!

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Confession and a UFO problem

There are some parts of quilting that I just plain don't like. Dislike is probably too mild a word. Hate would be too strong a word. 'Dread' might be the best description.  

I've thought a lot about this recently due to a UFO (UnFinished Object) challenge sponsored by the local quilt store that I frequent.  The challenge is to find and complete as many UFOs as you can from February to December of this year.  "Complete" means quilted and bound, not just a completed top. For each completed project, you throw a dollar into the kitty, and at the end of the year, the quilt store will match whatever you have accumulated to be used for a purchase at the store.  Definitely worth doing! 

In January, I started digging in my bins to see what I had in the works.  I knew that I had some UFOs, but I did not realize how many I had!  I found 41 projects in various stages of completion, and I think that I probably missed a few.   As Charlie Brown would say - "Good Grief"!  

Some of my UFOs....

So far, I have only finished 5 of those projects.  In my defense, I couldn't count my Scrap Addicts projects because I hadn't started them yet.  I did count the Knights of Columbus quilt, because I started that last August (2014).  But even if I add in the Scrap Addicts projects, I still have only completed 8 projects.  I thought that I would get a lot more done with all my free time!  

So I started analyzing my UFO list.  Tops that are completed, but not quilted make up 45%.  Another 45% is sets of blocks that are done, but have not yet been set into tops.  Only 10% are true works-in-progress.  (Yes, I am analytical by nature. And working in a scientific field for 37 years helped to reinforce that tendency!)

After some soul searching, I realized the following: I love designing quilts.  I love making quilt blocks.  I even like hand sewing the binding on a quilt.   I am not  fond of sewing blocks into rows and I definitely dread the process of finishing a quilt.  This dread is due to two things - space issues and 'how the heck do I quilt it?" 

Once you start sewing rows together, quilts tend to get large, quickly.  As more rows are added, it gets harder and harder to handle.  And I just don't have a lot of space. My sewing room is my dining room, my 'design wall' is my living room floor, and I can't sandwhich and pin baste a quilt any larger than a toddler size anywhere in my house.  

So when I do get a larger top done, I have to find a place to lay it out and get it ready for quilting.  And that is a hassle.  I used to use the Activities Center at our local parish school, but my husband isn't the facility manager anymore, and I don't have as easy access to it as I used to.  The local quilt store lets people use their upstairs retreat center if it isn't in use.  But that entails a half an hour drive along congested roads. It's an option, but not the most convenient. 

'How the heck do I quilt it' is actually two problems - the design and the logistics. I do all my quilting on my home machine, a Janome MC6600P. I can quilt a baby or toddler size quilt on it fairly easily, but anything larger is very difficult.  Trying to wrangle a twin, or even a lap size quilt is difficult, even when I set up a card table beside the dining room table to try to distribute the weight somewhat.  Quilting the blocks separately, then sewing them together is an option that I recently discovered, but it obviously won't work for the tops I already have done. I don't have the space for a long-arm, and I don't want to incur the expense to send all those tops to a professional long-arm quilter. Then there is the problem of the design.  I have taken a couple classes on machine quilting; one in person and one online, but I still agonize over what design to use!  

So now that I have answers to why my quilts aren't done, I need some help! Have you experienced any of the issues that I have?  How have you solved them?  Or are you still wrestling with them?  I would love to hear your experiences, so leave me comments!  If I get 10 or more comments, I will draw a name and send you a copy of the new 100 Blocks magazine with my block in it!


1 comment:

  1. Years ago I used to quilt on my home machine. It didn't take too many quilts bigger than baby size for me to decide it didn't work for me, so I can appreciate your dilemma. Back then I found a long arm quilter who did fairly basic things, and she was quick and not expensive. But as my piecing skills got better I decided the quality of her work just wasn't cutting it. Now I am fortunate enough to have a mid-arm machine. For a long time I had a friend who used my machine and she would sometimes give me fabric or gift cards as a thank you. Do you have a friend with a machine you could use? I've also heard of people who trade with friends -- like you piece something for her, she quilts something for you. That sounds like a good deal if you can get it. I wish you the best of luck in finding a workable solution! Also, I looked at your profile and noticed your location. I grew up in Allegheny County! I haven't lived there in a long time, but do go back fairly often to visit family. Nice to meet you Barb!