These aren’t UFOs, they’re LFOs (long-forgotten objects)

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, avoiding my sewing room as if it needed cleaning. But having cleaned it almost 2 months ago, and barely stepping foot in it since, I know that’s not the reason. So what gives?  

The answer: there’s a box of works in progress that is burdening my conscience. For the most part these have almost no appeal, yet I feel obligated to finish at least some of them before moving on.

I counted 11 unfinished objects (UFOs), and that doesn’t include the rag-tag collection of matched and mis-matched blocks I’ve made over the years.  So I thought I’d describe a few of them at a time, starting with the oldest. Maybe this little review will help me figure out which, if any, are worth resuscitating.

This medallion centre is at least 27 years old. And given that I took my first quilting class 29 years ago, it’s probably the fourth quilt started, and the first one I didn’t finish. The centre is hand pieced through the outer black border.

Although I still have some coordinating fabric and Seminole patchwork strips I made for borders, I will never do much with this for a variety of reasons. First, my taste has evolved over the past 2 decades. On the design side of things, I now know the heavy paisley border is completely out of balance with the star; not to mention how close the flying geese border is to the medallion.

I still have a soft spot in my heart for this Boston Common quilt. This has been hanging around for a long time; at least 15 years.

This pattern is sort of boring to make, which is why I don’t anticipate pulling it out and finishing it any time soon. But I like the way the fabrics work. In person, there’s a bit more contrast between the border fabric and the beige fabric with the black and red bits. If you look closely you may be able to tell those are little chickens.

This quilt is the last of the UFOs that moved with me to Ottawa two years ago.  It’s a quick and easy pattern made popular (and possibly invented) by Mary Ellen Hopkins, and is my third Hidden Wells quilt. I love the colour combination of terracotta and charcoal in this one. As you may have guessed by the safety pins, it is partially quilted. Why haven’t I finished it? Probably because I have no plans for its future.  Size is approximately 24 x 30 inches.

Hidden Wells


Happy to be back

It’s been more than a month since my last blog post, and that’s because it’s been more than a month since I’ve been in my sewing room. Finally, this weekend I was able to devote some time to quilting. Ogee time!

Thus far, I had cut the 20 fabrics into squares and drunkard path-type pieces and decided on the layout of the fabrics. I thought it would be 1-2-3-sew, but no such luck. This is the layout I had decided on, where no two, similar colours were close enough to each other that they risked blending.

I did a little tweaking because I thought the bottom half had no movement. In the end, the top half was rearranged too, because I couldn’t simply exchange one or two squares in the bottom half. Once I was happy with the layout I spaced the squares and started putting up the curved pieces (below). It quickly became apparent that the new layout wouldn’t be the final layout. Notice how the colours blend too much in the circled areas?

Back to the drawing board. The version shown below, left, is very close to the final version, because I couldn’t help but tweak it after the bottom row (not visible) became to heavy and busy with black prints. And as I found the first time I tried to shift the weight of the prints, I couldn’t just play with the bottom row or two because some of the heavy or busy pieces had to be moved up.

So I thought I’d share some observations, even though I haven’t finished sewing the top.

1. Too much busyness is a barrier to a harmonious quilt, even if there is contrast and coordination. While this is probably true of all quilts, I think the rounded edges make this even more relevant. There’s no place for the eye to rest when all the fabrics are busy. Perhaps value plays a role too, but I’m not convinced that having too many mediums is really the proble here. The red circle on the black and white picture above, right, shows the red and blue ogees are almost identical in value, yet they are very distinct in the colour version on the left.

2. The flow of the quilt seems to go from left to right and right to left along the diagonals, bouncing almost like a pinball machine. At least it does in real life. I found that having ogees of similar colour lined up vertically or horizontally impedes the flow of the piece; or maybe that’s only true with the fabrics I’m using.

3. This is one of the few quilts I’ve worked on that I think looks better in person than in photographs. And I haven’t yet figured out why.