My ongoing inventory of unfinished quilts

Although I’ve been working on the ogee quiltalong and a little mixed media play, I have nothing much to show for those. So I thought I’d follow up on my last post and explore some other unfinished quilts.

This is one of the oldest in my collection, and was supposed to go on our bed. I had to lay it on the floor to get a shot of the whole thing (left), while the picture on the right shows as much as I could capture of it upright.

I made this quilt in a Trip Around the World colourwash class taught by Lydia Quigley and Elizabeth Lake at The Quilter’s Choice in Kingston, Ontario, and it was longarm quilted by Gayle Martin. Since it no longer coordinates with the bedroom paint, I haven’t bothered to finish the binding. Too bad this has been sitting for more than 10 years. Kits for this class were available at the store, but I’m not a kit person. (This will be contradicted below!) There are two reasons why I wouldn’t buy a kit. First, I won’t want to invest the time and effort to make a cookie-cutter quilt. Second, if I’m going to spend $100 (that’s how long ago I made this quilt; fabric for a queen-sized top was just over $100 CDN), I want it to be something I expect to love when it’s done. And I do love the purples, mauves and blues, and how they bleed into each other. A detail of this quilt is on the header of my blog.

After the colourwash quilt and those in my long-forgotten-objects post, my next oldest UFO is only 2 years old. This black and white string quilt was inspired by Ashley at Film in the Fridge, who made black and white string quilts with blue accent and with green accent. The finished lap quilt is supposed to be for our sun room, which can get quite cold in the winter.

Why I decided to make 6″ blocks, I can’t explain. Those small blocks contributed to the feeling that I was sewing and sewing and sewing, and making so little progress. After 36 I’d had enough. So I sewed the blocks together and added the borders to enlarge the quilt, but really, I think it’s too small. And there’s too much white for my taste. To make matters worse, it’s a bear to quilt. The first bit of quilting I tried was close together. It didn’t show at all (not surprising) and made for a very stiff quilt, so I ripped it out and will have to start over. Next time I sit down to quilt it, I won’t fight it and will stitch a lot of straight lines.

And here is the first quilt top I’ve ever made from a kit. It took 27 years. I saw a pink quilt made up at a vendor’s booth at the Vermont Quilt Festival in 2010 and I wanted it! Fourteen different Kaffe Fassett and Philip Jacobs fabrics, all in pink/red colourways. Heck, I would have bought it ready made, since there’s nothing about the making of this particular pattern that called to me, but that was not an option. So I made my cookie-cutter quilt. Now that the top is sewn, I don’t love it. What a disappointment. This 64″, almost square quilt, looks far better in the photograph than in person, perhaps because the prints look better together when the whole thing is shrunk to 4″ wide. Natural daylight brightens up the bottom left corner.

Cereal Stars

At least the last quilt in this post isn’t a copy or slight modification of someone else’s fabulous quilt, although it was inspired by Gwen Marston’s Liberated Quiltmaking, which I’ve cited before. The summer 2010 guild challenge was to randomly select a box or wrapper and create a quilt using the same colours in the same proportions as on the wrapper. My box was from Post Selects cereal, cranberry and almond, as pictured above. After guestimating that the quilt was 75% deep red, with the following colours in most-to-least order beige, white (counting the colour of the text), silver, and fire-engine red, I was hard pressed to come up with an idea. At first I wanted to make a pineapple quilt but didn’t feel I could make a nice quilt while respecting the colour guidelines. Instead I went for liberated stars. The quilt was quilted in time for the meeting but the binding was not. I sewed all of the binding by machine and the back is a mess. I’d like to rip out the binding and sew it down properly, which is why I consider this a UFO. Maybe I’ll do that during football season, which has already started here in Canada. Then if I’m ambitious I’ll finish the binding on the colourwash quilt.

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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