Monday, February 21, 2011

When Does a Project Go From Being a WIP to a UFO?

So just when does a project go from being a “work in progress” (WIP) to an “unfinished object” (UFO)? Or worse, when does it become a PIG (project in grocery bag)?

I was pondering this question while sewing and squaring up the first 103 of 192 half-square triangles for a retirement quilt I’m making for the person who was been my boss for the better part of the past 21 years. (More on that in another post.)

Here’s how I would distinguish a WIP from a UFO.

First, how long it’s been since I started it. If it’s been more than about six months since I started it, it’s likely a UFO.

Second, how long it’s been since I made any progress on the project. If I haven’t worked on it for a couple months, it’s a UFO.

And, third, whether it’s still out on my sewing counter or at the top of my stitching basket to be picked up and worked on at a moment’s notice. If it’s out on my sewing room counter because I intend to work on it (but other things seem to get in the way), then I would classify as a WIP rather than UFO. But once it goes into the cupboard, it’s definitely a UFO – or even a PIG because it’s clear I have no plan to finish it any time soon.

Note that a project can go from being a UFO or PIG to a WIP because I pulled it out, did some pressing and cutting, and even some sewing. This is the case for the Kim Diehl spool quilt. I finished machine appliquéing the border vines one evening this past week and picked out the fabrics for the leaves and buds.

Based on my definitions above, the retirement quilt qualifies as a WIP. I’ve had the fabric for about 18 months or so, but I only started it two weeks ago when I cut the fabrics into triangles for the half-square triangles.

My version of Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co. “Route 44” quilt also qualifies as a WIP. I started the quilt at Winterfest at the end of January and have worked on it a couple times so far in February, including Saturday when I pretty much finished all of the blocks.

However, these projects qualify as UFOs:

I’ve had these “Hot Buttered Rum” square-in-square blocks done for probably 15 years! I love the fabrics, colors and pattern. This is about 30 of the 42 13-inch blocks. (Yes, this has the potential to be one BIG quilt, especially once border(s) are added.)

I kind of want to keep this quilt for me (it was the second quilt I made after starting quilting again in the late 90s), but I haven’t wanted it bad enough to get it finished and quilted. I was thinking about finishing it for a wedding quilt for my most recently married nephew – but his bride mentioned she really likes black, white and red. Oh well, back to the drawing board for them!

This quilt, Jan Patek and Alma Allen’s Baskets and Berries quilt, also qualifies as a UFO – even though one of the three final blocks is out on my sewing room counter and begging me to finish it.

The first nine blocks were hand appliquéd, starting in about 2001. In fact, it was my first hand appliqué project. I really want to finish the last three blocks by hand as well. I decided a long time ago that I didn’t have it in me to do the appliquéd border like the original.

I saw this design finished at the 2005 HQMS (Home Quilting Machine Show) and liked the pieced border the quilter had used and think it will be a good way to finish this up (when the last three blocks are done, of course.)

Unfortunately I didn’t note the name of the person who made this version (isn’t it lovely?), so can’t give her credit.

I am even the proud owner of one of my grandmother’s UFO quilts. (I have a feeling this may be her only UFO as she usually finished what she started!) I don’t even know where I have the blocks hidden in my sewing room in order to take a photograph of them.

I think that’s enough UFO “true confessions” for one post. I could easily do the same with cross stitching projects – but will spare myself the humiliation!


Margaret said...

I like your definition of UFO vs WIP. Don't we all have this problem? For sure! I really love that Jan Patek quilt -- gorgeous! Your other projects are lovely too. It's so hard with UFOs, isn't it?

Loraine said...

ROTFLOL! I love the definitions, and will be using them in my labels for quilts. A PIG? Very clever Nancy, I do have several of those!
Your quilts are just gorgeous. I'm excited to see your applique quilt finished. I love Kim Diehl quilts too, and I have not seen the spool quilt.
You are so generous to make wonderful quilts for the people in your life. I can't think of a better gift. I can't say I do that for others (like ever) because of the time involved, someday maybe.
Don't want too many pigs or UFO's in the closet and I guess you can only display so many quilts on the banister! LOL.
Take Care.

Chocolates4Breakfast (TerriBoog) said...

Great definitions! All of your quilts, whether UFO's or WIPs are gorgeous!

Linda said...

Love the definitions. Made me laugh thinking about all my UFO's!! I'm getting there though.
The applique quilt won my heart. You know how I love that art.
And the hot buttered rum blocks...were the a BOM from Pa? I have a hot buttered rum quilt, same block, and colors. The store I got mine from also offered a daquiri one, same block but more tropical colors.

Berit said...

lol@ PIG!

I love the fabrics in the retirement quilt you're making, and also the pieced border idea; I think it looks better than the vines, personally.

Karen said...

I've been enjoying looking through your blog. You do nice applique. I was wondering if you finished the "Baskets, Berries, & Leaves" project? I hope to make the quilt sometime in the near future.


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