Friday, June 24, 2011

What's In Your Closet?

Art Square - My best UFO

I've never had much of an interest in UFO's after seeing the movie War of the Worlds, however, if you are like most people I know, you have a few UFO's(unfinished objects) in your closet or stashed somewhere in your home.

Most of the fabrics in the center of the blocks came from shops in Italy
while the supporting fabrics came from the sales bins of local fabric
stores, wonderful weird victorian patterns that
most people must not like.

Most of my UFO's are artworks which I began but saw they weren't going anywhere and I just folded them up and put them aside. Eventually they will be discarded or cut up and some of the materials reclaimed. Sometimes when you have invested so much time and money into making a piece it's hard to admit that it's time to stop and regroup and cut your loses.

Art Square - Block A Detail

There are two UFO's in my closet that I do want to complete and both ended-up in the closet as a result of the projects taking a great deal of time to complete and finding my interest going in different directions. One is a somewhat large hooked rug (first one I even did) and likely this will never be finished but I can't discard just yet. The second is a beautiful traditional quilt I started some years ago when I was just learning how to construct a quilt. The pattern for this quilt is called Art Square and is on page 36 of Rotary Roundup by Judy Hopkins and Nancy J. Martin. This was one of the first books on quilt patterns I purchased. The pattern was far too complex for my skills at the time but I didn't let that stop me and I learned a great deal by making this piece. There are several beautiful patterns in that book that I'd still like to make.

Art Square - Block A Detail with different fabric.

How did this quilt get started? My husband, Tom, went to Italy with a group of students and I asked him to buy fabric for me as they traveled around the country. I had no idea of what a difficult thing I was asking him to do. The fabric shops in Italy are not like our fabric stores here in the US. First he had to find the shops and once there, he had to figure out how to interact with a much more formal atmosphere than you find in our fabric shops. There, customers must have a clerk take the fabric down off a shelf, show the fabric and then cut the amount you want or have them return the item to the shelf.

Tom did all of this and brought me a beautiful assortment of things from many of the towns the group visited. I would have loved to have heard how he requested the amounts of fabric. I'm thinking there were lots of hand gestures.

Sawtooth Star - Block B Detail

I added coordinating enough fabrics from my stash of victorian style fabrics to make a queen-sized quilt. My piecing skills were not great but I managed to complete the construction. Then I decided to hand quilt the piece. My quilting improved as well and looking at the quilt you can see how the stitching improved as the quilting progressed. That being said, I won't be winning any awards for my technique.

Today this quilt is about 95% finished. My interest went to art quilting and the piece was put in "lock-up". All I need to do is finish the quilting on the boarder, do the binding and I'm done. The color in the actual quilt is much richer than it appears in these pictures and despite my lack of craftsmanship at that time, this will be a special piece when I complete the work.

Back of quilt with quilting.

So how do I get this piece completed? The first step is to get the quilt out of the closet. (That happened when I photographed the piece which is still on my design wall) Now I need to find the thread I was using for the quilting and then ......oh yes. Now I remember. I couldn't decide how I wanted to quilt that boarder. Well, maybe if I get it out and have a good look I'll figure that out. I will get this done Tom. I promise.

So what's in your closet?


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  1. I have heard from several readers that they have issues commenting with blogger. I wish I could make a helpful suggestion.

    I'm posting this comment for Jodi because she was unable to comment directly. Thank you for commenting!

    Terry, I am unable to comment due to google blogger issues, AGAIN, thus this email. That quilt you posted about is fantastic! And so is your husband! I like to think mine would have done the same, but most likely with a few complaints along the way! So glad you showed your masterpiece, and it certainly IS!
    Take care,
    ~ Jodi ~

  2. Terry, the Quilt is beautiful, it has a quiet, warm quality - so finish it please, already because of its sentimental value and the story behind.

  3. I LOL'd when I saw your post. Just this spring I went through my closet of UFO's. I pulled out the ones I actually wanted to finish (about 3 of them) - Made a pile of pieces that were doggies and needed a total rework and the rest I gave away or pitched. It was VERY liberating. I also made a list of them on my process blog - just as a daily reminder that I'm suppose to be getting them done.

    In the past I've listed AND bought UFO's on ebay. Love that but the best was getting willed UFO's from beloved quilters who just ran out of time. When you finish one of their projects (have done 4 of them so far) it really gets you in the heart!

  4. Thank you Beata and Nina-Marie. I am going to complete this quilt. As Tom passed my wall this morning I could see the pleasure it gave him so it must be completed.

    Nina-Marie. I loved your story of being willed UFO's. How wonderful you can fulfill their promise.

    Your description of some pieces as "doggies" made me laugh.

  5. Do finish it for not only is it lovely it is functional. When I began to make quilts like many of us I made traditional quilts for special gifts. Finally my husband said we need one. I made a quilt for us and we sleep beneath it every night.
    What I was unprepared for was what it would feel like to sleep under a quilt that I made specifically for us. There is something quite special and humbling about continuing a tradition. And my husband was thrilled. Given the story behind yours it will be all the more special.

  6. Thank you Penny for your encouragement. I still have the quilt on my design wall and I think I have made a decision as to how best to quilt that boarder. I know that it will be a treat to use and I will definitely use on the bed. I appreciate your commenting.

  7. I have one, ake that 2. I gave the rest away long ago. I don't know that I will complete the 2 I have but not ready to let them go just yet.

    Yours is quite beautiful.

  8. Hello! I hope you didn't have any wind damage.....

    Thank you for your comment. I am going to finish that baby and it is funny but because it has been hidden I was surprised how nice it really is. I'll post when it's finished. xo, T

  9. Terry, this is a UFO worth completing - it is beautiful and I would think because of Tom's wonderful efforts to bring you the fabric, it has high sentimental value. Finish it - you will be glad you did. Trust me on this.

    Everybody else- do NOT get rid of those UFO's! Instead, stay tuned for my new book, coming out in November, and reinvent them. If you really insist on getting rid of them please send them to me and I'll use them for my classes! Seriously. I'm running out of my own.

  10. Thank you Rayna! I am going to complete it. I just ran out of steam but your feeling about sentiment is right on.

    Wonderful to hear about your new book. I will dig a little deeper for any UFO's that I have overlooked.