Written by Laura Chaney, daughter
We all have those projects. The ones that seemed like a really good idea at the time, but after that initial burst of “New Project Energy” they’ve been languishing in a bag at the bottom of your closet. While there might be some that you want finish, there are probably more that you won’t. To help you figure that out, here are seven signs that it might be time to surrender on that UFO.
Seven Signs It’s Time to Move On from a UFO
A project we’ve had this problem with: hand sewing pieced blocks.
2. You knew that you didn’t like a certain technique, but you loved the final look of a project so much you decided to give it just one more try. You might actually discover several of these projects, sometimes all with the same technique.
A project we’ve had this problem with: machine applique. As much as we love the finished look, it’s just not a technique either of us currently enjoy.
3. You started a project years ago, and now your style and tastes have changed. These might be the ones that feel the most cringeworthy, as you realize that you didn’t quite have the eye for design you thought you did in your 20s. Maybe you went through a “pastel period,” but now you’ve digging bright Kona solids.
A project we’ve had this problem with: any project where the fabric was pulled together over five years ago.
4. A project that you felt pressured into starting. Examples might include that baby blanket you started sewing for you coworker two jobs ago, or the matching placemats your mother in law asked for three Christmases ago. Your heart may have been in the right place when you started the project, but now it’s time to put it aside and move on. Give yourself permission to surrender on these projects. If you’re having a hard time emotionally letting go, try repurposing them into smaller project that you could finish quickly, or give them to a charity organization that could use them.
A project we’ve had this problem with: a wallhanging for an online Christmas swap partner–from 7 years ago.
5. A project that matched your previous home, but doesn’t jive with the decor in your new place. These are the projects that you started on when you were wandering through the fabric store and were suddenly overcome by the need to make new curtains with a valence for your kitchen. You never finished (or maybe even started) the project, and now you’ve moved into a new home where the curtains just won’t work. Repurpose the fabric if you can, but don’t put any more time into a project that no longer matches your life.
A project that we’ve had this problem with: A set of owl curtains for my old house in Indiana.
6. A project from class you took that was cool, but you’re not going to finish the whole project. Some of these projects might be salvageable to turn into a smaller project. Treat the individual blocks you finished like orphan blocks and focus on what you can do only with the parts you’ve already completed. If you have enough orphan blocks, can you combine them all together in a fun way to make an orphan quilt? Don’t try to finish these projects if they no longer hold you attention, but move onto the next thing.
A project that we’ve had this problem with: A paper piecing quilt from a class at the AQS Paducah Show.
7. The project makes you sad. This category is another tough one in terms of emotional attachment, as these tend to be projects that you were happy to start, and then that thing called “life” happened and now it just reminds you of sad times. Don’t let these projects become energy vampires. If a project makes you sad, politely ask it to move along.
A project we’ve had this problem with: Snoopy, Charlie Brown and other Peanuts fabric that I collected to make a quilt for my now-ex-husband.
UFO Buster Challenge Assignment
Take another look at the projects in your “keep” pile. Do any of them fall into one of these seven categories? Evaluate each project while keeping these seven points in mind to see if any of them might really belong in the donate or surrender piles. It might be hard, but be as brutally honest as you can be so that your final “keep” pile really and truly only has projects that you WANT to finish.
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