UnFinished Objects – most of us have them, the bagged or stacked piles of fabric, thread, and patterns that are ghosts of projects-past. They rank a little lower than WIPs (Works in Progress), and they share a common factor: they were inspired by an irresistible idea that dwindled along the way.

– Deanna Davis

Re-generating UFOs takes a little bit of encouragement, and here it is! Take a step through 340+ pages of comments made by the MyQuiltPlace.com’s active, 150-member-strong UFO group for a pathway to project re-commitment.

This comment from Suzanne Montgomery explains the UFO and other project acronyms: “My definition of a UFO is a top that is waiting to be sandwiched and completed. If I have started piecing the top, it is a WIP. If I have just cut the pieces, it is a PIZLB (Project in Zip-Lock Bag). Fabric and/or patterns that are for a specific project are WHIMM (Works Hidden in My Mind). If it is something that I am never going to finish, it is a WOMBAT (Waste of Money, Batting and Time).”

– Viki Hagan

The question tormenting most quilters in the group remains: “Can I give myself permission to chuck it?”

Here’s what Linda A. Stone has to say about that subject:
“There are no hard and fast rules about finishing a thing. Maybe you wanted to try a new technique, or color combination, or whatever. Salvage what you can … or not. In any case, it served its purpose if you learned something.”

Why do those projects remain unfinished?
Some quilters just like to cut fabric. And others never get beyond the picking/buying phase; those beautiful cottons still rest in the bag from the local quilt shop. Can a quilter ever really keep all of those creative ideas in her/his brain? No way! When you go ahead and buy the fabric, the glimmer of the idea remains. Besides, you may never find that perfect fabric again!

What makes us halt a project that seems so “right” at the start? Perhaps WOEWIT (What On Earth Was I Thinking)? But sometimes the project nears completion, and is abandoned before binding. So close, but yet so far.

– Riana Noyes

Try this. Go to your closet/stack/pile of UFOs, close your eyes, and pick one. Don’t stop until it’s finished! The beauty you intended at the start might surprise you when you’re done. Even if it becomes a WIVSP (Work in Very Slow Progress), at least it will have climbed a rung on the “Is it done yet?” ladder.

Need inspiration? See UFO Group Member Beth A. North’s blog HERE about finishing 120 UFOs in the year 2012!

The MQP UFO group overflows with praise for projects completed. The proud finisher often shares the fun with photos! Along with photos of completed projects, you’ll find those less complete, always followed by members’ detailed suggestions of “why not try this?” The worst fate is a TOAD (Trashed Object Abandoned in Disgust), but the group extends plentiful encouragement along the way: The quilt didn’t get done for your child? How cute it will be for your grandchild!

– Danielle Braley-Winkle

Sometimes the UFO group gets distracted. Among the nearly 350 “pages” of group conversation, you’ll see tips on gardening, canning, allergies, dogs, recipes, and those most-loved WIPS, their husbands, children, and grandchildren.

– Deanna Davis

The group recently started a “Row Robin” – I can’t wait to find out if it becomes an FFO – Finally Finished Object, like Deanna’s beautiful Civil War Sampler quilt above!

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thank you for such a fun and delightful read! we do everything you say..and maybe a bit more! the rr starts in january 2014 ..it will be amazing and amazing fun…stay tuned to the UFO Group page!

Kay Rayburn

Loved the UFO article! I believe I have several of each category listed – so nice to know what to call them!

Kelleigh Duncan-Stewart

UFO’s can actually be utilized as a source of income for guilds and other sewing and/or quilting groups when they are packaged with extra fabric, trim, patterns, etc. to make up a “kit” for someone else to (hopefully) finish the project. Use some creativity when you do package the kit, placing the items in attractive baskets, jars, containers of various sizes and shapes, clear buckets or pails, just make it pretty and appealing for the next “shopper!” Be sure to stock up on clear rolls of cellophane in a variety of colors after Christmas, along with attractive tags and note… Read more »

Kelly Zellars

UFOs as donations are is a great idea and my guild is very happy when nicely packaged starter projects are donated— but be sure you include everything listed so the purchaser can complete. These often show up at show and tell with a lot of oohs and ahhs from the guild. It was just a diamond waiting to be finished!