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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Empress of the UFO

Robbi Joy Ecklow writes a column under the title of "Goddess of the Last Minute" and has a book out under that title ( ). If Robbi is the Goddess of the last minute, then I'm the Empress of the UFO. To those who are unfamiliar with the term, in the quilting world, a UFO is an Un-Finished Object, not a silver disk carrying little green, or bluish grey men.

Maybe I have A.D.D. Maybe I procrastinate. Actually, I don't think I procrastinate, I think that I can complete things more quickly than I really can. I also wear a lot of different hats and it is difficult to juggle all the job descriptions I have. However, that's the age-old dilemma of womankind....particularly the ones who have children and are married.

I have also made a promise to myself this year, and I'm pretty much keeping to it. this pink thing with the blue is a project I started for the Aullwood competition. I sort of like entering these competitions, or challenges, because it really gets me going. Having a deadline is a good thing as well because it then forces you to complete things. The background on this is made of little individually cut pieces of fabric. I fused them to a backing, and then zig-zag stitched on the machine over each and every one of them.

Needless to say, that took a long time. Lots longer than I ever anticipated. So, when the deadline was looming, I could have opted to fuse the wings, and make it one solid piece of fabric. While I am using the same blue on the wings, I wanted the dimensionality that having each feather made individually and appliqued down would give it. Therefore, I decided I would continue to work on it and complete it, with my original vision and attention to detail---doing it right, rather than do it in a hurry and make mistakes or come out with a piece which wasn't up to my standards. I'm tired of not having my technique and finish down right because I'm in a hurry.

This is another piece I've been working on this month. The background fabric is this years challenge fabric from the Batty Binder's Quilt Guild in Troy. I thought we were supposed to have these done last Wednesday, but at the meeting, not a single person showed one, so I guess it's not due until the fall. Again, I could have fused it and it would have been a lot faster, but I'm appliqueing it and I wanted to have it done well.

I use freezer paper on the right side of the fabric, iron it down, then turn the edges under using Roxanne's Basting glue. I then use invisible thread in both bobbin and top thread and edge stitch it down by machine. It really is hand-applique by machine and I learned this method after participating in a Quiltchat "interview" with Beth Ferrar.

I goofed on this as I didn't realize that I had my iron set too high. The freezer paper really stuck itself onto my fabric and now I have to work at getting the small bits of paper which got left behind off of the fabric before I actually start to applique.

My friend Mindy Marik wrote a blog entry entitled "Love to Start Projects."

I think that may be part of my problem too. It is so much fun to start a project...and it takes a lot of discipline to finish them. I have a lot of projects which are close to being finished. This one is a kind of neat thing I started at a retreat. we learned how to make the circles, using Sharon Schamber's technique. I found this great graduated solid (that's the rust, kind of greyed peach an grey-green) with an almost sateen shine to it. I matched it with the black tone-on-tone and went to town.

I free-motion machine quilted in the circles with a variegated metallic thread. I found these great cowrie-shell and bead appliques at the local variety store (yes, they actually have one of those here...the real deal). All I have to do is finish sewing the appliques down, put the binding and hanging pocket in and a label on it, and I'm done.

In all, this is probably about 5 additional hours worth of work. However, I sometimes find it difficult to get my bottom sat down to do such things. I also have a non-driving, social-butterfly of a teenager who thinks up all sorts of things. I also find myself struggling to keep up with my at-home business, the housework, cooking, cleaning, and the garden is taking up a lot of time at this time of year as the weeds are getting the upper hand

Sometimes, I just am not happy with results. I find that this is what happens when I try to kill too many birds with one stone. This UFO I'm trying to figure out if I am ever going to finish, or if I am going to turn it into something else.

Here's how this started. The Miami Valley Quilt Guild had an interesting challenge. They took a cigar box and filled it with a box of 64 Crayola crayons. Each person reached into the box (held above our heads so we couldn't see what we were getting) and we pulled out two crayons. My two colors were brown and yellow. You could add some other colors to it, I think we could add one or two other colors plus neutrals....I don't remember.

I wanted to make a field of black-eyed Susan's on a blue background, and I still think I'll do this. but time was getting closer, and I had signed up to take a class from Shirley Stutz making the "wonder star." I was running out of time, I decided I'd use my yellow and brown in this pattern AND the class, particularly because we had to cut up a bunch of fabric to be ready for the class.

I just wasn't happy with how it was turning out. By trying to make the one piece serve two purposes, the class and the challenge, I took all the fun out of it. I still liked the technique (and Shirley is a wonderful teacher, and her books are great too...if you ever have a chance to take a class from her DO IT!). So.....

When the Batty Binders announced their challenge fabric as the charcoal, cream and blue fabric from the Lady Liberty line by Windham Fabrics, I thought, hey, I'd like to do that with this!
This piece I do like, and I'll finish soon as I can just get the garden cleaned up, the laundry done, and the new cushions made for the patio furniture, oh...and Carlos has a couple more business trips scheduled and . . . .

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