How do you define a UFO?

One glorious applique block from a quilt that will never get made...
As you may have noticed, I took the summer off from blogging. Oh, I've kept up with the Modern Monday and Traditional Tuesday, but everything else? Not so much. But now that it's Fall and the kids are back at school I thought I'd get back to regular blogging. Even though I've been quiet, I've still been busy and I have tons to tell you about.

First, I want to tell you about my new book coming out very, very soon! It's called Stories in Stitches, Quilts from the Cass County Quilt Documentation Project. In 2010, I was part of a documentation project in my home town in Missouri. Our mission was to document all the quilts we could gather that were made before 1960 in Cass County, Missouri. Since then, we have documented about 130 quilts from this area - some dating back to the 1850s.

We compiled the best of the quilts into a book - "best" being either a really nice quilt or a great story that goes along with the quilt. If you like quilt history or just like the inspiration that an old quilt can bring, you'll like this book. I'll keep you posted on when it's available.

So what's this have to do with UFOs? In the book, we made 6 new projects based on the old quilts. Our goal was not to recreated the quilts as is, but rather to update them by using contemporary fabrics and techniques. The block above was supposed to be made into a quilt for the book. But as you can see, it's just a solitary block. Poor, lonely thing! I knew it would be an ambitious project when I started it, but I've never shied away from difficult!
I bought all the fabric, prepared ALL the applique shapes and was ready to go!
It wasn't until I had all the applique ready (hundreds of leaves, flowers and stems) that I noticed it - the glue I used to prepare the shapes stained the green fabric. So around the edges of all those wonderful leaves is a dark edge - a sickly looking green. I've never, ever had glue to this to a fabric. I immediately did some experiments to see if it would come out. I made a sample block and rinsed it in plain water - no change. So then I tried soap - and at first it looked like this would take it out, but after it dried, the staining came back. I was devastated! I had no choice but to drop the project and replace with another. I just didn't have time to start over with new fabric.

But in the end, as usually happens in these kinds of situations, I'm very happy with the replacement project. Although it's not an applique masterpiece like I originally wanted, it is a nice, fun quilt. I'll show that to you as soon!

So what is a UFO? Is it a project you'll get back to and finish "someday" (wink, wink) or is it something you'll never finish because of an unforeseen bump in the road? Hard to say some days, but today, it's one that will never get finished.


  1. too bad about that project, especially after all that prep. as for UFO, I'd go for the middle road -- a project that's not finished, but not quite abandoned, with a sliver of hope left it will all turn out.

  2. Yes it is really sad, that this lousy glue has destroyed all your leaves. For me a UfO is a project that has some chance to get finished, but you never know the odds.

  3. Would you mind sharing which glue you used so that we can prevent this from happening? Love your blog!

  4. Oh, no! What a heart-breaker after all that prep work. :( I would have just cried. Agree with the others - a UFO has at least a glimmer of hope of becoming something some day. And hey - that book sounds fun!

  5. I don't think it was necessarily the glue that did it but rather a combination of "that" glue and "that" fabric or just the fabric, maybe. I've never had that happen before or since. Anyhow, I use a variety of glues and I don't honestly remember which one it was!


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