Friday, August 21, 2015

A really, really, really old UFO!?!

Once upon a time (long, long ago), there was a quiltmaker who decided to make her oldest daughter a scrappy basket quilt.  Her daughter was in high school and so the quiltmaker started the blocks for a double size quilt knowing that she would have several years to make the quilt before her daughter would need such a large quilt.
And then there was this long pause . . . . . . . . . . . . my daughter graduated from high school in 1990. 
Every time I come across these blocks in one of my studio tidy-ups, I think "I love these blocks, I have to finish this quilt".  So this year, I put it on my list of 12 UFO's (there are more than 12 up there) for the APQ Resolution challenge -- and it's number came up for July (yes, I know this is August).
One of the reasons I didn't finish it was that I needed one more block for "the plan".   I know from prior experience that making one more block the same size would be a challenge -- you see, these blocks were made in the days before 1/4" presser feet -- so I've never tried to make one more.
 Now lest you think my daughter is quilt-less, no worries -- she has at least a dozen finished ones!!  And one more large one isn't really necessary.  So to facilitate this finish, I repurposed the blocks and divided them up into 3 sets to make lap size quilt tops for my charity work.
Years ago, I taught "settings" workshops based on Sharyn Craig's terrific book, Setting Solutions.  I go back to her creative ideas frequently and framing all of the blocks to create faux sashing addressed several issues. It's been out of print but is again available currently as an e-book.  You can connect to it HERE.  I recommend it highly!!
I sashed all the blocks, some in a variety of prints and some with the background fabric.  Then I trimmed them to the same size to camouflage the inconsistencies. 
The center blocks have background sashing around them.
The setting triangles were created with 4 triangles from the leftovers I had (wisely) kept with the blocks.  I "sashed" two edges with the same width strips I used for the basket blocks but doubled the width for the outside edge to gain some "float" between the corners of the blocks and the final borders.
The corner triangles presented a bit of a challenge -- there were a couple trial and error stitching and trimming sessions but in the end they work!  In the picture above, the upper left corner blue triangle doesn't quite align with the triangles in the side setting triangle and it bothered me.  The right corner is better and the third try.
As I was contemplating border fabric, I realized that I should tidy up my workwall.  Usually there are several unrelated projects on the wall (so I don't lose track of them?) and as you can see in this picture, that can be distracting.
So I tidied things up to eliminate the distractions. 
I think it will be a good change and make decision making easier!!
I brought one of my portable work walls that I take to workshops up to the studio to use for keeping those few projects "in sight" (and off the work wall) and installed a bulletin board that has been malingering in a corner for keeping track of schedules and notices.
Still one week of tidying to go though I have to admit, I'm currently doing more stitching than tidying.  I must refocus so this weekend, I'll target the messiest areas and strive to be zealous next week!!
There's been lots of comments about the tidying over the past month -- isn't it nice to know we are all in good company!!
Mary Huey


  1. The book sounds really helpful. I confess that I lack creativity when it comes to assembling blocks and tend to simply sew together or sash and then sew. I love this layout.

  2. The baskets have turned into a beautiful quilt! I suggest you go with the green fabric next, it makes a nice contract with the blues. I finished a project of my mother's that she pieced back in the 80's. I added sashing to the blocks then trimmed them up to make a consistent size block. But even now, with a 1/4" foot, my blocks aren't always the correct size. Oh well.
    Whoever receives these charity quilts will be thrilled.

  3. So pretty and a UFO inspiration!

  4. It feels good when we dig out those UFO's and put them to good use. One of the pluses to our madness is waiting long enough makes them 'retro'! I'm glad to see I'm not the only one with multiple projects crowding my design wall, too.

  5. Wow this is a gorgeous setting! Really makes the blocks pop.

  6. I really like your plans here Mary, finally placing those now 'vintage' blocks into quilts. That's a great idea about 'sashing'.

  7. What a nice UFO it is to work on. I like your setting.

  8. I have that book and treasure it. Sharon has really expanded my quilting skills. Love your process post. It gives me hope that I'll get some of those UFOs done, however I only have one from 91. Those are lovely blocks. I can see why you saved them all this time.

  9. Your charity really lucked out with these. These are going to be lovely quilts.