Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday UFOs: The Next Generation

Quilters' busy lives just kick into full gear this time of year.
So with all the shopping, planning, mailing, traveling (etc!), of course I figured this would be the perfect time to finish up some UFOs.
Not my own, but ones from my mother. She passed away seven years ago, and it's time now to let go of a lot of her things that I've held on to. SO...these are not just UFOs, they are second generation UFOs!

This is the one I finished today. It's not too bad in the picture, but I am here to tell you The Really Awful Truth About Other People's UFOs:
There is usually a good reason they were not finished! 
Could be that time ran out, but more often it is that the piecing was not going well and there are just too many "boo-boos" to ignore.

Mom's holiday UFOs were not her best work, and she was a casual sort of machine quilter (but did lovely handwork), so I decided to keep right in that vein of things and not treat these table runners and quick projects as overly precious. The point was to get them done and given away!
I started at the guild's retreat in November, and worked my way through most of the small pieces.
Today's project was this Karen Combs class piece. Oh, was obvious why it had not been turned into anything but a big block with a crooked border!
I persevered, especially with my "don't obsess, just sew" attitude and chose to do an all-machine binding.
Here's how:
 Make a binding and sew it on, mitering the corners as usual but sew in on the back!
After that, I went all around folding the binding up (to the outside) and creasing it.
Then I turned the quilt over to the right side and started wrapping the binding to the front, top stitching as I went.
 The white thread there is from sewing the binding on the back side. The idea is to make the folded edge of the binding cover up that stitching.
I matched the thread to the binding fabric, and sewed very close to the folded edge. But whenever you are topstitching, you can always consider using a contrasting thread...maybe gold?..and possibly a fancy stitch pattern!.
To complete the mitered corners, stop sewing when you reach the binding seam (the white thread here). Backstitch, trim the threads, turn the quilt and fold the next side's binding in place. Start sewing at the corner. 
When you get back around to where you started, finish the ends with the method you like.
 Here we are on the back of the quilt, and the white stitching is the bobbin thread from sewing down the binding on the front. Yes, it shows...this is a utility style of binding, but it's quick, gets the job done, is really sturdy, and most people are not going to care about the back. It doesn't look too bad (but it will NOT win you any points at a judged quilt show!).

As I say, it's important to know what quilt you are making: An heirloom? A show entry? A utility quilt? Something just for fun? etc etc! Each one requires a different level of time and skill.
I still have a few more of Mom's UFOs to complete. Some of them are bound to be heirlooms for family members. Those will take longer.
But the fun ones she would have made quickly to give away...those I will do in the same way she would have done them!


Pat said...

What a loving tribute to your mom, Sunnie! Your relatives will be pleased to receive these gifts. I like your idea of "just jump in and finish it." I'm going to have to complete some UFOs -- I need the room!

Julie Fukuda said...

And here I am trying not to leave UFOs for my kids to deal with!

Sunnie said...

Thanks, Pat & Judy...
Right after I did this post, I received a UFO quilt top from somebody else's Mom! It's beautiful, and definitely worth finishing.
But it does lead one to wonder about WHO gets the UFOs when we are gone! If there isn't a quilter in the family, some unsuspecting quilter(s) will get that load!
Actually, I have a pact with my friends to come clean out my studio if I "pre-decease" them.