How UFOs are Born

I was talking to a friend the other day. She makes sculpture out of the stuff she finds in her recycle bin. She makes about one piece a year. It was so fascinating to hear about her process and how she gets her ideas. Somehow we got on the topic of process and she said ‘sometimes, you have to put a piece aside and let it be for awhile.’

I froze, mentally, at least.

Have you ever had a moment happen where you think 10 minutes have gone by, but only seconds passed and you are able to pick up thread of the conversation with nobody the wiser that you just checked out? That happened to me at this moment. A movie started playing in my head of all of the UFOs that I had dredged out of the darkness of the fabric closet and finished in the past couple of years.Then the voice inside my head started screaming NOOOOOOOOO!

I pulled myself together and my friend was still happily chattering on about process.

This one comment made me think about how perfectly good projects become UFOs.

You start out happily working on a project. You are excited, love the fabrics and are already imagining it on your bed or wall or being opened by a lucky recipient at the next holiday.

The first blocks are challenging and you feel excited as you see them come together. The more blocks you make the more mundane and rote the sewing becomes. Boring follows close behind. Still, you think about other things, plan your grocery list and cross things off your mental to do list as you push fabric and thread under the needle of your machine. The charm and allure of the project hasn’t dimmed completely.

You are in the home stretch as you begin to piece the border. Then the process all goes horribly wrong. Your math is off. There is an extra inch where you don’t need it and the fabulously pieced border won’t fit.

Suddenly, you feel tired. The excitement of the project is gone and it is just a big pain in the neck.

You wander off, work on something else, add new deadline. A month passes and the project is taking up space on your design wall and you need the space to finish your donation quilt. You take the project off the design wall just for a small rest, put all the parts in a box and put it front and center on a shelf. Months pass and the space on the shelf is needed so into the closet, near the front, the project box goes.

More months pass. The box gets moved to the back of the closet as some rearrange new fabric.

5 YEARS LATER (+12 other completed projects)

A fabri-lanche hits your fabric closet. You decide this is a good time to take inventory and clean out. Everything comes out of the closet and you go through it before you put it back in. You find the project about which you had totally forgotten. The fabric is old looking and no longer interests you. You throw it into the guild charity bag and know that someone will do something gorgeous with it.

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

3 thoughts on “How UFOs are Born”

  1. Oh yes, been there. Starting to recognize that languishing projects tend to be those designed by me, with a “twist”. Charity projects tend to jump ahead in the queue.

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