UFO Challenge 2011

Many online groups/guilds, as well as real life guilds have UFO Challenges each year.  If you’re participating in one of those and wish to do this one too, feel free to deviate from the “rules” here and make it work for you.  Really, there are no “rules” but the whole purpose is to end 2011 with less UFOs.

Here’s how this one will work.

  1. Dig out the UFOs!  Look under beds, in drawers, in the freezer . . wherever you store hide them.
  2. Don’t overload yourself or set yourself up for failure.  Be realistic!
  3. Number the UFOs you want to finish in 2011.  Number them 1 – 12.  Each month I will draw a number and the UFO that corresponds to that number is the one we will finish in 2011.
  4. If you have way more than 12 and think you can finish two per month, or even just two some months, number those 1 and 1-A and those will be the ones you work on when I pull the number “1”.
  5. If you have a blog, make a blog entry with your UFOs.  Photos of the projects are always nice!
  6. Make your blog entry any day you like but I will have a link box up on Friday, December 17.  You can add your link any time between then and January 1.  If you don’t have a blog, you can still play along.  Make your list, pin it to the wall and leave a comment here about your progress each month.
  7. I will add a link on the sidebar for the UFO project.
  8. On the first of each month, I will draw a new number and will add a link box for you to post your progress on the previous month’s project.

This sounds harder than it is.  For now, all you need to do is dig out those UFOs, and make a list.

As far as definitions, use your own judgment.  Whatever works for you is good for me.  We’re not going to get bogged down here with “rules” and there are no UFO Challenge Police on the payroll at Patchwork Times!  Here are some loose definitions!

UFO – Anything you’ve started and not finished.  Can be something that needs just binding, or it could be something that you’ve only cut out and haven’t even started sewing yet.

Completed Project – For me, it will mean quilted, bound and ready to be given away or used!  For others, it may mean the top is finished and ready to go to the quilter as funds are available.  Totally up to you!


  1. 2

    Toni in TN says

    This sounds like so much fun. I like the idea of never knowing which number will come up. I counted UFO’s and PIG’s a few months back and was horrified at the number, 73!!!!!! I’m now down to 65. Go me!!!! So count me in.

  2. 3


    Great minds think alike! I made a list last week of my UFO’s. I have exactly 12….but I am not sure I can finish one a month. I do a lot of hand quilting and never know how it will go. If I can join and go with the intent of finishing one a month….but if I can’t make it I don’t want to be odd man out. Let me know! This might just be the incentive I am looking for!

  3. 4


    I’ve done this before with a small group of quilters. The fun part is not only getting a project done but the anticipation of which project is next. 🙂 Also picking which 12 (or how ever many) out of all your UFOs that you want on your list.

    I completed all 12 of my projects that year. I can’t wait to make my list.

  4. 6

    Sarah B says

    How do I list UFOs that I tried but don’t like? I have a lot of onesies that will never become quilts. For instance, I started an applique quilt and did 3 blocks before I decided to do it as a redline instead. What do I do with the blocks? They aren’t very good quality (hence the change!) but I cringe at the thought of throwing them away. Then there’s the cathedral window blocks that are about 2 years in the making and I only have 2 blocks… actually, those would make great potholders! Hum, maybe as I list my UFOs they will trigger ideas on what to do with the onesies. Lastly, should I count the patterns and fabrics I have already all selected to start but I haven’t actually cut anything yet?

    • 6.1

      Liz says

      I have a box of “orphan blocks” of ones I don’t like any more or just extras from playing. Eventually, they will be made into an “orphan” quilt or used up as part of a back, journal cover, pillow, wallhanging or whatever. They can also be made up into small quilts to practice machine quilting and binding.

    • 6.2


      Sarah think about making a sampler with all the orphan blocks you have or maybe table runners as well as those potholders. Whatever gets them done in some way is good.

      Good luck!

    • 6.3


      If you want your orphan blocks to be in a quilt try Sharyn Craig’s book Setting Solutions. She has a great chapter on orphan blocks, with examples.

  5. 7


    Ha — yes, I have ***a few*** UFOs, more than two dozen from my B-a-D project alone, plus others! I’d sure like to whittle them down. I’ll plan to play along here. (And also with your “monochromatic of the month” challenge! Looking forward to the first color for that one.)

  6. 9


    Judy, I love the way you give latitude for rule interpretation! I’m totally up for this and will definitely have 1-12….now I’ll have to decide if I’m up for 1A-12A, he he he……

  7. 11

    Perry says

    I am going to “attempt” to do this. I have so many it is hard to remember them all so this might just help. I am also I just might faint if I realize how many I have, jut running through them in my head makes me dizzy. As usual, you inspire all of us to “do better”. Oh, for having as much energy and being as quick as I was even 20 years ago. There is some truth to the axiom “youth is wasted on the young”, lol.

  8. 12

    Karen Langseth says

    This will be cool……I’m going to choose all my unquilted tops that have been waiting, some for years to get quilted….I need to get these done once and for all. But now I’ll have to go shopping for backings so they will be already when there number is called.

  9. 13

    Becky I. says

    Well, Judy, I just cleaned out my sewing room for real. I boxed everything up ready to move it out, along with the rest of the house. I set aside about 6 or 7 UFO’s to keep for something to do when there is nothing else to do during our house remodel, before I can bring it all back into the house and put it in it’s new permanent place. I said that to say this, I’m ready for your UFO challenge. I don’t have a blog to post to but I will keep you posted as to what I get finished. Thanks for the challenge!

  10. 15


    well, I found 3 UFO’s But then I sat down to make a lsit of stuff for 2011.. and the fabrics I have set aside for GoodDeeds is calling to me louder than the UFO’s. I tend to pull a pile/group of fabrics that have a theme, country stuff, pink green stuff, 60’s stuff, solids then make small tops till the pile is gone. Ive got 6 good sized groups lined up. That should fill up 2011 nicely for me.
    Ill be watching all the UFO blogs.

  11. 16


    This sounds very interesting and I may decide to join as I do have a few UFOs. As soon as I sort through projects, I’ll post how many I have.


  12. 17


    I think it’s a great idea…..I’ve been finding lots of unfinished projects as I have been rearranging my sewing space. My word for the new year is focus, so this will fit in nicely. 🙂

    • 18.1

      Kathy C says

      Wish I could learn to preview my posts better.
      I meant I don’t have a BLOG.
      Will be joining you in the Challenge.

  13. 19

    Barb in FL/MI says

    This will be a great challenge… I’m in FL for the winter and had cut a bunch of ‘kits’ to put together while I’m here. Most are small enough to quilt on my DSM, so I should be able to finish several. Yea!

  14. 20


    Okay, I’m in; but I’ll have to renegotiate the rules since I’m traveling the first three months of the year in our RV. I’ll only have a couple of projects with me and limited space and time. I think I’ll put down which month I expect to finish my UFO’s rather than doing the number you draw. I’m working on a big quilt with lots of embroidery, and so I’ll plan for that to be finished by December. The rest I’ll figure out by Friday. I’m glad we’re doing this. I do well with deadlines.

  15. 21


    Judy, this will be my third year of working on ufos and I’ve done 22 total. I’m not going to make a list of them as that would take too long cuz I have way over 12. So what I’m gonna do is label all the boxes and drawers I have with numbers 1-12 and pick a ufo from them when you call out a number.

    I read this on someone’s blog, but I have found what kind of quilter I am and it’s: serial project starter – LOL.

    Looking forward to this!

  16. 23

    Lydia says

    I’m in. I don’t have a blog at the moment, but I’ve been planning to start one — maybe I’ll do that sooner rather than later, so I can have somewhere to post my progress 😉

    I’m not sure if I’m going to do the numbering thing, or just decide on what order I’d like to finish things in. Either way, I have plenty to keep me busy all year!

  17. 24

    Darlene S says

    Judy, I’m in for the UFO’s. I have an Excel spread sheet with my UFO’s listed from 2000 to the present. My numbers filled 4 pages with 50 on a page. I’m happy to say that I’m down to 1 page (with just 2 pencilled in at the bottom). My goal was always to finished at least 12 a year. Trouble was, I usually started more than I finished or added new ones to the list that did get finished. My rules will be to finished one per month, but I’m not sure about the order yet. It would be more fun to let you pick them. Thanks for helping us clean up our studios and use are stash. Dar in MO

  18. 25

    Renea says

    I need this challenge. I am really wanting to finish up projects and this may just be the trick to get them done. I do not have a blog but would like to join. After Christmas I will start getting everything together and numbered. Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement!

  19. 26

    lynne says

    I am in — thisd will give me some additional focus

    1 – cotton theory, asian chocolate
    2 – Blue and white squares quilt
    3 Holly hobby quilt
    4 santa tiles
    5 layer cake quilt
    6 Raggedy Anne Quilt
    7 House wall hanging
    8 Accuquilt sample quilt
    9 Santa sacks
    10 o snowy night quilt

    Will there be a flickr site so we can see what everyone finished ? thanks Judy for doing this – I love the sense of community I get from your blog

  20. 28

    Joanne H says

    I did this with a group a couple of years ago and it was a great motivator. First set of decisions involved what to put on the list. I have so many UFO’s that in itself will be a challenge. I don’t have a blog to report with but am happy to join the challenge. Thanks Judy. Joanne H

  21. 30

    sharon spingler says

    Sounds good to me. Good way to force me into finishing some of the many UFO’s I have stashed here and there.

  22. 33

    Carol Radcliffe says

    Judy, I have followed your site for over a yr. now and often wondered how you do the things you do? I didn’t even understand the counting of the yardage etc. But I do understand UFO’s and count me in!!! For the first time, I am doing something on-line! I do not have a blog but I know how to upload pictures!!! Can’t wait to be a part of this! Thank you!

  23. 35


    I so need to join in! I started cleaning out closets yesterday, and found UFO’s that were started 10 years ago! Oh my! Motivate me! I am really good at starting projects, just get too many going at once!

    • 35.1

      Kathy N says

      I think most of us have things from quite some time ago-those are the things I tend to make into charity quilts or donate the blocks to a group that makes quilts to donate. My taste is so very different than it was even 5 years ago.

  24. 36

    Mel Meister says

    I am in, I have my list made but do not have a blog. I will post photos to my flickr account as I finish the projects.

  25. 37


    I’m definitely in – this challenge works well with my goals for 2011. I want to “shop” more in my stash and using those fabrics to finish UFOs will accomplish a lot! I’m on my way upstairs to make my list right now.

  26. 39

    Mel Meister says

    I guess I need to post my list since I don’t have a blog. Wow, this is kind of scary! LOL! Posting the list makes it a “commitment”!

    1. Two purple table runners
    1a. borders on black and grey and rose Yellow Brick Road quilt
    1b. The two flower pincushions
    1c. Make 2nd Authentic pillowcase
    2. Bali rope purse
    2a. Ruffled surger purse
    3. Beach huts quilt top
    3a. Stack and Whack quilt top
    4. Knotty basket
    4a Charm school pinwheel quilt top – August 29, 2009
    5. scrap therapy bag
    5a. Charm School – Charmed Star top
    6. Wildflower quilt top
    7. Flower block of the month top – (2007)
    8. Bind Wicked Quilt
    8a.Bind Harvest Home quilt
    8b. Tea dyed quilt in the hoop wall hanging
    9. Lady Madonna top
    9a. Hush-a-bye quilt – Fall 2009
    10. Mary Englebreight quilt top (1st one with 9 patch blocks that is partially done)
    10a. Aqua and dark linen embroidered table runner
    11. patriotic Eagle embroidery strip club quilt top
    11a. Hanging Gardens Strip quilt top
    12. Flourishes embroidery table runner/quilt finish
    12a Borders on amish quilt top
    12b quilt & bind Aqua Sticks and Stones

    • 39.1

      Kathy N says

      It is scary to put your ufo’s down on paper but I think it helps if nothing else to see what you really want to finish and what you may choose to donate or give away unfinished.
      But your list would scare me-way more than 12 on it. Good luck.

  27. 41


    Okay, I’m in! This will be my first time playing along and I’m really looking forward to working on my UFO’s. I am a fairly new quilter, so I don’t have 12 yet, but close and I do have lots of other sewing projects that I’d like to work on this year, so I’m hoping that they will count. 😉

    • 41.1

      Kathy N says

      Oh we all remember the days when we didn’t have any or few ufo’s-what happened I wonder???LOL

  28. 42

    Karen says

    I need to update my barely started blog, and will do that as I get photos of my projects in the next couple of days. In the meantime, I’d like to add my list here. I have most of my UFO’s on another group challenge, so I won’t list them again here. Instead I have a box of panels that I intend to use for quilts, so I’m going to list those and try to get a bunch done by the end of the year. I like this challenge, I know it will help me get things done, as I won’t have to choose which one to do – it will be decided for me. I think that will be fun. Here’s my list:

    1. Winter Fairy
    2. Spring Fairy
    3. Summer Fair
    4. Autumn Fairy
    5. Snowy Cottage
    6. eagle panel
    7. deer panel
    8. dolphin tri-panel
    9. snowman panel
    10. santa panel
    11. nativity panel
    12. Old World Santa panel

    I wonder which one I’ll get to start on first?

  29. 43


    OOps! Forgot to leave my blog site with my list. I’m going to take photos of my panels and put them on my blog and I can post when I make some progress.

  30. 44

    Cindy B says


    I have lots of UFO’s ….where shall I begin…..
    1. BOM be attitudes #1
    2. BOM be attitudes #2
    3. Christmas quilt snowballs
    4. ROB birthday quilt
    5.2007 BOM GASP!!!
    6.siggy quilt
    7. baby quilt donate
    8. baby quilt donate
    9. baby quilt donate
    10. Child quilt donate
    11. Child quilt donate
    12. Child quilt donate

  31. 46

    Kathy N says

    I don’t blog but will certainly try my hand at getting some of my ufo’s finished. I am working most of the weekend and my sewing area has been taken over my college age children but come Monday I should be able to pull them out. I do always feel terrible guilty when I list my ufo’s-I have no right to buy another piece of fabric for a long,long time.

  32. 47

    Just J says

    I don’t have a blog yet, but love the idea of finishing some of my UFO’s. I should be able to list them this weekend.

  33. 48


    WIPs – my 12 (+) for 2011

    * 01a. Baby quilt #1 finish – cross hatch?
    * 01b. Baby quilt #2 finish – cross hatch?
    * 02. Mystery quilt (was hanging – I’m turning into a quilt) – top finish
    * 02a. Sampler blocks,- send
    * 03. Baby quilt #3 finish – cross hatch?
    * 04. 1 lap robes – stars and stripes – for q for c – tie
    * 05. Wendy’s Q of V – tie? or cross hatch
    * 06. Nathan’s quilt – top finish
    * 07. Apple Cider Quilt (aka Sweet and Sassy) for W – top finish – send to W
    * 08a. Carpenter star for K – top finish – send to W
    * 08b. Double Duty – sew it together and send to Wendy
    * 09. Stars and stripes kaleidoscope – sew together – C – send Wendy?
    * 10. Underground Railroad – top finish
    * 11. Block in a block from charm swap
    * 12. Christmas Ribbons
    * There are more quilts – a LOT more