Sewing Room Housekeeping

My sewing room is always pretty much a disaster and probably always will be.  When Shirley was here to try out my Millennium, she asked me how many quilt tops I have waiting to be quilted.  I didn’t have a clue.  Seriously, I didn’t know if I have 5 or 10 or 20 . . I just don’t know.

A funny or weird thing is that I don’t use the longarm often (don’t mention that to Vince, please, or he’ll start his debate with me again about why I needed a new one).  The last top I quilted was Nicole’s big quilt and that was the last week in February.  But with it gone, it’s like I miss it . . I keep wanting to load a quilt and get it quilted and I kinda feel obsessed about all the quilts not quilted so yesterday I decided to match up backings and get bindings done for all my tops that need quilting.  Some just need to be quilted and bound and donated.  Some are for us to keep or for gifts but I’m going to make a real effort to get these tops quilted and finished.

Pink Top

When doing the quilts for the books, I often did them at least twice to make sure I had the directions correct.  This is one from the first book, Nine Patch Extravaganza.  The top is 6 or 7 years old . . time to get it quilted.  Unless someone in my family claims it, I’ll probably send it to my friends in Houma, LA to donate to the children’s home there.

This is what I chose for the backing.

Pink Backing

Believe it or not, there was still enough of the brown dotted fabric to make the binding.

Next was a top I worked on when we were in the rental here so it isn’t very old.  It’s from the indigo challenge.  It will probably also go to the Houma, LA ladies for the children’s home they support.

Indigo Top

The backing for this one was already pieced and the binding was already made.

Indigo Top & Backing

Next is the Texas quilt I made for Vince.  This is just like the one I made for the United Way auction at 3M.

Vince’s Texas Top

In my stash was the perfect backing for this quilt.

Texas backing

Sometimes with these “perfect” backing fabrics, I have to just hurry up and do it before I talk myself out of it.  I kept thinking about tops I could make with this fabric instead of “wasting” it for a backing.  There was plenty to piece it and make the whole backing using this fabric but I decided to use a brown tone on tone (kinda like Texas dirt!), so I could save part of the Texas fabric.

I’ll get the binding made for this one today.  The pieces are cut and just need sewing together.

Texas Top, Backing & Binding

The last package I put together yesterday was for my Road to Round Rock quilt.

Road to Round Rock Top, Backing & Binding

The backing for this one was another one I had to make myself use.  It’s probably something I bought for a Stack & Whack and I liked it a lot but I don’t need another S&W so I added some of the green with squiggly lines from the top to make the backing large enough, made the binding and now . . all I need is a longarm!  🙂

That’s four “packages” that I got ready yesterday.  If I can get four more done today, I’ll have a better understanding of how many tops I have here to quilt.

Do you have tops sitting around that need quilting?  Or do you have quilts sitting around that need binding?  Why do we do that?

How many tops do you have waiting to be quilted?  How many quilts do you have waiting to be bound?



  1. 1

    Micki clemens says

    I have 6 or 7, just waiting Got an Avante 18 in Nov. and did some practice work, then Christmas intervened and I stopped! Just started again this month. I find getting together fabric to finish a quilt is time intensive. Having to find, cut, sew together for binding and often backing. It’s not my favorite. Good luck in getting it all done……

  2. 2


    I never used to have tops sitting around waiting to be quilted. I’d finish a top, then set aside time to quilt it. Because I used the same machine and didn’t want to keep changing the settings, once I started quilting a top, I finished it before starting anything else. Then, I bought a long arm. Now, I have 8 tops in a pile waiting to be quilted, since June. What happened to me?

    I kind of know – when I decided to buy the machine, I started saving tops rather than struggle with them on my domestic machine. And now, it’s so easy to load a top, do some quilting, and then hop over and put together a new top. I’m trying really hard to finish at least one on the long arm for every new one – and even better would be to finish 2 for each new one. Then I might catch up one day 🙂

    • 2.1


      Pretty funny! I’m betting when you got your longarm, you thought you’d never have another top waiting to be quilted! 🙂

  3. 3

    Meloney says

    I’m fairly good about quilting tops when they are done and I’m really good about binding. I sit so much waiting on the family that having a quilt with me to bind is heaven! Right now, the 2 tops that need quilting I want to learn to hand quilt. I don’t have a teacher, and I’m not very good at this by myself. I did buy a CRAFTSY class to try and there are good ideas, I just need to make myself sit down and do it. My problem is UFOs that are not in the top stage. I’m working on them, and trying to get things accomplished rather than start lots of new things.

  4. 4


    Judy, I thought when you moved, you counted about 100 quilts either made or ready to go (approximately). When I moved, I discovered treasures I had totally forgotten so I’m slowly getting them ready to go–backing, binding etc. Some I like, some I don’t, but they’ll be finished If it wasn’t a forced clean out, many would have been forgotten forever I’m afraid.

    • 4.1


      I don’t think so. I’ll be surprised if I have more than 10 or 12 needing quilting. I have many that are just cut and have a few blocks sewn but I’m guessing not more than 15 or 20 of those but . . I could be wrong.

  5. 5

    Sharon Eshlaman says

    I have 12 quilts with backings neatly hung from hangers in my closet ready to be shipped to a longarm quilter. I said I’d never let it pile up like that again. When I retired 4 years ago I had 26 tops waiting to be quilted. It sure doesn’t take long for things to get out of hand. For me, making the top is the best part – picking out the pattern and fabri – so much fun!

  6. 6

    Mary in VA says

    I have 11 quilt tops that need to be done, most of which will be going to a longarm quilter over the next year. I have 3 tops I’m doing by hand, and 2 tops that I’m going to try machine quilting myself since they are small enough . I don’t have any that need binding, I usually get them bound as soon as they get quilted because I’m excited they’re done.

  7. 7


    I don’t really want to talk about this. 😉 Lets just say I have been more of a top maker than a quilter lately. But you’ve inspired me to clear off my quilting table and get busy!
    Your new Millie is going to be dancing!

  8. 8

    shirley bruner says

    You better sit down…..i have 48 tops in the to-be-quilted cabinet. in my defense, my goal this year is to finish all the UFOs in boxes in my studio….currently at 98 boxes. sigh!! (by finished, i mean to get them to the to-be-quilted phase). so, i don’t know what is worse, the pile ready to be quilted or the pile waiting to be finished. i spent yesterday making scrappy bindings and have enough to bind about 20 quilts. i’m trying to get everything to the finished phase. but once the snow goes away and gardening starts that will be hard. but it keeps me off the streets. LOL

  9. 9

    Bett says

    I took inventory this past weekend and have 17 ready to be quilted, plus finished quilting one Sunday (finished the binding last night) and put another one on the frame. I have been trying to finish UFO’s since January. Any quilt that is to be given away, I finish, but if they are for me, I seem to put off finishing the top……this year is my “finishing year” for my quilts!

  10. 10


    Do you really want to know the answer to that question? Unfortunately/fortunately I can tell you precisely because I’ve got a spreadsheet that I started when I started blogging tracking my stash for the Stash Reports. 36 – although 5 of them are in the process of being quilted – some since 2005! Some have backings prepared, some have bindings made, some both. Others have backing fabric set aside with the top.
    So why aren’t they quilted? Vision, skills, money & time.. Vision as in what to use for the quilting. Skills – I know how I want the top quilted, but my skills aren’t there yet. Money & Time are somewhat inter-related. I haven’t saved enough to buy my own longarm, so I’m renting time at a local shop. So then it’s finding a time that works for both me and the shop and at the same time have the first two issues resolved. The good news is that once I get a quilt quilted, I don’t let it sit around long to get it bound, so I don’t have any waiting for binding.

    • 10.1


      The good news is that you know how many you have and it sounds like you’re doing your best to get them done. I, on the other hand, don’t have a clue how many I have, nor do I have an excuse for not having them quilted.

  11. 11

    Angela says

    I have 27 tops of my own and 48 of my mothers. Yikes, I may need a 12 step program. I have only increased my number of tops waiting to be quilted by 2 since I bought my Millie. But they are not the same 25 tops. At some point I am going to take a vacation from quilting for customers and do some of mine. I am hoping my new Quilt Path will help me be able to clear out some of the closet.

  12. 12

    pdudgeon says

    ah yes, something near and dear to my heart–unfinished quilts! At the end of last year i sat down and counted my quilt inventory, and came up with the following numbers:
    finished bed quits: 25
    quilts to bind: 0 (and this is the middle of football season, for heaven’s sake! i feel lost if i’m not binding a quilt while watching the football games.)
    tops to be quilted: 30 (yikes!)
    planned quilts to be made: 52 (double yikes!)

    in my defense i was without a quilter for almost a year and a half, during which time i kept on making quilts. i know that i have to get my backlog numbers down to a reasonable range, so i’ve started doing that this month by sending my new quilter 3 quilt tops each month until i’m able to catch up on my backlog of quilts.
    to say that my quilter and the ladies at the quilt shop were bowled over by the sudden influx of quilts tops (“Pam, do you EVER sleep?) would be an understatement, but bringing the tops in to the shop was a joyous occasion for everyone.

  13. 14

    WyoPat says

    Yikes–I think I get the prize (which is probably being sentenced to bread & water in the quilting studio) for the most quilt tops awaiting a session on the longarm!! I currently have 87 tops ready for quilting–with backing and binding made for all. When I got my first longarm, I thought I would never again have tops stacked in a LongarmUFO pile. Unfortunately, there is always a new pattern/quilt that I see–and the siren call says “make me, make me!” Probably the only thing that can be said in my favor is that the QOVs always get quilted nearly as soon as they are pieced. OK, new resolution: I will put one on the longarm as soon as I get the taxes done!! (And then I will have a new problem–where to put all those quilts which will take more room once quilted! Last time we moved I donated a bunch of quilts and afghans for different causes.)

  14. 15

    Kathleen says

    Thanks to most of you for making me feel better. I don’t like to quilt a top and can’t afford to send them out to be quilted. What’s a girl to do?

  15. 16

    lynne quinsland says

    i thought too that when i got my long arm that i would quickly wipe out my pile of quilts waiting to be quilted. doesnt seem to be the case though. i probably have close to 20 that are needing attention. my downfall is getting the backing and batting prepared. and, like pam, i am waiting for skills to develop to do some of the tops. however, those skills are not going to develop unless i get on my machine more often. i am doing better at getting a quilt quilted once it is made though, but still falling down on the binding process. that is because we moved the beginning of the month though and all of my binding time has been spent in unpacking boxes and setting up the house still…..for many of the quilt tops, i am comfortable with them not becoming a quilt yet. they served their purpose in the process of creating, and are content to sit on the shelf as flimsies. i like those ones, they don’t give me any pressure. and, now they still serve their purpose by sitting cutely on the shelf so that i can still admire them and my work.

  16. 17

    Kathy Wilson says

    Mornin’ Judy.! I have 4 tops that are ready to be quilted. I quilt on a domestic machine and have trouble getting up the enthusiasm to struggle with the quilting part of the process Love to piece them though!!!’

  17. 18


    Shamefully, I only like making the tops so I have 20 or more tops just sitting on a shelf waiting for someone to love them.. I do donate a couple a year but I make way more during those times……sigh, I really need to give them homes.

  18. 19

    Julianne says

    I have 8 tops of my own waiting to be quilted and one to be bound. I quilt for others that is why I have my own in waiting.. Client quilts come first.. 4 of those in waiting.

  19. 20

    Cindy Kuipers says

    I have 6 quilts ready to be quilted. another one that needs the backing and binding put together and another one that needs borders, backing and binding readied. I finally got smart and started making the backings and bindings to go with them as soon as the tops were completed. Makes it so much easier to get started on the quilting. Seems like my tops pile up, but don’t get quilted too quickly.

  20. 22

    Becky says

    I gots lots of topsstashed as they say… Never had enoufgh cash to have them quilted so now I am learning how to stuff 10 lbs of s#@%t in a 5 pould bag so to speak as I quilt them on my table top machine.
    Once I get them quilted …binding is an easy and enjoyable last step

  21. 23

    kimpaventy says

    I have four waiting to get quilted and five that I need to finish building. I love to bind a quilt and call it done so once they are quilted I jump in and get the binding done .

  22. 24

    Laura says

    Sorry, I’m going to go against the grain here. I struggle with accurate cutting and piecing. So, once I get a top done, it gets quilted immediately. I do love the whole process, but the most fun parts for me are quilting and binding.

  23. 25

    Sharon Judkins says

    Sad to say, I have close to 30. I just counted them not to long ago. I have to send mine out to a Long Armer to be quilted and with some major financial issues we have had in the last two years, I just haven’t been able to afford it. I buy very little fabric and work almost completely from stash. Some of mine and some from my mother when she passed away. My goal for this year is to try and get one quilted a month. We will see.

  24. 26

    Sue says

    I feel so much better! I have been keeping a spreadsheet to organize my UFO’s and planned projects. The idea is to not “lose” them. Of course, each time I organize my sewing room, I uncover a few that aren’t recorded. I currently have 5 quilted ready for bindings (one of those is bound, just waiting for the final handwork). I have 33 tops done (oh dear, I didn’t realize it was so many), ready to be quilted. At least 10 need backings. I have a 3 year old LA that I just use for me (and still very much a novice), so there’s no excuse! Except that I love to piece. I also have 52 started but unfinished tops. And several (many?) projects that haven’t been started. This was my retirement plan (I call it my 401-Q), buy when I could afford and have plenty to do when retired. I thought I was the only one with so many projects. So comforting to know I have company!!

  25. 27


    I have 4 quilts waiting to be quilted. Soon there will be 2 more as I finish my guild’s BOM challenge quilts. It is unusual for me to have so many waiting in the wings, but this has been an unusual winter!

  26. 28


    Like you, I’m not exactly sure how many to-be-quilted flimsies I have. I think there are about 15. I have always finished my quilts on my home sewing machine and I was pretty good about getting them done. But I’ve been campaigning for a long arm for about two years now. And in an effort to convince my hubby that I “NEED” a long arm, I’ve been making tops and setting them in a pile. So far, this system isn’t working very well! 😉 So I’m going to have to figure out some other way to convince him.

  27. 29

    laceflower says

    Ladies, ladies, what do you do with all these quilts; once they are done of course?

    • 29.1

      pdudgeon says

      LOL, change the bedding often, of course! and donate them to various causes. i love sleeping under a quilt so much that i don’t ever want to sleep under a regular bed spread any more.

  28. 30

    Denise ~ justquiltin says

    Oh no – you don’t expect me to count all the tops in the 3 or four storage tubs of them and what’s hanginig in the closet. I know you can smoosh a lot of tops in those tubs but ignorance is bliss. 🙂

  29. 31


    I’ve only been quilting for 4 years. Well, actually, I’ve only just started the actual ‘quilting’. I have sent my tops out for quilting, but now I have the bug and have started quilting the baby quilts. I have a long way to go, but you’ve got to start somewhere, and I love learning new things.
    SO, to answer you question, I have 7 tops that need quilting. Yesterday it was 8 though! 🙂 And 5 are already at the quilter’s. I started the year with 19 UFO’s (I think) and I’ve finished 7 so I’m pretty happy with that.

  30. 32


    I think when you quilt for hire, you tend to not finish your own. I probably have close to 100 tops that need quilting and 20 that need binding. Don’t get me started how many quilts just need to be seen up or borders put on!

  31. 33


    I am a hand quilter so it takes me a lot longer to quilt a quilt. I have at least 12 of various sizes ready to be quilted. None needing binding, since I enjoy doing that and it is done as soon as the quilt is finished. I have at least 8-10 that are in the process of being pieced and probably that many that just have fabric pulled and the pattern in a bin ready to make a top. I average about 4 quilts a year completed and usually several mini quilts. Fun topic.

  32. 34

    Linda says

    I have at least 8 (notice the “at least”!!) waiting to be quilted and that’s not counting the ones at the long armers! I usually get the binding on them when they come home, just can’t afford to send them all out and I am a horrible machine quilter (I know practise, practise, practise…I’m still not good!)

  33. 35

    Helen Koenig1 says

    I have something like 21 (or more) tops to be quilted. INCLUDING my gift to my son and his bride. Problem is – I don’t have a long arm, and my skills at FMQ are definitely not at the point where I would feel comfortable giving that. I DO use the walking foot – and am trying to get all the things I have designated for the walking foot DONE by the end of next month – plus some of the little, not as critical, will keep at home anyway, items that I’m practicing FMQ on (this means son and dil’s quilt will be put off ANOTHER month! Maybe.)

  34. 36

    Rosalie says

    I have about 6 tops that need to be quilted. When I saw the pink top you have, I thought it would be great for your granddtr in a few years! I know she will get plenty of quilts thru the years, but it just spoke to me “granddaughter”!!

  35. 37


    My UFO parade at the first of the year told the story. Over 80 quilts waiting to be completed. These are the ones that I had mostly or completely done. I didn’t put backing with some of the older ones which will cause me big issues. You inspired me to have the parade a few years ago when you pulled out your unfinishes and took pictures. Somehow those picture have motivated me.

  36. 38

    Debi says

    I have two really big quilts awaiting quilting – I don’t quilt them myself and am waiting for the backing to arrive for one – and for me to piece backing for the other. I have probably 3 or 4 little quilts awaitng quilting – I can probably do those myself – now that I have a large cutting table to pin them on. I have three awaiting binding – one needs binding made, the other two need hand sewing – it’s still too hot here to have them on your lap (unless you have the aircon on!)

  37. 39

    EagleKnits says

    I’m fairly new at quilting. I have one quilt completely finished, one that I need to finish hand sewing the binding (I hate hand sewing!), and two tops in progress. I’d like to try one of the quilt-as-you-go techniques, but no one in my quilting group has tried it, and I don’t yet have the confidence to strike out on my own with it.

  38. 40

    cindy says

    i have, and expect to always have, quilts in every stage from in my mind to waiting to be quilted. I quilt for my own enjoyment and generally work on whatever i feel like working on at the time. While there are some quilts that are made for specific people and events, quilting to a deadline — even self imposed — can quickly become just another onerous task to be completed and i don’t want my sanity saver to become such. While i do occasionally get to the point that i feel like i have to get some things completed so they can be moved out for other things, if that became a way of life in my quilting, i would probably give it up completely. I do know that i currently have 6 quilts in various stages that i really want to get done. unfortunately, life has been happening fast and furiously around here and my time is not generally my own right now, but i will find the time to get these done because the recipients are important to me. the other quilts in progress around here are my “experiments” at which i play to relieve stress and fulfill my emotional need to play with color and design. these go to my chosen charity whenever they eventually get completed but cause no guilt due to their lack of completeness.

  39. 41


    Ugh. I don’t want to know how many tops I have that need quilting! I know I have at least 3 large boxes packed with flimsies. Better Half thought he’d be helpful and unpack some boxes recently, opened one flimsy box and said, “Don’t you think you should sell these or something? You’re never gonna finish ’em.” NO I don’t need to sell them and YES I will too finish them. Someday. Really! I have to have *something* to do when I retire … right? On a positive note, I have one quilt with binding to be tacked down; otherwise, if it’s quilted it’s bound. 🙂

  40. 42


    I only have one top that’s finished. I’m thinking about piecing part of the backing with some leftover HSTs, so that’s why it isn’t quilted yet. Three quilted tops need binding. I don’t even want to guess how many PhDs are “almost” finished tops, or how many PIGS are ready to be started.

  41. 43

    Mel Meister says

    I probably have, at least, 10 quilts to be quilted. Problem is, I can’t do them myself. The woman who was doing my quilting closed her business and I’m having a hard time finding someone else at a price even close to what I was paying before.

    I have one quilt to bind. I am able to bind myself, but I can’t stand up to quilt due to being disabled. I can’t put a quilt sandwich together either.

    To tell you the truth, I don’t even feel much like quilting right now as it doesn’t do me any good to make a top that can’t be quilted.

  42. 44


    Oh I feel SO MUCH Better having read all the replies to your question. I too share many of the same sentiments as others. I have about 11 tops ready for quilting, if and when my customer quilts are finished. I thought my UFO list was terrible (over 50), but now I see I’m in very good company. This has encouraged me to get more of my quilts finished before starting new ones.

  43. 45


    When I sold my longarm, I had 25 that needed quilting – never quilted a single one of my own in 10 years! That summer after I retired, I had all 25 quilted. =)

  44. 46


    Quilts needing quilting—hmmm—15? Quilts needing binding–6. Tops needing borders–20?? I don’t like to do borders The binding I’m saving for when I’m living in the camper during the summer–its a perfect take along project–I love to hand sew the bindings. Loved reading everyone’s comments!

  45. 47

    Mary says

    My sister is the longarm quilter and she is on her second A1. At present she has 20 or 21 of mine to quilt. At one time I had over 50 tops needing quilting and I really have no idea how many others I have made that have been quilted in the mean time. I no longer make bed sized quilts if I can help it. Some of them were donated to Quilts of Valor and quilted by others. some were donated to our guilds community service project and were quilted by another person. Next time I am at my sister’s I am going to review what she has because I have decided there are a few others that need to be donated to places where other longarmers donate their services. My sister does donate her time to Quilts of Valor but the ones I’m thinking about aren’t suitable for that cause. Now you know my dark secret.

  46. 48

    Anita says

    I have several quilt tops to be quilted, once that is done I immediately bind it. Three things hold me up, 1) how to quilt it. 2) what fabric to use for you do I really want to use that as backing or in a quilt?… 3) whether or not I have batting on hand. When all 3 come together I move quickly…sometimes the aligning of the 3 takes years!

  47. 49


    6 tops waiting to be quilted. That’s really good for me. That means I’m finishing tops. Ask me how many tops I have just waiting for borders? Too many. I love starting but get to the borders and a wall appears. I’m working on it though.

  48. 51


    I have 23 tops waiting to be quilted since it’s my least favorite part of quilting. I have none waiting to be bound because I love doing the binding while I watch TV.

  49. 52

    Lydia Quiroz says

    I was wondering if you do speaking engagements? I am the First VP for the Gulf Coast Quilting Guild. I am looking for speaker for 2014. Weren’t the 1st Thursday of every month.
    I would like to speak to you about speaking at the Quild. Please call me at 281-620-6704.

    Lydia Quiroz

    • 52.1


      Lydia, thanks for asking but no, I gave up traveling and teaching several years ago. I’m needed at home these days.