A UFO Plan

As of the writing of this post, there are 32 folks, including myself, who have listed their UFOs.  There’s still time to join in if anyone else is interested.

Now that they’re listed, do you have a plan for how to get them from the UFO List to the Completed List?  Thoughts have been running through my head all day.

  • Finish two UFOs before starting a new project
  • Work on one thing . . start to finish . . don’t put it away til it’s done.

I don’t have an answer.  The one thing I know for sure is that quilting is my hobby . . not my job.  I want to enjoy it.  If ever it gets to be no fun, that’s when I’ll walk away from lots of UFOs and lots of unused fabric.  I’ve been thinking of the aspects of quilting that I love the most and for me, this is the order:

  1. Putting together blocks in EQ to come up with the design.
  2. Pulling the fabric that makes the design shine.
  3. Making a few blocks to see how it’s going to look . . if it’s going to look like I think it will.

That’s where the real fun ends.  Then I’m ready to design something else, pull more fabric, make a few blocks and the cycle continues.

All I need is a little self-discipline.  To say I’m not going to start a new project til two UFOs are finished is setting myself up for failure. I’m going to try to do better but I’m still going to do fun.  When it gets to be torture . . well, I’m stopping before it gets to that point.

Do you have a plan for finishing up some of your UFOs?  Care to share it . . either in a comment or a link to your blog post?


  1. 1


    I look at my UFO parade at the beginning of the month. I take into account my family schedule and pick the projects I feel like working on. The ultimate goal for me is to finish 20 projects from this list this year. When I start new projects this year, I am finishing them before I put them away. So far, it is working fairly well for me.

  2. 2


    Three years ago, I decided to dedicate the entire year to finishing UFO’s. This included quilting, knitting and crocheting. It worked! At the current time, I only have one UFO and will not start another project until it gets the attention it deserves.

  3. 3

    Jo Anne says

    One thing that I do especially when finishing a UFO is to cut the binding, put in a zip lock bag, put a hole in the baggie near the zip and slip it over the coat hanger that I hang my quilt on until I quilt it. The binding never gets lost and I never use up fabric that was meant for binding.

    • 3.1

      Becky R in IL says

      I do that to. In fact I actually sew the binding, press it in half and roll it on a toilet paper roll. Then I attach the roll to the hanger

      • Jill Tanking says

        very so often I come across a civil war binding all rolled up and ready to put on a Civil War quilt I did in a class. Well, when I was ready to do the binding this rolled up binding could not be found. So made a different one. Every time I see that quilt I wish I had the original binding on it. Maybe some day. Might put that in my UFO jar.

  4. 4

    Jill Tanking says

    Years ago I wrote the names of each of my UFO’s on separate slips of paper. Put them in a decorative jar. Draw one out at the first of the month. That was my project for the month. If I finished it then would draw another slip of paper to finish the month. If I did not finish it at the end of the month then would draw another one out for the next month. Then put the unfinished back on the jar. I did really good that year. Now have more UFO’s to do. This time if the project is not finished at the end of the month will put it in a different jar. I got this idea from a quilters book from Kansas.

  5. 5

    Jill Tanking says

    Years ago I listed all my ufo’s on separate slips of paper. Put them in a decorative jar. At the first of the month draw out one slip. That was my UFO for that month. If I finished it before the end of the month then would draw another one. If it was not f

  6. 6

    Jill Tanking says

    Sorry the duplicate. My dog likes to lay on my lap and computer and she posted No. 5.

  7. 7

    lynne quinsland says

    since moving in march, i was atleast able to gather up all of the sewing stuff and have it be sortof centrally located now. i have found ALOT of UFOs. only a few are how i would like them to be–nearly finished and all parts stored together. then, there are the ones that i sortof know what i was doing, but boy howdy, where are the directions or the rest of the fabric??!! hmmm…..there are so many bits and pieces of stuff that i can certainly open a parts department and design lots of scrappy quilts from those. all of those bits and blocks are not fun for me to look through yet because they require too much work in thoughts. i am still sorting, and sorting and sorting….i have been finishing more quilts than ever and that thrill of finishing quilts is getting my mojo going for getting those UFOs worked on. and the need to have the clutter gone is overwhelming to me and so satisfying to have it being tamed by finishing the quilts. all a cycle that is not vicious for once LOL

  8. 8

    shirley bruner says

    my plan is….this year i will finish all those bits and pieces in boxes. they will all become quilt tops. THEN….once those are all pieced….then i will quilt everything up. by that point, i will have about 130 quilt tops in the cabinet to be quilted. i figure one a week….for 2 years…and they will all be finished. it could go faster. most will be pantos or quick all overs. then there will be a huge sale or a huge give-away. but by the end of 2015 there should be no UFOs in my studio. then i can start all over again…. hahahahahahahaha

  9. 9


    I do believe we each enjoy a part more than others when quilting. Mine is piecing. My plan to keep after those ufos is to have them where I can see them. I’ve placed them on a shelf near eye level whereby I can easily grab one and work on it for 15 -20 minutes or more each day in the hopes that I will get them farther along. So far it has worked.

  10. 10


    I still need to finish taking photos of all my UFO’s so I can link up. It’s either been blindingly bright or snowing outside. Blah.

    I will link up my thoughts on this topic later. Like you, setting a goal of finishing two before starting a new one never works for long.

  11. 11


    I’m prioritizing by how close to finished something is. But, I’m not worried about whether I finish them all this year, or ever. I’ll do what’s fun, and donate what isn’t somewhere else. I think it’s fair to make what one needs to in order learn or discover what one wants to and then say, “Okay, I’m done.” =) I’m with you – when it isn’t fun, I’m done.

  12. 12

    Mel Meister says

    I’ve lost all my mojo. I just don’t care right now and I can’t figure out why. Part of it is that I don’t have anyone to quilt the tops, but that doesn’t account for the smaller items that I can quilt myself. I just don’t feel like sewing. I’ve been doing more sock knitting.

  13. 13


    This is the year I decided to really work on UFOs and thus far, it’s been working. I’ve finished 6 and 3 are at the quilter’s. I’m taking another today and making backs for another so progress is happening. However, with the arrival of spring, I am currently in a no sewing zone. Still, no new projects have been started although I feel myself weakening. I have EQ and am feeling the urge to draft a quilt that caught my eye. Now I just need to play with it and figure out how it works.

  14. 14


    I’ve always been pretty good about finishing tops I started, so all my UFOs are tops that need quilting. So, I promised myself in January that for every top I finish, I’ll quilt 2 before starting a new top. Hasn’t worked 100%, but my UFO numbers are down a bit, and I have managed at a minimum to quilt 1 top for every finished top (although not always the same one 🙂

  15. 15


    HUMMM I have 3 UFO’s in progress, One I just bought sashing for bc the fabric I had bought wasn;t enough (10 yrs ago when I bought it I had no idea what I would be making w it.) I have a finished quilt that needs borders, trying to piece it like you suggested yesterday,, that’s frustrating but so is the wavey edges. and 5 more that are basicly the same pattern, but put together differently, a few of those may change as the are only in the IDEA stage.
    I work on what’s due, graduation quilt, Wedding quilt,etc. and what I want to do. some days’ I just want to piece.

  16. 16

    Leslie Graham says

    I am going to select a UFO and use it as a “Leader ender” project. An idea adapted from Bonnie Hunter.
    My UFOs are all class projects. There is immense satisfation in finishing one!
    If my Guild didn’t have a quilt show every two years I would’nt ever finish anything!

  17. 17

    Mary in VA says

    Most of my UFO’s are waiting for quilting. I now have a longarm quilter that is doing my quilting. When I pick one up, I drop one off. I have no deadlines on when she gets them done so this is working out fairly well. While she is working on the one quilt, I find or make the backing for the next one. I also have small pieces in my tote bag that goes everywhere with me. Just making the list was the hardest part of this! I kept finding things that needed to be finished – CW garments, quilts, and other projects. My next project – Aprons for the hens to protect them from the rooster.

  18. 18


    2013 is all about UFOs for me… I’ve joined several challenges to help keep me motivated. My goal is to average a finish a week and so far I”m ahead of schedule with 24 finishes. I have 55 to go… my plan is that I get to start a new quilt after 10 finishes and I can start one small project a month but I have to finish it before I can start another one. I want to be free of them and I figure it is worth a year of focus to get them done!

    Most of mine are lap size or smaller and the majority are tops for Project Linus. I’ve learned to enjoy walking foot quilting and hope to soon be practicing FMQ on them.

  19. 19

    Penny Holliday says

    I don’t have a blog but in my mind I was joining your group to become accountable & finsih my UFO’s this yr. When I sorted all my UFO’s to piles I “discovered” that not only do I have too many UFO’s ~ actually more than I thot but I have some that I probably will never finish. For various reasons including I took a class or two from a teacher I admired or I wanted to try her technique or I saw a technique in mag or book that I wanted to try or a couple were kits I started but for one the reciept is graduating from hi school & quilt is not appropriate now. I really don’t like some of the quilts I started not even enough to funish as a donation/ charity quilt. I discussed this with a quilting buddy & she happily took one of my UFO projects that she liked. Then we discussed that perhaps I could donate the others to the charity quilts chairmen of our quilt guild because they have requested “orphan blocks” I will still have many UFO’s to finish but am going to try and include a UFO “finish” after each a new inspiring project.~ yes, I still take classes especially from well known quilters that I know won’t return to area for several years. Does any one else have UFO’s that they probably won’t be inspired to finish and what have others decided to do with these UFO’s?

    • 19.1

      Jill Tanking says

      I plan on Sunday getting my UFO’s out and listed. Am dealing with moving my mother from a small bedroom at an assisted living place to one of their one bedroom places. I am going to work on an applique called Pumpkin Pie and also work on my UFO’s. Like someone said work on something new and something old. We had one of our very nice quilt friends in our local guild pass away in her sleep several weeks ago. Her sister is going to have a garage sale of all of her quilting projects and things and use the money to help the two grown children. Like I need another project but this is for charity. I keep telling myself. This lady has used colors I like. So I know I will be in trouble at the sale.

  20. 20

    Jo Anne says

    When I organized my stash I came across a lot of UFOs. Some these I knew I would finish others I was long past liking anymore. So I kept what I thought that I would reasonably finish and the others I did one of two things. One, I gave the UFO to someone who was gaga over it and would finish it and two, I threw the fabric in my stash and threw away what I had started. It is very cleansing!!!!!.

  21. 21


    I linked back to my UFO Parade page since I also outlined my plan. I guess it’s working – of course it’s only been what 4 days – since I’ve made significant progress on my Black and Bright top, and got caught up on my ABC BOM. I’m going to have to find something else to take to the UFO work day – perhaps my Twas the Night Before Christmas QAL that I’m 2 1/2 months behind on (I’m making two of them and I’m supposed to be leading so I need to get one for next month done!)

  22. 22

    pdudgeon says

    some things i’ve done that helped me get thru my UFO’s:
    1. stopped where i was, called it a ‘lap robe’ and donated it .
    2. sorted and worked on my UFO’s by the season of the year. If it was a Christmas UFO i would work on it in November or Dec., not mid Summer when it was 90 degrees outside.
    3. Checked my progress frequently by laying the blocks out, draping the top over the bed i was making it for, etc.
    4. Played games by changing up the piecing process. If i had been making whole blocks then i switched to sewing all of one part of the block or vice versa. Do anything to prevent boredom and repetition from seting in!
    5. challenge myself to make a set number of segments/blocks each sewing session, and reward myself if i meet my quota.
    6. Do my prep work the night before so that everything is ready to go when i’m ready to sit down and sew.
    7. set the stereo full blast with peppy music, and charge ahead!
    8. ALWAYS leave some time after you sew to admire your work/production, and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

  23. 24

    Shauna says

    Well I have found listing anything helps me know what I have and let me cross things off my list when they are done. Which always feels good. I agree that setting a specific number of UFO have to be complete before starting a new project will most likely end in failure. So instead how about a setting a goal of XX number of UFO’s completed by the end of the year. I know right now I’m working only on tops because I’m getting a long arm this summer, but my goal is to have everything for each quilt ready (top, backing and binding) and put together in a plastic bag. Most of my UFO’s are not started, so my goal for 2013 is to do at least 1 top per month and it is April and I hope to finish my 4th one next week.

    The important thing is to have fun, because you’re right if it becomes work then you’ll avoid it.

  24. 25


    I didn’t make a list because that just makes me feel overwhelmed and give up. What I have done instead of imposing some sort of rules on myself is I pull out a UFO from wherever it has been hiding, and keep it front and center, Then I alternate that one UFO with whatever new shiny bright project I might be thrilled about at the moment. As each old UFO is done I pull another out to be the “currrent” one to work on. THis way I don’t even have to think about however many would be on the huge list if I had made one, just worry about the one.

    • 25.1


      Also, I wanted to add that many times when I choose that one UFO< I get a renewed interest in it. If thinking about finishing it just makes me go ugh, then maybe it just needs to be ripped out or donated.

  25. 26

    patti says

    i belong to a ufo group. loose rules, but we choose 6 projects a year which gives us 2 months to work on it. a number is randomly chosen, and we begin. we set our own idea of what “done” means. it might be to finish the top, or have it quilted and bound. it is not the only project we work on during that time, but it is something to focus on and meet the deadline. we are on our third year and most of us have met our goal each month —- sometimes life does get in the way. we meet every month for help, inspiration, and socializing.