Why Do Quilters Have UFO’S
If you’re like me, or most other quilters, you probably have at least one or two (or several dozen) UFO’s lying around. (For anyone who doesn’t quilt, UFO’s are what quilters call unfinished quilting projects). Why do I have all these projects laying around unfinished? Is it a lack of motivation? Laziness? Or just simply a lack of time? I’ve come to the conclusion it’s none of the above. OK, maybe the lack of time one, but mostly I think it is because we, as quilters, are highly creative people. How does that translate into not getting your projects done you ask? It’s simple, we get bored. Halfway through the project all those fascinating new techniques, patterns and fabrics are now old hat, and I want to move onto something new and different. It’s not that I have a particularly short attention span (although some days mine seems shorter than others). Instead, I’m always wanting to move on to the next exciting project that will challenge me in new and creative ways. The problem is that I get to the point where I really need to finish something (especially customer quilts) before I can start on something new. This makes it hard to accomplish anything. I want to work on the new stuff, but I have to finish the old before I can start. I get to the point where there are so many unfinished projects; I just don’t know where to begin. This has been particularly difficult for me lately. I went to Quilt Market in November, and came back with several new and really exciting opportunities, but before I can really start on them, I need to finish up my current obligations. It’s not like I don’t have time, although I never have as much as I want, it’s more that I lack the motivation to do the “old, boring” stuff first, when what I really want is to jump right in with both feet and start the new. I have this same problem when I start a new exercise program. It’s fun and exciting for the first week or two, and then it starts to get monotonous.
So how do I get motivated to get those old UFO’s finished and still get to have fun with the new stuff. First, I make myself a deal. For every customer quilt or other previously started project I finish, I get two hours to work on something new. Second, I try to change things up. When working out, this might mean running outside instead of on the treadmill, or one week running M/W/F and the next T/Th/S. This may not seem like much, but changing up the routine even a little can make it seem less monotonous and help to make it more challenging and interesting. For quilts, I like to take an old unfinished project and add a new technique to it. Maybe put some applique on top of the piecing or strip piece what was supposed to be a plain old border. But the best way to get motivated is both the easiest and the hardest thing to do; just start. I know it’s easier to sit on the couch and think I’ll start tomorrow, or I’ll start after the holidays when it slows down, but the truth is there is always going to be something making life busy and interesting. The only way to get those projects done, eat healthier, or start exercising is just to make yourself get up and do it.
So turn off the computer, get up off the couch, and go work on something. Who knows you might find yourself remembering why you chose the project in the first place. At the very least, you will have one less UFO, and a reason to start a new project. In fact, that’s what I’m going to go do right now. Happy Quilting
PS You can follow along with this weeks exercise plan by going to “Tips and Tricks” weekly workouts.