Space (consuming) UFO’s

Latest bed quilt for Katie

I make quilts. Or rather I should say, I make quilt tops. I love the process of finding designs, choosing the fabrics, and drawing the patterns on my Mac. I like to get ideas from quilts I see on line and see how they can be made to my liking. I finish them when I know someone wants one. The rest are stored in a closet for the right moment, or inspiration.

In the quilt world, these are things known as UFOs. UFOs are the quilts you began and then stowed away unfinished with the thought you would get back to them someday. I suppose they could be alien things or maybe they become alien over time. A quilt guild held a contest several years ago between a fellow member and me. Mary had claimed she had more UFOs than I did. Of course, I was sure I had more. We joked about it at many meetings. Finally the program chairman came up with a suggestion. We would have a UFO challenge. Mary and I would unearth our Unfinished Objects and show them to the members. We both hauled in enormous piles of unfinished quilts, much to the surprise of the members of the group. They really didn’t believe we had that many. I think everyone felt better about their stack when they saw how many we had.

One by one we took turns displaying the quilt tops with fellow members holding up the bigger ones, and listening to the comments about the designs. The program chairman kept a tally on the chalk board. We had well over a hundred each, (I am embarrassed to say.) And every time I see Mary, we both admit to still making tops and finishing some once in a while.

We had a speaker once from an organization that provides quilts for injured military people. Catherine told us about the Quilts of Valor program.  I began to think of all these UFOs sitting in my closet. I decided to have my guild members “adopt” a quilt. I took in a stack of the lap size UFOs and people offered to provide the backing,. Several long arm quilters in our group quilted them for free. Batting was provided by some organization. Some were returned to me for the binding. In the end, about 25 went off to veterans somewhere. I felt good about parting with them. They were no longer orphans. They had a home. You can see them at

Our guild makes quilts for at-risk babies at our local hospital. I have assembled blocks lying around the house, blocks that were experiments and had no future, and gave them for the babies. A local shop finishes quilts for Hospice house or the Red Cross, or the Infusion center. I have taken tops to them as well.

You see, I like making quilt tops. I hate finishing them. My kids and grandkids all have quilts. What will I do with what’s left? I have a hard time parting with some. They will remain in my UFO collection until someone says, “Will you finish this one for me?” and I’ll oblige.

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3 Responses to Space (consuming) UFO’s

  1. Donna Smith says:

    I loved looking at your quilts for veterans. The kaleidoscope patches were particularly intriguing! And your color choices were beautiful. I have a stack of quilt blocks I made 28 years ago after my daughter was born. Now she has had her baby boy. Hmmm. I’m supposed to make a quilt for him. The assembling of the tops is the exciting, challenging part. I think I have ADD, because when it comes to finishing…

  2. Linda Baie says:

    Although you have so many, you are generous with them sometimes too! I love the Veteran’s quilt photos. They are so beautiful. I have inherited a number of quilt tops; so now I understand why my relatives had them-UFOs! I have chosen one with a friend’s help and she has finished the quilt so we can donate it to the school auction. Thanks for telling more stories about your quilts!

  3. Tam says:

    All I can say is “Wow!” I never knew UFOs existed, but now I do!!! I envy the passion you have for quilting and the compassion you have for others who will greatly benefit from your talent. And how and when did this love for quilting begin?

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