New Life for Your UFOs with Re-imagined Quilt Designs

It's a new year: have you made any fiber art-related resolutions?

One of my goals for 2012 is to completeor repurposeat least one UFO (unfinished object) in my stash, and I'll bet that might be on your list, too.

chameleon quilt design
Can you find the peppers in this chameleon
by Jane Haworth?

We all have projects that have been abandoned for one reason or another. Maybe you took up crazy quilting years ago and then found you were more interested in contemporary geometric quilt designs. Or perhaps you started a large machine-stitched cotton quilt and then discovered you preferred making small wall hangings with silk and hand-quilting designs.

Oftenand this is true for meyou just get stuck in the quilt design stage. The colors aren't working, or the quilt motifs no longer interest you, or your carefully planned flower quilt now looks like floating amoebas. And you have no idea how to fix it.

So you guiltily stash the offending object in a drawer, a bag, or at the bottom of the project pilepromising you'll come back and finishing it . . . someday.

It would be much easier to follow through on that promise if you had a fiber fairy godmother to come by, look at your unfinished project with new eyes, and magically transform it into a quilt design that works well, wouldn't it? 

Well, that's sort of what happened to some lucky, and brave, "Quilting Arts TV" viewers who sent in their UFOs to be reimagined and completed by another viewer.

The results of some of these transformations are revealed in the "Save My UFO!" segments in Series 900 of "QATV." And, I must say, the makeovers are amazing.

pepper quilt design
The original unfinished pepper quilt design by Rebecca Segura.

For example, Rebecca Lily Segura sent in her unfinished piece featuring peppers as the central quilt motif. She placed the grouping off-center in anticipation of adding more to the design, but once she had the peppers in place she didn't know quite what to do next.

Rebecca offered up her UFO for experimentation, giving the next quilter carte blanche in reimagining the design.

Jane H. Haworth took Rebecca at her word. She repurposed the peppers as the head of a chameleon, using fabric she had recently hand dyed to finish the design with raw-edge collage appliqué.  Jane completed the quilt with a border that brought in the colors of the lizard with fabric and thread.

What a transformation!

I'm looking forward to taking out some of my own UFOs this year and looking at them with new eyes to see how I might rethink the quilt designs. I could reimagine the images, apply surface design techniques to refocus the quilt design, or even cut up the UFO and piece it back together in a new way.

There are lots of ideas for rescuing UFOs in "QATV" Series 900, now available on DVD.  And if you'd like to get advice on your own UFO, upload a picture of it to our Save My UFO! gallery.

P.S. When you have a quilt design that needs help, what tricks do you use to see it with "new eyes"? Tell me your tips in the comments section below.

Other topics you may enjoy:


Quilt Designs, Quilting Daily Blog

2 thoughts on “New Life for Your UFOs with Re-imagined Quilt Designs

  1. When I get stuck I get together 4 pieces of light and dark solid color fabric at least 6″ wide by however long the design piece is and I frame it off in light and then in dark, back up and walk away for a while and then start looking at it from as many distances and angles as I need to,varying lighting helps sometimes too. Something never fails to jump out and make itself seen!

  2. Will there be any post/project info released for the Quilting Arts 900 series uploaded on the site? I watched the first episode of the 900 series here in Chicago and I was searching for project info in regards to this new series.

    P.S. The first episode was great!