Maker Monday: F-ing My UFOs

This Maker Monday post was originally last week’s Feel-Good Friday–because F-ing my UFOs feels GREAT to me!! If you’re shocked/curious about that vocab, keep reading.

This is my show-and-tell of what I’ve been working on during Covid-19 (so far). Next Monday I’ll be back with some current and newly-finished projects… but for now…

F-ing My UFOs.

If you’re not a crafter you may be thinking I need to watch my language!!

In the crafting world, a UFO is an UnFinished Object. (Sometimes also known as a WIP, a Work In Progress.)

I’ve been dealing with raging tennis elbow in my right arm since early spring. (And no, I don’t play tennis… it’s really knitter’s elbow. 🙄) I pushed through it from after Christmas until late April, and finally realized I needed to stop knitting for awhile and give the arm a chance to heal. So I have not picked up needles since May 1. And the arm is… sort of better?

Not knitting has made me appreciate knitting in a whole new way, especially as an anxiety-reliever. Not knitting during coronavirus lockdown has been terrible timing. But in its absence I have spent a lot of time F-ing–that is, Finishing!!–some non-knitting UFOs. And that feels good.

Whether you’re a crafter or not, I bet you have UFOs. Those items on the “to do” list that you really do intend to finish, even DESIRE to finish, but that never seem to float to the top of the list.

For me, the UFOs have included a clean-out of books and clothes and craft supplies. A website/blog reset. And several “makings” that have been at the bottom of my list, in the back of my mind, and/or hidden deep in the dark underworld of my storage bins.

Cross-Back Apron.

This apron from Tessuti Fabrics (a free pattern) is made from an old Williams-Sonoma tablecloth. I’ve been wanting a cross-back apron for ages, and after looking at several patterns I chose this one for its one-size flexibility and the nice curved edges. I plan to make another with a solid-color linen type fabric eventually; the tablecloth was only supposed to be a “wearable muslin”!

The downside was the need to print and assemble the pattern. If you like the idea of this apron style but want a simpler cutting-out experience (and if you don’t need to adjust for a larger size) Purl Soho has a more squarey design for free. I do love the side pockets on their version!

2013 Block of the Month Quilt.

Yes, I know what year it is.

I started this BotM project when Craftsy was still Craftsy (it’s now Bluprint and in the process of shutting down, but the teacher Laura Nownes has some similar technique tutorials on her own site). I think I made it through April or May of 2013 before I dropped out, but I always intended to get back to it.

In 2018 I found some partially-pieced fabric squares in the craft stuff that came to me after my grandmother died. I put them all together and got this far before putting it all back in the storage box:

Grandma’s pieces are those in the bottom half of the pic.

So seven–and two–years later I finally finished this long-standing UFO! It took a good bit of finagling because my piecing is, let’s say, not entirely precise to begin with. Then I added Grandma’s Basket which didn’t quite fit the intended design specs, and I resewed one original block to set it “en pointe” but then it was off as well.

Finished size is about 52″ square-ish, pre-prairie-points.

If I’m not being too humble, I think my solution was pretty brilliant: I pulled out my stash of vintage embroidered linens, many of which had stains and holes, and cut them into strips to fill in the quilt top. They pair perfectly with the mish-mosh of retro fabrics and bright colors and I couldn’t be happier.

I was working mostly with fat quarters and off-cuts, so I didn’t have large lengths of fabrics for the design’s intended borders. I opted to play up the colorful and vintage vibe (and significantly reduce my stash of small fabric pieces) with a prairie point edging. In spite of the time required at the ironing board, it’s my favorite quilt finish.

Still a bit wonky, but exuberant fabrics (and a strategically-placed button) cover a multitude of sins.

I decided to machine-quilt, since the project is fairly small. Quilting “in the ditch” means the sewing lines aren’t visible, and thankfully my basic machine was able to handle the layers (mostly) without issue.

And while I was at it…

Digging through my fabric box I also uncovered another bunch of fabrics I’d been intending to do something with. With a bit of open-mindedness I was able to piece the patchworked part of this from my odds and ends, and only had to shop for the border and backing.

The very regular square design made this one an ideal candidate for tying with yarn knots.

Pattern is Arkansas Crossroads from Star Quilts II, a collection of blocks published in the Kansas City Star between 1931-1955. It’s a great book if you’re into quilts, vintage, and newspapers; blocks are shown in both their originally-printed versions and updated with instructions for rotary cutting and modern piecing techniques.

And finally, clothes.

For a long time I’ve thought I should learn to sew clothes, because it’s only possible to wear so many sweaters. It’d be nice to be able to make some not-homemade-looking shorts, dresses, skirts to wear WITH sweaters and in the non-sweater seasons. (I’ll leave it to you to distinguish the difference between “homemade-looking” and handmade.)

I’ve finally decided at this point in my life I’m not willing to go through the learning curve it would take to become a truly competent sewist of beautifully handmade pieces, but I love finding straightforward items that are relatively simple, mostly foolproof, and fit reasonably well.

For my skill (and patience) level, I’ve enjoyed Cal Patch’s classes at She starts with taking your own measurements and then creating patterns for wardrobe pieces specifically to fit you.

Several years ago I bought some denim fabrics, imagining that I would make shorts or even pants; this spring I turned a couple of those into basic A-line skirts using Cal’s tutorials. They’re not exactly exciting, but will be super this fall with tights and boots.

Though the overall design is simple, Cal teaches an invisible side zipper, finished waistband, and cutaway pockets. I like these finished-looking details.

My favorite thing was being able to dig into my stash of small pieces for fun pocket linings!

What’s left?

This has been a long post–let’s face it, it was a long spring–and you may imagine that my bins are now empty and my project list fully checked off.

If you’re a knitter, quilter, sewist, or any other kind of maker, you know that’s not how any of this works. There will always be materials and there will always be potential to-dos, but I’m feeling much more content now that I’ve F-ed these UFOs.

And I’m ready to get back to my knitting–literally, and seriously.

Hopefully soon.

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