Thursday, October 5, 2017

My Forever Project

We all know what a UFO is... but a "Forever Project" is a very special sub-category. It is the one that has NOT been tossed into the closet-- you are still actively working on it. But it is so detailed and so labor intensive, it will probably never be finished anyway!

I'd like to be able to say I only have one Forever Project-- but this is just my oldest ongoing quilt. The printed materials have a publish date of 1998. It was called "Out of the Baltimore Box" because there are 3D elements like ruched flowers and stuffed berries. Designed by Dinah Jeffries of Garden City Gateworks, the BOM was heavily promoted by Keepsake Quilting back in the day, when their catalog was half the size it is now-- do you remember it?

I didn't sign up initially, but month after month, my resolve wore out and I signed up. As the mother of toddlers at the time, I had no business starting it, but only dreamed of "me" time. I do remember bringing it to some of their sports activities-- my earliest memories of it are at my son's riding lessons-- the barn had a beautiful space with tables overlooking the ring, and many happy hours were spent stitching there on fall afternoons.

Here is my first effort, soon abandoned-- I don't think this was the first block mailed to me but it was a favorite. I didn't know at the time that Hawaiian Appliqué is hard!! In fact it was my first appliqué at all-- and it was VERY HARD. You'd think that I had read that you should use a contrasting thread and a stitch that was as big as possible. LOL!

Month by month the blocks came in the mail, and eventually they just got thrown in a stack in the corner. Instead of block of the month, it turned into block of the year, biennial block of the year, and then there was a span of years when we lived in San Francisco, that the project never saw daylight at all. After fifteen years, I had about four blocks done.

It took a friend who was making beautiful progress on her Ladies of the Sea, and for my son, now 24, to move out of the house to get things moving again. When I took over my son's room and turned it into my fabulous studio named "Sewvana," I rediscovered the blocks. A few classes by Karen Kay Buckley, Kathy Dunigan, and some Rosa Rojas tools and paper  paved the way. I take it with me when I travel-- it's been poolside in Florida a number of times.

-- and in the last couple of years I have another four... I am pleased to say, the quality of work has (somewhat) improved!

I also picked up speed, so it's conceivable I could finish the last 
four blocks by say, 2020?...

And then you would think I can cross a gorgeous, hand appliquéd Baltimore Album Quilt off my bucket list.... 


I still have the four appliqued borders!!

I hope this encourages you to pull out some long forgotten piece of sewing and move it ahead a bit... it's so worth it. Enjoy all of the memories in every stitch... it's not the destination, but the journey, that counts! I would love to learn what your "Forever Project" is, or maybe you have this kit-- it's easy to write us if you select 

Comment as: "Anonymous" below.



  1. Love it! Can't tell you how many UFO's that I really want to finish are in the pile! That first block of yours looks like it was not one that would have been easy to begin the project. You may discover you'll want to stitch a new block using your since gained skills. MB

  2. I think I will take another look at my UFOs. A real inspiration for me! Thank you!

  3. I have a few UFOS trying to finish a few before year end. I get to do a small quick project in between.

  4. They are gorgeous - I have a box of "album" blocks that I "inherited" several years ago. I worked on a few of them and LOVED them, but, life got in the way and I haven't picked them up in a long time.....Maybe this is the nudge I need to find them and work on them in the evening.

    1. Wow, Dottie--that sounds like something I would like to inherit!! Always remember, finished is better than perfect! XOX

  5. I have a fantastic sewing room and one that has taken over most of my house. I have stockpiled fabric, kits, and patterns like there was no tomorrow. I intended to sew and quilt but, now I have found myself doing charity work and making Quilts of Valor. I sometimes stay so busy working on the quilts that I have little time for myself. They are good causes but, they now run my life, my retirement, and have become my job. I feel like I'm in a pickle. I feel like I need to find 'time for me' and, make quilts for 'my' loved ones.