I Cheated on my UFO’s and I’m So HAPPY I’ll Share My Bliss With a Giveaway!

Now I don’t advocate this strategy as the ideal UFO-busting solution—it’s too expensive by a long shot. It’s just that sometimes paying a sewer to finish a quilt top is the most burden-relieving, freeing, liberating, fantastic, wonderful decision a time-crunched quilter can make.

Aaaah, the joy of outsourcing my quilting troubles . . . bliss!

Several posts ago, I faced my UFO demons and decided to prioritize my unfinished quilts. There was a particularly beastly one in the bunch. Naturally, it was my only quilt-to-be that had wedding-present potential for my newly engaged nephew and his fiancé. The problem was that nearly 100 Y-seams separated me from finishing it as a wedding quilt. Yes, I’ll repeat:  ONE-hundred Y-seams!

What possessed me? Ah, that would be Laura Nownes (my dear blogging sister) and one of her Empty Spools workshops. Some time back, I had signed on to make Diamond Jubilee, a popular From Me to You pattern she developed with Diana McClun.

Turns out that all those piles of striped parallelograms I’d cut and sewn madly at the beginning of the workshop also could be arranged into giant sparkly stars. That was merely the beginning; we also added a secondary pattern. By the night of the walkabout, when the students and teachers visit all the classrooms, I had a stellar queen-sized quilt pinned to a clashing bright orange sheet. Utter madness!

A constellation of stars pinned into submission.

Once home, the project overwhelmed me; in fact, my scary star quilt didn’t even make my UFO list until the engagement was announced earlier this year. Could I? Noh-uh! Not with a job, a family, a blog, and piles of other things. Then, I wondered:  what about outsourcing?  Could I afford to subsidize a Y-seam extravaganza? Could I even find a willing sewer?

Things were grim after two refusals, but then I encountered an intrepid novice quilter with a mentor to guide her. Okay . . . luckiest break ever:  I scored Diana McClun’s protégée Ashleigh Jones. Not only was Ashleigh willing to take on such a daunting chore, she had the pattern’s co-designer for expert input.

I scrimped and saved so I could pay my tab when the quilt was finished. The result? The best quilt-outsourcing decision ever:  Ashleigh did a fantastic job (better even than I could have managed). The edges of the quilt were perfectly aligned plus, and probably the hardest part of the sewing task, the quilt top lay flat—not a poof in that galaxy of stars.  And as for the newlyweds?  Looks like I scored there as well.  Phew!

A neon image of "Starz-a-palooza" . . . an epic and insane quilt! Yes, I outsourced the machine quilting (ala Deb McPartland). Hey, I did the binding though--a very fashion-forward faced variation with striped corner triangles.
The fabulous fabrics for the quilt's backing, binding, and setting triangles.

Guess what?  Laura’s giving me five patterns for a giveaway this week. Here’s your winning strategy for this drawing:  leave a comment describing a crazy thing you’ve done to finish a project. I’ll draw 5 random names from those brave enough to tell a tale. You’ve got a week to spill the beans (that’s Friday, November 4) and I’ll announce the winners on my next scheduled post, Friday, November 11.  Specify your pattern choice:  Diamond Jubilee, Diamond Jubilee II, (neither has Y-seams) or Tumbling Stars (the Y-seam variation) in your comment.


16 thoughts on “I Cheated on my UFO’s and I’m So HAPPY I’ll Share My Bliss With a Giveaway!

  1. Diamond Jubilee

    I attended Linda Ballard Mystery retreat and only got four blocks done due to a wrist injury. I put off finishing the quilt and decided to make a wall hanging out of it. I never got around to quilting it and the thrifty side of me said that I had purchased many yards of fabric for this quilt so I unsewed the wall hanging and started sewing on it again. It took me seven years and seven months but I finally finished it. It is the largest and prettiest quilt I have ever made. I am so glad I finally finished it and have it on my bed.


    1. Hello Darlene,

      Excellent tale of persistence, especially with such a wonderful ending because you get to enjoy your handiwork. Fingers crossed for the drawing!



  2. Great post! sometimes you just have to be rid of those guilt-inducing UFOs.

    If I’m the winner, I’d go for Diamond Jubilee I

    Thanks, Joanna


  3. Craziest thing, spent 23 hours of a weekend retreat doing nothing but cutting tiny triangles and diamons. The Quilt is still a work-in-progress, but it WILL get done, and probably only because I forced myself to do the cutting while at a retreat instead of at home…


    1. Yes, you’ll finish it Doris and and it’ll be beautiful when you’re done. Quilt making and childbirth have a quality in common: selective amnesia. You forget all the work when you see the finished quilt/newborn.



  4. When I first started quilting, my mom wanted me to make her a Texas Star wall hanging. She had the pattern and everything. I quickly found out that I’m a better appliquer than piecer! My star was a little “off” and the setting pieces just weren’t going to fit so I appliqued the entire star onto a piece of fabric. Voila! It looked fine that way! I never would have gotten it to look good if I’d tried it with the setting pieces!


    1. Isn’t that the truth! It’s what I love about quilt making–many different ways to get to the same destination, Cathy. Fingers crossed for the drawing!



  5. What I do with unquilted finished projects is to show them to my mom. Then if a year or two goes by and they aren’t quilted, she says “Why don’t you let me finish up that nice quilt?” Of course I say yes. I’d love to win your Diamond Jubilee pattern. Thanks. Kathie L in Allentown


    1. Hey Kathy L.,

      Aren’t you a lucky woman to have a “finisher” for a mother. I think I’m really jealous–can you adopt me temporarily? I’ve got these half-dozen quilts . . .



  6. I must be weird…….because I don’t like having UFO’s lying around…yes, I think I am weird. So I don’t have a crazy story to share because I finish my quilt projects…but would love the Diamond Jubilee pattern. Thank you! I love your blog.


    1. Okay Connie, you’re not weird, you’re fabulous. I used to have a quilting rule about not starting another project until I finished the prior one, but I think I lost it the batik and Westminster fabric aisles at the quilt store. Perhaps your discipline will be rewarded with a Laura Nownes pattern–gotta wait and see. Good luck!



  7. Diamond Jubilee

    I had joined a block group. There were 12 of us and we were each to make 12 blocks from a fabric group and then trade. well, I had never done this before and wanted to try. Being the procrastinator than I am, and the mother of a wonderful, helpful daughter (3 great kids, really, but this one, I roped in ;D) had to rush to finish my ambitious 38 piece blocks.
    Sara and I set up stations in the basement and for the two days prior to ‘due date’ I cut, she ironed and I stitched (between school and life) and she pressed. those blocks got done, whew! It was a funny sight to behold and i appreciate her so much. It has been at least 3 years and I still don’t have all the blocks sewn together. wonder when I can get another marathon going. 😀


    1. Madame Carol, you too have scored with a willing helper. What a treasure! Does she like the blocks enough to sew them together? Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. Here’s hoping you win a pattern.



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