4/25/17

Quilt Quitter

Setting aside a project for over three years can bring perspective. After all my tough talk about the Pony Express quilt yesterday, I'm admitting defeat. As I've mentioned many times on this blog, I first saw this quilt made up in a magazine, and I fell in love with it. Then I bought the pattern. It turned out to be made from some newfangled technique that required a specialty ruler. And as soon as you read those words "specialty ruler," you know this quilt is nothing but bad news. And even with the ruler, I couldn't figure it out. So I've been doing my own thing and adapting the pattern. I was two blocks into it when I put it on the back burner.

Fast forward to yesterday, and I'm ready to have another go at it. The third block in the series is called "Ft. Laramie." It's actually just a Pineapple Star. "Just," she says. I found lots of instructions for the block online, but none that were the right size, and frankly, I'm getting too old for math. Heck, my husband is retiring at the end of the week, if that gives you any clue how old I am. So I probably spent an hour and a half trying to figure this out. Then, I started looking through the pattern book at the many remaining blocks and discouraged myself into quitting. Yes, I've decided life is too short. I mean...just look at those Pony Express riders. All dead. I rest my case.


Just git along there, Mr. Pony Express Rider. Let's just watch while he rides off into the sunset. Since I didn't buy any fabric when I started, I'm only out the cost of the book and the square-in-a-square ruler. If anyone wants it, chime in. It's yours. I've gnashed my teeth long enough on this project, and it is so outta here. (Dusts off hands.)

Moving along...

Next, I turned my attention to the other quilt I've had on the back burner, The Birds Return. When I took out the pattern, I remembered this mess:


And I wrote a long WTF post about this right here, which is too painful to go into here. It was bad enough living it nearly 3 1/2 years ago. Now...I'm 3 1/2 years older, and I've gained wisdom in my quest to finish the Quiltmaker's Garden Nemesis. So I took one look at that and tried to make sense of what I'd already done and, being in a quitting mood, I decided to bag that project too. The Birds Return...please return from whence you came, and we'll all live long and happy lives. I'm too old for math, and I'm too old to carry around excess bird baggage.

So there you go...two finishes, as in, I'm finished with these...and I didn't sew a single stitch. That's one way to get rid of your UFO's.

Now I'm moving onto something I actually want to do. Cats will be involved.

29 comments from clever and witty friends:

Judy H said...

Funny how it takes us so long to realize there is no 'quilt police' who will come after us if we abandon a project. Same thing with books. I'll give it 50 pages and then toss it if it doesn't catch my attention.

Quiltdivajulie said...

CONGRATULATIONS - choosing to move on is absolutely a valid choice. GOOD FOR YOU!! (and no I do not want either of those math intensive projects - NOT my thing).

Anne Perry said...

Hi

Follow your blog routinely. I'm retiredand haven't created a blog, But I sure enjoy yours.

However, thank you for this blog. I've had 3 UFOs that have been " thorns in my side" for years, they are going on a free give away table at my guild meeting. What a relief. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has hung on to thes "I should finish" projects.

So from now my motto is I I shall not "should" on me

Rina Mason said...

I only have one bagged project and it just needs one seam sow. Don't know why I stopped and put it in time out but guess I should pull it out and finish it.

If you are serious about the Pony Express quilt I'd be glad to take it off your hands and give it a shot. I'd even pull the green monster out and finish that one seam to make way for it.

Let me know

Rina

Nancy said...

Is it the Easy Angle square in a square ruler? I have been trying to find one of those I would like it, if it has not been claimed yet. I have a pattern I want to try that calls for it, but they are no longer being made. Is that a danger sign that I am just passing? By the way, I work in Beaverton so am fairly close to you.

Betty said...

I admire your determination to finish the Quiltmaker's Garden Nemesis. I also admire your ability to realize when a project is not worth your time and effort. Quilting is supposed to be fun and when it's not, just let it go. I took a class a few years ago and the whole thing just frustrated me to no end. It wasn't that it was too difficult, it was the instructor's attitude that did me in. It started with her giving some of us the wrong pattern, then when called to her attention she swapped it with another pattern, still wrong. She then tried to convince us it was right and it all went downward from there. The entire kit-n-kaboodle went in the guild auction and I have yet to see anyone bring it in completed!

beaquilter said...

it's okay to throw in the towel on some of these projects once in a while :)

Debbie said...

Thanks you for the huge, big time belly holding laughter! Let those pony express guys eat your dust.....giving it away is the best idea you had I think. You are right we are old enough to say NO and move on. Don't you just love some wisdom? I can't believe the bird house one was such a pain....some folks don't write directions well at all.
Congrats on successfully moving on :)

works4me said...

Good for you for knowing when to throw in the towel. Question: what size are the Pony Express blocks? Would it be worth turning them into mug rugs and giving them away, to the guild or even as blog prizes? It sounds like the making of the actual blocks was the issue so it might be nice to be able to say you finished what you started, if you know what I mean. If you just want to pitch them, I say that works, too.

Could the two birdhouse rows make a table runner for the camper?

Just trying to make lemonade here. :) As you can tell, I still let my "sense of duty" run rough-shod over me. lol

Quilting Babcia said...

Congratulations! You've just cleared unnecessary nonsense out of your life. I figure when we're retired we should be the boss, not some pattern that roped you in before you learned to just say no! Yeah, I know that sentence wasn't grammatically correct, about as precise as some of my piecing lol!

QuiltE said...

A good lesson for us all. Many of us need to learn that it is OK to just say Adios to stuff, quilting projects and other things too. Life's just too short to bash our heads over things that we truly do not have our ♥ in. So good for you!

Though, like Works4Me, I like to make lemonade! Another suggestion would be to turn those bird houses into a narrow tiny wall hanging but forget their pattern and finish it up in a Cat Patches way!! ... hhmmmm one row for Smitty and one row for Sadie! :)

Otherwise, just go for it and say Adios to both projects!!! and move on to something that is more important to you and enjoy that ride a whole lot more!

Shirley Elliott said...

I have long been impressed with how you stick with those McKenna Ryan patterns. Just from what I have seen in your experiences, I would never get one completed. I enjoy learning new skills but have also reached the point where if I am not enjoying the project, it just needs to be passed on without any guilt. Love your blog, your cats and your projects!

Shari said...

I think life is too short to spend working on a quilt that I don't enjoy.

Rosemary Rivas said...

Hi Barbara-
Our quilt guild takes UFOs and a group finishes them for charity. I have one I'm probably going to donate as I started it eons ago. It's doesn't go with our new theme/decor since we remodeled our home. I still have a few UFOs to finish other than that one. I hope to get to them someday, maybe after our first time granddaughter is born next month.
Happy Quilting]

Rosemary

crazy quilter said...

Well good for you! I made one quilt with the square in a square technique and then gave away the ruler and pattern . In my humble opinion that method simply waste way too much fabric. I liked the quilt I made but honestly I trimmed away more than ended up in the quilt. Move on and enjoy the next quilt. I applaud you!

Kate said...

Well, you know, you have to know when to hold them, and when to fold them...when to walk away, and when to run. ;) I abandoned a sampler six blocks in a few years ago - saved two blocks to make pot holders and sent the others to a friend who make orphan block quilts. I just don't have the time and patience to do things I don't like.

Brown Family said...

Good for you! I have purged a lot of really old fabric and kits this month. I feel so much freer now that the baggage has been taken out! I do not feel bad about starting a new project!

Celtic Thistle said...

Hobbies are meant to be fun, but I think we sometimes forget that so well done you for ditching those out of favour projects. Here's to more fun in your life Barbara :)

Donna said...

Thank you for this post! I do small quilt projects (baby quilts and table runners) and I also do doll clothes. It must be a sign for me because the doll page I follow just had the same type of message! I have decided to purge and either finish or get rid of all my ufos. Thanks! I love your humor and enjoy your viewpoint on things!

Dana Gaffney said...

You should have just thrown the darn pattern away, it looks like that quilt is made of blocks, hourglass blocks and rail fence, I'll never understand why they make patterns so complicated.

Quilter said...


Good for you - we all should do this more often - why do we make
ourselves miserable trying to do something that makes no sense to us.
Our hobbies are suppose to be fun and make us feel like we have
accomplished something... So now on to those things that give us
that happy feeling as we are making them....

Wendy Tuma said...

Well, it is retirement week, so why not retire a couple of quilt projects! Sometimes it just isn't worth finishing, especially if there is no joy or fun in doing so. Your post had me laughing out loud, once again. Good on you -- do something quilty fun today to congratulate yourself, kitties included!

LaDawn Dalley said...

Love this! I have recently donated two tops to my guild's community service group because I realized I just didn't like them enough to finish them.
And just the other day, I pulled out a UFO from about 15 (yes 15!!) years ago as part of a UFO challenge. I put it up on my design wall and said, "Yuck!"
I was still figuring out how to put fabrics together back then, and when I put the blocks on the wall I realized how truly too busy and awful it was! Still haven't decided what to do with it; but I won't be finishing it!

On another note. I've been reading your blog for about a year, and I love it! It has helped give me the courage to start my own. Thank you!

ckrut said...

Too funny! Love the attitude. Just go and enjoy the kitties.

Auntiepatch said...

Send it to me! I'm good with math and puzzles; and I'm a quilter! I have the time because I'm retired, too.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Your last three post came into my box as one - just seeing you scrapped your plans with these two. Oh, I would trade something for them as I do love a challenge.

heartsease54 said...

If there is one thing I can depend on from you, it is a laugh. And you are so right. Life is too short to work on bad projects and read bad books. I think I have a few of these kinds of projects hanging around too, time to do a clear out I think.

quiltzyx said...

Maybe you could use the 2 vertical rows of the birdhouses and make a table runner? Or a cushion cover for the Catio? Now that you've reminded us of the math problems these 2 had, I'm with you, enough is enough. But those 2 birdhouse rows are kinda cute.

Junebug613 said...

Sometimes leaving a project alone for a while is a good thing. I had one that I had gotten so upset with, that I didn't touch it for 5 years. When I came upon it later, I realized that I had gained some education and wisdom of quilting and had originally misunderstood the instructions. I had hoped when I read your previous post that maybe you would have the same good fortune, but sometimes a project just isn't meant to be. And honestly, we quilt because we enjoy it, otherwise, it's work - and you're retired! A little challenge is one thing, but frustration and pattern decoding is a whole other ball of wax. Kudos to you for not wasting your time on projects that you weren't enjoying.