UFO: UnFinished Object


Let’s talk about UFOs. (That’s quiltspeak for UnFinished Object; in other words, a quilt project you started but never finished.) Several years ago, the committee for QuiltNebraska (a statewide summer event) had an idea: offer a class on UFOs.  They put out a call for someone to teach it, and I thought it sounded like fun.

My studio as I sorted through UFOs.

I know a lot about UFOs (see the photo above). I mean, I’m practically an expert.

I was hired.

ufo111 UFO: UnFinished Object

One of my many UFOs

At first I thought folks would just come and sew mostly on their own. But I soon realized that UFOs are unfinished for a reason. People usually need some kind of help or motivation to get going again.


ufo222 UFO: UnFinished Object

Another of my UFOs

And so I developed my UFO “curriculum.” Now I teach UFO classes regularly—and they are so much fun! Over the next few days I’ll share the handouts with you, one at a time.


One thing that surprises me in these classes is how much everyone learns from other people’s UFOs. You don’t just get going on your own project, you also see, hear and experience how problems are solved on other pieces. The learning meter hits the red zone!

chart example 7 UFO: UnFinished Object

Another wonderful surprise for me is how much I learn from teaching this way. Put someone in a room with 20 quilters who all have obstacles to overcome—and wow, they learn to think fast.

brain fitness UFO: UnFinished Object

I have to be creative all day long and it’s really good for my brain. I am totally pumped by the end of class and I’ll often go home and sew for several hours on adrenaline.



ufo333 UFO: UnFinished Object

I could never forget a UFO like this!

Surprise #3: Because I work closely with every student and her project, I make associations that stay with me for a long time. If I see someone three years later, I may not remember her last name, but it’s likely I’ll remember her UFO. So we’ve built this little UFO community—and who doesn’t like community?!

Tomorrow we’ll get going with Part 1 of the UFO handouts.

Are you interested in finishing up some UFOs? Tell everyone about one you’d like to complete in the comments below. Leaving a comment might be just the motivation you need to get started—with finishing!





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