Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Secret to Finishing a UFO - and have fun at the same time

You think I'm going to share my secret for finishing a UFO right at the beginning of this post?  Not so fast, Ace.  Just keep going.

In a previous post I mentioned that I was back at work on Easy Street, Bonnie Hunter's 2012 Mystery Quilt.  Lately I've mostly worked on finishing my niece's wedding quilt, but I've been wanting to get back to some piecing.  Easy Street was the answer -- it's not for anyone, just for the fun of making it, so I can pick it up (or drop it) any time.  And it's REALLY a UFO --  just hundreds of little sub-units, not a single block constructed.

Part One was ~200 four-patches.  I posted about finishing those back in August.


Part Two was 128 flying geese.  I've never quite mastered those, so I used the specialty rulers that Bonnie recommends.  The units looked pretty good!  I tucked them in a baggie and moved on.

Another step involved more flying geese, this time with turquoise wings instead of the white print.

More purple and turquoise -- sitting turkeys...

Finally, time to start sewing some of the units together.  And this is when I saw it.  Did you notice the mistakes in the first flying geese photo above?  Turn one over and this is what you'd see:

Yep, I'd pressed all the white-winged geese in the wrong direction, toward the center.  It was almost impossible to achieve the coveted "perfect point" with all that fabric in the way.  Arghhh!!

So I had to sit down and unpick everyone of those &#$* geese.  Press the pieces flat again, sew the seams again, press the seams again, outward this time.

You can imagine what all this did to the bias edges of the triangles.  We are talking major stretcheroo here.  No amount of trimming would make these geese into tidy rectangles.

And that's when I discovered:

The Secret to Finishing a UFO!

JUST SEW IT!  Don't obsess!  Just put that pedal to the metal and stitch!

Some of these double units came out perfect!

And some are just butt-ugly!

Who cares?  It's a quilt that I'm making just for fun.  So I'm going to have fun!  I even turned this into a game.  I call it Adding Mystery to a Mystery Quilt!  Here's how you play:

1.  Lay the unit down on your ironing board with the seam up and the stitched triangle base on top.  Press to set the seam.  You can't see the top of the other flying goose, right?  Now guess -- will it have a Pointy Point or a Butt-Ugly point?

 2.  Flip up the top unit and press so the seam goes toward the top unit.  Now look closely.  Did you guess correctly?  Could you not tell with some of them?

3.  Put the pressed unit in one of two piles:  P-P, or B-U.  "Can't tell" units go in the P-P pile.  Which pile is higher?

4.  Now, go through the B-U pile again.  Notice that some of the units that you tossed in there at first really belong in the P-P pile, don't they?  Move them over where they belong!

And guess what -- no matter which pile is bigger, You Win!

Take all those units and start finishing that UFO.  Here are the corner units...

  ... to be continued...


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