My Quilting WIPs and UFOs! Which ones to finish?

New quilters may already be asking what is a WIP and what is a UFO? – don’t worry I’ll get to that.

For now, let’s just say they are both uncompleted quilting projects!

At the end of last year, I posted my quilts in review – everything I finished in the year.

What I didn’t talk about in that post was everything I didn’t finish last year!

So this is that post.

I will explain exactly what a quilting WIP and a quilting UFO are first, and then I will show you mine and ask you to weigh in on which ones I should finish!

I’ll also outline the strategies I am using to conquer some of my WIPs and UFOs!

quilt wips and ufos

I have the definitions of WIPs and UFOs next – You can skip to the video tour below if you prefer.

What is a WIP?

A WIP, or Work in Progress is a term used in the quilting world to talk about a quilt project that is ongoing.

The definition of ‘ongoing’ however of course is debatable, so one person’s WIP will be another person’s UFO (see below).

My current weight loss quilt is definitely a WIP – I work on it at a minimum every week and sometimes a couple of days a week. Even when I’m not sewing blocks I am jotting down my daily diary that will inform what colours the blocks will be.

You might work on your WIP every day, every week or once a month.

If you haven’t touched it for 3 or 4 months is it still a WIP? Read below and then debate.

There is nothing wrong with having lots of WIPs.

It can be nice to have a number of projects to choose between depending on your sewing mood.

What isn’t so great is when you clutter your sewing room up with so many unfinished projects that you can’t work properly.

Or even worse when you start to feel bad that you ‘never finish anything’ (this statement is usually not true even when people say it – but it isn’t a nice feeling).

What is a UFO?

In quilting, UFO stands for Unfinished Object.

So a quilt project of some sort that is not finished and does not get pulled out and worked on.

It just sits there unfinished. At some point, which different quilters will define differently, a WIP can most certainly become a UFO if it isn’t worked on anymore.

What is the difference between a WIP & a UFO?

You can probably already tell from the definitions above that not everyone is going to agree on the difference between a quilting WIP and a UFO.

The classic joke among quilters is that they have lots of finished quilt tops that don’t get quilted. So is that a WIP or a UFO?

Or is a quilt top a finished project and the quilting step is something else?

For me a quilt isn’t finished until it is bound, so for me a finished quilt top would be a WIP.

Now I don’t personally fall into this camp of quilters.

My WIPs and UFOs consist mostly of partially finished quilt tops. Once I get them finished I am pretty good at powering through to quilt and bind them.

So for me, the difference between a WIP and a UFO is all about how recently I worked on it as well as whether or not I have the intention of working on it.

For example, one of my WIPs I’ll show you below is a hexie EPP project.

I don’t work on it every week or even every month but I do keep coming back to it and I have the intention for it to be a long slow project, so in my mind, it’s a WIP.

Whereas the denim quilt below, where I started and didn’t finish various sections and then decided I didn’t like it at all, is most definitely a UFO.

Not only have I not worked on it recently but I have no intention of finishing it in its current form.

Below is my YouTube video going through my current WIPs and UFOs. And below that you will find images of my WIPs and links to any relevant blog posts I have for those projects.

IF…..I finish any of these projects I will also come back to this post and update it with a link to the finished item!

My WIPs and UFO’s – Video Tour

My Strategies for Conquering my Unfinished Quilt Projects

Here is how I am approaching my WIPs and UFOs this year:

  • Catalogue unfinished projects – both WIPs and UFOs
  • Prioritise projects for completion – pick 1-3 key projects to work on more regularly
  • Be honest about the projects I don’t want to finish and come up with creative ways to re-purpose the fabric or the work that has already been done.
  • Consider cutting down some projects for use in non-recognizable ways (similar to the projects I use for the contents of my thread catcher bin!)

Possible alternative projects for partially finished quilt projects

These are some of the ideas I am considering for some of my WIPs and UFOs that I don’t feel the motivation to turn into quilts in the way they were intended when the projects were started.

  • Floor Cushions or Sofa Cushions
  • Pot holders
  • Tote Bags
  • Journal Covers
  • Orphan Block Quilt
  • Simplify the original quilt idea to make something more easily and more quickly

My WIPs and UFO’s – Photo Tour

WIP #1: Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt 1930’s

quilting wips - farmer's wife quilt
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

So this project has been untouched for so long that it certainly would be called a UFO by many quilters.

HOWEVER…I now intend to continue it – so I am calling it a WIP!

At the time of writing, I have completed 26 blocks out of the 100 I intended to make.

I even started blogging about the Farmer’s Wife Quilt when I began it – along with some quilting friends.

Some of them have finished their quilts and the rest of us just stopped talking about ours – so I lost my motivation, but I would like to finish this one!

UFO #1: Strip Quilt

This was a quilt as you go style quilt that I started last year with the intention of giving it to a friend as a wedding gift.

quilt wips string quilt
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

I got partway through and decided I didn’t like it enough to give her so I made this modern improv scrap quilt instead.

I am currently considering turning what is left of this project into cushions or placemats or something like that.

UFO #2: Denim Braid Quilt

I love denim quilts. I’ve made two so far – one a picnic blanket quilt and the other an improv style denim quilt.

quilt project - denim braid quilt
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

So I started this braided, log cabin style quilt made with denim strips and jelly roll strips with plenty of confidence.

But then I lost the love for it and stuck it in the cupboard!

So should I cut it up and make cushions? Or a bag? Or something else?

UFO #3,4 & 5: Orphan Blocks and my one unfinished ‘top’

I joined too many quilt groups when we were all staying home in 2020/21 so I now have some ‘bee blocks’ from one quilt guild that I have now left.

The exercise was meant to be to make your own sampler quilt using block prompts from other members.

So my ‘bee blocks’ are UFO #3.

quilt wips and ufos
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

I also have some more ‘orphan blocks’ which we could call UFO #4 although they don’t all belong together necessarily.

orphan quilt blocks
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

And then I have the cut-out leftovers of a quilt top I choose not to finish last year which I’m calling UFO #4.

cut up quilt top
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

This quilt top was too random to my eyes – I didn’t like it so when I started quilting one side of the border and I felt myself hating it, I stopped quilting, cut out the unquilted bit of the top, and put it in my orphan blocks box.

This one is definitely in danger of getting shredded and used as soft toy stuffing!

WIP #2: English Paper Pieced Hexagons

This is my only hand sewing project.

I don’t do tons of hand-sewing – because I am impatient! BUT, I do like having a little project I can do in front of the tv when I am in the mood.

So I baste these hexagons and sew them into colour coordinated rows with a vague idea of a rainbow hexie quilt one day. Time will tell!

english paper pieced hexagons
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

WIP #3 Low Volume Crumb Quilt

I have a separate container for my low volume ‘crumbs’ as opposed to my colored ones.

I like to use them for backgrounds in scrappy blocks but I also from time to time pull them out to make these low-volume crumb blocks that I hope to turn into a quilt one day!

low volume crumb quilt
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

WIP #4 My Son’s First Quilt

Okay so this WIP isn’t actually mine! It’s my son’s.

He expressed an interest in quilting when he was about 3 &1/2 and we started a simple 5″ block patchwork quilt.

son's first quilt
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

He sat on my lap and learned how to lift the presser foot, change the sewing speed and press the stop/start button and the thread cutter button.

We had lots of fun and we got quite far but then he lost interest.

He almost convinced me to finish this for him lately (he’s just turned 5), but then he decided to start another row so I am going to try to motivate him to keep at this one himself.

UFO #6 Other People’s Patchwork

I bought some unfinished patchwork on ebay last year – hoping to finish where some older quilters had left off and not been able to finish their projects.

quilting wips - patchwork
Photo: Scrap Fabric Love

I made some charity quilts with some of the blocks I bought. But I still have lots left!

I’d love some suggestions!

I’d love to hear how many WIPs and UFOs you have in your sewing room and what strategies you use to tackle them!