Let’s talk about WIPs baby, let’s talk about UFOs, let’s talk about all the projects, that are lurking in bo-xes, let’s talk about WIPS!…….or, that’s how I imagine Salt ‘n’ Pepa would have sung it if they had been quilters 😉. In any case, in some circles Wips (Works in Progress) or UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) are just as sensitive a subject as what Salt ‘n’ Pepa really did sing about. I’d like us to embrace our half-done, or less than that, projects especially as the Festival of Quilts nears and we all get distracted by all the new shiny things there.

So, I sat down and tried to remember all the WIPs I have, and they are:

1) One large quilt top, made when shabby chic was in, but I no longer like

2) One baby quilt top waiting to be layered up and hand quilted

3) 8 of 16 blocks completed of an applique block of the month

4) A Hawaiian wall hanging, applique half done

5) A Block of the month, abandoned after 5 blocks as I didn’t like the pattern

6) A Lone Star quilt, middle is done, still needs border/edges finishin7) One Double Wedding ring quilt top, need layering and quilting

8) Blocks cut out to make a baby quilt

9) Twelve-inch commemorative block for end of WWI

10) Lap quilt size top, needs layering, quilting & Binding

11) One Millefiori hand pieced project

12) One full size quilt, pieces all cut, awaiting sewing

13) One Elizabeth Hartman wall-hanging, 4 blocks done to date

14) Plus fabric bought especially and set aside for 6 different quilts

15) One cross stitch picture, went wrong so lost interest

16) One Knitted baby cardigan

I’m sure if I look I will find many more, but, my point is there are many reasons we have a plethora of WIPS in different states of doneness. For me, I like to have a variety of projects on the go at once that I can pick up and work on depending on what I feel like doing, but even I have to admit it’s gotten a bit out of hand lately.

So how can we get it under control (assuming we want to)? Firstly, being honest with ourselves and making a list as I’ve done above will at least show you in black and white where you stand.

Next, don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by your list, but pick out which projects are your lowest hanging fruit, meaning, which ones do you feel most motivated to finish, or require the least amount of effort to complete and begin working on those. You might find that you need a specific fabric/thread/tool to finish some of the others, which makes this perfect timing to sort out your WIPS if you are heading to the NEC this week.

Of the projects that remain, ask yourself why they have been left by the wayside. Don’t like it anymore? Technique too fidly? If you belong to a quilting group, sit and sew days are ideal for getting through these less than ideal projects, as the conversation will distract you from the onerous task. But if you really can’t bring yourself to finish them, why not have a WIP trading day with your fellow quilters? One quilters rubbish is another one’s treasure as they say. And before you know it, your WIPs pile will be smaller, leaving you free to start adding to it again with fresh projects 😉.


  1. Christine Hutchins

    I’m spending time catching up on the reading of blogs / posts, especially of those people I’ve recently met! I do have quite a few WIPs – although I do prefer to use the term PHD when talking about them – because it feels good to have so many PHDs! So, my question is this – how is your WIP list progressing – have you managed to whittle the list down at all – and if so, how? It was lovely meeting you this past weekend, and sharing the workspace with you! x