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When does a UFO become a UFO?

MaryinColorado | Posted in General Discussion on

I confess, I got this idea from another site and wanted to hear what you all think, just for fun. 



  1. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #1

    When it sits there nagging me to finish, but I don't feel like working on it anymore.  Cathy

    1. MaryinColorado | | #4

      I have alot of those nags too!

  2. Josefly | | #2

    Good question. I think, when you give up on it, but don't want to throw it away, it's a UFO. If you're still working on it, it's a project in process - PIP?

    I suppose, though, that all that fabric I've got stacked up could be considered UFO's. Projects still in the flat-fabric stage, somebody said. :>)

    1. damascusannie | | #3

      For me a PIP is something that I work on at least once a month, any longer than that and it's UFO, but may become a PIP again at any time. I have several UFOs that I have definitely not lost interest in and will move back to PIP status after Christmas. A UFO that I never intend to finish is called "trash" and handled appropriately!

    2. MaryinColorado | | #5

      PIP is a good thing!

    3. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #6

      :(  Fabrics in the flat fabric stage are UFO's?  Oh boy, am I in trouble now...........Cathy

      1. Josefly | | #13

        Flat-fabric = UFO? I reconsidered. Nah. Too much pressure.
        Flat-fabric = resource + ideas - time; or maybe = possibility - motivation. :>)I have only one thing I really consider an UFO, and that's a start at a mother-of-the-bride outfit for my daughter's 2005 wedding. Did you ever fall in love with a piece of fabric, take it home, cut it out, then hold it up to yourself for the umpteenth time, and then suddenly think, "Completely unsuitable fabric AND pattern - what was I thinking?"

        1. JeanM | | #14

          Oh, no, please let's not consider folded fabric as UFOs!  All of us would be in a great deal of trouble.  I saw a photo of a woman's sewing room and her fabric was positioned by areas:  red and pink area, blue and green area.  Yikes!  (she was not a quilter either).

          I consider an UFO to be a project that was put away for a length of time without having been finished, with the hope of completing it some day.

          Most knitters, crocheters and crossstitchers call projects they are working on WIPs (works in progress).

          You have only one UFO?  Wow---I don't even want to count how many I have between sewing, crocheting, knitting and crossstitch projects.  Give you your Logout button back and now you may just get a prize for having only one UFO.  LOL.

          Can anyone here say that they don't have any?  If there is, my guess would be that they are either extremely motivated or a beginner sew-er .

          1. Josefly | | #16

            Ha ha ha. Okay, I'll take the prize. Not likely to get one for anything else. Well, if I'd known we were also talking about crocheting, cross-stitch, other embroidery - and any other unfinished needlecraft - I wouldn't have said I have only one. :>)In machine sewing, I do have a few things not yet finished (NYF's?), but only one that I call an UFO (by my definition) - that one I've decided I won't finish as it is, but won't throw it away, in case I figure out some way I can change it so it'll look good on me, or maybe somebody else. The fabric cost too much to throw away. Would you call this something else - a wadder -in-waiting, maybe?

          2. JeanM | | #17

            "a wadder in waiting".  Hahahaha.  Good one.  I heard the term wadder for the first time earlier this month. 

            Let's see----you don't plan on finishing your dress nor plan on throwing it away.  Maybe we can call it an AoPP (abandoned- on- purpose project).  I do understand not wanting to throw it away as the fabric may go into a different project some day.

            Even if we limit our UFOs to sewing projects, I still have a decent list of those going.  I'm working my way back into sewing after pretty much neglecting it for about 10 years (you know,  discovered the internet and all that), so those UFOs come in handy.  I find a project and think hey, just sleeves, buttonholes, buttons, and a hem and this is finished!  So they can be good.  This is why I cannot be trendy, but must try to stick to the classics.

            This site is helping me keep the desire to sew, so keep it up, guys and gals.



          3. Josefly | | #25

            AOPP. Another good one. Okay, I guess my definition of UFO is a little different from everyone else's, so I'll have to change my thinking about it. Know what you mean about getting back into sewing. I had quite a stretch of years during which I scarcely thought about sewing, unless it was to re-hem something, or make a repair. Sewing for myself had become too difficult, with the fitting issues, and my daughter grew up and I didn't sew so much for her, and I've never liked sewing for my house, though I do it when I absolutely have to have curtains or bedding. Then my husband discovered and gave me a subscription to Threads, and now I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking and reading about sewing, and actually doing some sometimes. :>)

          4. JeanM | | #28

            I joined sewing sites so I would spend less time on the internet, especially reading the posts at my non-sewing groups.  How is that working you ask?  Not very well; I spend just as much time on the internet.  I'm certain that I'm not the only one.

            Tangent:  yes, UFO means Unfinished Object.  I first heard that from Sue Hausman's TV show years ago and thought that that was a good term.  Knitters use "frog it" and I couldn't figure out what that meant; then someone asked---"rip it, rip it".  Of course!

            Josefly:  Until the government gives us a definition, I think you can use any definition of UFO that you want.  : )

            That second paragraph of yours about getting back into sewing could have been written by me, except for the "daughter grew up" and "husband discovered...Threads", of course.

            To all living where it has been very cold (which seems to be just about everywhere), stay home if you can and keep sewing and keep us enlightened on this board. 

          5. gailete | | #34

            When I moved, I dumped a bunch of UFO's (sewing projects) when I realized I was no longer that size and never would be again. One project that got tossed was a cut out flannel nighty, a type I can no longer wear and hadn't been able to for years! I try to finish actual sewing projects before I go on to other things, but at times the table is stacked with projects on the go.

            Quilting UFOs are harder to define. I just precut and premake blocks. I have an entire box filled with quilt blocks that I made out of remnants of old quilting projects. They are quilts in waiting. Even finished quilt tops may just be waiting for the right backing fabric and then the time to put it together. Certainly flat fabric isn't UFO's that was fabric bought on speculation that someday I will need that color purple or pink or green. I live in the country with no fabric store close so I have to maintain my own shop at home. My hubby MADE me buy some of it because he liked the fabric (a very good man to take shopping) I think that is a good excuse for the approximately 15 boxes of fabric at my house. :)



          6. MaryinColorado | | #41

            Love that term "frogs....rip it rip it!"  Which would you rather have...a house full of aliens or frogs or whips?  ewwwwwwwww.  ha ha

          7. MaryinColorado | | #39

            Threads magazine is one of those "gifts that keeps on giving" eh?

          8. MaryinColorado | | #38

            Aops, almost looks like an oops.  I like that, "abandoned on purpose" poor little orphans! 

          9. MaryinColorado | | #37

            ha ha ha I like that, it sounds interesting.  What is a wadder? 

          10. Josefly | | #48

            I think a wadder is a project to be wadded up and thrown away, for whatever reason. For me, those projects I know aren't going to work, and which I hope to do something else with, might actually be wadders-in-waiting. Sorta like the leftovers I put into my refrigerator knowing they'll never be eaten, but why throw them away before it has a nice coating of grey or pink or green mold over it? Uh-oh, I may be revealing waaaay too much about how I do things, here.

          11. MaryinColorado | | #49

            ha ha ha just a bit?  me too

          12. Ralphetta | | #18

            My friend always called them shoe box cases. She'd say, "If you never see this fabric or pattern again, don't embarrass us by asking about it because that means it's become a shoe box case."

          13. JeanM | | #22

            You can even go bigger than a shoe box case and use unwanted UFOs or folded fabric as wrapping fabric for presents.  Then, if the recipient likes the fabric wrapping, she can make an item from  it----thus feel as if she has received two gifts. 

            It's not often that I say Now, what was I thinking when I bought this?  Most of my questionable fabric has been discards from others.  Future shoe box cases?  LOL


          14. Ralphetta | | #29

            When I asked her what a shoe box case was she said, "The things you start sewing and then realize they don't look like you want or expect. You wad them up put them in a box and shove it in the closet."

          15. MaryinColorado | | #35

            I can't even begin to imagine having less than five WIP's at a time that will get done as soon as I get a "round tuit".  They are hanging up in the studio.  Apparantly the  UFO's are my "secret shame" because I seem to hide them from myself....out of sight out of mind maybe?  I recently put the UFO's in one drawer so they can "nag me" to either finish or repurpose.  I'm not allowing myself to buy non project fabric until they are OTD (out the door).

             The other day I was looking for some fabric and found a large bin full of cut out doll clothes that my grand daughter and I were making...she's fourteen now!  Those are MO's (missed opportunities)

          16. JeanM | | #43

            There are getting to be some great terms here.  Love them.  Maybe we should start a list---after all, terms begin somewhere.

            My MIL gave me a "round tuit" years ago----didn't help.

            A wadder is a completed or nearly completed garment which is so bad (in fit, style, sewing) that it gets wadded into a ball and disposed of.

            I need to get to my WIPs before they become vintage.

          17. MaryinColorado | | #45

            Yes, me too, and before I become vintage!  I'm getting things ready for the post office to send out.  It's kind of hard to do while reading and typing, he he he

          18. Ceeayche | | #51

            I had done the same thing! 

            When they were both toddlers, and Devin was still enchanted with her baby sister, I had this brilliant idea to give my god daughter and her sister matching outfits (different colors same style).  Never got around to it.  She is now 15.  A couple of years ago I found the outfits cut out, with seams were already pinned.  I decided to finish the outfits (took me an afternoon) and donated them to charity  I couldn't bear to throw it away and they were simple fleece jumpers with white turtle necks and white tights.  I'm hoping by some magic some young mother found them both at the thrift store at the same time and two little sisters had matching outfits.

          19. MaryinColorado | | #52

            That is so sweet of you to finish them and donate, some family will be thrilled with their blessing!  I also hope they sell them to two little sisters, they sound darling.  Someone will be thrilled with the complete outfits! 


        2. Ceeayche | | #15

          For me, it's that found notion or trim or tool that I can't figure out why I bought it.

          I have some beautiful buttons but can't remember if I bought them because they were for a specific fabric which I have since misplaced or only dreamed of or were they "just because" (buy them because they are beautiful and the project will come) or were they not mine at all, but something I inherited from my mother?

          No matter, I enjoy looking at my beautiful UFO's, fingering them and imagining how they'll look when they get attached to SOMETHING!

          1. MaryinColorado | | #36

            I call those "collections" and "necessities" he he

        3. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #32

          Phew!  Thank you for reconsidering flat fabric as a UFO!  And yes, what was I thinking often happens  :(  but whatever......  I call them unfortunate experiments.   Cathy

  3. Ckbklady | | #7

    For me, it's the point at which I've completely lost interest in fiddling with it. It's the first moment at which I look at it and feel both, "meh" and annoyance that it's standing in the way of playing with something I'd prefer. I don't have a huge problem with UFOs - I'm ruthless at tossing them or cutting them up into weensy bits for pillow stuffing. I usually wait for at least the second "meh" moment to be sure I'm really done with the project. I also don't do more than 2 projects at a time (one VERY beginner knitting project for in front of the TV - usually afghans or cotton dishtowels) and one sewing project. This keeps the UFOs from piling up and prevents my home from looking like Area 51. ;)

    :) Mary

    Edited 12/14/2008 5:26 pm by Ckbklady

    1. MaryinColorado | | #8

      Great reference to "area 51", thanks for the giggles!  Mary

      1. Ckbklady | | #9

        Tee hee hee and ho ho ho! It's always come to mind when sewers (yes, the word I prefer, sorry, sewists!) talk about numerous UFOs in their homes.

        Here in the Seattle area we're gettin' Colorado weather - it's been in the teens overnight and barely hitting 20-25 in the daytime. I guess you'd find that kinda mild, but hooo-eee, I'm shivering! I'm glad here that this kind of weather is exceptional.

        :) Mary

        1. damascusannie | | #10

          We just hit our highest temp of the day, -2. Windy as all get out, wind chill is -17, also the warmest it's been all day. Could be worse, my friend Mary lives near Fargo and windchills flirted with -60 last night.

          1. Ckbklady | | #19

            -60? Yeouch! Our cold is not extreme by any measure, but in a place where houses aren't insulated, we have a cedar shingle wood-frame house with no insulation and single-pane windows (built in 1978 before the building code changed). It's drafty, alright! But Hubby and I grew up in Ontario, so we're not fazed. When we moved here people said, "Wow - are those MITTENS? What are you going to do with those?" Giggle. Wear 'em in the house, that's what.

            We've been very fortunate so far - little wind, and only an inch of snow and a thin layer of ice on the road. Our town doesn't have a snow plow because it's only needed a day a year at best, but on our steep hills, with no salt on the roads (it leaks into the streams and kills the wild fish), we've got a bit of a mess on our hands. You might never think a quarter inch of snow would make folks housebound, but that's what we're expecting tonight. Even tough Ontarians can't get up a steep icy hill. We were blown away by the impact of what we thought was such a small weather event. I keep a full freezer and plan ahead. We'll be eating and sewing and woodworking today while we enjoy the very rare bright sunshine.

            Stay warm, Annie!

            :) Mary

          2. damascusannie | | #23

            Because my husband is a carpenter, we've become insulation aficiandos! Our next house will be insulated with polyurethane foam. When we built this house, we were under the gun and on an extremely limited budget. It's a log house, built with green lumber and unfortunately as the top story's lumber dried out, it shrunk a lot so now our insulation (foam panels) doesn't fit tightly in the spaces and the upstairs is drafty with a capital D! Sunday night it was unbelievably cold in our bedroom because of the wind direction. Now today, it's still below zero, but little wind and the upstairs is nice and cozy and in fact, I just finished another quilt up there.

          3. Tangent | | #24

            I missed out on whatever triggered this thread....  so I'm wondering,  does 'UFO' mean 'Un Finished Object' ?

            I have a box labelled 'Fix-It'.  That's where stuff that needed mending or altering, but wasn't urgent, would go to die.  Years later, I'd dig thru and re-discover them, and some would actually get fixed.  Some would go back in the box, and some would just go.

            My problem is, too many projects, and now the computer takes my time, too.  Oh well, I am never bored!

          4. Josefly | | #26

            Yeah, the computer just sucks away time, doesn't it? In fact, I often get online just to take a break from whatever job I'm doing, and then forget the job entirely. This afternoon, though, I'm going to be disciplined.... yeah, right.

          5. Tangent | | #27

            Yep....  I was just going to check my emails and get back to sorting out the sewing room.... that was hours ago, my tea went cold....  sigh....

            Ok, now I will get the drill and get back to assembling that table.  Maybe I should turn the computer OFF til it's done??  LOL

          6. MaryinColorado | | #40

            You and me both

          7. Ckbklady | | #31

            Yikes! Those log houses are a bit tricky, huh? We've got a bit of land on Vancouver Island and plan to build one there. We're all over the foam insulation thing - there is no better draft blocker, especially in damp climates.

            Stay warm!!

            :) Mary

        2. MaryinColorado | | #11

          Colorado's climate is normally quite moderate except in the mountains.  Our record low was in the 1950's when it got down to -6, last night we beat that, it got down to 19 below zero!!!  Brrrrrrrrrrr is right!  I'm not leaving the house!

          Most of this winter has been 50-70 degrees near Denver, with a couple days in the 40's.  The snow usually melts within 1-3 days if it sticks at all.  It's dry so we don't have the dampness in the air either so it usually feels warmer. 

          That said, I'd still rather live where it's always around 75 degrees during the day!!!

          Hey, I just got the Shibori Dragon Newsletter, she said it's was minus 23 this a.m. there in Lakewood, Washington!  Have you been there?  The website is great, I'd love to go to their shop one day.  Mary

          Edited 12/15/2008 6:08 pm by MaryinColorado

          1. damascusannie | | #12

            So, our son who is hunting near Craig is probably a lot warmer than we are here? I'm glad, because he was excited to get a second chance to hunt out there this year and I've been fretting that it would just be cold and miserable for him.

          2. Ckbklady | | #20

            I haven't been to Lakewood, but the shop usually does a booth at the big Sew Expo in Puyallup in April (http://www.sewexpo.com). Heeeey, it's about time again for me to start pleading and cajoling you to come out for the sewing show! Is it on your list this year?

            :) Mary

          3. MaryinColorado | | #21

            I want to sooooooo much!  April is a difficult time for me to get away because I go up North for 2-4 weeks in May and to add to that, a group of us are trying to get together to make those duct tape mannequins!  I need an RV so I have a "home away from home" so I can do all the things and go to the places that keep getting put off and put on my "bucket list".  

            Hmm, maybe the gals would like to meet in Washington instead! 

          4. Ckbklady | | #30

            By Washington, do you mean DC or State?

            A sewing road trip RV sounds like a wonderful vacation. You do the drivin', I'll jess sew.... :)

            :) Mary

          5. MaryinColorado | | #33

            Washington state so we can go to the sewing expo in Pullyup!!!  I'm sure I could drive one if it's not too too long.  Wouldn't that be a hoot? 

          6. Ckbklady | | #42

            A hoot? It sure would be! You go start the car and I'll get Expo tickets! The 2009 event brochure will be up online on January 5th - get ready to do the wave!

            :) Mary

          7. MaryinColorado | | #44

            One of these days you'll talk me into it!  Don't give up on me!  Mary

          8. Ckbklady | | #46

            Give up on you? Not a chance! Let's shoot for 2010, eh? :)

            :) Mary

          9. MaryinColorado | | #47

            Sounds good to me, if I tried for this year it would just be too too much!  Mary

          10. Ckbklady | | #50

            Oh, good, then. 2010? Let's go!! I've pencilled you in, giggle!

            :) Mary

  4. Teaf5 | | #53

    Hee hee, I'm on the forum because I'm supposed to be clearing my sewing room/guest room for our returning college kid, and I just discovered a big box of UFOs from last Christmas, when I was rushing to do the same!  A whole year without any progress on who-knows-how-many UFOs....sigh.

    However, true to my credo of "rapid rationalization makes aging much more graceful," I have decided that unfinished projects are evidence that I have much to live for and that I will never find myself without a purpose. 

    And, since I also work in yarn, wood, multi-media, digital and archival photography, music, and landscaping, I have so many UFOs at any given time that I am sure to be busy for the next four decades or so!


    1. MaryinColorado | | #54

      I love that rationalization!!!  So, UFO's add purpose and meaning to our lives?  ha ha and storage issues!  It's funny how they come out of hiding from time to time. 

      I just finished paying bills, yuck!  No fun!  Now I'm ready to take a break and relax awhile. 

      I mailed off packages yesterday, finished embroidering a moose that is now my latest WIP, which may become a UFO if I continue procrastinating on my fabric choices for the pillows. 


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