Have Your Say

24th September 2021

We Can’t Ignore the UFOs

Over the past weeks, we’ve been receiving more and more fantastic emails sharing your UFO stories in response to our article in All Stitched Up! issue #290. We’ve been gathering them up, but we can’t ignore them any more as there are just too many. It seems that every stitcher has an UnFinished Object somewhere in their cupboard, with lots of us having a whole army of them! It’s time we shared, just so that you know you are not alone…

Joan Concannon started a project called Poppy Field a long time ago. She would do a few stitches in front of the TV in the evening, alternating it with smaller projects that she would do on the train to and from work. 

One day, her son saw a Bugs Bunny kit that he fell in love with, so everything else was put aside so Joan could finish it for his 21st Birthday.

Life took over, babies came along, knitting had to be done and Poppy Field never seemed to make it to the top of the pile. Then, lockdown hit and everything changed.

Joan made a decision to have only one item in progress at any one time so set about completing everything!

Not only did Poppy Field get finished, but three other large projects were completed too. Now, Joan is luxuriating in the knowledge that she has no more UFOs left! For now anyway…

Laraine Mitchell started to get interested in quilting about 12 years ago. She read everything she could find, went to shows, and finally decided to start. Of course, like many of us, she chose the most challenging project she could find to begin with – a hand appliquéd, queen-sized quilt with Australian wildflowers!

She had been working on it for a few years when she developed cataracts. After surgery, she tried picking up the quilt again, but couldn’t see clearly enough for the detailed hand appliqué. So back it went into a box where it was duly forgotten about.

Some three years later, Laraine discovered it again by accident and decided to give it another try. This time, she successfully completed the blocks including the one that required about a million French knots, her least favourite stitch.

At last, she put it all together, gave it to a professional company to back it and finish it and voila! It may have taken her 10 years, but now she has a quilt that she can be suitably proud of. And another UFO bites the dust, although there are at least another 20 to go as Laraine admits sheepishly.

Carol George visited the upmarket French department store Galleries Lafayette in Paris in the 1970s where she bought a beautiful, stamped linen tablecloth and matching napkins. This was the start of her love of embroidery, and she completed about a third of the project before other things took over. 

It was then put away… for almost 50 years! Like Joan, the pandemic inspired Carol to get this UFO out again and she finally finished it.

Although Carol can definitely see the improvement in her skills from when she started, the differences in the stitching remind her of her 50-year life journey from that day in Paris until today.

The other positive thing that has come out of Carol’s experience is she now tackles her UFOs in a different way. She always has one new project and one UFO on the go, which allows her to make new memories and re-live the old.

Regina Santarcangelo wrote to us about her UFO experiences. In 2000, she was working on a couple of big projects but after a house move, she lost the chart for one and the other one went missing entirely. She also experienced a change in her eyesight and could no longer do close work. Both of these things caused Regina to give up stitching altogether.

Some 10 years later, after an operation, Regina decided to try stitching again. Thanks to the magic of the internet, she managed to secure another copy of the lost chart and all of the materials she needed for the other project. Although she had to start the second project over, both are now finished at last.

Penelope’s counted project

While we’re discussing UFOs, you might remember we featured a UFO belonging to Penelope in All Stitched Up! issue #295. Karen Mullan wrote to say that if Penelope needed the chart of the London Landmarks, she had it in her stash! 

Karen also has a finished version of it hung on her wall – not stitched by her but found in a second-hand shop beautifully framed and finished. It now has pride of place on Karen’s wall.

Madelaine Pearson turned her eagle eyes to Penelope’s photograph to see if she could help with where things may have gone wrong. She suggested maybe there was an error in the bridge? She observed that the towers aligned and were connected, but the draw bridge and abutments were not aligned. Maybe these are the fresh eyes you need, Penelope, to finally get that mistake fixed and the UFO finished?

All of your stories have been so inspiring and entertaining – thank you everyone for sharing. We’ll bring you more conversations next week, in the meantime, happy stitching!

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