Finishing another’s UFOs–the Owls

There was a request on HeartStrings yahoo group quite a while back for someone to finish up some blocks left after a member’s mother had died. The member felt unable to work on them, as they were the last blocks her mother had made prior to going blind, and then dying. The request was unusual, as they were described as already having batting quilted on them. I thought they were “quilt-as-you-go” blocks, and volunteered to tackle this project.


This is the way the box arrived. I laid the blocks out, and each owl was quilted to just batting – no backing. There was a new sheet enclosed to use as backing. My first thought was to just cut off the batting, but then I took time to examine the blocks. Each of the twelve owls were different, and each was quilted in a different pattern. I just couldn’t willy-nilly go at them and destroy that work. They went back in the box for a long time as I thought about what to do with them.



The above is how I finally decided to treat each block. They were on this poly batting, quilted, and satin-stitched through the batting. I found the common denominator of the largest block I could make and squared up all the blocks, preserving the quilting.


There were strips enclosed with the blocks. The diamond strips were actually attached as sashing to one block, but with all the bias, I didn’t feel comfortable with my ability to use it for sashing. I trimmed up the plain strips (that had been sewn together) and used them for sashing and cornerstones.  I used the bias diamonds for the binding.

I loaded the top, with an additional thin Mountain Mist polyester batting, on a backing made from fabric in my stash. I don’t have any experience with using sheets for backing, and this top was quite delicate (most of the fabric was cotton/poly blend). Some of the satin stitching on the blocks did not quite cover all the edges, so I treated a lot of edges with Fray something – the kind that doesn’t get hard and prickly.


This is the finished result. I quilted each owl, and some inside each owl, trying to re-enforce the weak areas where I had applied the fray product. I echoed some of the hand quilting, and then wave-quilted the sashings. You can see the scrappy binding from the diamonds.

The HeartStrings member who sent the quilt asked that it be donated in her mother’s honor. I had taken the quilt to my small Tuesday group to work on the binding. Sitting next to me was a member we hadn’t seen for a long time – she had gone through having to move with her husband to assisted living, and then him into a nursing home, coping with his dementia until he passed on.  She loved the quilt, and its story, and I thought she would be a perfect recipient for this quilt. She brought it back the next meeting at my house, where I took this picture.

I hope the maker and her daughter are happy to know it is finished, and loved. It was a labor of love for me.

Becky in Kansas City, Missouri, USA (Becky in KCMO)


Bonnie said…
You really were very thoughtful on how you used these owls. What a great story. And, in the end what a great quilt. Nicely done!
Nikki said…
Lovely thing, what you did. Thanks for sharing the story.
Cheryl Willis said…
I love to hear that you took time to add a little of yourself to finishing this piece. makes me hopeful that when my stash is inherited that others will find a good work to use it with.
Betty C said…
That turned out really nice. I just love the whole thing. I like the way she quilted each block differently. You did a wonderful job on this project. Ingenuity and talent!

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