I was raised Catholic, and every year in preparation for Easter, Catholics observe Lent. When I was a child, I would give something up, like soda or sweets, for 40 days to represent the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert. The last few years, instead of giving up something for 40 days, I would focus on doing something to improve my life or someone else’s for 40 days. One year it was exercising for 30 minutes a day, another year it was donating 40 bags of clothes and household items. Keeping with the theme of self-improvement through Lent, I decided to complete 40 unfinished projects during Lent.
Forty Finished For Lent also keeps in mind my word for the year. Finishing 40 projects during Lent means connecting fabric together to create quilts, table runners, and bags. Many of the projects that I plan on finishing are either gifts for others or they are intended to be donated to charity. I believe the act of creating for someone else gives you a connection to that person, at least in some small way. I think of that person as I create a quilt for them, and I hope they think of me when they use the quilt. For me, creating is connecting.
I have a lot of unfinished projects, in various stages of completion. I have a large number of quilt tops that are ready for quilting. I am a longarmer, and I will usually finish my clients’ quilts before I do my own. I also donate my quilting services for charity quilts, so those also get done before my personal quilts. I’ve started alternating which quilts I do, doing a few client quilts and then one or two of my own. That doesn’t always work out, and I’ve gotten behind on my personal quilts. I will focus on finishing as many of those during Lent as I can. Since I send most of my quilts to my mother for binding, I will count a quilt as finished if it is ready for binding.
In addition to finishing quilts, I have several bags I’ve started, a lot of table runners, and a few pillowcases. It seems as though I have a lot of grand ideas for fabulous quilted gift items while I’m in the quilt shop. Those grand ideas don’t usually translate into finished projects; therefore, I’ve gotten quite a collection of wonderful gift ideas that are 90% finished. For those items, they will be counted as finished when they are ready for gifting.
Forty in Forty sounds like a lot of finishes, but I have quite a few projects that will truly only take 5 or 10 minutes to finish. When I get on a roll, I’ll be able to do several of those a day. Many of the quilt tops I have to finish are also quite small and can be completed in a couple of hours. I’m very optimistic about my chances of Finishing Forty For Lent.
I don’t think that I’m the only one that has an embarrassingly large number of UFOs. I would like to challenge my fellow quilters, crafters, and creators to Finish Forty For Lent. If you can’t imagine finishing 40 projects in 40 days, maybe you can get a few of your friends to join you and together you can finish 40 projects total. You can count your finishes however you’d like. Will you join me?