2018 UFO Challenge | Hanky Pillows

antique hanky craft

Hallelujah! It’s my first UFO finish for the year! I can’t believe I’m saying this, but these Hanky Pillows have been about 5-6 years in the making…and it’s not because they take a long time!

As many of you might know, I lost my mom last year. After her death, my sister and I inherited a lot of her UFO projects. It was something that I tried to mentally prepare for, but the idea that these meaningful works of art would be left unfinished really bothered me. And after finishing this project, I really do feel that there is something therapeutic about being able to finish this one thing. There’s so much about death that feels like unfinished business, so to finish the one small thing that I can feels pretty good. It’s also a great reminder that my mom’s legacy will live on through us, and we can continue not just to sew, but to show love and compassion for people through our sewing.

The Whole Hanky Story

That’s what I was reflecting on while working through this project, but the full story? I think it’s pretty sweet, so I’ll share it with you:

What to do with vintage hankies

I had a roommate in college who had a collection of beautiful hankies from her grandmother. She knew they were special, but still wanted them to be out for her to enjoy, so she would use them once a year as napkins at a special tea party she threw for her friends each year! It’s a fun idea, but I don’t know how these hankies are in such good condition after all that wear and tear! After attending my first tea party and seeing these lovely hankies, I suggested that she have my mom make a hanky pillow or wallhanging. It’s a great way to preserve and display these precious keepsakes (also, isn’t nice that I volunteered my Mom and NOT myself!? I’m the best daughter…)

How to preserve old hankies

My Mom readily agreed, but life got busy and the hankies got put on the UFO pile (to be fair, my friend said that she wasn’t in a rush, not realizing that meant she’d have to wait half of a decade!). After my Mom passed away, as we were cleaning out her sewing room, I found a neat and tidy Ziploc full of hankies with my friend’s name across it, just waiting to be sewn. I messaged my friend and apologized profusely for not getting these done sooner, but promised to work on them.

Fast forward about a year, and I added this project to my UFO list. My UFO pile has more than doubled this year, so I had to find a way to get these done first.

vintage hanky keepsakes

Fast forward to last week’s guild meeting: I was stitching the last few inches of these pillows by hand DURING MY GUILD MEETING so that I could show them off at Sew & Share. I’ve never procrastinated so hard on anything in my life…I don’t know what it was about this project, but it just didn’t want to get finished. But IT’S FINALLY DONE!

lace hanky project

How to get those Unfinished Projects Finished

If that story sounds a lot like yours, I want to offer you some advice:

Get it done! Join my UFO Challenge for 2018 (it’s never too late!) and get 3 of those UFO projects off the pile!

Here’s all the details:

  • It’s super easy to join, just join my Facebook Group and RSVP to the event: 2018 UFO Challenge
  • Then, simply post a little intro, along with the 3 projects you’d like to finish this year (it’s easiest if you number them)
  • I’ll post what number project we are all working on for the quarter it’ll be due July 1!
  • You can post your progress pictures, complain about getting started, or ask questions in that group—we’re all in this together!
  • Then sit back and relax! We’ve got a really great prize for a random winner at the end of the year. You’ll get an entry just for joining the group and an extra entry for every project you complete!

If you’re not interested in joining, that’s OK! What projects are hanging over your head right now & what can you do about it?

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  1. These are truly beautiful Rachel, and I bet your friend will instantaneously forgive you for taking so long when she lays eyes on them! Wow. I chuckled ‘seeing’ you hand-stitching AT the guild meeting…I may have done that (binding) myself during a guild meeting or two! Did you use a tutorial or did you just do these improv-style? As for the UFOs left behind, that tugs at my heart, and it’s something I do think about from time to time, as I know I’ll never sew up all the projects and fabrics in my sewing room.

    • Thank you for your kind words, I’m pretty happy with how they came out! I learned how to arrange and create these from my mom, I’m wondering if I should share the technique with you all in a tutorial now!
      The UFO thing is hard, but it’s turned out to be very therapeutic for me. It has certainly encouraged me to finish my own projects in any case.

      Thanks again for your comments, and happy sewing!

  2. I have only finished one UFO so far- will try harder. Enjoy your blog

  3. These are absolutely beautiful!! I am sure your friend is delighted to have these to treasure! And I’m sure your mom was honored when you volunteered her for a project that takes talent!

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