Conquer Your Unfinished Projects

comments (1) May 26th, 2008     

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Tina_Hilton Tina Hilton, contributor
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From the knitting bag of Tina Hilton: one abandoned sock desperately seeking a mate.  Likes long walks, duets: looking for a perfect match.
This little orphan is particularly sad as I was so close to actually finishing it and just never did.
From the knitting bag of Tina Hilton: one abandoned sock desperately seeking a mate.  Likes long walks, duets: looking for a perfect match.

From the knitting bag of Tina Hilton: one abandoned sock desperately seeking a mate.  Likes long walks, duets: looking for a perfect match.

Photo: Tina Hilton

All knitting projects are begun with starry-eyed optimism and unbounded enthusiasm. We absolutely fall in love with something in the latest book or magazine or shop sample and MUST create ones of our very own. New yarn nestled by our sides, needles in hand, we begin the process, casting on the prescribed number of stitches only to discover that the project is not as easy as imagined, We plod our way through the pattern, cursing the inept designer until we give up and stuff it in the bag for a later date when we are fresh and clear-headed.

Sometimes, it isn't the pattern that causes us to stall on a project. We all try to select the best yarn for a given project, but sometimes, once you've started to knit, it becomes apparent that you've made a bad choice. If the color of the yarn appeared gold in the store but reminds you of baby poop once you have a few inches on the needles, you will not be happy running that through your hands for hours. The same thing with goes for texture. On the ball, yarn can feel like nirvana, but knitted up, it can take on an entirely different hand. My pet peeve is yarn that splits, slides, sheds, or is impossible to manage. Any of these challenges could cause you to stuff the project into a bag that will ultimately end up in the back of the closet or deep under a bed. I call these unfinished projects "UFOs." I generally thought of the "U" in my acronym as standing for "unfinished," but as I was gathering up all of my own abandoned projects for this blog post, I realized that many, if not most, are also "unidentifiable."

How many UFOs do you have? If you say less than 3, you are an overachiever, and UFO is not in your vocabulary. I’m talking to those of us who have 5 or more unfinished projects tucked away from our years of trial and error. How about that baby sweater started for a niece who is now in high school, cabled fisherman sweaters started when we used to live in colder climes, and the lonely abandoned sock destined to live mate-less? The well-intended projects set aside for a better day, the indecipherable patterns, hideous colors, and unfortunate yarn choices all make up the pile we have amassed. These my friends, are our UFOs.

Here are some handy tips to get rid of the nagging UFO pile once and for all:

  • You love the yarn, but the pattern is not for you, so rip it out and repurpose the yarn for a new and exciting project.
  • Organize a UFO swap party with your knitting buds. Throw all the orphans on the table and choose a project that speaks to you.
  • Another UFO party could be dedicated to working towards finishing up those poor abandoned projects. Entice the participants with cupcakes to motivate them to show up!
  • You only finished the front of your now ex-boyfriend’s sweater. Felt it and make a cozy pillow top. Something to hug that will always be there for you.
  • If the project has no redeeming qualities or the yarn is awful, put it in the give-away pile. Someone at the thrift store will be delighted to have it.

Remember, purging your UFO pile will free you to take on new projects guilt free. Isn’t it time to learn how to knit lace or color knit?

posted in: organize, yarn swaps

Comments (1)

cherylvirginiad writes:
All very good ideas, especially, the one with a group pile and people deciding what speaks to them and finishing it up. It gives a Shrug Off! a double, but usable name. I am having that very problem right now with a sock yarn, and I cannot move on to any other project until the yarn co-operates. I am haunted by this mess. Oh, well.

Cheryl Virginia
Posted: 5:29 pm on June 1st
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