If you read our newsletter, then you may recall that we discussed recently Area 51, or UFOs, or unfinished objects. I, for one, thought everyone had them…but I am very wrong about that! Two or three of our staff members are very diligent about working on just one, possibly two, projects at a time. I can’t fathom that! The rest of us — well. Here’s a sample:
Now, don’t you feel better about yourself?
I’m not sure what brought about this desire to pull out my UFOs and then
impose the same punishment on ask the rest of the team members here to do the same. I think it might have been the fact that I was looking for a specific project bag (go figure) and it was tied up with an unfinished project, one that I hadn’t seen or worked on in a very long time. When I took the project out (a Sivia Harding shawl using a precious skein of Festival Yarn), I realized I didn’t like it. I love the central design of the shawl, but I don’t care for the sawtooth edging that is worked simultaneously. So why carry on? No reason that I can see. Rip it, rip it, to the frog pond it went (well, not really. I pulled out the needles and have yet to finish the ripping out portion).
That, however, started an avalanche. I started pulling out ALL of my UFOs and deciding whether it was something worth carrying on, or should I give up on them. Some of the projects are pretty simple — a couple of socks, a mitten; some are more complex — a stole from Victorian Lace Today; two (TWO!!) of Kirsten Kapur’s mystery shawls; and the Rock Island Shawl from Jared Flood (omg, I’m seeing a pattern here). There was only one sweater, and that was headed for the frog pond anyway because of a fit issue, so I didn’t count that.
This has caused me to examine my knitting — uh, behavior? style? — a little bit. Do I knit for product or process? I think ultimately I knit for product. I would like to think that I’m a process knitter, but ultimately, if the project I’m working on doesn’t suit me, I’m going to abandon it and move on to something that does suit me. I also have a tradition that quite possibly helps land me in this mess: I start a new pair of socks when I go to a fiber festival. While that’s a grand thing for some people, it takes me for-EV-er to knit socks, and that could account for the number of UFO socks that I have (although I recently completed a pair, and that made me feel pretty good).
Okay, enough about me. Let’s talk about you.
Which camp do you fall into? If you are in the monogamous knitter group, please tell us how on earth you do that. What keeps you so disciplined if, for example, you are knitting away on The Most Epic Sweater, and a majority of your friends cast on Spectacular Cowl — how do you not cast that on, also? What keeps you restrained?
If you are in the Magpie Camp with the Oooo Shiny problem, like me, then let’s talk about how to address things.
- Find them. Find all of your UFOs that you are not currently working on (or lug around with you in your knitting bag) and put them in a central location. This might take you a few minutes, or even a few days (no, really – you never know when you’ll run across something that you’ve tucked away for safekeeping).
- Assess them. Pull each and every item out of its project bag or basket and think about it: Why did you put this aside? Do you love it enough to finish it? Will you keep it for yourself or give it to a loved one? Basically: Is it worthy of your time and attention to get it to a finished state? If yes, then put it in a bin to be worked on. If no, set it aside (possibly in another bin) to be ripped out or dealt with otherwise.
- Make a plan for the items you’ve decided to keep. Determine what will take the least amount of time to finish, and add that project to your knitting (or crochet) bag, and make an effort to actually finish it. Once that object is finished, on to the next one! Or you could take the time out for a “palate cleanser” project — something quick that will give you the “I did it!” satisfaction that we as crafters crave.
- Make a plan for the items you’re frogging. Donate the object (even in its unfinished state) to Goodwill, or ask a friend if they’d be interested in finishing it. Rip it out and reclaim your yarn, to be used for something else. If you’re worried about your yarn looking like a bowl of Ramen noodles, then you could wet it or steam it to get the kinks out. Let it dry completely then store it with your other yarn.
I hope that we’ve inspired you to delve into your Unfinished Objects and really take a look at them. If you have questions about your unfinished items, you can drop in to any of our Finish It or Frog It? Sessions, which are scheduled for May 3 (2 – 3 pm), May 10 (1 – 2 pm) & May 24 (7 – 8 pm). We can help you figure out where in your pattern you’ve left off or help you frog your item.
If you would like to share your pictures of your UFOs, please send them to email@example.com, or post them to our Facebook page!