January 2nd, 2013

31 Days to Get Organized: WIPs – Keep or Frog

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Welcome to day 2 of our 31 Days to Get Organized series. Today we’re digging out all of our knitting and crochet works-in-progress (otherwise know as WIPs). Some of you don’t have a pile of unfinished projects. You may be a one-project-at-a-time kind of person. Or you may never have more than a couple projects going at a time.

But some of us are overwhelmed by the growing number of projects that we’ve started and can’t seem to finish. There are many reasons that keep us from finishing a project.

  • Running out of yarn
  • Getting bored with the pattern
  • Starting a new project you’re more interested in
  • Getting stuck with some part of the pattern
  • The person you were making the project for outgrew the size you were making
  • You no longer like it or you never liked it
  • You took out the needles or hook and can’t remember the size you were using
  • Holiday or gift making took over and you never picked up the project again
  • You have finished all the pieces, but hate seaming.

Whatever reason you’ve dropped a project, it’s ok to not finish it if you don’t love it anymore. Give yourself permission to let it go.

You can see above the Berroco Eastlake sweater I started 4 1/2 years ago. You know a project has been around awhile when the yarn has been discontinued. (Here’s hoping I have enough yarn to finish the sweater, otherwise it’ll be a short-sleeve sweater). This is my oldest project. My knitting gauge may have changed over the years. But I still really like this pattern and love the yarn. So it’s a keeper.

I recently looked at a multi-block afghan I’ve been knitting for years and realized I hate the yarn. Every time I picked up the afghan to knit, it made me grumpy. But I do like the pattern. So I gave myself permission to give away the blocks I had knit and the rest of the yarn too. Then I picked my favorite yarn and started the afghan over.

So your task today is to pull out all of your projects, old and new, and decide what you’re going to finish, and what you’re going to frog (rip out). If you can’t stand the idea of frogging it, you can also pass it onto someone else to finish.

What’s your oldest WIP? What project are you determined to finish in 2013? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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49 Responses to “31 Days to Get Organized: WIPs – Keep or Frog”

  1. Phonsino Says:

    I made a sweater. My very first. I used over $200.00 worth of yarn. It took me 4 years to finish and cost me $65.00 to have it put together. It’s a jacket type sweater and I don’t like the way it looks on me. So I’m still deciding should I keep it just to say wow this the first sweater I made or give it away.

  2. Mary Says:

    Oldest UFO. a sweater i started for my son, he was around 8 years old. Pattern was also great for his sister, age 6, so just in case he grew too much before I finished I made it in a color either would wear. Children are now 26 and 24,sleeves still not done. Should I just wait for grandchildren?

  3. Mom2Schnauzers Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your Berroco Eastlake! I just finished a sweater, on Christmas Eve, that I started 4 yrs and 11 mos prior. Much like your multi-block afghan, I started it in a different yarn and just was not happy. Even when I started over with the new and improved yarn, it was so overwhelming that it kept getting pushed to the bottom of the pile. I must say though that I felt a huge sense of accomplishment getting it all seamed up and under the tree in time for Christmas this year.

  4. Debbie Gudger Says:

    Thanks for the encouragement to dump the loser projects! I want my needles back and the ribbon sweater which is now too small…even though it’s only 1/2 finished…I’m not even wasting time to rip it…I’m tossing it all! Life’s too short to have unfinished projects guilting me! Yay! Free at last!

  5. nah Says:

    My oldest UFO is about 34 years old. I began a strip afghan when we moved into our house and got a new couch. Eventually we got rid of that couch, but the strips I had done went with the new one, so I got new coordinating colors and every so often I get a strip out and work on it. Now the second couch is about ready to go away.

  6. Avlor Says:

    This is so timely! I need to decide on several projects. But I had just frogged the start of a pair of socks the other day. I did not enjoy knitting the particular pattern and wanted to free my pretty yarn from the “dungeon”. They’d been languishing with that pattern for a year!

  7. Jayme Says:

    I made a Rowan Shrug with listed pattern yarn and the finished product made me look like a bag lady. It sat draped over a chair for 6 months before I frogged the whole thing. Also on the needles and not begging to be finished are two sweaters with a mulberry silk/alpaca single ply (splitsville) and a Berroco Seduce (slippery town) headed to no where fast.

  8. Barbara O'Brien Trumblee Says:

    My oldest unfinished project was 16 years old. After 5 cross-country moves, I finished the woven chenille scarves (they just needed the fringe twisted) and gave one away for Christmas. There are quite a few more to be tackled, but it’s a start.

  9. alfabch Says:

    Just what I needed, going to FROG the fingerless gloves that just don’t fit right; and the scarf that I can’t remember which pattern I was using.

  10. Ember Isle Says:

    My girlfriend is heading a finish it or frog it, on Rav. I told her, I need a FIND it. My stash is so huge and disorganized that I don’t even know where the projects that I’ve set aside have gone 🙁

    Oh! And you forgot my biggest failure: blocking. I’ve had two Hemlock Ring afghans completed for 4 years, but since I’ve never tackled blocking them, they haven’t been gifted, as intended.

  11. Cathy Johnson Says:

    I have numerous UFOs and now I have lost about two sizes. Do I finish those that are nearly done and sew them up to fit me now or do I frog them and start again making tem smaller? I have a very nice Chimera sweater jacket made with very expensive Italia yarn that my late hubby bought for me. It is way too big now. I am definitely wanting to unknit it but now I cannot find the chimera pattern. :-/

  12. craftycarole Says:

    I started a cotton rug for the daughter’s room I think is headed toward the frog pond… it’s a few years old and I have better things to do with my knitting time!

  13. Diane Says:

    Hope you’re feeling better… You’re giving me the courage to pull out the Cambridge Cardigan that I started a couple of years ago.. I’m going to check it out tomorrow and figure out whether it lives or croaks! I think it’s interesting that I’m doing this instead of doing what I originally planned to do: start a new sweater 🙂

  14. Rachelle Crosbie Says:

    My oldest WIP is my Central Park Hoodie which is almost 3 years old. I still like the pattern, though I chose to do the Viking Cable version which means it’s a touch more complex. I still love the yarn which is a felted single of Merino and Angora (bunny), my problem is simply that it’s not a portable project and is too warm to knit in summer. In winter I have problems finding knitting time as my fingers get too cold. I’m determined to finish it before our winter though, my current favourite cardigan is about had it.

  15. margaret kolb Says:

    Well, that does it! I’ve been working on a baby sweater for a couple months (it’s okay, she’s tiny and I make a 12 month size) and after trying three or four things was at the point of just gritting my teeth and getting on with it. Thanks to you all, I’ve identified the problem – I hate the yarn. I like the way it looks when knit up but just hate knitting with it. So I’m ripping it out, returning the unused balls to the shop and putting the re-wound balls in my swap basket! Phew, what a load off my mind. I’ll pick up some nicewashable merino wool and go to it again. Thanks.

  16. lisa Says:

    my oldest WIP is a 30 year old baby afghan that i started for my first child…. but i have to admit my 4 younger ones got finished…..

  17. Claire Says:

    I did this two years ago. Got rid of many old projects. Frogged them AND gave yarn to charity so it would not haunt me! Liberating! Now, I keep no more than three projects on needles at a time. That way I have something to switch to when I am bored, but not so many that they get lost. So far, have finished everything i started in these last two years. Not buying tons of yarn is hard, but I keep track of what I like on Ravelry, so I can get to it later. Still have a decent stash at this point. This was the best thing I ever did for my knitting life.

  18. Mali Says:

    Oldest WIP? the cardigan of a twinset, started in 1971 on a family vacation, under my grandmother’s tutelage. I’m a completely different demographic now, and hold on to this WIP for sentimental reasons.

    Project I’m determined to finish in 2013? I’ve had an Alice Starmore Oregon cardigan, original J and S colorway, on the needles since 2006. I’m 120 pounds lighter now than when I started this project, and i’m trying to figure out how to deal. I know I should frog and start over, but it’s a lot of knitting to rip out – the largest size, up to within 2 inches of finishing. There’s no way I can finish it and wear it – it’s just way too big. Some days I toy with just felting it and making a cushion cover :=) I am determined to finish this one this year, either by frogging and reknitting, or repurposing.

  19. Monday knitter Says:

    My oldest UFO is a purse that I have actually completed but have never felted!!! I spoke with my sister-in-law and she is making a purse now too so I told her to finish hers and we can hand felt them together!!! It could be fun to complete it with a buddy!!! I’m not sure I’ll even like the purse now but hopefully we’ll see!!! I think my purse is about 5 years old!!!

  20. LisaR Says:

    My oldest UFO is a Bramble Bag that I started very early in my knitting journey. I think I will frog it and use the yarn for something else…maybe some felted slippers. The pattern was complicated to me at that time, and I couldn’t read my knitting well…I was traveling and kept losing my place in the pattern. I don’t like the yarn any more (substituted a variegated yarn for the two colors in the pattern….if I want that bag, I need to start fresh!

  21. ruthmcglew Says:

    My oldest WIP is probably four years old. I love the pattern and had saved my parents “Christmas money” for a couple of years to afford the yarn. However, I cannot figure out the pattern (I’ve been knitting since I was 13 so I have a bit of experience) I called the company and was told “you should be able to figure it out.” Have taken it to three different yarns stores, charted but none of us can figure the patten out. I do have another pattern in mind for the yarn so guess tonight I’ll check to see if there is enough yarn for the Aran sweater and start frogging – otherwise, it’s just going to sit!

  22. Prezlaura Says:

    My oldest project is about 3 or 4 years old (it isn’t a good sign when you can’t remember how old it is). It is a long coat sweater; major knitting!!! I am determined to finish it!! I have one sleeve totally done, the other half done and the back half done. I am easilly bored and distracted so I knit on it and then get the urge to start something new. I think part of the problem is that the sweater is so overwhelming; lots of knitting, difficult pattern and stitches(cables, bobbles, charts, etc…) so I eventually opt to knit something more acheivable after working on it for awhile. It is funny that you start with this question; I just got it out yesterday and evaluated it and have it “accessable” again. I guess there is hope?!?!?!?!?!;-) Thanks for getting me motivated on reoorganizing and staying organized!!! Great Blog!!!

  23. chrisknitz Says:

    I am thinking the cabled sweater in Thaki Donegal Tweed is just not going to survive, started in 2007? But even older than that is the Lopi Lite Sweater, from 2002? I hate the scratchiness of the yarns. I will never finish them. I just need to give up the ghosts!

  24. Leanne Says:

    In the Fall, in preparation for all of my Chirstmas knitting, I vowed to take out every unfinished WIPs and finish them all or else I wouldn’t allow myself to knit another thing. I ended up finishing 3 dolls, a sweater and a pair of socks. I also frogged a shawl I had started the year before, beads and all. I am pretty much caught up now, except for one pair of socks that I can’t bring myself to get motivated to finish. Maybe this year is the year! They are 3 years old next month.

  25. Castiron Says:

    My oldest WIP is a crocheted thread motif blouse started in 2005 that may not even fit me when it’s done; the main reason I want to finish it is so there’s a pattern photo for Ravelry, and if I do decide to give up on it, I’ll just throw out what I’ve done so far — it’s motifs, so there’ll be lots of broken lengths of thread if I unravel, and since I’ve only used up about $5 of thread so far, I’m not worried about reusing it.

    My oldest knit WIP is a cabled sweater from a beautiful color of Cascade 220, started in September 2006. It’s taking forever because I’m improvising the design and hit occasional snags; it’s not mindless knitting! But there’s only a few inches of yoke and the neckband left to do.

  26. Dena Childs Says:

    Starting a new project it always so exciting. I think that’s how a lot of us suddenly have 14 projects half started.

  27. Dena Childs Says:

    Next week we’ll be tackling our yarn stashes. Maybe we’ll all dig up some things that have been missing for awhile.

    I love the Hemlock Ring afghan. You’re so close to be done with them. Here’s a blocking video to maybe inspire you to finish the final step. Good luck! http://www.yarn.com/videos/video/How-to-Block-Lace-Knitting-with-Blocking-Wires

  28. Dena Childs Says:

    I can relate a little. I’m determined to finish crocheting an afghan I started to match my new living room, which is neither new anymore or our living room since we moved this summer.

  29. Knitasa Says:

    I started my re-organization by going through my knitting library and discarding
    almost a dozen books. However my big joy was finding the magazine with the pattern for Kaffe Fassett’s Cloud jacket which I had started a long time ago. It is half done and has been living in a plastic box on the closet shelf because I coudn’t find the intarsia chart! Now I can finally finish this UFO and start looking through all of the others – frog, discard, finish?

  30. Lauren Says:

    I took some finished sweater pieces, a sleeve, a back of a kaffe sweater that was huge and felted them. Yep. Now I have UFO felted fabric to use to make a bag or clutch..

  31. Dena Childs Says:

    One step closer to being something.

  32. Dena Childs Says:

    Finding lost items is probably one of my favorite things about organizing.

  33. Donna Says:

    my oldest wip is an afghan i started crocheting in 1975 or so. it is very old acrylic yarn in shades of yellow. i loved that yarn 35 years ago! I may finish it some day. I tried frogging it one time and the yarn is too fuzzy and knotted. i will sort through the rest of the wips i have and let go of the ones i don’t love!

  34. Dena Childs Says:

    The long sweater coat sounds like it’s going to be amazing! Keep it up. Sounds like a good project to alternate with the smaller, quick projects.

  35. Dena Childs Says:

    A felting party!

  36. Dena Childs Says:

    If you hate the yarn, it takes a lot of the joy out of knitting. And that’s a big reason why a lot of knit, because it’s enjoyable.

    Great idea to have a swap basket! I’ll have to include that in one of the posts this month.

  37. Dena Childs Says:

    Seduce is lovely when knit. But the slippery-ness of it makes it a challenge to knit.

  38. Dena Childs Says:

    Hurray for Christmas finished projects! Congratulations.

  39. Dena Childs Says:

    Grandchildren or another child.

  40. Dena Childs Says:

    It’s hard to let go of your first sweater. When you pull it out, do you feel proud of your accomplishment or grumpy because you don’t like how it looks on you?

  41. Patty Says:

    I like to use some mitts, fingerless gloves, or wristwarmers in the winter when my hands and fingers get cold – maybe you could knit a pair of those in something you will LOVE to wear (that’s what I did!!) and that will help you knit when it is colder…

  42. Dena Childs Says:

    Yes, some yarns are too difficult to unravel, like mohair. It kind of fuses to itself.

  43. Greta Shaver Says:

    A friend of mine has poor circulation sometimes and her fingers get so cold that it hurts to knit. So she bought some electric hand warmer mitts through the internet and they seem to do the trick. She let me try them one time when we were knitting at her house and they felt great!

  44. Greta Shaver Says:

    I can’t think of what my oldest WIP is, but I have two that make me feel the worst. One is a lace weight vest that I had taken on as a store project back in March and the guilt I feel over not having finished it has really taken a toll on my knitting spirit. The other is a blanket that I started for my sister back when I first started working at WEBS (Sept. 2010). It was meant as a Graduation present, then it turned into a Christmas Present, and now almost 2 years later I’m on the border but I can’t quite get it together enough to finish! But, now is the time! If I don’t get through all of these WIPs this month it probably wasn’t meant to be!

  45. Valerie Hebert Says:

    My oldest UFO (well, almost the oldest- some are so lost to antiquity that I don’t count them) is a really gorgeous sweater from 1993 or so with the iconic Japanese typhoon wave on it. It has so many colors and so many flecks of this and that that by the time I finished the complicated front I didn’t fit the sweater anymore and I just stopped. It did come out smaller than I anticipated, but it is lovely. I should drag it out and finish it as a gift for someone small.

  46. Rowena Says:

    My oldest WIP is a hat from a pattern I purchased at WEBS in 2004-ish. I got to a certain point & realised there was a mistake in the pattern. Showed it to someone at WEBS who agreed. The problem is that the company that published the pattern is out of business & it is pre-Ravelry. It is such a complex 2-colour pattern, where you wrap stitches & unwrap them later to make an ethereal overlay, that I can’t bear to rip out the work done so far but I may have to start over to have any hope of figuring out where the pattern goes astray.

  47. Xena91388 Says:

    It’s amazing how much the yarn type can make or break the WIP status of projects. Most of my abandoned projects were made with very cheap acrylics which I absolutely hate but sometimes it’s the only choice if I’m pressed for a specific weight or color and nothing else is available or within my price range. Forcing myself to use a yarn I hate makes the whole thing seem like a chore. When I’m working with a nice soft yarn that flows through my fingers like liquid silk, I get my projects finished in no time.

  48. Kati Says:

    My oldest WIP is a sweater I started for my kid cousin when I was 14. I have the front and back but no sleeves and I think I lost the pattern. I may try to finish it for my daughter… but more likely my cousin’s eventual daughter. Or in all reality, never

  49. Kristy Says:

    It has taken me several days to gather them all, even though they are all in the same room. I have 59 WIP’s. I may have a problem, LOL. I have no idea which one is the oldest as it was enough of a challenge just to gather those together. I’ve frogged 3 others and have 4 more to frog in addition to that number. But, thanks to your article, I’m taming the madness and getting organized. I have to bust my stash (both fiber and fabric) in order to make room for the sweetest addition to our family. It’s a great motivation! Your article is giving me tangible goals to work at and even if it takes more than 31 days, that’s ok. I really wish I could have a professional organizer just show up and help me with this one space in my home. With a newborn, it would just make everything so much simpler. But thank you for sharing your tips specifically aimed at a crafty space. Lifesaver you are!

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