January 4th, 2009

To Be Unfinished

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In my post a couple of days ago I mentioned that I wanted to get my UFO’s undercontrol.  I’m a great starter, but completing projects is not something I excel at.  Not trying to make excuses for myself, but I do think the constant parade of new yarns and patterns into the store contributes to my high start rate and low finish rate.

The first step in this process was to gather together all of my UFO’s.  Fortunately, earlier in 2008 I did thake the time to get them organized.  They were in one of two places in three separate bags/baskets:

I unpacked everything and took individual pictures, which I will use to document what I need to accomplish.  I have 14 UFO’s/WIPs.  As I looked over the projects one thing became apparent to me – there are some projects among my UFO’s that will always be just that – UFO’s.  Why?  There are two reasons.

Reason #1:  The boys kept growing while the project did nothing:

This is a hat I started for Jackson at least two years ago.  It’s our standard recipe Hat from Measurements pattern and I was using Valley Yarns Lenox.  I planned to have the main color in blue with a contrasting stripe in black.  As cast-on, this hat will not fit.  It might fit Jonathan, but when I showed him the yarn and colors he wasn’t thrilled.  I’m not going to knit a hat for him that he’s never going to wear.  So, I’ll rip out the cast-on, but the yarn back into my stash and move on.

This sock is also problematic:

Knit using Fixation and standard recipe sock pattern, I started this sock right after I finished my first sock two summers ago.  I wanted to keep on the sock bandwagon and had Jonathan pick the color of yarn and I planned to make him a pair of socks.   This is as far as I got.  His foot, however, did not stop growing.  I have decided to give this sock a reprieve of sorts.  I need to get back into knitting socks and I think I should just pick up where I left off and finish this sock.  I need the practice, if nothing else.

Reason #2:  I’m just not that into you anymore:

The truth hurts, but I have to be honest both with myself and the project.  I know better than to set myself up to fail.  There are a handful of projects in my pile that are just never going to be completed.  I either don’t care for the design anymore, don’t really care for the yarn or a combination of both.  Keep in mind, some of these projects are upwards of four years old.

Here’s a perfect example:

This was suppose to be the Ribbon Shell from Blue Sky Alpacas knit in their 100% cotton.  First off, I don’t love working with cotton, but when I first saw the pattern I really liked it.  I still do, but not in cotton.  Then, I picked navy.  What the heck was I thinking??  I rarely wear navy.  Sorry Ribbon Shell – it’s just not meant to be.

Same holds true with this item:

Tank Girl from SnB that I started (smartly) in black but once not so smartly in Misti Pima Cotton/Silk .  I started this project after the Ribbon Shell and I think I felt I’d be okay with this cotton since it was blended with silk.  Not so much.  Not happening. 

This is also not happening, at least not now:

This was the yarn I selected (and even wound) for the Baby Surprise Jacket Artyarns Supermerino.  Maybe someday this project will come back around, but not right now.

Then there’s this:

Basic Grannies that I spent several days working on for a possible store project.  I was using Valley Yarns Longmeadow.  The idea is still rumbling about in my head and may show itself at some point.  We’ll see.

Lastly is this:

A scarf I started for my MIL last holiday and never finished (sorry Barbara).  It’s Artyarns Beaded Ensemble.  I ordered the yarn in this colorway, specificially for this project (we only stock the regular Ensemble).  The problem?  First off, why am I knitting this gorgeous yarn on Crystalite needles?  The needles are definitely part of the problem.  The other issue is that I don’t love the rib pattern.  In fact, I’ve stopped and started this scarf at least twice, maybe three times.  I just haven’t found a pattern I like.  I’m not totally tabling this project, but it’s not at the top of the list right now.

So, that’s 6 out of 14 projects that I’m going to walk away from (5 really since I intended to work out the Ensemble scarf at some point).  I’m going to rip out what’s knit on those 5 projects and either put the yarn back into my stash or gift it to someone at the store.

I’m already feeling more in control.  Tomorrow, I’ll share with you the projects that I intend to complete.   Plus two surprises I found.

Now, what about you?  Where do you stand with UFO’s?



14 Responses to “To Be Unfinished”

  1. livnletlrn Says:

    ALL of my WIPs are, miraculously, FOs at this point! This strange phenomenon actually happened a couple of weeks ago and I started the Sylvi sweater for my dau. Thought I’d also cast on a bunch of other things around that time, but I was having so much fun w/ Sylvi, doing cabled back portion when I could concentrate and simple seed stitch sleeves/front pieces as social knitting, that I stayed with just that one project and – wham! – 2 wks later and it’s just waiting for my husband to make the glass beads and buttons that I need to finish it off (see blog). I’m currently swatching for the Next Big Thing(s), but have nothing in particular in motion yet, so I’m filling the space with some hats that will be donated for charity when we come for the Webs (not) Super Bowl bash. 🙂

  2. Kristi Says:

    Oh, Kathy, this is a wonderful way to document WIPs. I think I will have to flatter you with imitation on my blog.

    Of course, some of my WIPs are class projects… 🙂

  3. Mary Says:

    Wow…I don’t even want to THINK about my UFOs, nevermind post them so publicly. 🙂

    The amount of blue projects is really rather interesting though!

  4. Andrea Says:

    I sort of decided (because I’m scatterbrained) to only.. work on one project at a time. Most of my UFO’s are items that I lost interest in so for right now, my only UFO is the one I’m working on. I have no idea how long this plan will last :o)

  5. Carol Says:

    I wish my UFOs were as easy to sort out! Have you tried mistake rib for the scarf??

  6. NancyJak Says:

    I’m also one of those people that only knit one project (well, sometimes two) at a time. I was actually thinking of changing that up in 2009 and setting up projects and starting a couple of smaller ones because I think I get bored of only one project at a time – and I have yarn that’s dying to be knit!!

  7. Kim Says:

    I have a few random UFO’s floating around ( a washcloth I started years ago, etc.) but for the most part I just have my most current two projects going. When I moved and organized my stash a few weeks back I found a few barely started projects (some of which I couldn’t remember/tell what they were) and frogged them for the yarn.

  8. Amy Says:

    Hi there! I rarely have more than one or two projects going at once, because I get into total trouble with finishing as well…but I am in the final stretch of a sweater for my mom, and with only a sleeve and a half to go and some minor neck finishing, I’ve just stalled. No reason, just can’t make myself pick it up again. Maybe because it’s a tad boring.

  9. karin Says:

    First of all, you are very brave to be showing all those UFOs. Some of them made me chuckle. 🙂 We have all been there.

    But that last one? The beaded scarf? Rip it out. Not knowing what size the yarn is, I would say go up 2-3 needle sizes, cast on an odd number of stitches, but at least 25, and do the following (every row the same):

    k1, * purl 2 tog., YO * repeat between *.

    I promise it will be beautiful.

  10. Melissa Says:

    I found that by keeping my projects and their status up to date on Ravelry I am more apt to keep up with them (some go into hibernation if I intend to return to them, some get frogged, but most get finished).

    Give it a try, it might help! 🙂 Plus, it just keeps things more organized all around. You’ll know what yarn, needles, pattern and special notes (such as the amount of repeats or a pattern adaptation) you made.

    Can’t wait to see what you’ve decided to keep! (Though I was secretly hoping you’d keep to sock knitting, but I’m biased)

  11. Pauline Says:

    What a great inspiration! I can’t wait to get home from deployment and go through all of my UFOs/WIPs with such a clear perspective.
    I finally started using the VY Lenox I had stashed for a specific sweater – what a fabulous yarn! Why didn’t I start on it sooner? Such a great yarn to knit – even in the middle of the caribbean it’s just yummy to work with — beautiful stitch definition and SO soft! Thank you!

  12. kathy Says:

    Melissa – I did keep the sock! How oculd I not?

    Pauline – So glad you are enjoying our Lenox. It is yummy. Send us some warmth if you can 🙂

    Karin – thanks for the suggestion! I think it might just be all it needs. Now to “gently” frog.

    Mary – I think they look more blue than they really are. The sock is defintely more black. Ugh – this newish camera is not cutting it.

    I admire the rest of you for controlling what you have on the needles!

    I did find this entire process very liberating.

  13. Deborah (aka Mt. Mom) Says:

    Good for you, Kathy!!

    I have 7 projects going, including one I just cast on yesterday. Plus 1 “hibernating” sock pair that I plan to restart sometime soon. This is pretty average for me; very seldom fewer, but sometimes more.

  14. I’ve got my hands up, so take your aim « Chicken Betty _ life from scratch Says:

    […] that in mind and some delightful visual encouragement from Kathy I organized and trimmed the fat from my project lists. First I tackled the much easier […]

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