Saturday, August 25, 2012

To My UFOs: An Apology

Somewhere in my mother’s closet, a novel is waiting for its ending. And its middle. That novel is my first unfinished object. It’s a little more than loosely based on Homecoming, a young adult novel which begins with a mother abandoning her four children in a Rhode Island shopping plaza parking lot. In my novel, a mother is forcibly removed from her home while her children hid in the rafters, and rather than making their way down the east coast to grandma’s farm, my protagonists headed for the woods. But the premise was pretty much the same. About twelve notebook pages in, I lost interest. And so began my long career in starting but not always finishing.

In the years since I penned that partial novel, I’ve gotten worse and then better about completing the projects I begin. Once I took up knitting, it was only a matter of time before I began to accumulate UFOs of the fiber variety. In my years of knitting I have shunned tens of sad, uncoupled fingerless gloves, ill-fitting single mittens, horribly bungled lace stoles, and even a few well-intentioned sweaters that fell victim to too many flaws, lack of sustained interest, or both.

I feel for these poor unrealized knits, I really do. Their un-actualized potential – to warm chilly extremities or envelop a body in wooly goodness – inspires guilt. So I have decided to take action. Rather than allow them to languish for time immemorial in the bottom of a basket, obscured by balls of yarn I’ll likely never touch, I’m resurrecting them from their fibery graves. Every month, I will salvage one sad, unfinished knit until I don’t have any left. I will give each project closure either by repurposing it, frogging it and assigning the yarn to a future project, and maybe even by finishing it. My UFOs deserve this; just because I never completed them it doesn’t mean I knit each stitch with less love or care.

Embarrassingly, I have more than enough UFOs to shine the spotlight on one each month for at least a year, but I must not be the only one with a shameful collection. What half-finished, too-soon abandoned craft projects keep you up at night? Tell me about them, and we can wallow in guilt together. And then we will do something about it.


  1. Hi Heidi! I found your blog from Ravelry -- was just trolling for some NFC in studio worsted, and found your skein of Old Town (look for a pm!). Coincidentally, blogless me just posted a similar thought on the Whitknits Whatknots group on Ravelry. My UFO's are weighing me down! I love your idea of finishing one a month -- in fact that is actually what I did in August, so I am one month into the experiment and I didn't even realize it!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! August is a great month to begin winnowing away at the UFOs. While I'm starting this little project in September, I did manage to successfully complete a couple of items for the Ravellenics WIPs wrestling event. It feels so nice to move items from the in progress pile to the finished pile, doesn't it?