Unfinished Objects vs. the Everyday Crocheter

Simple Tips to Combat a UFO Invasion

If you’re like most crocheters, you are experiencing a UFO invasion in your home. Are flying saucers or little green men lurking around your yarn stash? No, but there are probably a number of Unfinished Objects (UFOs) lurking with completion seemingly just out of reach. Signs of UFO invasion include half-finished afghans, un-seamed sweaters and

UnfinishedObjects

If you’re like most crocheters, you are experiencing a UFO invasion in your home. Are flying saucers or little green men lurking around your yarn stash? No, but there are probably a number of Unfinished Objects (UFOs) lurking with completion seemingly just out of reach. Signs of UFO invasion include half-finished afghans, un-seamed sweaters and single socks. What causes a crocheter to start one new project after another without finishing the first one? Let’s explore the factors which lead to START-itis and a few strategies for getting across the finish line.

Learning New Skills

UFOs may require techniques that you have yet to master. If you’ve hit a stumbling block caused by a gap in your skills, stop and determine what the project is trying to teach you. Do you need to learn chart reading, buttonholes or invisible seaming? Whatever it is, there is sure to be a book, video, or friend around to help. Take some time to practice your new skill and then tackle that UFO again. Don’t be discouraged – this as an opportunity to grow.

Using the Right Tools

Sometimes the problem is not having the correct tools at hand. Start by making sure you’ve got the right hook for the job. If “splitty” yarn is the problem, try going up one hook size or use a hook with a blunt head. Slippery yarn should be paired with wooden or bamboo hooks while “grabby” yarn should be worked with slick metal hooks. Finally, if crochet causes pain, look for hooks with ergonomic handles. Other time saving tools include stitch markers and chart holders which can make it easier (and faster) to follow a pattern. Blocking wires can also save a great deal of time when wet blocking lace.

Taking a Stitch in Time

Perhaps you’ve stalled because the project is dragging on too long and you’ve lost interest. There are ways to increase your productivity without growing bored. If you know you are unlikely to seam a sweater, try working the body of garments in one piece. Making a granny square sweater or afghan? Find a way to join as you go along instead of seaming the motifs together at the very end.

Getting UFOs across the Finish Line

Periodically go through your UFOs and separate them into three piles – reclaim, toss and finish. The reclaim pile contains projects which will never be completed, but the yarn can be salvaged for future crafts. The toss pile contains projects which can’t be saved, so throw them away and don’t look back. Projects in the finish pile may require skill building, specialized tools and/or extra time to complete. Determine what exactly they need and make a plan. Select the ones which are closest to completion and put them with your current works-in-progress. Be ruthless as you sort through your UFOs! After all, tossing and reclaiming will make room for more crafty goodness.

Knowing When to Let Go

Sometimes it’s difficult to admit that a project is going nowhere. You may feel guilty about throwing it out after investing so much time and energy into it. Iyanla Vanzant says that people come into our lives for “a reason, a season or a lifetime,” and I believe the same applies to craft projects. Maybe the sweater you started in 1997 wasn’t meant to be a finished garment. It’s possible that the project was meant to teach a lesson instead. Time spent on unfinished projects isn’t wasted if you recognize the lessons they teach. Whether you choose to reclaim, toss or finish your UFOs, you will have surely gained something special. yarn ball

Comments
  • Kathleen M.

    We have a lovely lady in our shawl ministry that is always very happy to take over and finish other people’s UFOs. She says it’s a win-win for her because she doesn’t have to pay for the yarn or count stitches in the starting chain, and she gets the credit for the finished project. I would only change one thing about your “reclaim, toss or finish” article. I suggest by all means reclaim or finish but before you toss see if you can’t find someone else to finish it for you, especially if it is something that could be donated to charity.

    Reply
    • I like your idea of finding someone to finish. Lately I was asked to do just that. Now if only I could find someone to finish me UFOs. My hitch is the seaming of garments, I never feel they are good enough (mostly in the appearance of the seam). I hate weaving in strands so I usually knit or crochet double strands with the end to avoid the weaving. When I have to add another ball or color I do the same, use the end strand to avoid having to weave in.

      Reply
  • That’s why I never took up quilting! LoL Since I retired & have time to work my projects I always allow myself about 2-3 hours in the evening when I’m watching TV to work my projects. So far I’ve finished 4 sweaters. one mermaid’s tail, and 2 scarves; I’m working on another ‘summer’ cardigan made with “I Love This Cotton” 100% cotton yarn & I’m loving the pattern and the cotton (“I Love This Cotton”) yarn!

    Reply
  • I am looking for 3 skeins of Lion Brand Jamie 288 Parfait Print to finish a baby blanket. HELP

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