7 Reasons UFOs Just Happen & 5 Questions to Help Reduce Your UFO Pile

Lily of the Valley Shawl in White ZephurSince eliminating UFOs is on my 2010 Knitting Resolutions, I took a deep breath and spread out all of my WIPs on my bed. My goal was to face up to the fact that there were just too many knitting projects that for one reason or another were still in process.

Here are 7 reasons in my knitting life that UFOs happen

  1. The weather changes so that it’s either too hot or too cold to be knitting with the material involved.
  2. There’s a special gift that has to be knit for an event that’s happening in less time than you have to make said piece
  3. The knitting you’re working on requires endless amounts of stockingknit or other repetitive activity so that you’re unable to knit another stitch due to boredom.
  4. The pattern requires concentration away from other more enticing projects.
  5. For reasons beyond your comprehension, you need to rip back more rows than you can face in the present moment which somehow stretches on into years.
  6. The event that you were knitting the piece for happened sometime in the past and you’re not sure what to do with the finished article if you were to get the motivation back to finish it.
  7. You have nicer, newer patterns and yarn to conquer.

To put as many of these once exciting projects off of my to knit list, I assessed each one for the following to determine if there was even the remotest possibility that I might pick them up again.

  1. Is the project in  a color that I like?
  2. Is the project a style that I would currently find fun to wear?
  3. Is the project something that is close to being finished?
  4. Would the yarn be more appealing as another item (for me or someone else)?
  5. Are there sentimental reasons for keeping the unfinished project?

If I answered yes to any of the above, I kept the project on the needles. Otherwise, it went to the yarn winder to live another life as something wonderful.

While I openly admit, this was a difficult process. There were projects that I had started with good intentions like the first of my wedding shawls, but I was never going to finish them. So, I rewound the yarn and hope to make something wonderful out of the recaptured yarn.

I must admit that once I finished doing this I felt a sense of freedom. It’s like the unfinished pieces were literally tying me down.

How long do you let your unfinished projects languish before you unravel them?

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

One Response to “7 Reasons UFOs Just Happen & 5 Questions to Help Reduce Your UFO Pile”

  1. Daphne Johnston

    I recently unraveled a sweater that I must have started 23-25 years ago. I stopped knitting on it with only 1 sleeve to finish, and somewhere along the line, I lost the pattern book.

    I did really like the yarn (70% cotton with acrylic – mottled look) and it knit up very evenly. So I ripped the sweater out, and reconditioned the yarn.

    I have now got the back done on a cartigan, and I know I will enjoy it when I finish. However, I seem to be falling into a pattern, as now have 4 projects on the go at the moment. ( I did finish 2 sweaters as Christmas gifts, and have done one Nightsong shawl and 1 pair of socks since then)

    I pretty well stopped knitting for about 25 years – quilted during that interim, but I seem to be back to knitting as my interest in quilting is waning.

    However, it does seem to me that close to a 25 yr timeframe is a long time to decide to rip and redo. But, far better than leaving it for another 25 years, and then having the kid pitch it from when clearing out the house!

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