Does anyone else ever have so many different works in progress that some of them get sidelined? Maybe for weeks, months or even years at a time?
Well that’s the state that I’ve found myself in. I love the excitement of starting something new, buying new yarn, picking out a great pattern… And I usually enjoy the process of making something too. But there are only so many hours in a day, and if something new comes along I get distracted and put the old thing away.
Just for a while. I’ll come back to it. Or so I tell myself. Before I know it four years have passed and the intended recipient for a baby blanket is about to start school. Oh dear.
I know for a fact that I’m not the only one that does this. I see lots of similar stories over on Instagram, people telling themselves off for starting something new and abandoning all other WiPs in pursuit of something more exciting. And I think we’re all guilty of encouraging each other in this too! We all laugh and say how it’s only natural, it’s part of the creative process, it’s always more exciting to start something than finish it… And we try to ignore that grain of guilt that reminds us that we have at least seventeen ongoing projects and that maybe, just maybe, we should finish something for a change.
Anyway, at the beginning of August I came across this post by @yarning_mama:
You can see my comment there, saying that I should probably finish some of the many unfinished projects that were lying around the house.
And then I decided that rather than just saying it, I would actually do something about it. It was a spur of the moment decision, and realised that I needed to make myself accountable for my decision or I’d never follow it through. So I wrote up my list and posted it to Instagram.
Making myself accountable was a vital part of the process. I questioned (several times) whether or not I’d be able to actually finish six whole projects in the space of a month. And there were times when I was just plain bored with what I was working on (particularly when I got to the last one and couldn’t jump between projects any more!) But knowing that people would know if I didn’t finish definitely helped to motivate me. And people were just so kind and encouraging through the whole month too, celebrating with me when another one was ticked off the list, offering advice and generally just being lovely!
I decided to start with a couple of easy wins. I knew I’d need to feel like I was making progress early on or I’d get discouraged and give up. So my list began with two active WiPs, that were already in my living room and would only take a couple of evenings each to finish. After posting my list on 2nd August, I was able to post my first completed blanket, my Cake & Cream ripple, only two days later!
And two days after that I finished the Vintage Pastel V-stitch blanket. I was so excited to be getting on so well so soon!
Progress slowed down somewhat after my initial victories, mainly due to the fact that I was working on older projects which needed a bit of time just to remember what I was doing! But by mid August I was able to tick off my Delightful Dahlia blanket…
…and the lacy jumper that I’d fallen in love with as soon as I’d seen it in Simply Crochet magazine.
That weekend was a great moment as I realised that I was two thirds of the way through my list and still had almost two weeks of the month left to finish my last two blankets – hurrah! Motivated by recent success, I ploughed on through my bright hexagon blanket, adding the final few colours and a border and completing it only two days after my jumper and Dahlia blanket.
Now, this is the point where I need to say that I made some changes to my original plans for my final two blankets. The bright hexagon blanket was originally going to have the full rainbow spectrum and be slightly longer, making a rectangular rather than a square blanket. But I realised that I don’t really have many oranges and reds in my yarn collection, so I would have had to order new yarn. And since they’re not really colours I use a lot, there would then have been a lot of leftover balls of yarn which I was unlikely to use again. Plus, making that many extra hexies would take time which I didn’t really have. So I adapted, sticking with colours I already had and making a square blanket which wouldn’t take quite so long to finish. And seeing the finished blanket I’m so pleased that I changed it! It’s bright and colourful and cute just as it is, and I don’t regret changing my mind at all!
When I finally got to the Blue Hexie Blanket, it quickly became apparent that I was going to have to change something. Even though it felt like I’d made thousands of hexies already, I had nowhere near enough to complete a whole blanket. So either I was going to have to extend my deadline and make a thousand more hexies to finish the blanket, or I was going to have to do something else with all these hexies. Frogging wasn’t an option – those tiny hexies use so little yarn that all I’d be left with was a lot of blue scraps that would be completely unusable for anything else. So I decided to rethink the final product and the Blue Hexie Blanket became a Blue Hexie Cushion cover!
I completed my list on Sunday 27th August – leaving me with four days to spare! Not one to sit around with nothing to do, I whipped up a scarf from a test pattern by Marta @mrsdaftspaniel, before coming back to another of my own patterns which I’d started writing up but hadn’t finished.
All in all, August was a very productive month!
Although I will always love starting new things, I’ve learned that it’s also extremely satisfying to finish things, especially projects that, at the back of my mind, felt like they would never be completed. I’m taking a break from old WiPs during September and am enjoying a couple of new challenges, including knitting socks and joining in with Potter & Bloom’s Liula CAL.
But all those other old WiPs haven’t been forgotten. In fact, I’m going to be collaborating on something rather special with Charlie of Love Charlie. She’s another WiP addict who has decided to take some of those unruly WiPs in hand and sort them out during September. Read about her addiction here. And look out for an exciting announcement in a couple of weeks’ time!