Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WIP's or UFO's?

I hear a lot of knitters talking about their WIP's (work in progress) and UFO's (unfinished object).  Most of the time, they are talking in multiples.

There's this thing about knitting.  Some people call it startitis. It's the desire to start the next beautiful thing, whether you're done with the current one or not. It's a craving. There are so many gorgeous things to knit! Or, in my case, so many things trying to get out of my brain and into the yarn.

I know few knitters that don't have more than one project OTN (on the needles). I hear about some on Ravelry that can't get less than 20 OTN at one time.

I try to be good about it. I kinda have to be. As a designer, I have deadlines; and I have noticed in the past that when I get 3 or more projects going at once, it takes me 3 or more times longer to finish any one of them.  Being more of a product knitter than a process knitter (all about the finished product rather than the process to get there), that makes me crazy.  I need to see progress. And so does the yarn company or magazine I'm designing for.

I usually keep my WIP's to 2, maximum. I try to just have one, but there are times when I have a project that just can't travel. It's too big, too complicated, or just needs too much attention to go in the purse and be worked on when I'm waiting in line or sitting in a car. That is when I wind up with 2 WIP's. One for the purse (which these days means it languishes while I chase the toddler around wherever we are), and one for the serious designing at home. I do pretty good most of the time.  But I realized the other day that I actually have 3 projects going, not just the 2 I am consistently working on. Which brings up the question: When does a WIP become a UFO?

I'm pretty confident the 3rd project is in UFO status. It's been sitting in it's little (ok, not so little, it's a huge project) bag for at least a year now, and I haven't looked at it, much less knit on it. It is exactly halfway complete, no more, and no less. The reason it's sitting there is that it's not my design. If it was my design, it would probably have a deadline, and I wouldn't have been able to set it aside in the first place.  But it's another designer's pattern. One of the few which I have (at least tried to) knit more than once.

It's the World Map Afghan from Vogue Knitting. It's an old pattern, but I love it. The first time I did it, I taught myself intarsia knitting, and fell in love with colorwork. The second time, I wanted to knit it for a gift. I made a little modification- added some words in the ocean; but only made it through 2 of the 4 panels. Then I got some contracts, and with deadlines looming on my designs, the World Map got stuffed in a bag and put in a corner of the closet, where it has sat ever since.

Someday, I will pull it out and turn the UFO back into a WIP.  Someday. And then it will become the gift I wanted it to be. I just have to finish this book of designs, and those club designs, and the things my kids are begging for..... It might be another year or two. But the World Map doesn't seem to mind. It just sits quietly in the corner. Every once in a while it reminds me that I think it is beautiful and that a certain person would love it, but it's nice about it so far. Hopefully I can get back to it before it decides it's time to get tough....

When do your WIP's become UFO's? How many do you have?


luganknitter said...

I tend to not let myself have UFO's. I keep pushing myself to finish thinking "when I finish this stupid project someone will buy it, and then I can afford more yarn to start more projects"
So thats my motivation.
As for WIP's right now? I have a baby blanket going, and I am spinning some sock weight yarn. I also pick up some scrap yarn every once in a while and crochet up a scrap scarf for sale. So I can have 2-5 projects going on at once.

Gotta get my craft on.

Guernseygal said...

I'm just like you! I have a Ravelry queue full of things I want to knit for myself & a shawl and a cardigan in WIP/UFO territory that are constantly shoved aside to finished designs on a deadline as for the second socks of all the designs over the last few years - there is a whole bag of those....

Nanette Wheeler said...

UFO = UnidentiFied Object; thus, when I don't know what it is any more, that's when it becomes an UFO. I think I have one right now. If I check it out again and I still don't remember what it started out to be, I will have to snip and flip it out. (heavy sigh)
WIP's on the other hand, I have many... to many to count and I rejoice when I come across them and the pattern, with notes about changes in needle size, etc are still in the same general vicinity. My plan right now is to finish one WIP before and in between each new project; because not starting a new project just isn't in the cards.
Deadlines are my project saver. Unfortunately I can't just arbitrarily assign a deadline, my brain talks back to me at that point. Someday maybe all this will change, but I'm not holding my breath.