Home Forums Challenges Sentimental Clutter Unfinished Projects

This topic contains 43 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  Zora 8 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #158606

    Anonymous

    Anyone have any thoughts on how to unclutter unfinished projects?

    I have a blanket that I have been crocheting for…wait for it…17 years. I started it my freshman year of college, and the last time I worked on it I was still in grad school (this was over 7 years ago). I can’t get myself to throw it away…it is almost done! I spent so much time on it! What to do?!

  • #166591

    Zora
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    Finish it.

  • #166594

    chacha1
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    LOL, Zora!

    Camellia, I have to agree. Pull out everything you need to finish that blanket, keep it in your den with your TV (or wherever you spent your “me” time), and every time you sit down to watch a show or make a phone call or whatever, pick up the crochet needle and get hooking. It’ll be done in no time.

    And then you can post a picture. πŸ™‚

  • #166596

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    I had bought a cross stitch kit that I nearly finish except for the border. I attempted to work on it over the years but I couldn’t finish it. I took a couple of photos of it then tossed it in the trash. It was very liberating. I think about it every time I get tempted to try a new hobby.

  • #166598

    GardenGirl
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    “I have a blanket that I have been crocheting for…wait for it…17 years.”

    Wow, how big is the blanket now? πŸ˜€

    (Couldn’t resist.)

  • #166604

    terriok
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    I hooked a rug for at least that long which started as a college art project. I’d sit in front of the tv all night and get ONE row done. It was so pretty though. Then I use to worry about running out of the yarn.

    You are not alone! LOL.

  • #166605

    Rosa
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    Is it your only project? Or one of several?

    If you have more than one, i vote toss this one.

    I actually started a weekly knitting group last winter, just so I could finish projects & clear them out.

  • #166606

    terriok
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    Me?

    I have dozens of projects going! (Not sure where the rug is.)

    I am also writing several books. Oh, do I love to write.

    I need the structure of a writing class. I have only taken one writing course and that was in Spanish. Tremendous course with a phenomenal professor.

    If I cannot do a project in one sitting, I get distracted and move on to something else that catches my interest. I am all over the place- very creative actually.

    My sister is equally creative but she gets things done!

    I have too many ideas.

    When I taught, I use to make games (like board games) for the kids. Usually I had third grade. I got very good at it. The kids liked my games better than the store-bought stuff. Now those games I was usually quite good at getting done. That was my idea of fun.

    But I could often get them done in one, two or three sittings and bring the game in the next day to gauge the kids’ enthusiasm. That was half the fun!

    Good idea, Rosa, about your knitting group!

  • #166607

    djk
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    I had two beautiful, detailed cross-stitches half done. My sister loves cross-stitch so I passed them on to her and she finished them in a very short time (weeks, whereas I had taken about 3 years to get to the halfway point–she is the family Martha) and they were gorgeous.
    I was so happy to see the back of them (pun intended, and immediately regretted)
    What a liberating feeling. Now I have creative outlets in different ways, but none that weigh on me nor count as clutter, despite the space they require.

    Maybe give yourself a realistic time frame. If you have young kids in school then it is not realistic to say you will get it done in the summer, but perhaps by the end of September or October. If it is not done by a certain date you will have to donate it and all the supplies in a big bag to a charity shop. Or it goes in the garbage.

    If it really matters to you you will get it done. And if it really doesn’t, and somewhere inside you feel your goals and desires have changed, let it go.

    In the past I have successfully used the question: Does this support my current goals? (i.e. support the idea of the life I want to live, the decor I want to have, my idea of myself and my changing tastes) If I can honestly say yes then it stays. If I say no it goes. Sometimes we hold onto things because they reflect who or what we USED TO want to be, not who we are now. It is a form of uncluttering to get rid of old goals and think clearly about new ones.

  • #166621

    djk
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    Trillie I think I read somewhere that you were in Berlin?(pestering DH to make that a destination this summer)
    there is a stitch & bitch meetup group there: http://www.toytowngermany.com/lofi/index.php/t127711.html

    and in general for people who need a boost and social time to move on the hobbies, there is an easy way to find people for meetups in your area. http://www.meetup.com/about/

    Some colleagues and I did this a few years back–got together, cooked dinner together, and worked each on our own projects. One was knitting, one scrap-booking, and I have no idea what was mine then:)

  • #166631

    Unfinished Projects

    camellia – have you considered finding out if anyone you know also crochets? Maybe somebody would be willing to pick it up and finish it so they can use it in their home. πŸ™‚

  • #166635

    MelMc
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    Have you considered that there might be an environmental reason you can’t finish? I had a king-sized quilt that took 20 years to complete. I really wanted the finished project and enjoyed the process so I didn’t understand why I wasn’t working on it. I finally realized that I didn’t have a good place to quilt in my home and wasn’t motivated to work in an uncomfortable manner. I took it to my mom’s house and visited her twice a week for quilting, gossip, and general family time. My new quilting environment is so nice that I’ve started a new quilt that won’t take 20 years to finish.

  • #166649

    Anonymous

    Unfinished Projects

    Thanks so much for all the suggestions everyone! I guess I should add, I probably have about 3 days worth of work to finish this thing (which, spread out over several evenings wouldn’t be so bad) and I’m not quite as attached to the colors and general style as I was 17 years ago. But I still think I will really like this blanket when it is done.

    @GardenGirl, I’m not sure how big it is…but as you can imagine, it’s big. Probably big enough to use on a full size bed.

    @Rosa, it’s my only craft project, but my general project list (clean out the basement, paint the front door, etc.) is a mile long. But I think I can squeeze this blanket in after I get the basement cleaned out. I’m amazed at how much I have already gotten done in the 6 months since I started decluttering.

    I love the idea of a knitting group to finish this, and the suggestion regarding the environmental reason from MelMc. Actually, I think there may be an environmental reason, but not the same that MelMc had mentioned- I think my problem is that after 17 years of being moved, toted around, stored in the basement, etc., it needs to be washed, and since it is very heavy cotton I’m not sure how to go about this. So maybe once I figure that out I can finally sit down and enjoy crocheting my blanket again πŸ™‚

    Thanks again all πŸ™‚

  • #166652

    Rosa
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    One unfinished project is not that big a deal. That’s practically all the way uncluttered.

    That said, can you just put a placeholder in it (does that work with crochet? I knit, and they have those giant-safety-pin things for keeping work from unraveling) and run it through a washing machine on gentle, then dry it flat? Then it would be clean and nice to work with. Pack your nice clean blanket into a tote bag and have it all ready to go when you have time to work on it.

  • #166656

    jbeany
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    Those are craft UFO’s – UnFinished Objects. Consider redirecting them. Big quilt tops that won’t go into current bedroom color schemes can be chopped into sections. Think tote bags, purses, throw or floor pillows for another room, etc. Or maybe, especially in the case of something crocheted that won’t section well, consider finishing it and giving it to a charity to be auctioned/raffled off during a fund raiser. Promise it to the charity by a certain fundraiser date and you’ll have all the pressure you need to finish it quickly!

  • #166659

    bandicoot
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    a couple of weeks ago, in the victoria and albert museum, i went to a quilt exhibition with a gf who is also textile-mad.
    o the quilts!
    ranging from fragile things hundreds and hundreds of years old, with mellowed tones, to very modern amazing pieces…..some done by women, some made by male prisoners in wandsworth prison….they were just amazing, all of them.
    every style and colour you could imagine. all sorts of fabrics and materials.
    they ALL had one thing in common…they were completely finished.
    they made me want to get home and start quilting.
    but i know it will end in tears and not in the V&A museum.

  • #166663

    chacha1
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    bandicoot, you slay me! “I know it will end in tears.”

    Suggestion: make little bitty tiny quilts. You get all the satisfaction of creating something beautiful, in a manageable length of time, with more freedom to choose materials because hey, it’s small, and your end product can be simply put in a frame instead of you having to redesign an entire room around it. I’ve seen some work of this nature on Etsy and it’s not far off what I do myself.

    Big pieces of handwork are great, but they can take over your life.

  • #166794

    Amy
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    I have an unfinished applique quilt kit sitting in a plasic tote in the garage. I paid a lot of money for it several years ago on eBay. It’s a replacement (and exact same pattern) as one I started years ago and never finished. I actually donated the original kit to the Goodwill about 3 years after I got stuck on finding one of the little pieces when doing it the first time. Then, 15 years later, I decided to give it one more try, so I found it on eBay and got caught in a bidding war for the thing and got carried away and paid too much for it. Now it’s awaiting my old age for completion. I guess this means I win the prize for hoarding this week.

  • #166799

    Unfinished Projects

    I have a cross-stitch that is so close to being finished, it’s stupid that I haven’t worked on it. I literally have maybe 15 more stitches to go and it’s done. The problem is, I keep looking for a specific frame to put it in. The picture is from an old Super Nintendo video game and I’m looking for something that looks like the text framing used in-game. If I can get off of my butt and actually actively hunt down just what I’m looking for, maybe I’ll finish it lol. It’s really the only unfinished project I have, though, so it’s not so bad… πŸ™‚

  • #166803

    chacha1
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    GirlO, I am ignorant of video games, but customizing frames is pretty easy and fun. Print out an example of the in-game text framing, take it to the art supply store, buy a plain wood frame, and apply color, beads, wood shapes, or whatever to get the look you want.

    I had a nice piece of Japanese paper art that I framed using a plain black wood frame, a coat of iridescent acrylic paint, and glued-on vintage glass jewelry elements. 100% custom framing perfect for the art, cost maybe $20.

  • #166805

    ArtGal
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    I donated all my unfinished projects (with ample supplies and patterns) to a nursing home where the residents finished them and put them to good use. I had several crochet projects, sewing projects, cross-stitch kits, etc…all collected when I worked at a hobby/art/sewing store. I think it all depends on your attachment to the project and whether you will use it or gift it as to whether you should finish it. I knew that (for me) to finish them was a waste of time that I would rather be spending doing something else. πŸ™‚

  • #166806

    lucy1965
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    Downstairs there is a box for an old monitor of my husband’s; in it is a partially pieced quilt top and all the bits that go with it. There are Folkwear patterns, and reproductions of Vogue patterns from the beginning of the last century, and in my closet there’s a Rubbermaid tub full of yarn. There are books on the shelves to go with all of these hobbies.

    I used to love them. I don’t, any more. Knitting makes me actively annoyed: I can’t just set the pattern in my fingers and go, I have to keep referring to it line by line. If I go to a group session I can either interact with other people or get a few inches done.

    This isn’t who I am now. I’m trying to find the courage to ditch the lot.

  • #166828

    djk
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    @ artgirl, what a brilliant idea!

    @ Lucy1965, just toss it all. Do it! it will feel great! do it NOW, all of it, bag outside the door if it is not convenient in your time zone to deliver it somewhere else–then report back about how it feels to have done it. Go!

  • #166836

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    Lucy, you can take all that stuff to a thrift store. A quilter might buy the quilt stuff and either finish it or cut it up and use the pieces in another quilt top. a knitter might not be able to pay retail prices for yarn, but would be thrilled to find usable yarn in a thrift store. Of course everyone likes the books, and there are pattern junkies out there who would become breathless when they found the reproductions of Vogue patterns. Patterns are crazy expensive these days.

    djk is right, Lucy. It will feel great once you are free from it all.

  • #166838

    bandicoot
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    lucy, the money has already been spent….whatever you do next.
    so, choose to do something which serves who you are now and what your life looks like now.
    send that stuff away!

  • #166846

    chacha1
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    It’s okay to not want to do something anymore. πŸ™‚ Hobbies shouldn’t be expected to “pay” for themselves or to stay relevant for a lifetime. People change!

    Lucy1965, I’m with djk, bandicoot, and JuliaJayne – get that stuff out of your house!

  • #166848

    Rosa
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    Lucy, I’m with everyone else – guaranteed, someone is going to be very happy to find your stuff at the thrift shop.

    I pick up yarn at the thrift shop for a project all the time (no new yarn til I knit up the last purchase, is my rule), and if it’s bundled with some I don’t want I take it to the ladies at a rest home in rural Iowa, who are very grateful – it makes me sad to think of these elderly women who can’t even afford yarn, but they exist πŸ™

  • #166864

    lucy1965
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    It’s OUT!!!!!

    The elder drop-in center up the street put a note on craigslist asking for knitting and quilting materials; I dithered for a little bit, then grabbed the lot, piled on the books and sent an e-mail. They took all of it.

  • #166877

    chacha1
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    [happy dance] yay Lucy1965!

  • #166879

    lucy1965
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    *dances with chacha*

    It is SO GOOD to have those two huge heaps of guilt-inducing stuff OUT of my house!

    The entire closet has been cleaned out, all the winter shoes are in a bag waiting to go up to the cobbler’s for refurbishing, and the only things on that floor right now are the shoerack and a very perplexed cat (it’s their favorite hiding place).

  • #166890

    ArtGal
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    It’s like magic isn’t it!!! Congrats! πŸ™‚

  • #166891

    Rosa
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    Yay! Good for you, Lucy.

  • #166898

    bandicoot
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    o very happy dance!
    good for you lucy.
    someone is going to LOVE finding that stuff. and you never have to look at it again.
    awesome win win.

  • #167343

    jbeany
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    Go, Lucy!

    I’m getting ready to move, so I finally tackled every last bin in the craft room. It’s only an 8×10 room, but it was stuffed to the gills, and one giant rubbermaid tub sized for hockey equipment and full of material was wedged under my long counter desk in the kitchen. I used to make porcelain dolls and teddy bears with my mom before she passed away a decade ago. All the half-finished projects that got packed away then were still in the room. Yard after yard of fake fur and vintage fur coats I had purchased second hand to make bears also were wedged in there. I finally gave myself permission to get rid of the unfinished projects, sentimental attachment or not, and also to toss every tiny scrap I had saved from when I was scrap quilting. I saved only things from projects I’ve done in the last year – polymer clay sculptures, jewelry, and purses and totes from tapestry fabric. Everything else went. 6 big black bags of trash left. I even tossed a lemon of an expensive sewing machine that keeps needing repairs. With the back seats down in my station wagon, I had so much loaded in it to take to the thrift store, I couldn’t see out the back window.

    I feel soooooo much lighter!

  • #167350

    djk
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    jbeany! wow! that is a LOT of stuff! how did it feel to get rid of a hobby you did with your mom? I would think that would have great significance? well done!

  • #167372

    chacha1
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    Wow is right, jbeany. I’ll bet it felt like cutting a rope that had you tied down. Giving yourself permission: perfect.

  • #167392

    lucy1965
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    jbeany, that’s fantastic!

  • #167458

    jbeany
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    @ djk – Getting rid of it was a long time coming. I’ve been shuffling boxes of porcelain doll and bear parts from shelf to shelf for far too long. I still couldn’t let all of it go, even knowing it was past due. One of the doll molds we used was for dainty fairy dolls, that were less than 3 inches tall when put together. I still have a tiny box of heads, hands and feet. The individual pieces are each less than half an inch in length, so parts for 2 dozen dolls fit in a 2 by 3 inch box. I figured I could afford the space for the mental relief of not giving every last bit of our projects away. It was a very tiny compromise!

  • #167462

    djk
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    the fairy dolls sound magical! and they certainly do not take up much space. Sounds like a fair compromise, and in this case the value to you might be worth Mr. J. Case.

  • #167470

    pkilmain
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    @jbeany – our quilting group makes dog beds for the local shelter by taking old sweathirts, cutting off the sleeves, sewing up the waist, then stuffing them with scraps of fabric and batting (and the sleeves of the sweatshirt!). When full, sew up the neck. I have just made several – emptying 2+ 5 gallon buckets of scraps. Delivering them today!

  • #167472

    jbeany
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    @pkilmain – That sounds like a great use for all the strays! I couldn’t find anyone around here who was interested in the tiny scraps. Anything fat quarter size or so, I donated, but I had bags of teeny bits. Justin C was living large in my little craft room!

  • #167475

    Zora
    Member

    Unfinished Projects

    I process all my stray bits of cloth into squares or rectangles 4 inches high and anywhere from 2 to 5 inches long. Anything that’s too small to generate such a bit gets thrown out. Then I sew the bits together along the 4-inch side, generating a long roll of 4-inch wide scrap cloth. If you roll carefully and tightly, the fabric presses itself. This cloth can then be used for a strippy quilt, as bars, edging, whatever. The rolls take up a lot less space than bags of loose scraps.

    I processed 20 years of scraps this way. I could sit in the living room, cutting board, ruler, and Olfa cutter at hand, and watch TV while I processed scraps. It was fun to sew them together. I sorted by color and sewing together blue wheels, brown wheels, everything wheels (with lots of white and black), and my fav, the blue-purple-red wheels. Lots of fun mixing up the scraps and picking which to put next to each other.

    Now I have a bunch of scrap wheels to use up … πŸ™‚

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