Saturday, September 06, 2008

UFOs, WIPs and WISPs

This UFO (left) will one day be a cushion.

Sharon B, of In a Minute Ago, asked for ideas on how to get over the stitching hump that seems to hit about three-quarters of the way through a craft project. It's always nice to hear that other stitchers suffer from the same procrastinatory problems as I do, and I thought I'd take up Sharon's challenge and try to come up with some strategies to turn my UFOs into FOs.

It is with awareness of hubris that I take on this challenge. I am a very poor follower of my own tenets in the matter of UFOs, although I do have strict principles: first and foremost, that I can't bear to make an item without a specific purpose in mind, so having this purpose should, in theory, make it easier to stay the course and finish the piece even when the three-quarters-finished state of ennui hits.

I also find that being disciplined about finishing one piece before starting another gives me great incentive, because there is always a more exciting project waiting to be started. Unfortunately, this occasionally means that I don't start the new project at all, but the upside of that is that it is one less UFO in the pile! I could give you a list of projects I have planned (and occasionally bought materials for) and never started: but it would only make me cry to think of all that wasted creativity.

I should also confess that, being an acolyte in several fields of craft, I don't apply these rules across boundaries. Therefore, if I have a cross-stitch project, knitting, a crazy patchwork piece and all sorts of other things in progress all at once, I consider them all WISPs rather than UFOs, even if it has been some months (or years!) since I touched one or the other of them.

At the moment, I am stalled on the quilting of queen-size quilt, which is about three-quarters finished. I need to summon the energy to finish this soon, simply because it takes up so much space! Once it's finished and on the bed, there will be a whole lot more space in my tiny terrace house. Then there's just the box of yarn I inherited from my late aunt, waiting to be knitted into beanies and charity blankets; the cross-stitch I promised to my friend World Citizen 3000 when he moved into his new house several years ago (he has just sold the house, so it will have to be for his next home); the felt pods I already have the fibre set aside for; and the white-on-white crazy patchwork panel I haven't touched since Can-Bra in 2004.


sharonb said...

I agree that finishing one piece before starting another is a big help as knowing something is waiting always pushes me a bit - Also your point about planning and not starting fits with me as I have done it too - but at least it makes me prioritize what I want to do

On another note I noticed in your library in the side bar you have life of Pi - I have just purchased it - did you enjoy it? Oh and you have Doris Lessing too - your side bar looks too interesting today

beche-la-mer said...

Thanks Sharon, and thanks for your encouragement to get me moving on the current project!
Life of Pi was a good read, although I have a friend who said that by about halfway through he was just wishing the tiger would eat him and be done with it! I am enjoying dipping into Doris Lessing, although I haven't tackled a whole novel yet.
I can't really take credit for my fascinating reading list at the moment, as most of the books are required reading for the Philosophy of Post-2000 Literature course that I am starting this week. So I will probably be commenting on the books in blog entries soon.

Prue said...

I too have had to learn the hard way that the discipline of finishing something before starting another is important. And yes, I am happy to compartmentalise my craft categories too!

I also take into account other work that I have on too though - I am teaching at the moment, which means (with little kids) that marking will be done in the evenings rather than creative pursuits - therefore I have no actual project on the go at the moment. Though there are many in the design stage in my head...