We’ve talked about UFO’s , those unfinished objects lurking in tote bags and closets, now let’s have a look at the other side of that story. Starting projects is fun, fun, fun, but it does have a dark side. Many of them turn into UFO’s with time passing and interest waning. So, why start so many projects when they can never all be finished?
Temporary Infatuation. What else can I say? It’s a crush on some new yarn, material or technique that just has to be tried. So, there’s another project started and the first hours or days are wonderful and exciting. Then, the crush dissipates, reality sets in and the faults and flaws of the thing are obvious. The color’s wrong, the technique is boring or truly aggravating or the finished item just isn’t something worth having. Here’s a UFO newly born and one that probably won’t ever be completed.
Simple Projects. These are the projects I like to call “mindless”. These are the ones that travel to the in-laws and the meetings to keep the hands busy and just enough of the brain occupied to keep from going nuts. These are useful and necessary projects. Very seldom do they age into UFO’s even though some take quite a while to finish.
Real Love. This is the prize in projects starts. These are things that the end result is something I love and truly want in my life. These projects can vary greatly in difficulty and time commitment. The materials and techniques are secondary to the item itself so learning something new or working with not so favorite materials is often worth it. The UFO danger here is taking too long to finish the project. If that happens, changes in taste or lifestyle can make it obsolete before it’s done.
There are just a few of my excuses to start a new project. I’m sure there are countless other explanations waiting to be discovered and used. So go ahead and start something new, you’ve got a good reason.
I have lots of UFOs because starting projects is my favorite thing. The thrill of new yarns, fibers and fabrics and the shining possibilities of the finished projects – that’s heady stuff.
Of course, reality is somewhat different, isn’t it? Like many, my expectations are often higher than my ability to finish them all. I’m usually happy with the finished projects and they are very often as nice as or better than I envisioned. It’s just so darned difficult getting to that point. In my own land of the UFO, I’ve decided that there are three methods of dealing with them.
First, just drag it out, grit your teeth and finish it. This works very well for things that are almost done and for the projects that are going pretty well to begin with. Usually, I find that it’s enjoyable to work on a long put away project and the extra bonus of finishing is wonderful.
Second, repurpose it or condense it and make something new. Because this usually takes more thought and planning, it works better on projects that aren’t going very well, aren’t turning out as planned, or are just way too large to finish as started. This reworking is good for projects that you like the materials and are still interested in. Of course, the new project may run the risk of becoming another UFO.
Third, admit to yourself that you no longer even like it, will never finish it and then get rid of it without any guilt whatsoever. This option is the fastest but not always the easiest because we all agonize over the guilt part. It’s as if we’ve asked the project to go steady and now want to break up. Try having a UFO swap with friends – one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure – or donate them to charity. Either way, get it out of your life and see how much easier you breathe.
The best part of tackling the UFO problem is the twin rewards. You’ll have many lovely finished projects that make you the envy of your friends and associates. And, better yet, you can now start even more new projects!