When to let go of a WIP (and how to decide)

Too many WIPs!

This weekend, the gals and I are getting together for another Lost Projects Club. So I’m took out my WIPs (works-in-progress) to get a good idea of what I might want to work on while sipping tea and chatting.

I have 9… and then I walked out of the room to get some coffee and noticed another one not organized with my stash of WIPs.

So I’m wondering “When do I give these up and use the yarn for something else?”, “Why haven’t I finished these when I obviously felt like I wanted to knit them in the first place?”, and “What can I do to spark some interest in these again?”.

One thing I’m noticing here is that 3 of the projects that I’ve stopped working on are scarves. I think it’s because it’s hard to keep my knitting mojo up for a garment that I will only get to wear when we go on vacation. Or I go on a walk at 5am in January. Maybe.

That jewel-toned, striped scarf at the top is my weather scarf, started in 2013! The scarf is already 8 feet long and I think I was a little over halfway done with it. For as much time as I spent on this, I could have created a Doctor Who scarf! It’s time to cast this one off and just call it finished.

There are two cross stitch WIPs there too. I stopped cross stitching because I feel like I’m not very good at it. I didn’t think there would be much technique to making neat Xs with thread, but there is! It seems like I end up splitting my thread with each stitch. But my new motto is “Done is better than perfect!” so I’m going to finish these. Plus, I have 4 more cross stitch kits waiting to be made after these!

Because it’s not entirely enthralling, I’m not going to give a synopsis of every WIP, but I have figured out whether or not I want to keep each one by answering a set of questions.

Do you have a ton of WIPs collecting dust? Want to do something about them?

Get them all out. Notice what types of projects they are, what kind of yarn you’re using, even what needles/hooks you’re using and ask yourself:

Is there a certain garment I always quit working on? Why?

Try ripping out your yarn and use it for something you think you’ll use. Or get someone in mind for the current  project – think of how happy they’ll be to receive your item and start working for them!

Is there a certain type of yarn I quit working with? Is it too soft? Scratchy? Thin?

Maybe give this yarn to someone else and try your project with something new and more exciting!

Do those needles, that crochet hook, or whatever tools you’re using just suck?

Maybe it’s something as simple as a stitch marker that just kept getting caught on your work, annoying you to no end. You’re gonna hate me, but dammit, go splurge on some awesome tools! Treat yourself and get excited about your project again!

Is it the stitch pattern?

Do you find it too difficult? Try a new pattern with a more TV-friendly stitch pattern. Too boring? Get some lace on those needles!

Has it been 10 years since you started the project?

It may just be time to let it go…

Maybe none of these issues applies – you still love the pattern, the yarn, the needles are fine… but you just put down your project and you’re not sure why. My best advice to spark your interest in the project again would be to go on Ravelry and look for other finished projects using the pattern you’re using. Get jealous of what others have completed and tell yourself, “Self, I don’t have to be jealous! I can kick butt and finish this project so I too can have this garment (or whatever)!” Find the inspiration that led you to start the project in the first place, keep it fresh in your mind, and pick that project back up.

I hope these questions help you figure out what to do with your old WIPs. If you have any advice for what you usually do with WIPs, I’d love to hear them!

3 Comment

  1. Momma says: Reply

    It’s cold in Pittsburgh! Just sayin.. If you need a reason. 😜

  2. Patrice Bonilla-Sexton says: Reply

    Even if you don’t wear the scarves, you could make a wall hanging with them…. Just a thought… Find a lilac bush and clip off a thin branch with interesting bends or curves. Strip the thin layer of bark off using a sharp paring knife and let it dry harden. This wood becomes very stiff and strong after drying. Then you could either attach the scarf with some sort of clips or thread the scarf onto the branch… Then tie a length of yarn to the branch on each side of the scarf and suspend it onto a nail or hook.

    Or you could wet felt the scarves and use them as table runners and wall art.

    1. Good ideas! 😀

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