December 3, 2010

You Have My Permission...

My Unfinished Projects: 1. Pink and white Civil War Era knitted headdress(as seen on my sister's blue wig from a costume), 2. Green and black "Dark Mark" scarf (lost a knitting needle), 3. Peach, Colonial Era Jacket, 4. Purple, Civil War Era knitted suspenders, 5. Pink and white Colonial Era pockets. Notable projects not pictured: 1. Civil War Sontag (ran out of yarn), 2. Civil War Era Quilt, 3. Blue and white, handsewn Colonial Era Jacket. 

 To stop working on that project.

I constantly work on more projects than anyone could finish in a lifetime. Frequently, I have so many that I half finish them and forget about them until I am rummaging through my stuff looking for some material for yet another project. I used to think I had to finish every project I started, just as I used to think that I had to finish every book I started reading.

As I have gotten older, I realize that I don't have time to read books that aren't good and I don't have to finish every project I start. I frequently find that I will discover an abandoned project months later and no longer have a need for it anyway which makes it useless to finish. 

So for everyone who was sitting around like me, waiting for someone's permission to stop reading a bad book, or to stop sewing a garment that wouldn't fit you anyway, I give you my permission to stop and you don't have to feel the least bit bad about doing so. We are all very busy and all more productive than we think. Less projects and less guilt equal less clutter and more time to focus on what is important.

What to do with those abandoned projects?

Give them to someone else. I have Civil War Era dress patterns new in their packages that I know I will never get around to making. I also have half finished jackets and things that I know someone else could finish up quickly and use. Sometimes we stop projects when they get to a tedious point--it may be easier for fresh hands to finish up.
Recycle the Materials. You can always recycle the materials into something more useful to yourself at this point in time. Half done sewing projects can become raw materials for new ones. (Imagine my surprise when my boyfriend told me that he could use a bit of a half-done leather project for his uilleann pipes.)
Find someone willing to finish them for you. Sometimes my sister just wants to sew something and she doesn't have a project in the works or doesn't have money to finish the project she is working on and she'll help me sew. 
Put them on hold. Put the project on hold for a period of time until you might need it again. Working on knitting mittens in the summer might be less important at the time than sewing summer clothes. Just remember to give yourself time to finish the project before you need it.  

When I look at all of these unfinished projects I feel guilty. I am working on all of them slowly and most have to do with me needing more materials and refusing to buy them until I have a coupon. Surprisingly these are nowhere near all of my projects and they are always changing. I also have numerous unfinished writing projects, drawing projects, music projects. I am kind of surprised at myself that I take on so many projects. This seems crazy especially with all of my schoolwork but  I am one of those people that always have to be creating something or I go crazy. I guess I never really look at all of the things that get finished, in proportion, I guess the unfinished projects shouldn't make me feel guilty. 

I know I have a lot of really creative people who read my blog, is there any project you just want to scrap but feel guilty doing so?


  1. sure.... a 3/4 finished king-size crocheted afghan.... a 'finished' but ill-fitting crochet summer blouse.... another afghan that just needs the edging done....

    i figure it's a matter of priorities, and motivation. if something is a number one priority, even if you aren't motivated, you'll likely eventually get it done. if, however, it's lower on the list... it hibernates (at least, that's what it does in my house!)

  2. Simply Complicated, Hibernating projects. :D I like that--it sounds so much better than "unfinished projects."

    I let them hibernate so long that I don't remember what they were until I think about it for a while.

  3. I have about 3 unfinished quilts, 2 dreses, 3 toddler outfits which my son is probably too big for now.

  4. For my Ciel Phantomhive cosplay I still need to finish the jacket, pin, rings and the top hat.


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