Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Yarn Tales Tuesday

Old WIP's and New Chains
A crocheter's dirty little secrets

  It's G-rated, I promise. I'm talking about those works in progress (W.I.P.), why we start more before they're finished, and where we keep them when they're not being worked on! Sometimes we get stuck on a problem, and move on to a fresh project until we work it out. Other times, it might just be that "Ooo, I gotta make that" impulse that we crocheters can't resist. An in one instance for me, it's about recurring nightmares. Whatever the reason, most of us can admit that it's rare to find a crocheter with only one project on the hook. (But we know you exist somewhere!)

  Now, maybe you're the kind of crocheter that has more than one WIP because there's one next to the couch, and one in the car, and maybe another at work... But I'm the kind of crocheter that just has them in a (okay, more than one) stash. "At work" is home, so having a WIP at the office means it's sitting in my living room. And I would love to have one in the car, but it would never get done - I only leave the house once or twice a week! 

This is only a few of them... Perhaps I should put one in the car!

  What I do have is an extraordinary collection of WIP's to keep my yarn stash company. Some of the WIP's even get tossed back into the yarn stash. I'm not really proud of it. If I really have fun with a project, I'll get it done no matter the difficulty. But I'll let the simplest patterns sit unfinished for various reasons, such as:

  • I got halfway through it and decided I hate the colors.

  • I was halfway through it and somebody else told me they hate the colors

  • I ran out of yarn!

  • It got buried in the yarn stash and I forgot about it

  • As previously stated, nightmares.

  I have another project that is unfinished because I lost (misplaced, really) the pattern. It was a blanket I started as a beginner, and ended up being too difficult at the time. I have about 500 little pattern pamphlets that someone gave me, and I tossed the pattern for the project back in the collection after I gave up. I've never found the time to go back through them to find it. Someday I'll free-form around the finished panel to finally make it something other than a forgotten object.

Look, a UFO! This pattern led to the design of the Chains Around My Heart Doily. This motif got buried in the yarn stash and forgotten.

  To be honest, I think I have more Unfinished Objects (UFO's) than most crocheters... But at least I have more finished projects than WIP's! And I have a good reason (excuse) for each of them. I also intend to finish them all, someday. Except for one. It's a project I need some help with.

These WIP's are a couple of little designs that are still in the making. I'm having fun getting the details just right.

  Is the pattern too hard? No! Did I run out of yarn? Absolutely not! In fact, it's (almost) finished... The only thing left to do is weave in the ends, and attach a motif I made to fill in a hole in the center. So why does this project remain unfinished and buried after two years? Go ahead and laugh if you want, because I often do, too: Nightmares!

This project has been dubbed "The Evil Afghan".

  I designed this super-awesome double-strand afghan somewhere around two years ago. It's made in four panels using three colors, then the panels are attached with a double-strand seam. I went through something like eight average skeins, and four or six jumbo one-pound skeins. With new joins, seams, and a border, there's over thirty tails to weave in. I think I've finished about half of them over the years. It keeps getting re-buried deep in a cabinet. Every time I pull it out to try again, the nightmares start again. They're often different in little ways, but the main plot is always the same:

  As I weave in the ends of the afghan, I notice them beginning to move. It freaks me out, so I attempt to throw the project off of me, but it's too late. Every tail has become a tentacle, snaking around my arms and legs; holding me down. I try to scream for help, but the body of the afghan is smothering and choking me. The center hole between the panels becomes a drooling mouth full of razor-sharp teeth. Unable to move or cry out, my project devours me.

Maybe if I get that motif in the center, it will stop eating at me. 

  So, perhaps you can understand why this project causes me some anxiety. I know, I know, it's only a nightmare... But it's a nightmare that freaked me out enough to remove the project from under the bed and stuff it in a locked cabinet! Every time I try to work on it, my hands get sweaty, my mouth gets dry, and I find a lot of reasons to stop working on it. Besides therapy, hypnosis, or possibly even a prescription (that I wouldn't take), what am I to do? It would be nice to have my super-awesome blanket for winter, but I might be afraid to put it on my bed!

   Besides the evil afghan that gets stashed deep in a cabinet, a few of my WIP's are stored in a yarn tote, in boxes, and in bags. (I have a lot of WIP's!) But most of them sit in my WIP chair. Yes, I have a chair for my WIP's... It used to be my chair, but my WIP's kinda took over it.

"I think you're mistaken... It used to be my chair, remember? Now I'm banished to the floor!"

  And do you know what I've learned about WIP's that sit there for too long? They get dirty! While I'm busy playing with chains for new projects, my WIP's are collecting dust. That's not just a figure of speech, either. They actually collect dust! Because of allergies, I'm constantly dusting, vacuuming, and and cleaning surfaces. But while working on a project using white thread, I ran out and had to grab a new ball from the stash. That's when I discovered that even with all that cleaning, my WIP's are still getting dirty! The new ball of white that was kept put away in the stash was still nice and white... And the thread of the project that's been sitting in a chair was quite dingy.

  My dirty secret is out! My house isn't as clean as I think it is, and my WIP's are showing it. For my work as well as my allergies, I think it would be a good idea to get one of those ionic air purifiers to help clean the air. I live on a dirt road, so I think that has a lot to do with the extra dust. When the garbage truck goes flying by, it looks like a sandstorm outside. Even though I constantly clean, and clean or change the three filters in my vacuum, and clean/change the filter in the air conditioner, there's still dust! So, I'm officially going to take back my chair. If I'm not working on it, those WIP's are getting put into bags or the cabinet. There's not enough room to store them all with the yarn stash. Maybe the good ones can convince the evil afghan to stop giving me nightmares.

Are your WIP's telling your dirty little secrets, too? How do you store the projects that get set aside?


  1. Poor Kitty needs that chair!

    What would it be like if everyone on the internet did what you did here: admitted to their WIP's and UFO's? Yikes!

    How brave you are but I think I'll keep mine hidden away for awhile more. I'm not that brave I guess.

  2. I'd like everyone to think that I'm perfect and work through every project like a breeze, but the truth is much of my design time is spent ripping and cussing. It leads to a lot of WIP's. If everyone else that faces the same problem admitted it, then the internet would be... More honest, lol!

    I don't hold it against anyone for hiding it. Maybe my admission is an attempt to self-shame myself into cleaning up my mess. 'Cause kitty does "need" that chair!

  3. I'm so glad I stopped to read your blog today. I, too, have more UFOs than I probably should and for various reasons, though, happily, none akin to your horrid nightmare! Another thing we have in common is dirt roads and dust. I've lived in the hilly center of Tennessee for over over 35 years and am quite used to it by now, but every time I pull out yarn from my stash, or pick up a WIP that's been put aside for a bit, I sneeze. Not proud of it, just a fact. I tried storing yarn in plastic bins but don't find them handy and I enjoy looking at my yarn stash, so mine is in a hanging shoe bin in my bedroom. My WIPs are in various baskets I've collected and only one of those has a drawstring cover that I sewed up in an attempt to keep the projects and yarn clean. What it also manages to do it keep it out of sight and mind, so, I really couldn't tell you what is in there without opening it up and looking at it. I should do that, there may be something amazing in there.
    Your nightmare afghan looks quite innocent and warm - I'd finish it if I were you. I suspect there are more like us than not, so rest assured and without nightmares.

    1. Thank you for the encouragement C.S.! I *should* finish the blanket. I *can* finish the blanket. I *will* finish the blanket... Someday, lol.

      I love the idea of the shoe organizer for yarn storage... I started using a hanging cube-style organizer for mine, but the stash spilled over! I'm starting to use vacuum-sealed bags to help me reduce the space my yarn takes up. You can stack skeins 2-deep in the bag, and see them (although squished) through the bag to know what you're looking for. It does crinkle the labels up, though.

      I bet you WILL find something amazing in your WIP's! If you start to sneeze when you pull them out, try setting up a small fan behind you. Maybe it's all in my head, but it helps keep my allergies at bay when I sort through my projects. :)

    2. Glad I'm Not the only one who has what you have done !! Not proud of it, but S.H. !!! I made the mistake & bought a "Storage Large Canvas Bag that zippers and stands 4' Tall !!" I keep inviting friends over to take More Yarn... Help. ADDICTED TO BUYING YARN !!! IS THERE SOMEONE / CLUB THAT CAN HELP ???
      Please e-mail me.....

    3. Kat, I know the perfect therapy for yarn addiction: Crochet! (Okay, or I guess you could knit, too.) Set a goal that you can't buy more yarn until you finish "X" amount of WIP's. Hang your picture with a sign that says "Do not sell yarn to this person until you see proof of WIP's" in your local yarn shop or craft store. Disable the internet and freeze credit cards so there's no virtual shopping, either.

      Sounds easy, right?


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