Saturday, November 20, 2010


Here's one I have unearthed after-what, 8, 9 years? My son, Ian, was probably in 4th or 5th grade, when there was no school because of the 1st snow day of the year. I stayed home from work, and of course, the children frolicked in the snow several times that day. We had a fire in the fire place and set up the clothes-drying rack to dry sodden hats and mittens. There was hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows, and probably tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. In the afternoon, I taught Ian and his little friend Caroline a little embroidery. I hooped up some simple ironed-on transfers with their initials. To this day, they remain UFOs, but they are perfect souvenirs of the lovely day, just as they are.
Later that week, I bought the little cross-stitch project above, intending for Ian and I to work on it together for a teacher Christmas present. It didn't happen and suffered the fate of many of my well-intended, but abandoned projects. It wound up with The Others. (You know what I am talking about.)
I un-earthed it, recently. Such an activity is really like an archaelogical dig. Each layer has a story to tell, each new UFO reaching further back in my history of unrealized dreams. Some projects are more pathetic than others. The ones that were way too ambitious for the time before they were needed as a gift or a commemoration. The ones that were just too uninteresting to inspire any loyalty. But others aren't worthy of pity, but instead, stir our interest anew. These are the projects whose relevance was suddenly eclipsed by the pull of some other life event. After all, they are all leisure time activities, and when we are earning a living and raising a family, they occupy a back seat to...well, everything!
Well, so now I've finished the little cross-stitch above, in an evening. (It had to wait years for an hour and a half of attention?)Is it an FO now? Not really, it needs to be incorporated into something now - a pencil case? an eyeglass case? a sachet, a pincushion, an ornament? I don't know where the little frame is, but, not interesting anyway....
So, it is and it isn't yet a FO. The Mary Engelbreit fat quarters lend themselves to a little patchwork project. I'm leaning toward a pencil case (for which I have no real use) or an eyeglass case. So I guess, it is now an element for an as-yet-undefined new project, and not yet even part of a WIP!
How about you? Can you conduct a little archaeology and convert a UFO into a WIP into a FO? Pencil it in for January, when the cold, dark winter lends itself to stitching time, and you itch to start a project, but your budget is still bloodied and bruised from the Christmas ransacking. Or if you have the time and creativity, perhaps your archives will yield some Christmas gifts and save you the hassle and expense of shopping.
Updates on previous posts:
I have pulled 6 more inchworms off the sage (and parsley, turns out they will eat parsley when the sage is almost gone). Where were they hiding?
I take the crochet edging with me wherever I go. The plus: You can take advantage of otherwise wasted moments to progress on the project. The minus: You risk losing the crochet hook. Result: I made some progress, but I lost the crochet hook. It is a size 9. Note: Michael's carries steel crochet hooks in sizes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10. Sigh.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

WIP? UFO? A decision each must face alone.....

I have a question for you. When is a project a WIP, and when is it a UFO? Just to be clear, generally crafters/needlewomen in the blog world refer to their projects as "Works in Progress" or WIPs when it is something they are picking up and working on regularly, moving forward and overcoming obstacles, anticipating completion within a foreseeable future. And the UFO (UnFinished Object) is a pathetic abandoned project, the victim of, what, apathy? An insurmountable obstacle? A missed gifting deadline? Often the symbol of dashed hopes, they languish in baskets, boxes, bags, typically out of sight and thankfully, out of mind.
I put it to you however that the no-man's-land between WIP and UFO is a highly personal territory. The defining borders between the two are individual not only to owner of the project, but also to the project itself. By definition a work-in-progress is unfinished, but to be relegated to the lower-class status of a UFO is a distinction each artist can make only for herself. Will she resist labelling a beloved project a UFO despite no discernable progress in days? weeks? months? Years? How long is too long an interval for a project to be "resting"?
Well, I'm going to explore this topic with my next few posts, while at the same time bringing forth my UFO/WIPs to the light of day. In some of my cases, I will re-commit myself to their completion. In others, I will admit defeat, and determine a more suitable fate than the purgatory of UFO.

Today I am spotlighting a project I introduced with this post, in which I proposed to select and create an edging to apply to a new set of sheets. It took me a little while, but I finally selected this edging: I found this Lily Filet Edging on a website, and the graph is a free download. The two photographs are copyrighted 1999 by Sandy Marshall. I hope I'm covered in using them by crediting her.
The link is here. I am enjoying doing this very much. I can't say that I am making rapid progress. Each repeat is about 4-3/4" or more. A queen size sheet is 90" wide. Since I am making my own sheet, I can make the sheet more or less than 90" as needed to fit an even number of repeats. I think I will need about 18-19 repeats.
As you can see here , I have almost 3 repeats. I'm also not sure how many more balls of crochet thread I'll need. Probably 2 or 3 more. I bet I've used half the ball on these 3 repeats.
I think I had better pick up the pace. It has taken me about a month to get 1/6th done....
At this pace, it will take 6 months! I mostly crochet while I'm riding in the car. The DH and I work at the same office, and I am usually the passenger. It takes about a half hour, and most mornings, I spend about 10-15' trying to put on make-up in a moving car. The rest of the time I crochet. Before DST ended, there was usually still light to crochet by on the way home, but not any more. I really need to get a little clip on light, for just this problem!
On a completely separate topic: Tonight 2 of my favorite movies are airing on TCM. I have mentioned before my love of Hollywood musicals (did anyone catch Oklahoma! late last night?), but I love even more the old b&w WWII dramas. Tonight, don't miss the introductory comments (tune in at 8 pm sharp!) of Robert Osbourne and Alec Baldwin, about "The Best Years of Our Lives", and if you haven't gotten enough, after that, enjoy "Mrs. Miniver". I love Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon so much, I have this one on DVD. And the wonderful Theresa Wright is in both. I'll be cozied in with my popcorn and a stitching project (probably the Lily Filet Edging) for both of these gems.