In the interest of full WIP disclosure :-)

So, based on the array of confessions and responses Lisa’s post elicited yesterday, it seems few of us are alone in experiencing the occasional knitter’s funk / WIP pile-up! It’s funny how some (many?) of us tend to treat our cache of UFOs like a dirty little secret, something to feel guilty and stressed about.  Why?  Is it because we feel those unfinished projects say something deep and significant about us and our ability to “follow-though” and “commit” to something? Is it because we feel wasteful? After all, knitting is no inexpensive pursuit and all of those WIPs stare back at us in their idle state daring us to do the mental math and sum up their collective cost. But, really, who are these projects hurting? The truth of the matter is that there are no knitting police.  There is no upper limit on the acceptable number of WIPs beyond which we are accountable to someone. There is only the waxing and waning of our creative desires 🙂

If you’re like most knitters, every project you’ve started was cast on in a state of inspiration and excitement. Whether it was the opportunity to challenge yourself with an interesting or complicated pattern, to use yarns and colourways that made your heart sing, to soothe yourself with something peaceful and meditative, or just because you could see how fabulous the finished project would be on yourself or someone you loved, they were all chosen with intention and all served their purpose for a while. Chances are, most of them are still near and dear to your heart but just not what you want to be knitting “right now”.

Despite having a pile of WIPs accumulating in project bags around my house, I find I usually make my way back to most of them when the planets align and the mood strikes. That said, I’m all for taking stock every once in a while and having a proper weeding out. An uncomfortable number of unfinished projects can take up mental energy, blocking our creativity and sapping the pleasure we derive from our craft.  I recommend collecting all of your WIPs in one place and making an honest appraisal.

If you can still find that sense of inspiration or excitement in a piece, chances are you’ll return to it. If any of your projects make you feel anxious, stressed, or annoyed just looking at them, it’s likely that they will forever remain at the bottom of your priority list. Be brave, be bold – let these ones go. Just because you started something does not mean you need to finish it. Seriously. There is no rule about this. Just frog them and free up the yarn for something else. And if you’ve fallen out of love with the yarn, simply send it to a good home and feel good about it – there are so many charity knitting groups out there on the lookout for donations.

Life is short. Let guilt go and enjoy your process. Take pleasure and comfort in your WIPs – after all, you will never lack for a project.

A review of my own WIPs last night led to the decision to finally frog my Stephen West Doodler shawl. This was a case of me trying to step out of my comfort zone in terms of colour choices but the resulting combination now leaves me cold. I will not be picking this one up again so I will put it, and myself, out of misery…

Below is an accounting of my current projects. I know what you’re all thinking – apart from the Unicorn Stripes scarf, there is a definite dearth of colour on display! It’s pathetic really. I’m thinking Stephen West’s new Knit ‘n Slide pattern with Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles may provide temporary relief. Stay tuned 🙂

–  Melissa

Holey Square Shawl by Marianne Sigg in Handmaiden Lino.


Unicorn Stripes by Antonia Shankland – with Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails, of course.


A scarf / wrap I’m designing with Handmaiden Maiden Hair and Shibui Silk Cloud.


Fate by Kim Hargreaves. The back is finished and I’ve started the left front but this has been on my needles so long the yarn has been discontinued. I love the coat so much though, I will persevere!


The Doodler by Stephen West – will be frogged today!


The Bowery Vest by The Third Piece

3rd piece


11 thoughts on “In the interest of full WIP disclosure :-)

  1. joan e. thompson says:

    Thank you again. You are correct. There aren’t any yarn police, just the angst in our heads. But, as a regular LYS customer, most of my guilt is not visiting and/or shopping. Frogging, donating, etc., is great but I miss my “posse.”

  2. Liz Reap says:

    Don’t frog the stephen west project> CAN I BUY IT??> LOVE IT!!

    On Wed, May 25, 2016 at 9:58 AM, Espace Tricot Blog wrote:

    > espacetricot posted: “So, based on the array of confessions and responses > Lisa’s post elicited yesterday, it seems few of us are alone in > experiencing the occasional knitter’s funk / WIP pile-up! It’s funny how > some (many?) of us tend to treat our cache of UFOs like a dirty li” >

    • Lise Pinsonnault says:

      I agree. It is looking very good. As it is very advanced, you should finish it and give it away.

  3. Stella Kisiel says:

    Hi Everybody….

    If you are guilty of getting into ‘knitting’ trouble, this is my friend/neighbour who

    is a yarn junkie. You can share this photo with your customers so they can have

    a good laugh.

    Stella Kisiel


  4. Katrinka says:

    Having discarded several crochet & cross-stitch projects both times we moved, I realized I do better working on one thing @ a time. I did frog four items a couple of months ago (all in a row!); two pairs of top-down socks – I was already to the heel- the start of a scarf my daughter didn’t like & an almost completed hat that wasn’t nearly as nice as it looked in the photo, so I’m not afraid to give my yarn new life or admit I’ve chosen poorly.
    To me, it’s the knitting I love, so as long as I’m working on something I enjoy, I’ll stick with it to the end!

  5. bloggingtostaysober says:

    I loved your article! I feel the same way all the time about having too many WIP. But then I think as well – why do I knit? Because it makes me happy!! I love to start new projects, but I’m not so good as finishing them. But if I’m happy while I’m knitting, I figure that is what counts!!

  6. Mary Williams says:

    Don’t frog the Doodler, I think it looks great!!! Put it in a box under the bed for a couple months. You may wonder who created such a stunning piece the next time you look at it!!!

    Sent from my iPad


  7. Cindy says:

    I once read an article about being a “finisher”. Whether it’s an idea or a project ..I apply it to my knitting and usually finish everything I start in a timely matter. The bottom line is anyone can have an idea or cast on….but to finish and follow through is something else!!
    In this day and age it’s a wonder to finish a just putting it out there to thoughtfully
    go through your projects and be a finisher. Feels so good😍

  8. Caryn says:

    Thank you for writing these articles. I took out all my WIPs and felt the best thing to do was frog most of them. I felt a HUGE relief and I even found one I had forgotten about that I was so happy to find!!

    Sometimes we just have to go back to the beginning 🙂

  9. maillendroit says:

    I think the definition of UFO should be a project that hasn’t been touch in over a year.
    It is healty to have several projects going at the same time and sometimes you knit one more then the other. That’s just fine, it will be done eventually.
    When i have a project that is over a year old, there is usually a problem with it, a problem i don’t want to admit because i will have to frog the project but i do eventually frog it.
    I have finish a few thing that were for me and got given right away. I did tryed to get out of my confort zone for colors and didn’t like the result. Thank goodness, someone in my family is just waiting for that moment to claim it.
    Now should i admit that i have a few books started….

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