Sunday, January 27, 2013

Wading Through my WIPs, or a Moment of Public Honesty

By any sort of rational measure, I have an excessive number of WIPs and UFOs.  I know for a fact that it exceeds the size of the entire stash of some of my knitting friends, many of whom have been knitting even longer than I have.

Don't believe me?

I looked at my Ravelry page AND at my Excel spreadsheet (which I began in January 2010 to catalog my entire stash; it also helps me narrow down the location of projects/yarns to a particular cupboard or drawer).  On January 1, 2013, I had a reported 74 or 75 WIPs and UFOs.  Two of those were not really WIPs (a snoozer project on my Ravelry page that has yet to be cast on, or even have the beads strung for it, and a failure from a few years back that has been frogged and is awaiting repurposing), making the total 72 or 73 valid WIPs and UFOs.

I have whittled down the list a bit this month.  In the first week, I finished off a hat and a pair of socks begun in December.  Yesterday, I finished a scarf begun in October from yarn I had purchased in 2011 (see photo below).  I also knit a beaded bracelet (my "or" project because the beads were strung, but I did not cast on until 1/13/13) from a ball of Blue Moon yarn destined to eventually be socks.
Bobcat Farms Lace Scarf

That brings me down to 69 WIPs and UFOs.  Here's the breakdown:

1 felted purse (only need to sew in the zipper)
1 pair of flip-top mittens
3 pair of socks
4 blankets
11 scarves and shawls
51 sweaters and tops

Of the sweaters, only 5 are child-sized (in most cases, the intended recipient grew faster than I expected).

I know myself well enough to know that if I pledge to knit only from my WIP/UFO list, I will break that pledge in no time.

As I mulled over what to do, I scrolled through the 2KnitLit Chicks Kardigan KAL forum, looking at various ideas for a cardie that I should start in a week that might take me most of the three months allowed for completion.  In addition to adding to my favorites list, I noticed that several Ravelers referred to the 2013 Use It or Lose It Challenge sponsored by the Stash and Burn group.  For this challenge, participants finish 13 projects from stash purchased prior to December 2012, roughly one every 4 weeks.  Since this challenge is primarily intended to move untouched, well-aged yarns from stash to finished project, finishing off well-aged WIPs is limited to three at most of the thirteen project goal.

I have a lot of stash (no, not everything is in WIP form) falling into the untouched category, so I decided to join in.  As of today, I've finished 3 projects started in 2013 from stash purchased before December 2012.  As a spur to continued stash reduction, I've decided to avoid front-end loading my count, so only 1 of those 3 counted toward the goal for period 1.

I figure I can do a similar challenge of finishing 13 WIPs/UFOs that were started before January 1 of this year.  The added goal is to make this a net reduction in WIPs/UFOs, meaning that my total count on January 1 of next year needs to be 59 or fewer.

At this point, these goals seem challenging, yet doable.

I also need to make sure I don't buy quite as much yarn in 2013.  This may be difficult, since I signed up for 2 sock yarn clubs (Blue Moon Rockin' Socks and Cookie A's Sock Club) plus I bought a subscription to Rowan Magazine, so I'm already lined up for stash aquisition.

Note that the goal is "not quite as much yarn purchased", not "no net adds to stash".  I know I have some limitations.

The subscriber-exclusive kit from Rowan arrived in the mail this past week, making it my first stash acquisition of the year.  It consists of a pattern for the Cosby Slouch Hat (not in Ravelry) and three balls of a discontinued color of Amy Butler Belle Organic Aran (saddle brown).  I like the yarn and the pattern, but not together, so I think this will be repurposed (yarn for a scarf or cowl, pattern for another yarn).
Rowan kit for subscribers

Maybe I can finish before any sock club yarn arrives.


Sava said...

Oh goodness that is a lot of WIPs. I can see myself getting there someday, as I find myself constantly attracted by new and exciting projects!

I think if you just imagine how good and clean it will feel to whittle down that pile of WIPs, you can do it!

Jocelyn said...

You win! I've got anywhere from 20-25. I'm with you though -- I know myself and can't resist a purchase here and there. I did finish 6 projects in 2012 from yarn purchased prior. And a few others that were "new" purchases. I hope I can at least match that for 2013.