I often find myself struggling to create and publish blog posts because I think they have to be 100% perfect before they go live. I want my readers to have exactly what they’re looking for, no mistakes… Today I decided to change that. The following post is as real as real gets for me as a maker, and I’m sure many others can relate. I’m a disorganized fucking mess and trying to portray anything other than that in my posts would be lying.
My tendency for procrastination plays a large role in my disorganization. Followed closely by my tendency to get bored with a project and start another. These traits are beautifully illustrated in my ever-growing, constantly changing pile of WIPs (works in progress). My projects sit at various percentages of done-ness, in a variety of different craft mediums. They range from piles of unjoined granny squares to half painted canvases. My craft desk is buried under a mountain of partially embroidered shirts still clamped in hoops, knit front panels of sweaters I don’t remember how I made, quilt pieces waiting to be joined (and some cut out), and countless notebooks with sketches and scribbles of things I wish I had time to create. In my closet there are boxes and bags filled with half completed crochet “things” that have yet to be identified.
Seeing my crafts stuck in project purgatory is heart wrenching, and actually a little overwhelming. Of course I want to finish those things! I started them because I wanted to! But once it gets past a certain point, it begins to feel like there isn’t enough time in the day (or my life) to ever complete them all. In reality, there is enough time to finish them, I’m just lacking motivation. That’s where this blog post comes in. Today I’m lining out some my favorite WIPs and figuring out what steps it will take to complete each one. I’m going to start chipping through them a little bit at a time and hopefully have a good bit of them finished up this year! I’ll be making a new blog post for each item I finish, and I’ll be sure to update this post with links so it’s easy to follow along. It will be an interactive checklist of sorts.
Join the Revolution
I’m calling this Project Purgatory, and I hope my idea will be successful in reducing the clutter in my craft room. If you’re reading this and it hits too close to home, then maybe you’d want to join me? I’d love to see other makers working through their unfinished projects and feeling accomplished. It’s a really good feeling to complete a project!
These are some guidelines for Project Purgatory that I’m following. Nothing is concrete, and the process should be fluid. Having strict parameters like deadlines and rules can cause us to lose interest and put a project down. Don’t feel bad if you have to adjust anything along the way to help you finish your projects.
- Just make a list of the WIPs you have that you feel the best about. Either it’s something you really wanted to make, or just something you know will be relatively easy to finish, even if you’re not that into it anymore. Give each project a title and think about what you have to do to complete it. Maybe include a little note about how you feel about the project or finished item. Write down the steps you need to take, then just start!
- Don’t number your list, just use bullets. This erases the idea that you NEED to complete one task before the other. This may not apply to every project or every step, but it can help for some larger projects with multiple parts.
- Don’t feel obligated to finish something before you move on to another. Just make sure you work the whole way through a step before you stop. Make sure your steps are easily digestible so you’re not stuck on one for too long. This will keep you motivated because you’ll be actually accomplishing parts of the project each time you work on it. Keep making these little strides and you’ll be decluttered in no time!
- We’re clearing space for new ideas to bloom, so even if you don’t like a project much anymore, it needs to move out of the way. It can either move into a box/bag where it collects dust for months (years), or it can move on as a finished item. Don’t like the finished product? Sell it. Donate it. Give it to your little cousin or your mom. Hold a giveaway for it on Instagram. Just finish it.
- If it truly is a failed attempt, then frog it already. It’s that simple. Put the materials to good use and move on. There’s no point in holding on to half completed pieces that serve no purpose or function properly.
- Don’t be afraid to start new projects during this “purge” period. If inspiration strikes, welcome it with open arms. Just don’t let it take over. Treat it like the other projects on your list and think out the steps. Keep it on track like the other projects and you’ll reduce the chance of it ending up in purgatory.
- You never have to actually complete your list. Project Purgatory can be a lifelong venture to keep multiple projects going at one time. I’m not project monogamous at all, and I never want to be. I like being able to try different things all the time, so this is just a way to keep myself in check while I’m still putting my creative ideas into motion.
I’m going to be tagging my posts on Instagram related to these specific WIPs with #projectpurgatory. Please tag your photos as well to share your progress and inspire others! Together we can hold each other accountable and make sure we’re working towards the ultimate goal of clearing out clutter to make room for more creativity to thrive.
My Project Purgatory
Autumn League Pullover
A free, basic raglan sweater pattern from Two of Wands. I made mine with Buttercream Luxe Craft Mohair Brushed from Joann’s.
This is an easy one. I have this sweater technically “finished”, but I made some mistakes that should be pretty easy to fix if I could just get motivated.
- Rip back and extend the body of the sweater.
- Make the back a little longer than the front.
- Rip back and lengthen the sleeves.
- Use the correct bind off method this time (like I did for the collar).
2019 Square a Day
I’m going to make one granny square for every day of 2019. By the end of the year, I will have enough to make a really pretty blanket! This project is meant to destash all of my Peaches & Creme cotton yarn that I’ve collected over the years. I’m using this square pattern from Mango Tree Crafts.
I was supposed to start this on the first of the year, but I started it on the 8th… I’m writing this post on the 15th, and I only have 10 squares complete.
Catch up the number of squares to the correct amount for “one a day”. Find time every day to make just ONE square.
Update – 4/5/19: So far so good! I’ve been keeping up fairly well with my squares and they are looking beautiful as a full set. You can view the update posts for this blanket by choosing a month from the list below.
- January 2019
- February 2019
- March 2019
Triangle Duvet Quilt
I started this as my first quilt because I’m obviously a masochist when it comes to sewing??? It’s supposed to be a quilt large enough to cover a white comforter for my queen size bed. I bought all of the fabric, so I’m kind of committed at this point.
This will take a bit longer, but I’m confident I could work through it pretty quick if I just took the time to sit down and try.
Finish cutting out all of the triangles.
- Iron all of the pieces.
Plot the layout for the quilt and pin in rows.
- Sew each row together.
- Sew the rows together to form the front of the quilt.
- Find binding fabric (black & white stripes).
- Find backing fabric.
- Plot closure style (probably ties?).
Hibiscus Sweater (& Pattern)
A boxy, oversized sweater with texture detail on the body and sleeves. Oh, and it’s bright fucking pink.
This was meant to be written up into a pattern, but I never even finished the sample knit. The front panel is done, but I don’t like the construction style. Maybe I’ll draft it as a raglan?
Examine completed front panel and write down texture pattern.
- Turn texture pattern into a chart?
- Complete sample. (This will be broken down into more steps later.)
- Design pattern template.
- Take sample photos.
- Find test knitters & set deadline.
- Release the pattern!
Lost in Time Shawl
Another quick project I started up that just needs a little bit of time and love.
No steps, I just need to finish it. Pattern for it is here.
Gemini Sweaters (& Patterns)
This was supposed to be written up into a pattern that could be used to make two “twin” sweaters. I made one of them, got the yarn for the other, and never made it. I’d like to work towards fixing the sample knit of the first one and completing the twin.
- Rework sleeves on first sample knit.
- Consider less construction? Maybe work as bottom up sweaters?
This is a secret project I cooked up in my brain back in like…. 2017. I think I’ve finally found the perfect yarn to make it, so I’m going to start the process!
Get sample yarn and swatch it.
- Knit sample garment.
Embroidered Handmade Tanktop
I made a tank top last summer to use up some stash fabric. It turned out great! But I can’t wear it because I started trying out embroidery on it.
- Finish embroidery.
Ready to get some of your WIPs out of purgatory? Let’s do this! Share this post with your fiber friends so they can declutter too.