My friend Karen has this thing about UFO's or "unfinished objects".  As an art therapist, she's interested in why someone devoted so much time to begin on a craft project to only leave it before it was complete.  As a thrifter, I am obsessed with finding others' UFO's.  I also have plenty of my own.

Recently, I uncovered 3 UFO's of my own and thought I would reflect on why the projects have sat unfinished for so long.
UFO Number 1:  About 2 dozen log-cabinish squares inspired by my favorite Japanese craft book.  I began this quilt when Phoebe moved to her big-girl bed (about 3 years ago now) and used bits of my favorite fabrics.  Lots of vintage fabrics from coveted feed sacks.

What happened?  I think the project was just too involved at the time.  I loved putting together the scraps, but sewing them together took me forever.  Also, I had trouble getting the squares the same size.  I abandoned the project at some point and they have been sitting in a cubby in my craft room ever since.

What's next?  I don't think I'll ever make the quilt of my dreams, at least not for Phoebe.  I am currently working on a simple stripey coverlet for her (hopefully I'll have a finished product to show soon).  However, Eric and I are in need of a new coverlet.  Perhaps I can work these squares into the design.
UFO Number 2:  A rag rug.  The directions for the Braided Spiral Rug in Ragwork seem so simple and straightforward.  A perfect craft to do while watching TV.  Plus, we really needed a cute area rug for our front room.

What happened?  I remember having just moved into our house (that was 5 years ago) and I decided to make the rug.  Everything was going great until I began to bind the rug into a spiral.  It just wouldn't lay flat.  I tried everything and read the directions over and over again, but it's all lumpy.

What's next?  Right now the braids are filling up a Charles Chips container.  I am uncertain of their future.  Should I try again?  Do some more research?  I don't know.  This is perhaps my oldest UFO.  I may be over the idea.  I did purchase a similar rug at a local craft store.  It's flat and very cute.
UFO Number 3: Crocheted Garden Scarf from The Happy Hooker.  I do not know how to crochet, but my friend Lynn does.  After I excitedly bought the book about 4 years ago, I thought crochet was for me.  Lynn guided me through the One-Skein Scarf in the book with success and then I had my heart set on the flowered scarf.

What happened?  First, I don't think I bought the right kind of yarn.  But I really liked the colors...  Then, my friend Lynn moved to PA.  Well, I was lost without her and quickly my interest waned.  I haven't picked up The Happy Hooker since.

What's next?  I have determined that I am not really into crochet or knitting.  Maybe someday.  Also, I don't think I would actually wear the scarf now.  The cotton yarn is nice, though.  I think it would be great for the tapestry table.

UFO Conclusion:  So, what have I learned from this process?  As a crafter, I am attracted to all kinds of crafts, as you probably are as well.   Some I do well, some I don't.  You have to try them to find out.  Also, it's interesting to see what was going on in my life that attracted me to a project.  A new house, a good friend, and a growing little girl.  Right now, the fact that I haven't finished these projects is no big deal to me.  They are just taking up space in my small craft area.  The only one I see potential for is the patchwork squares.  They are cute.

Do you have any UFO's sitting around?  I'd love to hear their stories.


kristin said...

you know amie...i have dozens of UFOs...and i'm never clear on why i do this, but i start several projects at once ALL.THE.TIME. and it makes me crazy, just because many of them get forgotten or i lose interest. part of the reason i think i do this is i like to be "in the middle" of a project so if i feel liking knitting today, i can just pick it up instead of scrounging around for new ideas, but like you, many of it just fills my space

i'm wondering if you were still interested in that rug if instead of making a circle you made an oval. starting out with stitching two long braids side by side helps keep it from "lumping"

you've got me curious about just how many projects i have out there that are waiting to be finished...i probably just don't even want to know...

trdewey said...

this is totally random, but i have to ask. you mentioned your friend karen is an art therapist - did she by any chance go to pratt for grad school? i am in grad school for art therapy now. a couple of years ago, i visited pratt and remember reading an article about a memphis woman who was completing the spring/summer intensive program at pratt while working with older adults at her internship and raising a family at home. i guess it stuck with me b/c i went to college in memphis (found your blog through mary allison cates's blog!), was considering the spring/summer intensive program for myself, and am interested in working with older adults as well. anyway, i decided to go to school in chicago since that is where i live. but i figured i would ask - the art therapy world is relatively small!

Amie Plumley said...

Trdewey - Yes, I think we are talking about the very same Karen! Small world! I forwarded her your comment. If you want to get in touch, email me at and I'll pass on your email. It sounds like you two have a lot in common and should connect.