UFOs in your craft room?

How many UFO sightings have you had in your craft space? Not little green aliens, but those UnFinished Objects you have tucked in drawers, stuffed in project bags and hidden under the guest bed. I refuse to be embarrassed by my numbers because, as I tell my students, grace over guilt. Life happens, am I right?

What irks me more than the UFOs are the impulse buys, vacation purchases and potential gift ideas that I never started. Why am I still holding on to embroidery patterns from the 1980s, clothing patterns that aren’t my size or scraps of yarn I don’t love?

My studio with UFOs invading my cutting table and book collection on the right.

Well, I’m ready to be a good librarian and catalog my stuff, weed the garden of supplies and start making a plan for completing those UFOs so I can start some new projects! I intend to use the week of my Carpal Tunnel surgery to do most of this, since I don’t know what limitations the surgeon will place on me.

First up, cataloging what I have. I thought about going high tech and using software such as Evernote or Trello (see links below to others who have used these). Have you cataloged your craft supplies digitally? Tell me what you used or how you accomplished this in the comments.

At first, I thought I would create a spreadsheet and list only the things I wanted to keep, starting with books and patterns. But why? Someone has to have had the same idea and created a file that can be edited. Then I remembered I joined American Patchwork & Quilting’s UFO challenge and that has an editable file.

But when I opened the file it only has room for 12 projects, how cute. I have way more than 12, so back on the hunt I went. Then I found the blog From Pixels to Patchwork, and voila, I found it!

Totally editable project sheet I can track all my UFOs.

Since it is in Google docs I was able to save the file to my computer and customize it to my needs. For my purposes, I deleted the priority buttons (I’ll add that in later as a number) and the project status codes on the right. I’ll update both as I go. This will be a 100% paperless project. I’ll have one list for UFOs, one for kits not started and lastly for patterns that I own but don’t have kits made.

As I create these lists, I’ll do some weeding. Just like your garden, you need to pull a few weeds out of your craft stash on a regular basis. Back in the spring I started weeding my embroidery patterns and tools for a yard sale. I have at least two boxes (somewhere) ready to get rid of but where to take it? Then I heard that a library a couple of towns away is organizing a craft swap in September. Perfect! I know I have sewing patterns to add and fabrics that don’t bring me joy. My game plan is to tackle this weeding project just like the 40 bags in 40 Days Challenge. Every day this month I’ll pick a different craft or location in my house — knitting, cutting table, etc. Anything that doesn’t make a list goes in a bag, box, storage container or trash. What doesn’t get picked up at the swap, the library will use for programs and the rest they will donate to a local charity and Goodwill. Win-win!

Lastly, make a game plan. Once supplies have been sorted and reorganized, then I can go back to my list and prioritize what goes first. Projects that have a kit ready (fabric/yarn, pattern and notions already bagged) go to the top of the list. Prioritizing UFOs will depend on how far along in the project I’ve gotten or if it is a gift, like the photo below. Other projects will be left unfinished if they are samples for classes. Guess that will be list number four.

Deadlines wait for no one. This quilt needs to get to it’s forever home.

This post got me inspired and I dug out a set of knitted monster feet I made for a library yarn bomb several years ago. When the event was over they were cut off rather than untied and needed repair. So I plucked them out of my studio supply closet and took them to my weekly knitting group for advice on the best way to accomplish this. One of the members who crochets helped me repair them by adding a chain stitch. Now they will live in the Bristol Public Library’s children’s department to entertain and add some whimsy.

Leftover monster feet from yarn bomb being repaired.

This is a game of inches. Since I know this won’t magically happen overnight, I’ll add a box to my home page and a segment in future posts to keep my dear readers updated and me from losing a step.

I hope this post inspires you to take a closer look at your stash and be generous with yourself (and others) by making more room for new creative activities and less clutter in your craft area.

Your’s in stitches,
Dawn, The Stitching Coach

Links to sites mentioned in this blog:

By stitchingcoach

High school librarian by day, crafter for life. I'm an award winning embroider, quilter and knitter. I advise a high school sewing club as well as volunteer with Days for Girls. Students will find I'm passionate about all needle arts and want to pass that along to all generations and skill levels. Learning to sew, knit or hand embroider can be intimidating, but with the right support can become a lifelong hobby that provides joy to your life. Let me show you how to get started. I look forward to helping you exercise your creative side.

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