The Great Unfinished – How to finished all your unfinished craft projects

I have a confession to make. I like to start big projects, but finishing them isn’t my strong suit. I wanted to share this because I know that there are many of you out there that have the same problem.
Starting a new project is really exciting for me, as soon as inspiration strikes I usually drop whatever I’m doing and dive in head first, but once the novelty has worn off I’m onto the next big thing and sadly the pile of unfinished projects just gets bigger.

To kick start ‘Operation: Finish The Great Unfinished’ I’m documenting some of my TV projects (stuff I do on the couch whilst watching TV) in hopes that seeing everything laid out, and thinking about why the projects have stalled, will motivate me to get a move on.

unfinished projects

1 – Scrap fabric coil rug
scrap fabric coil rug
This rug is about 70% finished. I really like it and am keen to see it completed but it’s getting quite large and I think that is what is holding me back a little. It’s graduated from a portable lap project to something a little unwieldy that needs to be worked on on a table or the floor. It’s too cold to sit at my kitchen table in the evenings so this project will have to wait till Spring.

Edit: Project finished! You can get instructions to make your own here – Coil + Crochet Scrap Fabric Rug

2 – Knitted Sweater for me
knitted jumper
As the weather was cooling down I thought that knitting myself a jumper was a good idea. Got through the easy part but once shoulders needed shaping I lost all interest. I’m not feeling the colours and know that I won’t really wear it once it’s done, so it’s time to let go of this one and frog.
Edit: I’ve already frogged this project and feel so much better about letting it go.

3 – Knitted Shawl
knitted shawl
This shawl is about 90% complete and I’m keen to wear it this winter. I should have taken this project to London, it would have been finished by now. I’m going to keep it in my bag and take it with me everywhere I go so I can finally cast this one off.

Edit: Finished

4 – Crochet Blanket
crochet blanket
You’ve all heard of the Neverending Story, well this is the Neverending project! I’d like to say about 80% finished, but I think it’s still too small and I’m going to have to add much more to it to make it big enough to be usable. I’ve got a few lap sized crochet rugs but really wanted this one to fit on Emma’s bed. I think this is the second or third winter I’ve been working on this and have totally lost interest. I might put it out of sight for a bit so it doesn’t taunt me with it’s unfinishedness, and tackle it when I’ve ticked a few other more manageable and finishable projects off my list.

5 – Giant Twine Ball
twine ball
How long is a piece of string? This twine has been earmarked for a chair restoration project, it’s a bit experimental and I have no idea how much I’ll need but I think I’m getting close. Because this project is a bit mindless (and sort of meditative) I’ve found it’s taking up all my crafting time which should be going into finishing other projects. I think it’s time to call this one complete for the time being and move on to the next bigger project it was earmarked for.

Edit: This twine was used for this chair

So here are some take-home points from my little exercise that may help you finish The Great Unfinished
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How to finished all your unfinished craft projects - mypoppet.com.au

How to Finished all your Unfinished Craft Projects

  • Assess how many unfinished projects you have. Seeing them all together may change your mind about starting yet another project.
  • Think about the reasons why each project may have stalled.
  • Identify the projects that don’t really give you pleasure and let them go. Crafting should be fun not a chore.
  • Take portable projects with you. Use those spare moments like waiting at school pick-up, dance classes or at an appointment to get a few rows of knitting or stitching done. You’ll be surprised what an extra 10 minutes a day can add up to.
  • Tackle the most finishable projects first. Identify the projects that are closest to being finished and tackle those first. It will motivate you to keep going and give you that sense of achievement that comes with completion that you may not have felt in a while.
  • Be realistic about how long a big project will take. If your slow progress on a project is getting you down, put it away for a while but make a fresh start on it at a later time. Write down when you intend to re-start on a project on a calendar so you don’t keep pushing it back. This also gives you a deadline to finish other smaller projects so you can clear the decks and make real progress on that big one that seems to be going no where.
  • Let go of guilt. Crafting isn’t all about the end result, the process of making something is very therapeutic and sometimes it’s just what you need. Identify the crafts or projects that make you feel good while you are doing them and acknowledge that that is their purpose. No need to feel guilty if something may never be finished if it gives you pleasure every time you work on it it has done it’s job.

I will keep you posted on my progress.

I’d love to hear if you do this little exercise and how it’s helped you assess your ‘Great Unfinished’.

18 Comments

  • That rug is gorgeous, do you have a tutorial for how to make one?

  • This was great inspiration to pull out my Scary Bag of Unfinished Projects. Your process sounds a lot like how we got out of debt! 🙂

  • Rachel Cutler says:

    I love the rug. I’m working on one like that but with t-shirt yarn and some small yarn I found at a yarn sale. I never thought of doing it with woven. It is very slow going. I started a month ago and work on it nearly every day. It’s only 12 inches in diameter.

    • The one bonus of woven is that it stretches less when you are working on it. I’ve also used pieces of jersey in there too.

      • Rachel Cutler says:

        I’ve used my daughters t-shirts and they stretched more than I thought they would. They gauge of the threads was smaller than usual so it’s pretty small tarn. Good memories in it though.

  • susan sobon says:

    love the rug too. hurry up and finish that one, haha. it does feel great to finish a project, but i also like to have a few going so i can chose what to work on

  • Catherine says:

    I am slowly becoming the queen of unfinished things! I have a “recipe book” from about 7 years ago that i need to finish, and more recently, two knitted scarves, a weaving, a tapestry, about 5 dresses that need to be adjusted/finished and then my boyfriend’s coat which i need to reposition the toggles on. i’m normally pretty good with sitting down and doing things, but i think like you its too cold to do anything that doesn’t involve the couch and a heater, and then the cat trying to sit on my lap while i am using said lap for projects!

    I love that circle rug, you should finish that first! and i wish i could make granny squares! i’d be making blankets like those all the time 🙂

  • Mary says:

    I look at it like this….. I simply cannot die until ALL my projects are completed. So I guess I never intend to die! So I make sure there are always unfinished work to do.

  • Susan says:

    I am now motivated to dig into my unfinished stuff and get it done;O((

    Thanks!

  • Completing my unfinished projects and reducing my “good intentions” bins are my resolutions for 2017. It was lovely coming across this post! Thanks for the kick in the rear.

  • CAROLINA says:

    Thank you so much! I needed someone to undertand about my unfinished projects. I thought I was the only person in this world that experience this. Thanks for the tips.
    In my mind I’m always creating something new and I feel that I have to do it, since I get so anxious. But your words are the clue to finish wonderful projects that have been left aside.

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