Sunday 4 October 2009

WIPs, UFOs and LLPs.

At first I thought it was just me. That I was weird, unusual, different. After all, my mother, the one who taught me to knit, is a monogamous knitter. She doesn't have a stash of any great size [a few balls of acrylic tucked away for charity knitting and perhaps some baby yarn 'just in case']. Mum buys yarn with a specific project in mind and casts on for that project when the last one is finished - really finished, not just "knitting-finished".

But her wayward daughter? The one who went to Wangaratta and Bendigo in 2008 with her DD and came home with the back seat loaded to the windows with yarn. The one who has just spent some hard earned Aussie dollars on 50+ balls of Cleckheaton Fiddle De Dee cotton from two sellers on Ebay because she likes the yarn, there are two family babies on the way and the yarn is discontinued. The one who had to buy 10 archive boxes from that big office supply store to contain part of her stash [apart from the five drawers she already had plus a shelf full of yarn in bags]. Oh, yes, a strange daughter indeed - why couldn't she be more like her mother?

But then I discovered the world of bloggers. And I discovered that other knitters were not monogamous. And some of them have larger stashes than me [not to mention some who have penchants for expensive yarns]. I am not alone! I am not weird! I am not a freak - I am - wait for it, drum roll please - completely normal in the knittiverse!

And I've discovered something else. Knitters who are not monogamous [that's most of us, right?] have three kinds of projects. Yes, that's right - three kinds of projects. Not two like they would like us believe. Three!

First there are the WIPs ["works in progress" if you are a non-knitter and happen to have fallen into this blog by mistake, perhaps looking for something about alien spacecraft]. In my case, as of today that would be five socks [three finished in the last 24 hours and awaiting grafting, one on two circulars, one on dpns], a cotton baby blanket and a beanie which is spending the holidays at work because I forgot to bring my knitting home!

Then there are the UFOs - those projects that have stalled in some way but are still in mind - they will be finished, some day. They're not forgotten; just put aside for the moment. In my little neck of the knitting woods, that would be a Tomten waiting for a zipper, a blanket for Wrap With Love with a gazillion ends to be sewn in and a blanket made of hexagons which I started last summer in my crochet frenzy but have neglected in favour of textured knitted things in the last few months. Then there's a summer cardigan that was once a sleeveless top whose yarn is being recycled. Both of these last two would more correctly be called NWIPs [Neglected Works In Progress].

Or perhaps they are really LLPs and I don't want to admit it! They have, after all, been removed from my knitting corner and relocated to hidey-holes in my study.

So what is an LLP you ask? A fair question, my yarn-loving friend but shush, we have to whisper here. Most yarn crafters don't want to admit to their LLPs. They put them away in the bottom of drawers, in the back of cupboards or under the bed, and try to pretend they don't exist. But sometimes, in the still of the night, we hear them calling to us. They haunt our dreams. They frighten or amuse us when we come upon them unexpectedly. They are our Long Lost Projects. Once, full of enthusiasm, we cast on, joyfully anticipating that FO. Oh, how wonderful it would be when we wore it or gave it to another. But somewhere along the way, the joy disappeared and the WIP became a UFO. We didn't hide it, not yet, it sat in our knitting bag where we could see it or it waited in the naughty corner while we thought about a solution to its badness. It was a UFO and it would be finished one day, but not right now - we had moved on to the next wonderful WIP.

The UFO languished in the knitting bag/naughty corner gathering dust and emitting little squeaks of protest every now and then. But after a while, probably quite a long while, we got fed up with sight of that UFO in our knitting bags/naughty corners and we banished it to the back of the cupboard/bottom of the drawer/under the bed. What had started out with great promise, our wonderful WIP, had morphed from a slightly neglected UFO to an almost totally ignored LLP.

Some bloggers have chosen to come clean with their WIPS and get them finished. Some have chosen to take their UFOs from the bottom of the knitting bag and complete them. And other very brave bloggers have let their skeletons LLPS out of the closet and turned them back into WIPs and even FOs!

Are you brave enough to resurrect your LLPs? I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours!


  1. Whilst I do have many many WIPS, I don't (yet) have any LLPs. Although some of my WIPS would probably classify if I'd actually moved them from the bottom of the knitting basket!

  2. I do have some LLPs! Mostly poorly chosen projects that I would not consider now as a more informed knitter! There's one I think I might have a go at some time, a baby jumper i'll pull out for someone's baby, but the others are best forgotten!

  3. I had to laugh when I read your post, although not too loudly as all people are asleep apart from me. I have just been thinking that I will post about my WIPs and UFOs, but never thought of the LLP's. I am sure I have one of those plastic tubs full of them. My stash is a lot more than yours so I wouldnt be too worried, although I do look at mine and wonder if I can live to be a 200 years old so I can knit it all up.

  4. I love it! You're right, of course. Counting carefully, I have three WIPs, one UFO, and three LLPs; I think that if I were going to be really honest, at least two of those LLPs should go back to being yarn in the stash, and probably all three!!

  5. I will admit I don't have any UFO's or LLP's to date. I am a bit like your mum, except in the stash area. I have 2 projects on the go and about to begin my 3rd. Knowing me I would have a big box full of UFO's if I didn't finish straight away. I am weird because I like sewing up.

  6. I think I have a granddaughter jumper part finished as an LLP. It won't be finished either, as I've used some of the wool on other things. I do have multiple WIPs. Found out long ago that I like variety to work on and my easily inflamed fingers like a variety of yarns and needle sizes too.

    Working like that on multiple WIPs give a supply of FOs too and I find that encouraging.

    When I started knitting when still at school I used scrap wool for clothes for sister's dolls, but mum would buy me only wool for one project at a time. Even that was "put aside' at the local drapery and she would dole out the money for one ball at a time. Remember that system? I'd get a ball at a time when I got off the train from school in the afternoon. If I didn't finish something, no more wool.

    Sometimes I think about this system. Mum was 10-15 years old during the Depression. She was never a knitter. I guess money for yarn was not readily available, although I know clothes etc were darned, patched, re-cycled etc in her family.

    We have it relatively easy these days. I think much yarn is quite possibly comparatively cheaper and more available than then. So we accumulate a stash. Even luxury yarn is reasonably attainable for many of us.

  7. Thanks for the laugh! I tend to finish what I start or on the rare occasion that it becomes a UFO, or a LLP, I will send it back to the stash! (The truth is , I can't stand the whispering from these rebel projects!!!)


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