Fancy Coffee Friday: Oubliette of Unfinished Projects

Oubliette St. y Nyll, Wales via

Oubliette St. y Nyll, Wales via

The room that is the Guest Room/Craft & Sewing Room/Will-become-my-study has a dirty secret. Hidden within drawers, inside bins, and stuffed into shopping bags in the closet are all manner of unfinished projects. From crochet to cross-stitch, they are hidden from the light of day, languishing in the dark recesses of what is essentially an oubliette for unfinished projects. A “forgetting place”.

Until this year that is! Because dagnabbit! Those projects are getting pulled out of their hidey-holes and seeing the light of day once again.

It’s not like these were bad projects. No, no. They all began with good intentions. A cross-stitched Christmas ornament here, a crocheted hat there, a quilt that is cut out and needs to be stitched up. And then distractions happen. There is always the initial moment of “I want to make this.” And you get all the supplies and you start working on it and, for example, the cat vomits.

So, you clean up the cat puke and notice that the edges of the carpeting along the wall have a population of dust bunnies on the verge of multiplying like rabbits so you bust out the vacuum. That leads into a full-blown, moving-the-furniture, house cleaning and by the end of the day you’re exhausted and forget that you were working on the project you had started.

Three weeks later, still suffering from a memory lapse, your brain sees some other shiny, sparkly project that it wants to do and you get all of the supplies and you start working on it and the cat vomits again. The cycle repeats.

Weeks or months later, you come across that first project, set down and long-forgotten, and you think, “I’ll get back to that when I finish what I’m doing now“. But, because you’re a brilliant person, you decide that there is no reason to have that unfinished project laying out gathering dust, so you’ll put it away in some brilliant spot you won’t forget it.

Years down the road, as you’re opening various drawers, flinging open cabinets, and rifling through bags in the closet for some other mysterious item you know you didn’t toss out, you come across these unfinished projects one-by-one. You tell yourself to remember to revisit that project when you finish working on whatever it is you’re doing, but again, those good intentions fall short of the reality.

Out of sight, out of mind.

That’s one small aspect of my life, a long trail of unfinished and forgotten projects. This year I decided to do better. I’d locate those projects and get them done, one-by-one. Already this year I finished crocheting a hat that’s been hanging around for two years and then made a matching scarf. I whipped out hats on my new knitting looms for a friend and his son and then followed that up with finger-less gloves and a pair of mittens for the both of them (because there was a lot of yarn). I delivered those on Monday morning with some eggs.

Tuesday night had me pulling out a basket of dark pink yarn that has been collecting dust (and pet hair) for at least the last ten years. Some of it was crocheted into a circular something, but there was no pattern accompanying it; there was, however, a set of knitting needles in the mix. With gusto I decided to rip it apart, wind up the yarn and start from scratch. While looking through one stack of patterns, I happened to find the booklet that held the project I was trying to make. Success! It’ll be a newsboy-style cap with brim and a scarf to match.

Still on the list of unfinished projects that I’ve found so far:
-One needlepoint canvas of timber wolves howling in the trees. Nearly completed.
-One cross-stitched Christmas ornament of a rabbit in a stocking. Looks to be about half completed.
-One nine-patch quilt for our teardrop camper. All the smaller patches are cut, they just need to be stitched into blocks and… well, the whole shebang needs to be layered with batting, backing, and then bound.
-Another quilt project, all of the material purchased, washed and hanging in the closet for the better part of 5 years (I think).

I know that there are more. They’re hidden in the recesses of drawers and the closet. In bins and boxes. But, I have my goal and that’s to find and finish these projects before I buy supplies for new ones.

Of course, while that’s my goal, the practicality of the matter is that new things come up all the time – like needing to “make pretty” some steel shelves we put in our dining room as our massive side board/kitchen appliance storage/seed-starting/beekeeping equipment bin storage place.

I guess I’ll have to head to the project store after all.

Do you have unfinished projects stuffed away in oubliettes of your own making?

What projects are you working on or do you want to get back to?

About The Amusing Muse

Deep thinker whose mind operates at warped speed. Philosopher pondering the big (and little) things in life. Storyteller. Office Ninja. Model. Teller of bad jokes. User of big words.
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6 Responses to Fancy Coffee Friday: Oubliette of Unfinished Projects

  1. Yep. I have a number of wood turning projects started and neglected. Then there’s the couple furniture pieces in pieces collecting dust.

    • Mr. Muse has some of that, however he’s better at finishing his projects – many of them just need to have the weather taken into account as to which he’ll be working on.

  2. agingcowgirl says:

    And I laughed and I laughed…boxes of material for little girl clothes purchased for long since grown up daughters, later intended for granddaughters who have also long since outgrown the amount of material purchased for those cute toddler outfits. And then there’s yarn and embroidery floss and the list goes on. Nothing gets thrown out. That comes in handy though. Former son in law called to ask if I had a plastic needle with a big eye. Sure I do. What on earth are you sewing? (considering he is service manager for a farm implement company, tailoring is not exactly in the job description). Seems they are working on equipment for someone and the screen/filter was torn so he was going to sew it back together. See, that stuff gets used eventually, just not necessarily for its original intent!

    You go girl!

    • Sometimes I feel like a hoarder when i look in, oh say… the barn, where I have buckets of parts, fencing supplies, etc. But I know that ONE day, I’m going to need something in one of those buckets, so I can’t part with even the small bits of fencing wire. Realistically, though, i could probably toss the broken fence insulators.

  3. John says:

    You are FAR more craftier than I am. That said, I just got myself a new guitar (because I don’t play it – at least, not for real), and I have chosen to put it out, in the open, so that I REGULARLY see it, and, if I can’t find another excuse, I’ll pick it up & work on something.

    My problem with crafts is that I LOVE to start them — but actually finishing? Meh – I seldom get the same rush. So I kick stuff off. And it languishes. Unfortunately, this even holds true to my garden — I get STOKED about setting things up . . . but the actual upkeep becomes a chore & I lose interest . . . which is a shame, because I really, really enjoy eating.

    • Smaller garden. 😉 It took me a while to stop buying things that we ended up NOT eating or that just didn’t do well in our soil, no matter how much we amended it. I grow a variety of greens that I can get Mr. Muse to eat (tho he still is not a fan of arugula) and when those start to get out of hand, the chickens and goats get them. Most of what we grow I eat on my own: spaghetti squash, zucchini, snap beans, beets, etc. A lot of it I can/put up. I allow myself one or two “fun” items a year, though this year I’ve gone and gotten three. Birdhouse gourds because I’ve grown them before and want to make more birdhouses. Mexican Sour Gherkins – cause pickles! And, Scarlet Runner Beans, because I’ll eat the beans and the hummingbirds will enjoy the red flowers. Win Win!

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