All Our UFOs: Poll Results I

Results are still coming in, but as of this morning, those of us who answered the Knitting Daily UnFinished Objects Poll (sorry, voting now closed!) have a combined total of nearly 65,000 UFOs. That's a lot of unfinished knitting sitting around in workbaskets and closets and ziplock bags; it works out to an average of about 7 UFOs per knitter-who-answered.

Only 2% of you said that you have no UFOs, as you finish each project completely before starting a new one. As the owner of double-digit UFOs, I admire that kind of self-discipline and well-behaved, orderly knitting. I really do.

However, I (and my 18 UFOs) have plenty of company: 4% of you have 15-20 unfinished projects laying about; an additional 6% have more than 20.

Here's the breakdown:

0 — 2% 7 — 7%
1 — 4% 8 — 6%
2 — 8% 9 — 4%
3 — 12% 10 — 6%
4 — 12% 11 to 14 — 7%
5 — 13% 15 to 20 — 4%
6 — 10% More than 20 — 6%

I would also like to point out that every UFO represents at least one pair of knitting needles (the circulars and the dpns probably cancel each other out, so let's just say "one pair per project") . . . that means that the above data represents 130,000 knitting needles.

We shall not even begin to think about how many stitch markers, lost tape measures, and tiny pairs of scissors fallen down under sofa cushions this represents.

On Monday, we'll have the results of the second poll: Why UFOs Become UFOs (voting is now closed for this one, too!). This is to give everyone a bit more time to respond to the second one, now that the shock of counting your UFOs has worn off a bit.

However, for now, I'd like to share some of the things you wrote, because I know not everyone has time to read all the comments, and some of these shouldn't be missed!

Carol J: I think the UFO's are a sign of creative genius and should not be a source of guilt or shame. That's my story and I'm sticking to IT!!!!!!!

Caseyst: I make no excuses for my UFO's. Instead I like to think of them like this: Leonardo da Vinci once said, "Art is never finished, only abandoned."

Rosemary C: All my UFOS are "works in progress". The really "ugly a**" ones are re-balled or given to my local yarn shop for charity knitting. Of course, I have to drop it off under cover of darkness, so they don't know it's from me.

Waving Lace Socks…almost

Mary Lynn J: When my Mom moved, my darlin' hubby was setting up her book cases and cabinets in her sewing room. He came across three mittens and four socks . . . none finished and none matching the others . . . with a weird look, he wandered into the kitchen with the various projects in hand and said "Why?" and she said "because . . ." and he raised an eyebrow and she finished "because I am an adult and if I don't want to finish something, I don't have to."

Noel H: I come by UFOs naturally. When my father was overseas during WWII, my mother sent him one finished sock with a label "A Lick and a Promise." Fifty-six years later, when he passed away, there was still only a lick. The first time I actually saw my mother knit was when I was twenty-one; she picked up something she'd started when I was born, to give to her first grandchild. He's now thirty—and it's still not done. So why should I worry about MY UFOs???

Lacy Arrow Socks from Socks

My 13-year-old UFO knitted socks are the Lacy Arrow-Patterned Socks by Jean Sherman, from Socks: A Spin-Off Special Publication For Knitters and Spinners. And yes, I do intend to finish them . . . especially now that I have all of you to encourage me, right?

Check back next week, when we'll talk more about our beloved UFOs and I will share progress on some of my own pesky projects.




Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily.

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114 thoughts on “All Our UFOs: Poll Results I

  1. Socks always begin with such fond promise (“this one’s going to be GREAT!!!), but they always turn tedious, somewhere halfway through the foot section. Once one is done, the second seems more than a knitter can bear. Heance, the dreaded second-sock syndrome. To avoid this, I ALWAYS knot both socks contemporaneously, one on one magic loop circular and the other on a second ML circular. I knit an inch on one, then duplicate it on the other. This both reduces my UFO tendency, and doubles its numbers! (Two unfinished socks, instead of one done and the other waiting!)

  2. I actually clicked zero for UFO’s but I do have one. Last month my car was stolen and I had a knitting bag in there. When the police phoned to tell me they had found it the first thing I asked was my knitting bag still in there – it wasn’t. So that project is still unfinished I suppose. I missed that bag more than my car!!!!

  3. Last week before the poll I had decided not to buy or start any new projects. The local yarn store even had a sale last weekend. I visted the shop but did not buy any new yarn. Even though my yarn at home was lonesome and asked for me to bring the some new friends. (I had to listen to them whine all weekend) but I was strong. I have even seen some projects that I would like to start but remember I am strong and have resisted. Besides I am one of the ones that have over 20 projects on the hook. Some are 90% finished. So I have put them into two containers- the one I am working on, the other container – the projects I am going to start working on when the ones I have finished are done. Just think I will have at least 20+ project finished in a short time. Be strong. BELEIVE

  4. During the post-Sept. 11 knitting-on-airplanes ban, I was stranded for hours in an airport and could not bear to read any more. It struck me that the handwork world should organize UFO rooms at airports where you could spend time working on a project even if it wasn’t your own! Of course, there would have to be limits on the number of orphaned projects dropped off per fiber enthusiast. Now that the ban has been lifted the need is not as great, but the idea does have some potential!

  5. Does anyone remember Jean Kerr’s book “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies?” She and her husband bought a huge house and decided that, if they came downstairs in the morning without something they needed, it was easier to go out and buy a new one. That’s actually sort of how my stash (yarn, needles, UFOs, etc.) grows. Disorganized? Me? Yup.

  6. My oldest UFO is of yarn given to me as a graduation gift….22 years ago…. I could still finish it…. Maybe I will pull it out this weekend. I’ve moved 7…no 8 times since then, and I still have the yarn and the pattern. Do I know where all the finished pieces are?….hope so!! Last time I worked on it – 3 years ago. Projects I have started and not finished since then – coincidentally 8. Projects I have started and finished since then….3. Okay, who started this miserable exercise!?

  7. This conversation has been liberating! For me, the thought of even starting one project before finishing another was inconceivable! Now–knowing that so many consider this “creative”, I’m ready to launch a dozen “wanting and waiting” projects that I thought I would never get to for ages…simply because I can now claim them as “works in progress”, etc. Thank you knitters…you’ve freed me from my obsessive “finish one, start another” mentality.
    Off to buy more needles!
    Leah G. Pacific Grove, CA

  8. Instead of how many unfinished projects we have, it might be really interesting to ask how many unSTARTED projects we have stored yarn and/or patterns for. I don’t have more than 3 or 4 UFO’s by your definition of having yarn on needles but I have a HUGE amount of yarn I have bought in the past and have plans for which I consider to be UFOs as well! I guess it’s a matter of definition and of how hard we are on ourselves! I have so many unstarted UFOs right now that I won’t allow myself to even go to the knitting store until I have “worked down my pile” at least a little bit!!

  9. The funny thing is that in those moment when I’ve picked up a UFO, I usually finish it fairly quickly. It’s rewarding. the problem is actually getting myself picking up the UFO in the first place… I’ve started disciplining myself– I have to finish something before I start something else. It’s good incentive, esp when I REALLY want to start something new!

  10. Your results have a peak at 5 UFOs, but I think the sampling method is biased. I’m one who didn’t count hers yet because it’s a big enough job to require a weekend, but I know it’s in the double digits. I bet I’m not alone. 😉

  11. I’ve always been a pack-rat so it is not unusual for me to have many UFOs. I can’t help but buy some “pretty” yarn with no thought as to what I will use it for. I once went to a yarn show and decided before hand that I wouldn’t buy any yarn without a definate project in mind. Haaa, that lasted about as long as it took to get down the first aisle of vendors. I did buy some yarn with a project in mind but once home I continued to change my mind as to what I wanted to use it for. I think “collecting” yarn and unfinished socks and mittens are all part of what being a knitter is all about.

  12. i loved noel’s story of the ufo baby blanket. when i was pregnany with my third child i decided to knit a baby shawl. i finished the centre and was three quarters finished the edging when i stopped for some reason not remembered. after my son was born i tried to finish the edge but i couldn’t figure out what row i was on!!!! the shawl travelled to canada from wales in 1980 when i emigrated. when my first grandson was born in 1984 i thought i;d finish the shawl for him but still couldn’t figure out the pattern row. many years later i took knitting classes at my lys and asked the teacher if she could figure out the row. she did and i eventually finished the shawl. when a friend’s daughter had her first child i presented her with the shawl and the story.
    i didn’t come online to register my ufo’s but i have a lot. some sit waiting to be sewn together or ends darned in as in several dishcloths. my greatest ufo achievement is my sally melville einstein coat which i finished recently. the main yarn was bought in wales before 1980 and i had started to make a jacket with it. 2 years ago i decided to knit the einstein coat but soon realised i wouldn’t have enough of the yarn so i bought a contrasting color and worked stripes and color blocks. i am enjoying wearing my coat these fall days and am receiving many compliments on it.
    lynda wuetherick

  13. “Only 2% of you said that you have no UFOs, as you finish each project completely before starting a new one.”

    Amateurs :-)! I’m in the 6% on the other end of the spectrum.

    I am developing a method to my madness though. All socks are toe-up so I do the interesting parts last. That helps with sss. And no later than May 1, I get to pack up all the winter UFOs and pull out the spring/summer UFOs and I have to finish one before I can start a new WIP.

    All this year I have been knitting from my stash so I’ve been making inroads. That doesn’t mean I haven’t bought any yarn, but I’ve only used new yarn for commissions or family requests. Even the stuff I take to what was a local boutique has been mostly from stash. Wait, wait, I did get 4 or 5 balls of Venezia Colors for a Clapotis for me, but that was special circumstances: one ball of the yarn fell at my feet while I was visiting a new yarn store. Since it was obviously a pleas to me to take it home, I could hardly say “no”, could I?

  14. I didn’t do an actual count of UFOs, just from memory of things I know I’ve started. 3 are prayer shawls, not for anyone in particular at thistime, and I’m a bit bored with them. 2 are in sock yard (a tie and a pair of socks), and my hands get tired quickly. 4 are scarves – one I need to measure (gotta find that measuring tape), 2 I don’t like how they’re turning out, need to re-do, 1 is actually in the works, and 1 is a garter stitch boxy jacket for me, which I work on when I don’t want anything compicated.

  15. Interesting distribution on the number of UFOs; haven’t graphed it yet…

    I like to have different projects that I can work on in given time spans. Now, I have a baby surprise jacket I work on in the evening, and afghan squares or fingerless mitts for the morning, in the 10-20 minutes I have before leaving to catch the bus. Working on the little projects is helpful- you get something done and checked off and think you’re making progress

  16. Talk about UFO’s I just remembered this one. about 1 1/2 yrs ago my mother sent me the socks she started knitting for my father 50+ yrs ago. She asked me to finish them for her. I did not know how to knit socks, so I taught myself and not only finished those, but started several others. I am proud to announce that I only have 1/2 of a sock left to finish another pair.

  17. There shouldn’t be shame in crafting (even though I’m trying to shame myself into finishing things). Sometimes a project just doesn’t fit the time period or you change and it doesn’t fit you. All of the winter sweaters abandoned with the true coming of spring. All the lace abandoned because life got too busy to concentrate on a more demanding pattern. Life makes UFOs.

  18. Two UFO anecdotes:
    1. One of my UFOs is a sweater I started for my husband back in the dark ages of the 1970s. He wanted a bolt of lightening on the front (pre-Harry-Potter, remember), and drew and charted it for me while I knit the (plain) back & sleeves. By the time I was ready to do the front, however, he’d decided (a) he didn’t really want that design anymore, and (b) he no longer liked acrylic yarn (we didn’t know any better, in the beginning). So that 3/4 sweater still resides up in the attic somewhere, and the remaining yarn has been used for gift-tying, kid-knitting-lessons, etc. etc.
    2. For our church’s biannual fundraising services auction, one enterprising and generous knitter offered to finish someone else’s UFO. I can’t remember how active the bidding was, but I was very happy to buy the service, and to see a very cute ladybug baby outfit finished. I’d done what I thought was the whole thing, but turned out to be just the front, and just couldn’t face the back at that point — case of too rigid expectations unable to handle reality.


  19. My rule of thumb is to have only 3 UFO’s at a time. That way I finish projects and don’t have a yarn stash. There’s always more yarn out there, and I don’t want to be committed to a stash.

  20. I’m one of the few with no real UFOs. But I’m not necessarily a one-at-a-time knitter, either. For a while last month I had four projects on the go. Two of them are now done, and the other two will be soon. I had a very old UFO–last fall it had been sitting there, unloved, unfinished, for 21 years… All it needed was 1 sleeve and some seaming, most of the seaming was done. I finally decided to do something with it, so I ripped it out. I used that yarn along with some yarn left over from projects I’d done in the same era, and made a moderne lap blanket (Mason-Dixon) out of it. I love the lap blanket a lot more than I did that ghastly old sweater, and I got some old yarn used at the same time. Woot!

  21. I also have many UFO’s. But in attending another knit in recently, one other knitter has came up with the idea that in the months of July and August, before the thought of fall and new projects set in, she uses those 2 months to try and finish as many UFO’s as she can. What hasn’t been finished she saves until a future date, but at least it gives her some good feeling that an attempt has been made. Quite a good idea I think.

  22. Because my needle sat idle for more than 13 years, I don’t have nearly as many UFO’s as I might have had. Recently, I was certain that I was going to suffer sss with a pair of socks I was knitting (an old WWII pattern), but then I got a call from my daughter and she said her new hubby had cold feet (and would actually wear the PINK socks I was knitting). Well, I finished them, and actually did a pair of mitts to send him as well (my first – no guarantees on their quality). As well, I knit a mini sock for an ornament/key chain fob to match the socks. I’ve just finished something I had on the go when I submitted my UFO count, and I’m thinking of freeing the needles from the project started pre-1994, for which I have no more yarn or hopes of getting anything to match. Now, what will I knit with that?

    So, how do you rate something that you’ve knit, finished, and it really doesn’t seem to resemble the original pattern, or you absolutely hate it . . . it’s really hard to gift something you hate.

  23. I didn’t get around to doing the survey, but I have about 8 UFO’s, but I prefer to call them “WIP’s” or works in progress. They are all different gauges, and I find that it is more relaxing if I can switch between projects. My hands don’t get tired and I’ve managed to avoid carpel tunnel syndrome. They do get finished. I have had only 3 UFO’s that I’ve ripped out in the last 4 years. If I don’t like it enough to finish it within a year I figure there is something better in the future of that yarn and start ripping.

  24. Oh my, yes, i too have some UFO’s, however, since the poll started, i have finished two sweaters, took out my corn fiber socks, finished another persons ufo and am thinking of un=knitting one UFO then making a dedicated effort to finish up my other 3 UFO’s before starting anything new. Like that’s going to happen now that i just checked out the knitted heart sachet. Fortunately the weather is conducive to knitting, I have one more ufo to finish for someone else, then i’ll think of setting another goal for my own ufo’s, might actually count them, i do know of at least 5. Janet S. in Massachausetts

  25. I have a sort of bittersweet comment about UFOs: My mother and I shared a love of weaving, spinning, and knitting. In 1999, she was working on a sweater for my niece. She was also dying of leukemia. She passed away before finishing the sweater, and I promised my niece I’d finish it for her. I was pleased, and honored, in a way, that my gauge matched mom’s exactly. I spent the next year finishing up other UFOs of hers. It really helped me work through the grief!

  26. I have exactly the same ammount of waving lace socks that you do!! They’re for my mom, and I’ve been working on them for something like 6 months. By working on them, I mean occasionally staring across the room at them and hoping they have magically knitted themselves. I’ve been having no luck with that so far. With the exception of said socks, I generally prefer to think of my UFOs as Mostly Finished. Its far more optimistic. They’re all so close to done, and yet. . . not.

  27. I was able to answer zero at present. This is only because a couple months ago I tore out two UFOs, made one into a different project and am currently sorting out what to do with the other. Sometimes, it’s better just to give that yarn new life. I admit readily that those two UFOs had sat around a good while before I gained the impetus to revive them.

  28. UFOs are a Hoax, as the American military will tell you and they would know.

    Personally, I think of it as throwing yarn on the wall and seeing what sticks on the needles. It’s never the project that I think it will be.

  29. My oldest UFO is an afghan I started my freshman year of college. That was in 1973. The pattern was so involved that I would complete 1-2 of the 10 row pattern and put it away. Unfortunately, as a Navy wife we made numerous moves, and I couldn’t begin to figure out which box in storage holds that UFO, but it STILL is a UFO!
    Alice Lescault

  30. Re: all those UFOs representing a pair/set of needles tied up; not necessarily. Many of those UFOs are single socks or gloves, in which case the matching item hasn’t been cast on yet. Or one finished the front and back of a sweater but never got around to casting on the sleeves. In other cases, the needles were appropriated for another project and the UFO transferred to stitch holders or waste yarn.

    I think I need a bag-over-my-head smilie here.

  31. SSS = second sock syndrome. I have joyfully given that up by knitting both socks at the same time using the magic loop and one circular needle. I just ordered more circulars – I have 6 pairs of sox scheduled for gift giving and 2 & 3/4 pair finished. BTW your waving lace sox look a lot better than mine. May be the varigated yarn I used.

  32. speak for yourself in the needle department. i have over 50 sets. maybe even over 100. i like and collect the old-fashioned metal straights (and use them, too!)

  33. I think I said I had 17 UFOs. Well Yeah! I’m down to 15. I finished 2 in the last 4 days. A big tote for my youngest sister and the knitting bag that was shown here a few weeks ago. It’s even all lined too and very cute. Now can I cast on for something else? Maybe not, but it is so tempting. I need to finish those 2 sweaters that are at the 95% stage. Debby

  34. I responded with my number of UFO’s (18 if my memory is correct). When I got to thinking about that, I realized that I was only counting my knitted UFO’s. I also do counted cross stitch. I haven’t had the courage to count those. I can however top the 13 year old UFO/socks. When my second son was born I decided to make him a counted cross stitch Christmas stocking because my oldest son received a beautiful one from his god mother. The stocking is about 3/4 finished and the son is now 22 and a college graduate. Oh well, 4 kids, husband, huge garden and then kids sports all got in the way. Maybe I will rip out the name, finish the stocking and give it to his first-born.

  35. See *haha*, I’m slightly cheating. I only have one yarn related UFO. You didn’t ask about all the sewing UFOs (which includes a quilt I started in December “03!).

  36. This time i MUST comment: UFOs in the knitting world? But of course!Having a stash worth a “million dollars” according my 2 pre-teen grand-daughters,(both love to knit!) of course there are many projects on the go. Only I think of them as “creative endeavors”….Last count, when you put out the question, I went & ‘tried’ to count the WIPs (yes, I like that term too). I stopped at 14 items…there are 5 or 6 (?) sweaters (they all need sleeves!), mittens & socks. Many a sweater has under-gone “transformations” & have become vests! Works for me… As you see: there is a trend; anything that needs a match will suffer. But once in a while “guilt” overtakes me & I DO finish things! Alas, that hasn’t yet made much of a dent in my stash; it still is BIG!
    This stash/”collection” thing leaves me to another idea: have you thought of a “contest”?
    Our local guild, Gilli-Hook Heritage Knitters,(in Calgary) had one last year. I got the idea while looking at my own stash & thought: “Don’t we all have this in our house?” Well, it was a huge success! The only “rule” we had was : it HAD to be stash, not any NEW yarn whatsoever! LYSs kindly donated prizes & it was fun to see what people had “uncovered”. Two of our
    members had knit something with yarn that had been in their collection for more than 50 years! It is a good thing Alberta doesn’t have M***S or it could have been ugly!
    Keep knitting
    Majbritt S.

  37. I guess I don’t see UFOs as a negative thing – I like variety in my knitting and enjoy having a choice of different kinds of projects to pick up when I sit down to knit. I try to always have something simple going for when I knit in the company of others, some lace, some colorwork, and some smaller, instant-gratfication projects to balance out the sweaters and larger things. And I always, always have to have a pair of socks on the needle.

  38. why does one UFO have to equal one set of needles? For me, abandoning a WIP only requires a (big) stitch holder. Free needles==less guilt! Yay for stitch holders!!!

  39. Hmm… my oldest UFO is a ski-style sweater I started during Christmas break of my freshman year of college — let’s call it January 1981. I think it’s not even wool yarn, but acrylic. And yet I still count it among the UFOs. I don’t know why.

  40. Well all this talk of UFO’s. I felt good at only have 2 plus the actual one I was working on. And one of those is a sweater that needs the seams. There is a bit of a problem with one side that isn’t right. My other one is my first sock ever, which is for practice, so it just sits.

    Anyway back on subject, all this talk of UFO’s convinced me I could have a few more, so I cast on at lunch today on a purse. The yarn didn’t work on another project and I just realized it should work for this one.

  41. 130,000 needles? I’d hate to accidentally fall over that basket!! Actually once I know that my UFO will be UF for a while I end up putting it on scrap yarn and re-using the needles for some other project. Isn’t that why we never throw out a perfectly good yard or so of yarn?

  42. Before I moved 2 yrs ago I undid all the UFO’s I found (or at least those that weren’t at the bottom of the black yarn lagoon). Since relocating back to the Pacific Northwest, I have already accumulated a sock project, 2 sweaters-in-work, and a couple of things for the grandson who is now the elder brother…

    The yarn stash has also benefited; where I used to live there was one yarn shop. Now I am surrounded, and yes, Martha, I have surrendered…..

    I left Toto in Kansas, as well as the ruby slippers, and have once more fallen totally in love with the Puget Sound and surrounding mountains. Let it rain, I’m not worried – I’m KNITTING!!!

  43. I had made a list of my UFO’s about 1 year ago and had methodically completed them down to a handful.. THen about a month ago I started about 5 projects in the course of a weekend…. I kinda wonder if it is a VIRAL condition…. UFO syndrom.. and I had a relapse?

  44. UFO’s come about because we are creative people and are easily enticed by the performances of other creative people. Thus we must attempt to match others creativity. Sounds good anyway.

  45. Can I help it if my yarn stash calls to me before something is finished? And besides, those pesky fitting issues require some serious thought before moving forward! Plus, sometimes I need mindless knitting, and sometimes I want challenge. Therefore, none are UFO’s, just works in progress!!!
    Even the World Map sweater from Vogue Knitting about 15 years ago!

  46. What to do with the UFO’s????
    Check out today’s good weekend on knit graffitti – it’s the BEST idea, so let’s ee Melbourne plastered with knitting – THEN we can all use thoes freed up needles to start all oover again!!!

  47. You can finish those socks, Sandi. Just ignore everything else for a week… or spend the week thinking about how much you want to finish those socks to get to all your other projects. Whichever one works best for you!

  48. Half the fun of knitting is looking for yarn – all those colors, all those skeins – who can resist. Yes, I have UFO’s, but I have been knitting for 50 years and I haven’t had any adverse reaction to having UFO’s, so I think it is a good thing!!! Variety is the spice of life, right? I guess it is an unexplainable flaw in my knitting life, but one I will continue to experience! I love starting a new project! Luanne

  49. Besides my own UFOs, I even adopt other peoples. I’ve had a knit afghan (complete except for sewing the strips together, and it has 2 extra skeins of yarn too) that I picked up at the local thrift store for at least 3 years. I also collect used knitting patterns from yard sales: no matter how old or how ugly, they seem to deserve better that the trash can.

  50. I’m with the WIP folks..But I do have 2 that may not be finished soon. 1. bag that is
    knit and 3/4 seamed (and I
    loved each individual skein of yarn), has evolved into a WWIT-What Was I thinking! I’m
    seriously considering black dye and a wild lining….
    2.scarf I knit for hubby in wonderful yarn and he didn’t like the pattern so I ripped
    it out and recast a new one.
    I’ve knit about 12″ and I’m
    thinking the ungrateful lout doesn’t deserve a scarf in this beautiful yarn so I’m
    looking for the appropriate
    cheap acrylic and I just pet
    the 1/4 scarf occasionally.

  51. Hi, I’m new to Knitting Daily and didn’t get a chance to enter the poll on UFO’s. I’m also guilty of many UFO’s,but not only for knitting projects. I’m also a crocheter, sewer and stitcher and if I were to count up all of the UFO’s in my sewing room, there would probably be about 12 items just waiting for me to come back to them. I will, eventually. I love reading the comments from other knitters. It good to know I’m in such good company.

  52. Sandi, yes please do finish the Lacey Arrow socks, this is one of my UFO’s but my excuse is the needles they are on are not good for yarn and ease of pattern work. What yarn did you use??


  53. Rather enjoyed learning there are other folks that have UFO lurking in baskets and bins….mine (6-7) all have something in common…..various stages of…and various patterns of socks…..have been knitting for years and many ski sweaters, (complicated, Lopi yolk, cuff and hip designs) variety of yarns..alpaca, silk, angora, LOTS of wool…and never tried socks till last year….Well…….yes I have some success to brag about…but still buying every book and trying lots of techniques….socks are a whole new world to me…just want to encourage everyone to try something new…every now and again…next I want to do the P.GibsonRoberts from the toe UP…just knit them both at the same time and when you run out of that limited supply…bind off….JSH

  54. Love this knitting site…and the book reviews..great way to keep up with what is out there…and I do buy books…am an Avid E.Zimmerman cont. knitter…what freedom to enjoy knitting…You are making a real difference to the knitting world, also…so just keep throwing stuff out there….Joann

  55. I think of UFO’s as my way of helping to keep my local yarn shop in business. If I had to finish every project before buying more yarn then I would never get to go in and fondle yarn.

  56. One thing I’ve noticed about my knitting is that if I have more than one project on the needles at a time, then I am MUCH much Much more likely to knit a “real” gauge swatch (as in making it at least 4″, and sometimes more and more importantly washing it. But if there is no other project midstream, I just cannot get myself to knit a gauge swatch wash it and then wait for it to dry. Nope. Cannot do it. I have tried. And I have a few UFO sweater or two because of the limitations of only knitting one thing at a time. Obviously, with this reasoning there’s no reason for me to have more than one UFO, yet I have 10. Nevertheless, what I just said about the gauge swatch holds true. And my UFOs are all stuck at the seaming section.

  57. I’m afraid to count all my UFO’s, but I do have a suggestion for the “sleeveless sweater syndrome” (another sss?) Knit seamless sweaters from the top down (a la Barbara Walker’s Knitting from the Top). Not only is there no finishing at the end (well, maybe some ends to darn in), but you can try the sweater on as you knit and either fix problems as you go–or abandon the monstrosity before you waste any more yarn and time on it. Frogging a seamless sweater is much easier than trying to pick apart a bunch of pieces. On the other hand, if the sweater is a success, it won’t be spoiled by ugly seams. (I never could get shoulder seams to look right.) You can adapt just about any pattern to be knit top down. Even better, once you understand sweater construction as explained by Walker, you can knit sweaters without patterns. She also describes a nifty way to knit hats from the top, so they always fit.

  58. I just thought of one more advantage of Walker’s method (can you tell I’m a fan?) You can cast on the (usually) small number of stitches for the top and start knitting right away. The first few inches serve as your swatch.

  59. I currently have 12 ufo’s. I finshed 4 projects this week so that I would not have to count them as ufo’s.
    I don’t know what is more troubling to my husband, the size of my stash or the project bags and baskets all over the house.

  60. My mum-in-law has still got a pair (actually only one) of unfinished bootees which she started when I announced my pregancy. The bump is now a strapping 6 foot tall, 28 years old and recently married!!!!!!!!!!!

  61. Reading the comments from other knitters about frogging old projects has finally given me the courage to rip out a 14 year old shawl-neck sweater. It was originally for me, then I “outgrew” it, and then for my son who has also outgrown it, and now there is no particular reason to finish it. Not to mention the fact that I ran out of yarn before starting the shawl collar. Somehow I imagined I’d find a suitable replacement (remembering EZ’s philosophy about using other yarns when one runs out), finish the sweater, and then give it away. Ha! Now I realize it is better to frog it all and reclaim the yarn (100% wool) for something else. Thank you everybody!


  62. I like to keep certain types of ufo projects around for a good purpose. If a particular project gets boring and repetitive I find switching to a second sox or mitten breaks up the monotony of the other project. That way the juices get flowing again and it makes it easier to get working. Soon you are all caught up and have to make new ufo’s!

  63. I think having UFO’s is hereditary…My mom has been gone 24yrs and I have several UFO things [not all knitted] which she & her 2 sisters had started, which I inherited. I can’t count all of mine, knitted & crocheted.. My sons inherited the tendency to leave projects half finished. It just happens. Julia

  64. I loved the comments on this post. I went through them all and made a list of ways to handle UFOs: knit both socks at once, limit yourself to 3 (or 4 or 5) projects at a time, work on things according to your mood or environment at the time or to the time available, if you really hate it frog it and make something else from the yarn, etc.etc. Thank you to everyone! This list will go in my notebook as a valued reference–as have many of the comments from other posts. THX–Caryl H

  65. Finishing is clearly my waterloo–I like to KNIT, not sew seams, crochet edgings, pick up stitches for long button bands, weave in ends, etc. Plus the finishing techniques vary so much from project to project, and I never feel like I really get proficient in them….

  66. I think it is really important to have UFO’s. If we had to finish something before we started the next one we might miss out on wonderful opportunities, like wool on sale, an absolutely ‘must do’ project (it’s only small, so it won’t take long!),socks for a baby who arrives early, socks for your husband to cheer him up, socks, just to use that great new wool, and then there is the 2 ply shawl, just to prove to yourself that you can do it! Then of course you need to a project that you can knit while reading, one to do while watching T.V and one that you can only do in a VERY quiet room(that’s the 2 ply shawl!!)

  67. I have UFO’s in all the categories in the poll. Add to that, the seasons change, I don’t like finishing, anything needing lining is an immediate UFO. I think I am most definitely a process knitter!

  68. I knit while waiting for my kids at soccer, football, lacrosse, karate, and basketball practice, during band concerts, while riding in the car and during Church services and meetings. I have found that certain projects work very well for that type of knitting and certain projects do not. Those that do not, because they are too complicated, too large, or require too much attention, become UFOs. I have found that the perfect project for my knitting time is socks.

  69. I have four UFO’s at this point. Two pair of socks, one shawl, and one scarf. I have these UFO’s because of time! My time spend dwadalling through patterns and not spending time getting promised projects completed has culminated in UFO’s!!

    Get things done when promised!! No daydreaming, lazy habits or dithering. JUST DO IT!!


  70. I truly believe UFOs are the product of overflowing creative impulses which just cannot get themselves organised.

    I have managed, sometimes, to finish my UFOs and others, to transform them into the most amazing creations.

    My motto is: Never Give Up and Don’t Put Yourself, Or Those Needles, DOWN!

    Anne-Claire Knitbitch Supreme!

  71. Reasons for my UFO’s:
    1. Kid grew up before sweater was finished (X2).
    2. Grown kid’s boyfriend is no longer boyfriend–his sweater is 1/2 done–now what?
    3. Ran out of yarn before sleeves were done–can’t match.
    4. It’s my “mindless TV” knitting–it gets picked up now and then.
    5. That *$(# lace shawl–wedding present for DD#1 who’s been married for 2 years already–I have to concentrate AND knit in excellent light.
    6. Can’t even remember 6 or 7! Jessie

  72. My mother knows someone whose job it is to go to the houses of old ladies who have died, find all their UFOs, finish them, and give them to charity. She lives with a lingering fear of this happening to her – I think it’s the same principle as ‘wear clean underwear in case you get hit by a bus’ – she doesn’t want to be sprung with, for instance, a half knitted baby blanket for my sister (who wil be 18 next year) or half sown pants for a 6 year old me.

    I screwed my courage to the sticking point a few weeks ago and went through my stash. I haven’t been knitting long enough to really accumulate, but anything that I thought I would never, ever finish, or love enough once it was, got frogged (including a pair of completed socks that, since I had never worn them, were a bit of a UFO in my mind). It felt good. And now everything on my needles (and there’s a lot) is stuff I’m dying to finish.

  73. After a particularly hard weekend with family tragedy, I smile and feel comforted reading these posts and “hearing” my fellow sister knitters very humorous and sweet comments on their addiction. It really comforted me.

  74. hi! my oldest UFO is just over 5 years old. I wanted it intentionally as I was about to get a job in an area colder than where I usually live, and it would be my major sweater before I acclimatized to the weather!
    It is a sweater I saw in a vogue knitting, looked for the yarn to match, bought lots of it (incase it ever ran out), then cast on and knitted the back [I remember being very excited when I cast off] and I think the left side! Then, because I was the wisest knitter, I had decided to change the rib from what was in the original pattern.

    a few months – early this year, I decided I must finish it once and for all! but who’s to say, I have no clue where I got the rib pattern!

  75. I love the amatuers comment! I started sewing in 4-H when I was nine and it has been my passion for 32 years! I picked up knitting 3 or 4 years ago and recently took a top down class ( yes I finished the cardigan YEAH!) and am now passionate about knitting. I rank in the 6+ufo’s in knitting still an amatuer here but working on it. I am afraid knitting will rival my sewing stash and ufo’s (way too many to count, even in a week)I just wish I could knit as fast as I can sew!

  76. I have 2 afghans, 2 sweaters, 1 hat and 2 scarfs on the needles. I am a process knitter, so once I figure something out and see how it is going to turn out, I lose my desire to knit it anymore. In my defense, I ran out of wool to finish one sweater and am having trouble finding more of it. Sirdar snuggly fair isle dk anyone??? The other sweater on hold as I try to decide if I like colour pattern. Hat on hold because I want to add more colour so I have to go to yarn store to buy some. One scarf is daughter’s and I don’t see her finishing it soon, so I will have to. Total: 7

  77. I get Knitting Daily regularly and enjoy it, but I remain confused when it comes to contacting you folks, esp. when it comes to a poll. The link “Share Your Thoughts” doesn’t go right to this place I’m writing from now. Instead, I have to come to a page and click on “Share Your Thoughts” again. Any way to make that less clunky? I’m still not sure how to respond to anything! (Please DON’T publish this!)

  78. My husband complains about all my UFOs and doesn’t understand why I can’t finish one before starting the next. I tell him I could have worse hobbies, at least this one keeps me out of trouble and at home!

  79. My husband complains about all my UFOs and doesn’t understand why I can’t finish one before starting the next. I tell him I could have worse hobbies, at least this one keeps me out of trouble and at home!

  80. your comments are hilarous, almost tear producing. i think i may be the worst example because not only am i a hack knitter with 17+ ufo’s (not including those not yet on needles!) but am also a hack quilter with………you guessed it another room full of quilting ufo’s. I believe i can only finish it all if i live to be 200 years old and not buy another item.

  81. I had to laugh at all the posts about UFO’s! I don’t knit, but I do know how, just too lazy to get on with it! I crochet and have ONE UFO (afghan) that I’ve been working on for about ten years now, ripping it out a couple of times and restarting it. Now, if you had asked about sewing UFO’s, my count would probably have been in the double digits too. I did like the answer from Mary Lynn J’s mom though, “I’m am an adult, and if I don’t want to finish something, I don’t have too!” Absolutely best answer I’ve ever heard.

  82. I have UFO’s because it is a family tradition to have them – whether it’s sewing, knitting, quilting or whatever… I have no willpower to NOT start knitting something with a new yarn, or pattern, especially smaller items. And of course, I alternate charity knitting with knitting for family. And, 35 years later – I still need to knit something more than fingerless mitts for myself!

    A dedicated collector of UFO’s

  83. I too must confess that I have 5 UFOs of my own. I didnt get to record them in the poll but I will admit to them. I see it as the need for variety, as some large projects get boring!

  84. All of these UFO coversations are making me wonder exactly how many UFO’s I have. I gotta log out and start counting 🙂 I know there’ a sock (first one) that is lurking somewhere on 3 tiny little #6 needle….you have given me the courage to ‘frog’ it!! I had never known you were permitted to do this :)) Gotta go find it right now!! I’m so excited !!

  85. I didn’t take part in the poll but have to admit to being closer to the 0 end of the scale. I always used to finish one project at a time – I never even bought the next stash of wool till the last project was done! I now have 40+ unstarted UFOs plus about 3 actual UFOs – I did one of those conscience-stricken clear-ups earlier in the year. Now all the winter jumpers I didn’t finish last year are ready to be completed now.

    Oh – and I forgot my heirloom bedspread, so far about 10 years in the making. A lovely lace project made in squares I can pick up when imagination and hobby-money have dried up!

  86. Yep, I’ve got a few projects to send to the frog pond, gorgeous hand painted sock yarn that doesn’t like the pattern I picked for it, other UFO’s with errors, and stuff I just lost interest in making. The good thing about this is that I have learned that listening to the yarn(and the swatch!) makes for happy fingers and happy yarn. :~) BTW, darn it, now I’m going to have to invest in the sock book for the lacy arrow sock pattern. I just love it!
    Juli in NM

  87. I sometimes frog a project simply because I don’t like the yarn… So I’ve accumulated a small pile of yarn which I am unlikely to ever use. I’d be willing to donate it (and ship it) to a charity, but don’t know of one who could use it. Do you have any suggestions?

  88. I have an unintentional UFO that still hurts to think about. When flying I don’t recommend putting your clear box with your WIP and your xerox copy of your pattern on the floor beside your feet if you think for one second that you might forget to pick them back up when the time comes to exit the plane. You guess it, I walked off and left it by the window seat. So if anyone finds a clear box with knitting inside it, please finish that UFO for me. I called the lost and found for a week for the airline and no one ever answered. I just hope that box with my knitting found a good home somewhere. I’m still not over it, as you can probably tell. I did make an immediate list of everything in the clear box and made a point to replace everything I could identify that was gone. But it’s still just not the same. If anyone knows where I can replace the 2 mm plastic crochet hook that was airplane safe please let me know.

  89. I inherited 2 UFO’s. My Mom had started 2 baby shawls for great-grandbabies yet to come when she pasted. I became custodian of the shawls, and finished them as the babies arrived, several years later. Of my own – no UFO’s but yarn and plans for 3. I prefer to call these USO’s. Of course, we recently moved and I cleaned out 3 trash bags full of UFO’s and yarn – to the trift shop it went.

  90. Comment about the Heart Sachet – This was one of the most annoying patterns I have every tried! I noticed someone said if you make one you’ll make them by the dozens or something like that. Do yo have some kind of trick you use to get this done? I found the loop cast-on most annoying when trying to do the first row. Then three different yarn types just split and split as I tried to get all those tiny stitches going (and I make socks on ones and twos all the time)! I really like the look of this little thing, but I think I’ll pass after three very frustrating attempts to get this done.

  91. Is it too late to confess to UFOs? Do scarves without fringe count?? I’ve got about a dozen of them; a baby blanket experiment gone way wrong; a recycled sari pullover that I’m debating whether or not to add sleeves; and the last half of the second front of a vest that I started after the first date with my now 5 year ex-hubby of 21 years.

  92. I am new here and it is so nice to find so many people that also have a project for every room. Having spent the summer knitting a lovely blue blanket for my new grand nephew who was due in October,I then looked for the three skeins of white wool I had bought at the same time to knit his one year old sister a poncho….No luck until my grandson and I decided to carry on our “folly” of knitting place mats for the patio table out of cut up plastic bags and there in the pile of plastic bags was the bag with the wool for “Abby’s Ponco”. I find the plastic knitting a great way to teach my grandsons an art that they always watch me do and ask me to teach them. The place mats are great for the picnic or patio table and even under the dogs bowls on the patio as they can be easily cleaned. When we get by dad’s macho “tude” we will grade up to wool and prove to him that knitting is an art for anyone with a desire to create.

  93. There’s only one thing wrong with counting the UFO’s…if you’re a spinner you ALWAYS have a UFO. Handspun yarn doesn’t always know what it wants to be. Pat

  94. Tonite I went to bed early and now am up unable to get back….clicked on this, and have not been able to stop laughing! What a joy! But here’s one to top! What about BAGS of yes, RAW wool from your flock of sheep you don’t have anymore, bags of handspun yarn that who knows what to do with, wool on bobbins that you did who knows how long ago, and then, finally, the bits of things started and never finish. I just can’t think of it all, it gives me a headache! And then there are the gifts of beautiful Alpaca wool given, bags of Angora plucked from an acquaintance’s rabbits that she didn’t have time to do, bags of dog hair someone gives you……oh, yes, a bag (I mean a BAG)of ginned Pima Cotton a friend gave because I wanted to try spinning cotton….the bag is about 5 feet tall, crammed full of the stuff! HA! does this not bring a whole new meaning to UFOs???
    Thanks for a very enjoyable time of sharing your knitting adventures, it was a wonderful hour. Uh oh, just saw the rule about 500 c’s……

  95. Help! Toe up socks,I have knit dozens of sock and took on the toe up challenge, I love the way the toe looks but am having a heck of a time turning the heel. I uesed the toe up patteren in IWK/Summer 07
    I just don’t get it. Help! I don’t want this to be a UFP. Chris

  96. Help! Toe up socks,I have knit dozens of sock and took on the toe up challenge, I love the way the toe looks but am having a heck of a time turning the heel. I uesed the toe up patteren in IWK/Summer 07
    I just don’t get it. Help! I don’t want this to be a UFP. Chris

  97. Just a warning on pulling too to tight to avoid ladders or jogs in your socks. I had REVERSE jogs/ladders from pulling too tight! I could not figure out why I had ladders when I was sure that I was pulling tight enough – I took the sock to the local yarn shop and my expert sock knitting teacher – he said I had avoided ladders from too loose stitches and done the reverse! It figures….

  98. OMG, UFO’s, I’ve always thought I was the queen of same. I just joined this community so did not get to vote BUT I have a gorgeous RED mohair Vneck sweater that is approx 32 yrs old and has never been finished/worn because although it only needs the neck band to be completed, I gained weight (ARGH) so never finished. It has travelled coast to coast with me here in Canada. I’ve thought of turning it into a pillow so that I can enjoy the wonderful feeling of the mohair. I’m thrilled to know that I’m not the queen nor the only one with UFOs. LOL at the comment about the mother who picked up a baby project started for her child to finish for her grandchild. That’s me, only with cross stitch, birth announcement for my niece Shelby; I figure now I’ll finish it for her first baby. Think that’ll work? So happy to have found you all!!! Laurie in New Westminster BC

  99. I missed being part of the pole, but I have a prayer shawl, a sock that is 2/3 done, 2 baby blankets and a pair of baby booties. The booties at least are only waiting on a decoration to go on the sides and will be done this week. I got a bunch of unexpected commission work that forced me to put off the rest for now.