Embroiderers, however, will just nod and point out the places they have UFO’s. Because when it comes to UFO’s, then Embroiderers are the worlds best Ufologists!
In our case, however, our UFO stands for UnFinished Object. Like the Unidentified Flying Objects, they appear out of nowhere, and seem to breed (much like wire coathangers….) so that you end up having UFO’s of projects that you don’t even remember buying - let alone starting!
So what is it about embroidery that seems to have this UFO legacy? I mean, none of us start a project intending to abandon it. Let’s be brutally honest: embroidery is not a cheap hobby. The projects we start are expensive, and unless you have an unlimited income (and if you do – will you subsidise my embroidery habit too?) then we choose our embroidery purchases with care.
Or not. Yes – impulse embroidery buying is fun. Almost as fun as impulse shoe buying. And we all have an embroidery stash – a pile of projects to start, books to read – but that’s another topic!
Back onto your UFO’s. The reasons for abandoning these poor projects are as varied as the projects themselves.
Sometimes, they’re harder than they seemed at the time. They may no longer have relevance to you. You may have inherited them (talk to me about that – I have UFO’s I inherited from my late Grandmother and Aunt. I know that when my mother dies I’ll inherit more. I come from a family of embroiderers) and haven’t the heart to work on them, or time, or perhaps they’re not just your style. Perhaps you bought it when it was trendy (think shabby chic). Other times, you do just get sick of them (let’s face it – working on a project that can take over 200 hours, you can get bored with it!).
I am almost ashamed at the number of UFO’s that I have – ranging from a very large canvaswork piece that I started in 1985 that has been worked on by me, my mother and my late aunt (and it’s still only half done!) to a cross stitch picture that has taken me 2 years and counting (I stitch it in fits and starts). And that doesn’t even count my inherited ones (the oldest of those is 70 years old – a cot sheet that Grandma started to embroider to put in my mother’s cot when she was born – but mum’s birth stopped that. Grandma was sure baby was to be a boy – so the sheet is all drummers. A daughter was a bit of a surprise). The styles of the UFO’s range from cross stich, to needlepoint, to cutwork, traced linen, Or Nue, Couching, Opus Anglicanum, crewel – well, let’s just say that I’m a non-discriminatory UFO embroiderer! I’ll start and abandon anything!
Abandon? No. I never intend to abandon them. For some of them – they’re experiments that haven’t quite worked as I intended, so I suppose they’re not technically UFO’s, but they definitely aren’t finished! For others, I had to stop them due to outside influences and for some reason never picked them up again. The inherited ones – well, I do find it a little hard to pick these up again. Some of that is awe – I’m not as good an embroiderer as my Grandma, and I’m frightened that my work will look bad against hers.
So – let’s declare war on the UFO! Let’s do a UFO exchange. I’ve started a thread in the forum – so if you would like to swap a UFO with another reader, visit the thread and leave a description of your UFO – just how big it is, how much needs to be done, and the style and technique of it.
If you want to claim a UFO, then post that you want to claim it – e-mail or Private Message the user as well, and arrange to exchange details.
Let’s get rid of our UFO’s – who knows. Perhaps you will pick up a treasure, or contribute to somebody else’s hobby who can’t afford it. Whatever the reason, it should be fun!
Whenever I tidy up, I find a UFO. One of these days, I’ll put them all together in one place.
But then, one day, I intend to stitch them as well!
UFO Exchange Thread
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© 2007 Megan McConnell