June 11, 2013

Progress on Afghan- "If you start something, you must finish it."

Did you ever start a needlework project, and then rather wish you hadn't? I know I have! At times these projects languish in my project armoire forever and ever. They're destined for a state of perpetual WIP or UFO status. I have just a few of these 'never to be completed' ones, and they are small ones, I'm happy to report.

Hobbies are interesting things, and how we view them and our need to complete projects. I watched a movie not too long ago called The Lovely Bones. Yes, it is about a grim, tragic subject. The part that I am reflecting upon has to do with a character's hobby, not the grim subject matter of the film. In the movie, it's beautiful to watch the relationship of the victim with her dad, and to feel the love he has for his daughter. Besides being a loving father, this character has a hobby/obsession where he builds beautiful, detailed miniature ships in bottles.  His daughter Susie asked him about his miniature ship building hobby, if her mom knew he did this before she married him, etc. (The mother did.) In the film, this father says  to the victim about his hobby/obsession, "Susie, hobbies are healthy, they teach you things....like if you start something,  you finish it. You don't stop until you get it right. You start over again, and you keep going as  long as you have to. That's the way it is."

Wise words, right?

Hearing that inspired me. I can so relate to those words, and I know I must finish this afghan. (along with my other significant WIPs, one of them started as long ago as 2002!)

I started this afghan in 1990. Yes, 1990! That makes me gulp, as it is now 23 years in the making. I feel embarrassed about it. Life has so changed in 23 years, and yet here is this project waiting to be completed. When I started it, I was quite young and my children were very young! My son wasn't even in grade school.  Incredible. I was a stay-at-home mom, far away in time from returning to school to become credentialed in my profession. I loved being a stay-at-home mom, by the way. It was a wonderful time in our lives.

So about the afghan. There are 20 squares to be stitched in this afghan, and as of today I have finished 13 of them. I completed one yesterday, I am happy to say.  I bought the afghan back in 1989 while on a trip to my husband's home state, and I believe I bought the leaflet in the same long ago closed-down store in a very tiny midwestern town.

The afghan is called a "Lady Elizabeth" afghan, and I am primarily using Sue Hillis' Granny's Attic pattern book. There are 20 squares, and just 8 patterns in the leaflet, so instead of doubling motifs I have decided to add other projects into the mix, while using the same muted color scheme that Sue Hillis used in her leaflet. I have added patterns from the book called 501 Crosstitch Patterns, all designed by Sam Hawkins. In the original leaflet it states that the afghan is nice enough to leave some squares unstitched. Why didn't I listen to that sensible advice?

As I am adding other designs to it, several years ago I charted out the entire afghan's twenty patterns I was to use, including the added patterns I'd found.  Sadly, I lost that homemade charting along with the original leaflet.  I sent off for a replacement leaflet back in 2001.  Around 2003 or so I found the original one, as often happens when we trouble ourselves to find a replacement pattern.  I have once again lost the original leaflet, and my little homemade messy 'pattern' of the 20 motifs to be used, and where they should be placed. I do have the replacement leaflet, so that is a lucky thing.

Those words are echoing again, "You start over again, and you keep going as  long as you have to. That's the way it is."

All these delays and lost patterns have added to my procrastination on this project, that's for sure.

That was a long story, and I hope you are still with me.

Here is the latest square I stitched yesterday. I pulled out my Quaker Diamonds pattern, and used that as a base for the square. I changed some of it, to make it go faster!
I don't like how the colors look together, really, but it will stay. The color scheme is very limited and they're the typical late 80's muted colors that were so popular back then. I fear I used too much blue in this square. There is blue in the original pattern, but not in such boldly displayed hues.

Some more views:

More views of the afghan and my very slow 23 year progress:

The afghan and how it looked several years ago:

 Do you have any old WIPs that you must finish?  How do you motivate yourself? 

Thanks for stopping by today.


  1. Now that you've pulled it out of hiding and shared with the world, you'll be sure to finish it. It's nice how all the designs have the same muted color palette.

    I have a needlepoint design that I started in 1980 and it's been two-thirds done ever since. I'll try to get back to it this week!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Debbie! Is that your stained glass one? It's beautiful. I look forward to seeing your progress on it.

  2. I have one from 2009 (which is when I got back into stitching after not touching it since I was a child). I am currently between three WIPs, wait four! I have been working on the serenity prayer for my dad for over two years and haven't touched it in at least a year or more. I have an Ed Hardy pattern I started and haven't seen in months. A bookmark for my Aunt that I have almost done after 8 months. And an owl for my friend who is having a baby any day now..... Time gets away from me and work, the yard, the house all have been priorities..... life gets in the way.

    Great job on picking it back up. I love the colors and all of the different motifs you have used .... its going to look so nice once you finish!

    1. I know what you mean, time does get in the way of our hobby time. Your WIPs don't sound too old to me, really.

      Thanks for your kind words and encouragement.


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