How to Get Rid of Unfinished Projects – Part 2 (The “Like” Pile)

In the first part of this big challenge, we got fearless and sorted all unfinished projects that were hiding in various “safe places” for years. We unravelled some of them and returned the yarn and needles to our craft supplies. 

Other projects joined the “like” pile – half-knits that will soon turn from “unfinished” to “finished”. Let’s see how we can make it happen.

STEP 1

Same as we did in the first part of this challenge, we will “face the enemy”. Only this time it’s more of a “frenemy” 🙂

Take a closer look at each project in the “like” pile. Hold it in your hands, feel the fabric, examine the stitching to make sure that you are indeed determined to finish this hat / scarf / sweater or whatever kind of project it is.

If there are any doubts in your mind, it’s better to accept the fact that you don’t like this project and unravel it now (see Part 1), than let it drag your creativity down for another few years. 

There is nothing wrong with unravelling unsuccessful projects – even if it doesn’t turn out the way we hoped it would, we still learn something from every one of our knit or partially knit creations. 

STEP 2

Now take all projects that passed the final check and count them. 

Turning that pile of half-knits into a number usually eases the anxiety. It could easily happen that a big pile of knits sitting on your table is made by only five projects, one of which is an almost finished chunky sweater. “Five” is not as scary as “a big pile of unfinished projects”, right?

STEP 3

List all projects on a piece of paper. Here’s a PDF with a project planner that will help you make this list.

Click here to download the PDF

Wright down each project in the second column of the planner (the one called “Project description”). Use one line for each project and list them in any order. 

Make the description simple and quick. It’s not a PhD thesis, just a few words to remind you later which of the projects you had in mind when you made this list. It can be something like “red alpaca mittens” or “grey hat for John”.

STEP 4

Assess how much of each project is already done, and how much you need to do to finish it. It’s better to think in percentages (approximate, of course).

Let’s say you have an unfinished hat that is knit flat from the bottom up. You’ve made the body of the hat, and you still need to shape the crown and stitch the hat at the back. In this case, I would say the hat is about 30% unfinished.

Make such assessments for each project and record the approximate percentage in the third column of the planner.

STEP 5

Some more math in this step 🙂 

Download the Knitting Time Calculator that shows approximate knitting time for six most common projects in different sizes made with three different yarn weights. All calculations are based on the assumption that you knit ten rows every day.

Now find a project that is close to the first unfinished project on your list, and check the time required to knit it.

Watch this video to see how to do it.

Then multiply the estimation from the Knitting Time Calculator by the percentage you determined in Step 4 (it will be the number in the 3rd column of your planner).

In the example of the hat that is about 30% unfinished, the calculation will look like this:

Estimated knitting time for an Adult Hat made with DK weight yarn is 7 days.

7 days x 30% = 2.1 days

If you use a basic calculator that doesn’t compute percentages, substitute 30% by 0.3, so your calculation will look like this:

7 days x 0.3 = 2.1 days

In both cases, you get the same result – you will need a bit more than 2 days to finish this hat. 

If you are determined to knit more than 10 rows a day, write “2 days” in the fourth column of the project planner. If you know you won’t have time to knit more than 10 rows a day, write “3 days” in that column.

Repeat these calculations for each of the projects on your list.

STEP 6

Now that we have all necessary information, we can, at last, get to planning our time

Look at the fourth column of the project planner and find the smallest number (for example, it will be the hat that requires only 2 days of knitting). Write “1” in the first column next to this project.

Then find the second smallest number in the fourth column (let’s say, it’s a scarf that will take 5 days to finish), and write “2” in the first column next to this project.

Work through the whole list of the unfinished projects until all of them are sorted from the ones that require less time to the ones that need more time to complete.

STEP 7

This step is THE most important one. As you’ve probably guessed already, the first column of the planner is your action plan. 

But before we get to the action, there is one little thing to do to make sure that we successfully get rid of the unfinished projects. Look at the 4th column once again, and sum up all days required for finishing all projects.

For example, 2 days to finish the hat + 5 days to finish the scarf + 10 days to finish a sweater + 15 days to finish a pair of socks = 32 days. 

Find the date that will be 32 (you will most likely have a different number) from today. Mark it on your calendar, and remember NOT to start ANY new projects under ANY circumstances till that day. 

To raise the stakes, buy a box of your favourite chocolates or a bottle of your favourite wine and vow to open it ONLY when you finish all projects in your project planner.

Now that we are determined to stay away from the temptation of starting a new project, it’s time to get knitting.

Take the project that has number 1 in the first column next to it and put the other projects aside, but not too far away. Work on that project until you finish it, and cross it off the list (isn’t it a rewarding feeling?!).

Take the project with number 2 in the first column and finish that one. Keep working until all projects in your list are crossed off. 

Now open that box of chocolates and enjoy the taste of freedom 🙂 You’ve definitely earned it!

Because I’m giving a very detailed explanation of each step, it looks like a big task. In reality, this planning process won’t take more than an hour, even if you have quite a few projects to finish. But this hour is well worth it because it’ll save you from overwhelm and will give you an actionable plan with more or less predictable timeline.


If you enjoyed this tutorial,
here’s something else you might find helpful:

“Neat Side Edges” Book

Learn twelve ways to make side edges of a knitted project nice and tidy. Plus, ways to fix side edges, and a way to improve edges of finished projects.


Happy knitting!

Maryna Shevchenko - www.10rowsaday.com

Let’s be friends on GoodReads 🙂

How to plan your knitting time | 10 rows a day
Simple way to plan knitting projects | 10 rows a day
Project Planner - free download | 10 rows a day