Knitting UFO on stitch holder garter stitch shades of brown
How to | Knit Tip | Knitting | UFOs

How to Reduce your UFOs and WIPs! Knitting UFO on stitch holder garter stitch shades of brown
Knitting UFO on a stitch holder

Let’s reduce your UFOs and WIPs! What’s the difference between a UFO and a WIP? The standard answer is UnFinished Objects (UFOs) are projects you plan to finish, eventually. Works In Progress (WIPs) are items you’re regularly knitting. But it’s more complicated than that! Your situation and personality have an impact. 


Let’s Talk Situation

  • You used to knit while your kids were in school and now they’re doing virtual school. Keeping them focused distracts you.
  • You used to knit on the train while commuting to work, and now you work from home.
  • You’ve got more responsibilities than you had before.  


Situations change all the time. You want to finish that complex lace shawl and wear it to a special event. But you got a promotion at work and need to put in more hours. Setting aside the shawl to focus on work moves it into the UFO category. No shame in that! When you’ve got time you’ll finish that shawl and wear it to a different special event. Admitting this allows you to store it correctly in a sealed container with some cedar to protect it. Pick out a simple relaxing project that fits your new situation. Cedar Scarf knitted with ends
The Eternidad Scarf waiting for the ends to be woven in.

Refusing to admit that a project no longer fits your lifestyle leads to piles of UFOs, some with needles still in them. I’m guilty of this! I’ve even taken the needles out of a UFO to start another project. This usually happens when there’s a sudden unexpected change in your situation. Having a family member or two in the hospital derailed my knitting plans. That season of my life increased my UFOs.

Remember there is no shame in admitting your project has become a UFO! Another option is spending a small amount of time each week knitting the project. It’s a WIP, but a low priority.

Maybe your situation hasn’t changed but you’re not enjoying the project. The pattern is too simple, or complex, or the yarn doesn’t look good with the pattern. Ignoring it creates a UFO. It was the wrong pattern from the very beginning. It’s not fun or relaxing. Rip that out (Frog It) and use the yarn in a different pattern!

Let’s Talk Personality

  • You enjoy variety and have at least six projects going at one time.
  • You’re motivated by the excitement of starting a new project, so you keep starting new projects.
  • You’re very driven by outcome and want to wear that shawl so you only knit one item at a time. You don’t have UFOs.  


Variety can be the spice of life or create UFOs! It’s possible to have several projects and be working on all of them. I carry a small project, such as a hat, and work on it when I have to wait someplace. I’ve got a blanket that I only work on at home, it’s too large to carry around. I also have a more complex pattern that I need to focus on when knitting. All of these projects are being worked on, so they are WIPs. Take a hard look at your WIPs and decide if you have too many to manage. Don’t start anything new until you have fewer WIPs.

If you enjoy starting new projects and then ignore them to start another new project, you’re simply creating UFOs! To reduce your UFOs, decide which one is the most fun knit and work on that one. If you need outside motivation, make it a birthday gift for someone, then you’ll have a built in deadline.

Let’s Reduce Your UFOs

  • Admit that your situation has changed.
  • The pattern was never a good fit for you, Frog It!
  • Have fewer WIPs.
  • Move a UFO up to a WIP and give it a deadline you can’t change.


I have a long list of new projects planned. I’m also trying to reduce my UFOs and WIPs. Follow along on Instagram to see progress photos.

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