The craft world is full of mysterious dysfunctions. Some people suffer from Startitis, others from the Second-Sock Syndrome. And all those U.F.Os (UnFinished Objects), surely they are symptoms of that most mysterious dysfunction of all, Losing-One’s-Mojo-itis.
I certainly have my fair share of U.F.Os, but I don’t consider it a huge problem. I like variety and believe in following my inspiration, and not forcing myself to toil on a project that I don’t feel like doing. Crafts are a passion, a joyful hobby, not a duty. If something doesn’t inspire, just move on, leave it until it does.
So to me at least, a U.F.O is just a project whose time has not yet come (although I do not deny that, occasionally, it’s a good idea to see what you can find in your craft baskets and try to finish some of them. January is often a good time for this, when you are in a mood for some worthy activities and need to prove to yourself that you, despite all the evidence to the contrary, actually have some self-discipline and the will power to finish a project).
My spinning basket is full of these Projects-Whose-Time-Has-Not-Yet-Come (or PWTHNYCs, which I do admit is not as catchy as UFO). But there is a reason for this, and it is a fairly rational one.
Spinning to me is such a soothing and relaxing activity that I always have some wool on the go. Often I don’t even spin for a specific project, I just spin. I know it would probably be better if you had a specific use in mind for the wool before you start. That way, you can try out different approaches, sample and determine the best way to proceed. And I do that, too, when I need to. But often my spinning is not that rational and goal-oriented. Spinning is something I do if I feel too tired to think about anything else, or feel the need for some crafty therapy if I am in a grumpy mood (of course I spin in good moments too). In those tired or grumpy moments, I just feel the need to spin something, no matter what exactly it is. The less I have to think the better.
So if I don’t already have a project on the go when the I-Must-Spin-NOW moment comes, I grab the nearest wool that inspires me at that moment and just start spinning. And often the first important decision – how to spin the wool – is not such a big decision at all: the wool itself, and the form it comes in, typically suggests a good general approach. If it is long fiber, and comes in a top form, I’ll do worsted in short draw. And a good supply of ready prepared top in some beautiful colour is always a good thing to have on these moments. But I love long draw spinning, and whenever I have short enough fibre, I will do that. I aim for twist that sort of looks about right for that wool. Not very scientific at all (no matter what Anne Field in Spinning Beyond Basics recommends).
But when it comes to plying, you need to commit to some sort of an outcome: do you want two, three (or even more) plies? And for that, it definitely helps if you know what you are going to use the yarn for. So, quite often, my spinning projects enter a period of hibernation at this point.
As a result, I have a basket full of bobbins that have some singles yarn that is waiting to be plied. And I am happy to let them wait until the right time comes and I know what I want to do with them. So, you see, they are just PWTHNYCs waiting for the right time.
This approach does mean you need lots of bobbins, and we all know wooden ones are very expensive. So it was necessary for me to invest in a bobbin winder and buy some plastic weaving bobbins for storage. But yarn stored this way takes less room than a finished skein, so it is not a bad way of storing your stash.
Here’s a little tour of what can be found in my basket of bobbins at the moment: