Unfinished embroidery projects, bits of half worked needlepoint and carrier bags with odd pieces of knitting in them, rolled up with the magazine which contains the pattern. I think we all have such things tucked away somewhere and occasionally, I pull one out and think I’ll finish it. But more often than not, the mere sight of it is enough to remind me why I became bored with it in the first place and I put it all back in the bag and stuff it back where it came from. At home, these things were put behind the sofa and when we cleared Mummy’s house, sure enough, there they all were. Did I add her UFOs to mine? I’ll admit to keeping a couple!
So when I finished my meeting in Cirencester this morning and poked my head around the gallery door, my eyes fell on some familiar things. There they all were! All those half done cushion covers, the single socks and the pieces of embroidery with the needle still tucked in. Tales of the Unfinishable is in town and clearly this project has hit the spot with a good many people, just as it did with me.
The exhibition is a kind of tent, with the colourful pieces on the outside tempting the visitor inside where the background stories are being told. As I wandered around reading some of the short tales accompanying the actual pieces, I heard the voices of the contributors playing through the loudspeaker. I was the only one there, so had a good look around, untroubled by anyone else – lucky me!
Of course, I had favourites. Who hasn’t started a blackwork project like this with great enthusiasm, enjoying the rigour of the stitch without any of the worry of which colour should be in the needle? But after a while, such detail begins to challenge and even after many hours work, there still seems so much still to do. This is exactly the type of embroidery which I could find, stuffed in a cupboard here at home and which I have undoubtedly thought that I will finish some day. One day. Maybe.
Occasionally, at WI, we’ve had a bit of a swap shop, where people bring their unfinished projects and swap them for a different one. Somehow, someone else’s unfinished work is more interesting than my own and of course, it doesn’t come with any … well, I’ve tried hard to avoid the word, but I think you’ll know I’m talking about “guilt” here? Is there guilt packed away with those bits of unfinished work then? I don’t really know why, but yes, there is. Not always, but definitely sometimes. Did anyone mention feeling bad about having so many unfinished pieces of work stashed away or was it just me? I looked around the exhibition to find a piece which took me home, so to speak.
And there it was. In the last case I found the piece which was so typical of the kind of project I found behind the sofa. A half finished cardigan, started with enthusiasm and the best of intentions but ultimately just too boring to knit. I loved reading the story which accompanied it and wondered just how many such things there are in the world. Why do we hang on to them all when we know, in our hearts that we’ll never finish them?
What a great concept for an exhibition, then! What a marvellous idea to bring out all of those half finished wonders and prompt our memories like this! If only I’d thought of it first, I could have populated the whole exhibition with my unfinished work alone
Highly recommended, the exhibition seems to finish here, having travelled all over the country already. Quite how I missed it previously, I have no idea, but I’ll enjoy reading the ongoing blog and might even explore some of my UFOs and see if there’s something I fancy finishing.
Of course, I’ll put it all straight back again after I’ve looked, though.