Alphabet Soup and the WOMBAT

January 24, 2010 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

messy pile of UFOs

A Heap of Dread: Any WOMBATs Lurking?

We live in an acronym-happy age, thanks largely to digital communications.  I read a lot of blogs, and have thus become comfortable with most of the common and many of the uncommon acronyms, from the basic LOL and ROFLMAO to the more esoteric YMMV (your mileage may vary) and IANAL (I am not a lawyer  — that one makes me LOL.)  The discussion of unfinished quilting projects and out-of-control fabric stash — don’t the two tend to go hand in hand? — requires its own lexicon.

I’ve already discussed the UFO:  the UnFinished Object.  I differentiate this from the WIP:  the Work In Progress.  WIPs are active; they get picked up and played with from time to time.  UFOs are static; they haven’t changed in ages, and strangely, the shoemaker’s elves haven’t stopped by and worked on them for me.  Obviously, a UFO can become a WIP by the simple act of putting some stitches in it and reactivating it, moving it along the continuum.

Unfortunately, a happily progressing WIP can just as easily become a UFO if it falls by the wayside.  I don’t have a set timeframe for distinguishing the two; perhaps if I started date-stamping a project every time I worked on it, and if it hasn’t been worked on in over six months then — who am I kidding, that’s never going to happen.  For me, it’s more of a state of mind.  If thinking about a project makes me excited, even if I haven’t worked on it in a long time, it’s a WIP.  If it fills me with guilt, dread, despair — that’s a UFO.

Part of my goal in this project is to further differentiate the pile of UFOs into two categories:  future WIPs and WOMBATs.  The WOMBAT is a concept first introduced to me by Popser, in his reliably hilarious column for Australian Patchwork & Quilting.  It stands for

Waste

Of

Money,

Brains,

And

Time.

The WOMBAT is a permanent UFO that acts as a psychic vampire (not you, Edward, shut up and go cry glitter somewhere.)  It sucks up space, energy, motivation… it just sucks.

Maybe it didn’t originally.  Maybe it was started with the best of intentions and the best of materials.  But somewhere along the way, it went bad.  Really bad.  Bad beyond saving.  These are the projects that I really dither about:  “Maybe I can fix it…”  “Maybe someone else would like it…”  “Maybe I can finish it and give it to charity…”  Well, as Libby Lehman said at the Ricky Tims Super Seminar last year, charities don’t want ugly quilts either!  If it upsets me to work on it, that is a waste of my time and my passion.  I need to take a hard line with these WOMBATs, once I’ve identified them as such.  If I really feel guilty, I can take them to a guild meeting and see if anyone wants them.  According to Bonnie Hunter, I can use them on the backs of quilts, too.

But I need to stop letting them suck.


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Entry filed under: UFOs. Tags: , , , .

ABC: Always Be Closing And In the Darkness Bind Them

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