Taking Stock of All My Unmade Gifts

Dec 10, 2012

It happens every year. I can't resist going into a full-on gift-making frenzy about, oh, two weeks before Christmas.

Now you could sensibly suggest that I just start a little earlier. But there's a big problem with that.

I'm not inspired.

Guilty! These are the
unmade gift culprits.

I have never been one of those people who can meticulously and calmly do all their shopping and gift-making all year round.

First, I would definitely never find where I had stored anything purchased or made in January when the holiday finally rolls around almost a year later.

A lot happens in a year, you know? In fact, so much happened to me in the last year, I can't exactly tell you what happened.

Besides, what's the fun in all that planning?

What's fun is getting really excited as the holiday season rolls in and going out and buying all sorts of supplies and going into a gift-making frenzy.

Unfortunately, not all of those gifts get made. And then they lie foundering and half-made until a birthday or other event inspires me again. However, it's not easy to get inspired again, once you've lost the urge.

Take last year: I made five Potluck Take-Alongs, designed by Melissa Frantz  from Stitch Gifts 2011, and two remain stubbornly unmade. Those that were made and given were very much appreciated.  The remaining two are sooooo close. Yet every time I try to make myself sit down to make them, I just can't

I am definitely going to finish them before this Christmas. Really!

If you need more gift ideas for your holiday gift-making frenzy, check out the 12 Days of Deals sale, including free shipping, in the Sew Daily Shop.

And seriously, am I the only person this has ever happened to? Can we all make a resolution to clear out those unfinished gifts? Let me know!

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dodykae wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 6:42 AM


You don't know how much better I feel knowing that I'm not the only one who has unfinished projects beckoning me to get them done!  Yes, I am going to make a resolution to complete my projects once I start them.  I will NOT get toward the end and then set it aside.  Now, to pull out all those unfinished ones and get them done.  That's a project in itself!  LOL

Dolores in Naples

PamJWM wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 6:51 AM

This sounds exactly like me! I'm glad I'm not the only one!

GailieA wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 7:00 AM

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who does things at the last minute!   I am currently working on a gift, and my husband has been asking for a while when I was going to start.   : )

hcgogan wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 7:33 AM

Unfinished gifts are just part of my UFO (unfinished objects) stash.  But for me the fun is in the plan and purchase, not as much in the execution.  Oh it's fun to begin with....but then I either lose energy (or have a migraine or back spasm)  or my head gets turned by another really beautiful  something and I just have to do that, right now!  So glad I'm not alone.  Now, where did I leave that thing I have to finish this year?

hcgogan wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 7:34 AM

Unfinished gifts are just part of my UFO (unfinished objects) stash.  But for me the fun is in the plan and purchase, not as much in the execution.  Oh it's fun to begin with....but then I either lose energy (or have a migraine or back spasm)  or my head gets turned by another really beautiful  something and I just have to do that, right now!  So glad I'm not alone.  Now, where did I leave that thing I have to finish this year?

SewMimi19 wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 8:08 AM

Oh, my!  I thought I was reading my own Christmas sewing experience!  Thanks for sharing.  It is good to know experts have the same difficulty.

Dwoodlock wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 8:20 AM

I have several UFO's in my stash. I finally completed an applique table runner I started about 6 years ago. I  am slowly working toward the goal of getting all UFO's completed or finding them a new home. (Donate to a worthy cause). I lost interest in my projects for a couple of years, but have recently been re-inspired. Reducing clutter is my goal.

on Dec 10, 2012 8:46 AM

This is just part of my life and not just at Christmas. I counted one day and have about 50 unfinished projects at any given time and this does not count the fabric I buy for a project that never got started (you know what I'm talking about ;)). I found that if I keep them in a basket then on a day I want to sew but don't have a pressing project to comeplete I will pull one out and finish it. It usually takes less effort than I thought it would. Sometimes I pull something out and wonder what the heck I was thinking when I started it and then it goes to the scrap pile.

CityWitch wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 8:56 AM

I have 2 unfinished projects, but my biggest problem is UNSTARTED projects! I tend to gather everything I need except perhaps one item, and then it all just sits there. Getting started is where my engine cuts out. If I can get past that hurdle, then I'm usually ok. As for Christmas gifts, I usually do my shopping throughout the year, storing everything I buy early in my "gift drawer". I often find forgotten treasures in there!

ragglady wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 9:22 AM

You are so NOT alone ... when I had my own wholesale craft business, I was SO organized, because I had to be.  Then I switched to working in the world of retail, and, well, now I am you, or you are me ... I even went so far as to begin a blog in January 2012, planning to write and post pictures each month of ONE FINISHED UFO ... feel free to check out my adorable blog (I'm just mildly embarrassed!!!) ... myraggbaggthread.blogspot.com. New resolution: at least talk about my UFO's once a month on my blog (finish them when possible!!!).

MartiJohnson wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 9:49 AM

That has always been my problem ... lots of ideas and generosity in me, but getting them all done in time can be undone in just one commission job!  I usually start one or two projects around October, sometimes earlier, and knitting socks normally happens all year long so collecting four or five pair to send to oldest daughter who loves them isn't a problem, but if just one quilt commission shows up in September, I can be working hard to finish it up, and then a lot of "promise gifts" end up under the tree so the projects carry on into the first three months of the new year. And true to form, this year it happened again! That commission will be finished this week, leaving me exactly ten days to finish up four pair of socks for daughter, five pair of socks for friends, one sweater to knit for second daughter, and two shirts & a jacket to sew for remaining family .... wait!  There's a husband too who will be expecting some comfy sweats pants and tops under the tree!  I am so behind again!  Sounds like a normal Christmas time to me!

LindaCHall wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 10:06 AM

Great motivation.  All those UFO's this year need to get out of my house and not wait around until next year--as they won't get done then, either.  New Year's resolution--clear out the stale, half-finished gifts and start anew next year.

LindaCHall wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 10:06 AM

Great motivation.  All those UFO's this year need to get out of my house and not wait around until next year--as they won't get done then, either.  New Year's resolution--clear out the stale, half-finished gifts and start anew next year.

abbyfuller wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 10:24 AM

You are so not alone! Your post brought to mind several unfinished gift projects, from a few years to over a decade old. I'd make a resolution to clear them out this year but it might take that long to find them under the rest of my UFOs. This year's gifts did get finished, only because I chose simple and quick projects. But if I did dig out those old ones and finish them, hmm, I'd have the next two years all taken care of, if not three.

on Dec 10, 2012 10:38 AM

        Good Morning----I read thru all of the comments along with your letter awhile ago.  I am still laughing so hard.  Everyone of you sound just like me.   It does make me feel better that I am not the only.  

         It has been a year since my sister was here----I showed her what I want to make for her and she was pleased because It involved something from our father.     It is not finished--maybe half way------my sister will be here tomorrow.   The gift will still be an UFO      She will laugh and I will laugh because she knows all about the UFO's also.  

Thank you for the laugh.  It is the saving/relaxing laugh that helps me to continue to be creative.   walk in peace    

linlal wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 10:53 AM

Maybe what we should do is all exchange our half-finished gifts with each other!  I have the same problem - if I put it down unfinished, the excitement is gone and it's really hard to get back into it. I've lost count of the times I've had to run out at the last minute and buy a gift to replace one that I just couldn't get past a certain stage.

Nanrnan wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 11:23 AM

Oh thank goodness I'm not alone , I relate totaly. Can I vow to start early next year? Of course, but that little person on my shoulder is  doubled over laughing. WELL I am an optimist.

Gloria E wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 11:28 AM

I do the same thing....wait until I get inspired.  I've learned to just save the gifts that are unfinished and start working on them, first, next December.  

jubie wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 12:40 PM

Thank goodness some else is like me!!!  I gave my husband a new dressing gown one Christmas by wrapping up the fabric and the pattern and promising to do it by New Year.  Not!!  Eventually it got made and every year I just get my best ideas too late in the season and we are always putting the sewing stuff away off the diningroom table on Christmas morning sometimes to make way for the guests arriving for dinner in the afternoon.  ........and yes, I have stayed up half the night on Christmas eve to finish gifts.  Nice to know I am not alone by a long shot.

on Dec 10, 2012 3:30 PM

You are definitely NOT alone in this! I am right there with you -- in the pre-season unmotivated stage, in the flash-of-divine-inspiration-stage, in the frenzied make-it stage, and in the leftovers-are-boring stage. I often hit upon one thing that, appropriately personalized, I can give to (almost) everyone. I really LIKE that. But I get really bored after the second one, and finish others only because the deadline is looming and I now have no other choice. But those "optional" versions that I left to the end get hit with the triple whammy of declining time, energy, and interest. Post-xmas, THE LAST THING I want to do is pick up where I left off! So I shove them away -- rarely to see the light again. If I do pull them out, what I'm likely to remember is the boredom rather than the gift's desirable aspects. They are just DOOMED.

As for making gifts early -- I actually used to do this! It helped that I met weekly with a craft group. I don't remember being unable to find the stashed gifts, even though I didn't have much private space. Now with an apartment all my own, I can lose anything! Right now, I am searching for three sets of pillowcases I made from heirloom cotton some months ago.....

Merrianne45 wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 5:59 PM

I am SOOO right there! Not only that, but I'm an accountant and my clients think I should be getting their books ready for tax time when I am FINALLY in the making Christmas gifts mode. And yes, I have a few UFO's left over from previous Christmas'. Maybe some of them will be "after Christmas" gifts.

dmummsy wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 6:25 PM

I sense the beginning of a club here. Thank you so much for sharing, now I do not feel such a bad crafter. Let us wish for us all to be blessed daily with inspiration in the new year

ping397 wrote
on Dec 10, 2012 11:51 PM

Everyone's comments are cracking me up.

I started a simple patchwork Christmas quilt in August or September thinking that if I gave myself three or four months, surely even I would be able to finish it in time. I lost steam when I realized I'd have to piece the back somehow (this is only my second quilt) and it's been sitting in my sewing area for about a month and a half.

And then there are all the projects I haven't even actually STARTED. Good grief.

Lettyregan wrote
on Dec 11, 2012 10:54 AM

I found a set of pajamas for one of my grandsons I almost finished last year in one of my material boxes. A couple of finishing touches and he gets them this year!

lsyrek wrote
on Dec 11, 2012 5:12 PM

I started a footed sleeper for my first grandchild.  It was a white flannel with green frogs on it.  Cut it out half sewed it got distracted and did not finish it.  He is now 12 years old and it won't fit since it is a 6mo size.  Having a new grandson in March, perhaps I'll finish it for him.

on Dec 11, 2012 6:33 PM

I can soooo relate to last minute sewing frenzies. Seems to have been a pattern in my life-years ago I designed Christmas cards (before scrapbooking). I handpainted them. I gave them out on Christmas Eve. I was offered a job to do this for a card company-I said no because I couldn't get inspired for Christmas in MAY!!! No matter how much Christmas music I played. LOL.

Nadyne in Brookfield WI

Maria@120 wrote
on Dec 12, 2012 3:06 AM

Amber your mail made me feel so much better!I've always felt so un-adult and

embarassed in front of my organized and planning-ahead friends.But you're

right-there's no excitement in planning and after all life's full of surprises!

Yes my closets are full unfinished projects.It's not a crime.Far from it.

I wish you all these 2 things ;

Happy Holidays and this year to finish everything in time!

Cool grams wrote
on Dec 12, 2012 11:20 AM

Dear Amber,

I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one with this affliction!  I am here by resolved to get these old Christmas projects done and out of my sewing room!  Thanks for the motivation.


AmberStitch wrote
on Dec 12, 2012 12:39 PM

Rose and I love the idea of a UFO swap! If there is anyone who wants to participate, send us an email at StitchSubmissions2@interweave.com.

Please include a pic of your UFO and a brief description of what needs to be done. :-) T

It's too late for this holiday, but we can start in the new year for the next one!