I won some sock yarn in a competition a few years ago, but as I hadn’t tried socks at that point (and the mere thought of sock-knitting scared the be-jesus out of me) I decided to knit it up as a first lace project.
I chose this pretty leaf pattern, which seemed easy enough and used my new red needles which made a great contrast to the mossy greens in the yarn. It all went quite well to begin with. Well, once I had got the hang of reading a lace chart anyway… I knitted away happily on the train and the bus and in front of the TV. The scarf was to be a present for my partner at the time who liked green leafy things and who had a coat which this would match really well.
So far so good…until we split up. Now, I know what you’re thinking: the infamous ‘Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater‘. Well I don’t really think that I can blame it on that, (or in this case perhaps the ‘Curse of the Girlfriend Scarf’) as I’d already knitted her a bag. But in any case, as you would imagine after the breakup I didn’t want to knit any more of it. Retitled ‘The Lace Scarf of Doom’ it was effectively put into hibernation as an UnFinished Object.
So, why am I telling you this?
Well the other day I happened across the UFO Project Administration Service which is a really interesting art project set up by Rachael Matthews of Prick Your Finger yarn shop.
The basic premise is that you can send in a UFO which you have totally given up on, or sign up to finish somebody else’s UFO. You sign up for an invitation and are sent a specially designed form on which you fill in details about both yourself and your UFO (or the kind of thing you might like to knit of somebody else’s). Rachael will then matchmake knitter with UFO. The brilliant thing about this is that you don’t have to continue to knit the original pattern: you can be as inventive as you like. Jumpers with extra arms, parts of tea cosies made into bags, using a totally different yarn to continue, crocheting something that was started in knitting; the possibilites are endless. Of course you can just continue to knit the original too, if you like. As you have probably guessed, I have decided to send in the Lace Scarf of Doom for somebody else to have a try with and I’m also going to ask for somebody else’s UFO to work on.
What I find so interesting to about this whole idea is that the unloved, unwanted knitted object now could gain a new lease of life and its social life and object biography will be added to in an unexpected direction. Every UFO will have a story behind it: that of its making, the yarn that was used, how the pattern was picked, about the person who knitted it, why they made it and what was going on in their life as they knit. As a UFO going through the Project Administration Service it will now have many added layers of history. Who knows what will happen to the Lace Scarf of Doom, but one thing is sure: it will be much more interesting than had I just finished knitting it to its intended pattern. I can’t wait to see what someone else does with it!
There will be an exhibition at the Jerwood Space in London from 10th June – 19th July 2009, which will also tour Britain and which will feature some of the now-finished UFOs.