Thanks for your thoughtful comments on stash and stashbusting. You have helped me better understand what the community means by the terminology and raised new questions to think about. I’ll continue to consider my own stashing behavior and it might end up here from time to time. You are all very helpful! Thanks!
Before, I mentioned that finishing things would be part of my own examination of my stashing. And, as you can see, I’ve been returning to works-in-progress from years ago to take care of some simple final steps that I’d put off either due to lack of equipment, lack of skills, or even lack of interest. More often than not, I get distracted by ShinyNewProjectIdeas and it then takes a great deal of time to get back to TediousOldProjects to finish them.
I’ve been sketching more so that nothing gets lost while I hunker down with the oldies. But sometimes it is irresistible to make a swatch of the new idea. In knitting it is acceptable to knit up a small square to try out a new design and nothing really is lost since you can (almost) always just unravel the knitting and re-use the yarn. [I’ve even taken to calling my sock orphans swatches so that it’s kind of okay not to knit up the second socks. I just wear them as mis-matched pairs. Heh.]
On the other hand, sewing mock-ups (or indeed swatches) of a quilt idea isn’t discussed much. We tend only publicly to talk about the part that happens after committing to work on the large-scale project. The cutting involved does cause the act of swatching to be more risky than in knitting, but it shouldn’t be tacitly prohibited or hidden. And we should be able to shed the chains of the term “UFO,” as suggested by Marianne in her comment and our follow-up exchange. That is, some swatches–whether knit or sewn–are not meant to be “finished.” The act of swatching could be an end in itself.
I often start sewing up new ideas on a whim with little planning and later regret that I ever committed myself to finishing such behemoths of projects. Changing my mindset to allow for some swatching has been liberating, although there is still residual guilt. Uh oh…this thinking out loud, digging at an idea, finally got around to the gooey center; we should now explore gender roles, gendered responses, work ethics, utillitarianism…