i am lucky enough to have a wonderful workroom in my house, equipped for all my fiber activities.
which i haven’t used much for the last couple of months. why??
because it has looked like this, pretty much since i got back from rhinebeck.
so messy, i could hardly stand to walk in there without tripping (ok, well, yeah, i AM a klutz, totally, clutter or not—but still). it’s not a huge room, and there is a lot of equipment in there, so any messiness feels like a lot. it’s hard for me to work if i have to step over things, or if it feels like the walls are closing in on me. when my spinning wheel must be squeezed into a small leftover circle in the middle,
i find it distracting to spin, feeling as if i should be cleaning instead. especially with this staring me in the face—this is all the fiber that has migrated to my studio during 2006
now, most of this was not purchased by me, but “inherited” one way or another. i was intent this year on NOT buying much fiber, and truly, i did not get much in terms of volume. i went for small amounts of higher-end things that i had not spun before, like beatifully dyed silk, some luxury blends, and some exotic fibers. that, obviously, did not deter the enablers around me, and i seem to have ended the year with waaay more than i could spin up before year’s end.
oh, and then there is my desk (my temporary desk until the other one is ready to be installed).
i have a
terrible persistent book habit which i can’t help but feed regularly, especially if there are books available about knitting history, or ethnic knitting styles—i’m a total freak for that stuff. and, after a few years of being on austerity budget (the house is sucking up a lot of our dollar resources), i found this year that i had a little extra money to invest in my library.
but even i know that piling books on every horizontal surface in tall stacks does not a “library” make.
and my big work table, of which i am so enamored (i feel this is pure luxury, in terms of finally having enough space to accommodate it)—littered with crap (not the carder, of course)
all this and the fact that there has been yarn scattered ALL over the place for months now, and so many projects in progress that it makes my head spin just to try and count them.
how do things get so out of control like this? i am not by nature a messy person—i like neatness and order, and have always felt that, especially in my work areas, order leads to efficiency. there is nothing so pleasing while i am deeply focused on making something, than to put out my hand blindly and have it land right on the scissor i want, or the oil bottle, or the darning needle.
i do not want to grab onto a pile of dusty yarns scraps at that moment, nor feel the crunch of discarded yarn labels, or lay onto an empty packet of DPNs, when what i want is a full one. and i am not SO strict—i do believe that a little bit of creative disorder is simply a side effect of productive activity, and i can live with that.
but deep down, i fear the urge to let go completely and revert to some feral state where wool, books, projects, and knitting ephemera (among other things in this house) pile up and up, creating an ever-taller cage that eventually i will not be able to negotiate, and i will be like one of those people they find dead, having been crushed by a falling pile of stuff in their own home. (yes, i see that this may be an exaggerated, anxious, fear that is pretty much unfounded—but it feels, nevertheless, like it is nipping at my heels).
the other deep fear that i have is the fear of Just Too Much. i have always have trouble knowing when enough is enough. i have vascillated widely between being very poor and being quite comfortable, and then back again, between having no space and then lots, between having no choice, and having too many. i want to support small business, specialty producers, and great book publishers. but in that, i can sometimes end up with Just Too Much. having too much—thatis, more than i can use in a reasonable amount of time—is a terrible side effect of a higher standard of living, when there are so many people that have not enough.
the upshot of all this whining is that i find i need to clean up, take stock, and set some rules for the coming year (oh let’s face it, i should set rules of restriction for the next 5 years, but it’s all about baby steps right?).
so, yesterday i got to work on cleanup. and now my room at least is one that i want to go into
surfaces have been cleared of junk (though, as you can see, the book storage is still a dilemma for
yarn has all been put away, and miraculously still fits inside the closet.
(now i am going to show you the yarn closet and i don’t want to hear ONE peep about it—you can rag on me for my yarn stash all you want, but remember—42 YEARS—this is not the result of a mere few years of stashing; this is a lifetime of it.)
it feels great to be able to breathe in that room again. there is a lot more to do in there—i have to figure out what to do with the fiber still. for one thing i need some more boxes. i insist now on clear boxes for fiber and yarn storage—no more having boxes which i can’t see into.
as i worked yesterday i thought about the rules i wanted to try to follow for the coming year:
- i will Knit From MY Stash this year—i’d like to at least get it down to last year’s level. i used a LOT of my stash this year, but i also replaced that yarn with other things. i can support the small producers i know and love by showing off completed projects made with their yarn that is already in my stash.
- i will MOST DEFINITELY spin from my stash this year as well—before it eats me alive. there is just WAY too much fiber for one person to have at once in this house. i have definite plans to go back to rhinebeck in the fall, where i may indulge again in small amounts of things, but no fleeces, and no purchases of quantity.
- i will purposefully avoid all SALES. sales can be a downfall for me, even though i rarely get something i REALLY wanted before is saw it on sale. this must stop; it is useless and wasteful.
- ditto for swapping and helping friends de-stash. i have to be careful about taking what’s offered to me; sometimes i take things because i can’t bear to think that they might be thrown out otherwise (and who actually “throws out” yarn or fiber??). this goal is more liquid, however, as i do have friends with whom i engage in a healthy kind of swapping or give-and-take. i will promise myself to be a lot more careful.
- i will temper my book buying a bit, but probably not that much. i can most certainly do without buying designer sweater books. i bought few this year after a long hiatus, and i have to say, i don’t use them enough. i rarely knit from books—i prefer volumes about history, design, and pattern. and, my experience tells me that i should buy those books when they are available, because they are often published in small runs that are not repeated. go back “later” to buy them and they are gone, only to be found on ebay for double the price.
- and lastly, i do not need more needles. i bought a bunch this year, mostly to try, but i still migrate to my favorites—addi circs and inox DPNs for regular wool yarns, ebony and rosewoods for lace yarns—and i have plenty of those in all sizes i think.
so that’s the plan. i’ve done it before, and i can do it again. i figure that these will be a few of the benefits of my plan—it wouldn’t be a good plan if i did not see benefits and/or payoffs.
- i can give more to special, worthy causes that truly help others. these organizations often make my dollars stretch wa-a-ay further than a mere ball of yarn.
- spending isn’t a big problem of mine, but if i spend less, there will be more resources for working on other pursuits—like our dreams (and our retirement).
our jobs make a lot more sense when we feel like they are enabling us to work toward personal goals as well as furthering our employers’ goals, and not just meeting expenses.
- i could take classes—i would love that! some of the festivals are great opportunities to get knowledge from people who i would not otherwise have access to in ohio.
- i’ll have more time to focus on what i’m doing, too. without the distraction of looking at new products, deciding what to buy, and then shopping for it—not to mention how new baubles distract me from what i intended to work on—i can knit and spin more with what i have.
we moved from a city apartment to a house in order to have more space, not more junk. in my heart, i revel in a room that is mostly empy, with light pouring into unobstructed windows, diving under furniture, and over polished wood and rich wool fabrics. see any room in that picture for clutter and junk? heh. me neither.
i feel pretty good about these goals, but over the remaining days of 2006, i may add to them or modify slightly—i’m not sure i covered everything. oh yeah—i didn’t. i haven’t dragged out all the WIPs and sorted them yet. that will have to be tomorrow’s “coming clean” post . . .
there is knitting too, though it is mostly more clogs. i seem to be in a clog time warp. it just seems efficient to get all the clogs i want to make out of the way while i’m on a roll, and you know i never do anything in a small way. so i’m making myself a few pair and some for david and the house (we keep a basket of them by the door for guests, who are always so great about taking their shoes off at the door, even though we don’t ask it. for that, they get nice cushy clogs to wear . . .). and trust me, i am working completely from my stash on every pair. scout’s honor.
these are handspun alpaca. the fiber was ultra soft and poofy, but had a lot of junk in it. so i spun it up bulky with an eye for wearing it on my feet, and then hand-dyed it, though obviously not evenly . . . i made one pair a couple of years ago with it and they are toasty indeed, but worn-out now. so these are the replacements.
and, though i don’t deserve a reward just for straightening up my house, having this arrive in the mail today makes me feel like i’m getting some positive reinforcement.
believe me, my mouth is watering—can’t wait to dig into it.
so, when knitters DO take over the owrld, will we get these books on CD d’ya think? can’t you just imagine it—knitting or spinning and having someone tell you the story of hap shawls, in depth . . .