i got in the mood . . .

Posted on Posted in designing, projects

it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, i go with it.
i’m talking about waking up in a cleaning mood. not a serious one, mind you, in which i actually run a vacuum or anything, but an insistent, nagging, dissatisfied one.

lately, i’ve been feeling a little claustrophobic in the house; we’re about halfway through the house renovation (now in its sixth year, more or less) and by necessity, many of the rooms contain a weird jumble of furniture and other stored items (some still in boxes from our move here seven years ago). as we finish each room, we select only certain things to go in it and slowly, our collections of books, art, tools, and oddities are put in place along with the right furniture (i know. that list didn’t include yarn and fiber, but there’s actually dedicated space for that, heh).

and along with the unpacking, we’re sorting and getting rid of stuff too, but still there’s a lot of clutter in the main living spaces of the house (like the baby grand piano in the stairhall that the former owner “left as a gift”). clutter that i can’t do anything about most of the time. my living room contains (in addition to the usual chairs and sofa), a pool table, two spinning wheels, my exercise bike, grandma’s steamer trunk, and a large drying rack. some day they will each have their own proper spot in the house. just not right now.

so i obsess over the small areas i can control—like the refrigerator and freezer. i’m super-organized about those and the cupboards; mine look like they could live in a tupperware ad, seriously. and my yarn—i can tell you exactly where every skein is (fiber, not so much). and my clothes; i have a minimum of clothing items and i go through my closet twice a year to weed stuff out—i hate having too many clothes.

i’m actually not a freak about my desk, but i do like it neat and clean—i can live with piled-up folders as long as that’s useful. but lately, it has felt like prison walls had piled up around my workspace; no free surface to measure a swatch or lay a paper down to write, piles of old project notes that needed filing, piles of old show books and directories, all manner of post-its caught in the tangle of wires surrounding my computer, etc

and the dust—don’t get me started. this morning i walked into the war room and it all came to a head—my area was just a pigsty and i’d had enough of being the owner of it. i saw that the gray outside the windows was actually amplified by the mass inside. so i started in right after i had a cup of coffee. honestly, it only took an hour (it helps a lot to simply chuck most of it in the trash)—why do i wait so long between cleanings when it cheers me up so much?

anyway, now i can see large areas of the desk surface.
a pile of books will always be required, along with a pile of folders. but one of each is enough.

and when i walk in the door now i see this

and for some reason that makes me feel better. i really should do my closet next . . .

well, now that i’ve aired all my housekeeping shortfalls (for no good reason, really), i’m ready to talk about knitting. yesterday, our weekly afternoon class was all a-chatter about sweaters—everyone at the table has one in progress. it’s that time of year—they are actually predicting snow flurries for thursday (that’s our travel day so please don’t let it be worse than flurries).

debbie and susie are both knitting a simple top-down raglan with the same colorway (#121 taupe) of katmandhu aran, our group’s favorite new yarn to drool over. it’s squishy, tweedy, soft, and delish. debbie has a good start on hers and is working down the shoulder yoke and susie is almost done with hers.

janet and debby are each knitting very different jackie sweaters. janet, above, is knitting hers with a space-dyed colorway (sorry, i can’t remember the yarn name)

and debby is knitting hers with a soft brown alpaca; again, i don’t have a name for the yarn, but it’s nice (it might be berocco ultra alpaca light, maybe in the potting soil mix colorway?).

i’m working my way up the back of my little green cardigan (must think of a real name for it) and am almost to the waist. in case i haven’t mentioned it lately, i just love this yarn! it is lanas puras melosa fingering yarn, a soft merino singles that feels as if its been fulled a little bit to control those annoying flyaway fibers that singles sometimes has. i’m knitting with the fern colorway; i used the same yarn a couple of years ago in eggplant to knit my cluaranach, a wrap that i love and wear often because it’s so cuddly.

so far, i’ve not had to rip back even once—i guess i worked out all my inattention issues while working the fronts. i’m definitely taking this project along to rhinebeck to keep beckie’s sweater company.

last week, i started a third ivy vines neckwarmer, this one much lighter in weight. i have a precious skein of fibre isle magique, a cashmere/bison blend in the natural color, that i’ve been waiting for the right project to use. the yarn is amazing (as usual—sylvie is a brilliant miller). the fiber has no spring to it, but somehow she has managed to make a yarn that has a lovely, springy twist without being hard or over-twisted in any way. just incredible.

this is sooo the right thing to make with it. i cast on for the larger-sized cowl with a 3.25 mm needle and it’s knitting up to a sort-of in-between size (unblocked). the lace is more open and airy in the finer yarn, so i decided to go longer, which will allow the fine, soft fabric to pile up in warm folds without bulk. i’ll just knit til my yarn runs out and bind off.

i should finish this to wear on my trip—maybe i’ll take it to knitting tonight. i really WANT to be knitting on my green sweater all the time, but it would be lovely to finish a neckwarmer to wear. and i’d have only tomorrow to block it, so i better try for it. i can knit my sweater while i chat with kim on wednesday evening (24 HOURS!)

another project i started in order to take on the trip, is this mitten with zen yarn garden serenity worsted in the tealicious colorway. it doesn’t look like much yet, but i like the textured stitch i’m using. this will make a good traveling project, for sure.

i’m tucking it into my bag and not looking at it again til we’re on the road.
later tonight i’ll get my second brown sock on the needles to take along too. and maybe a new sock—i’m feeling the need for a pair of red ones. we’ll see . . .

if i’m still working on this gray sock, it’ll also go in the bag. i’ve started the heel flap, so i’m about halfway done and it will go faster from here. i’m a little worried about running out of yarn, but i’m shutting my eyes in denial for now . . .

lots of little projects travel better on this trip, i’ve learned—we do a lot of visiting and eating out and car riding over this weekend, so small, toteable projects work the best.

for spinning projects, i’m taking some white romney wool and some black shetland from the flock that beckie used to keep. my mission is to spin up a bunch of lofty, chunky yarn for a project that david and i have dreamed up to work on after the first of the year. more about that later (oh, it’s a good one).

so david showed up in the office just a little while ago and hasn’t mentioned how clean my desk looks—maybe he’s afraid i’ll ask him to clean his . . . but i wouldn’t. everyone needs to have a certain level of comfort in their work area, i think, and his is definitely his own.

18 thoughts on “i got in the mood . . .

  1. Oh my goodness, your desk is in MUCH better shape than mine. I don’t even attempt to use it anymore, it simply works as a place of WIP storage plus. (The plus is there to stand for anything else I feel like setting down and forgetting about.) It’s also my ball winding station.

  2. Oh, so mean of you to show David’s desk! I, too, have been contemplating cleaning both my home office and office-office desks this week.

    “I hate having too many clothes” is not a sentiment I can relate to, even though I’d be better off if it was!

    Good luck packing for Rhinebeck!

  3. Yeah, my desk looks a lot like david’s but more yarn and less paper. You can barely tell I have a printer on it. Lol! I was just trying to plan a project for rhinebeck knitting too. Though I will have to drive, I always find time to knit while I’m there. Now I just need to choose between the Pave pattern and the Roger pattern…and then find yarn…

  4. I totally “get it”. Your desk looks perfect. There really is something psychologically lifting about order. I have that claustrophobic feeling right now, too. The office has been significantly straightened, the kitchen is always orderly, but that leaves everywhere else. I’ve found the backs of toilets hold lots and lots of books. Just saying!

  5. I’m not gonna comment on my housekeeping. I will say my clothes, books, videos, and my knitting queue are organized. By queue I mean projects with pattern and yarn. I’m knitting a short-sleeved top down sweater using Nashua Grand Opera and hope to cast on a kid’s sweater next week. I’m trying to finish my Whispering Pines shawl that I started in April. My lace instructor at Spring Fling stated that to knit lace one must have one’s mind and use lifelines (or something to that effect). I now appreciate the truth of that statement. It will be finished next week and will be beautiful even with my personal “design features.”

  6. Today was my pruning rose of sharon, wisteria and gathering last of squash and white eggplant and herbs day if it really will frost tonight as is predicted. It was my wake up to clean the yard day! No flurries predicted here for Thursday, but waaay too cold even for Pgh in mid-October. Will be anxious to follow your Rhinebeck adventures! (Camera in knitting bag, too?)

  7. Eek! That last picture was a wee bit scary! But your desk looks fabulous (and how funny; I think we have the same desktop picture). And all of your travel knitting is gorgeous! I don’t know how you get it all done, but I love watching while you do 🙂

  8. I know exactly what you mean! I live in a small house with my husband and 5 boys so I feel there is very little that I can control as far as clutter without losing my mind. Whenever i wake up in one of those moods, it’s my desk and knitting basket that gets attention. However, I must admit that I rarely wake up in that mood. 😉

  9. Mittens! Yay! Clearly, this explains why I just haven’t been able to settle on what to do to for new mittens for myself this year — I’ve been waiting for something new and delicious from KnitSpot.

  10. Even though you complain about clutter, I can’t get over the amount of space you seem to have (especially such nice space that you’re creating over time). I’ve just always been an urban dweller and I’m used to small houses where the idea of having one more closet sounds heavenly.

    The lightweight neckwarmer looks wonderful. I can’t wait to read the tales from Rhinebeck too.

  11. Gorgeous “after” shot of the desk–inspiration for me to work on my dining table. It has a sunny southern exposure, so I use it as a desk and now we worry that tottering piles of paper will cascade into our dinner! I have a few balls of Kathmandu Aran which I love. After one attempt at a project that wasn’t right for it, I’ve decided to make a tam with it–after I finish a few other projects, lol.

  12. well, i don’t think you’ll run out of knitting in the next little While! (and i thought i had a lot of projects on the go at the moment…)

    i’ve been in a bit of a cleaning mode lately myself. for some reason, i can’t seem to function at work without a well-organized desk. it’s just easier to keep track of what i need to do or follow up on when everything is neatly placed. now, if only i could apply the same principle to my knitting…

  13. Have a fabulous time at Rhinebeck! Eat something delish at CIA for me….we really need to get there before Kee graduates.

  14. So glad to see that my desk is not the only one that looks like that from time to time. I need to get in the cleaning mood and it get it done. LOL

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