Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I Kon-Mari'd My Knitting (Well... sort of..)

So I fell down the rabbit hole in January.  I read Mari Kondo's book on the magic of tidying up (sorry, cannot get the line over the second "o" in her name with this English type) and listened to her second book thanks to Scribd. A lot of what she wrote resonated with me. and it may sound crazy to a typical Westerner, but I like the idea of thanking those things in your life, even if they are just "things," for the service and the joy they have given you. If nothing else, the practice helps to cultivate a spirit of gratitude for the many blessings we in the developed world have received from the Almighty.  Have I had the time or energy to actually implement her book? Nope - mainly because I live in a house with a lot of other people - or to be more precise, I live in a house with the stuff of a lot of people - some of whom live here, some of whom do not.  Stuff over which I have little control right now. 
Anyway, Ms. Kondo's thinking as I read it, is that one should go through ALL of a particular category of stuff at the same time, go through each thing, and determine whether to keep it - because after all, the first order of business in being tidy is to winnow out the the clutter and then organize what is left. Makes sense.  To determine whether something should remain with you, you have to ask yourself if it sparks joy.
Does the red can opener in the kitchen tools drawer make my heart sing? Well, not exactly, but it brings with it a memory of the rather long life I have spent with my husband and stands as a reminder of the hurt I have caused him and the belief that I/we can change the things I/we need to change. No, I'm not going to tell you that story. Too private.
Do I need four can openers? No. Which is why I don't have four. But often, people do have a number of things (don't look at all the planners on my desk, LOL!) that they could pare down without it really hurting too much.
But I digress.
So... knitting. I had close to 100 projects either on the needles or waiting to be cast on. You knitters know how it is. You see a pattern or a ball or ten of yarn and you cast aside all prudence and thoughts of future financial stability  and buy it. At one point I had the smallest bedroom in the house as a craft room where I kept stash, tools, projects, a table and my sewing machine. But with the influx of adult kids, the craft stuff got relegated to a corner of the basement for a while - and I wouldn't have had it any other way.
In time, some of the crowd moved on to their own respective abodes, but the stash remains mostly in the basement.  Over time, I've pulled a lot of projects up from the basement. They're stored safely away from moths and mildew, and because our basement is remarkably dry for this part of the country, I wasn't worried about where it was being stored, I just wanted to be able to visit a little more often. You knitters will understand. The rest of you, just go read something else.
Thank goodness for ravelry - I can at least keep somewhat up to date on the stash, but there's nothing like seeing it up close and personal - and thinking of the next wonderful think you are going to make.  But all those projects. By the time I got around to finishing them, I'd either be dead or they would lose their appeal. So I started with about 2/3 of the projects I have going  - 1/3 the ones closest to done and 1/3 either not begun, or I knew I wouldn't finish (see above picture).  Works in progress tend to stay in project bags -  some were in pretty boxes if  put aside to work while I worked on something else.

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So this Sunday, before the gang came over for dinner, I set to work. In two short hours I went from over 100 projects down to 45.


I freed up about 35 or more knitting needles,

2016-06-05-160818_26934801553_ountold amounts of stitch markers and tool bags,

2016-06-08_11-52-55_26933927564_orefiled at least 50 knitting patterns, deleted over 50 projects from my ravelry page,

and added a whole big bunch of delightful yarn back into my stash.
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I  took the larger batches of yarn back to the basement to be sorted and stored in bins by weight. I then kept one box of yarn upstairs for inspirational purposes and for the odd one- or two-skein project and organized a corner of the living room/home office to store projects I am not working on right now. Bonus: this little corner is not visible as you walk in the front door.
I now keep2016-06-05 16.04.39 only two bags of knitting handy, so I can choose among a few projects at any given time. One of the bags has older projects that are fairly close to finishing. I am definitely a process knitter, but I like me some product now and then!
My current project OTN: see my next post:)

I was even able to repurpose two of the fabric "cubes" I was using to store projects for the home office (the stack of papers are all printed out knitting patterns I'm not quite ready to recycle.):
My knitting sparks joy as it always has, but now I am not burdened by projects I will never finish and the light has been let in a bit.
Ahhhhh..... That's better..... :)
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God be with you 'til we meet again+

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Progress is good....

If akin to the movement of the earth's tectonic plates, LOL!  More on that in a minute. I have to share
what a wonderful time I had last night.  Two friends of mine from St. J's, Mike and Sue M., and I went to the home of a colleague, Meg and her DH, Harry. and had the time of our lives. Mike plays in the bell choir at St. J's, and, though he works in another field altogether, is an accomplished musician and composer, with the credentials to prove it - a Master's from the Peabody Conservatory here in Bawlmer.  He also plays Irish music on his fiddle like nobody's business.  Mike and some of his cohorts were the musical entertainment at a Ceilidh (pron. Kay-Lee) held at our church to raise money for our outreach program.  I was hooked immediately.  When Meg told me her entire family were well versed in Irish music and that they had house concerts and sessions afterward with anyone who brought their instruments, I was lucky to attend.  

The first few times I went, I had to satisfy myself with the concert only and some nice times with some lovely people, because the DH works graveyard and needs the car back before 10.  Not wishing to turn into a pumpkin, I dutifully left before the next phase of the fun began.Not so this time.  Mike drove.  He also brought his fiddle.
And. What. A. Treat. 
Every single solitary person in that room knew EVERY one of the beautiful melodies by heart.  There were flutists, pipers, drummers, guitarists, and fiddlers.  As Sue and I watched from the back of the room (not far from the wine, LOL:)), I so wanted to join them, but I don't know one of those tunes and my flute would have done me no good.  I later told our hostess that I felt like a kid who came to a pool party but forgot his bathing suit, LOL:).  From what I understand there are opportunities to learn at different places not terribly far from me.  Would dearly love to learn more and might just go see what it's all about.
As for the concert, we were beguiled with the incredible talents of Laura Byrne (flute), Rose Conway Flanagan (fiddle), and Pat Egan (guitar and vocals). Laura is classically trained and Rose has a lifetime of learning from her father and others in her home, being second generation Irish, while Pat was the one of the trio directly from Ireland. Each one of them were incredibly talented.  It was a joy to listen to them.  There is nothing in the world like live music, but I will be looking to get some of their CDs.  Who knows? I might learn something!
So there is one finished object for my ravelry page - my version of the Nennir Cowl from by Lucy Hague:

 Modifications: Worsted weight wool instead of fingering, did cabling pattern only once, then switched to a mock rib pattern for the "back," made it long enough to reach around the neck, attached with 3-needle bind-off. Looking forward to wearing it hopefully tomorrow!

Am still working on the other project that has maintained my focus this month - the Garland Necklace Yoke pullover.  It is slow going right now because I frogged quite a bit of it.  It was truly way too big, as I had increased far too many stitches after the ribbing, so I ripped back down to the ribbing, added some more ribbing and then increased only 10 stitches.  So far, I am getting a lofty fabric that seems to be the right size for me.  Decided to do this with only one strand of the Unspun Icelandic for a drapier, lighter and, as previously stated, loftier fabric.  Now to get through the next 16 or so inches to the armholes....:)
And then, the sleeves, the joining and the COLORWORK:)!!!! I am a firm believer in delayed gratification, can you tell?:)
Hope someday to see a larger version of this:
in these colors:

God be with you 'til we meet again!+

Friday, February 26, 2016

Sunday, February 21, 2016


I remind myself that even artistic legends like Michelangelo struggled. When he did the Sistine ceiling in fresco, a medium he wasn't familiar with, the first few sessions were stressful and trying for the artist. But he persevered and created one of the wonders of the art world. I recently read that Michelangelo had his frustrations in learning to employ the fresco medium when he created his masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel.  Creativity has its times of frustration. I cannot tell you how many times I've tried creating what I thought would be a gorgeous, complex, interplay of lace and simple patterns only to find out that the only accurate descriptor was "complex." What followed that was a session of frogging -or worse, allowing beautiful yarn to languish in a project bag, never realizing its full potential (a crime against nature, in my humble opinion). (Oh dear, what hubris, my knitting in the same paragraph as the Sistine Chapel!)
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Let's ignore for the time being the possibility that this pullover will be a weeeeee bit large.  That's OK, I like baggy sweaters. But that lighter strip of blue.  Not so much, especially since it's in the mid-chubs region of my torso. I think I should at least tink/frog back and continue on with the darker blue, saving the lighter blue for another part of the sweater (yoke background, maybe?) or even a sleeve or two - or - maybe better - a vertical stipe on a sleeve???
More to come....
God be with you 'til we meet again+