Friday 23 June 2017

...tackling the wool stash

According to, "someone who is 'all talk and no trousers' talks about doing big, important things, but doesn't take any action". When it comes to my out-of-control wool stash this phrase just about sums me up - I say I'm going to get on top of it and then I don't.

Now I'm fully aware that 'tackling the wool stash' is not really a big, important thing in the scheme of big, important things, but it is for meI've known for a long time that it needed tackling, and during that long time have tried (somewhat completely ineffectually) to stop myself adding to it.

Unfortunately, charity shop finds, other people's cast-offs and 'unmissable' bargains have a way of slipping through the net, and somewhere in the small print it seems that 'yarn for projects I really, really want to make' gets a free pass too.  

This parcel (a.k.a. the pink package of joy) contains all the yarn required to make this 'Harmony' crocheted granny-square blanket by Attic24.

I actually feel so guilty about having bought it that I'm not allowing myself to open it! 

So I've decided that today - a lovely Friday when I'm home alone on a much-needed day off from work - I'm going to get to grips with the stash. I guess you could say that after years of PRE-CONTEMPLATION, and quite a few months of CONTEMPLATION, today is the day for ACTION, - although it will need a little bit of PREPARATION to clear the floorspace where the mountain is going to form.

Image result for cycle of change
This task is going to involve a lot of gathering, organising, telling the XXSCat dog to "Get off!", and being strict and ruthless with myself. I'm going to sort into different weight yarns and then into colours. I'm going to keep dk and 4ply yarns in assorted shades for small projects, like this:

I'm also going to keep yarn bought for specific projects, especially shawls, scarves, hats etc, as I know I'm more likely to complete them. I'm going to unravel half-finished projects that will never be completed and decide whether I like the yarn enough to keep it to re-use. I'm going to get rid of ugly/uninspiring/second-hand remnants and challenge myself to also get rid of at least some of the stuff that 'might come in handy'. 

It's going to be tough, because I'm very good at thinking up 'might come in handy' ideas as soon as the threat of decluttering looms. For example, I know there is some turquoise/green cotton yarn with little blobs of bright colours in the stash that was going to be a jumper for my middle child over twenty years ago. No sooner had the thought of parting with it crossed my mind than it was superceded by a plan to use it for a baby blanket for a colleague who has just announced her second pregnancy. Even before I've unearthed it from the storage bag I know I will now need to work out whether there is enough of it for a blanket before I can let it go! 

I'm setting myself a modest goal of a minimum of a carrier bag-full to take to the charity shop, but secretly hoping it will be more...and I'm going to stop writing now, because, let's be honest, writing about it isn't doing it!


So I started with this (spot the XXSCat dog):

Powered through this scary stage:

The XXSCat dog found a comfy crevice to avoid the chaos:

The turquoise/green cotton yarn with little blobs of bright colours was set aside for that baby blanket:

...and a mere seven hours later I am officially a stash-slashing, goal-exceeding champion! 

Stream-lined, vacuum-packed and around 1/3 smaller! Note the now guilt-free 
pink package of joy in the foreground!

All of this is destined for the charity shop...

...and this is dk for my friend's mother

Sunday 11 June 2017

...seeing things through

I actually finished the Weald poncho (from The Knitter magazine, issue 110) in the last couple of weeks. Right down to the tassels! 

Of course it's far too warm to wear now that Spring is edging into Summer - and I'm not entirely sure how flattering a garment it is for my matronly bosom less-than-sylph-like frame - but it is certainly comfortable and cosy enough for me to think I might actually wear it when the weather gets a little cooler. For now I'm mainly focussing on the sense of achievement that comes with having completed it. Right down to the tassels!

This may not seem like that big a deal, but I am the Queen of the Unfinished Project, which makes it a gargantuan deal for me. Right at the very end, during the easy turtle-neck ribbing stage, when the finish-line was literally inches away, I nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by recklessly detouring into a completely different project - a dear little knitted basket... 

"It's only a brief distraction - it's such a simple little project it probably won't take more than an afternoon - it'll make a nice change from the ribbing". 

Famous last words. Hours of increasing discomfort (chunky wool on smallish needles and a very tight basket weave stitch is not kind to wrists) and more than a bit of frustration (repeated trial and error with cast-off edge to get the correct tension for the basket to hold its shape). At one point I was in real danger of having two projects circling the drain. Only the seductive colour and texture kept me going - those gorgeous Monet waterlily hues in the yarn, and the stitches like little brush strokes...


I literally pushed through the pain barrier to finish the basket (very pretty but totally impractical, no idea what I'll do with it) and then powered on for a few hours more to complete the poncho. Right down to the tassels!

So I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself. I'm becoming someone who sees things through. Ok, maybe those things are just a tiny frivolous knitted basket and a large comfy poncho that only a slender Pre-Raphaelite-style model can look good in. But I had to start somewhere!

P.S. The tidying and decluttering and cherishing of beautiful things continues. Goodbye old formerly favourite boots that have gone unworn for over a decade. Hello unexpected moments of visual pleasure...

'Best' recycled glasses brought
down from the shelf to be washed,
casting blue reflections in the sunlight.