This time, all of those weather warnings have been more than accurate... not quite sure how many inches of rain we have gotten since Sunday, but a lot, along with a smattering of snow this afternoon, which quickly turned back to rain, and lots of high winds. I have been fortunate to just walk to work and avoid traveling in heavy weather, though tomorrow afternoon brings a trip to the lower elevations... will be interesting to see how the water levels of creeks and the nearby reservoir have changed!
I have been very industriously pursuing my studio refurbishment, in fact the decluttering spirit has touched a few other rooms in the house and has even inspired DH to do some garage clean-up! I moved around some pieces of furniture last week in the evenings instead of knitting, but had been inspired by this book.. now some of you knitters might be wondering how I came to have such a title on my bookshelf... a few years ago, while I was knitting at my quilt guild's annual retreat weekend, I also perused several books a fellow member had brought along... and was inspired to get this one, since I had just put together my own upstairs studio. I knew it was still a work-in-progress, just didn't realize back then that it would become a UFO before I got around to improving it!
One very interesting point that author Lois Hallock raises is that in any manufacturing situation, a person should seek to create a 'work triangle' making for short steps and unimpeded access between the three main work surfaces in use the most... this will ease work strain and keep what is most important right at your fingertips. This is more applicable to sewing, where a machine is needed and takes up a lot of room, and usually an ironing surface and a cutting surface are also required. Hallock has a Masters in mechanical engineering and worked in manufacturing before becoming a quilter and starting her own professional organizing business. I took her advice to heart and first re-arranged the furnishings upstairs in the studio so that my table and sewing machine were angled in a way that gave me the only possible view out my window while sewing, then moved an antique sewing machine table (with machine removed years ago) against a wall, so that I could roll the ergonomic chair I will soon buy over to cut, or stand and cut, and also cleared one set of shelves so that I could have supplies close at hand... as you might well guess, there was more clutter than success at this point.
It really does look like a wreck in this photo... the sewing area is to the left just outside the photo.
I picked up magazine boxes at Staples and have since boxed up about half of the Interweave Knits, and all of the Piecework, Spin-Off and Wild Fibers magazines; more holders are on my list for a trip to town after the storms end.
In the process, I discovered that I had become very lax about placing the printed-off PDF files I have been collecting into sleeves and into the binders I purchased last year as part of an earlier organizing effort... I put them all in a box and am still trying to locate the plastic sleeves; another item for the Staples list, as well as an additional binder, but soon all of the magazines and pattern leaflets should be neatly stored on the bottom shelf to the right and craft books in order above.
Let's see... there's a loom to make saddle cinches in the background, an ironing board groaning under the weight of projects (I did get it cleared off yesterday and folded up, and the floor cleared off too!) and yes, that's my exercise bike being used as a display rack for prayer flags... as I said, it is still a WIP, but I have made terrific progress.
Going back to that idea of a 'work triangle' I mentioned above, I also moved some furniture around in our family room so that my favorite end table, the one with the drawer containing my knitting notions and needles, is once again next to my favorite chair... DH complained today that he thought it was too high there, but I realized what he was really saying was that it was blocking his view of his favorite Steampunk lamp, and he was happy when I suggested we just switch the lamps around... I am getting very flexible with all this changing around!
All of this decluttering has led to a few trips to the thrift store, a stash of items waiting to be catalogued and offered for sale through my Etsy shop, and a big burn pile last week, in which DH dispatched with several years of old paperwork I had culled... and very little time left over for knitting. After the Owl Cowl featured in last week's post, I did return to finishing up the nice cap for youngest son... though the photos I took made it look a much paler shade of blue than the navy it truly is. Actually, I would prefer the color in the photo, but the Son likes navy... the pattern is one I picked up from a vendor at Black Sheep Gathering several years back, and I couldn't find any reference to it on Ravelry... has a folded hem, the inside of which could be made with cotton for non-itch proofing. There are some nice little detailed rows, thrown in to keep things interesting, and a garter top to blend in the decreases. Nice over all, and will prove useful to him.. he's the son that drives a recycling truck in all kinds of terrible winter weather.
All of my clearing and cleaning has given me much to contemplate in the way of future projects... currently I am finishing up a secret gift for dear Eldest Son, whose birthday is this Saturday, and have started one of the fronts for my Mendocino Vest (from Shear Spirit), but the Diamond Shawl is taking a rest... she has gotten too big to lug around places and I will get back to her over the next weeks of winter, I am sure. I unearthed a few items that had stymied me, but only need an afternoon to fix and use, and got almost all of my stash once again corralled in the tall dresser in the photo above.
I also found this project, from 23 summers ago... a set of runes made by collecting white quartz pebbles at the local swimming hole while the children splashed in the creek, then painting the symbols with red fingernail polish and crocheting a little drawstring bag to hold them all.... it had been buried at the bottom of a bag that also contained hand carders and some unusable wool. I am sure there will be more surprises waiting for me as I go through this project!
I have been intrigued by how popular cowls have been on the knitting scene for the past two years, but really haven't been that inspired to make myself one... that is, until I saw this pattern on Ravelry. I loved the little button eyes, and immediately set out to find yarn... even breaking my vow of knitting only from stash for myself (first time in months, though...)
I needed a yarn that would be cushy around my neck, which is one of the parts of my body sensitive to wool... so I chose Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande, even though I couldn't get the gauge quite right... after all, it IS a cowl.
I also decided that I wanted to button it on, rather than pull on and off repeatedly over my ill-mannered hair (DH calls it 'poodle-y', especially in wet weather), so I altered the instructions, which are very well written by Synnove for in the round, and added buttonholes on one side. This made up sooo quickly, one evening to knit the 35 rows and another to sew the 12 little eyes and closing buttons on. I will save this pattern for a future gift for a fellow birdloving friend!
First, I have to warn some of you that it's not knitting. My big project for January ( which I actually started last month) is decluttering my studio and the adjacent storage room so that it is a pleasant place to work once again. And who knows what I will find that I forgot I had?
I started in December, after reading a decluttering article in AARP magazine, with the five things/five minutes method... purging a little bit at time, cleaning up the living room to set up the Christmas tree, and then the parlor so I could entertain my Knit Night grrls... both efforts resulted in a small pile to go to the thrift store, which I actually dropped off a few days before Christmas. The trash got a bit fuller too, but the real work began in earnest after the holiday visiting was over. First, I organized my gift wrapping.... into a neat little unit that had gone missing for several years and never gotten assembled until a week ago... that's what happens when you let clutter get out of control!
Next, I went through things in the office, dabbling away at paper reduction, including going through my file drawer and my tax folder... the earliest I have ever gotten those pesky receipts together. I needed to do unemotional things before taking on the really serious weeding out.
Here's a few 'before' shots, just so you can see how bad things really were....
Let's see... there's also a shoebox full of beading supplies, my exercise bike (which I really DO use regularly, especially in winter), my weaving project from the class I took back in September, and a Singer treadle table, minus machine, that is SOO buried in STUFF you wouldn't know what it was, except for the large, metal logo! The next photo is the other side of the room, which had a brick and board shelf the length of the room (remember those from college days? I decided they are perfectly fine for industrial use)... those shelves were covered with all the paperwork you need to store, gift wrapping, peacock feathers destined to become a couple of feather dusters, a portable sewing machine, set up and ready, but covered with STUFF, and a cedar chest... can you spot it?
Hint: on top of the cedar chest is a pile of teal green Cascade Sierra, hoping to become part of a colored-yoke sweater, and also a pouch containing my unfinished Flutter Scarf (Rav link).
So, New Years' Day, having celebrated early and gotten plenty of rest the night before, I dove in and spent six hours of steady work....
I managed to mostly empty this smaller storage room out into the larger studio, making room to work... unearthing three boxes stored by one adult child, and a paintball gun and large trash bag full of stuffed animals stored by another! It was determined that e foam mattress topper stashed there by DD when she got a brand new bed could be passed along to a sibling wanting it for a guest room. The downstairs was rapidly filling with boxes to go to the thrift store (which we did the next day!).
I then decided that all the non-creative stuff I still needed to save should be moved in there, and proceeded to disassemble those brick and board shelves and move them into the storage room... whew, by then I stopped for a well-deserved lunch break! After re-assembling the shelves and purging three years of old records (did you know you only need to keep tax-related records for seven years? I stopped and looked it up... I had the room back together with far less being stored, and was delighted with how neat it looked!
then, New Years evening, DH helped me assemble the white shelving unit against the wall that had held the old shelves... in a sloping upstairs, that is still truly the best wall for them... we were rather surprised by how many cubicles there ended up being... 12 total.
I was grateful for a big, strong hubby since the units had to somewhat be pounded together in a way my hands just can't tolerate any more...
That was my stopping place for the day, and Saturday included a trip to town for groceries and dropping off discards at the thrift store (I really DID feel that I lost 20 pounds, at least of clutter:)Here's the shelving unit, after assemblage and a few items stashed in it... on the top are some things that will go in my Etsy shop (which will get a revision in the next month) or on Ebay... worth selling rather than simply tossing. Some of the cubicles on the far right are now filled with my spinning stash, safely encased in heavy plastic bags. I realized I really do have some great projects-in-waiting, and don't need to look far for inspiration. However, I needed to return to work on Monday, so the completion of my project will have to wait a bit... I promise photos soon, as you all will be holding me accountable to finishing:) In the meantime, I had to run to the bank this afternoon so that I could start paying January's bills, and dropped by my other job to pick up yarns for some simple accessories to help me through my winter hiking and birdwatching... the Owl Cowl (inspired by Margene, but a different design) and some mitts inspired by Carrie.