Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Things I Have Learned From The Great Sewing Room Project

*  It's impossible to fully appreciate what a crappy job one has been doing on dusting until one starts packing up a room

*  A marker without a cap will always fall ink-side down into the carpet, but a straight pin will fall pointy-end UP

*  BEFORE the boxes start getting packed up, think through any possible reason--such as trying out furniture arrangements--that might make one wish that one had not just thrown crap randomly in boxes, or, alternatively, keep at least ONE measly little project together--patterns, pins, directions, thread--just in case

*  If two long-haired cats regularly insist on hanging out in the sewing room with you, vacuum really often or get a vacuum cleaner that doesn't have the clear cylinder showing you the scary amount of fur that just came out of your carpet.

*  There are smarter things to do than pack and schlep boxes when recovering from a back injury

*  If your cat has his own water glass in the sewing room because he refuses to drink out of the bowl and it's either give him his own glass or be willing to share yours, don't think that he'll understand that his glass needs to be put away for a while.

*  If one DOES have to pack up all one's yarn and all one's fabric, doing it while having access to Valium isn't such a bad idea.........

Monday, February 27, 2012


The blue sweater is now all one piece and the raglan sleeve shaping has begun,
which has used up no less than THREE 175-yard balls of yarn, leaving me just short of 4,000 yards of yarn for the year so far.  That does, of course, include the chucking of 880 yards in the form of a shawl with issues, but it also includes a ball of yarn that didn't count because it had already been knit and frogged once before and has to be frogged and reknit again, so it almost balances out.  Whew!  And that 3 ball difference is going to make such  a difference when trying to get all the yarn back INTO the sewing room...........

Which, by the way, is painted!
The odd smudges on the green wall are either reflections of something or something on the lens, not actually on the wall.  2 green walls and two in "dried stem."  I just love how it turned out.

While everything (mostly) is out of the sewing room, we decided it would be a good time for me to play around with desk arrangements.  So far, my sewing "desk" involves 2 folding tables, a card table, and two pieces of plywood because sewing machines are too heavy for Costco's plastic folding tables--a shock to no one who has ever lifted a serger, I'm sure.  I'm hoping I can do some sort of U-shape (borrowing the folding table we actually use for parties) that will allow me to have all 3 sewing machines AND the serger set up.  If it DOES work, I'm not sure if I'll want to stick with them being tables--which can always have storage tubs underneath them--or a real desk of some sort, which could have drawers.  I've ruled out traditional sewing furniture.  They're nice, but I don't need them to fold back up and would, frankly, NEVER fold up the cabinets, so it would just be a waste of space and money.  Having married MacGuyver, there are also options to make sewing furniture if I can figure out what I want or to add a lifting mechanism to a regular desk to allow  one of the machines to drop so the sewing surface is flush with the table.  All good options, but it has taken me 5 years to decide I wanted one wall full of shelves.  Well, 5 years and counting because now Andy came up with the idea of making one shelf 30 inches in height to allow me to store my bolts of interfacing and I'm still debating it.  Really, I do have decision making capabilities, I swear--they just seem to have been worn out with decisions on which yarn to buy..........

What does everyone else have in their sewing rooms?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

12 Years

Finding out one might have a 12-year supply of yarn can be pretty darn motivating, it turns out.  We now have a new Christmas ornament
from newly discovered yarn that I'm actually pretty excited to have found as I haven't seen anything quite like this being currently sold.  (Warning:  there may be many pathetic attempts made on this blog to present the Great Yarn Stash as a good thing.)

There are also two new washcloths,

or rather one and as much of a second as I could get out of the last of the yarn.   That finishes up a 603-yard ball of yarn I bought just over a year ago, which gives me 57 items in the "all used up" tab and gives me a little boost in the yardage tally.  I'd been trying to guess how much yarn each of the dishcloths and tribbles was using up, but I was obviously wrong unless one of these two washcloths involved 200 yards of yarn, so I got to make an adjustment.  Yay!!!

In celebration (and to make sure I could be knitting while reading), I started another scarf
with some of the newly discovered yarn.  I'm trying to finish up the fronts of the new sweater at least to the end of the current yarn balls by the end of February, but they involve cables, and it is going a bit slower now, so I sometimes need breaks.  So, a new scarf in worsted on size 8 needles.  The thought has crossed my mind that if I work with BIG needles and biggish yarns this year, I could knock a year and 3 month's stash off of my spreadsheet......Maybe I only have a ten year supply of yarn after all.................

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Checking the Stash

Abby brought up an interesting question about my last post:  Have I achieved SABLE, would I want to knit exclusively from stash for the next several years, and do I have yarn that I should give away?  After having schlepped all my yarn around the house, it does feel like I have a life supply of yarn, especially since these
were holding up my stereo in the sewing room, and when opened
revealed yarns that I was relatively were not all represented on Ravelry.  I was happy to find that SOME of the yarn was indeed already accounted for, and have spent a fair bit of the morning adding most of the new yarn to Ravelry.  According to the latest figure, I have just under 190,000 yards of yarn.  I wish I could say I thought, "Well, haven't seen it for a while so I can part with it," but I didn't.  When I found a pretty large amount of Lion Brand Wool-Ease worsted, my reaction was, in fact, "Yippee!"  It's one of my favorite yarns for scarves as it's a wool blend that isn''t too expensive and quite decent for hats and scarves--two of my knitting gift standards.  The acrylics are my baby sweater stash, having LONG ago given up hope of anyone being willing to hand wash sweaters for babies.  So, it will all probably get used.  I have the feeling that there will be more than one baby sweater involved in getting to my 12 sweaters for the year, which is a good thing as we seem to be caught in another baby boom amongst younger relatives and my baby gift stash has dwindled.

It's hard to say how fast I knit.  My best yardage year (since I've been counting) is just over 19,000, and my worst is just under 14,000.  It's always a bit skewed as every year has involved reknitting at least one skein (and I don't count them until they're actually gone from stash) and it depends on what sort of knitting I'm doing.  Lace, beading, cables, etc.  Then there are the projects that don't get counted--like the mitten ornaments, anything involving the cheap acrylics that doesn't involve knitting (doll hair, crafts),  some of the dish cloths or anything involving just odd bits that don't make sense.  My 4 year stash-tracking average is about 16,000 yards a year.  If we use that, I have enough yarn to knit solely from stash for 12 years.  Which is a lot, though since I'm 41, hopefully not S.A.B.L.E.  However, that does rather encourage me to limit the "reward for going cold sheep" purchases quite severely.  Maybe 3 more years of hard-core cold sheep, then--if all goes well and the size of my stash drops by the projected 50,000 yards of yarn, I could revisit the idea of a reward system.  After this year's sweater dash, them maybe a run of gifts next year (baby sweaters, scarves, hats), and a little less focus on shawls for a bit, I could significantly decrease the overall BULK of the stash, which is the most overwhelming part of it now.  Though now that I've moved ALL the boxes around in the sewing room, at least I no longer fear that there's even MORE yarn lurking somewhere.  It has all been delurked and will shortly be accounted for, so there should be NO MORE SURPRISES.  Thank heavens!  I might be philosophically okay with my stash now, but uncovering yet another tote might positively do me in!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Just In Time

I'll admit, I was wavering a bit on the continued cold sheeping.  It's fun to buy yarn.  I like buying yarn.  I had even started to ask myself, "What would be the harm?"

So, it was a perfect weekend to have to lug around a large percentage of the yarn stash.  This:
is now next to my bed, which is sort of like having a big burly bouncer-type man at the door to a yarn shop, since most of my yarn is bought online.  It looms over me out of the corner of my eye--just a little bit scary--and so far has kept me from even LOOKING at yarn online.

is Andy's side of the bedroom.  Perhaps less frightening, but I think it makes a pretty good case for not buying any more fabric for a while as well.  Especially since the bulk of the fabric stash is elsewhere.....

 I was excited to see the walls for the first time in about 5 years:
though the thought wasn't exciting enough to keep me from doing extra exercises at the gym simply because I didn't want to hurry home to packing up the sewing room.  That, I think, is a first......

Thanks to Andy, two of the walls are now a lovely shade of green,
including this wall,
which is where the new shelving will be.  I'm torn between being excited that I will have a lot more storage (and storage that doesn't teeter dangerously, which is very important to those of us who have recently had yarn dropped on our heads), but there is a bit of fear involved that perhaps all the stash won't fit, and if it does by some miracle fit with room to spare, that I will eventually add enough to the stash to fill it all.

Fortunately, being overwhelmed by my stash has kicked my crafting into high gear, and I was up late on Sunday night working on the sleeves,
which are now to the raglan shaping--or where I'm putting it, as the pattern called for 20.5 inches to the underarm shaping, which is really quite insane as I haven't yet met a woman with arms that long--and which have EACH now used up a 175-yard ball of yarn, which makes me feel like I've made a rather serious dent in the yarn stash.  I'm now onto the fronts, which is where the actual cabling and design will be, but I expect it to go pretty quickly as the rest of the sweater is just sitting there waiting to be joined to it.  Whoo, boy!  When I get this sweater finish, there will be SUCH a big dent in that yarn stash!  Whew!  Those shelves will look positively BARE, I tell you!

(Delusional?  Yes, I know.  But motivating--and might even keep my mind off the impending moving of all this stuff BACK into the sewing room................)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I'm Going In!!!!

Since it's a three day weekend, Andy decided to get cracking on the shelves for the sewing room, which leads to me having to decide what color that wall needs to be painted (the overall theme is hunter green & mushroom), and in a fit of exuberance and complete insanity, I suggested we try for painting the entire room at once.  So, when I get back from the gym, I will be tackling the sewing room and trying to find spaces for everything IN the sewing room.

If you don't hear from me again, please call Search & Rescue...............

Friday, February 17, 2012

Finishing Friday

For winter, we have some snowflakes Andy made to hang in the entryway,
because otherwise it's really sort of stark and bare.  For spring I've often hung some flower garlands across the top, but then it's a constant battle with the cats to A) keep them off the railing, and B) keep them from beating up the flowers while ON the railing.  So I got the idea today to make some big fabric flowers to hang.  With, of course, my fearless assistant:
I made a flower petal pattern on some scrap muslin,
scrounged in the quilting fabric bin for some spring/flower colored material
and discovered that I had enough fabric for a seriously anemic flower or one side of a reversible flower.  (Note to self:  unless one is actually serious about quilting, 1/2 yard is a pretty stupid amount of fabric to purchase).  Next came deciding how many petals the flower should have,
and I just didn't think 6 worked that well, so I opted for 7:
which would make it a fuller flower and OH SO MUCH more challenging to lay out correctly.

I decided the other side should be from a bright yellow fabric, and after some debate I used one piece of my heaviest (craft weight) stabilizer to give each petal some stiffness:
 Then my little helper and I
 started working out how big to make the center.
(Some of us were more enthusiastic than others)
There was a bit of a mix up when I actually sewed the center pieces together BEFORE pinning it to the petals, but I got it all ripped out, repinned, and everything sewn together
 and unless one looks really closely, I don't think anyone can tell that I got everything slightly skewed by the time I was done.  And, in all fairness, this
is WAY too big and floppy to hang from anything, but I think it will be cute on the table or something.  I could make another and stuff it with cardboard if I was sure I'd never need to wash it, or maybe I can find something plastic that could work.  In the meantime, shall we call decoration number 1 a centerpiece?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Prepare Yourselves For A Shock...

I have become a monogamous knitter.

Can you believe it????  I don't think I have touched any knitting except the blue sweater for at least a week now--perhaps since I started the sleeves.  That makes it sort of sad that they aren't farther along, but let's recap the week:

Monday:  Physical therapy appointment, managed to twist pelvic bone before even getting home, got home and took Valium for the pain and went to bed.

Tuesday:  30 minutes on the elliptical machine, 2 circuits on the weight machines, 45 minutes in the pool, forgot about the damn hip and hopped to a rock in the garden, twisted pelvic bone out of place AGAIN, dashed upstairs to twist pelvic bone back INTO place again, then celebrated Valentine's Day with friends

Wednesday:  Exhausted and just trying to break the throwing-the-hip-out streak I seemed to have been on

Today:  Appointment with the spine doctor, 2 circuits on the weight machines, 1 hour in the pool, and now so tired that I'm debating how late it needs to be before I could legitimately go to bed.

The GOOD news is that I have been released by the doctor for almost 6 hours and haven't re-twisted my hip yet!  Good heavens--that means I might have achieved monogamy AND moderation in the same week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

And The New Basket Dash Begins

It's February 15, which kicks off Spring Stashdash 2012.  This time, we are filling a basket with:

  • 1 finished item from yarn that makes you think of spring
  • 1 finished gift
  • 1 finished gift for yourself
  • 1 item in your queue (if you have one)
  • 1 item from a pattern you already own
  • 1 item from yarn (or fabric, beads, etc. if you’re including other hobbies) that you have owned for more than one year
The "dash" ends on May 31.  Since I did such a spectacularly poor job of EMPTYING my Valentine's basket, I thought I'd be safer with a filling the basket dash.  I can hardly do worse.  The categories are very broad, so I'm hoping to keep myself motivated by being able to pick projects as I choose.  If I get the current blue sweater done, it can be the finished gift for myself.  The yarn is from November's self-pity yarn binge, so it certainly wouldn't qualify for the yarn owned longer than a year item, nor does it make me think of spring in any way.  I'm not planning to have items fit more than one category, though that might change by May 20.......

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wahoo!!! It's Valentine's Day!!!

And I can stop pretending (as if I were) that I am working on anything even remotely related to the Valentine's Stashdash basket and move on to other things (as if I haven't).

Sunday, February 12, 2012

We Now Have Napkins

Though I can't think of any of the 12s they fit into, so they're just an "extra."  Bummer.  However, there is hope on the horizon for another 12:
The sleeves for the new sweater are in progress and ALL stockinette!  I don't know why--perhaps just because they're usually what I do last--but sleeves are always my least favorite part of a sweater.  So I'm doing those now and saving the front, and since they'll go pretty quickly, I think I'll stay motivated to finish this by the end of the month.  Whoo hoo!

Did I mention that I was not buying any fabric this year?  Well,
 .....ahem....there might have been a moment of weakness brought on my a bit of self-pity.  I hope my hip improves soon--if for no other reason than for the sake of the space in the sewing room.  I'm thinking either knitting bag (like I need more of them) or a jacket.  At least I'm hoping it will re-motivate me in the sewing department.....or maybe being able to sit will help with that.

I am holding strong on my latest resolution:  buying no new crafting books or magazines this year.  Between the space issue and how far behind on my project queue, this really shouldn't be that difficult, but I'll admit to feeling a tiny twinge of weakening over this:
I have borrowed it from the library, and normally I have no interest in books that have one pattern with a bunch of variations (probably from my experience with Debbie Bliss's books which repeat sweaters from book to book with only color pattern changes), but the ornaments are cool and as always, as soon as I say I'm not going to buy something, everything becomes tempting.  I have promised myself that I can photocopy 2 charts to knit before returning it to the library, and if I actually knit the darn things before the end of the year, I might give myself permission to buy the book next  year.  Honestly, how do you live with a child when it's yourself?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Being February 10...

...and Valentine's Day being just 4 days away, it was time to revisit the place mats.
I like the idea of whimsical swirls and hearts to secure the batting, but I decided not to sew them by hand as that never seems as secure as machine stitching, and my capacity to sit is not improving much after last weekend's choir escapade, so...
concentric hearts it is.  I put a piece of masking tape on the throat to use as a guide (the sewing machine's, not mine) to do the first stitch, then added more seams in different colors:
I was hurrying to get all 6 done, so there are a few wonky bits that need to be ripped out and done over, but I was hurrying to get them done before I ran out of ability to sit, so if all else fails, all 6 are ready to be used if I don't get time to clean the seams up.  Theo was on-hand to help with the sewing,
though he's still displeased over the new table height.  For a while he had taken to sleeping on the floor near the sewing room table, but that is A. undignified, B. probably dangerous in the sewing room, and C. could mean there would be sewn items without cat hair, which, of course, would be a kitty tragedy.  So this is the new approach.

Aside from back issues, this week I've also caught a cold, so have been doing a lot of resting, which actually makes the back issues worse rather than better, but at least it helps with the 12 sweaters issue.  The new blue sweater's back is to the armhole decrease
 which is where it's going to stay for a while.  The sweater has raglan sleeves, and the pattern says to sew the pieces together, but aside from the fact that it's totally stupid to sew more seams than one absolutely has to do, I don't ever get the seams to look quite right on the few times I've been foolish enough to attempt sewing raglans together, so I'll finish the next pieces to the armholes and just knit them all together from armhole up.  I could, of course, have knit the entire body in one piece, but that would have meant passing up on one big block of plain, mindless, stockinette stitch in a non-splitty yarn, which is totally fun with a squishy yarn AND probably a lot safer while on cold medication.

This all sounds like I'm completely falling apart over here, but aside from not being able to sit and being banished from walking outdoors, my back is light years better than it has been, and even getting a cold isn't really a big deal since I always get at least one cold during the winter--usually several--and I spent all of December being terrified of catching a cold or anything that could involve coughing or sneezing.  Now, sneezing doesn't hurt a bit, so I'm just really relieved I didn't catch any colds in the last two months.  AND, when one is feeling under the weather and one has a built in excuse for almost any sort of self indulgence....
is a perfect time for a new Foreign Correspondent scarf!  Sweaters?  What sweaters.................?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Catching Up

Saturday I attended a gospel singing workshop.  I'm not a religious person, but I do sing and I was really excited to do ANYTHING that didn't involve home, the gym, or physical therapy, and I thought it would be one of the better choices as I assumed we would be standing rather than sitting.  Who sings while sitting?

Apparently, gospel choirs.  Even with the strongest pain medication I'm allowed, I had to duck out early and take part of a Valium to even get myself home, and Theo and I spent Saturday night and Sunday pretty much like this:
except I'm not quite that cute when I do it.  Nor, thank heavens, that furry.

I did get a little work done on the new sweater,
but most of the time was spent finishing up the socks I started for my birthday:
which are now FINISHED!!!!!  Since they were in progress before the start of the year, I'm counting them for one of my 12 WIPs since they MUST count for something on my list, and I have used up one of my "precious" yarns!  I've had this yarn for a few years, and since the color was promptly discontinued, I have hung onto this yarn like a fiend, because if I knit it up I wouldn't have the yarn any longer.  Of course, I now have socks, but that doesn't seem to matter nearly as much.  If I weren't desperately trying to increase my "all used up" tab to be larger than my "still in stash" tab, I'm not sure if I could have convinced myself to have used it.  To make it even sillier, this yarn was in a Project of the Month bag for a while (never mind that it took me 4 months to make these socks), so I hadn't even SEEN the yarn for a long time and now that it's been knit into socks, I'll see it every single day when I open my sock drawer.  And yet, part of me is still a bit sad that I don't have the yarn any longer.......

It gets easier and easier to understand my humongous stash, doesn't it????? 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Since It's Friday...

....what I would like to be showing you is an actual finished project.

What I actually could be showing you is the pool at my gym where I spent an hour and a half this morning.  After yesterday's physical therapy appointment, I really, REALLY didn't want to go to the gym today, so I made myself go anyway and increased my workout time to an hour and 15 minutes (up from 1 hour)--both to prove to myself that I wasn't going to wimp out and because I am an idiot.

What I could also be showing you is my sorry knitterly self laying on the bed because my leg muscles are just exhausted and sitting still hurts.  Or my pajamas--which I will be crawling into in just a few short minutes.    Or myself unconscious....which should be in about 5 minutes..................

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

WIP Wednesday?

Wednesdays are not generally my day for crafting, but this week I've really worn myself out and thought it best to take a rest day before physical therapy tomorrow.  So, I decided to work on the Valentine place mats, and I'm very pleased with how they are turning out,
 but I need to do something to tack down the batting in them and can't decide if I should do a couple concentric hearts in maybe purple or pink or if I should do something more whimsical--like swirls or dots?  What do you think?