Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The air is clear and so is my conscience!

Yarn conscience, that is. I don't have a huge stash, and I did already do one major stash airing, however the remaining yarn was grating on my mind. Today was the day and I bagged up or tossed most of what I didn't get rid of the first time around.

The spur in my backside is that my mom, my brother, Jamie, and his girlfriend, Yocasta, are coming to my house on Saturday to celebrate Christmas. He lives in the Bronx, New York, and he's only able to come into town for a few days. I'm trying the strategy of one area of the house at a time - and I started today with the formal living room and dining room.

To call it a formal living room is kind of a joke. There is a sofa, but I'm the only one who sits on it. My 100 year old Mason & Hamlin upright is there too. And my desk, or, the Armpit of the Room. I have a jar of buttons, a fork that a friend bent into a bug, a mug with pens, piles of work papers, a printer/fax machine, laptop, 4 boxes of contacts, and several mini DV tapes. Oh, and shhh, don't tell, but I also have Christmas gifts stashed inside the pullout front drawer. It's kind of a nightmare, but I did already clean it so that wasn't my focus.

The starting point was the corner between the piano and the wall. I have plastic tower of drawers that hold medical records, insurance documents, recipes and yarn. Next to the tower is a small cabinet that holds my piano music. On top of that is a large basket full of all my wool balls and scraps. On the floor around everything were boxes of phots (another project I haven't finished).

Once I knew what I was up against, I went out and got 3 of these cool new plastic containers that are designed to fit on wire shelving. I labeled one Feltable Wool, another Cotton and Cotton Blends, and Wool Blends. I have a plastic box under my bed already for the acrylic that I might still have a use for.

I don't know if anyone even takes yarn donations (of yarn that isn't brand new, I mean) around here, but I bagged up the Fun Fur, Lion Suede, Red Heart, Homespun, Bernat Babysoft, and some unlabeled novelty yarn put out by Walmart a couple years ago. Into the garbage bag went the remains of Mariah (a story for another day), the body parts of a bunny that was never finished, bits of projects that were started, then abandoned, and some really ugly Red Heart.

I also tossed loads of papers. Yay for me!

Now my plastic tower has room for all the music that didn't fit in the little cabinet and there is still room for some afghan squares that I crochet from time to time. The basket is empty and the whole corner looks neat and organized. I can even see the floor! The living room is totally done and I nearly got through the dining room.

My bins worked great! Luckily my stash isn't huge so it all fit just fine and now they're resting comfortably on my closet shelf. The bins are clear so I can quickly see what I have and now my memory is refreshed about what I actually have.

It's a good thing.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Seriously, what is SO wrong with buying me yarn?

or other various knitting things? Somebody has to explain this to me. They ask for ideas, they get them...shouldn't that be a hint that what I've asked for is stuff I'd really want?

I have this friend - she'll know who she is :) - who's husband bought her a quilting machine. My husband said I quilted too much. Her husband bought her the Knit Picks Options needle set. Mine says I have too many already. I'm sure her husband would buy her yarn if she told him exactly what she wanted. Mine would rather burn my stash.

Nevermind that I want to make Emerald and have been leaving the pattern lying around the house with the yarn highlighted. I have a sticky note up smack dab in front of my laptop with all my yarn options for that sweater, along with prices and where to get them. Nevermind that I really love Silver Creek Cabin yarn shop. Nevermind that I spend nearly every minute of my leisure time knitting. Hubbo buying me yarn or anything remotely related to knitting is a pipe dream of Crystal Cathedral proportions.

So I went to the next best possible provider of knitting goods...Mom. She was the same person I went to when I wanted a walking foot and bias binder for my sewing machine, so I had high hopes. My list included the Options needle set, 3 yarn choices for Emerald (specifying color and quantity), and a few books that I would love but might not buy myself. And I did all this with plenty of time for online ordering. I also asked for a gift card to Amazing Threads, since Silver Creek Cabin is too far for her.

Did she listen to me? Nope. She called Tony and asked if there were any ideas for me other than knitting, that she really wanted to get me something that I would love. What? Are you freaking kidding me? She's seen how much I knit and how much I love it - ever since I first started as a kid. I told her I could perhaps use a nice wool coat, but in the back of my mind I'm thinking "a wool coat is not going to thrill me nearly as much as 10 balls of Cadena in Peat or 12 balls of Sheep Shop Sheep 2 in G17 or F029."

When Mom told me a day later that she really wanted to buy me a coat but was worried she'd buy the wrong thing, I sent her what I hope was a convincing email saying that the yarns/books/needles I'd put in my original gift idea list REALLY were great ideas for me and I'd be thrilled with any one of them. A coat would be nice - I have been wearing the same wool coat since about 1994 (egad!) - but I don't work outside the home anymore. A nice coat would be worn only a few times each winter for church and holidays. Knitting stuff would be far more useful and fun for me.

I don't see why, when it's something I love to do and really take pleasure in, whether it's making things for myself or others, there should be any problem in buying me gifts that would add to my enjoyment? Tony gets hunting things for his birthday and Christmas. Last year he asked for and received enough Cabela's gift cards to buy a new bow. Yet when I put down yarn shops as gift card ideas, people ask where else I might want to shop.

I gotta work on these people through the next year. Friday I'll see if my mom took any of my ideas to heart or not. I know she didn't order me anything from Knit Picks though.

Oh, I should give a mention to the one person who listens to my ideas and actually goes with them...my twin brother, Jamie. I gave him some knitting books as ideas, so cross your fingers, folks. I'm optimistic because this is the guy who actually gave me a book about canning and preserving when I asked for one. Go figure, actually giving a person what they want? No way! Thanks, Jame!

I have to give a closing statement, since I'm sure all this has made me sound very ungrateful. Generally, everyone does a great job at buying me gifts. My husband always knows what he's getting me far in advance and has a knack for finding just the right gift. I do love presents, but in all honesty, I enjoy giving gifts so much that I wouldn't mind if I myself received nothing. I love shopping for people and I love getting them something I know they'll love because IT WAS ON THEIR LIST! How hard is that?

Friday, December 7, 2007

So many emotions...darn it!

I know I could, but I haven't the nerve to curse on the internet yet :)

Anyway, the emotions. Started out feeling rather good. I had both sleeves for the Drops 79-24 going like gangbusters on one circular needle...and then it hit me.

I was going to run out of yarn.

I knit like crazy in the wee hours of the a.m. in order to have a good idea of just how much more I'd need before I had to get Alicia and Lucas out the door. I would drive down to Michael's after depositing Ben at preschool and buy 2 more balls of yarn, just to be safe. I was pretty psyched about going to Michael's anyway because they had Patons Classic Wool and Shetland Chunky on sale 2 for $7. I can't pass that up, though I think I bought the Shetland Chunky for 79-24 on sale 2 for $6).

Last time I was there they had a huge endcap display of some great shades of Shetland Chunky and I was prepared with my dye lot, my sample bit of yarn, and a basket. What did I find it its place? Berella 4! A yarn I've never EVER before seen in a retail store! FISH PASTE!!!!! I broke out in to a cold sweat as I headed for the back wall. No Rich Teal Shetland Chunky. TARTAR SAUCE!!!!

I did buy 6 balls of Dark Grey Mix Patons Classic Wool. I held a ball and squished it in my hands the whole way home - kinda like a stress ball, come to think of it. I have a shopping cart ready to roll at Knitting Warehouse, but I also found a Raveler with 2 balls of the exact shade and nearly the exact dye lot in her stash. They aren't listed as for sale, but I sent her a messaged asking if she'd be willing to sell them. Really, what could she make with 2 balls anyway? Ok, not the best question, but you know what I mean.

In the meantime, the sweater pieces are in my basket. Waiting. The Hourglass Pullover that I started on a whim is keeping ol' 79-24 company. I flew through the body but now I'm stubbornly waiting for my 8" Balene II circular needles, sizes 5 and 7, to arrive from some eBay seller. I'm warily confident that I can make them work - otherwise I wouldn't have ordered them - but I'm itching to get going on those sleeves. WoTA in Sapphire Heather is GORGEOUS! I wish I'd started this earlier so I could wear it out to dinner tomorrow night.

It's hard to believe, but in 13 years of marriage, Tony and I have never been to any friends' home (together) for dinner with other adults and no children. We've been invited to his boss's place for dinner with two other couples. I'm strangely nervous! For my entire adult life, I've hung out with people older than me and have been used to being the youngest person around. Now I'm 34 and I'll be the oldest female there besides our hostess AND I'll be the only female there with children. Dang, I hate getting old! But it will be nice and I just hope I don't embarrass anyone with my wont of social skills.

Oh, and the thing that has me really excited at the moment......(drum roll on desk).......I finally figured out how to post badges on my blog! Yay, me! I'm probably the last blogger on early to "get it", but I'd like to thank Fantasyknits - at least I'm pretty sure it was on her blog that I found out about ImageShack - but anyway, I found ImageShack, a free image hosting site. Now I don't have to mooch server space from my idols until they realize it and disable my images! Yay! Another thing I like about Fantasyknits is that we have the same birthday! Yay, us!

I suppose that's enough babbling for one day. I'm going to try to get some knitting done...just have to figure out what to knit that will distract me from the Giant Ombre Acrylic Monster that lives at the foot of my seat on the sofa. It's taking on a life of it's own.

Good news though. The brother will be here next weekend and we're having a mini Christmas at my house on Saturday, December 15 - or as I'm now calling it Sic-the-Giant-Ombre-Acrylic-Monster-on-my-brother-and-don't-let-him-leave-without-it-Day.