Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Too much, too soon, or how I stopped knitting and tidied up

One day I'll learn that certain things in life have a limit. I dislike the thought of not being able to do something due to a health problem, something that goes back to my teenage years and temporal lobe epilepsy. My parents wouldn't let me go out for a bike ride by myself, and at 15 it's incredibly stifling. I really don't like being told I can't do something due to an injured finger, and now it's hurting quite badly, so knitting and crochet are on hold for at least 24 hours.

Last week, when I really couldn't knit, I turned to the next best thing: sorting out my knitting stuffs. Over the years I've accumulated a lot of accoutrements. Stitch holders, pompom makers, stitch markers  (though I generally use safety pins), needles and patterns. Soooooo many patterns. I'd reached saturation point and they had broken free and were escaping everywhere.

Exhibit A:

My craft room bookcase last Wednesday. A functioning bombsite, of sorts. As you can see I had tried order in the past and completely given up on it. Taking things out of the bungalow and into the house and then never returning them to their exact right spot is what's tripped me up over time. So, I knuckled down over the three days Felix took off to take care of me and sorted things out.

First up were all of my loose patterns. I have lots. I inherited two lots from my grandmothers, Felix's fantastic nana sent me down an amazing Paton's vintage workbook (thanks Jeanette!), and I tend to buy up any I spot. Which is a lot. Possibly because I go out of my way to find them. So on Wednesday Felix made me stay on the couch while he brought me boxes (yes, multiple) of patterns to sort. I managed a three pile system: keep, op-shop and Etsy. Most of the ones from newspapers were sent off to the op-shop, because there's always a desperate hipster looking for knitting patterns, no matter how bad they are. I kept a lot, mostly good patterns, but I also have a folder dedicated solely to vintage patterns which range from my glorious 1050's Vogue Knitting all the way down to a Patons book from 1979 where the jumpers feature the characters from "Shirl's Neighbourhood". Solid fried gold.

Then it was the needles turn. I had my circulars sorted months ago, so I left them alone, but my double points had broken loose from their system and I had my nan's needles to sort out as well. I dumped all of them on the floor, apparently.

Wait, no, that's Dot "helping". It took 10 minutes to get all of the needles off her, and now they're sorted into three sets: my nan's set that I'm planning to pass along to one of my cousins, my Clover bamboos in their holder, and leftover sets of Clover bamboos that I'll sell on Etsy.

After that it was a case of tidy, tidy, tidy. You have to agree it looks a lot better:

Here's the layout.

1. My buttons. I use the spice jar sets from Ikea and they're sorted into colours, metals, nacre and novelty types. I also have a jar up the back with all of the spare buttons from our clothes which I keep for that moment when my children start losing them.

2. The orange folders all contain A5 zip pouches for each double point needle size, which are divided into numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 onwards, so some folder have 4 pouches, some 2. They were leftovers from last years Weight Watchers program, and as they're not being used they were requisitioned for the greater good. The yellow baskets hold pom pom makers, needle gauges, non-greasy hand cream, stitch holders (how many do I have?!) and various nibblets I need for my knitting. The large pink roll is my bamboo straights holder, and the container on top has a needle roll full of crochet hooks. The far right is my two knitting money banks (for qiviut, obviously) and my ball winder.

3. Too many knitting magazine and books. Down the end are my two folders of loose knitting patterns. They're divided into adult, children, house, toys, accessories and socks. I have a lot of sock patterns, despite hating knitting socks, go figure. The photo is my nan and Marcus, taken the morning of his chicken boy photo shoot. I like that she saw him in it first.

4. Embroidery magazines collection, plus all of my weaving and embroidery books. On the shelf is an old shuttle one of my weaving teachers gave me as a present, and it's incredibly heavy, mostly due to the iron point tips on it.

5. This shelf still looks messy, but I'm okay with that - for now. On the left-hand side is my collection of household management books from the 50's and 60's. I adore these and take some pretty good tips out of them occasionally. Then we have my very 70's Stitch by Stitch and Golden Hands collection. So many bad patterns! Fab! Then it's sewing patterns in folders and my sewing books. I really am a jack of all trades...

6. First is my Enchanted World series that doesn't fit into any other bookcase, apparently. Then it's books on carpentry (!) and building plan in a folder. The boxes on the right contain various odds and sods for my business that need a proper place to live, but I'm waiting on a bit more storage.

There it is! I also tidied all the cutting out bench, and the only thing left to do is sort out all my sewing patterns into categories (and possibly throw away the ones that are now waaaay too big for me). Hopefully I'll be back to knitting again soon.

Fingers crosses. But not the index finger, because that one still hurts.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Woohoo! I'm back, baby!

Can you believe that less than 48 hours after slicing the top of my finger off I was knitting again? 48 hours.

It was my mum's fault. I'd been to the doctor's to have my dressings changed, which was highly traumatic and took an hour due to the gauze sticking to the open wound. Don't worry, I'll stop with the description now! Anyway, I got home and was complaining to my mum how hard it was to do relax with no knitting. She said "It's a shame you can't knit Continental."

I CAN!!!

I taught myself Continental knitting about 10 years ago, but while it is faster I'm not proficient enough to knit that way without looking, which drives me a little crazy, but knitting is knitting, right?

By Thursday I was back to knitting normally with my index finger sticking out like a snob with a cup of tea. This morning I worked out that I can crochet a small amount at a time, too. So it's back to everything again.

Dot's cardigan is slow going now due to being 146 stitches wide, but at 4 row feather and fan repeat is a nice mindless knit, especially when you're watching Grand Designs. The container is to stop Marcus and Dot from pulling the circular needle out. You don't want to know how often that happens...

On the Sunday I had my finger slip up Chantal had come over and we'd worked on some goal-setting for the rest of the year, as so far this year has sucked greatly for both of us. One of mine was to finish up old WIP's before starting something new, so my new rule is finish two, start one. Now, Chantal's Blue Moon Fiber order came in with the yarn for my next project, so I need to get going and finish two projects so I can start up my Miette cardigan.

I don't think I'll get the cardigan finished by Thursday night when we meet up, so I'm completely cheating and finishing up two almost finished crochet projects. Can you guess what all this yellow can be?

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Well, ****

I didn't get the little hat to Charley before the election, but the Greens won the seat of Melbourne and that's good enough for me.

Instead of more knitting news I have a somewhat less pleasant announcement: I'll be on a hiatus for a week or  two, possibly longer.

You see earlier this evening I took a bit of my thumb off while slicing potatoes on a mandolin. It's about 1mm away from bleeding and it feels a bit weird. 

Now, you're probably wondering why I also have a bandage on. I mean, it's hardly a bandage-worthy injury, right? Annoying, sure, but a bandage is a bit drama queen, really. Besides, I shouldn't need time off knitting for almost slicing the tip of my thumb, now should I?

I do need the bandage for the massive chunk I took out of my right index finger though. The piece taken off was about 0.5" x 0.25", and bleed like a monkey trucker. In the emergency room I laughingly said to the doctor that I wouldn't be able to knit for a week, and he looked surprised and said "Oh no, probably closer to a month."

A month.

Fetch me a straightjacket, stat. The pain block will wear off soon and if I can't distract myself from the pain with knitting I'll need restraining.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

An election hat for Charley

For anyone lucky enough to have avoided it so far, Australia is in the midst of a federal election.  As happened in 2010 we're having a Seinfeld election.  It's about nothing.  As this blog is about knitting and not politics I'll refrain from ranting.

I went to high school with a very sweet guy named Chris. He's a very talented artist and a dedicated human being, passionate about rights and happiness for everyone,  not just the privileged few. His partner, Cathy, is a Melbourne City Council member and a representative of the Greens here in Victoria.  She is equally awesome. After the Greens election launch last month Chris posted a photo of himself holding his little baby Charley, standing next to Adam Bandt, the federal member for Melbourne. Charley had little green booties on, an automatic "Awwwwww!" moment.

But no hat.

Now, the weather today is phenomenal. Sunny, gorgeous, warm. Saturday, Election Day, however, will be cold and wet.

Charley is out representing the Greens. She needs a Greens hat.