Joyful Patterns – AKA Downsizing Your Library

When my husband and I moved last summer to a place half the size of our previous home, we had a rule, no boxes move unopened. We both had boxes in the garage (mine) and in a storage unit (his), that had not been opened in two or more moves, most from before we moved in together.  

To decide what to keep and what to save, we had to see it all. What followed was a tiring three-month process of narrowing down everything we owned to the things we felt we needed—with a few exceptions. For me the exception was knitting books and supplies.

As I’ve been working on my latest sweater, I’ve been power watching Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix, Tidying Up. In her show, she helps organize everything: clothes, dishes, office supplies, crafts, etc. Regardless of the item, you must touch it and ask, “Does this bring me joy?”

I walked over to my overburdened bookshelves and felt a sense of sadness. Several of my books had never been opened. Most had never been used.

When I looked through them I realized that there was a lot of duplication and some ego involved. Letting them go was a relief. And there was another burst of joy when I removed them from my Ravelry library. I felt like a weight had been lifted!

Marie suggests you thank the items before discarding them and I am truly thankful for the inspiration these books provided–including the knowledge of what books not to buy! I’m also happy to have a foot of space to place pending projects—where the pattern, yarn and needles are ready to go. No more digging them out of storage!

My plan is to take my extra books to my local library or yarn shop. Since Salish Sea Yarn Co opened on the island, there are loads of new knitters on island. So, having some sharable resources can only make that easier for them to pick up their new craft.

Am I brave enough to tackle my stash next? Maybe.

Charity Knitting With the Capitol Hill Knitters of Doom

I meant to talk about it last month, but since a friend of mine already blogged about it, I think I felt a bit like it didn’t matter. We ended up getting a lot of local news coverage (CBS, Seattle Spectator, Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, etc.). It was heartwarming (and body warming) fun!  

In retrospect, I think there are thoughts I can share. For example, beyond charity, reasons why you may wish to consider it.

Fellowship: I loved participating with others in my group. We are not a guild, just a bunch of gals that meet up at a brewery. A common cause to be a force for good made us even more cohesive.

Stashbusting: As I’ve said elsewhere in this blog, I have so. much. yarn. Why not use it for a good cause?

Swatching: You have to be careful here since a hat in the round may not match a flat swatch (the curse of purling). But if you are planning an in-the-round project, as I was, it’s a great test. Or knit a scarf in the new pattern/technique you are trying to perfect.

Joy: It made me happy to think someone in need would be wearing items I made. I love the notion that I may have made a difference. It’s true that woolen socks, hats and scarves only addresses a tiny piece of the challenges facing the unhoused. But there is joy in making whatever contribution you can to those in need.

Important things to consider:

If you do do this, it is important that the items be good quality. Before this opportunity came up, I’d been stockpiling hats to sell at my LYS. And eventually, I’ll do that. The upshot is they were “sellable” quality items. This means that donating them, alongside the men and women in my knitting group, is a meaningful gesture.

It’s also important that the items be washable. For this reason, I used superwash wool or acrylic for all of the donated items.

How to get started:

Our donation was organized by a member in order to keep it local, but I’ve also found great joy in knitting and mailing off red premie hats. And after we got coverage, other groups reached out to us to make suggestions and recommendations. Good acts beget more good acts—a virtuous circle.

Ravelry also has several charity knitting groups. Unfortunately, many of these have gone a bit fallow. So, start a new one and let me know, so I can join!

My knitting group (Yes, we really are called Capitol Hill Knitters of Doom) is always looking for more ideas, so if you have any, please share them in the responses and I’ll pass them along.

Longing for Something Simple

I’ve been on a brioche kick. Thanks to PDXknitterati, I have mastered much of the new nomenclature of brioche, I’ve been on a kick to do a lot of it to cement it into my brain. Keep in mind, I’ve been knitting brioche since I discovered the “Built for Comfort Hoodie” it in Vogue Knitting’s Winter ‘98/‘99 issue (Vol. 16, No. 3).

I’m currently knitting another sweater from the same Vogue Magazine issue: an Adrienne Vittidini Turtleneck Pullover. I’ve knit it once before (my sweater is the example in Ravelry). This time I’m dressing it up a bit with some furry yarn: Bernat Marmot and some vintage Brunswick Germantown Worsted.

What I think I’m trying to do is make my items seem simple to do by repetition. But it’s not working, because right now all I can think about is doing a *really* simple project. Something to cleanse my knitting palette.

Do you ever feel like this? And if so, what do you do to get your maker mojo back?