Consider this New Year's Resolution Update #1.
I'm not the biggest resolution-maker. I've given up on the ones like "eat better" or "try more yoga." I may attempt both of those things, but they're not going to be items on a list because I can't check them off until the end of the year. And even then, I'd have to think--really think and examine my practices--about whether or not I've improved my efforts. Thoughtful self-awareness has its place and all, but I like checking things off of lists and seeing immediate results.
Ten days later and I have some results! At least a little bit.
If you remember, my plans were to bring some order to my craft corner (and some mostly un-mentioned and definitely un-photographed areas that I'll try to get to later) and knit through at least half of my stash.
So. My craft area:
I really dislike this picture. It looks gross and a little trashy. The worst part is that is disorganized. I could give a pretty good guess as to where most things were, and I could see my pattern books, but that's about the nicest thing I can say about that. And even then, I couldn't find what I needed and there was a good chance that stack of books (on the right side of the photo) would slide out of order if I needed to pull out one from the middle. It was a out of control.
And now, it looks like this!
It's not perfect, but it's a definite improvement. Pulling everything out into the open was a little scary. I'd stashed so many things into a too-small space. I found a lot of yarn labels to used-up yarn, quite a few receipts and empty bags from craft stores, some items that had been accidentally washed and felted that I'd saved for ...... something, "stitch markers" (baby pony tail holders make excellent stitch markers. Tell your friends!), books my husband would throw behind The Wall to hide from our daughter when he was tired of reading them, TWO Size 15 16" circular needles, and The Art of War.
There were also some stray bits and bobs of yarn. Or maybe whole skeins.
This bit of housekeeping was very needed.
The bags went under the kitchen sink, the receipts and felted items went in the trash, the pony-tail-holder stitch holders were safely corralled, and all the books went on all the shelves. I felt one moment of guilt for have 2 sets of the same needle, but then it passed because sometimes I have a hard time finding larger needles and I might need a second set if I was already working on a bulky yarn project. I like bulky yarn, so it's a possibility.
A half-opened bag of stuffing went to the back of my closet because I don't have many pillow-type projects, but it's right where I can find it. A lot of my stuff is still stashed into bags, but I feel better the more of my yarn and supplies I have out in the open. I thought I'd be happier with everything tucked away in its own hidden container, but that's not the case. Being able to find something makes me more likely to use it, and being more likely to use my needles and yarn makes more likely to be happy.
Throwing out the things that were cluttering up the space helped, but the shelf is what really makes the difference. I had this shelf out at my parents' house because I thought we didn't need it in our new apartment. It's a lightweight metal shelf that I dragged home from a neighbor's curb (don't judge), and I was afraid that someday my daughter would pull it onto herself. But we still have The Wall in front of it, so she should be safe.
My favorite part of the whole thing is that I have all of my needles where I can see them. I just saved myself hours of hunting in the new year. I had previously kept my needles in a bag. It kept them safe and relatively in one place, but finding a new pair was a ridiculous ordeal sometimes. Now all of the straight needles are in a Mason jar so I can get a good look at them.
My DPNS went in some garage sale pottery.
My circular needles can be reached from my spot on the couch (cue the angel choir).
Crochet hooks and cable needles go in a jelly jar, and I decided to stick my Knook in a new ball of yarn so that I can just get straight to work on my next dishcloth whenever I'm ready.
Several of the books and magazines are too tall to be arranged standing up, but I can still read the titles and the two smaller stacks make searching much easier before. Another bonus was that I had enough space to pull my larger books off of a regular bookcase and arrange them over in my corner. It saves time, and it gives me a little thrill to see all of my crafting books all together in one place because this is apparently the sort of thing that gives me a thrill.
A few folders, books, and project bags go on the lowest shelf, along with some yarn. That part of the shelf isn't as organized as it will be when I'm completely finished, but I'm incredibly excited with how it looks so far. There are a few boxes with supplies I don't use often, but don't want to put away completely that are stored underneath the shelf and I can get to them easily enough.
But where is the yarn, you may ask?
Oh, you know.
And also there.
Which brings me to my other resolution: knit through half of my stash. This was my yarn collection a few months ago, but I've used up some of it. I've also bought more, though, and discovered some stowaways when I was cleaning up everything.
Thus far, my valiant stashdown efforts have resulted in......two-thirds of a hat.
Baby steps, okay? One of the few pieces of resolution advice I actually follow is to turn a goal into some sort of challenge. So I joined a group on Ravelry challenging people to knit 13 items in 2013 from their stash. Actually, there are a lot of groups on Ravelry doing this. I'm just participating in the group challenge "Use it or Lose it" that's run by the podcasters of Stash and Burn. It's fun because there's a chance to win prizes, and because I get to see what other people are working on. I have a really good feeling that I'm going to be able to stick with some gift knitting throughout the year this way.
That blue hat is my January project. I'm knitting the Starter Cable Hat from Expand Your Knitting Skills. I knitted the brim longer than the pattern called for because I like to be able to roll my hat brims and/or pull them down way past my ears, and because that uses so much yarn. I'm also using a yarn that's not quite as bulky as what the pattern calls for, so the extra-long brim will keep me covered if it's not quite long enough.
I have nearly 2 skeins of it, and I'm currently going through so much of it you'd think I was crocheting. Score! I couldn't be more thrilled to start using some of my beloved yarn, and I'm also really excited to get a hat! Best New Year's resolution ever!
Bonus: I think the hat for myself will take just a full skein. I have about 70% of another skein that I probably won't need, which means I'll probably have more than enough for a baby version of the pattern. Yes, the pattern comes in baby, child, and adult sizes. And yes, I am one of those mother-daughter matching outfits people.
How are your resolutions going? How do you organize your stash? How do you keep all your supplies from dying in between the couch cushions?
I like to ask the important questions.