Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Reflections upon Historic Knitting at the End of a Year of Completion – Part One

The Year Twelve was designated by me as a Year of Completion since, at the end of the Year Eleven, I realized that I was surrounded by many, many projects of knitting, stitching, quilting and sewing in various stages of production and it was all out of control. I have spent the past few years giving away or selling vast amounts of quilting material, yarn, supplies, tools, and books but now it was time to corral the remainders and projects. My stashes are reasonably well sorted and boxed but the projects had reached an unmanageable and, sometimes, forgotten, existence.

How did I arrive at this point? Well, various demands had piqued my interest in making some items or mini-mass produce others for sale. There were also a few of those desperate rushes to make an item that I absolutely have to wear three days from putting it on the needles – “Oh, it’s only Wednesday night and I know I can finish this by Saturday morning.” That might sound familiar to some of the readers of this blog. In my case, I usually underestimated myself, adding only to the WIP pile instead of the Completed collection. Plain curiosity, coupled with Startitis, was responsible for so many other languishing projects as well as finding out that the yarn or needles were not suitable or the finished size was completely wrong. There is a certain nightcap that I have knit five times, only getting it right this last time.

Then there is boredom which I don’t mean in a negative sense. It is simply that many of the reproduced items that I make requite very fine knitting and the same two/four/six or highly repetitive group of rows to be knit many, many, many, many MANY times.

Good lighting is another issue and so is the weather. I like to do fine knitting on fine needles in daylight, preferably outdoors in warm seasons, or in the cold winter months, under one of those daylight lamps which provide heat as well as light. Such requirements are limiting, though, and any variation in circumstances (a hot sticky summer, for example) can halt production even with the use of a headlamp.  Another obstacle is physical pain. Years of fine knitting and hand-quilting have not been good for my hands so my daily choice of project is often dictated by health.

All of those issues or excuses aside, something had to be done. My natural sense of order and educational background joined forces with my practice or hobby of tracking aspects of my life in spreadsheets. The first step, however, was to search through every storage bag, box, wooden chest, fancy cloth bag and stack of quilts to find and rank each and every project – “snag it, bag it, tag it” in the words of one of my favourite  television series, Warehouse 13.
Caught up in the whole process of a good clearing out, it was quite enjoyable to sort yarns, threads, fabrics and tools for knitting, stitching and quilting, and then package, label and return everything to its kind or correct storage place.

The knitting was the most unwieldy of all, with the contemporary projects quickly dealt with such as noting cannibalised needles. The historical reproduction projects, the largest section, was ranked and packed into categories such as “Started but not happy with the yarn, needles, size,” “Started” (which here means curiosity sated but then abandoned), “To be started when the weather is warmer/colder, needles are available, when the yarn is skeined, the pattern is printed/photocopied" and many other excuses,” and the simple perpetual “In progress.”

End of Part One.


Renee Anne said...

I, too, need to get a hold of myself. My WIPs are totally under control (I only have three) but my stash is....well, 15 large bins of yarn coupled with my wheel and a couple bins of unspun fiber. It's a lot of fibery goods and it takes up a lot of space. We don't have a lot of space here...

I think I need to take some (a lot) of time and corral my stash.

One More Stitch said...

Oh, that all sounds familiar! : )

Good luck with your corralling. It might turn out to be fun, as well as a trip down memory lane.