Four Quarter Stashdown

We recently moved house. It’s great! I will hopefully blog some actual house stuff at some point, since I will be doing curtains and the like. For now, let me just say, it’s bigger, cleaner, lighter, and near the beach. This beach:

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So that’s pretty amazing (I still can’t quite believe it). Also, I have a craft room again! The king bed fit perfectly in what was the last owner’s nursery. So all that’s in there is the bed, side tables, and the built in wardrobe. A couple of people have expressed surprise that the biggest room isn’t the bedroom, but that seems like a real waste of space to me, since for sleep hygiene purposes I don’t like to hang out in the bedroom.

Instead, I scored the big room. Mwhahahaha! I do have my/the spare bed in there.We always like to have a spare bed since both of us snore, usually mildly but if we have a cold or it’s very pollen-y it gets worse. So it’s nice to have somewhere else to go when that’s an issue. Plus we have pretty different body clocks, so it’s nice to be able to pass out without someone keeping you up if they aren’t ready for bed yet. At the moment my sister is home – she’s come back from Ireland to study in Melbourne, and she’s spending a couple of weeks here first. So she’s got the use of the room and the bed. Very nice to be able to host people easily!

Before we moved, most of my stash was in the shed for six months or more. I did have crafting space but I gave most of it up for general living space, since the last house was so cramped. It was much better for everyone but it meant organising to craft was a big palaver. I know having designated crafting space at all is a pretty big luxury, but it was hard to adjust to not having any after having a whole house to myself.

In the summer holidays, our task was to unpack all the shed boxes from the last house. We’d unpacked the everyday stuff but stuff from the last shed just went into this shed. I knew if we didn’t get to it soon it would just be there for the next five years. It included the majority of my stash, and I wanted it. So I got to the task of finding it a home.

You guys… I have a lot of stash.

I am ok with having a lot of stash. I use it. I like it. But it’s a bit unbalanced and poorly planned and used. I have a lot of random crafting supplies that I’ve been hanging onto for years. I have nice materials that I am afraid I’ll ruin. I have a WHOLE BOX of plain black fabric. I keep buying it because I think ‘oh! I need some more plain black work skirts!’ and then I don’t sew them, and then the next time I see appropriate fabric and it’s nice or on sale I think ‘I DO need some work skirts. This is a sensible purchase!’.

I have no problem with having stash, but I want to use it. I want it to be useful. I want it to be small enough that I know where everything is, and it would be nice if it were small enough to fit into my room! Or at least mostly. At the moment I have:DSCF7595

Drawers of my sewing table have mostly bits and pieces in them, since this is the most sensible way to store this stuff. There is a drawer for things I use while sewing, like pins and scissors. A drawer for projects I am working on and have put aside for now. A drawer for interfacing, one for knitting needles, one for computer stuff, stationery, you get the idea. I have more of these drawer units but I’ve put them in the shed because I want the legroom more.


This will eventually be my cutting table. I mean it IS my cutting table, perfectly functional as is but it’s not finished – I need to paint the wood and attach it and put castors on it so I can wheel it away from the wall and get all around it for cutting out. (also, say hello to my purple terlet). Those bins hold a whole lot, which is nice! This is where my fabric is, and it basically all fits, with a few exceptions. I also have my patterns in a big IKEA box in one of the cubes. They all fit, but just. Books obviously are on the shelves above the desk. I need to re-sort the bins so they are logically organised, and maybe label them.


Half the linen closet. Ok, it’s a big space and we don’t have that much linen but really I would prefer to not have filled this up as much. It’s not an ideal use of the space, and if I AM using it, the stuff in here isn’t very well arranged. There’s a lot of misc. crafting stuff here – beading stuff, tatting, candle making stuff that I ordered and never used, quilting, vintage sheets that I want to use for crafting that don’t fit in the other room. Notebooks that I’ve never used but they’re cute and I don’t want to throw them. I just realised I bought most of them in China, which means they are 10 years old. What is wrong with me? That was rhetorical, thanks.

This is the bit I am the most unhappy with. It’s just not what I want to be using this space for, and it’s not organised in a way that I can access the stuff anyway. It’s basically just shoved into a cupboard to be forgotten about. (Soap making stuff is in the laundry cupboard and can stay there, it fits nicely and it gets used).


One third of the wardrobe in S’s study. S has the third bedroom as his study, although the plan is that when G moves out in a year (or so) S will move into the external bedroom – it was the garage and the last owners refinished it to be a room, and added a carport instead. When that happens the study will probably just be a spare bedroom, but the details are still in flux. In the meantime it’s S’s study/private hangout room, but he kindly volunteered the wardrobe for misc. storage. Most of it has things like board games and winter coats, but this side holds my yarn, in four fabric bins. I have been pretty brutal in culling the yarn, to be honest. I don’t want to have stash yarn I am not excited to knit with, since knitting takes so long. I do not knit at the speed I used to!

So, that is what is there. It is too much, not proportionate to how I use it, and poorly organised. But that’s ok! I have a plan!

I almost didn’t blog this because I want this to be pretty loose, and not to set myself up for (inevitable) failure. But I think I need to put it out there and make it solid. You’all won’t judge me if I proceed to not do any of this… right?

I am going to do a fairly casual quarter based stashdown. I need a bit of a push, I think, to get back to crafting as a default activity. I just totally got out of the habit when I didn’t have designated crafting space. I am trying to not look at screens after I get home, which is actually going ok now, after a rocky start. Not a strict rule, more a guideline to get me to stop frittering away my time – I’m on the computer in the evening now, for instance, but I’m DOING a THING, not just checking Instagram every five minutes. But I often find myself at a loss without a screen, and I want to use that time to craft instead of looking at my craft room and thinking ‘nahhh, no time’ and then staring at the wall for an hour. (Ok not exactly but you know. Not doing anything that couldn’t be put off or done quicker).

I was going to start this from January but obvs that’s almost over, and my sister will be in my craft room until start of Feb. So I’m starting it for myself Feb 1st, which also means the last quarter will get some of my regular summer break in it. It also means the first three quarters all get a craft camp in them – whether I go or not, there’s an extra push there to prioritise crafting. Here are my aims:

Q1 (Feb-April) – Basics

Gonna get through that tub of black fabrics. Gonna sew some things I know will work and get worn, and some new things that fill specific needs. Gonna pump up my wardrobe which needs some gaps filled (I was going really well and then dropped the ball).

Q2 (May-July) – Non core crafts

My main crafts are sewing and knitting. I also have, as you have seen, random craft tools. Some of those are useful and worth keeping. Some are crafts I regularly dabble in. Some are… not ever going to be my thing, not unless I retire and have far far more time I need to kill. So I would prefer to use the space they are taking up. This quarter will be about getting some of those crafts out, having a go  If I reach the end of the quarter with a particular craft untouched, that means I am not into it and the supplies have to go.

My main focus in this bit will be quilting, though. I’ve got most of a quilt cut out that I started in my honours year. It’s flannel (mmm snuggly!) in autumn colours (uuugh) because that’s what I could find at the time. I don’t love it. But I am pretty sure S will! I need to take it out and assess if I want to finish making it. If not, out it goes. If yes, I would like to at least get a good way through piecing the top. I also have some random jelly rolls etc that I’ve been given over the years, it would be nice to make a mini quilt for the living room, and maybe one for the spare bed. Not that I think all those things will happen in this quarter, but aim high, right?

Q3 (August-October) – Knitting

Wintertime! Crack that yarn out! As I said I was pretty brutal with the yarn but there are some jumper’s worths of yarn that could be knit up or gotten rid of. I would actually like to accumulate some MORE stash yarn, more yarn I am excited about, but I want to clear the space for it first. I’d like to keep my yarn stash essentially the same size, but with more good stuff in. I don’t anticipate knitting several jumpers, but winter is a good time to concentrate on the pointy sticks and get some movement happening there.

Q4 (November – January) – No pressure!

Back to sewing. I have things in my stash I am scared to sew because they are too nice. Or clothes I want to wear that I am putting off sewing because they are fiddlier and harder, like fitted shirts and shirtdresses and a dress out of that butterfly fabric I bought two years ago, and a By Hand London Anna dress with proper bust darts and maybe that Sewaholic maxi skirt with the pieced hem, or a Colette pattern or two. This is the time for them! Possibly setting myself up for failure at the tired end of the year, but it’s got to be some time.


My aim in this is to focus on those themes in those quarters, but not exclusively. I particularly want to be knitting and sewing basics throughout the year. The stashdown doesn’t only mean using things up. It also means assessing the stash and passing it on where it doesn’t suit my needs anymore, or is unlikely to get used in the next five years. It also means no acquiring new stuff until I at least START to make some headway. Unless it is perfect and/or on sale. No, wait! Not even then. If I’m not sewing all of these things I have the supplies for and am really excited about, then I’m not going to sew whatever it is I want the new fabric for. I’m not making strict rules for myself about when I am allowed to buy stuff again, just going to try to be a bit sensible about it.

Ideally, I would LOVE to be able to fit my yarn stash into my craft room, and the linen press stuff into where the yarn is now. Even getting close to that would be great.

Anyone else out there have too much stash? Don’t lie. Anyone else have exactly the right amount of stash, but needs to use it? Want to play along, with mine or your own goals?


I’ve been knitting this cardigan, Ravelry tells me, since December 2011. It got swallowed by my knitting slump.

In my mind I had ages to go of knitting the body. I picked it up after craft camp and started knitting, and then tried it on and it was just about perfect. The sleeves went pretty quick and even though it felt like the front band took forever, it was pretty fast too.

It’s 5ply, but on reasonably large needles – 4mm – so it does knit pretty quick. It also only took a ball and a half of Bendigo yarn, so about 1200m. I was going to knit the sleeves longer but they looked good short when I tried it on. Besides, this is intended to be my office jumper, for just chucking on on top of stuff. So shorter sleeves are good. I was worried they were a bit tight – I know the pattern was adjusted to make them smaller, since people had found them too big. I guess they didn’t account for those of us with bingo wings. They did ease out with blocking, but you can still see the lumps in them from my tshirt and all of that. I should have picked up just a few extra stitches under the arm. In fact, I did pick them up, to avoid holes, but then decreased to have the number required by the pattern.

I really like it, and I was thinking about knitting another one in another colour but I don’t think I need more than one open-front cardi. Or if I do I’d like it to come closer to being closed, rather than hanging open. Because I have more… landscape… out the front than many, there’s more left exposed. But I couldn’t make the front much bigger or else the collar at the back would have stuck up too far. It’s totally fine, it doesn’t bother me at all, but I don’t need another like it. It’s perfect for indoors only, or a night time cardi for summer or spring, but I wouldn’t wear it TO work in winter. Only AT work.

All in all, I’m very pleased! Rav link here with all the deets.

I also spent pretty much one whole day of the Easter long weekend sorting through my stash and putting it up on Ravelry. Which was a bit of a shock, to be honest. I mean, obviously I knew how much yarn I had in terms of where it was stored but I didn’t realise, somehow, HOW MUCH YARN I have. And a lot of it is either single skeins of sock or lace weight, which I don’t knit much of, or it’s bendigo yarn which is ok but it’s nothing special. And a lot of it is exactly the same colour that I knit this featherweight in. Due to an ordering mishap (they sent the wrong weight and said just to keep it since it wasn’t worth posting back) I have a jumper’s worth of 8ply and another jumper’s worth of 5ply. Which is fine because it’s obviously My Colour but I don’t need all the jumpers out of it.

So I’m going to try to knit through some of my stash. I did chuck some of the older, crappier stash, and I’m posting some stuff off to a raveller tomorrow, which has freed up a WHOLE DRAWER. I also sorted out my queue so that everything on the first page is something I’m dying to knit and to own. There was a lot of stuff on there that I’d enjoy knitting but is not my style, so I got realistic about it. I need more plain knits with a little bit of interest, since that is what I like wearing. And what I like knitting, thankfully. I like me a good swathe of stocking stitch.

I’ve already cast on and Essential Cardigan with the leftovers from my Emily. I’m not going to have enough, just from the leftovers, so I’ve decided to frog Emily. I feel sad about that but realistically, I’m not going to wear that jumper. I like the neckline a lot, but the sleeves are not really my style, and the fix in the body is too obvious. So, it goes. I have a couple of other knits that I need to either fix (my Rogue, significantly, which has too-short sleeves and body) or just get rid of altogether. There’s no point having them taking up space when I never wear them, and I’m a much better knitter than I was when I made a lot of them, so I feel confident in being able to either fix them or at least evaluate what is wrong about them and chalk them up to learning. So those are my vague knitting goals for this year – knit from stash and fix my knits.

Saturday night in the craft room

These princess seams are fighting me, big time.

The weekend before craft camp I decided that I needed to completely rearrange my craft room. I took all the storage out and remixed it, instead of packing. When I got back I started sorting the drawers out. Had a big chuck-out – so many different bits and pieces for so many different crafts. Today I sorted my fabric stash. There wasn’t too much dross in there, actually, which was pleasing. I have a bit more sorting to do but it’s a vast improvement – and much easier to actually sew in! I still have to get some melamine to make benches out of the drawers, get a better thread-storage solution, and sort out the mending/current half-finished projects pile, which you can see teetering in baskets next to the bookshelves, here:

I reckon I might even have room to put them in a drawer. That’ll ensure that I absolutely never get to them, so that’s good.

I know that the new setup makes it easier to sew because I’ve BEEN sewing! Shocking, I know. I finished off the black dress I started at camp, and a pencil skirt of the same material – in fact, it’s just the skirt part of the same dress. I took in the yellow skirt and now I’m plugging away at that polka dot dress. I thought I’d sorted the fit at camp but the neckline was just too gapey, so I’ve had an evening of taking the princess seams in, incrementally, by about 3cm. I’m trying to avoid making it actually tight, because that’s less comfortable and my bust fluctuates a lot. I’m at the lowest ebb at the moment, if that term is allowable, so I don’t want to take it in too much. But I do want it to not be gaping or pulling. I think I’m there but I thought it wisest to take a break before final assessment. I know too well that if I try to push on I’ll end up with something not-quite right. That’s what happened to this dress the first time around. Besides, I really want to nail the fit because there’s lots you can do with a princess seam bodice that fits well.

September garden

Here is what happens when you mulch the garden beds and then don’t go outside in daylight for the next three months.

It goes mental.

Here’s what’s happening in this photo. In the foreground are some brassicas – purple brussel sprouts and sprouting broccoli – that started out in a garden bed to the left. This bed gets pretty much zero direct light, so I don’t know why I bothered planting in it – it’s great for lettuce in the summer but that’s about it. Anyway, because it gets no light the brassicas did nothing for three months, then escaped the beds to find some sun. Now they’re actually sprouting and I haven’t the heart to pull them up because they are finally doing something.

There’s a raised garden bed at the back of this photo. Behind all the seeding rocket. Also, three mostly-clear beds which you can’t see because they’re behind weeds.

(Please excuse the horror in the shed, and the drying washing looking for some sun)

In the ongoing battle with the three cornered jacks, if it’s not a three cornered jack, or in a place where I want to plant something else, it gets to stay.

I was going to just mow the weeds this weekend, but I’ve come down with some horrible disease (feeling very sorry for myself at the moment)  so the most I managed was this:

Hypothetically that’s a herb bed. There’s still some sage, and a parsley bush going mental – those are big stalks of parsley that I hacked off and used as mulch, at the front. There’s also a tonne of self seeded silverbeet, which is excellent. I’m mostly going to plant tomatoes and leafy stuff this year, since that’s mostly what I eat, and it’s also hard to buy good quality greens etc. I will eat pretty much 100% of all tomatoes and leafy greens I grow, so it’s a lot of bang for the gardening buck.

Tomatoes are stupidly expensive at the moment because of the Queensland shenanigans – I went to a farmer’s market on the weekend where there was a single stall with non-blemished tomatoes. They were $8 a kilo which is actually pretty good (it’s up the $12 in the supermarket near me) and there was an absolute scrum to get to them. I just bought blemished ones at $4 a kilo and they’re very nice, thank you. But not the same as home grown ones.

I’ve given up on curcurbits, even though I’ll eat all the zucchini I can get, because something nearby has powdery mildew – I blame my own and the neighbour’s frangipanis – and I just can’t fight it. Besides, they’re cheap in season and pretty easy to buy good ones. So I’ll concentrate on silverbeet, lettuce and rocket, all of which I’ve grown with great success. See: massive rocket weeds above. The flowers are very pretty, I think. They WERE moderate, bushy plants before I just went inside for winter, so these ones’ll come up but the next lot which are springing up now can stay, and I’ll see how they taste. And I’ll plant more from seed. My problem last year was that I got excited about all the different things I could grow and over committed. If I have leafy greens, a decent herb garden, tomatoes and maybe an eggplant and capsicum bush, I’ve always got dinner. That’s enough commitment while I’m working full time. If I’m sensible about it I might be able to plan it well enough not to need to bed it all down over winter.

I made it slightly further down the bed. Jeez, look at those weeds. Just ridiculous. I wasn’t kidding about not having been outside in daylight for the last three months, you know. In weeding this bed I found THREE secret chicken nests. Sneaky buggers. Who knows where they’re laying now. They’re so small they just look like shadows, and I just can’t see them when they’re hiding. They love the weeds, but were equally pleased with the grubs uncovered and the straw to muck about it.

Lunchtime, doubly so.

Jesus, they’ve changed the format of wordpress AGAIN? I can’t keep up. Shows how neglected this poor blog is.

Anyway, I just sort of accidentally signed up for a Make it In May skirt thing at Curlypops. I blame Tanya. Also, my need for more winter skirts. And my desire to go fabric shopping. This weekend is a free weekend, mostly, and I want to do some sewing. I need to take in my craft camp skirts – they’re wearable, just, but big enough that they actually work their way around sideways if I’m doing anything active. I also want to make another couple of the same skirt, maybe in corduroy, because winter is looming and I only have jeans, really. Not too many skirts that work with tights or stockings, and keep me warm. I also need some more footless tights, and the one pair that fits isn’t sold anymore, so I’m thinking of using it as a pattern. Plus, I have searched high and low for a fleece jumper that is thick enough to keep me warm, but not $1 million, so that I can wear it around the house doing things. No go. Nada. Zip. I’m pretty sure I can make one that’s daggy enough to get flour or soil all over it.

Speaking of soil, I need to get into the garden. I’ve decided to let it go fallow again over winter – I just don’t get any light during the week, and my weekends are usually too busy. So I’m going to revamp it and mulch it and bed it down. Maybe plant some things that can grow without too much attention – some lettuce and spinach and the like. My zucchinis keep getting terrible, fast onset powdery mildew. One day they’re fine, the next, irrideemable. Which is upsetting because I will eat all the zucchinis I can get. I suspect the Fragnipani tree which has suspicious white leaves. Another reason to pull the damned thing out (I hate it). Maybe when the tamarillo in the front yard is a bit bigger and can provide summer shade – if it doesn’t fall over, it’s leaning dangerously and I have yet to find time to stake it. And I need to prune and stake some other trees. Which I meant to do last winter, and didn’t find time to.

Time is mysteriously thin on the ground around here. There should be heaps of it, really, but there never seems to be.

WIP roundup

Just updating my ravelry page and I thought it would be nice (for me) to have everything in one place. Here’s what I have on the needles at the moment.

I cast on for Jaali, as mentioned earlier.

You cast on and knit a long row of cables, then pick up stitches from the side and knit up. Very neat. The body of the jumper is in reverse stocking stitch, so when I get to that part I’m going to see if I can work out how to do the cables backwards, so I can knit all the way instead of purling.

I have another fox on the go.

Body is done, head is halfway. The yarn is Moda Vera Mousse again, and the tail is Moda Vera Cardinal, which is 40% acrylic and feels exactly like knitting polyfill. Yuck. But it is the right colour and fuzziness, and I only need to knit a bit of it.

I have a glove and a half of Genmaicha for me

Well, sort of, I’m a bit worried I’ll run out of yarn so no thumb on the first one, yet. That way I can knit the thumbs in something different, if need be.

I’ve knit these before, for my sister.

And at the time I thought I’d knit another pair for me. It’s only taken three years. The yarn is undyed camel that I got at my first bendigo… hmm, sensing a pattern? I really like these, the cable pattern is lovely and the pattern is well written, as you can expect from Kristen Kapur. Really clever, clear pattern.

I have a back and almost a front of a Phyllo yoked pullover

Which is really boring to photograph, and I probably won’t knit on that until winter is over since it’s a cotton blend and I’m all about the wool right now.

And I have a secret thing I’m trying to work out from scratch

I’ll let you know how it goes. But it did necessitate learning double knitting, and holy CRAP that’s a cool technique. Plotting a double knitted tea cosy, once this is done.

And here is an FO from ages ago that I’ve only now managed to get photographed properly. It’s my Damson, and it’s a bit disappointing, really.

I ran out of yarn on the bind off row. The yarn was from my first Bendigo trip, and I’d bought Emma a skein of laceweight in the same colourway, so I asked if I could have as much of that as it took to bind off, and she very kindly said yes. However, it is a bit lighter – more pink than red – and the bind off is still a bit tight, so the thing curls like crazy and won’t sit flat. I’ve got a couple of things to steam block, so I might give that a go, but I don’t hold out much hope. I probably should unpick it and bind off again. When I first fished it I sort of shoved it in a srwaer to forget about it, but it’s been getting a bit of use this autumn with jackets and the like, as a scarf. And I certainly seem happy about it here.

Hmm, only five things on the needles. That’s not many! Better go cast on something else…


At the risk of jinxing myself, I am going great guns at the moment.  The last few after-work evenings have been very productive.  I’ve been out in the garden, weeding and sorting.  The three cornered jacks are back, but in smaller numbers, and I reckon I’ll have them cleared out by the end of the week – it would have been earlier but I was waiting for them to be big enough to weed easily.  I went to Bunnings the other day for miscellaneous supplies (why is it that I always remember something ELSE I needed, as soon as I’ve gotten home form a Bunnings trip…) and they had a whole bunch of sad-looking seedlings selling for $1 a punnet.  I whacked up some dodgy temporary fences around extra garden beds, so that the chickens couldn’t maul them, and whacked them in.  Now they’ve perked up and I’m sort of hoping some of them won’t make it.  Because I have seeds I planted in pots coming in, and if all of the Bunnings seedlings I got thrive, I won’t have anywhere to put them!

Well, maybe I’ll get the front yard mulched and then I can put some out there.  It is to laugh, I think I’ve been getting ready to mulch the front yard for about 6 months.  I even got halfway through before I ran out of mulch and oomph.  Still, I have something like 5 cubic metres sitting in my back yard, and if I do’t get a wriggle on, it’ll all turn to compost.

No photos of all this productivity, I’m afraid.  I feel like a post is so boring without photos, but I haven’t cracked my camera out for ages.  Might try to do that tonight.  I had a peep at my rav projects, too, and decided that some of the photos are inadequate.  Don’t you hate it when there are no good project pictures for something, despite 100 people having finished one?  So I’ll have to have a photo shoot session, perhaps.

Speaking of knitting, also going great guns.  I finished the FBS – barring one seam and the buttons.  S was over on Saturday and feeling poorly, so we basically spent the whole day on the couch.  I took the opportunity to power through, and I knit all of it from the sleeves down in one day.  For some reason I felt like this project took forever, but I only started it on the 2nd, so it took me just under 2 weeks to knit, including time where I didn’t touch it because it was making me feel pouty.  I think because the top bit with the yoke and the sleeves took so much mental energy to figure out, I felt like I was over halfway done.  So when it PURPOSEFULLY CONTINUED not to be finished, I lost patience.  I am feeling quite pleased with it, and it would already be seamed etc except after two hours of weeding an evening I somehow don’t feel like I can come at mattress stitching, even if it is only for an inch.  But I think there will be more of these – at a family do on Sunday my grandma gave me some leftover Luxury in a lovely purple.  It’s not enough to make an adult sized thing, and I don’t really wear purple, but it’s PERFECT for FBS or other baby things.

I am knitting Riding to Avalon like crazy, too.  I’m almost done the increases, almost up to the shaping for the sleeves.  Zooming along. I’m sure it will slow down when it’s too big to be bus knitting.  I’m also making progress on Phyllo, but it’s a bit slower, because it’s knit back and forth and I am slower purling.  Plus, I just don’t like it as much.  Purling, that is.  I did consider knitting this in the round, and I wish I had.  But now I’m 9 inches in, I don’t feel like ripping it.  Given that that 9 inches has happened in about 10 days of intermittent bus knitting (only when it has been too hot for wool), I think this will go fast enough that I don’t get too annoyed.  But from now on, I think I’m going to knit in the round whenever it’s not too hard to convert. It’s just faster, and funner.

I am considering doing something like that 12 jumpers in a year challenge that some people did last year.  I feel like I maybe said something like this last year (or maybe the year before?) and it never happened, (or was that sewing) but… I was thinking that baby stuff would count.  Given that I already have one thing off the needles and another one halfway there, I don’t feel that it’s too over ambitious. I’d like to be more deliberate in enhancing my wardrobe, this year.  I want to knit to the gaps in my wardrobe, and knit things that make me feel eager to wear them.  Or perhaps I could make it a 12-wearable-things.  I’m not making any solid resolutions because you know how these things go.  But maybe an unofficial challenge to myself?  I’d like to have enough FOs to make a lovely mosaic at the end of the year, at least!

In which I anticipate

So, I talked about my hopes for sewing.  I want, in the immediate future, to sew a pair of pj pants for S, and cut out and sew this dress, the pattern for which I bought last year on impulse.  I have some heavy black material that I sewed a skirt out of at a past craft camp, which gets  alot of wear.  I think I have enough left for this dress, and if it works I might try both kinds of skirt.  I also want to use the same skirt pattern (which I traced out of one of Janet’s Ottobres) to make a bunch of simple skirts.  I’ve given up on pants.  Well, jeans can stay.  But pants… they are not my friends.  I have three pairs of work appropriate pants in my wardrobe, and I don’t think I’ve worn any of them for about a year.  I put them on in the morning sometimes, and then I take them off again because they feel so uncomfortable, or fit funny.

Which brings me to my next sewing… goal?  Goal sounds to firm really.  I bought a pair of undershorts from Allihalla on etsy.  They are so nice, but I noticed the other day that they are starting to go at the thigh seam.  Well, no wonder, I’ve worn them pretty much every day since I bought them in October.  Which, now that I think about it, is kind of gross.  Anyway, I want ot make myself a bunch more – it shouldn’t be hard, theoretically.  I am also tempted to make myself some underwear.  I am really fucking sick of not being able to buy underwear that is either interesting (ie, not beige) and comfortable.  I bought some new underwear under duress, over the holidays, and they all dig into my thighs in a most unnecessary way.  I noticed that Spotlight had some not-boring jerseys in, so maybe I will buy a few half metres, and sew up a couple of prototypes, using an old comfortable pair as a pattern.

I don’t want to over anticipate myself with the sewing, otherwise I’ll get overwhelmed and not do anything.  But those are my immediate plans, and we’ll see how we go.  There are a lot of clothes in my wardrobe that I wear because I don’t have anything better, but that I don’t like much or don’t fit me.  If I could get my butt into gear and get some momentum with the sewing thing, I could get rid of a bunch of that stuff.  I think that would feel good, and I’d end up wearing clothes that feel like me, more often, instead of defaulting to jeans because it’s all too hard and nothing is good enough anyway.

So, that’s sewing.  Here is a run down of what is on my knitting needles/to do list.

First up on my needles is Riding to Avalon.  I cast this on as consolation for having to rip Cecchetti.  Again.  I was trying bust darts and they didn’t work out, and when I ripped them out I had a completely wrong number of stitches – significantly fewer than I ought.  Which is good, because when I tried it on it had a LOT of negative ease, and that means that it was just because I did it wrong, not that the sizing or the pattern is wrong, or anything.  But I just couldn’t work out where I’d gone wrong, so I ripped the whole damn thing.  I’m not too fussed since the last time I knit it it only took me something like 2 weeks to finish the entire body.  It’s perfect bus knitting and it knits up fast.  But I just… can’t look at it right now.  So I’m knitting Avalon, and I’m up to the decreased for the waist.  I’m knitting it in Shiloh wool in a deep chocolate brown colour that I just realised is exactly the colour my school uniform jumper was.  Uh oh.  It’s an alpaca wool blend and it is so. Soft.  I’m really enjoying it.  I am knitting it like crazy because I really want to wear it and, more than that, I really want the satisfaction of an FO after the cecchetti frustration.

I’m also knitting the Phyllo Yoked Pullover.  This one has been on my wish list FOREVER.  I started knitting it once, in 2007, using bendigo cotton.  It just didn’t work out.  Norah Gaughan left a comment on my blog post about it, saying that since the original was knit in calmer, which has elastic in it, yarn subs are harder.  So when Harmony came back to Bendigo Woolen Mills, I bought a bunch with this in mind.  I cast it on in the holidays because it was too HOT for yarn, and I needed an incentive to tidy up the disaster that was my craft room.  I decided that if I could uncover the drawers with my stash in, I could cast on.  It’s just plain ss knitting at the moment, so no telling how this one is going, although I must say that the Harmony is surprisingly nice to knit.  I’m knitting it in the sea mist colourway, and it’s nice and bright.  The other colours are so blah, I was a bit worried that it would be insipid, knit up.  But good things so far.

I’m also knitting the February Baby Sweater.  I’ve been knitting some surprise baby garments, but I’m waiting for some more yarn to get here.  So in between, I thought I’d knit some for a gift stash, because I think my peer group is heading into that phase of life.  And while I like gifting knits, I dislike deadlines.  It’s a bit slow going – I’m knitting it in Luxury which I have found plenty soft before but for some reason I’m finding it a bit… not scratchy, but… hard?  I don’t know if it’s the gauge I’m knitting at, or whether the red dye process is harsher than the others, or what, but it’s not exactly slipping joyfully through my fingers.  And also, EZ kind of makes me want to poke my eyes out with my needles.  I acknowledge her greatness, but if ONE MORE PERSON tells me that her writing is ‘intuitive’ when they CLEARLY mean that the KNITTER has the be intuitive, because EZ leaves out things like button holes and doesn’t make it clear if it’s supposed to be 4″ of pattern and then 1″ garter, or 4″ total, with 3″ pattern and 1″ garter… *deep breath*

Anyway, let us say that this is not the most relaxing of knits.  Although, I’m now past the arms and so it’s just knit knit knit for another 5″ – which shouldn’t take that long, given how small it is, but I am dragging my heels a bit.

I am also knitting secret baby stuff, as I mentioned.  Hopefully it’ll be off to the recipient in the not-too-distant future (these babies and their time lines) so I can show off here.

This year, I would like to add to my jumper pile.  I would like to decide the fate of some of my jumpers that I don’t wear now.  For example, I love my Rogue, but the sleeves are just too short.  And I love the yarn I used for my grey jumper, but it’s too boxy and short and I really should rip it and reknit it.  And I still have a few random WIPS around the place, like a half finished hat, and my Henley Perfected that I last knit on in 2008 and clearly was not meant to be.  I should rip it and use the yarn for something else.  Parhaps a blanket?  I love the alpaca yarn but it is just too slouchy drapey, and also so WARM.

I would also like to knit through my stash.  It currently fits perfectly into the storage I have for it, and I would like to keep it that way.  I want to buy some more Bennet and Gregor wool (I have some particular projects in mind) but I already have several jumper’s worth of yarn.  So I would like to knit through that first.  And then, maybe, I could splash out.  I have been fixated on the Camilla pullover lately, and I think it’s because of the lovely yarn.  (I can’t decide if the jumper would look ridiculous on my frame).  But I think, if I knit up a significant amount of my current stash, I would feel ok about spending $70 on yarn for a jumper.  Because I would have saved that in random yarn purchases that I never get around to knitting.  And it looks so SOFT.

camilla pullover

I am also having a bewildering urge to knit socks.  I don’t understand it, but if it’s still around once i’ve finished one of the jumpers on my needles, I might just give in to it.

Gosh, I hope you skimmed all that.  It’s a bit tedious, isn’t it?  But talking about my craft hopes and dreams was why I started this blog in the first place.  S listens nicely and, more impressively is actually interested, but I have to stop and explain things which is not the same.  At least this is text so you don’t HAVE to listen to me rabbit on.

In short, I am burning to finish Avalon and Phyllo and Cecchetti,

Some things

I shaved my legs.  Felt like it.  I re-dyed my hair the other day which necessitated an extra shower.  Usually I just have one in the morning, and cannot be bothered shaving then – if I even remember!  But I was primping, and I felt like it, so I did.  I think when I re-dye my hair is about the right length of time, actually, between shaves.  And I also think that that is hopefully the last the internet will hear about my body hair!  No promises, though… Thanks for sharing your own experiences, it was really interesting to hear about other people’s ‘normality’.

These photos are from a walk from my work into town.  I’ve done it a few times, and it’s a lovely way to end the day.  I have to catch a bus in to town and back out again.  Which is fine if I catch the first bus, but if I miss it (and it’s usually early, so I usually do) I spend 15 minutes waiting at work, and then miss my connection in town and so spend another 15 waiting there.  Walking takes me about an hour (I dawdle) and I find I don’t get home much later at all.  Plus, I am feeling very slothlike at the moment.  Not much movement going on, and I feel lumpy and ungainly.  I know this is a recurrent theme – I don’t blog about it when I’m active and enjoying it!  Just when I’m lazy and lumpy.  I’ve been getting more migraines too, which I think is mostly because I need new glasses badly, but also because of my inactivity.

Anyway, it’s a nice walk form work to town.  Through old suburbs, but not posh ones.  So lots of old cottages and semi-detached houses, and rambling gardens.  I wish I could photograph the serenity and overall sense of life humming along that exists along those back streets.

I had two 21sts on the weekend.  One was in North Adelaide, and I walked with friends from the pub to my bus, a couple of blocks away.  The houses.  Were MENTAL.  There were libraries and grand pianoes and crazy columns.  I mean, obviously I knew some people lived like that.  But in Adelaide?  I don’t know why there shouldn’t be showy rich people in Adelaide.  It just seemed so alien and weird and… unreal.  I had to wonder about the people who live in those houses. What are their lives like?  Do they pick up their own underwear?  Who cleans the toilet and picks up discarded magazines from the floors?

The other 21st was my cousin’s – the one whose mother just died.  I knit her two shawls.  We had it at my childless Aunt and Uncles.  Their house is luxurious in a less crazy way (although, the BATHROOM!).  Uncle D was heard to worry about his white carpet with the crazy kids.  He needn’t have worried.  The only damage to the carpet was my wretched aunt.  She got SLAUGHTERED and trod chocolate cake into the carpet, as well as having the same conversation with me about six times.  The party was nautical themed.  S wen’t as a pirate, and was generally very well recieved by those members of the family who hadn’t met him.  I also went for a swim – it was down near the beach where I used to live.  It was absolutely freezing, and it was glorious.  My mother came as a porthole and was a general downer.

I had a run in with a workmate about Fat Acceptance.  She commented on something over at Fat Lot of Good, and then we had a ‘discussion’ about it.  It was all very polite – although we both got quite red faced about it.  Thank goodness we are white and repressed and can pretend to be nice to each other!  Anyway, I was proud of myself for actually having the discussion, but it also left a sour taste in my mouth.  She pulled many of the classic cards – costing the health system, for example.  I just didn’t know how to argue well if we disagreed with two main points: 1) fat is not the same as unhealthy; unhealthy people are not all fat; all fat people are not unhealthy; you can be healthy and fat and 2) other people’s health and decisions are NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS.  I am trying to remember, because I know that not that long ago I hadn’t processed the thought that it was ok to choose to be fat.  I can’t remember what that feels like. 

I know better, but I still get surprised when my real life world is not as nice and caring as my internet world.  It sounds funny to say so, considering what most of the internet is like.  But my corner of the internet is lovely.  It has all of you in it!  And we share stories and are polite and generally validate each other and are nice, even if we don’t understand each other’s take on things.  And the places I go regularly, like Tiger Beatdown and Kate Harding’s site (Shapely Prose, you are missed) are generally accepting, even when they are angry.  I spent last Friday afternoon watching ‘it gets better’ videos (I recommend the Dan Savage and Tim Gunn ones), and found Ivan E. Coyote and devoured her videos.  What a fantastic storyteller!  What a lovely world, where people are people, just themselves, whatever that looks like.  And then I went out into the real world, where people were making gay jokes and generally being dickheads.  It was a rude shock, I tell you!  No wonder I am an introvert.

However!  Craft camp is this weekend!  I need a holiday, some sleepins and some days spent luxuriously making things in company of my Tribe.  I am looking forward to everything about it, but when I think about the people… well.  I am excited, that is all.  I can’t wait to see my crafty friends.  Christmas was never this exciting, I swear!

Weekend achievements

It was wet and blustery here in Adelaide over the weekend.  Trees were down, power was out (not at my place, thankfully!) and my backyard is squelchy and slippery.  I have been trying to remember summer and how hot and dry it was, to make myself thankful for the water.  I’d feel better about it if my garden beds were all mulched and the water tank was functional.  I think the tank really needs to be emptied, because I suspect that the bottom half is full of gunk, and I can’t even turn the tap on.  But it’s a fair way down the to do list, I’ll be honest with you.

Last week was pretty wet and wild, too.  And every time it rained and my lean to leaked, I thought about the packed spare room, and how my sister had just chucked boxes in there, right up against the leaking wall.  Like I’d specifically asked her not to.  And there was s sucpicious smell.  But the thought of rearranging the crap in the shed so I could rearrange the crap in the spare room was just a bit overwhelming.

My weekend started off slowly.  On Friday  S came and picked me up from work because we were going to the Adelaide Show on Saturday, and he was getting over a migraine, so we just sat around watching QIand chatting.  Lovely.  On Saturday, S obliged me by helping me re-ye my hair blue over the bits I’d missed, and then I got a bee in my bonnet and tidied up my bedroom and the loungeroom.  Not that that took long, but it felt SO much better.  All the ‘too hard’ piles were dealt with and sorted, and even though it’s still about the same state of neatness now, after being used all weekend, it still feels cleaner and more organised.  Nicer to be in.  I sorted out my WIP system, although it still needs some attention due to all the random almost-finished things I have lying around in baskets. Emma and Osk and Sally came around and Emma pruned my poor neglected rose bushes for me, since she has the know how.  And we had a cuppa and a chat, and laughed at the baby for pulling faces.  And then we got sorted and went to the show.

It was WET.  And it was WINDY.  And I had just a lovely time.  We looked at none of the sideshows and didn’t even consider the rides.  We looked at pigs and cows and sheep and alpacas and goats.  And I bought some local natives from Trees for Life which were actually just what I wanted, and they were only 2 for $5.  A hardenbergia to grow along the front fence, and a hakea although I’m not sure where that’s going.  And we looked at the craft and the flowers and did the Yellow Brick Road.  And then it got dark and we thought about the fireworks and went home to sit on the couch instead.  Lovely.

Sunday S tootled off and I bummed around for a bit, picking things up and putting them back down again.  Then I plugged in my iPod and got stuck into the spare room.  It took me about 4 or 5 hours all up, but it’s now clean and clear and lovely.  I moved the crap in the garage around enough that my stuff is accessible and my sister’s stuff is at the back.  I got all of her stuff out of the spare room (minus the clothes I had to throw out from the boxes against the wall because they had gone mouldy.  I TOLD HER SO.) so now my house is SISTER FREE.  Then I organised and sorted and threw.  My bins are full and so is the op shop box, and I keep thinking of more things that I don’t really need.  The spare room now houses the cat litter and some galvanised shelves with the inside-tools on them, like my drill and the screwdrivers, so that if I decide at 10pm that I need to put in a hook, I don’t have to go outside.  Everything else got sorted and is in the shed or the pinboards in the garage which I can now GET to.  Then I tackled the junk that was accumulating in the laundry.  The garden stuff is all still in a pile for sorting, but everything else got sorted and stored, chucked or placed.  Then I swapped the desk that was in there for a table.  A friend is storing stuff in my shed while he’s interstate, and he said I could use anything I like, and his table is just the right size.  So now I have a place to eat!  So thrilling.  Shoosh, it is thrilling.

Actually, the most thrilling bit was when my laundry was completely empty.  I swept it twice. The cat likes to wipe his feet on the edge of his litter tray when he’s done, so there were bits of litter everywhere.  And then I mopped it.  Twice.  It was GROSS.  The wall in there isn’t completely weatherproof either.  It’s not as bad as the spare room, but if anything touches it, it will leak.  And there was crap everywhere, so it was leaking.  Then I sorted the shelves and the cupboard under the sink, so that all the buckets and random pieces of cleaning equipment that seem to live on the washing machine now have designated homes.  And then I scrubbed the laundry sink, which was covered in paint. 

The craft room is a bit of a dumping ground, and I still have too much stuff for my house.  But I can get ot it all.  I cannot begin to tell you how exciting that is.  I can get to it to deal with it.  I think I might go through my bookshelf tonight and be ruthless.  There are some things there that I am tempted to keep but, lets be honest, I’m never going to read.  I bought a bunch of second hand books the other day that I will read, over and over, and I would like to have room for them.  I expect I’ll need another op shop box.

Do you think the op shop will take my cat, too?

After all that cleaning and tidying and sorting, I sat down on the couch and I cast off the blanket that I have been knitting for Sally.  I was knitting it at her birth 6 months ago, and I wanted it DONE, but at 500+ stitches a round it was taking me a while.  It’s off the needles now, and all I need to do is find the floorspace to block it.  Then I think I might go through my WIP baskets and have a bit of a finishing party.  I know there are hats with two round left to go, and things that only need the ends woven in.  And THEN, I think I might cast on for Get Off My Cloud, without the cloud pocket, I think, like the Storm Cloud version.

This morning as I was getting ready I picked a bunch of tulips and filled up vases.  Crisp, dew covered tulips.  Lovely!  I feel much much better about my house and its contents.  Things are moving.