Reality Check

Getting ready to move (I am) can really teach you a lot about yourself and what you think is important to own.  Some of what I’ve learned the past few days:

  • It’s very valuable to have an impartial “coach” help you clean out your belongings.  Thanks, Jennie and Matt.
  • You do not need to hang on to 30 year old sewing and smocking magazines, when you haven’t done that craft in 20 years.  Likewise, 30 year old sewing patterns are pretty unnecessary, as well.  Many of them are unused.  What does that tell you?
  • You might want to re-think moving the heavy, solid oak armoire that’s falling apart.
  • Your kids don’t place the same value on their old baby clothes (that you slaved over lovingly stitched) and really don’t want to store them or keep them.  They most certainly don’t want any future children of theirs wearing them.  I have beautiful memories of making them and my children wearing them but – to be honest – some of them are pretty ratty (well-worn).  Others are just silly looking now (huge, smocked collars) and some are just gross (sweaters in the most awful, acrylic yarn imaginable).  My insightful daughter’s comment was:  “Wouldn’t you want to make new things for a future grandchild, out of beautiful materials?”  She has a point.
  • Packing up five garbage bags of yarn that still leaves you with too much to knit in 10 years is pretty absurd.
  • You do not need fabric you purchased to make your infant daughter a dress.  28 years ago.  We won’t discuss the piece of wool I purchased in 1974 and never used.  It’s still good and is not (yet) in the donation pile.
  • Old furniture is often simply old furniture.  Even if it belonged to a grandparent or great-grandparent.  Sometimes it’s just junk.
  • All art is not worth hanging and, therefore, not worth keeping.
  • If you have VHS tapes that haven’t been viewed in over 15 years, there’s probably no point in keeping them.

I thought preparing to move into a smaller place would be simple – I’d get rid of a few things in the attic and basement and be done with it.  Not so.  When I started actually looking at what I would be living in, I was pretty shocked.  Not by the size of the places – they’re fine – but by the amount of stuff I’ve accumulated in this house since 1992.  It would be one thing if my house were filled with items that I absolutely love, but that’s not the case.  Most of it is here simply because I have had the space to keep it.  It was only when we really started to pack things up that I realized how little of it I really care to keep.  The items had value to me once, but I guess I’m in a different place in my life now.  The more we packed, the lighter and more relieved I felt.  I think back to my mom who spent her life, with 6 kids, in the Air Force.  We moved every couple of years and she didn’t keep things.  Moving keeps you honest.  I still have a long way to go, but I’m getting there.  K




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Lakewood Park

These photos make the day look much colder than it was.  Warm temperatures and sunshine created a perfect afternoon for a walk in Lakewood Park.  You can see the city skyline (Cleveland) in the distance.  K

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Sneak Peak

New sweater, using some yarn purchased in 2000.  K

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A Lifetime of Stuff

It’s no secret that I’ve been trying to eliminate clutter and get rid of stuff I haven’t used, or feel pretty certain I won’t use.  Probably one of the worst rooms in my house is my “craft” room, which really should be called the “hoarding/junk” room.  Just a few of the things I’ve uncovered (along with 15-20 year old dust bunnies!):

  • Various connector cords to electronic items I no longer own.  Like my first iPod.
  • Actually FLOPPY DISKS with photos on them.  For you young folk, we used to take photos with REAL cameras and FILM.  Then, we figured out how to put these onto floppy disks.  I haven’t looked at these photos in years.  I have CDs of photographs.  This was a step up from the floppy disks and the beginning of my digital photography experience.  Again, I haven’t looked at these photos in years.  I’m going to take these and the floppy disks to have them transferred onto an SD card or a jump drive.  If it’s too expensive – into the trash they go.  I don’t think I need to be reminded of my old gardens, or relive a trip to Algonquin I took in 2005.  Most of these might be in an external hard drive I have anyway.  Honestly, I don’t even look at photos I’ve got stored on my computer that much.  At some point I will go through them as well.
  • Old photographs.  Most are of my family and I’m going to scan them at some point, but I have some that I “rescued” from thrift stores and estate sales.  Why?  At the time, I had some art project planned, I’m sure.  Yep, not gonna happen.  I scanned a couple of the thrift store photos and will scan the rest then toss the originals.
  • Random paper items I was saving.  These included some recipe cards (pretty gross, I might add – it’s apparent they’d been used) and my father’s death notice.  Scanned and tossed!
  • Kid’s artwork.  I didn’t keep a lot over the years, but I have some.  Consolidated in a bin to scan.  My plan (which I think is pretty awesome, by the way) is to scan the artwork and create a photo book, then toss the originals.
  • 300+ pens.  Mostly art pens in various colors, inks, functions.  Many, many duplicates or near duplicates.  I winnowed it down to less than 100.
  • Postcards I bought as souvenirs to make some sort of scrapbook – from every trip I’ve ever taken, it seems.   I kept a few and tossed the rest. Speaking of scrapbooks – they take up a crazy amount of space.  If I could scan the pages and toss them, I would do that as well, but my scanner isn’t big enough.
  • Ridiculous amounts of memorabilia (i.e. – JUNK) from trips.  Do I really need a torn Paris Metro ticket?  Receipts from the gift shop at Stonehenge?  Nope.

An excellent rule of thumb when eliminating items you don’t use is to – duh – get rid of items you don’t use, or haven’t used within a certain length of time.  The problem with craft supplies is that they (mostly) don’t go bad so I’m reluctant to ditch them.  But – ok, this is crazy – I actually have a jar of ink that I purchased and used when I took oil painting classes in the early 1970s!!!!  It’s still good.  I think part of the problem is that when you have a lot of space, you tend to keep things…..just because you can.    I’m in recovery.  It’s a 12 Step program.  I’m trying.  (We won’t even talk about yarn.)

On a fun note – I saw “The Martian” last night.  I really liked the book when it came out and wanted to see the movie.  It was really, really good and was an excellent adaptation of the book.  Matt Damon was amazing in it, as was the entire cast.  Loved it.  K



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Another One

By now, you’re undoubtably getting bored with my knitting posts.  I’ve been making relatively small and quick items, which is why the posts have been so frequent.  I just finished another hat, which turned out beautifully. I used some Rowan yarn that I purchased at the Liberty of London store when I was in London in October 2014 (I can’t believe it was that long ago).  I still have a bit more and I’m going to make mittens, which should be done by Sunday (so get ready!).  This hat only took two evenings to complete and I could have done it in one, but I started late on Wednesday.  It’s lovely and I just happened to have a fur pompom, which I may replace with a yarn pompom.  I’ll have to see it before deciding.

It really isn’t the style of hat I like, but I’ll probably wear it anyway.  I’ll be back with coordinating mittens in a couple of days.  K

EDIT – I love the hat with the yarn pompom, so that’s the way it  will stay. Much improved.


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More Knitting

I think I must be knitting faster – or, perhaps, choosing easier/quicker projects – because I seem to be producing quite a number of finished objects lately.  I made these mittens in just a couple of days.  These aren’t the best photos – I won’t see daylight until I’m home over the weekend, but you get the idea.  They are really, really cute (IMHO).

I just realized they look awfully “Christmasy”!!  AND – they are a bit snug on me.  Enough so that I know they will drive me crazy.  But, I DO love them.  K

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Another Project Wraps Up!

I started this shawl/scarf in October, as a traveling project when I went to Maine.  I worked on it fairly steadily, then got distracted by a sweater and the previously posted shawl.  I finished it over the weekend and blocked it and I love it.  This is a very lightweight yarn and it has fantastic drape, so it’s perfect around my neck.  It better get cold soon, so I can wear some of these!

As you can see, I have a “thing” for orange.  This yarn has yak in it, which tones down orange dye quite a bit, making for a more subtle yarn than my previous orange shawl.  Luckily, I am a non-discrimanatory orange lover and I love them both!

Oh – here’s a bad iPhone photo of it, as well.  It gives perspective as to the size.  The color isn’t that bright – the photos with my camera are much truer.


I’m working on a pair of mittens now, because – somehow – I NEED mittens.  I’m not even sure how that’s possible, as I thought I had a ton.  Oh well – I love to knit them.  After that, my goal is to finish two sweaters that I put aside for one reason or another.  Then, I think I’d like to do something a bit more complicated – with cables or lots of colors.  We shall see.

Hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas.  K

PS – did you get my attempt at title humor?

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