Monday, March 8, 2010

I could look at this all day long...

When we last spoke, I was in the midst of some supply cabinet re-org.  I have completed the large cedar closet and the small cabinet that houses my beads, embroidery supplies, and some miscellaneous knitting stuff like my swift, ball winder, etc.  This was all an evasive maneuver, though.  The really task ahead was The Yarn (cue Beethoven's 5th, here).  The cedar closet was definitely a big job, but at least the stuff was all inside the closet to begin with.  The yarn...not so much.

I have been knitting since my junior year in college, circa 1984.  I visited my grandma that Christmas.  We were celebrating my grandparents' 80th birthdays, I think.  I come from exceedingly good genetic stock.  Both my father's parents lived to 103.  Anyway, Grandma taught me to knit that Christmas.  We went downtown and she insisted that I only buy 100% wool.  She taught me to cast on and knit and I was completely hooked (or perhaps that should be "needled.").  Since that time, there has never been an extended period of time where I wasn't knitting something.  That first project was a simple garter stitch scarf.  I remember having the finished scarf on the needles from about February until school let out.  Grandma didn't teach me how to cast off!!  But, I found a yarn store in Tacoma, Washington, where I went to school and learned.  I think my next project was a simple sweater.  It was supposed to be a crewneck but ended up as such a scoop neck that I had to pin the shoulders to my bra straps to keep it on!!!

25+ years later, I still learn a little something with every single project.  I've done hundreds of purses.  Literally.  I had a business for awhile making felted bags.  But, demand was high and I ended up with tendonitis.  I had to stop knitting for 6  months to allow my wrist to heal.  Pure torture.  After that, I switched to the recycled sweater bags that I still make today.

In case you're wondering the point of all this, when you've been a knitter for 25 years, you end up with a lot (A LOT) of little bits of leftover yarn.  I've put together a couple of purses simply by pulling all the yarns of a single color out of the cupboard and working them together.  Here are a few examples of those bags:

    The green bag I kept for myself.  The red one sits patiently in my Etsy shop for someone.  The yellow one sold to a lovely lady in Arizona who was rewarding herself for reaching her weight loss goals.  I liked that a lot.

The great thing about these bags is that they were almost free.  I had to buy handles for them, but the yarn was all in my stash.  Which brings me to today's project:  the single balls of yarn.  You never EVERY want to run out of yarn on a project.  By the time you get to that point, every last ball of your yarn in your color and your dye lot will have vanished from the face of the earth.  Better to have 1 or 2 (or 6) extra.  So, after all this time and all these bags and sweaters and scarves, I have hundreds of single balls of yarn.  Wool, cotton, mohair, eyelash, cashmere, etc.  Many times I group similar yarns together in my larger yarn storage cupboards.  But, for the onesy-twosy balls, I use a CD cabinet my dad made for me years ago.

How gorgeous is that!!  I spent about two hours today getting things squared away.  First step was to dump all the balls onto the foyer rug.  Then I sorted by fiber, then by color.  I have issues with putting cottons next to wools.  Maybe the cotton was allergic in a prior life.  I don't know.  But, I would never knit a garment or purse mixing fibers like that.  Wool with mohair is fine.  Cotton with silk is fine.  But, never wool with cotton.

The top 2 1/2 rows are all the wools.  Now, mind you, this is just the single balls.  I have TONS of wool since it's the fiber I prefer (thanks to Grandma).  It's funny how you have a pile of 6 different reds and they all seem to go together even though one is a rusty red, one a cherry, and one a burgundy. 

The bottom 2 1/2 rows are the cottons and miscellaneous.  This is every bit of cotton that I have in my house.  I really only use cotton for baby hats and sweaters.  There are many reasons for this and I'll come clean with all my fiber biases at another time.  But, I do like cotton for babies.

The cabinet is now a work of art.  I'm going to try to put together a new banner for the blog using the photo of the entire cabinet.  Truly, I could look at this all day long...

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