Nuthin’. I got nuthin’. Well, that’s not exactly true. Another shelf has been cleared and fourth one almost cleared. There are some more books to add to the stack that will be going to Economy Shop and they may be books someone is actually interested in. There’s books on gardening and graphic design (tools from an earlier life.) And photography. It was written when cameras still had film but I’m sure it’s more technique than material.

There’s also more than an inch more to the sweater. I know I should take a photo but the camera and the sweater aren’t in the same place. But I was working on it this morning when there was noticeable length. It was just a little over an inch yesterday and when I measured today, it was almost three inches. Knit math working positively for me. I think the cleaning gods are putting in good words with the knitting gods. I wanted to vacuum that place in front of the bookcase which made them happy but they whispered for me to calm down and finish the bookcase and then the next step would be to clean that area of carpet between the bookcase and the first desk. I am actually looking forward to it.

The cleaning folk also want to know what I am going to do with that Celtic suncatcher I’ve done nothing with since I purchased it more than 20 years ago. I don’t know but I’m keeping it. We aren’t anywhere near Irish but I do like it.

10/10 is almost done. I took it to lunch with me yesterday with Ellen, Melissa and Laeh. We all bought our knitting with us but we decided to eat instead. Imagine that. It was past two in the morning when I decided I wasn’t going to finish it. But the decreases have started and I can get it finished before September rolls in. That would be a great accomplishment. I did the video for the stash dive on August 2nd and nothing was made then. C’mon, you have to be kinda impressed I did it all in under 30 considering we were on the road. Right?

Laeh might have gotten me some yarn from Herrschners. She works at a summer camp every year and she passes by this mecca on her way to and from. She is kind enough to drop me a note and ask if I want something. I’ve been very good in the past and said no – in between the years when I’ve said yes. And this year she may have bought me back something. I will take a photo of that and perhaps do a mini yarn haul video. It was just five skeins but a little bit of heaven goes a long way. I need to go finish a hat so I can pull some yarn and start the ordered mayhem all over again.

Plan the work then work the plan. That is a key to success on many fronts. Where my brain was all a scramble just yesterday; there is hope today.

No amount of money or love of readers will move me to post a before photo of my office. It is a wreck. The producers of Hoarders – Yarn Addition have called – twice. However, today I was thinking of the after photo.

That in itself is progress because it speaks of me believing there will be an after. There will be a time when it is all done and worthy of a photo. What has me in such a positive spirit? Two of the bookshelves were emptied and are now neatly filled with books. Well, nearly filled with books. Can’t be full of books because there are fewer books. The culling has produced space. That means the big pile of books on the floor are no longer on the floor. They are on the shelves. Considering how long most of them have been on the floor, that is improvement. It means I can get the little vacuum and clean that part of the floor.

Yes, there are three more shelves to clear and those books haven’t even been culled yet. But we need to take our victories where we find them. I am already eyeing that third shelf and it doesn’t seem as if it will be a big deal. There are very few books on the shelf and I will have to deal with a couple of supplies and the other shelves have books which will be leaving. A few will stay. I think I will have this first part wrapped up in short order.

There’s also improvement on the sweater front. I decided on the rib pattern and started knitting and I’ve already got more than an inch done on that. Only 13 more to go but I feel like a warrior so I don’t see worries on that front.

I’ve even started the last of the items for the current collection. So the new collection may be started on time. I am hoping to get the last hat off the needles tomorrow so I can do the video and then pick the new yarns. Fun times!

I am hoping the cleaning and knitting gods and goddesses see this as being excited at being kissed on the forehead by them and not being arrogant. I need them to keep this going for me so I can get stuff done. Don’t tell me to look at all that’s left. I know it. I just need this moment. This moment is good.

This is my brain. I have no idea what’s going on in there. Except it’s jammed. It must be jammed because I started something I cannot take back and will have to see it through and if I survive – well, I will celebrate with chocolate in several forms.

I am working on a sweater for a friend’s daughter that is the sweater from hell. Her daughter started it and the pattern is not simple and the yarn is not exactly right and the needles weren’t either and there was a section where the yarn was all cut up. It was a mess. 

And I said I would fix it. Before I knew the extent of it. Looking at it and the pattern, I decided the best thing to do was start it all over. I am now on my third starting over but this time I think I got it because I decided to start over and just design the sweater and put it aspects of the original pattern. The original pattern is overly complicated. But no one really knows that until they get the pattern then try and follow it. We look at the picture and we want the pretty thing in the picture. I took a look at the pretty sweater then pulled out some books and went to the Google until I could find the sleeves that were in the picture. Having found them. I got the pattern in my head and that’s what I’m sticking with.

I do not regret this decision though I’ve had this sweater for nearly a year. I will finish it by the end of September. Which is the time I have also given myself to finish an afghan I started two years ago. I need to finish it because it will be the wedding afghan I give to a most beloved niece who is getting married the first week of October.

It is also the time I will have completed ten new items of the next collection – including 4 patterns – hey, maybe the sweater can be one. Yep, this is what a normal brain does and how a normal person functions. Is it any wonder I want to know what’s going on? Or do I really want to know? Maybe I’m better off not thinking about it but just doing it. Don’t have a goal – have a plan and then get after it. That’s gonna be the spirit here. 

This will require a lot of chocolate.

Let me explain how this whole office/yarn room purge works.For the record, this is not my office, either. Mine is way worse. But I am a little bit heady with success at the moment. I finished the hat I was working on and started the new design for what I was gonna call the ski bum hat. But have decided it needs a new name. Because I am making with colors from the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority (no, I am a member of Alpha Psi Omega) and because it is a beanie suited for a guy, I am calling it the Sorority/Fraternity Beanie. I know, it’s not the greatest name and I am open to suggestions on a name that will suit the intention..something like SoFra.. hey that might work, let me think about it.

I also have had some success in my happiness project. My body is my happiness project and I’ve been moving more. This week – Sunday to Saturday – I’ve managed to get in more than 100 minutes of exercise. Considering I used to play more than 4 hours of tennis a day, that is nothing. But given the stuff my body has been going through, that is a lot and I am not vain enough to not know it. I see my doctor this Thursday for my annual, and I am determined to have the 100 minutes that took seven days to get, done by then.

So, what does this have to do with the purge or even knitting? Well, I would be bored to tears if all I had to do was come into the room and just clean. The idea was to do it for 15 minutes and then put it behind me for the day but I asked Cortana to set the alarm for an hour and then I mixed in the cleaning with reading a knitting blog and moisturizing my ankle which needs massive amounts of coconut oil. 

The end result is that I have found more books to go to the Economy Shop. I discovered a couple of knitting books I haven’t seen in a while and was wondering where they got to. My ankle is feeling softer (still got some work to do there) and I am catching up with the blog. I have another strange quirk. I started at the very beginning of the blog I am reading. It is 15 years old and because I know what the blog writer has been up to recently, it’s like being in a Star Trek time warp.

And there’s a shelf that clear. Or it will be when I remove the last five books/other stuff on it and determine if they are keepers or goners. I then imagine me taking the books from the floor and putting them on the shelf in a neat order. I have no illusion that all the books will fit on that one shelf. Though they should, there are less books going back than came off but the universe has a way of mocking me. I tread lightly.

This is how I know my life is blessed. This is the stuff that brings me happiness. There are things that bring me low but in the scheme of all things, this is a pretty good life when clearing one shelf of a five shelf bookcase can make you breathe easily and deeply. 

One step closer to an organized yarn room/office. Love it.

 

Let’s get something straight off the bat: this is not my office/craft room. My room is dark and cluttered with books, papers and free range and caged yarn. There are two desks, two bookcases, 30 bins and countless bags of yarn. Along with the papers and books. None of it is tidy. 

I love a tidy room. I just don’t like doing the work it takes to get it there. The downstairs is passably clean for me. Which means I would let someone come into the house. If I knew they were coming. Don’t come by my house unannounced because unless you’re family, that door ain’t opening.  As an aside, I am convinced when they train people to come your door to sell you a new window or internet system, they tell you to knock on the door urgently like it’s someone telling you they’ve got a lost child or your car was just buried under a fallen tree. That’s happened a couple of times where they ring the doorbell with Sheldon like obsession and then knock on the door.

I’ve gone to the door expecting to lend assistance to someone in trouble just to have someone say, they want to help me by letting me know they just opened a new office five miles away and want to handle my finances. Which I will need because someone will need to handle my money and make sure I have money on my boks while I’m in prison for killing them.

Anyway, the downstairs is now passable and I’ve decided the project that needs doing is my yarn room/office.This is going to take a long time to accomplish because there is a lot to be done and I am giving this 15 minutes every morning and that will be it unless cleaning the office comes up on my schedule. It is on my schedule, so it’s possible I will have two cleaning session this week.

I’ve selected one bookcase as my 12 o’clock – couldn’t choose the other bookcase, it’s blocked by dozens of free range yarn bags. I will start with the bookcase and work my way around clockwise. 

I am sorting through the books that are massed there. I’ve already decided some knitting patterns books are no longer needed. I won’t throw them out. I gave a brief thought to selling them online but that would mean holding on to them. I will be donating them to the Economy Shop in Oak Park. The books are in very good condition and have some great patterns. I’ve made a lot of them – I just don’t want to make them again. There will be some great finds there. 

The project doesn’t have a deadline. I will get after it and do it until it’s done. There’s no goal, either. I have the plan to keep the downstairs as neat or neater as it now. So, no regressing. The same with the upstairs. I am starting with the most difficult room and then will tackle the bathroom and bedroom. Mr. Honey will help with those two rooms but even though he uses my laptop in my office, this mess is all mine. But he will appreciate it. He is one of the people who like to clean – he just refuses to enable me by cleaning up my mess. Let it noted, that on those rare occasions that he leaves a mess, I will clean it up if I happen to be cleaning that day. Just sayin’.

Though there is no deadline, I don’t expect there to be anything discernable for a month. There’s a lot to do and with the time I used this morning, I went through about two dozen books and decided about seven of them were on the good-bye pile.The others are piled neatly by the bookcase, The books I went through weren’t even in the bookcase. Don’t judge me. OK, judge me.The project will be successful. It’s gonna be great.

I woke up this morning excited for the knitting. I finished the Caron Cowl. It actually has a name. It’s called the Warm Up cowl. Nonetheless, I woke up thinking about working. And it hit me: my yarn is playing a dirty trick.

Recall please, that I noted finishing the cowl was finishing 6/10 of the Noggins and Napes (changed the name so the collection wouldn’t be confused with this. A book I happen to own. Naturally, if you are making 10 items and you’ve finished the 6th, the next logical step would be to cast on or chain on for the 7th. In this instance, it would be casting on for a lace slouchy. 

That should be exciting enough. Casting on for something new, (even if made before) knitters live for that kind of thing. This morning I was so excited it took me a moment to remember the project I finished just hours before. But I wasn’t excited about the hat. I was thinking about what yarn I would use for the next collection. The next collection that is four projects away. What the? I was actually contemplating it for a moment before I caught myself contemplating it for a moment.

I was thinking about the ten yarns that would go to make up the next collection and all I really know about the next collection is that it has four original patterns in it and one of them is a hat and the one hat will require five or six different colors of yarn. That means searching for more than ten yarns and I might even have to go through some of the free range and caged yarns that’s not already in my downstairs bin. I may have to go on a hunt….through the chunky yarns…

Tricky, tricky yarn. what a dirty trick. I thought the chunky yarns would speak with each other but I understand how it isn’t possible. The caged yarn is separated by color, not weight, and the free range yarn ain’t separated at all. They would have to talk with all kinds of yarn to get the word out that my mind was open for fiber seduction.

It almost worked. I almost decided to go ahead and step into the future and start looking at what might be used. But I came to my senses. I know what I am going use for the lace slouch (Shadowberry), the cable beanie (Pink) and the Basic Beanie (Verbena).The only unknown is for the hat pattern. It will require two yarns..two worsted weight yarns.

I ain’t mad at it for trying. Clever, tricksy. Gollum would be proud. But I am holding out. But maybe I’ll knit just a little faster. And take a peek at my notes to see what’s coming..maybe look at a stitch book to see what the other three patterns will be. I’m still in control of this. I am. Aren’t I?

So, remember when I told you I made a cowl with Caron Chunky Cakes when I wasn’t really supposed to? Well, I was making one in the color I originally intended but it wasn’t going the way I wanted. I decided to use the hook size suggested in the band. The fabric was stiff and didn’t seem at all soft as the first one I made. 

I know some colors of the same yarn can be stiffer or rougher than others but in the skein it was soft. I went up a.hook size and started over. I got the same result. It was stiff and didn’t feel right. I was again in my office – the scene of the original cowl crime – and saw the crochet hook that for me into trouble to begin with. I decided I would try the cowl again to see what would happen. I took the hook and began again in the evening.

And that was the night I fell in love. It was soft and chunky and looked full. It was every bit of everything the first one was. I was grinning from ear to ear as if I had just won both lotteries and the government decided not to take any taxes.

If course, it wasn’t enough to take that victory. I decided I wasn’t just in love with this Caron Cake and this cowl. Oh no, that would be too simple. I was in love with chunky knits as a.whole. I would need to go through the stash and find all my chunky yarns so I could make chunky scarves and recall some past chunky knits. Chunky knits showed up on the Etsy trend page so not only would I make them; they would sell because they were hot. I would get sales. I would have great fun doing it. There was no downside.

I’ve calmed down a little. I might have lost momentum at the thought of going through the stash. I am anxious to make this with a tea cake. I won’t have that chance for a bit because I already have the cowl for the next collection. Hopefully, I will remember.

With the completion of the cowl, I have done 6 of 10. I have a lace slouch, new hat pattern and another cable beanie and basic beanie to complete. The plan is to have it done by the end of the month but we will see.

Pray I stay on track. I can hear the chunky yarns whispering to each other. They may be calling for my seduction. I am vulnerable but I shall stay strong.

There be rainbows in Montana. There was a lot of rain. About the same time everyday and it lasted different amounts of time. We went there to watch the nephew play professional baseball. He is a Billings Mustang. That is the rookie affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. We saw four games. I think they went 3-1. I saw him hit a home run live. I saw him hit one in college. So now if I see him hit one in the big leagues and in the All Star game, I would consider that a home run cycle.

I did go to a yarn store while I was there and the people were uber nice but I walked out without a purchase. It was a little pricey and the yarns I felt in my hands were a little rough. I would go there and knit with them but I don’t know that I would buy anything. 

I also went to the biggest Hobby Lobby I have ever seen. I thought the one I went to was large. This store was humongous. It was like a warehouse. I eagerly walked all the way in the back through the ‘sewing store’ as the clerk told me, to find the yarn and…two aisles. I kid you not. Just two of the poorest stocked yarn shelves I have seen in my life. Don’t people get cold in Montana? Are there no knitters or crocheters? Seriously two shelves and I swear they didn’t have a huge selection of I Love This Yarn, either. I mean, I stood there in shock. You have all this store and this is all the yarn that’s managed. If I lived in Montana (which I wouldn’t mind) I would be voting someone out of office for not fixing this travesty of justice.

Luckily for me, I brought along enough yarn to do several – ok eight – projects. I wasn’t going to be staying long enough to do that many but a girl’s gotta be prepared. Like for a rainstorm which cancels the Saturday game leaving you with some unexpected time on your hands.

 I did finish some projects. I also started a beanie which has since been finished but I finished it at night and I packed it away before it could get it’s photo taken. These are two of the items from the new collection. I am now working on the 5/10 item. I’ve done the cable beanie, did the basic beanie, designed a new hat (finished the pattern, took the photos), did the taffy pull scarf because I was desperate to work on something  and I’m now working on a prayer shawl. That leaves the new cowl, a lace slouchy – I may do a color switch -,and one more cable and basic beanie along with the new hat pattern playing in my head. I don’t have a deadline but I do have a plan to have this collection out in September. I am working towards the first week since I didn’t get this collection started right away.

It could be stressful and I admit, I am not having one of my better mood runs of late but there are rainbows in Montana. So there’s that.

The Way You Do the Things You Do is a classic by the Temptations. I believe we have already established I love the Temptations. The song is a tribute to a nameless, faceless woman who has a smile so bright, she could be a candle and she’s so smart she can be a schoolbook. There should be a line in there about her being a knitter and can defy science, logic and math.

What you see in the photo is my first attempt at the Dakota mittens. The pattern is not complete and up for sale and the final gloves are with their owner and she’s happy with them. That can now free me up to say how much of a friggin’ pain the process can be. It’s always smile and rainbows when it’s done and it’s right but that middle part between anticipation and relief is a different story.

It was right around the time I took this photo that it occured to me they might be a tad on the large size. I was making them for a tiny teen. I did all the math and that still wasn’t going to work. Knit math was rearing it’s ugly head again. 

Knit math can show up in a number of ways. You can be making a scarf that’s supposed to be 60 inches and when you’re knitting along to the 55th inch and then knit math says that no matter how long and how much you knit, those last five inches will take as much time as the first 54 total. Never ever fails. 

Knit math will also show itself when you need to make something to an exact size. These gloves needed to fit a six inch wrist. Doesn’t take more than a glance to see these would be too big. I decided to go down several needle sizes and to go from a worsted weight to a DK weight…smaller all around. I then look at the gauge chart on the label to determine what I would need in stitches. No, I didn’t do a swatch – let’s not get ridiculous.

I did the math and then because I know how evil knit math can be – I deducted 10%. It’s what I do when I make anything because I have been burned by knit math time and again. Knitting will grow on you. Unless you’re one of those super perfect knitters who have perfect stitching as indicated on knitting labels ( I don’t want to know you. There’s only so much to this thing called tolerance.) knit math affects us all.

Even going smaller I had to start over about three times. Finally they were done and sent off. My client’s only complaint: they were a little too big. Sigh.

I am not from the artist. I like to say, with a great deal of truth, that I cannot draw a straight line with a ruler. I can stay between the lines when coloring but that took some discipline and I’m still not sure I would pass grade school art class.

It’s funny then, when I use a chart to make a pattern. Charting isn’t something I do on the regular. I crack myself up when I print out the graph paper and put a pen to it. That’s another thing, I chart in pen. Like it’s the New York Times Knitting section and doing it in pen makes me smarter. It’s really because I don’t have any pencils around and when I find one, it doesn’t have a tip and I don’t have a pencil sharpener because I didn’t know I had pencils.

There is a part of me that wants to chart better. I know just enough to get by with what I’m knitting and I usually do it to make sure the idea I have in my head looks good on paper. I figure if it can look good with what I pass off as charting, then it will look pretty darned good when I get the needle and the yarn together. I would like to make neater charts. It would be more of a vanity project at this point as I would not inflict my charts on anyone – not even on a pattern I gave away for free – don’t thank me. It’s a mercy for all of us.

I am currently working on something, not the cowl in the pic; that’s done. And I pulled out some graph paper because the design was taking on something I hadn’t planned and I wanted to see how it would play out. I understand my chart but I don’t understand if it looks the way I want it to. I am going to have to redo it in a neater manner so I can see if I have to frog it or if I can keep going. 

I think I will try and do it neatly. If I succeed, I will happily show you the fruits of my labor. If not, I will use my messy chart to check my work and no one will be none the wiser. The artist world has nothing to fear from me. Salvador Dali maybe but I’m sure even his legacy is safe.