Organized Chaos

Conversation from last week, while we are all sitting in the living room:

Me:  “Has anyone seen my green yarn?”

Doug: “Is it in that bag over there?”  (points to bag)

Me: “That’s green yarn, but not the right green yarn.”

Doug:  “Well, is it in that bag over there?” (points to second bag)

Me: “No, that’s the yarn for my shawl.”

Doug: “OK, well, what about that bag over there?”  (points to third bag)

Me: “That’s the purple silk yarn.”

Doug:  “How about that bag?” (points to fourth bag)

Emma: “Mom, you’ve got to organize your knitting.  This is ridiculous.”

Switch to this morning, scene from my bedroom.   I have reached the point in knitting the sleeve for Brick  where I am about to put the stitches on a small circular needle.  I need a circular needle in a size 4US (3.5mm), and it has to be short, preferable 16″.  I start searching for a needle.  I pull out a bag and rummage through it.  No luck, so I pull out another bag.  Eventually, I have a pile of bags spread out over the bed.  I have found 5 different US4 needles, but none of them short enough.   Now, I should also point out that I have two different expensive sets of interchangeable circular needles – a beautiful set of KnitPro wooden tips, and a HiyaHiya kit with steel tips.  For the Knitpro needles, I find a 16″ cable, but only one size US4 tip.  For the HiyaHiya set, I have a pair of US4 tips, but only the long cables.  I pull my hair and rant.  I need to organize my knitting.

I started  dragging bags filled with knitting paraphernalia down the stairs and dumping them in the living room.  To properly visualize this, you should know that I live in an ordinary British house.  Houses in the UK are the smallest in all of Europe.  There is no room for “stuff” in a house here.   Already in our rather small living room, in addition to the two sofas, and various TV and video equipment, is a keyboard, three guitars, two amplifiers (big ones), a tenor saxophone, bongos, a cello, a microphone and stand, a looper, various music stands, and all sorts of electronic music devices that defy description (at least for me).  Into this room, I brought bags of knitting stuff and dumped them.

I spent a few hours sorting though everything, making piles of all the circular needles, the double pointed needles, the KnitPro needles, the HiyaHiya needles, the straight needles, the stitch holders, the measuring tapes, the tapestry needles, the needle gauges, the buttons, the thread, the stitch markers, the crochet hooks, etc.  And the yarn.  Emma decided  this was photo-worthy.

I will also note that compared to most of the knitters I know, I have very little stash yarn.  Knitters are notorious stashers, and most have loads of plastic boxes filled with yarn, stored under beds, in the basement, in closets.  What you see here is all I have, and about a third of it is leftover yarn from various finished projects. So while the non-knitters among you may be thinking “Why does anyone need so much yarn?” the knitters are probably thinking “Is that it?”  I also have almost no WIPs (works in progress).  Knitters will often have more than one project on the needles at the same time.  Most serious knitters will have quite a few WIPs at any one time.  There are knitters on Ravelry that have 20, 30, 40 or more WIPs at once.  Here there are three WIPS.  One is my Brick pullover, which I have been steadily knitting away at since mid November.  One is a shawl that is nearly done, but which has been sitting in a plastic bag for over a year since I last knit a stitch.  The third is one of Emma’s projects, so it doesn’t count against me.

In the above photo, clockwise from top right, are four skeins of Madelinetosh Pashmina in Flashdance,  two skeins of Debbie Bliss cashmerino dk in red, a skein of Cascade Heathers in Teal (leftover from my Levenwick cardigan), a skein of Mountaintop Vista from Classic Elite (in grey, for swatching a Brownstone), a cake of hand dyed Sokkusu sock yarn from Alice Yu, two skeins of Noro SIlk Garden, five skeins of Malabrigo in Verdes (green), and three lucious skeins of Plucky Knitter Primo in en Vogue, Faded Grandeur, and Elegant Elephant, and in the top left corner, my Brick pullover in progress.

Here are four sweater quantities of wool, clockwise from bottom left: Donegal Aran Tweed in Grass, Debbie Bliss Luxury Tweed Aran in purple, Colinette Point 5 chunky pure wool in  Elephant’s daydream and sea, and a bagful of Artesano Aran in brown.  Emma complained about the lighting for these photos; it was virtually non-existent, and the above photo really has washed out colours (particularly the green which is really grass green), but I like it anyway.

There are a number of particularly special yarns in this pile for which I don’t have closeups (but you can pick them out of the lead photo if you strain your eyes) including two skeins of Old Maiden Aunt hand painted 80/10/10 in Moody, stainless steel yarn from Habu, and a gorgeous hank of Wollmeise lacegarn in Lavendel.

You will be happy to know that I found a 16″ US4 needle and have been happily knitting away on the sleeve.  Now that I’ve sorted it all into piles, however, I still have to figure out where to store it all.  At the moment, it is still spread across the living room floor, while I drink a lovely glass of Reisling Spätlese, and contemplate the fact that I have eleven size US4 knitting needles.  Plus, I have just realized that I have neglected to put out my cases full of my grandmother’s knitting needles, which I have lovingly stored, and my skein of Wollmeise in spectacular red for a Haruni shawl, and my vast collection of knitting books and knitting magazines (going back to the 1950s), and stitch dictionaries……..

8 thoughts on “Organized Chaos

  1. Kelly, I love, love, love these pictures and your descriptions. Personally, I have many WIPs (but probably less than 10) and last summer when I was at my mother’s house she gave me a large bag from her stash. Still more to go through next time we are in WHB.- yea! A Joann’s store just opened up near where I work so there are grand opening coupons for this week (will have to pop over after work one day). Next day off I am planning to spend at least a little time “playing”, oh, I mean organizing my stash. Great post!

  2. I agree with Romi and Jocelyn…did you find the green yarn after all?

    And the next question that begs to be asked: when does a project go from WIP to UFO (UnFinished Object)? Just go ahead and finish that languishing shawl that needs just a few rows LOL! If you’re anything like me, you’ll reward yourself with…more yarn?!

    I feel your pain. I organized my stash as a new year’s resolution, and swore this year would see me knitting from my stash, but then I saw your Peerie Flooers, which lead me to Kate Davies, which lead me to the Rams and Yowes, which is proving to be my knitting Waterloo. This infernal hobby!

  3. Heheh… now I see why you thought it would be a good idea for me to come over and organize a few things! My sister (who is a knitter and a quilter) was so chuffed to get one of these from me Christmas before last that she sent me a photo of it will all her stuff in it. It’s amazing what you can get in one bag. Take a look at: http://www.nantucketbagg.com/catalog/

    Your highly organized friend,

    Teresa 🙂

  4. Great blog post. I think it is so true about us knitters, we have stash and then some. I’m glad to hear you found “the” green yarn. Be sure to let us know what you decide to make with it:)

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