Friday, 26 August 2011

Bank Holiday - rotton weather AND a good old tidyup in sewing room!

WHAT a rotton day!  pouring with rain and forecast for more/worse - but then it IS the Bank Holiday weekend ..
Not as rotton as those in the way of the hurricane, mind!  I can't imagine what the experience and devastation must be like to live through and I'm hoping that my cyber-knit/sew pals and their families will be unaffected or at least safe!
ready to GO!
I've had a GOOD clear out! and decluttered my sewing room once more.  I did this exercise about 8 yrs ago after my late-Mother died and I inherited the contents of her sewing room and trying to pack in two room's worth of stash and machines was not going to happen!  Over the years I've managed to part with some things - and used/sewn/knitted some! and the biggest change I made was in NOT madly randomly and feverishly BUYING stuff!!  I'm much more discerning both in my purchases and in my projects and this latest exercise was two fold, firstly I wanted to clear some space in the room and "manage" ALL of my craft IN one room (I've spread out into the landing upstairs, the lounge and our bedroom! gulp!) and secondly I wanted to clear my WIP and all unfinished stuff with either a commitment TO finish OR to just say goodbye to it! once and for all! (not easy!).

First to be sorted was the fabrics - I've not sewn really for some years and it was relatively easy to get rid of some fabrics, particularly stuff I'd bought for when my lads were younger - raincoat fabric for instance! fleece and other outwear that I'd picked up when going through a phase of making waterproof coats for them.  Next was the lingerie and lace & stuff!  I've decided that though I enjoyed sewing outerwear AND lingerie, I've done it!  I did it, but I'm no longer likely to do it again!
This is the hardest part for me, in wanting to keep a reminder of things I've previously enjoyed and just in case I should want to revisit this area of sewing I've blocked up a whole area of space - for what? well! for "just in case"! and I've been completely ruthless and got rid of ALL the outerwear and MOST of the lingerie/elastics/notions bar a small container which is much more sensible and manageable.
For two days I pondered about my 4 large bags worth of "oddments" - pieces of fabric that I had kept for patchwork.  One the one hand it has taken me years to build up a useful stash of variety of cottons, but on the other hand in reality I've actually made very FEW items from it!
In the end I just gritted my teeth, refused to even LOOK inside - I just PUT the bags OUT! they are going! to the Charity shop and thats that!  IF I decide to do something quilty or scrappy, well! I'll just buy something!  The local shop sells lots of oddments and strips and rolls and scrap bags in themes its not like I can't EVER do this again ?
I sorted out the boxes of notions and general haby collected, again, over years and some of a mix of mine, my late Mother and even Grandmother's!  Some things - Grandma's leathercase of beeswax and Mum's very very super fine beading needles double threaded with yarn through an eye you can't SEE even under magnification and SHE was half-blind and did it through "feel" rather than sight! - I've kept.  But some of their things I have also let go too.  You can't keep EVERYTHING.  In fact, in keeping "everything" it sort of devalues the few items that do mean something, and you can't appreciate it when there is so much of it.  On the one hand I find it difficult to throw stuff out, I'd naturally err on side of keeping things BUT on the other hand I can find it easy to be firm about making choices and once I've decided, then I don't hanker after it, regret it or sneak it back again!

yet to be sorted
Its made my working space SEW much clearer and will inspire me to use my room more now that I've got SPACE in it!!  Nearly everything is sorted through and put away, yet to tackle are my stash of magazines and this box and three bags of "knitting" stuff, patterns and projects OTN's for example.
For the sewing projects I've sorted just one or two pieces that I intend finishing and all the rest I've thrown out! 
I find it very lowering creatively to be reminded and surrounded by the evidence that the things I started out with enthusiasm are just hanging about half done! waiting to be finished! and if I'm completely honest, MOST of what I'm looking at I have no real use or purpose for it when it IS finished! so? whats that all about? hmm. Apparently I just like "doing" things. "trying things" and having a go! joining in and doing what others are enjoying! well. thats FINE. but when its MOSTLY what I'm about, its not so good!  I resolve, therefore, to change! hurrah! how about that? what are my chances?
I'm not sure quite WHEN I changed.  In the very early days I defnitely wanted to "learn" and find out ways of doing things and looked for challenging techniques and it was always important to me that the dressmaking projects both FITTED me AND were sewn "well"; but in those days I did get it DONE.  I had a need to sew for instance, a skirt and top so I sewed a skirt and top.  These days although I probably still have the same "need" I don't have the same enthusiasm and commitment TO sew the skirt and top.  I'd rather faff about blind hemming and roll hemming and perfecting my stitching with one of my many machine feet .. sigh .. playing. thats what I like! playing at the craft. 
NOTHING wrong with that.  but somewhere along the years, I've slid over to more "play" than actual achievement of finished item and scarily I'm starting to do the same with my KNITTING.
Here again. A change.
YEARS ago, I knitted because everyone else in the office was knitting, so we'd all sit in the lunch hour over a sandwich and knit and pop down en masse to the LYS to pay for the next week's balls of "wool" set aside by the shopkeeper and it was ONE knitted jumper after a cardigan ..
The bargains to be had in the sales with double discounts bringing down discontinued yarns in particular to really SILLY prices, eg 10xballs of Rowan KSH for £10 10x balls of Rowan Fine Milk Cotton down to just £10 .. I could go on? .. I've got BOXES of the stuff! and have I knit it? well no. but do I want to buy MORE? .. well yes.  well NO. alright. yes AND no.  ok. I can't afford to turn down a "bargain" and these days I'm more focused on mostly buying what I know I would want to knit and generally have an idea of a pattern in mind - eg the fine milk cotton for the Arielle project that I had coveted for months before the offer of double discount yarn IN the colourway I wanted just threw itself at me while browsing the wool dept one day .. how could I NOT?

I am resolved now to FINISHING the projects I have on my needles before starting anything afresh.
I am also resolved to FINISHING the sewn/quilty projects before starting anything else.
The only exception to the above one, is the little nursery bag I shall make to accompany the baby knit I shall do that is the exception to the first - bah - see? how DIFFICULT it is? already? I'm making "excuses" for "exceptions"? shall I ever change? should I expect to? or just do the best I can?

halved the storage of stash

decluttered by 50% the shelves

EMPTIED the fabric boxes!
SO. I've ended up now with a good working space that is not looking so cluttered as before, I've halved the amount of storage units and created room to fit boxes and bags of things like toy filler and wadding to be tucked away in the corner that is hidden by my Horn cabinet when opened for sewing and the shelves are now much neater and easier to sort through now I've been ruthless and got rid of 50% of the contents.  Best of all I emptied the complete built in cupboard storage space of fabric and patterns and managed to contain it within a few boxes and given me SPACE to put my books and my knitting and beading within it!  hurrah! ok. I've still got "stuff" on the floor. I can't help this, I don't have room to put it anywhere else but it is manageable in the corners and from my families point of view the BIGGEST advantage is that I now have NOTHING outside on the landing!  gone is the drop leaf cutting out table! GONE is the set of storage units for "cardmaking" and GONE is the 4boxes and bags of YARN and GOING is the huge stash of magazines (once sorted!!).  phew! I could almost have a housewarming party to celebrate! except that its all still HERE.  temporarily! until we get to take it to the Charity shop.  which being the bank holiday weekend will likely be middle to end of next week.

Next week I'll blog an update on what I plan to finish sewing wise and do a knitty round up on progress on projects.

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