Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Beginnings

Happy Thanksgiving! Knitting content is a little slim (yet again), but I have begun a project that is relevant to this blog - that is, the demolition and reconstitution of my craft room.

This blog rarely sees anything but knitting, but I do actually have a lot of crafts that I like to do. I scrapbook, I make cards and other paper crafts, and I have been a cross stitcher almost as long as I can remember. Knitting has kind of taken over, but at least part of that, I believe, is because my other crafts were so much less accessible. Since I moved into this house, I had grandiose plans for my craft room (which, to my mother's horror, had been in my living room up until then).

Unfortunately, none of those plans really came to pass. I had too much stuff, and not enough space for it. Plus, I am not by nature a neat and organized person, and my crafting process is rather manic. I make a big mess tossing things around until I get the effect that I want. Plus, since I had no office space, my computer stuff and office files and all that stuff were also crammed into the craft room. Essentially, I ended up with a room that was basically a complete junk pile, and my guest room was not much better, being used largely for storage of all the stuff that didn't fit in the craft room and that I didn't otherwise know what to do with.

Times are a-changing, and with my brother moving out, freeing up the basement bedroom to be the new guest room, and with CodeNinja moving in (and bringing all his stuff with him), it was time to do something about this "stuff" situation.

I have never spent any time in the craft room, and have never wanted to, it was so unpleasant in there. When I wanted to work on my paper crafts, I hauled all my stuff down to the kitchen table, made a mess, left it there for a week or so, and then took it up and piled it all back in the craft room. The room just wasn't pleasant to be in, despite being, in my opinion, one of the nicer room in the house. It's quite a good size, but it's long and rectangular. It has a recess with two large windows that face the front of the house, and it probably gets more light than any other room. There's no reason at all why it shouldn't be a perfectly lovely place to spend time in.

But, it wasn't, so I had to put some thought into figuring out why. One answer was obvious - it was too cluttered, cramped, and messy with all the stuff I had in there. Step 1 - we (by which I mostly mean CodeNinja) hauled all the stuff out of the craft room and into the now-empty den in the basement. I asked him to take a 'before' picture but he forgot, so here's all the stuff in the den and basement bedroom:


Looooooots of stuff. The goal is to go through this mess and sort out the craft from the non-craft, and also to purge as I go, getting rid of stuff I don't need, don't want, or don't use. Then, everything will be reorganized and reloaded into the craft room and the former guest room, which will now become an office. The office is really going to be CodeNinja's space; I'll have a desk in there, but I'll try to keep my stuff to a minimum, so we each have a retreat when we need some space.

The craft & guest rooms were very cold-looking before, so we picked a beige paint color with a bit of a pinky-peach undertone to warm the walls up a little bit, and the result is so much massively better than the color that was there before (a color I generally refer to as 'Old Dried Toothpaste'). I've already started rethinking where I put the crucial pieces of furniture and put some of the stuff back in there.


It's hard to get a good picture - the room is really about twice as big as it looks in most of these photos. The entrance to the room is a little odd, naturally closed off because the closet sticks out into the room in front of the door. I had the long table on the wall where the bookshelf is now, and the bookshelf was at the end of that table nearest the door, making the entrance even more closed. Lesson learned - I've cleared up that wall considerably to make it less overwhelming to walk into the room. There will have to be some more shelves & storage on the near wall, but I will take much better care this time to avoid getting that cramped feeling when you walk in.

I've also decided to use that computer desk as a working surface, and use the long tables only to hold supplies and lay things out that I want to look at. Before, I used the long table to work, but in order to have my tools on the table where I wanted them, I lost a huge amount of workspace and got frustrated very easily. This way, I'll have to do a little bit more moving back and forth, but my work area won't be cluttered with supplies, and I can use the keyboard tray to keep tools I really need to have to hand, like my paper cutter. I had developed a habit of cutting paper in my lap anyway, which was not very effective and, sadly, led to the demise of my paper cutter (leverage issue - snapped a piece off of it).

So, I have a long row to hoe, and a lot of time is going to be devoted to this, but I'm determined to have a working craft room at the end of it. Ideally, I would love to find a place in here for a chair and my spinning wheel, but I'm not sure that's going to happen. My biggest issue here is storage; I have spent a lot of money in the past on storage tools that just weren't really effective, so I'm trying to be very critical about buying new supplies.

This won't, of course, be the only area of the house where I'm purging, and CodeNinja will be responsible for purging on his end as well before we try to pack everything into this house.

I have been knitting, however, and I'm on the downhill slide with my Melpomene.


I had a bit of a set back the night before last when I apparently went temporarily insane and hauled off and knit my twists on the wrong side. It's not like it's easy to mistake, either. The front side looks like this:

Twisted stitches right there. The wrong side looks like this:


No twisted stitches, just something that looks kind of like 2x1 ribbing.

AND YET, not only did I knit a section of twisted stitches on the wrong side - after I fixed that, and knit merrily onward, not more than an hour after I took those pictures, I had to take another picture before I posted, so I could show you that I did this:


This time I started my short rows on the wrong side, and so while every other scallop faces the bottom of the shawl, this one faces the top of the shawl. Argh!!! Feeling rather red-faced over here. It's easy to fix, just one of those things that you can't figure out how you could not notice that. Especially having made a similar mistake so recently!! It boggles the mind.

I've also started my MadroƱa in my JulieSpins Glimmer Lace.


But, I've had another thought for yarn, so it's on hold until I get my second option and can swatch it.

I actually had several issues starting that shawl, not from any flaw in the directions, but because I have never used DPNs before, and I was dropping them all over the place. These are Chiaogoos, but they don't have the sharp lace tips, which is also a tad frustrating for me, addicted as I am to sharp tips. After a few rounds, I had enough stitches on the needles that I wasn't dropping them (as often), but it's still a bit awkward. I was hoping to avoid the ladder stitches I had on my Evenstar circular start, where I used two circs, and so far I haven't had that issue, but it definitely was more difficult than just doing things the way I was used to. (Speaking of which...I did the Emily Ocker cast on instead of Romi's recommended bellybutton cast on, because I was too impatient to figure out a new method).

That's really it on the knitting front. I owe CodeNinja some fingerless gloves, so that's on the horizon, as soon as I can tear myself away from my lace!