Wednesday, February 28, 2007

De-cluttering de-life

For some time I've been trying to quietly rid myself of some of the excess baggage in my life. It's not just my yarn stash which is out of control. I have at least an entire room of stuff I don't need and which is weighing me down.

I decided at the start of this year to try and work through this using the incremental "baby steps" method. It would be way too easy to throw up my hands in the air and declare "it's all too much" but that doesn't solve the problem. So I set myself little achievable goals. Like trying to fill one supermarket shopping bag with stuff I don't need and getting it to the Op Shop.

I tried the "if I haven't worn it in 2 years, it's going" method of going through my wardrobe, and while this wasn't entirely successful, it was a start. Then there was the "if it's too worn out to wear to work and not comfortable enough to garden in, it's going" method. Another few garments hit the road. My wardrobe began to breathe. Enough space to fit in the new autumn clothes.

I still have a way to go with the clothes.

I then turned to my books. It kills me to get rid of a book but even I have to admit there are some which don't deserve a second read. And there are some which I never started, cannot recall buying and on multiple occasions have picked up, couldn't get into and put down. Out, out, ye damn space wasters. Life's too short to be surrounded by crappy books. I still have more books than most other people I know (excluding my husband) but now at least I'm confident most are worth reading. And I have nearly enough bookshelf space for them.

This morning it was the hats. No I haven't got rid of the excess knitted beanies. At least not yet. But I had three straw hats, only one of which was good enough to wear in public. The other two are gone. Then there was the cloth sunhat too small for my head. Bye-bye.

This evening I turned to my knitting needles. This is really embarrassing. How I managed to accumulate no less than six pairs of size 4.5mm needles is beyond me. Especially as it is a size I can recall only ever using once. I didn't want to overdo it, so I just cleared out all the excess needles above two pairs of each size. A huge handful now gone and I can close the extra-large toolbox that houses my knitting needles.

I really hope that a new knitter picks up those needles at the Op Shop. I think I picked up some of them at the Op Shop originally. But I am learning. Just because it is a bargain, doesn't mean I need to buy it. I can't knit with more than one set of needles at a time. And cheap plastic needles make knitting a chore and are not worth buying.

I've been really good not buying more yarn this year as I can and will knit my way through my stash. I'm almost at the point of being able to say "If I'm never going to use a particular ball of yarn, it's going". No matter how much money I foolishly wasted on it two years ago.

Because once I rid myself of all this unnecessary stuff encroaching on my life I will have the space and time to fill it with what I want. Which will probably include a few skeins of possum merino yarn.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Bookmarking the Posmerino

I'm getting a little excited about this International Scarf Exchange. The odds are that I will be assigned an American knitter (since they dominate the exchange). I have already bookmarked The Knittery's Posmerino yarn as I think this would be something they haven't encountered before. Providing, of course, my partner isn't allergic to natural fibres and the available colours aren't all on his/her hate list.

Monday, February 26, 2007

International Scarf Exchange 4

I'm plodding away on the sleeves of my cardigan... yawn, yawn... sleeves are SO boring! Thank goodness I am doing both at once or the second one would never be finished. It's a lovely warm yarn (Cleckheaton Merino Supremo) and my stitches are neat and it may even look good when I wear it BUT as a knitting project it is just a little dull :( I don't even feel inspired to post a picture as how exciting can five miles of stocking stitch be? But all attempts to introduce eyelets, etc just led to tears and rip-backs. As for cables - well it's not a very flattering look for a larger lady, especially in 10-ply yarn. My aim is to create a garment I can wear in public without shame.

Anyway, I'm itching to try another scarf but I really can't justify making yet another for myself and I have already inflicted too many projects on family and friends. Then I found out about the International Scarf Exchange. The idea is that you knit a scarf for a complete stranger who is knitting a scarf for another complete stranger and then we all end up with a scarf. I know these things can go pear-shaped (I believe Grandmother Purl is still waiting for her blanket) but this project is now in its 4th year and I'm willing to take a risk.

I might even be able to reduce the stash a little further. Unless I'm tempted to use it as an excuse to purchase some more yarn.

Vale Trevor

Last Friday Trevor, one of my colleagues, failed to turn up to work. That afternoon we discovered that he had passed away during the night. He was in his 40s.

Trevor didn't enjoy good health but his death was completely unexpected. Prior to last Friday he had been one of the oldest (if not the oldest) surviving Australians born with cystic fibrosis. But if you didn't know he had it, you would never have guessed it. What you noticed was his passion and energy and determination and utter commitment to unionism. If you noticed he was aged beyond his years, the immediate assumption was that maybe he had partied a little too hard in his youth. But the only drugs Trevor took were prescription.

Trevor could be overly direct and abrupt but, as one of my friend's put it, this was because he always knew he didn't have the same amount of time as everyone else and he wanted to fit it all in. Last week he was campaigning against one of the most recalcitrant employers in Australia and negotiating with his builder over a major Art Deco renovation of his home.

Everyone was in massive shock when they heard of his death. Yes, we all knew that he had lived 20 years longer than most people with cf and that he had been in and out of hospital several times over the past months (during which time he sat up in bed writing union organising plans) but there was no warning that his time was coming now. When someone has spent their entire life beating the odds, you expect them to keep doing so.

Trevor died as all good people should; suddenly and hopefully without pain, after years of doing what he believed in. He always wanted to do more but those of us left behind know that he fitted more into his shortened life than many people twice his age with perfect health.

His legacy lives on in the many people he touched over the years.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Still alive and knitting

It's been 35+ for the past four days (hottest February weather for 40 years) but prior to the heat kicking in, I finished the back and front of my cardigan. In the end I unravelled every attempt at eyelet holes and cables, deciding that the simple look was ultimately the best.

I'll knit the sleeves at the same time, which has three advantages. 1/ I won't suffer from second-sleeve syndrome (where one gets so bored with the knitting that the second sleeve is never knitted). 2/ It guarantees they will both be the same length and shape. 3/ If I run out of blue yarn (very likely) I will have a pink segment in the same position on each sleeve.