Storing the Stash

The Yarn Pile

Yeah, I have a few skeins of yarn.

Various tasks accomplished this weekend, along with attending a fascinating workshop by Laurie Schnebly Campbell Saturday. If you get a chance to attend one of Laurie’s workshops online or in person, I definitely recommend it. I came away with a good many notes for my current project, and things on that are beginning to kick into high gear.

Unpacking continues apace as well. I now have most of my cookbooks unpacked and shelved — though there are a few more packed in one box or another, I believe. But I also managed to get my yarn stash put away into its new home. It was also a chance to do a full inventory, make certain none of the yarn had been attacked by moths (the dread of anyone who works with fiber) and take pictures to post on revelry. Besides, because we need to keep expenses down for a while, I’m on a bit of yarn diet. This is why you buy yarn when you can; so it’s there in those times when you can’t. Besides, if yarn has aged in the stash somewhat, it’s almost like shopping when you find hold it in your hands again.

Yarn cubbies!

Where the yarn lives.

One of my plans this year — before the moving insanity started — had been to have a dedicated space to store my yarn in. The move gave me that chance. One of the Expedits purchased at IKEA is dedicated to the stash, all now cataloged and photographed. Yarn occupies six cubbies while knitting books and patterns take up the remaining two. Finished objects and works in progress are stored elsewhere.

My husband looked at all this and asked, “So, exactly how much yarn do you have?”

“A little over one hundred and fifty colorways in various brands.”

“So, just over a hundred and fifty skeins, right?”

“Um, no. Some of the colorways have multiple skeins — but I’m pretty sure I have less than two hundred skeins.”

His eyes crossed at that point and I didn’t think it was a good idea to point out that, according to some of the profiles on Ravelry, I have a fairly small stash.

If you have yarn, do you have a specific place where your stash lives — are does it simply infest any odd corner of the house you have available for storage? If you don’t knit or crochet, what do you collect and where do you keep it?

Refilling the Well

Carousel Socks in Progress by Caro Kinkead

The writing’s been going well this week, but Saturday morning found me oddly out of sorts. Got up late and when I settled down to write, the mind wouldn’t focus and I found myself staring at the blinking cursor, my mind a complete bank.

Part of it was the fact the weather was steamy and, as Cole Porter so eloquently put it, too darn hot. But another part of it was the fact that I’d had a rough week at the day job and a couple of family things demanding attention while I’d kept up the writing. The mythical muse hadn’t gone on a quickie vacation to the Bahamas (or the much-cooler climes of Scotland); the plain, simple fact was that the well was dry at that moment.

Yes, a working writer needs to write even when you’re not in the mood and the words for the day haven’t been produced, but seeing as it was a Saturday, I took much of the day off, relaxed on the couch to help fight the headache that had arrived with the heat and knit. Turner Classics was running in the background (yesterday’s star was Freddie Bartholomew), and I allowed myself time to be lost in the pleasure of knitting. I’m currently working on a pair of Carousel Socks that are constructed by knitting a continuous strip, then adding the heel and the toe. The yarn is Picnic Blanket, with was one of the June Sock Yarnista Club choices from Three Irish Girls.

Now, I’ll confess that the June choices for the club didn’t thrill me at first and I picked this skein because the other one was way too pink cotton candy for me. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, figuring it would linger in my stash until I decided to offer it up for sale. Then I saw the Carousel pattern and knew it was perfect. What originally looked like a hot mess I wouldn’t ever want to use is slowly being shaped into something unique and interesting that will be a joy when it’s finished.

I was able to get words done yesterday, enough to fill my daily minimums, though hardly at the level I’d been managing during the week. I didn’t mind, though. Despite the lingering headache, I felt better because I’d taken that time to do something just for myself and just for the fun of it. It doesn’t matter what we’re trying to achieve in our lives, be it writing a novel, starting a new business, moving up the corporate ladder, creating a warm and loving home for our family, or whatever something else completely, there comes the moment when we have to stop, even if it’s just for a little while, and focus completely on ourselves. The better care you take of yourself, the more you make certain the creative/emotional well is filled, the better you’ll do in whatever your goal is.

How are you going to take care of yourself this week? What’s going to help you fill that well?

Monday Morning Bits and Pieces

Monday Morning Bits and Pieces

I always try to do goals on Monday mornings, get a handle on where I’m going for the week. Of late, my efforts have been…less than successful, so I’m going to try a slightly different approach and focus on three goals this week:

1) Decide what my NaNoWriMo project is and at least map beginning, middle, crisis and resolution. I’ve got several projects all going, “Ooh, shiny!” We’re a week out; time to make a decision and stick with it. The fun aspect of not being published or having a book under contract is you can write what you want, even if that means bouncing between projects and genres. The bad: easy to get distracted and not focus on any one thing.

2) Get the yarn that’s in bags sorted into containers. I ran out of bins for my current stash and had to buy some more yesterday. Plus, there’s more arriving today, the result of a much-needed application of retail therapy. (Remember, yarn does not go to your hips and stay there, nor give you cavities.) When I was one freezer bag over capacity, that was one thing. I’m now about six. Time to get the newer stuff into proper storage and maybe resort things as I’m now starting to get enough that I might want to sort into weights.

3) Finish one small story project that I’m racing to deadline on. I love the piece I’m doing and the end is so close I can almost taste it. Plus, it’s got to be off the decks so I can get started on NaNo prep.

Two television notes: If you did not catch the premiere of Sherlock last night on Masterpiece Theatre, carve out an hour and fifteen minutes and get thee to the website where you can watch the premiere episode online. It’s a modern updating of Holmes and Watson, putting them rather firmly down in London of the 21st century and it’s brilliantly engaging. The creators are Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, who have stripped away many of the artifacts we recognize as being “Holmes”, yet kept the central core of the characters so they really could not be anyone else. This was monster hit on the BBC this summer and Moffat can be a happy man: he’s also the current show runner on Doctor Who and enjoyed great success with that (even if he did cruelly murder a poor, innocent fez in the process).

The second came my way via Tom and Lorenzo of Project Rungay. Apparently, HBO is doing a five-part mini-series of James M. Cain’s Mildred Pierce, staring Kate Winslett. I’m a big fan of the classic Warner Bros. movie starring Joan Crawford and her shoulder pads, but the book is considerably different from the film for several reasons, the restrictions of the Hays Code being a big one. With five hours and those restrictions removed, this looks to be a new retelling of the story, especially as Veda’s original storyline has been restored. The trailer certainly looks lush, but I’m a sucker for these sorts of things.