Sunday, November 29, 2015

The End of the Year Inventory Begins.

Something about the end of the year, and shopping and cleaning and getting ready for the holidays, puts me in a mood to take inventory of my life. Am I happy, am I on the right track, am I ever going to finish cleaning up the office/guest room? Stuff like that. It's also an inventory of stuff.
I still have a lot of it, and much of it isn't being used, because it's stuff that belongs to Things I Never Got Around To Doing.

When I clean out a closet and find yarn, beads, whatever, it is tangible evidence of things I used to enjoy that I don't do anymore, and I'm not sure why. I can come up with any number of plausible excuse-planations, the old standard has been the demanding job leaves me too tired after work, and for a long time Murphy's illness was a wonderful catch-all excuse for not having time for much else. That was legit, mostly; I suddenly have a lot more free time in the evenings now that I'm not preparing special diets and administering meds (though this week Sophie required a trip to the doctor) and cleaning up after him. My job, too, is no longer as draining/exhausting; I have a shorter commute and less stress, and it is no longer a valid excuse for my behavior.

I've been nibbling away at the evidence of failed hobbies past. I gave my daughter my sewing machine, so it can sit in her closet and mock HER for a while. I've inventoried the yarn stash and found yarn I'd forgotten I owned. I've made a mental list of ways to use most of the stash, and unearthed sweaters that have been languishing without sleeves for years that I otherwise still like very much. I found two unblocked shawls I'd knit and of course swore I'd get around to blocking "one of these days." And sock yarn. I have enough sock yarn for several pair of socks. I live in Florida. It's the weekend after Thanksgiving and we are still wearing shorts and flip flops. Not a lot of call for handknit socks in this latitude. I still have the 8 or 10 pairs I knit years ago when sock knitting was a big thing. I wear one pair maybe once or twice each winter, six times if I visit the mountains when it's cold, and they all look almost like new. At this rate of wear, the original inventory of handknit socks quite possibly could last the rest of my life, and if not, I can always make more. But right now I'm browsing Ravelry for ways to repurpose sock yarn.

For me, the lure of the possiblities has always far exceeded the execution. I am seduced by the raw materials, and get a genuine high off buying beads, yarn, colored pencils and yoga pants - then I get "busy" and don't use them. We could analyze all day about why this is - is it because I'm a perfectionist who knows my creative efforts will never live up to the artistic talents of the world of Pinterest and Instagram? Maybe. Is it because I'm inherently lazy as shit and would rather come home from work and pour a glass or three of wine and read Facebook? Yeah, I think that's probably the crux of the matter.

So, my mission for 2016 is to confront my own lazy habits and excuses. It would be a good start to use all the raw materials I already own and still love. I used to make jewelry, once upon a time. I have beads and wires and findings and tools in a plastic tub I've carried around with me for years (it's a small tub, like shoebox size, not yarn stash size). I have a well-lit dining room table that mostly serves as a place to pile junk mail. I of course have yarn. I even have a very nice little rigid heddle loom on the floor of the office closet, neatly packed in its pretty carrying bag, which is covered in a layer of dust. I've been "too busy" (insert sound of wine cork popping here) to use it for years, because warping a loom is such a pain and blah blah blah.

So a portion of my inventory/self assessment was an eye-opener. No more excuses, it's time to get to it, or get rid of it. Here's to a creative and productive 2016.


Anonymous said...

I have come to the realization that I simply like the making of things, not necessarily having the things I've made. I have 2 needlepoint projects I've carted around for 40 years. And i just finished one up and started on the last part of the second one. I dont
really care about the things themselves, but I like making them. And I feel good about finally finishing these things! And there is stuff I wish I hadnt gotten rid of when I moved. Ah well. Check out the Barn Raising blankets on Ravelry for sock yarn. If I had enough Koigu I would tackle that.

Catherine said...

Id wish I had enough for a blanket, but I don't. I do have enough Koigu for a couple of shawls. I found Lala's Simple Shawl, which will use it nicely and make a "stuff in a bag for a cool night" useful thing. I also like the making of things, and am not that attached to them once they are done. If they are actually useful that's a bonus!

KatyaR said...

I've definitely found that since I've reorganized my supplies this summer and rearranged my room, I am much more eager to actually create something. I, too, have WAY too much stuff, but I think it just goes with having that emotional attachment to color and fiber and texture. There's never enough!

Vero said...

Hi Catherine!
I'm new to your blog, and reading this post, I could have written the part about your stash and the reasons for buying materials and later on not using them, or so it seems! It could have been me!
So I will join you in your quest for a more creative and productive 2016. Here, here.