The first pair of my Six Socks for 2021 are complete. I didn’t get them finished to wear for New Year, although I finished them during New Year’s Day so I’ve still technically got all year with only five more pairs to make. I thought I’d do some splendid kind of finished object photo shoot, but instead you’re just getting an “in action” shot (inaction shot?) of me lounging on my settee wearing the socks. They fit well, I’m happy, job done. You can jump to other posts about these socks with more details here and here.
I’ve been having some thoughts about yarn stashes whilst I’ve knitted. My own comfort level is with a small stash in my knitting cabinet, containing some inspiring splashes of colour and providing the materials to start a project on a whim should I so desire. If I go mad and start to acquire lots of yarn I don’t become more inspired, there is a level beyond which it becomes a conglomeration, a cacophony of colours that my brain starts baulk at. I don’t envy the walls of yarn that I see behind knitters on YouTube or in blog photographs, gorgeous though the yarn is. What it reminds me of is being in a yarn shop, there are odd skeins that draw my eye, that I covet, that’s natural, but overall I wouldn’t take home the majority of what I see. I love to visit a yarn shop, but I don’t want to live in one (I think many knitters might hold living in a yarn shop as a cherished dream). Right now, my yarn stash is at peak size. I’m considering some projects to use up the longer-hoarded yarns, projects like my Six Socks in 2021 and perhaps a bulky jumper using multiple colours held together. I am not aiming to reduce or eliminate my stash, just to keep a sense of yarns flowing in and flowing out, rather than sitting becalmed with no other purpose than to look pretty.
If challenged to put in a nutshell my feelings about a stash, I would say that I’d be sad to know I couldn’t possibly use up all the yarn I have; that other people would go through it one day in the future and send it to charity or, worse, put it in the bin. I’d prefer to have just enough to use now and enjoy.
In part, my yarn stash thoughts have been prompted by a series of YouTube videos I’ve been watching over the Christmas period. The Canadian channel called Curiosity Inc (links at the foot of this page) have a series of posts related to the purchase of the entire contents of a “hoarder house” and the clearing out so that the property’s owner could begin renovations. As it developed, I became fascinated by the life story of the family who had lived in the house and by the slow transition that must have gone on between normality and the extreme clutter left when the remaining occupant died. There is always something rather voyeuristic about watching this type of content and it is easy to presume that hoarders are a breed apart, that the piling up of possessions is a result of some inbuilt tendency that we do not share. We watch and we think “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” However, this series has brought home to me that there is just one short step between normal possessions and a hoarde and any of us may cross the brink at any time.
I am not suggesting that all possessions are bad or that minimalism is good, each of us has our own comfort level and I think it’s right and proper that we live within our own range of comfort. Nor am I taking you along the route of extreme organisation with everything regimented, labelled, and listed. However, I think as we get older we should work on fundamental organisation, that attitude of “a place for everything, and everything in its place”. I know from experience what pleasure I get from being able to easily put my hand on what I need because there’s a natural place for it. I can also admit how frustrated I become when I know I have something but I don’t know where to start looking for it. I want more of the pleasure and less of the frustration.
This leads me to my one big resolution for 2021: by the end of this year I want to know where everything is.
To get to this goal, I’m going to have to look at everything in my flat, not with an eye to purging but in order to rationalise where things are and which things should live together. I am going to have to question some things, such as the logic of having computer cables and connectors I use very occasionally in one place, but those I use slightly more rarely in a totally different room. As I go through the things I own, I’m going to engage my logic and find the most sensible places for my various enthusiasms. I want to eliminate the scattered thinking that results in such things as a random craft project spending a year in my hairdryer box.
Whilst I am quite good at dealing with the things which have a proper home or a set routine by which I attend to them, I know my big downfall is just ignoring the things that I’m not sure about. Since I don’t become more sure about these things the longer they sit, and I’ve found with my craft projects the past month or so that coming to any decision is better than coming to no decision at all, my tendency to allocate some items to a ‘do later’ area in my mind is counter-productive. There is a value to having an actual physical area set aside for things that really need more thought, but it should be one area, it should be limited in size, and it should be emptied regularly. I am sure that I will unearth a lot of little caches of “pondering” as I go through my belongings; things that I stopped pondering about the moment I set them wherever they are residing and won’t ponder again until I force myself to confront them. That’s good. That means as I go through the year I’m going to have lots of opportunities to decide whether I want those things in my life.
I know I will always have moments of wandering around unsure of where I put my glasses or my watch, but I want that to be set against a background of certainty about the vast majority of the items in my life.
You can visit Curiosity Inc’s website here – they have links to their YouTube channel and other social media.