Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kinda Sorta Fresh Start

Hi Knitters,
It has been one painful process to basically pull everything last thing out of the majority of our house and store it in boxes and bins in the garage, other rooms and the basement. That's not fun. However, the worst part is to reorganize, pitch, donate and determine what to save out of the stuff our family of six has collected over the last 20 years. This is the part that is most difficult for me. At times I am at a complete loss as to what to do with precious items that we really don't have room for but that I can't let go. I am talking about things like artwork, stories and all sorts of creations, photos of sports teams, cherished toys and childhood stuff in general. I don't know if anyone will want any of that in the future but I struggle getting rid of it. It's tough.

On a positive note, I have been finding and rediscovering lots and lots of fun things along the way. For example, the project above is a simple stockinette stitch shawl I started many years ago. It is made with Blue Sky Alpacas sport weight. I should finish this up as it is really lovely and mindless knitting. I think I'll bring it along to a soccer game this afternoon. I have found unfinished mittens, sweaters, scarves, hats and socks. Yes, those are all plural. I just need a little more time in the day. That's all.

The funniest thing about all of the unrest and chaos the house renovation has caused has been putting my old, heavily used (okay, downright junky) stuff back into the fresh and new rooms. It seems right and wrong at the same time, maybe more wrong than right. So it's a kinda, sorta fresh start for our family. What are you going do? I say embrace what you've got, right?

Anyhoo, I have had lots of requests for more photos of the renovation and I will do that. I want to wait until I have things back in place and until the house is actually finished. The kitchen is turning out better than I imagined. I have some tile on order from an awesome Madison tile store called, Tile Art on Monroe Street. The owner focuses on working as green as possible and uses materials produced locally and in the United States. I like that.

The tile I picked for the back splash is going to be so cool. It is stone and the rectangular pieces are long-ish, 6 inches or so and skinny (about 1.5 inches wide). It is in variegated shades of light green called, Ming Green. The grout is going to be a light gray. Yum. The tile will be the finishing touch for the kitchen project. Can't wait for that. Yeah, can't wait. It's like putting the frosting on the cake.

I still have workers at my house everyday from early morning to the late afternoon or beyond. This has been going on since mid-July and there is still much to be done. Progress is being made, sometimes at a snail's pace and sometimes quick as lightening. It just depends on the day. I am ready for it to be completed and to have some serious alone time. Peace and quiet are calling my name. Loudly.
Now, my sister and I started our basic quilting class last week at The Stitcher's Crossing. I am so glad my sister is there with me because she makes me laugh. I need that. The class is three hours long and meets three times total, once a week. My sister was concerned about going for three hours without eating. See, it makes me laugh just writing that. She is a snacker or a grazer, eating little amounts all throughout the day. Me? I just eat something to fill up a bit and then I don't think about eating again for a really long time.

During the class she definitely needed her snack break. She was starting to act a bit drained about mid-class so I actually had to remind her to stop and eat something. She snapped right back into action after her snack time. So funny! She's just like a little kid. We had a good time at our first class and we have a cutting fabric assignment for next week. I'll take some photos to share of our projects once we get going a bit more.
New topic, Alison Stewart-Guinee was kind enough to send me a copy of her new book, Fairy Tale Knits. I was touched that she wanted me to have a copy. Thank you, Alison. The book is adorable and there is a wide variety of projects for kids including lots of sweaters and accessories. Some of them are easy and some are more challenging. There is something for everyone. There are pirates, queens, mermaids and fairies along the way.

I adore the cover shot. It sets the mood for the book. The book is put together in a fairy tale-like way, of course. The binding and the pages and the feel in general give the feeling of an old-fashioned storybook. Love that.
This is my favorite project in the book. It is a crown hat that you can make with the hat underneath the crown or you can just make the crown part separately. Check out Alison's book if you are feeling like taking a wonderful storybook adventure with your knitting. Congratulations to Alison!

Take care, everyone.
best, susie


allison saunders said...

I am experiencing a smaller home renovation project but am facing the same "what do I do with all this stuff" dilemma. One thing I have figured out that I thought you'd like to know about. I came across a stash of knit projects that my teenage daughter and I have completed, but not gifted. Mostly small things like hats, scarves, toddler socks and slippers, etc. My mother lives in an assisted living facility and in November they have a holiday craft sale. The proceeds are used to sponsor families that need help at the holidays. So, all of our knit projects will go there. The good news is that we are also donating "stuff" that just doesn't seem to have a home here any longer. I can't think of a better use for lovely things we just don't need.

Sarah said...

I feel your pain at having to weed out treasures! My two boys love to draw, and all their drawings are so silly and sweet that I hate to throw away any, but I'm knee-deep in them! I'd rather give away things I really need than get rid of their sweet treasures!

I hope your reno finishes on time, and that you get that peace and quiet soon!!

Trisha said...

Congrats on taking on quilting! Be careful, you might end up like me where they both fight for your attention!

Anonymous said...

Watch the show Clean Sweep or talk to Peter(can't remember his last name right now!)from the show...he also has a book. Lots of great ideas for storing or what to do with the "treasures". One idea is take a picture of the art work and create a photo album! (like on snapfish) Have fun!

Sarah Dedmon said...

Oh do save a box of treasures for each of your children. If not for them, for their spouses or own someday! I just loved seeing bits about my parents from before they were parents. Joyce Maynard had a wonderful article in Oprah a few years back about one Christmas where she gave each of her children a giant memory book, full of those scraps of their childhoods. She didn't give them anything else, and they loved it. Worth a google to read.

Just a comment from the Pack Rat's Peanut Gallery.

Anonymous said...

As far as sewing goes, I wonder if you ever came across a website called "" - I cannot believe the wealth of incredible projects with *full* explanations... Worth checking!

Sandee said...

I just checked out

And it is indeed amazing! Thanks to Anonymous for sharing that link.

Alison said...

Oh, that book looks darling!

christine m. in canada said...

hi susan. i was reading the part about you having trouble parting with things you know you should let go of, but just van't... a solution i have found is to photograph things like toys etc and to scan images of drawings and artwork etc into your computer which can then be printed and put into a scrapboo or framed or some other artistic solution. lastly, you can always make a video of these items and even have the kids or others to whom the items meant something, narrate a little story about the various things. just a few ideas to save the memories without the clutter!

Anonymous said...

Ah yes the old "my stuff has to go to a good home" problem. Having moved many times I can tell you it's never easy. I do research lots of places to give things away...I, sigh, prefer to know whom it's going to, or at least that it has a chance to be as used and appreciated by someone else as it was by us. Many charities can use certain things, but can be picky about the condition.

Ask around...sometimes friends know of a person who could use it well, or they grab it up themselves. I've taken things to knitting groups in the trunk of my car and if things are still left over I drive them to a Salvation Army pick-up point, as they take 'almost' anything.

Except for that old but fully functional wonderful Scandinavian leather chair that just needed the wooden arms fixing? That had defeated me. I couldn't just throw it away and it sat in the corner of my front room, waaay too long...oh yeah,

Upcycle anything you can - often a little internet research helps with that.

Good Luck! Perhaps by now you have found good homes for all your loved items.