I hate tidying up, and I am no real fan of cleaning.  This has proved to be a minor source of drama in my life, because I like things tidy and clean.  I feel like if you don’t mind cleaning, you sort of do it as you go along, and if you’re me, and you want to live in a shining and organized home but really hate getting there, then you sort of do it in bursts, breaking out the vacuum and the dust rags, or tipping out a closet when you can’t stand it a minute longer. Something happens, it crosses my personal threshold and I have to clean it.  In my experience, this tip over the edge is usually accompanied by some feelings of resentment and anger towards the other people who live with you who don’t seem to have a personal threshold for dirt or mess and would simply wallow in their own filth forever, like a barnyard animal who doesn’t even have a closet to put things into.  (How many feelings of rage you have while cleaning is, and should be, related to how many young, strong, beautiful human beings who are depending on your for support are lying on the couch asking you how much longer you’re running the vacuum for because they can’t really hear the stereo. By the time they were grown my girls used to leap to their feet when they saw a dustrag in my hand.)  Now that only one of my kids really still messes up the house, I’ve learned a few things, like that a lot more of the mess belongs to Joe than he would have had me believe, and while I knew he was paying the children to clean so he wouldn’t have to, didn’t quite believe he had managed to cover for him completely – which he apparently did. 

The upshot is that I like things tidy, and while I hear legends whispered of people who find fulfillment and happiness in cleaning, not a single one of them lives here, and so I have to have strategies to keep the house in something close to a state I can live with, without cleaning all the time.  The answer to this has been to try and have very little stuff.  The more stuff we have, the more cluttered things are, the harder it is to manage our stuff.  Dusting is easy if there’s nothing on the table.  Washing the floor is easier if you don’t have stuff thrown all over it – and for this family, the only way to keep things off the table and the floor is to not own a lot.  People can’t throw eight weeks of laundry on their bedroom floor if they don’t have eight weeks of clothes.  This has worked really, really well for us over the years.  Every time I feel like the house is out of control, I know what’s wrong – we have too much stuff, and some has to go.   I watch three or four episodes of Hoarders to get myself in the mood, and off I go.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking "Big talk from the lady with yarn everywhere.  What’re you doing about that, Queen-tidy-pants?" and to you I say that the stash is mostly under control.  I have rules, and I check in with them every so often so that the stash doesn’t turn into something that gets me on TV.  Rule #1 is that if I don’t love it, it can’t stay.  That rule means that if a skein of yarn accidentally shows up in my house because someone gave me a bag of stuff that used to be their mums, or I realize that something I bought three years ago really isn’t anything I love anymore – or even if I try a yarn and don’t like it – it and all its mates hit the donate pile. I don’t keep yarn I don’t love.  I don’t try and figure out how to make it useful, I don’t keep it because some day it might come in handy… I give it away to someone who will find it useful and does love it so that it might brightly flower into its glorious destiny – rather than rot away in the back of my closet. 

Rule #2 is absolute. If it can’t fit, it can’t stay.  Over the years I have created several stash containments zones.  I have the stash room upstairs, I have the built in closet in my office, and a few other spots like baskets and bins.  This is where stash must go.  Stash cannot go other places, or soon you’re like that lady in Hoarders who was just going to put a few extra canned goods under her son’s bed and now the kid’s sleeping in the bathtub clutching a mangy towel and crying at night.  (I like to think of that show as what’s keeping me scared straight. One episode and I’m upstairs getting rid of all the old toothbrushes screaming "THIS IS WHERE IT STARTS.")  My point is that I’ve got ample space for stash. Lots. The textile arts are important to me, I earn part of my living at it, and it’s only reasonable that I have a space dedicated to managing the accoutrements of my craft.  If I was a carpenter, you would expect me to have a big workshop all full of the stuff that I used. You wouldn’t expect me to have boards and saws all over the house, and that’s the rule here.  Stash stays in the stash zone, and if stash is leaking out of the stash zone, then something must be done.

People. Stash is leaking out of the stash zone.  In specific, the spinning stash has gotten out of containment area 1, and after having made incursions into the temporary holding zones, it has now seeped further into common living space.  I told myself that the 4 batts I made with Judith were too beautiful to put away, and that’s why I was keeping them on the bookshelf outside the bathroom, but that’s not what happened.  There was no room for them in the spinning bins, and the spinning bins already had bags stacked on them, which is a violation of containment rules. (Holding areas outside of containment zones can only be temporary, like when you buy something that will fit, but you didn’t put it away yet. Like that.) Then Tina bought me four big batts at Madrona – I wasn’t going to buy anything because I knew I was in trouble, but Tina saw them (I wasn’t looking, that’s what saved me) and the next thing I knew she’d bought them as a present, which was so sweet, but really- it was about 400g (almost a pound) more fibre coming into the house.  Then, just to prove that there’s something wrong with me, as I was standing there looking at those batts thinking "I love them, but where will I put them" when Judith offered me fleece and I was like "HIT ME."

So now here I am, with a spinning stash problem of a fairly decent size, and I only have a few options.  I can go through the spinning stash and get rid of some things, which frankly isn’t going to happen because I love it all, or I can use some of it up, turn it into yarn and give it away so that the stash fits again. You can bet which one I’m running with.  I’m going to go on a sprint and move all the fibre I can through this house until it fits.  That BFL the other day was a nice start, but the four batts I made and the four Tina bought me and the fleece from Judith still don’t fit, so off I go.  The first thing down the chute: The batts Tina bought me at Madrona.  I don’t know where she got them (I’m not sure she knows where she got them. Blasted wool fumes, maybe someone will recognize them.) The first one was a beautiful yellowish wool batt, with locks of mohair thrown in for interest, and what looks to me like little shots of silk here and there.

This kind of batt can’t make a really smooth yarn, so I’m absolved from trying.  The singles were beautiful,

and I love the 2-ply I ended up with. It’s got Denny’s name on it I think.  I love the colours – but the texture’s sort of whacky, and I feel like it is calling Denny’s name into the air.

I turned to the other two batts in the bag then, and I think these sister ske
ins might be Denny’s too. 

These batts were mostly brown/burgundy/red, and had the same little chunks of mohair locks throughout.  Very fetching.  

I’ll ply later, those singles need to rest.  Next up, at least two of the batts outside the bathroom door.  Then a few more goodies from deeper layers of the stash. Then maybe a few spinning things I’ve been hiding in the yarn stash can go where they’re supposed to, which might actually mean that all the yarn would fit, which might free up shelf space for the books that are spilling into the kitchen, and then the whole stash will be under my total control.
I bet that’s exactly what’s going to happen.  I’ll spin four things and the house will be clean.  Also, my tiny yarn elves will clear up the mess that the magazines are in, and their trusty wee unicorn steeds will clear up the bags of yarn we’re pretending aren’t in the office, right before the fairies make a rainbow bridge to the button box, and clear all the buttons out of my office, complete all my paperwork, and leave only happiness and sparkles in their wake. 

You bet.


More housekeeping:

I’m speaking in Shreveport this Saturday.  (Shreveport, I was very excited to learn, is in Louisiana, which I very much enjoyed the last time I was there.)  I told twitter I was talking on Friday, which was a total lie.  The correct info is here

The Sock Camp tee-shirt contest ends today. You can go here to vote if you would like to, and please only vote once per knitter. At  the end of today we’ll turn off comments, address the job of counting the votes and on the 14th we’ll announce the winner.  It’s turned out (like everything Sock Camp related) to be way better than I dreamed it.  You’ll love the designs.

I’ve been asked a bunch of questions about Sock Camp (apparently there’s some confusion about what it might be, which is weird, I mean Sock Camp is such a NORMAL idea that you’d think it would take no explanation.)  So I’m working on a quick Q&A.  I hope it answers your questions, and those of your extended family who heard about it and now think knitters are weirder than ever, which we’re totally not.  We’ve been this weird all along.

Also, I totally finished the thrummed mittens, and now I just have to pressure Sam into modeling them for me.  I’m sure that won’t be at all tricky.

I gotta go spin now.  Wouldn’t want to let the elves down by not doing my part.

121 thoughts on “Housekeeping

  1. Holy cow! You’re spinning the Judith Batts?!?! That’s going to be amazing to see. They are already a work of art in raw fiber form. I can’t wait to see how they are as yarn.

  2. I blame the three cats and the dog for things not being tidy. And the teen who shows up occasionally from university for the weekend, and brings MORE stuff. I am dreading when she has to clean out her residence in six weeks, and it ALL COMES HOME. I may need one of those pods on the driveway…..

  3. Wow! almost first!
    The yarn is very pretty, but not my cup of tea, either. Wish I could Spin…sigh.

  4. Currently I am having the very same situation, on a smaller scale, but with a baby, 5 year old, husband, cat, two guinea pigs, and yarn in a two bedroom apartment, it isn’t fitting, My husband has banned me from any more needle purchases, which I say frees me up for more yarn!
    By the way, I completed my first sock, it was for the baby, but hey, at least I get it now, thanks to your post about afterthought heels and you first book, Thanks!
    Shreveport, that isn’t that far away, just about 5 hours….

  5. I’m a nurse and COULD recommend a few good Doctors for you problem BUT………they haven’t really helped me and I have much the same problem give or take a few skiens

  6. Wait, you couldn’t have put any fiber in the piano to clear up a bit of space? Or the gravy boat? Or the freezer, or down the sleeves of winter coats? Well, I guess you’re using the coats at the moment. 🙂 When the yarn elves get done at your house, could you please, oh please, send them my way?!

  7. (Sigh………..I can’t imagine what you’re talking about……….he he! Every once in awhile I spot a good-looking basket in the thrift store, and then some of the yarn moves into it “to look pretty and domestic”. But the original storage, that once held fabric for quilts, (which I’ve finally nearly totally donated to those who love it), immediately filled up with YARN. You’re going to guilt me into a reconaissance mission—-re-prioritize and de-clutter! Thanks, YH!

  8. I hear ya’ LOUD’n clear on the housework sister…& I don’t have the ‘spinning’ stash excuse!!! Sighhh…I wish my name was “Denny”…’cause those skeins are absolutely beautiful…(:

  9. My husband is a jeweler so we came up with the bin limit: one big plastic (only god knows how big, but big) bin each to hold our stuff. We bypassed that limit at about the same time…..increased to two bins, etc. Now we each have a room. That ought to do it. Except my room is bigger…..I wonder where the new, bigger house will be?

  10. What are your thoughts on getting rid of “excess” children’s toys to make room for stash? I’m asking for a friend (me).

  11. I have a room for stash. The problem is that the stash is in a room with no light. I can’t get in, because right now, there is broken glass on the floor. Spring is coming, and I will need to organize my stash room….so that I can fit in the stash on the tables, the stash by my chair and the stash WALL in the bedroom, and the stash in the backseat of the car…oh, yeah. I think I’ve done my bit for the fiber community, with no desire to get rid of any of it. I’ll be retiring soon!

  12. I need to start with some of those rules. In the last 2 years my stash went from manageable to pretty insane. I don’t have spinning to blame either. It is just almost always easier to get new yarn for a project with the inspiration hits than to dig through the stash for a yarn that matches the images in my head. Stupid head.

  13. I was at my knitting group last Monday and trying to explain to them that my stash is partly here (in a nice little cubby under my bedside table) and mostly in Idaho from whence I moved last April to my current home here on the SouthSide of Chicago. This includes my roving and drop spindle, and all my mercerized cotton, wool for various projects, and other various yarns I had acquired. However, for some unknown reason, I brought my swift and my ball-winder with me, along with my sock yarn, and now I have no idea why I chose to bring all that but left the stash there.. It is really crazy to have two stashes on two different sides of the country, and makes stash containment a confusing process. So, I feel your pain. Unfortunately, my knitting group thought it was pretty funny. After thinking about it for a minute (and remembering that I brought my quilting pieces, rotary cutter and cutting mat with me, but left the sewing machine with the rest of my stuff in Idaho to be retrieved whenever I have the money to get back there, and who knows when that will be), I had to laugh with them. Good luck with the housekeeping!

  14. My husband and I smile when we remember the house used to house 3 kids and 2 adults, now it is just us and the four dogs, cats etc…but all the closets are full. Yes, mostly it is mine. Yarn, fiber and fabric. I remind him daily he has a workshop as large as the house for his “tools.”

  15. What about the bottom of the piano?
    Also, I feel bound by my unspoken understanding with the rest of the commenters to whisper ‘gansey wool’ very gently in the direction of the burgeoning fleece stash.
    There. Done.

  16. Would you be willing to hold a contest or giveaway for some of those beautiful yarns you need to get out of the house??? Perhaps raffle them off at a buck a chance and then you could buy another bookcase, or closet organizer system, or rent a storage unit. Lol!

  17. Good for you for taking control! We have always lived in old, tiny houses with too many books (never mind the yarn) and hardly any closets. I have the same rule about books–if new ones come in, then old ones must go out. Not so hard as it used to be now that so much is available electronically. Too bad you can’t get yarn that way.

  18. My yarn and fabric stashes are in order, it’s the rest of the joint that’s in chaos. Durwood doesn’t see dirt OR clutter (he does grocery shop, cook, and clean up, so I forgive him) so it’s up to me to make the tidy around here. I’m taking baby steps, planning to touch every part of the house by the end of 2012, by dedicating one day per week to clearing out a section the width of my outstretched arms. I can face doing it one day a week, it’s not too big a job that way.
    Gansey wool. Just saying.

  19. Funny you should bring up stash. My husband led me to keeping my stash in bins also (he purchased them). I’ve got bins, bins on wheels… yarn and fiber in bins. Bins in a closet..then bins beneath my desk…then bins in the living room because i’m using them…Then very recently this very topic was discussed at one our spinning guild meetings. The consensus was to keep some stash around for inspiration. This consensus has caused my husbands eye to begin to twitch. I guess i’ll have to revisit the stash…

  20. I was laughing out loud when I got to the “queen-tidy-pants” part because it was exactly what I was thinking… I just had one of those cleaning things (because i looked around and thought the Health Dept. might be interested) and spent a day on each room until I had them all “clean”. The experience was over-rated and the “clean” part lasted about 3 days. I’m back to the “slicking up” mode. Enjoy your spinning. I truly wish I could spin as fast (and beautifully) as you do. Perhaps more practice….lol

  21. What beautiful yarn! I think this might be something unique to fiber stashes vs. yarn stashes. I seem to have no trouble keeping the yarn under control…
    …but I have nearly as much fiber as yarn, despite the fact that I don’t spin yet. I blame Kellee, her named fleeces, and her fierce desire to have everyone else in the world spinning along with her. 🙂

  22. So it might be time for me to off load the Elsebeth Lanvold Silky Wool I bought years ago to someone else? You see I was trying to “bulk it up” with a sport weight or dk weight yarn, which means buying more yarn to stash. I have a room and walk in closet full of yarn and lately, shhhh I have wanted to trash it all.
    no I will not tell you where I live.

  23. Your remark about how you feel after watching Hoarders is right on. “This is how it starts!”
    I watched Back-to-Back episodes once and felt deeply disturbed. I cleaned out my craft area and gave away over 30 bits of yarn from my stash.

  24. Those sparkles are hell to get out of the woodwork. I’d stomp on those wee unicorns scuttling by, if I were you.

  25. I totally get the carpenter tool analogy. We fiber folks need our ‘work’ area! So when the fairies, elves and unicorns have finished at your place, could you send them on over? My ‘work’ has infringed upon the ‘home’ area, too!

  26. It’s amazing what watching an episode or two of Hoarders can do, isn’t it? Every time I watch one, I end up in tears, because while my home is kind of scary, I would be THRILLED if someone would come along and take it all away (except the yarn… they can’t have that). I have two kids and two cats in a small, 3-bedroom apartment, and I don’t have any of those super-cleaner neat freaks living with me either *sigh*
    My stash rules are … um… very lax. I have stash everywhere. I’m working on getting it all into two containment areas (a wall unit in my back room with clear plastic bins, and two dressers in my bedroom which hold ziploc bags of yarn). In the interests of fitting things into these two areas, 2012 is the year of the stash-down. I have made a small dent so far, and I’m hoping to continue making dents as I go, because it’s fun to rediscover yarns you’d forgotten you loved and because many people in my circle of friends/family are benefitting from it!
    Spring cleaning fever has hit though, and I want to make a huge dent in the tidiness of my home. Value Village will be receiving MANY boxes from us in the near future. (including dishes I’ve been replacing, but not throwing the old ones out!)

  27. I love your spinning posts. That’s how I finally fell down the rabbit hole of spinning. Which means another stash. But only 2 wheels so far (unless you count the charkha, which fits on the bookshelf).

  28. I once heard an interview with the Hoarders clean-up guy and the interviewer asked him what’s the most common thing for people to hoard? Without missing a beat, he said, “Craft supplies. Mostly yarn.” Ruh-roh.

  29. i have finished sorting though the stash in my bedroom and gave away 1 large (leaf size) bag of yarn i am no longer in love etc. now i have to tackle the yarn on the back porch. i have a small house and can’t allow the stash to take over. plus i went to Stitches West a few weeks ago and had to make room for the “new stuff”. 🙂

  30. Have you tried using the “Space bags” where you vacuum out the extra air for your batts and fleeces to reduce the storage space needed? I resorted to that when my stash overcame the space required.

  31. When I have new knitter/sewer friends, I invite them to my house to go yarn/fabric shopping. Only thing different is that it is FREE. Usually, they go out the door with 2 grocery bags full, or more. I do not save my favs for myself(yeah, favorites that I have had for say 5 years) and they leave happy. Even so, the stash never seems to take less space. Need more friends I guess. Loved the post!

  32. I love, love, the gold and the mohair! Very generous of you to gift Denny with all that yarn. Does she have a big house? I am cleaning today too, since my visiting daughter has gone back to her apartment, and my husband has gone to the cottage. It’s a great time to throw out stuff.

  33. I have a spinning basket that is supposed to hold all of my fiber, and then I got a free, HUGE bag of colored merino from a friend. And since so much of it is colors that might burn one’s eyeballs if stared at for too long, I have started to blend my own batts. I ended up giving a lot of batts away before I figured out that I could bag the majority of my blends in their yet unblended state, in little piles that are each meant to be one batt. So I’ll work on the first and not blend each subsequent bit until the first batt is spun. It helps a LOT with my space issue. The batts take up WAY more room than the unblended fiber bits they start as!

  34. We are in the midst of home upgrades (insulation, who knew it would make such a difference in a Nova Scotian home? Jeebus) and this has led to a generalized house purge. It’s freeing and anxiety producing all at once.

  35. This is funny because my older daughter is moving home and I had to clean out my craftroom (because it will be her bedroom for the next ???) and everything is now in bins and stacked in my bedroom and I was like, “Holy Cow” I have a lot of fiber to spin. So worked my way through half the pound of Ramboullet top and have decided which one is next on the wheel. I have to do this, or it will fall over on me one night while I am sleeping and no one will find me for months and that’s no way to treat really nice spinning fiber…

  36. So where did you get the tiny yarn elves, and do they have relatives in Wisconsin?

  37. I cannot believe how much easier it is to keep my house clean now that my kids are grown and moved.

  38. Have I told you that I’ve been thinking of changing my name to Denny? Yep, ever since I saw those second batts… now to engineer introductions before the real Denny shows up….
    Oh, the pictures are awesome! I’m sad that I didn’t get one submitted in time but see some people that have very similar ideas to mine – and much better executed!
    Oh, and my husband and I frequently will reply, when the other is being a little too ‘rose colored glasses’ with “and unicorns fart rainbows and cotton candy.” I’ll send the unicorns over to help the elves out.

  39. I’m glad it’s not just me that cleans like that! I only have a husband and 7 year old daughter to blame for the dust in our house, I haven’t yet found anyone to take the rap for leaving knitting mags and yarn all over the place…. I think its hilariously frustrating though that they feel they can comment on the dust without doing anything about it!

  40. Okay, now I want to know if Denny has a blog–I’d really love to see these knit up. Gorgeous! And now I want to go yarn shopping, which I totally have no justification for doing…!

  41. spinning isn’t knitting, right? Not the same skill set, materials, or equipment (eventual connection notwithstanding). Then why would it have to fit in the containment area set aside for knitting supplies? You clearly need a spinning stash space with it’s own separate boundaries, commensurate with the prominent space that spinning seems to be taking in your life. I am ignoring the laws of physics that impose constraints on locating extra dimensions within your house to house the spinning stash, but that is just a detail.

  42. You are a spinning machine woman!! I’m always so incredibly impressed by how much you churn out. I can understand knitting a little more–take knitting with you, but you must have amazingly speedy treadling.
    I need to bind myself to similar rules, for lo my stash is way out of hand and seriously, I’m getting kind of tired of feeling like it’s in charge of me.
    Maybe a little yarn sale will be in my future.

  43. I often dream that either Andrew or I suddenly become obsessed with cleaning and cooking. Actually, I dream ANDREW becomes obsessed, so he can do the things I don’t want to do while I sit on the couch and knit. So far, this hasn’t worked, and I fear he’s been having the same dreams about me for the past 12 years.

  44. I really think I need to learn to spin. It looks like magic to me!
    Also, “We’ve been this weird all along.” To that I say “Ha!” and “Amen!”

  45. I am with you on all housekeeping points EXCEPT for the 8-weeks worth of clothes thing. Every time I start a new book/sign a new contract, I go out and buy extra socks/underwear for everyone in the household. When I’m writing, and I don’t have TIME to run loads of laundry all of the time – I need backup, and I need it to live in the drawers. So that’s my theory – the more clothes are in possession of a person, the longer it takes them to get them all dirty, = longer intervals between laundry loads. So far, have had success.

  46. Sort of a Tour de Fleece in March? Don’t give yourself a leg cramp! P.S. Lisa H. @ 3:37pm: Denny is a very good female friend of Stephanie’s, who is wildly talented @ making various things into something beautiful. P.P.S. GANSEY!!

  47. When I first told my daughter I was watching Hoarders, she was afraid I was just getting new ideas! But it acts the same way on me as it does on you–makes me want to go unclutter some area of the house and GET RID OF IT! Anyone in the Chicago area who has yarn looking for a new home can take it to Loopy Yarns. They collect for a woman who teaches inmates to knit in a local women’s prison.

  48. Just don’t forget to feed the elves, unicorns and fairies or they will revolt, and you don’t want to know what kind of mess THAT makes.

  49. When you’re done with your excess stash, would you come to my place and help me spin mine? I’ll promise lasagna, red wine, and a visit to my friend’s new Shetland lambs, OK?

  50. Interested in hearing the best idea for keeping dished done? Every person has ONE dish. You know the kind that can be a shallow bowl, or double as a plate? Make a mark on the bottom so everyone knows to whom it belongs and get rid of all other dishes besides fancy stuff for special occassions, if you want. If you want to eat, use your dish. When you’re done, wash it and put it away. If you don’t, you’ll have to scrape crusted on food off later when you are hungry. Also, we keep no more than one week’s worth of clothes. And it is a cardinal sin to wash a partial load. If someone wants something clean, they must wash it with a full load. This frees up loads of time for knitting.

  51. Clearly, you just have to add another (really large) room to your house. Simple.

  52. Oh, and then there’s a shoe containment issue. Which is absurd since I’ve retired and don’t need more shoes.
    “Hoarders” makes me itch. *Then* I get up and clean a drawer or add a garment to the Goodwill pile. And recently I’ve had to clean out an elder relative’s home after she passed away. Makes one think about what wants to leave behind…

  53. Don’t except too much from those elves of whom you speak. There is a rather long waiting list for them. I myself have been waiting for years. Just helping you manage expectations so you won’t be disappointed if they don’t arrive on your first…or one-hundred-and-first, call.

  54. Hmm… wondering if you love the Gansey.
    Or perhaps, the elves and unicorns are busy there.

  55. With only one daughter still living at home, isn’t there an extra bedroom now, that can be turned into a stash room?

  56. my grown son owes me money he can’t repay right now. so he is about to become my cleaning “lady” again!! i’ll knock $10 off his debt for each hour of cleaning — maybe extra for the carpet in the hall that the cats recently decided was the litter box branch office. the spray-on cleaner has its limits!
    of course, the sad part is that one has to “clean up for the maid” — in other words, i’ll have to move some clutter before having him come over to clean for me.
    my son is the closest thing to a house elf that i ever expect to have. but i’ll bet he’d rather i didn’t call him dobby.

  57. I should have known that this was going to be a stash post! I saw the title and thought it was going to be about the amazing book Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. (Which if you haven’t read, you should.)
    I’m new to knitting and don’t do any of the other fibre arts, so my stash is teeny in comparison to most, but I can see how it could quickly take over.

  58. Being Queen tidy pants is really over rated.. but if it’s what it takes for you to make fabulous yarn, then I’m all for it. Lovely spinning!

  59. the good news is you can spin up batts pretty quickly. Knitting up yarn (at least for me) goes quite a bit slower.

  60. You make me feel SO MUCH better when you talk about your stash of spinning fibre. I am normal- yay!

  61. I wondered if anyone would mention Joe’s Gansey and sure enough, LOL, Presbytera did. That would clean out spinning space and yarn space. A two for one!

  62. (sigh) I just wish MY name was Denny. One of my best friends lives in Shreveport. When he was a kid, he was in 4-H and was the Louisiana state sheep-shearing champion. I’m trying to talk him into coming to see you there. 🙂

  63. Yes I like the neat and tidy look, just not the effort getting there.
    As for the yarn, Denny? I’m thinking Butterscotch, it looks just like the flecks/chunks you get in ice cream.

  64. Weaving. Just got myself a loom. REally does use yarn faster than knitting. Faster learning curve than knitting or spinning, at least for me. In short order, most of my friends and family will be gifted with scarves, or dishtowels, or something. After that they’ll run away when they see me coming.

  65. Elves to clean… send them my way. However, they are not allowed to judge me and my lack of housekeeping skills when they find 2out year old cheerios somewhere. The dog is supposed to take care of those.
    Must be spring cleaning season. I move my sweater quantity yarns to the stash location.

  66. Thank you for the inspiration. I’m off to The Closet (not my clothes closet, the one with all the other stuff) to start the giveaway pile. Garage sale, my driveway, Los Altos CA in early April. You’ll see the piled merchandise from where you’re sitting.

  67. I know how you feel about “Hoarders”. Everytime I watch it, I have this overwhelming urge to start scrubbing my house. The show is like a train wreck: you want to look away but the horrible fascination of it all sucks you in! However, I don’t feel too bad about the untidiness of my place after watching the show.

  68. Ah yes, stash rules…I know them well.
    “No more millspun sweater lots than will fit in the gray bins.” (Some might consider continuing to buy more bins cheating, but what do they know?)
    “No more fleece or roving than will fit in the clear bins.” (See above.)
    “Handspun must be knit up before it overflows the two cedar chests.” (Unless there’s an empty shelf or two in the small linen closet. It seems a pity to waste the space.)
    “No yarn or fiber may be stored in the kitchen, the bathroom or the bedroom. The bedroom I actually sleep in, I mean. The others are fair game.” (So far, so good!)
    Thank goodness I live alone and the dog doesn’t mock….

  69. Well, that IS awfully big talk about Stash Containment from the yarn lady. However, I do believe I’ve been around these parts long enough to know that you’ve mentioned keeping the odd ball in teacups or in the freezer, or in the space behing the books on the bookshelf….which is as it should be, frankly.

  70. Shreveport is a great place! I grew up there! Enjoy your visit. Wish I was going to be there to meet you.

  71. Vertical space–plenty for everybody–look up, look long, make a plan. Things can “hand around” for quite awhile without getting in the way of boxes/bins on the floor or taking up more shelf space. Sue (P.S. I thoroughly scrubbed my stove top today–the repairman cometh…)

  72. I’m currently on stash lockdown; I am not allowed to buy any new yarn in 2012 unless I really, really, really gotta have it. If I manage to knit 42 pairs of socks, 4 sweaters, 2 lace shawls, 3 mittens, 2 slippers, and about a dozen hats… then I can add to the stash again. 2013 can’t come soon enough!

  73. I love to clean. I wish I lived nearer to you. I’m not Ms. Suzy Homemaker and you will find some dust but I can’t knit when I see clutter. I have a wool room but that overflowed into a lot of places but fairly tidy. I’m trying to reorganize again and sync everything updated to my Palm.

  74. I do that too!!! When I KNOW I need to clean, but desperately do not want to, I watch a couple of episodes of Hoarders to get motivated.

  75. 1) That yarn is gorgeous! Good luck getting everything spun up!
    2) Oh noes, now that you’re speaking on Saturday instead of Friday I can’t attend. I may be able to pop in at the end to get my book signed, but I’ll have to call the shop and see how long they anticipate you being there. I was so excited, and now I’m so sad. =(

  76. May I suggest moving the stash from one room to another? Nothing like having to touch every skein, batt or bump to help reduce the workload! Happy spinning!

  77. You really don’t have too much stash until you grab something dark to spin or knit . . .and Millie yowls at you for pulling her fur too hard!
    Still, it might help if you got the neverending gansey done, before it gets so big that you have to block it on the roof!
    In the meantime, “You spin me right round, baby
    right round like a record, baby, right round round round, uou spin me right round, baby, right round like a record, baby,” etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum.

  78. This is one reason I’ve resisted learning to spin. The last thing I need is a hobby that generates yarn instead of using it up!
    I still manage to have a spare room full of what I refer to as “craft cr*p” that I really need to thin out some more, though.

  79. Maybe you wanted to spin for a cause. Use your handspun as a prize for a KWB/MSF push, and anyone who lets you know that they’ve donated from now until the end of the month gets into the drawing. How can you not justify that sort of stash? And would that inspire and motivate you to spin, spin, spin? Maybe even do a grab bag of some of the yarns you are a little meh about, if you’re desperate for the space…

  80. Has anyone really thought about this all jibber jabber about tidiness? Why do people feel they must limit their stuff if it is stuff they enjoy? Why are we conditioned to feel guilty when we have a lot of stuff? Is the Tidy Bully standing over our heads with a whip? So many rules! So many shoulds! As long as it is neatly kept, why can’t we just keep stuff until we need to use it and let it go when we don’t need it anymore?

  81. Did you see one of the recent Hoarders where the woman refused to let them take her 10 Large moving boxes of packed yarn? I was dying to know what kid of yarn she had in those boxes.

  82. I’m so excited that you’ve been spinning so much! Your yarn is beautiful, and I can’t wait to see the next finished product.
    I wish I could come see you in Shreveport this weekend, but I live in New Orleans and have a full day scheduled at home, so I won’t be there. However, one of my friends will, and she’s bringing a care package from both of us! She’s also bringing my copy of Knitting Rules. I’m hoping she might be able to get you to sign it… Anyway, Happy Spinning, and I hope you enjoy your time in Louisiana!

  83. For getting others in a household to approach cleaning with a sense of at least resigned enthusiasm, I recommend Chore Wars ( It turns household tasks into a Dungeons and Dragons-style adventure, with “experience points” (XP) being given for each chore.
    It is surprisingly motivating! I’ve been known to spontaneously clean the bathroom just to get the XP.

  84. I told my friends about the “THIS IS WHERE IT STARTS!” phenomenon yesterday. Last week, when I was recovering from the flu, I watched seven episodes of Hoarders – now, if I even put a spoon down in the wrong place, I feel like that could be the moment.

  85. I had a stash problem even before I became a spinner. I have dubbed myself a yarn collector so I don’t feel so guilty. This year I audited my stash, making sure that everything was entered into my personal spreadsheet and logged on Ravelry. Everything had to have a picture. Then I went to Stitches West and I didn’t buy any yarn at all. Not a meter.
    You are wise to attack the fiber first. Fiber spun into yarn takes up a whole lot less space.
    BTW, I did weaken and buy fiber at Stitches. 2 pounds of some incredible fine black merino top, and another pound of mixed BFL from Carolina Homespun. Aside from my new Valkyrie combs, that was it! I feel very proud.
    Hmm, but shearing season is coming . . .

  86. You’ve given me the confidence to get rid of some lilac mohair I was given – it was being halfheartedly knitted up into a Snowflake blanket (I borrowed your shawl pattern…) but I never liked it and didn’t really want it either as yarn or a blanket. Someone will love it I’m sure.

  87. I’m glad that we don’t meet because we’re so alike that we would probably hate each other. I’ll just go and change my draft blog post for today shall I, the one that’s currently headed up as “Spring Cleaning”. If I’d posted it earlier then it would have been you channelling me.
    For the record I have a very small stash but even smaller storage. If I didn’t have the challenge of storing the quilting stash from the early 1990s then I’d be fine.

  88. LOL! This whole post just cracked me up. I started knitting again in 2001. To be able to afford to knit with anything other than acrylic I started spinning in 2003 and I was instantly hooked. Then came dyeing and weaving in 2004. Now my little old house with no storage seems even smaller than before. Boy do I have a stash! Like a previous commenter, every time I go to a fiber event, my husband goes and buys plastic bins to put all my new fiber, yarn, and tools into. When I first started spinning I used to be really bad and want to buy a bit of everything to try and spin it all. Thank God now I’m more controlled and tend to think about it a wee bit before I make a purchase. Now it has to have something extraordinary to make me want it so badly that I must get it and add it to the spinning stash. It has to be beautifully prepared, a stunning fiber or fleece, an unusual color or fabulous dye job, or it has to be from a company that I rarely see in my neck of the woods. In short, I’m much more controlled than I used to be and my husband doesn’t really buy me bins anymore.
    The downside of having a decent (meaning ridiculously large) spinning stash is that wool in roving or batt form takes up a tremendous amount of space. I never really want to squish it too much for fear that it will get nasty and all condensed, or God forbid felty! Once those batts or roving are all spun up though, the yarn takes hardly any room at all. It’s an amazing and miraculous thing. The yarn takes maybe a fourth of the space of the roving, and that’s usually if I spin it on the bulky side. So I bet after you get your beautiful batts all spun up into that great yarn and a little of your roving spun up, your spinning stash won’t be so bad.
    As for housecleaning, do we all have the same issue with the resentment thing!?! I’ve been guilty of wanting to evil things to family members with cleaning supplies on various occasions. Now when my family sees me get that glint in my eye and the all purpose cleaner in hand they either run or immediately start picking up their crap. It’s not like I’m Mrs. Clean or Martha or anything. It’s just that I like my house and I would like it to look like the people who live there like it too. It’s always nice when people stop by unexpectedly and I’m not instantly mortified! Like you said, when things get really cluttered it means that you have too much stuff. George Carlin was brilliant wasn’t he. His skit on too much stuff was so funny and so true! Good luck on your mission. At least the spinning part is fun. While I like a clean house, I don’t always like what it takes to get there but I definitely enjoy the results!

  89. The first paragraph of your blogpost is like you’ve spoken my life. Suddenly I dont feel like I’m the only crazy person in the world wanting to hit my hubby over the head with the vacuum cleaner as he wanders around creating more mess for me to clean up.
    I’m also with you on the decluttering issue. I’m working hard on that but seriously, there’s always room for more yarn, isnt there?

  90. I hate clutter and my husband runs his own contracting business and I’m his bookkeeper. We struggle with paper, receipts,invoices, bids, insurance etc. Last week I bought Neat, a paper management system where you scan and organize these items on the computer and can shred all the papers, you probably don’t need anyway. I’m still scanning and organizing months of paper but once I get caught up I think it will be easy to maintain.
    I would recommend this product to help get any paper disaster under control!

  91. I can’t believe that there are no sock-camp logos that show an Arrrrrgyle sock!
    I, too, hate to clean and also dislike dirt (though I can tolerate a lot of clutter). I break out the vacuum when the dust bunnies start following me around the house. My kids are still too young to run the vacuum, alas.

  92. To the person who recommended getting rid of excess childrens’ toys, what about just getting rid of excess children? I’m thinking that one child, esp. a teenager at the very beginning of a long and arduous (for me) teenagerhood would qualify. This would make a lot more room, esp. if I also got rid of the fish, birds, rocks, fossils and anything that lives on the floor of her room. Just an idea. Trying to be helpful. Not talking about my particular situation or anything.

  93. Am I the only one who is getting excited that you are going to Shreveport because of the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlene Harris?

  94. Hoarders helps and I also rely on – they send you daily emails for clutter support. When my oldest comes home from college things get really messy crazy here. She’s home on Spring break now…

  95. I am cracking up, you are seriously going to have to address Joe’s sweater/gansey thing, bc we are sooo not letting you off the hook, every post has some comment about it. At this point I am wondering if you are strangely worried about the whole curse of knitting a sweater for your boyfriend thing, but that’s crazy because you guys are married, that rule doesn’t apply to you. You know you’ll just provide inspiration for the rest of us that have had projects sitting on the sticks forever to finish said projects…like that blanket I started…where is that blanket…

  96. I can relate, I am trying to move my quilting stuff into the living area without it looking like it’s there. Challenging to say the least.
    I love all of the designs but my choice for a t-shirt is definitely number 11 by Jess.
    I cant seem to leave a message over there though??
    Hope this counts.
    London, UK

  97. Judith advised using 5gallon paint buckets for fleece storage. Put samples of contents in ziploc on outside. Its great. They stack. They fit in a small space of craft room. Only problem is now i have 16 of them- just for fiber. Yarn is in ziploc bins with inventory on front including yardage/color. 12000 yards of worsted alpaca- no more for me till i knit the stash down. Too bad that bfl at madrona was so pretty. Lol

  98. 1) Try to remember that dust is Nature’s way of protecting your valuable objects from ultraviolet radiation.
    2) I cannot even begin to tell you how much I wish I were Denny. **gazes longingly at spun yarns — drools**
    3) I started reading your blog about a week ago, right from the beginning (up to August ’06 so far). You’re helping me get through a very, VERY rough patch in my life – Huge thanks for all the giggle-fits, at a dreadfully giggle-starved time!! **trundles happily back to the Summer Of ’06**

  99. Your cleaning post was like listening to my husbands thoughts. I am forwarding this to him. He will be so happy to have a kindred spirit in this business of tidying up the house.
    I’m off to stash my stash.

  100. Will the elves and unicorns drop by my place later? I think I have a couple of tasks well suited to their magical talents.
    Paperwork, vacuuming, mopping, and such like. I’m looking forward to them leaving sparkles in their wake.

  101. I like to purge the apartment of stuff (to make room for more stash) by asking myself, “If this thing burned up in a fire, would I replace it?” It makes a world of difference than just asking, do I like it, do I use it.

  102. That last photo of the single ply is achingly beautiful to me. I wish I could spin … but it’s very intimidating. Any advice on getting started? Do I need to find an expert to coach me, or take a class?

  103. What a brilliant idea! My husband has offered me some new shelves, and an 8 foot table which I would really like to fit in my office… except that means I really have to (re)organize my office because every available inch of space has something in it (and I’ve spilled out a little into the living room.). Also have the offer of as many fleece as I want from a friend getting rid of his flock, but have nowhere to put them.
    If I just *spin* I could create room for more! Brilliant!

  104. After the fairies and elves are done at your house could you send them down to North Carolina? I’ll leave pizza out for them like in the Dresden Files books. I have a corner by my chair that is suppose to have just my current knitting project. I now have 3 projects, a grocery sack of yarn and a stack of books. Not even going to mention the rest of the house, I’ll blame having a wild 6 month old for lack of cleaning time.

  105. Stash? Knitting Room? Well do to the FACT that my back is to my stash when I’m on the computer I’m sure elves come in and mess up the area. Clean? Well when the floor of the room has vanished then “maybe” if I’m looking I’ll straighten it up!

  106. I share your enthusiasm for the shows about hoarders; I watch them to inoculate myself against my acquisitive tendencies. I love this line from The Hours:
    “There is no comfort, it seems, in the world of objects.”
    but that doesn’t stop me from looking there for comfort. Keep up the great work.

  107. Stepahnie, I am SO upset I can’t be in Shreveport but I must, must work this weekend. I will be there in Shreveport, and you will no doubt meet my friend Nancy Diaz.

  108. I’m with you on cleaning. Wish little elves would do it…
    You will love Shreveport! I grew up there. If you have time – eat at Superior Grill (incredible Mexican) or Chianti for the best Italian anywhere!

  109. If you have to clean you might as well start with the the fun stuff like you yarn 🙂
    I have may stash contained to two rooms. (mostly) So glad that I don’t spin, I can only imagine how much more stash I would have lol!

  110. ” One episode and I’m upstairs getting rid of all the old toothbrushes screaming “THIS IS WHERE IT STARTS.”
    ROFL!! So funny!
    Glancing around my house…I can see I clearly need a dose of this show.

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