Catharsis… or clearing the decks

Catharsis is defined by the Concise Oxford English Dictionary as ‘the process of releasing pent-up emotions’, but recently I have been thinking of the medical definition of ‘purging’. So, domestic catharsis is taking place…

As I’ve mentioned before, here chez Snail we are hoarders. It sometimes seems that nothing gets thrown out because anything might turn out to be useful. There is always the worry that, should we dispose of any item, as soon as it is gone we will need it. However, over the past few weeks I have been trying to have a clear-out.

I don't think it even fits me anymore!

I don’t think it even fits me anymore!

Rather than throwing things away, I have decided that selling is good. It’s not the time of year for car boot sales, but it does seem to be the ideal time to sell things that other people might consider would make good seasonal presents (whether for the solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, Yalda… whatever). So, with this in mind, I have launched myself into e-bay selling. I have raided the loft and found never-opened jigsaw puzzles; I have delved into the coat cupboard and emerged with motorcycle gear (we haven’t had a motorbike for about 8 years now); I’ve unearthed hardly-worn shoes from the bottom of my wardrobe and hardly-worn clothes from the hangers. The satisfaction of selling such items is two-fold: we make a little money from them and they go to someone who actually wants them, rather than accumulating dust here or ending up in landfill.

Currently I’m only scratching the surface, but I have good intentions to be persistent, so that slowly I will make a dent in the ‘stuff’. Now I just have to hope that I don’t suddenly unearth a motorcycle and need that leather jacket and gloves again!

Oddments and leftovers

Cooey the pigeon

This year has been the year of socks and snails as far as knitting goes… there have been other things (slugs, worms, a butterfly, Cooey the pigeon and Nessie for example), but mainly socks and snails, The result being rather a lot of wool oddments. I had thought about knitting a pair of really random socks, combining all the different patterns of wool that I’ve worked with this year, but somehow that really didn’t appeal. Then the other day, whilst browsing the blogs I subscribe to, I came across reference to the ‘Beekeepers Quilt‘ on The Secret Life of Yarn. It’s just what I’ve been waiting for* – a way of stylishly using up all those bits of yarn that I can’t bear to throw out, but I haven’t been able to think what on earth to do with.

My first three hexipuffs

The quilt is constructed from ‘hexipuffs’ – tiny knitted hexagons, lightly stuffed. They are each only about 5cm, so take hardly any wool and you combine them into a crazy patchwork quilt so the more colours there are, the better. Until you stitch them together at the end, there is no sewing required, as they are knitted ‘in the round’ on double-pointed needles. I decided to learn a new technique for casting on (not necessary, but interesting) – the two-needle long-tail cast on. So far, I have knitted three… but I only started yesterday and I do also have a pair of socks I want to finish this weekend. Apparently, for a quilt measuring 3 feet my 4 feet (90cm by 120cm) I’m going to need nearly 400 hexipuffs, so don’t expect to see it finished soon! It’s going to be a WIP (work in progress) for a long time yet.

I am a great fan of using up leftovers, whether they be in the form of wool, fabric or food. The latter is easy, as we usually eat them up the next day – meat is turned into rissoles; sour milk is used to make waffles or scones (Mrs Beeton’s for preference); stale cake can become trifle; roast vegetables can go into soup… the options are endless. And, anyway, most things can be frozen in one form or another for even later use. Of course, it’s different with craft materials: since they don’t go off, I can save them indefinitely**. This is not good for a hoarder like me, as I’m happy to allow things to accumulate because I know that they might come in useful later. I am trying to rectify this at the moment and make some more space by selling some things on ebay. I find it much easier to send things to a good home than to throw them out, but I fear that no one but me is going to be interested in my (not for sale) selection of used wrapping paper, felt off-cuts, bits of wool and packaging material. Still, at least the latter will be useful when I find buyers for the other stuff that’s on the market…

-oOo-

* And for real obsessives, like me, there’s a whole thread on Ravelry dedicated to this one pattern!

** Not entirely true¬† I just found a ball of wool in the loft that had been consumed by clothes moths… the little blighters!

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