Addressing the mess

Even during the school holidays, my determination to get to grips with the clutter we have in our house has endured.  It’s been so tempting to say “nah, leave it, I’ll do it in September”, but I know that in September I’m going to be busy with a new sock workshop at Black Sheep Wools and then Yarndale so the mess will get pushed to one side and before I know it, it’ll be Christmas and I’ll have done nothing about it.

A month or so ago I showed you a book that I’d bought on Hygge decluttering which really kick-started the process (and I found the skirt that I’d thought I’d re-homed by accident – under another pile of clothes … oops!).  By coincidence my husband, already inordinately impressed by the progress that I’d made, had been talking to a friend who had recently moved house and recommended a book that my husband thought I would like.  My husband is a pretty ruthless declutterer himself and finds my inability to part with stuff quite frustrating at times although he never feels the need to step in and sweep all of my mess into bin bags, something for which I am very thankful!

I must confess that I had read about this book although I’d never actually read the book itself, and despite not having read it I had already decided that it was too extreme for someone like me who struggles to let go of stuff that I think might be useful in the future (cue photo of our garage, full of stuff that might be useful one day …)

Anyway, I thanked my husband for buying it for me, thought I might as well look at the first pages whilst I had a brew before storing it neatly on the bookshelf never to be looked at again … and oh my life, what a revelation!  I had finished reading the book within the day!  Not only that, I had been back into my wardrobe and now understanding the whole concept of “spark joy”, I understood exactly why I regretted giving away certain things during previous decluttering missions and why I still had stuff that I shouldn’t really have been giving storage room to.  And, as the icing on the cake, I can now do the origami clothes folding thing and there is space in the drawers that previously wouldn’t shut!  The folding may not be perfect but it works for me and I am beyond excited.  And what’s really interesting is the “life changing magic” effect started almost immediately, not least as big daughter decided that she would sort through her clothes and fold them in the same way.

After my success in the wardrobe, I decided to ignore the recommended decluttering path to follow in the book and headed straight into the garage.  That mess wasn’t quite so quick to resolve and after two days and several trips to the tip it still wasn’t finished, but at least this time I can see a proper purpose to what I’m doing and why I’m keeping the stuff that I have.  I will get there!

I’ve also been decluttering in the garden.  I spent a lovely weekend in the Cotswolds with one of my best friends a couple of weekends ago.  Naturally, we looked for a yarn shop in the area …

This is TheFibreworks in Chipping Norton, packed full of all kinds of delicious yarns including lots of local Wensleydale and alpaca yarns.  They run lots of great workshops too, and even have their own fibre festival every year so if you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth a visit.

The best thing about a grown ups’ weekend away is that we were able to have a fantastic time doing exactly what we wanted to do – which usually when we get together, as we’re both gardeners, is to head to big gardens to see what we could adapt for our own.

My garden is currently a bit of a jungle; the recent rain has not helped either as overnight the grass looks like a field and the borders are full of lush greenery but not many flowers as they’ve all been smothered by the leaves or eaten by the slugs and snails which clearly multiply more rapidly in relation to the amount of rain that falls.  Anyway, having admired the beautiful borders of Hidcote and Kiftsgate, I have come home inspired to do something about ours and have already started clearing out some of the overgrown vegetation.  I’m keeping myself inspired by having plants ready to go in once there’s space for them – ones that slugs and snail are not that tempted by too.  It will mean quite a rethink of the borders but that’s actually quite a nice thing to contemplate and will make the garden a nicer place to sit out in.  If it ever stops raining.

In the pictures above are Heuchera, Fuschia, Dianthus, Lavender “Hidcote” (of course!) and Phlox.

Fancy a quick whizz around the garden whilst we’re talking about it?  There’s not a great deal to show you (see above) but my Dad’s rose bush has flowered …

It’s called “Braveheart” and was originally bought for him in memory of my Mum so I couldn’t leave it at his house, no matter how much I was tempted to and I was tempted … it’s a bit of a vicious thing …

It’s in a pot at the moment as there’s no way I’m putting those thorns in my border – I’m bound to forget it’s there and get my arms ripped to bits as I’m weeding.  Still, it does make the name rather apt as it’s certainly no shy and retiring rose plant!

In the greenhouse, I have an abundance of tomatoes and yes, they’re all green.  They’ve been green for quite some time and despite my leaving ripe tomatoes from another plant in there to encourage them to ripen, they’re not having any of it.  I will look forward to a glut of them as they all ripen at the same time and we have tomatoes coming out of our ears! 🙂

A solitary poppy in amongst the courgettes.  I’ve no idea how that got there.

Teasel heads.  I let these grow in one of my veg boxes one year as I know the goldfinches love them, and now I have them every year.  They’re huge and spiky and although they might be a bit of a mistake in a small veg garden, I love them too!

These also look very spiky but actually, they’re quite soft to the touch.  Echinops ritro these are, also known as globe thistle, and a favourite of the bees.  I was quite surprised not to see them covered with bees when I went to photograph them but there’s a hover fly on the middle flower instead, obviously taken advantage of the opportunity to get in there whilst it can.

You wouldn’t expect me not to have got some knitting time in during the holidays as well … the other day small daughter and I headed off to an indoor trampoline park, so that she could burn off a bit of energy.  You’ll note that I said that she could burn off a bit of energy.  I sat and watched her with my cup of hot chocolate and my Bumpy, Curved Trail sock.  It’s not been going quite as well as I want it to; the pattern isn’t the easiest to follow and now I’ve had to unpick the heel as the pattern wouldn’t fit properly across the top of the foot.

I also ended up having to unpick the start of the gusset several times because of the way the pattern moves and disappears into the decreases (see, even those of us who’ve knitted socks for years can have problems with a pattern!), and I even transferred it all over onto a magic loop until I got it sorted so that I could keep the gusset and heel stitches more separate than on a short circular.  This is why it’s handy to be able to use all types of needles when you knit so that you can swap and change to make life easier for yourself.  Once I’d got the pattern set again I intended to go back to my short circular as it’s faster for me to use that, but in the meantime this did the trick.

Or maybe not.  After spending more time on it, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t enjoying this sock and even though I was over half way through it, I decided that I was going to frog it (technical knitting term for when you rip-it, rip-it, rip-it out 🙂 ) and I’m going to find a different pattern instead. I never used to give up on a pattern (in a similar way to how I would drag myself to the end of a book even if I hated it) but I’ve decided that life’s too short and if I’m not enjoying it there’s no point in spending my time on it.  Obviously, there are some exceptions to this rule but this sock is not one of them.  I might choose to go back to it later (especially after having worked out how the pattern actually worked) with a different yarn, or I might not.  It doesn’t really matter.  Goodbye Bumpy, Curved Trail socks.

I do have some happy knitting to show you though.  This is a new sock – surely I’m not the only one who casts on something new when I’ve been getting cross with an existing project?  It’s a pattern called Magic Mirror (Ravelry link) and although it’s designed as a toe up sock, I’m knitting it top down because that’s what I prefer to do.  The pattern works either way up so although I initially thought I would have to knit the pattern upside down, that hasn’t been the case.

This very gorgeous sea glass turquoise-coloured yarn is Whistlebare Cuthbert’s Sock, a blend of Wensleydale and mohair and yes, this will be another no-nylon yarn review.  It’s beautifully soft to knit with and I’m hoping that doesn’t mean it’s going to wear through too quickly, although the mohair content (also known as nature’s nylon) should help to stop that.  I bought this yarn at Woolfest last year and now that I’ve come to knit it up, I am slightly concerned that there are only 250m of yarn in my skein – Whistlebare have since changed their skeins so that they now contain 300m of yarn – but it is knitting up a little bigger than commercially produced 4ply and this sock has a cast on of 56 stitches rather than the usual 60 that I would cast on so I’m hoping it will be OK. Anyway, I shall keep knitting and weighing my ball of yarn and if I have to make adjustments to the pattern to get two socks out of the ball then I’ll do that when I need to.  Isn’t that one of the best things about knitting socks?  They’re usually very easy to alter to suit your own foot and yarn needs.

Finally, if you’ve not already seen it then Lucy’s Creative Project for Yarndale – crocheted hearts – is now on the Yarndale blog with more about the patterns on her blog and if you have socks and hearts to send up for Yarndale, it’s fine to put them both in the same envelope.  I’ll be going back up to Skipton in a week or so to collect the parcels that Lucy says are coming in daily – thank you so much! – and if you’ve not seen them already, the socks that have come in so far are up on this year’s Pinterest board here.

Have a lovely weekend!


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7 Responses

  1. Amy at love made my home says:

    I am a like your husband in the decluttering, but like you in that I can easily gather stuff in the first place. I do try now to keep the things I love and only those things and I truly cannot remember the last time I got rid of something and regretted it. Occasionally a little pang, but after a few days nothing so it was the right thing to let things go. So keep what you truly love and say goodbye to the rest – obviously not practical stuff like your bed! – and it really does seem to make me happy at any rate! Hope it keeps working for you!!

  2. Christina says:

    I admire you for your perseverance with decluttering. I bet the garage looks all different after two days of working in there. In our house, the roles are reversed, Richard is the hoarder, me, not so much.
    The turquoise socks look very soft and luxurious. I wonder how well they will last without the nylon? Have a great weekend. x

  3. Rachelradiostar says:

    Your garage looks like my whole house! Me and my other are hopeless fill the house and keep it folks! I've heard about this woman but am not ready to let her in yet! I love my things! LOVE THEM OK??!!!! Hehehe those socks look very tricksy and you are so talented!

  4. Sarah from NZ says:

    I recognise those stitch markers! I hope they are working well. The yarn is a beautiful colour and I'm interested to see your review – we have some no-nylon yarns over here in NZ and I've wondered how they'd stand up to sock use.
    Keep going with the decluttering – it's very satisfying and gives you more space for yarn!

  5. tilly says:

    enjoyed reading your blog I live about 20 mins from you, but I don't do google plus, ….. have you thought about just people joining by google which most blogs do ???

  6. Julie says:

    I better seek out that book in the library next time I am there, I could do with a good de-clutter and organisation. Our garage looks worse than yours!

  7. **Anne** says:

    Decluttering, something I struggle with and the emotional attachment to things like my great grandmothers hand embroidered tablecloths that I never use. I have the Marie Kondo book but still haven't managed to overcome my bad habits. I have globe thistle in my garden too, they are just starting to show their first leaves after our winter. Seeing you lovely socks reminds me I really must get on and finish the two pairs of socks I have on needles but only after finishing Genevieve's poncho.

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