94) Looms and… lust?

So I've had my eye on the Leclerc Artisat loom for a couple of weeks now.  It folds, yet has a decent weaving width (36").  I'm interested in weaving yardage, so that's really the narrowest I can contemplate.  It's available in four and eight shaft versions, with a conversion kit available for those who suffer late-onset harness envy.  (Sorry, but I can't say 'shaft envy' with a straight face.  I just can't).

It will fit neatly where the silver shelves in my studio were, until a few days ago.   And there's a second hand, four-shaft one available for a really good price – about a third of the new price.  But the conversion kit, plus the second hand loom, costs the same as the 8-shaft version costs, brand new.  The conversion kit costs over £1000.

This throws a spanner in the works, somewhat.  Leaving my 'green' credentials aside for a moment, it makes so much more sense to buy a new loom-one that doesn't need a kit retrofitted to it, that has a warranty, that I know I can get retailer support for-than it does to buy a second-hand piece of kit that will probably need alterations, that is fundamentally an unknown quantity, and which, if I decide to convert it, will cost me about as much as the new loom would.

If I decide to convert it.  Four shafts certainly provides enough to play with for years and years and years – heck, even plain weave can keep a person busy for a whole career – and I've always said that my main interest in weaving comes from a desire to weave yardage for historical re-enactment purposes.  Unless you buy a drawloom, four shafts is plenty good enough for that.  Mind you, I haven't done any re-enactment since March, and though I'm still very interested in it, it's a cerebral kind of interest.  And it's not my *only* interest.

My gut feeling is that, if I don't have the extra shafts, then I will probably regret it.  Even if I don't use them 90% of the time, they will be worth it for the other 10%.

But I can't justify spending one and a half grand on a loom right now.  Not when I have so many other things I could be doing – and that I would like to be doing.  So my choices are simple:

  1. Go with the cheap second-hand loom now, and trade it in when the time comes.
  2. Go with the cheap second hand loom now, and upgrade it when the time comes.
  3. Wait till my birthday (March), at least, and save up for the 8-shaft loom.

Every fibre (ha!) of my being cries out against being so sensible…  but I think option 3 is winning.  It'll give me some time to get really stuck into that project backlog, and decide whether I want to keep (for example) that knitting machine.  I can play with my two (ahem) three existing looms and think some more about what I really want to weave, and what I really want to own.

And who knows?  A cheap 8-shaft second hand loom might come up in that time, too.

91) I, I, impossible I…

I is for 'impossibility'.  I've been trying to organise my studio over the last week.  I'd love to be able to fit a floor loom in there – one that has at least a 36 inch weaving width, and preferably more than four shafts.

I realise this is a desperately affluent problem to have, but… I just have too much stuff!  I'm destashing like mad on eBay (there's loads of Jamieson's Soft Shetland up there right now, plus some fabrics; more to come!) but I still have so much stuff that I can't bring myself to get rid of, it's going to take me at least five years to work through it!  And that's without buying a new loom.

I wouldn't mind so much, but I really don't have room to store all this stuff.  And it seems that if I *did* have enough room, I'd just buy more stuff until I had exactly the same level of overflow problem yet again.

I've moved just about all my business-related materials out of the room (and realised that yes, I have a lot of hand-dyed yarn to sell).  I've rationalized yarn, fabrics and patterns fiercely.  I've moved most of my books downstairs to the bookshelves.  I've managed to get the big, silver shelves visible in the photo from last week moved out of my studio and into the shed, which is a good start.  And my desk still looks like this:


Arrgh.  And the inspirations, they won't stop coming.  A few things have become clear, though:

  • I need to keep an inspirations notebook, not just buy the materials for every new project or hobby that takes my fancy.
  • I need to finish up more projects, so I can actually get them out of my studio.
  • I need to remember that I *hate* having to sell on stuff I've bought and never used.  It's far easier, and cheaper, not to buy the stuff in the first place.
  • I need something like a laundry basket to corral all the odd things that don't have homes in my studio. 
  • Then I need to deal with the things in the basket, before the basket overflows.
  • I need to keep dealing with this stuff, because, even if it's really frustrating right now, it won't go away if I ignore it.
  • Or if I ignore the causes of it.
  • I need to not keep stuff out of guilt or obligation.  That way, I might have the materials to hand to start the projects I really want to work on.

86) D is for…

Dammit, dammit!

OK, this one might take some explaining.

Anyone who is interested in thinking about thinking, overcoming obstacles and wacky self-discovery methods might also be interested in reading Havi's blog.  Recently, she introduced the concept of a 'dammit list' – sort of a cross between a personal manifesto and an affirmation/reminder of internal truths.  It's called a dammit list because the kind of sentences that go on the list tend to be ones that can profitably be ended with a firm 'dammit!'.  Like, "I deserve a job that makes me feel good about myself, dammit!", or, "I only travel by train when I can get cheap first class tickets, dammit!".  I love the idea, but haven't really put any thought into a list of my own.

Last night, a 'dammit' arrived spontaneously:

I get to choose what lives in my studio, dammit!

Which sounds obvious, but is actually a bit of a revelation.  My studio is full.  My studio is so full, I don't like to work in it.  In fact, calling it a studio is a bit misleading; it's more of a storeroom, really.  And given that my studio is actually the largest bedroom in the house, it seems rather a shame:


My studio is full of materials and equipment for projects which haven't happened.  Perhaps I just got over-enthusiastic (hellooo, yarn stash, I'm looking at you!) – or perhaps it was a 'business idea' that never materialised (which would account for all the corsetry fabric, and the dancewear fabric in the loft, too.  Yeah).  Perhaps I *think* I'm interested in pursuing some of these crafts, but I'm not, really (quilting?).  Maybe some of the equipment just intimidates me (yes, knitting machine, I see you lurking there…)  Until recently, it also contained a whole bunch of stuff that the 'house' needs but which, really, has no place in my studio.  Fortunately, the filing cabinet and all the gift wrapping supplies have already moved out, probably in disgust.

If I whittled down my supplies, I might actually have room for a … floor loom?  Perhaps?  Shall I check in again in a month, and let you know how it's going?

D is also for DONE.  Our total window and door refit is finished!!  I now have a red front door, full double glazing, and no draughty patio window.  It's *brilliant*, and I'd recommend the company we went with in a heartbeat.  I would show photographic evidence, but some other members of this household have privacy issues.  (Those hounds.  So fussy!)

Also, tomorrow is the day we get to show off our challenge projects with the Rampton Spinners group, so that needs to be Done, too.  I had better get seaming…



The Studio

We live in a four-bedroomed house.  There are two of us, and a dog (and two chinchillas).  That means that J and I get a room each for our own messes/storage etc.  Until recently, J worked from home, so really needed that space; on the other hand, I just needed somewhere to dump all my books, stash and tools – and, ideally, to actually do my hobbies.  My sewing machines live there.  And my knitting machine (and its ribber attachment, which is just as big as the main machine).  And a loom, too, now.  And Skinny Annie, my tailor’s dummy.    I have a desk in there, too.  Quite a lot of it is taken over with cardmaking supplies.  Then there’s all kinds of other stuff – like my flute and recorders, the paper for wrapping presents, the scales for weighing parcels….  Neither of my spinning wheels live there; there isn’t room.

So, it’s pretty crowded in there, then.  And disorganised.  I avoid working in there unless I have to, because you can barely turn around without falling over something.

To cut a long story at least a little bit shorter, I need to destash, organise and enjoy my room.  I want to be able to actually spin, weave and sew in there – though only one activity at once – it’s still only a small room!

So, I’m aiming to sort through one fabric box (or equivalent) every week, and actually *dispose* of what I decide not to keep.

Because with less stuff hanging around, I might be able to use the stuff I have.


View from the door – very welcoming!

The room is actually ‘L’ shaped, and is laid out roughly so:

In an ideal world, I would only have enough stash to fill the cupboard next to my desk, and the huge shelves could go.  I’ve got a long way to go before I reach that level of decluttered, though.

But I have already made one decision.  It is no longer to be called ‘my room’ – in any case, the word is deeply inappropriate in so many ways – it is ‘my studio’.  If I give it a more serious name, I might treat it more seriously.  And you don’t just store stuff in a studio; you work there, too.