Knitting is something I never feel the need to purge.
I’m a compulsive clutterer. I attribute this somewhat to being the granddaughter of a Depression-era housewife, and somewhat to my personality and also somewhat to being an artist. Whatever the reason, I tend to clutter things. I keep every book I’ve ever bought, plus lots I’ve never read but found for free various places. I mean, I’ve never read some of them but I might want to someday, right? I’m saving money! Sure. Art supplies are the same beast, only worse – while a book is potentially a tool of personal enlightenment, what really can I do with six inches worth of red string and some old beer bottle caps? I keep buttons and broken purse clasps, shoelaces and plastic fashion gems (the sort you’d use with a Bedazzler). I have pounds and pounds of paper left over from grad school, which for some reason I can’t bear to part with. I have old tubes of paint that have fused with their lids, but if I throw them out, I’m wasting them, right?
Over the course of this past month I’ve been making an effort to clear out a lot of this random collected stuff. I’ve limited myself to one 8-section IKEA bookshelf, plus two or three small plastic bins (this does not cover the paper, but I’m doing this at a reasonable pace, and will get to the paper at some point). This has unearthed several square feet of clean floor space, plus a lot of art supplies I forgot I had, since they were buried under junk. The sewing stuff is all in one place, and I know what I’ve got now.
When I was organizing the yarn, I felt no need to rid myself of any of it. I think this is because it is a deliberate collection. I have a couple of these. One is of Dunnies (little plastic rabbit figurines, which are useless but fun to line up on my desk; in many ways I’m never going to grow out of childhood), and another is of snapshots of people from the turn of the century, in which people are doing the things all of us do with our families, such as eating watermelon, going on walks, and posing in front of things so others can remember what we did years later. I love the photos. They’re grainy, poorly posed, often blurry, and all feel completely genuine in ways studio portraits can’t. Someday I’ll frame them and make a big wall installation of my collection, so I can look at them from time to time.
My yarn collection has a purpose. It will someday become socks and sweaters and scarves, and all these projects will provide me with entertainment and peace of mind. It’s a thing I can control, except that I never feel a need to. As long as it’s organized, it’s fine.
Which is more than I can say for my art papers.