To Sweep My Stoop

On my first trip to Europe I took an overnight train from Paris to Zurich and when I stepped off the train in the wee hours of the morning in a foreign land, I wandered in search of a cafe where I could find a good coffee. Down an old street that I didn’t know the name of, I came upon a little blue & white shop front with a woman sweeping off the front stoop. I indulged in coffee and croissants with fresh jam that were delicious, but after all these years what I remember the clearest about that morning was the woman sweeping her step. Her movements were efficient & brisk, yet clear in their investment in perfection. It was a quiet moment, to most an afterthought, but it has long stayed with me as a testament to the importance of the little details.

I’m the first to admit that I am not a great housekeeper. I don’t dust nearly enough and too often I choose knitting or spinning or reading or — let’s be real — anything over cleaning. I will take short cuts about putting things where they belong. I put off chores when I should just get them done. In short there’s a lot of room for improvement.

When I get on a roll, though, I find it very hard to stop before I reach some level of self-perceived organizational perfection. I think of that woman sweeping her stoop and I just want my little corner of this world to be nice & tidy, the place you are able to stroll into, get a coffee, sit, and be at peace. And that was my goal the past couple of weeks in a nutshell for me. Granted, the blinds still need to be dusted and I need to sweep the floors again, but I organized and re-organized. I culled through all the random bits and bobs laying about and got them all tucked away where ever they needed to be tucked. I organized my calendar and set some goals. I planned for more school prep. One might say I took the time to sweep my stoop.

You are probably wondering where I’m going with this, though, right? Well, there are two things I’m working up to. First, I’ve moved my Lendrum next to my desk and have plans to start using it again rather than let it collect dust in the kitchen.

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I’ve got fiber prepped and it’s all set to get spinning again. It’s about time, I’d say.

My second point is that an interesting side effect of this tidying up is that when things are in order, when the clutter is eliminated and my own “stoop” is tidy, I am set free. The noise is gone and my hands & my mind are able to focus, to plan, to work — uninhibited. I’ll leave the more boring bits out, but I thought I’d share a look at all the spinning and knitting of the week as I feel wholly revived on that front lately.

First, I’ve made modest progress on my Honey Trail shawl

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This one is destined to be a slow & steady wins the race kind of project. A few rows here, a few there.

I started a few spins in preparation for a big sweater spin for the Three Waters Farm Handspun Sweater-along going on in the TWF Ravelry group. I’m working myself up to spinning to that elusive DK weight yarn, but in the mean time I’m working myself back into spinning consistently as I’ve felt a bit off on it lately. First was Vein of Turquoise from Three Waters Farm

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And when I finished it, I started up on Hickory & Maple…

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But, as you can see, only just starting on that.

I’ve been working on my latest Top of the Month Club from Three Waters Farm, too, but it was slow going. Something was not quite feeling right with my Schacht Reeves and after sitting at the Jensen Tina 2 I was fairly certainly the S-R needed a new drive band…

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So out with the old and in with the new. I wish I could say I had an efficient, graceful method for changing my drive band, but alas I do not. I just get the job done…

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I’m happy to report it’s spinning like a million bucks now and I’m almost through this one. Maybe that sweater spin will be next. Maybe.

I’ve also put a few stitches here and there on my sock blank socks…

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I’m around the heel, but still working on the gusset decreases. I pick them up now and then when I need something that I can do mostly on autopilot — in the car or when I’m particularly tired or just worn out.

And lastly, a spindle spin…

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I haven’t been using spindles since I finished my Tour de Fleece spindle spin at the end of July and I had just a few moments while the pan was warming to make a stir-fry last night for dinner. It seemed like the perfect time to get this spin started.

And that, my friends, is the magic made from taking broom to stoop and cleaning up my little corner of the world. Let’s hope I can keep it all up — the tidying and the creating!

24 thoughts on “To Sweep My Stoop

  1. You really brought me memories with the sweeping the stoop. Growing up, the front porch got swept every day. As an adult, I can’t remember the last time I swept my porch! I’m like you, though – once I get started organizing, I can’t stop. I mean, why leave that ONE ITSY BITSY THING niggling in my brain? I’m feeling oh so righteous right now, uploading my stash to Ravelry – my whole brain feels better getting that off my plate. Somehow, tackling those organizing chores just makes my head feel happy. Great job on getting your projects done. And BTW, there ARE more important things than housework – and the knitting and spinning and loving children count big time.

  2. Looks like you have been busy!

    So have I. I spun a total of 3,993 yards of yarn, counting the plying, for le Tour de Fleece. I washed and blocked a whale’s worth of yarn. And I took some of that yarn that I had worked up, plyed right before the Tour, got it blocked with all the rest and finally started my weaving project that I have been planning and working toward for more than a year. Yay! I even blogged about it with lots of pictures.

    So yes, I understand what you mean when you clear away ‘the noise’ in your mind. This is noise thst has been nagging at me for months and months!

    1. Wow! Congratulations! That’s a lot of wonderful spinning! I have a weaving project all waiting to be warped, too… That one got allocated to the shelf for the time being, but I will get there!

  3. I bet it feels good to have things in order! We just started the process here, long way to go. But today I did put away a basket full of hand-spun. And painted the first coat on several of the shelves of the never to be finished bookshelves. I feel like getting those finished and then filled will be a big step toward some bits and bob being put in their place!

    And maybe I will sweep the steps off. It’s been a while since I did that job!

    1. I think the experience of having to move so abruptly has really inspired me to live my life in a way that makes that type of change possible. I mean, as a household with two kids, there’s always going to be *stuff* that goes with that, but I have very little of the stray extras laying about any more. I’m happy to keep it that way.

      I didn’t sweep my step this morning, but I did sweep the main floor! They are doing construction on our street so I’ve not been doing much with the yard again until that’s over.

      1. Moving fast was a huge undertaking, and I understand that it would drive one to keeping life simple! We recently moved a niece who did no editing before the move. It is tough. She is doing it as she unpacks. It has made me take a few small steps in the clearing process. Do I need all that fabric and yarn? Ummm perhaps not.

      2. I know some folks who lived many, many years in one home and decided to move before editing. It just sounds like a disaster, at least to my mental health and well-being it would be! To each his/her own though!

      3. I try very hard to stay free of the emotional attachment to “stuff” — it’s definitely tough sometimes, but I try to remember my memories and full heart hold the most important things. 🙂

      4. It is a good thing to be able to do that. I have a friend who takes photos of things and then sells or gives them away. I am not there yet… 😉

      5. Don’t we though! I have things of my grandmothers that I use daily and think of them, other things that were just theirs so I keep. Hopefully never have to decide in a hurry what to keep and what to let go of!

      6. I have a very hard time hanging onto the things that I don’t use that are hand-me-downs. It may be the hardest thing to explain to others and I worry I’m not holding onto enough for my kids, but I am just not one to hang on to many mementos. :/

      7. It is VERY hard to explain to others! Luckily I have siblings who seem willing to take family relics off my hands. And they all have kids… 😈

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