Repurposing Space for my Hand Knits

So, I was in quarantine for 14 days due to my recent travel to Virginia, respecting Governor Cuomo’s decree. When I went to the door to fetch my mail, a neighbor called out. She kindly asked how I was doing and if I was bored. I was in about the 6th day of stay-at-home orders. I said no, that I was independent. She acted surprised maybe wondering what I was doing. And, I wondered about her reaction thinking how different is 14 days of quarantine from anyone else’s life during the pandemic?

It seems like 2020 is a tale of two miseries, overwhelm and underwhelm. There are those people with children who face unspeakable, unreasonable, and impossible choices for themselves and their children and those who find themselves at home with their entire life having just been pulled from under them. I am in the latter group. So, re-establishing a new plan at home that is purposeful, sustainable, and to some degree, enjoyable is the current goal to avoid boredom and bitterness that could easily sweep in.

Here is a list of what I’ve been doing these past few months (randomly speaking):

  • going through email and unsubscibing
  • writing blog posts
  • deleting, organizing unwanted electronic photos
  • organizing, making decisions about paper photos
  • hanging out in the/a closet purging clothes no longer wearing
  • hanging out in the closet making a list of what is needed
  • organizing closets
  • rearranging furniture, moving around the art on the walls
  • cleaning, choring, yard working ~ always available opportunities
  • organizing contacts
  • reading
  • tackling a chore that is awaiting attention, for me, mending
  • journaling, paper-style
  • writing emails/cards long overdue
  • applying for jobs
  • reacquainting myself with the piano
  • researching and practicing a new recipe
  • updating the ‘friends’ list on facebook
  • taking walks
  • listening to music
  • helping a parent or relative or friend in need
  • “passioning” (doing whatever you are passionate about, for me, knitting)
  • repurposing space

To that end, I like to fuss looking for improvements in my living space and because I have this time at home, I have, once again, taken on organizing the ever-growing pile of hand knits. The shelving unit that was in a corner of my bedroom with containers of sweaters was functioning but had negative properties such as clumsy, not necessarily the most attractive, took up space which then meant took up a chance for beautiful light to stream into the room. I also wanted to utilize a closet in my office that was not being used to its fullest advantage. Mind you, the closet’s size ~ 4’l x 1.75’w x 9’h. Dinky! The closet door came off years, ago to give the appearance of being more spacious . . . or to fool ourselves. I became determined to find a way to use this usable, but imperfect space for these.

I don’t know how many finished garments I have. I don’t count because that number is always changing. I may retire one or more and I certainly have a catch more I want to make. So, I take that into consideration with the storage. Also, one sweater does not take up the same amount of room as another as bulkiness, amount of knitted fabric, loft of the stitch varies creating different space needs.

I asked a few knitters how they store their collection. One said, “I use a dresser as I don’t have as many as you.” Another said, “For sure! I have a lot of handknits yes. Itâs a problem.” A third described herself as a process knitter meaning she enjoys the act of knitting and gives her beautiful hand knits away. One knitter who has hundreds more finished projects than me said, “I have wire racks in our regular closet and an upstairs bedroom closet and I swap out my sweaters seasonly. I hang the lighter weight tanks year round. And if the sweater is bound to be frogged, I have a big plastic box with those, that I think of as “yarn”.

I began the research. Movable shelving, built-in shelving, plastic bins, plastic shelving, a dresser, you name it, I would like to think I thought of it all. Eventually, I came across the category of fabric bags. I noticed they come in a variety of durability and colors. Some with wire frames. And, most importantly, some came with size measurements that were perfect for this space. Could work, I thought figuring, the lofty, soft bags for the bulkies, and the stackable, more rigid boxes for the finer knits.

The result ~ An actual walk-in sweater closet! (And, the removal of the gangly shelving in the bedroom.)

The bags are also easily mobile due to the handles, have windows, quality zippers, and can be

on display or tucked away as they are tall and take minimal floor space.

The best part? Fast forward to my queue? I have storage for those projects, too. . . when completed.

5 responses to “Repurposing Space for my Hand Knits”

  1. Very nice!

    This has been a strange several months for sure! I am still working, it was mostly from home until June, now about 50/50. I had a visitor from an ‘unsafe” state (PA) for a few days, so I had to work from home for the two weeks, similar to your quarantine, but I went easier on my self and did the grocery shopping each week (masked, of course). So what have I been doing? Not cleaning and clearing ,that is for sure! Well, maybe a little – I have been sewing! I got into my fabric stash to look for remnants to make masks, and found fabric I have been saving for years, that I love. This summer I have made myself 5 or 6 new skirts, and have a few more in the lineup – fabric washed and ironed and ready. I also am going to make a couple of jumpers. That will make a big dent in the fabric stash, which is good as the yarn stash has outgrown its spot and needs room to grow. :-) I also have been focusing on spinning this summer, too, and hope to have the yarn for a Nightshift shawl spun in a few more weeks. that is 6 (or more!) skeins spun up and ready to go on a specific project. I have done all of this in my “commuting” time, and it is kind of amazing how much I can get done on projects in an hour or so a day.


    • It is interesting how many of us knitters came from or still partake in sewing. Maybe, that is why we understand the shapes and construction of knitting. I am glad you were able to be productive, the upswing of covid.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the bags and bins, and your now spacious little closet! And even more, your list of actions, how you keep moving forward during the pandemic, when it is easy to feel or succumb to the feeling of being stranded. Thank you, Holly, for writing about all of this.


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