Welcome to the Workspace Series—glimpses into the offices, desks, and other work and play environments of our Forum members and the TOM BIHN crew.
Forum name: brendabethman
What do you do? (If it's your professional workspace, what's your job; if it's your hobby workspace, what's your hobby?)
I work at a university directing the Women’s Center; I also direct the Women’s & Gender Studies Program and teach German and Women’s & Gender Studies courses. I’m also a knitter and this workspace encompasses both my professional and personal pursuits.
What sorts of things went into the planning of your workspace?
When we moved to Kansas City, I was still writing my dissertation and hadn’t yet taken up knitting, so this space was originally conceived of as a study. I had a larger L-shaped desk and a total of 8 bookcases. I finished the dissertation in 2009, but the room stayed mostly the same until I took up knitting around 2 years ago. As my stash grew, so did my need for storage space. At the same time, I was bringing home less work as I finally learned how to complete my work during the week in the office and take weekends off, so my need for a huge desk disappeared—and the need to find space for my stash finally convinced me that the books I’d bought to write my dissertation could find new homes.
After some experimentation, the room has settled into what I think of as three distinct areas: work desk, yarn winding/weaving area, and my knitting/reading chair. The work desk is where I pay bills and do any work from the office that I’ve brought home (usually grading). The yarn winding/weaving station is relatively new and I’m quite pleased with it as previously I wound yarn at the dining room table and would have to set up/take down the swift and winder every time I needed to use it. I also like that taking out the bookcases that were previously there gave me the wall space to finally hang the quilt I bought at a show a few years ago.
Under the windows, Kallax shelving and fabric storage bins from IKEA keep my yarn safe from kitties and dust.
What are some of the important items/tools in or aspects of your workspace?
My favorite spot in the room (and possibly the entire house) is my reading/knitting chair. The chair is a Poang from IKEA and is super comfortable. I’ve got tables with good lighting and space for my coffee/knitting/books set up on either side and my Movable Feast that I use as a knitting bag sits close by as well. I tend to be an early riser, so most mornings you will find me here, getting in some knitting and kitty snuggle time before getting ready for work—it’s an excellent way to start the day and much better than my previous habit of immediately checking email.
My job can be pretty challenging and stressful. Having this calming space at home to relax in makes a big difference in my ability to cope with said challenges and stresses—and it’s the spot I long to come home to when traveling.