I'm sure a lot of you are well aware that I've had yarn on the brain for quite a long time now. I'm sure a lot of you are sick and tired of me talking about my stash and how I am feeling a tad bit smothered by the sheer amount of yarn that I have in my possession. I'm sure a lot of you are wondering why the hell am I complaining about having this "problem". Some of you don't even consider this is a problem. Well I think it is. Not only is my stash getting out of control, but so are my spending habits.
I've been organizing and re-organizing, and then organizing the stash some more in fruitless attempts at Tetris-izing it all to somehow make it fit within the confines of the closets they've been designated to. And yet, there are still piles of yarn at the foot of the bed, behind the couch, and under the computer desk. Bags of yarn have been stuffed into all the crevices on my side of the closet and caution must be given to anyone who dares to open the closet in the Munchkin's room, as yarn has been known to spring out in an almost comical way. Basically, my stash is starting to become a physical burden.
Then there's the psychological side. Oh yeah, yarn likes to play mind games with a knitter. Having so much yarn at your fingertips could make a knitter go crazy. You're constantly thinking about all the pretty yarn that you want to cast on. Like, yesterday. Nevermind that you already have 6 projects on the go. Why not cast on just one more project? The (evil) yarn is calling and before you know it, the wool fumes have gotten to you and you find yourself casting on for yet another project. Crap.
There are moments when your stash makes you have temporary amnesia. You are planning for a project and all of a sudden you can't think of a single.yarn.in.the.stash.that.will.work. So you go and buy some more yarn. You get it, knit it up, bask in the awesomeness, and then you see it in the corner of your eye - some yarn in your stash that is exactly like the yarn you just used. Or even worse, you see a gorgeous shade of yarn in a base that you know you'll just love. So you purchase some. Then when you go to
dump it into the black hole that is your stash add it lovingly to the rest of your yarn collection, you realize that you already have 6 skeins of yarn that look exactly like the yarn you just bought. Want to turn it into a nightmare? That yarn you just bought IS the yarn that's already in your stash. Oh yeah. It's happened baby, and it wasn't pretty. Not pretty at all. You want to wake up screaming all sweaty? How about this: you.don't.return.the.yarn. You convince yourself that since you love the colour and base so much that you bought it twice, that you'll most definitely will be able to knit two (large) projects with it. I'm losing my freakin' shit here.
But then there are times where you don't even think about the stash. You have so many pretties that all of a sudden you get consumed with the thought that you need even more of the lovelies, which then turns into the crazed idea that you need to own ALL the yarn. Sharing?? What the hell is that??
Deep breath. See?? See?? What did I tell you? Yarn makes a knitter do crazy things. What's that? No, no...I'm not rocking back and forth, whispering all the names of yarn companies and their yarn-y line-up in alphabetical order. No, no. I'm just um...LOOK!! SQUIRREL!!!
So what's a knitter to do when they find themselves in such a predicament? Well, in order for me to curb my yarn shopping and accumulating, I'm partaking in Stashdown 2012 (imagine a deep, Hulk Hogan-like voice saying stashdown, with the end echoing a bit...and maybe throw in the sound of something really heavy crashing down at the same time). What is Stashdown, you ask? Well let me tell you, my dear friend. It's dedicating a certain amount of time (in this case, the entire year) to whittling your yarn stash (or any other stash you may have...I'm thinking of also doing a fabric version) down to either a pre-set amount or percentage, or to as low of an amount as you can humanly do so. There are tons of groups on Ravelry that are hosting a Stashdown of sorts and I was thinking of joining as many as I possibly could in hopes that being in so many groups would help me in my quest to well, get the stash down. Then I realized that having too many groups to check in with throughout the year would just turn me off and I will most likely fail in the most epic way known to man in the end. I foresee it not being a pretty sight. So I opted to join only one group's stashdown in hopes of avoiding such an epic downfall. Stashdown hint: You know you need to do a stashdown when you start padding the stash in preparation for the stashdown. Seriously, WTF? Who does that? Me. And I'm sure there are a whole lot of other knitters out there that have done the same.
The group that I joined decided to not have any complex rules, just simple guidelines with the main goal to reduce your stash down to "slightly hoariffic levels". You set up your own goals and you be the judge as to whether or not if you're failing. Easy peasy, right? Well maybe all down on paper! As the cliche saying goes: easier said, than done. I don't really have a set amount of yarn that I want to get rid of per se, my main goal is to have more yardage leave the stash than enter by the end of the year. Think it'll be hard? For me, I think so (I know some crazy people ahemMaeahem, that can totally do this challenge. I'ma thinking that I'll need to channel their willpower throughout the year to help me out). In general my rule is to knit more, buy less! But to break it down even further, here are some goals I'm going to work towards:
- the months of January and February are strict No-Buy months.
- instead of trolling for more yarn, these months will be dedicated to nothing but knitting (although, I just discovered that I have one bag left in the shop so I'm going to have to use a few knitting days to replenish my inventory)
- I'm allowing myself to keep my yarn clubs and spending the money to renew subscriptions - but no new clubs, unless I have moved out a lot of yarn from the stash
- I can only buy yarn if, and only if I need it to complete a project
- with the last goal said, I know myself well enough that I can't go cold-sheep and tell myself I can't buy any yarn whatsoever. This will only cause me to fail miserably. Therefore I'm giving myself a monthly budget of $50 for yarn. I can roll over this amount to the next month and ultimately "collect" enough to spend on a sweater quantity, but I CANNOT borrow from the next month's budget. Again, I know myself too well to know that this will end up in horrible failure. You might think that $50 is a lot for a monthly yarn budget, but really, you can't get a sweater's worth of yarn for that much (unless there's an epic sale going on or someone is destashing their yarn to the point where they are practically giving the yarn away for free), can you? Because my next goal...
- absolutely NO Knit Picks yarn purchases!!! The only Knit Picks purchases I am allowed to make are for more cables, tips, and as a complete, total, and utter dead last resort for yarn when knitting something for Brett or the Munchkin. But seriously, what does Knit Picks have on Patons Classic Wool, Cascade 220, or even Berroco Vintage or Weekend?? Absolutely nothing. Well, other than the fact that it can be much, much cheaper. Yet I need to remind myself that: I still have copious amounts of City Tweed in a lot of sweater quantities, I do not need more; I have a lot of their sock yarns, and I'm not even a fan of how thin their sock yarns are...the colours is what sucks me in; and even though Knit Picks yarn is friendlier to my wallet and I feel I can buy way more than if I were to buy a more expensive yarn, I always feel horrible when I get my order because the quality really doesn't compare to some of my snobbier yarns. Knit Picks yarns can be totally hit or miss. So far, there's been more misses than hits. I need to remind myself that it is definitely worth it to shell out a bit more money on a higher quality yarn - it's all about quality, not quantity. Knitting is so tactile that when you spend hours, days, weeks, and sometimes months knitting with the yarn you would want something that you love to touch, hold, and ultimately wear. Like my friend Andi and I agree on, in the end it's better to have spent a few more dollars on a quality yarn that will look good, wear well, and hopefully will last longer.
- cut down on single yarn purchases!! Unless I am needing a skein for a project. I have so many solo skeins in the stash with more coming from the yarn clubs, that I have plenty for socks and shawls so there really is no need for me to be buying any more. This will help out my $50 monthly yarn budget and will help me to save up for a purchase of a really nice yarn for a sweater. It's a win-win situation.
- minis swaps are ok. Cause that means I'll be swapping an entire skein of something from stash for a bunch of mini skeins in a variety of yarns in return. This could possibly help curb my urges to purchase one skein of sock yarns with the idea of using it towards my Beekeepers' Quilt.
- actually, swapping is ok. I haven't been swapping much anyways since postal costs can really add up but swapping isn't adding to the stash...just switching it up.
- if I really must buy a sweater's worth of yarn and will die if I don't have the yarn in my stash, then I must get rid of an equal amount of yarn from the stash either by destashing, donating, or...a giveaway!
Reasonable and realistic goals, no? We're only four days into the new year, so I can't say for sure. Ask me again at the end of the month. I think the keys to my success will be to avoid going to my LYS "just to see what's new", avoiding all online yarn shops and all yarn shop updates (I'm looking at you Wollmeise!), and stop looking at destashes. I'll also forewarn you all right now too that if it's a bit quite around here this month, it's because I'm busy either knitting or sewing...and maybe dancing (that damn Xbox is luring my attention away from my crafty endeavours!), so please, no hate mail as to why I haven't been around lately. Ok?
To help me kick off Stashdown 2012 I'm going to do an impromptu quickie yarn giveaway! My yarn hoarding will be your gain! The yarns I chose for this giveaway is one that I love dearly. Alas, whilst going through the stash I realized that I had several skeins of a certain colourway and the other I have already knit a project with. I also chose this yarn because I know several of you have either commented on this here blog, on my Ravelry project page, or had sent me a PM via Ravelry regarding the fact that you have not yet knit with this yarn but would like to.
So without further ado, the giveaway and the deets....
*** This giveaway is now closed...Thank you so much to everyone who entered! ***
The Prize: one lucky reader will win one of the above skeins! Those lovely skeins are, you guessed it, SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in colourways Boysenberry (left) and Nightshade (right).
How to Enter: leave a comment letting me know which colour you like the best AND what you would knit/crochet/weave with it.
The Rules: all comments must include either a valid email address or your Ravelry ID. Comments not containing either of these will be disqualified. Giveaway is open until Friday January 6, 2012 midnight PST (I told you it was going to be a quickie!). I'll contact the winner sometime the following day.