Hi friends — happy second day of spring for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere!
I’ve mentioned in passing here a few times that I’m trying to get my knitting life a bit more organized. In the spirit of spring cleaning, here’s the first post in what I imagine will be a multi-part series thining about how we handle stash, longstanding unfinished objects, and finished knits we don’t use.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned how getting my stash catalogued in Ravelry has been helpful to me in spring project planning and avoiding unnecessary yarn purchases (though if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see I fell off the wagon a bit recently …)
Having my stash catalogued also has also allowed me to reckon a bit with its size. I have yarn … a lot of yarn. I’ve been
buying collecting for over a decade. Clearly, I buy at a much faster rate than I knit. On the one hand, I love the yarn I have, and I love that, if I want to start a new project, I definitely have lots of options. On the other hand, the size of my stash has begun to stress me out a bit. I’ve moved around a lot in the last six years, and I will say, it gets hard constantly moving my “collection.”
As my stash has grown, along with my worries over its size, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my yarn buying habits. My purchases tend to fall into two categories: the first (and I think larger category) is yarn purchased for specific patterns. Especially sweaters. I love handknit sweaters, and I really love planning to make them (well, I really love knitting project planning in general!) But, at least in the past few years, I can’t knit sweaters as fast as I buy yarn to make them. So I have a very long queue of sweaters, with yarns already purchased, waiting to be made — and yet, I see a new pattern come out, get excited, and buy more sweater yarn (that falling off the wagon purchase, for instance, is .. you guessed it: for a sweater!) The second, smaller category is the yarn I purchase off the cuff: often because I’ve visited a new yarn shop and want to support them, or I’m travelling and want to buy souvenir yarn, or I get an email about some amazing and oh-so-limited edition yarn … I’m sure you know what I mean! These tend to be smaller purchases, usually of fingering weight yarn, and a lot of times, I have vague plans to knit socks with them (man, if I had a pair of socks for every single skein of sock yarn I’d bought …. well, I think I could wear a different pair of socks every day for quite awhile!)
So the question becomes: why do I keep buying yarn? Part of it, of course, is changes in my taste and changes in what’s available. While superwash merino is great, I have a LOT of it in my stash — so a lot of my more recent purchases have been to try other breed-specific wools. A new small yarn company or indie dyer seems to pop up every day, and it’s easy to be tempted. And the fact that I so often buy yarn for specific projects means, at least in the past, I have been reluctant to go stash diving when a new pattern comes out: even if I have a yarn in my stash that might be suited for a newly released pattern, it’s **meant** for something else that I still want to also make! In the past year, I’ve tried to be a lot better about using what I have, regardless of if it was slated for something else, telling myself, when I’m actually ready to make that something else, I can always get more yarn. But I think the biggest reason I keep buying more yarn is–if you haven’t hung out here long enough to figure this out–I really. love. knitting. I am constantly thinking about knitting — about yarn, about a current project, about one I want to start. I feel like I never have as much knitting time as I’d like (probably because I would be happy to be constantly knitting …). For me, planning projects and buying yarn holds with it the promise that, somehow, I will squeeze in that sweater. That suddenly I’ll finish everything I’m working on, start everything I have planned, and make time for every new thing that catches my eye.
If it weren’t for moving, etc., I think I’d be less worried about all this. But the thing is, I have to pack up my apartment again in two months. And I have a lot of yarn. Ravelry has a handy feature that allows you to download the stash you’ve entered asan Excel spreadsheet and then you can total up your yardage and grams. And I have almost 92,000 yards of yarn. That’s fifty-two miles worth of yarn. It’s 27,238 grams. And that’s not even all my yarn (though it is the majority — just missing some partial skeins, etc.) [Side bar: despite all my talk in this post about Ravelry’s stash function helping me understand how much I have, I didn’t actually download the spreadsheet and do the totals until midway through writing this post. And boy, was it a shock. Like, I had to step away from the computer and have a cup of tea shock. I knew I had a lot of yarn, but I had no idea I had that much.]
Which brings me to another great part of having your stash on Ravelry — it makes it easy to start destashing. Because the fact of the matter is, no matter how good I am in the future … how much knitting from stash I do, how many future yarn purchases I resist making … I have too much yarn. I’ll never be one of those people who has no stash, and only buys yarn for projects they’re about to start. But I would like to slim the stash down. Because fifty two miles of yarn is a lot to move. Because I would like to not feel guilty when I want to try a new yarn, or support a new LYS. And mostly because, (in my humble opinion, at least) I have some really pretty yarn, and it deserves to be knit with!
So today, I thoguht I’d show you some little bits and bobs from my stash that I’m trying to rehome. There’s a lot more over on my Ravelry destash page — and more will probably make it’s way there in the coming months (because: 52 miles!) But today, I thought it’d be fun to show you a few things — because it’s always fun to see pictures of yarn, right? (and we can laugh at some of my silly decisions!) and, who knows, maybe something will take your fancy (if so, feel free to leave a comment here, and I’ll email you, or message me over on Ravelry)
Some of the stuff I’m destashing are pretty recent, impulse purchases. Like this lovely skein of Loop Studio Plus I bought in the fall becuse I needed a pick me up, wandered to Loop, and got this, even though it really wasn’t right for the hat I wanted to knit with it:
Some of it needs to go because I’ve (gasp!) realized I’m allergic to alpaca yarn …
And these two dreamy skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca, that to be honest, I don’t remember purchasing (oops!):
Some of it is so pretty, it’s hard to imagine getting rid of … but I have no plans for it. Like this beautiful worsted weight Orange Flower Yarn:
Or this stunning Lakes Yarn DK … (bought for a Gin and Tonic, which I love and really want to make, but I just finished a cream sweater, and have another one languishing on the needles — spring cleaning is all about being realistic)
Sometimes as I catalogued, I realized I had yarns that were just too similar. Like, I love blue-green sock yarn as much as the next person, but how did I end up with skeins this similar?!
Some things I’ve realized I’m just not going to knit soon … like this cute Morehouse Merinoo Scarf kit I got many moons ago:
And some of these special skeins are just too pretty to keep sitting, unused:
I might pop in with another one or two flashes of the (de)stash over the next month or two, but if you’d like to poke around my Ravelry destash page, you can find it here. And my big stash is (almost) all catalogued here … I’m pretty serious about spring cleaning, so if you see something you like, even if it’s not listed for sale, give me a shout!
And look out soon for some more spring cleaning posts on wrestingly with longstanding UFOs (I’m going to need some advice!) and what to do with handknits you don’t wear or use!
Are you a stasher? I’m always eager to hear people’s stash management tips, so feel free to share in the comments!