Monday, March 31, 2014

Yarn Overload: Time for Stash Reduction or at Least Stabilization

Ever since Stitches, I've been on a yarn buying binge. I recently completed Blue Morpho which makes use of a Zauberball. This shawl gave me a lot of ideas for using Zauberballs, so I needed to pick up a few. Then I found a sweater pattern by Lori Versace that looked interesting and the yarn looked interesting. I can never decide on a color, especially when buying online, so I picked up several sweaters worth. I am also working on a double brioche scarf. Same problem, I can't decide on colors, so I picked up several skeins of Knit Picks Swish Worsted. Luckily this yarn isn't so expensive. Anyway, you get the idea.

So its time to start reeling myself in. My friend Tyler is starting a social experiment in reducing stash. His rules can be found here. I'm going to follow his lead modified for my own use.

My goal is to not purchase any new yarn for a year, starting from April Fools Day; good choice of start date! While I say not purchasing any yarn is the goal, it is not realistic. So instead, I'm going to only allow purchases under certain conditions.

  • I can continue with up to two yarn clubs. I am currently a member of Miss Babs Knitting Tour and Cookie A's Sock club. Both include a yarn delivery. I am allowed to maintain these clubs or switch out one club for another, but only two clubs are allowed.
  • I am already tracking my yarn usage in an attempt to reduce leftovers. I will continue tracking all of my yarn usage in this manner. Yarn used to get rid of leftovers counts 1:1. Yarn used to complete a project counts 2:1. What does this mean? A project is started from a new skein or skeins and counts as 2:1; for every 2 skeins used, I can buy 1 new skein, in yards. A project using the leftover yarn counts 1:1; for every leftover yard used, I can buy 1 yard. My goal here is to encourage removing complete items from my stash. I want to use them up! (Note: if I have a lot of skeins or a lot of yardage, say I have 10 skeins of sock yarn in a certain color. Making a pair of socks using 1 skein does not move the remaining 9 skeins into the 1:1 category. I must get it down to less than 1 skein, and then the remaining can be moved into 1:1 category.)
  • Any yarn sold, gifted or traded allows me to buy new yarn in the ratio of 2:1; 2 yards sold equals 1 yard available for purchase.
  • I am allowed to knit with yarn that is up for sale. I must replace it 1:1 by putting another yarn up for sale.
  • While I'm hoping to have enough yarn to do any design work that interests me, I'm allowed to buy yarn for the designs, but I must complete the design in 3 months or I have to get rid of yarn following the above rules.
  • I can purchase yarn for new projects, if the yarn is not in my stash. I must put 1:1 yarn up for sale in this case. If I do not start the project within 1 month, I must put another 1:1 up for sale.
  • Stitches 2015 and other fiber fests. I will allow purchases here, but they will be severely restricted. I will need to set a budget and stick to it. Like usual, I need to focus on yarns I love that aren't locally available as well as purchases from the new kids.
  • The weavers conference in Oakland is exempt. I have been planning to go to the conference for several weeks. It will be my first time at this market.
  • Vacation yarn. I'm allowed a couple of skeins for vacation purchases. It really depends on the length of the trip. I actually did really good in Australia and only purchases 4 skeins. I wish I could say it was due to my will power. It was more an availability thing. At this point, I'm going to say 1 skein a week and / or 1 skein from shops I have never visited before.
  • Yarn Swap Yarn. Swapped yarn is "sold" yarn if i swap more than I pick up. To calculate the true nature of swapped yarn I have: Yarn I leave at the swap - yarn I take home = either the equivalent of purchased yarn or sold yarn. The rules for this difference are the same as any sale or purchase, with one difference, all swapped yarn must be put up for sale immediately or I must start knitting something with it immediately.
  • LYS yarn purchases are allowed under the following circumstances. When a new shipment of sock yarn arrives, I can buy 2 skeins. I want to continue supporting my LYS. I may modify this rule some more because I don't want to cut back on my support too severely.
  • Yarn purchased before the start date will not count against me.
  • Test knitting. I don't do a lot of test knitting, but when I do, I want to make sure that I use a yarn that highlights the pattern being test knitted. I want the designer to have a finished project listed under their pattern that helps sell their design. For this reason I will allow myself to buy yarn for a test knit. I still must try to use my stash first.
  • Stripes & colorwork. This is a tough one. I need to use up the yarn I have, but i will allow myself to buy a second color to get the correct color combination. Buying a color to match will require me to put something up for sale, 1:1. If I don't start right away, then I must put 2:1 total up for sale.
  • Buying new yarn outside of what I'm granted in above sections requires me to put up yarn for sale in the ratio of 2:1. So 1 yard bought, means 2 yards must be put up for sale. I won't require a match of gauge for this exchange.
  • Individual gift skeins will not count against me. If someone gives me a sweaters worth, then I have to give up yarn, 1:1. This will make sure that I want this sweaters worth of yarn more than something in my stash.
  • Yarn that missed being included in my Ravelry stash doesn't count against me when I add it to my stash. I have found some leftovers that didn't get included, and I may run across other yarn that hasn't been included.
  • I have a bunch of cheap cotton and fun fur that won't make it into my stash. This yarn will not count when I sell it. If i decide to use it in a project, I must add it to my stash. It then is available to me as part of stash yarn that I have used. I must list the project in my projects on Ravelry.
  • Crocheting, weaving, knitting are all valid ways to use up yarn.
  • Buying fiber for weaving won't count. I can imagine needing a specific yarn or fiber to learn a new technique and to get my weaving skills to a satisfactory level. I still need to focus on using my stash first and will need to revisit this item if I start stashing weaving yarns.
  • Can I put yarn for sale in advance? Yes. If I have some yarn I want to put up for sale, I don't need to or want to wait for a purchase to list the yarn. Yarn put up for sale gives me future purchases based on the above criteria. This doesn't mean that I run out immediately and buy yarn, but there really isn't a reason to wait to list the yarn. If its up for sale then it can be sold and moved out of my stash.
  • Yarn that's already up for sale (prior to April 1) does not count for or against me. In other words, I cannot count it for future purchases.
  • I can pull yarn out of my sale bins for weaving without aditional penalty, if I weave it right away. If its a yarn I've counted in advance, I'll remove it from my available to purchase totals.
  • Can I change the rules? Yes. Its hard to say what will work and what won't. I may be overly generous in my yarn purchase criteria and its hard to say what I've missed.
  • You can really tell I'm an engineer!


    Prairie Willow can be found on Ravelry at noliegirl. Prairie Willow is an avid knitter and jewelry designer. My jewelry can be found at Prairie Willow Jewelry .

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