May 17, 2010

Taking Control Of My Stash

The largest reason for my foray into Minimalist Knitting stems from the amount of yarn I currently have in my possession. While I recognize most knitters enjoy having a large stash – more options to choose from when picking out a new project – I find myself heading to the store again and again in search of new yarn (shiny! Pretty!) as I decide on a new project to knit. This means I’ve got a stash of yarn I have not been using – and what a stash it is!

I decided to take some time, figure out exactly how many balls of yarn I currently own. If my goal is to only own yarn I am either currently using or will use within the next three months, the first order of minimalist business would seem to knit through my bursting stash!

As I set about pulling all the errant balls of yarn from their respective hiding places and boxing it all up, I was struck by the enormity of it all – eight boxes and I still wasn’t done? How could I have acquired so much yarn?!

Some of the yarn was procured thanks to generous donations when I began the One Hundred Hats project – and until I started pulling all my yarn together I thought this was the majority of the yarn I now owned. Reality set in quite hard, and quite fast – I am most definitely a yarn hoarder. And unlike so many knitters, who purchase gorgeous hand-dyed skeins and hold onto them because the yarn seems to beautiful to knit, I have errant balls of acrylic for days and days.

Do not misunderstand me – I’m a big fan of acrylic. I use it for most of my charity knitting projects, and have knit many a baby item for friends and family out of the stuff. I am simply commenting on the very different look to my stash.

After several days of boxing up, counting, hunting down any errant balls of yarn, and counting once more, I came up with a total. I currently have:

180 balls of yarn
30 pieces in process – either needing to be finished, ripped out, or re-worked.

Currently on the home stretch of the One Hundred Hats project, I’ll be able to use up some of those balls of yarn between now and September 1 for Nest: Maine donations, and I’ll have several of the WIP’s taken care of in the next few weeks, but that still leaves A LOT of yarn and knitting!

After hyperventilating a bit, taking time to cuddle the cats and step away from the yarn, I formulated a plan. A simple plan, but a plan none the less. I am going to knit through all the yarn I own, one box at a time.

{I said it was simple.}

The only way I can see working my way through all this yarn in a quick and systematic manner is to just start with a box and work my way through it. I’ve got a few projects bookmarked in my Ravelry page – gifts for others, charity projects I know I want to work on – so as I find yarn in my stash for those, I’ll use it. Other than that, the yarn will be used one skein at a time, mostly filling my charity buckets and my “crap I have to give someone a gift and don’t have any time to knit something” basket.

The goal? To have half of my stash knit up by November 1, with a staple of holiday and last-minute gifts ready to be wrapped up! Wish me luck!

** Side Note: When my husband walked into the office and saw what I was doing, he asked what was up. When I told him I was on the path to becoming a minimalist knitter, he laughed. Not snickered, laughed. Out loud. Challenge accepted.

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