May 7, 2010

The Minimalist Knitter – The Plan:

One of the joys of knitting for me lies in the planning – picking a perfect pattern, digging through my stash to see what yarn will work with it {or heading to the store to buy yarn that will work!}, and then plotting out just how I will work the project to completion. Now that I’m on this Minimalist Knitting journey, planning seems essential to accomplishing my goal. The over-arching plan is simple:
Beginning May 1, 2010, I will strive to knit only what I have on-hand in my stash, as well as own only those knitting accessories I actually need and use. I will continue to knit through my stash until it is gone, trying to not buy a single skein of yarn until I am through all my yarn.
At that point, I will strive to only have yarn, accessories, and projects not yet gifted that fit into the yarn dresser. This does not include donations sent for Knit Omaha, as they are not items I have knit, but does include items I knit for Knit Omaha. I will document this process through before-style photographs of all the yarn and accessories I own, photos of all finished objects knitted, and a tally in the sidebar for numbers of balls of yarn gone through. Simple enough, yes?

Knit with what I’ve got, use only what I truly need, and get rid of the rest. Document as I go, and share so that others can follow along, or maybe even join in. With any good plan, however, there are so many small details I’ve enjoyed listing out page by page!

It truly seemed overwhelming when I first started to think about it – I’m going to knit only with the yarn I’ve got, get rid of most of my supplies, and still knit as prolifically as I have in the past? It didn’t seem possible. To make my life easier, I’ve been laying some ground-rules, organizing my office/knitting room, and figuring out some practical steps. And I’m happy to report it’s all been coming together much easier than I’d thought it would!

Here’s a few of the details to my plan:

1. I’m cataloging all my yarn so I know what I’ve got. This idea stems from a Ravelry group I’m involved with, wherein knitters are stash-busting all across the internet! They’ve gone through their yarn and photographed each skein, tracking it all in their Ravelry accounts.

For me, this process seemed so overwhelming at first I balked. So instead of tracking each ball of yarn, I’m enlisting a more generalized approach. Rather than organize my yarn by fiber content, or even by color, I’m simply counting the number of balls of yarn I have as I box it all up.

The plan is to knit through each box, one box at a time, until all my yarn is knit up. All yarn storage will be labeled based on the number of skeins in each box, and a few boxes are labeled based on the type of yarn in them (I had enough Red Heart in white and turquoise that it got its own box, for example).

2. I’m allowing myself to buy yarn to finish projects, and for holiday knitting if people request specific things. Much of my yarn is ear-marked for charity knitting, and far be it from me to keep a project from getting finished because I ran out of yarn, or not give someone exactly what they want because I don’t have the yarn in my stash! I will, however, only allow myself on trip to the craft store every sixty days, so I’ll have to plan my shopping and my projects accordingly!

3. I’m not allowing myself to get all worked up about the leftover bits of yarn that happen when a project is done. If I’ve used less than half a skein, I’m still counting it in my totals, and if there’s less than ½ a skein left, I’m using it for my Scrap Blanket. The scrap blanket will be made with no concern for yarn gauge, fiber type, or color – each remnant ball of yarn will be tied to the end of the last ball {yes, I know – bad knitter!} and then knit until it is almost done. I’ll leave a tail to attach the next ball to, and move on to the next project.

To get me started on this blanket, I’ve set aside a box for all the random balls of yarn I’ve got laying around the house, and am designating a pair of needles and one big bag to the project. I’ll kick it off with remnant yarns, and for the foreseeable future, whenever I finish a project I’ll not only add that yarn to the blanket, but at least one other ball of yarn from the scrap box. The blanket may turn out super ugly, but it will be a history of all the yarns I’ve used, the projects I’ve made, and will keep us warm!

4. If it can’t be knitted up on needles sized 5-10, I’m giving it away. I’ll be setting aside a special box just for this, and will then offer them up here on the blog on occasion as giveaways! I figure, rather than hold onto yarn I know I won’t use, I’ll give it away to people who will love it and squeeze it and pet it and ….
That’s it! Four simple rules to help keep me on track for the next year and change – easy to write out, but I’m sure they’ll be much harder to live out!

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