Aug 30, 2010

Minimalist Monday: Kicking Bad Idea Yarn Skeins To The Curb, Part One

Many of us are getting ready to celebrate Labor Day here in the States, and this last hurrah of summer has left me looking forward to fall weather – fall means cardigans and warm socks, hand-knit hats and campfires! Fall also means the kick-off of a new weekly column – Minialist Mondays!

Now that I’ve done the initial work of paring down my yarn stash, needles, and notions, I’ve found that it’s easy to get complacent with my minimalist journey. To help combat that, and to help you all dig a bit deeper into the idea of minimalist knitting, I’m going to offer up a weekly dose of advice designed to help you pare down your yarn stashes, figure out which projects and needles you love, and move towards a minimalist knitter lifestyle.

To kick it off this month, we’re going to focus on Bad Idea Yarn Skeins. These are the skeins we bought when we first started knitting or were gifted to us by well-meaning non-knitters. This is yarn that we once thought we would love, but after trying desperately to fit it to a project have realized we may never actually knit it up. Most of all, this is the yarn that we hide at the back of our knitting stash, embarrassed and ashamed that we have it.

I say NO MORE!

It’s time we rid ourselves of these skeins of yarn, either by knitting them up, giving them to other knitters who will actually use them, or sending them off to the donation bins! All month we’ll focus on identifying our bad idea yarn skeins, what we can do with them, and how to release the attachment to yarn you’ll never actually use.

 For this week, start out by identifying what yarn in your stash can be considered a Bad Idea skein. Separate it from the herd into its own containers – no matter how few or how many skeins you have, don’t let any yarn that you consider a Bad Idea skein languish in your working yarn stash any longer!

Next week we’ll start dividing this bin out into useable and non-useable piles and sfiguring out what to do with all that yarn, but for now, simply separate those skeins out. Some tips to consider:
  • Work in 15 minute increments. Most knitters have rather large stashes, and to try to tackle the whole lot in one afternoon will likely send you over the edge.

  • Take each shelf or bin separately. Trying to look at all your yarn at once may make you hyperventilate! By focusing on one small area, you can make better choices.

  • Look at each skein of yarn separately. Don’t consider skeins in relation to the rest of your stash – you may easily convince yourself that while you loathe a certain skein, you could probably pare it with another, less revolting skein. Don’t do it!

  • Drink a big glass of water before you begin each session. This will help you stay alert, make sure your tummy feels full – which will help keep you from rash decisions – and will symbolically fill you. Besides, fiber makes me thirsty!

 Don’t despair if at the end of the week you have more yarn than you’d thought in your Bad Idea skeins pile – and don’t be discouraged if you have less. Whatever you are able to separate is the perfect amount for September. I’ll be back to share my photos of my Bad Idea Skeins pare down next week, along with our next step! Are you playing along? Let us all know in the comments so we can cheer one another on!

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