In Part 1 of this series, I talked about stash acquisitions and use over the past year (2017), as well as my theories about why crafters tend to amass huge stashes of their favorite materials (for me, that’s yarn).
Today I want to talk about plans for working with the yarn I have, and will also be sharing my annual stash flash.
Typically “Flash Your Stash” happens at the beginning of April each year, but that makes absolutely no sense to me since the year starts in January. I much prefer to do a stash flash at the end of December/beginning of January, because to me it just makes more sense: new year, new stash flash, and the counter of used stash starts over again.
For those of you who are unaware, stash flashing is the process of dragging out all the yarn/fiber you own, laying it in one place, and taking a visual accounting of it. For some, it requires more than one large photo as their stashes are not able to fit into one large flat area. The location of choice seems to be one’s bed, as it is a large-ish, flat-ish surface that provides a reliable point of reference from year to year (assuming you keep the same size bed).
My stash has evolved over the years, but the largest change has been this year. Here’s a progression for you:
2014: Mostly worsted weight, commercially available yarns. There’s a tad of bulky, sport, and fingering weight thrown in there, but not much. Most of this was gifted to me from an elderly family member who was getting rid of yarn, and I had NO clue what to do with it.
2015: TONS more worsted weight acrylic from box stores. Most of the gifted yarn I donated, but I apparently felt the need to buy ALL. THE. YARN.
2016: The trend continues. I’m only going to show you the worsted/bulky weight, because the rest of it didn’t fit on the bed, and was on shelves and in drawers.
I’d like to note at this time that I obviously have a very high turnover rate. Most of the yarns in these photos change from year to year.
2017: The beginning of the sock stash, and the lessening of the heavy acrylics.
Today’s Flash: Holy cow. This is TOTALLY different from previous years! This time there’s handspun, ALL weights of yarn, and an obvious focus on light weight wools & indie dyed yarn.
So why the difference?
Well, I’ve only been seriously designing patterns for about 2.5 years, but I think that has a large impact on the choice of materials that i’ve been making. Because i’m designing and publishing patterns (as opposed to just knitting/crocheting as many by others as I can), it forces me to slow down and consider the choices i’m making. I have to choose the perfect yarn for each pattern – to best emphasize the stitches, the shapes, etc. I have to ask myself whether the yarn will photograph well, be desirable/available for others to buy and use, and whether I feel it best represents me as a designer and a person.
Over the course of some personal analysis, I’ve discovered that I value quality over quantity, and community over commercialism. What I mean by that is that I really enjoy supporting the independent community of pattern designers, yarn dyers, and textile artists in general. I would much rather buy from and work with a mom who’s dyeing yarn in her kitchen than from a corporation. I love to interact with other artists and makers, because I feel that a large reason why the indie dyeing/designing community is so wonderful is because of all the inter-connected support that happens within it. I get a lot of support from other makers, dyers, and designers, and this year i’ve been focusing on giving that support back.
Another reason why I have less stash right now is that I’m going to be moving in the Spring to a much smaller home. I’ll go more into that in another blog post, but we’re essentially moving to a tiny house, and I just can’t go on buying yarn all willy nilly – there won’t be space to store it, and probably isn’t space to store what I have now! That leads me to my next train of thought, which is buying and using with a purpose.
Theoretically, I have enough yarn currently in my stash to last me for about 2 years without buying more if I continue to craft at the same rate. Right now my stash is at about 43,000 yds, and for this past year I used approximately 20,000 yds in projects this year (and there were more than a few projects where I didn’t record yardage used). I feel I should also mention that these numbers do not include WIPs and yarn attached to WIPs. I deduct yardage as projects are finished, but the photo is only of full skeins. WIPs are something I will have to tackle again before we move, but right now I find them a tad overwhelming. I’m working on 1: finishing projects that have already been started, or 2: frogging/chucking projects that (if i’m being honest) will never be completed for one reason or another.
So what’s my plan for this upcoming year? I’m not going to be unrealistic and swear that i’ll never buy yarn this year, because that’s just silly. I love yarn, I love the colors, and I love the inspiration I find from looking at it, touching it, and admiring it. I am, however, going to shoot for a drastic stash reduction. My plan is that for every new skein of yarn want to bring into the house (defined as 100 gms), I must first get rid of (or use up) 3 skeins. My hope is that this rule will help me carefully consider what i’m bringing into the house, and whether or not I REALLY want to buy the yarn.
I have to say, it’s very satisfying to see the stash total go down. Being able to look at the number from month to month and constantly seeing a lower number satisfies something in me along the lines of checking off boxes on a to-do list. It may just be yarn, but it’s still immensely satisfying to make and meet goals.
What are your yarn/stash resolutions for this year? Do you have any? I’d love to hear about your plans!