Blog, Crochet, Current Projects, Daily Life, De-Stashing yarn, Knitting

Attack of the Stash! (Part 2)

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.

2014 Stash part 1

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.

2015 Stash Flash part 12015 Stash flash part 2

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.

2016 4-6

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.

Stash jan 2017 divided

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.

Marked Stash 2018

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!

Blog, Uncategorized

3 years?

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Blogging consistently has never been my forte; it’ll take you about 3 minutes to scroll down and confirm that if you don’t believe me! I’m not really ever sure what compels me to start or stop blogging, but I think this time it has to do with a feeling that i’ve lost touch with the world of writing. (I can hear you now – “she’s going to write an essay! Maybe if I close out the window now I’ll escape!” Have no fear, dear reader, I have no desire to bore you to death!)

Lately i’ve been vlogging/podcasting pretty consistently on YouTube (Here’s a LINK if you’re curious) and while I do enjoy that, I’ve also found that videos require a certain amount of active conversation that leads to less forethought than I can put into a blog post. In writing, I can begin a post, come back to it and tweak it, and make sure I have exactly what I want to say to you all corrected before I post, rather than making some show notes and speaking “live” as I do in podcasts.

I’ve been told that I need to choose EITHER blogging OR podcasting, but I don’t think i’m going to accept that. I enjoy podcasting, AND I enjoy writing – so there!

 

ANYWAY (as my grandfather was fond of saying, when he’d rambled too far off topic as I just have), I expect that this blog will feature things like yarn and pattern reviews, projects, my new designs and yarns, and whatever knitting/fiber arts related things I may be into at the time I write. As for a timeline, I’ll be figuring that out as I go!

For now, I’ll just sit here and announce my intention to begin blogging again, and then probably start writing a new post as soon as this one goes live! See you soon!

Crochet, Current Projects, Daily Life, Knitting, Uncategorized

Projects, projects everywhere…

One of my goals for this year has been to cut down on the number of active projects that I have going at the same time. I’m great at starting projects, but i’m really not so great at finishing them. In light of that [not so surprising] revelation, yesterday was spent frogging old projects that had been sitting in a plastic tote for almost 3  years (literally – 3 years!), and finishing up one blanket that I made the squares for while still in high school. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a “before” picture of the tote, but you can use your imagination. This is all that was left after the frogging and blanket assembling:

wpid-imag1329.jpgNice mostly empty bucket with reclaimed yarn, yes? A couple projects did end up getting tossed, due to the fact that I think moths might have been at them, and it just wasn’t worth it to risk my stash!

wpid-imag1327.jpg

Here’s the blanket that I assembled last night – my taste in colors and design has obviously changed since high school, as you will see as we start to look at my current projects!! (get ready for lots of pictures!)

In the spirit of trying to finish up projects that have already been started, I re-filled the tote (the one I had just emptied) with projects (I took pictures first!) and have decided that I am going to knit/crochet only from that tote until it is empty, and then fill it again. It includes mostly already started projects, with yarn for one new one, and once I get the supplies for one commission project, that will be in the tote as well. My hope is that this will give me motivation to get rid of my old projects, either by finishing or frogging – it forces a decision. So, without further ado, here are the projects in my tote! I hope that I will be able to post finished pictures very soon!

wpid-imag1321.jpg  wpid-imag1331.jpg  wpid-imag1345.jpg wpid-imag1353.jpg  wpid-imag1341.jpg

These five are my blanket projects they are (from Top to Bottom, Left to Right)

The Sock Yarn Blankie, by Shelly Kang (started in May of 2010), Owl Obsession, by Marken of the Hat & I, (Started April 2014), a scrappy blanket of five strands held together knit on US 50s that I have no pattern for, because i’m just making it up as I go along! A Purple Crocheted Lace Baby Blanket, by Baby Dear (Which I so believed I wasn’t going to finish, I deleted it from my project page on ravelry!, and a square for an ongoing test that i’m participating in, so the pattern is not yet published.

wpid-imag1333.jpg  wpid-imag1334.jpg

These Two are my Mitten/Gl0ve projects:

Ringwood gloves, by Rebecca Blair, (started who knows when..), and a KnitPicks kit: Woodland Winter Mits (Started on my honeymoon.. December 2011!)

wpid-imag1338.jpg wpid-imag1344.jpg

Sweater Projects! The Rose Trellis Shawl Vest by Vera Sanon (to be started soon – and will actually be for me!!), and another KnitPicks Kit – The Corrie Fair Isle Vest (Started while I was still in high school – I’ve never gotten up the courage to steek it! Hopefully this filling a tote thing will force me to..)

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A couple random projects: Dragon, by Stacey Trock and Norma’s Bag (Pattern is my own – modeled after a picture I saw, but the pattern is no longer available, so i’m making it up as I go along!)

 wpid-imag1349.jpg  wpid-imag1358.jpg

Feet! A Slightly adapted version of DROPS 150-4: Little Red Riding Slippers and a pair of Galilee Slippers, by Tara Murray

wpid-imag1352.jpg

Last, but not least, projects that only need ends woven in, or blocking.

Hemlock Ring Blanket, by Jared Flood (Which is such a pain to block, but so pretty when it’s done.. I just really, REALLY hate blocking this pattern. I made two of them before blocking one. If I had waited to block the first one before making the second, i’d have never made a second one!)  A Brunello Cardigan,  by Amy Swanson, (This has been done for.. at least 3 years? Only requiring ends woven in and blocking. Such a slacker..), That thing that looks like unicorn vomit is a Lafayette Shawl, by Julie Farmer, and just the TARDIS portion of Bigger on the Inside by Kate Atherly, because I really wanted a TARDIS scarf, but not a shawl..

Keep in mind!! These are NOT (I repeat, NOT) all of the projects i’ve started – just the ones i’m actively trying to finish in the near future! Phew!

How many projects do you all have going on right now?

Have you ever been a monogamous knitter? (If so.. teach me?!)