Knitting up the STASH

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

“My yarn stash is too large” – No Knitter, Ever

Except, maybe… me.

Ever since I’ve welcomed my son into my life, I’ve been feeling more and more like I need less and less “stuff”. There are a zillion reasons why… but I won’t unload them all onto you, tempted as I might be. This wave of a very light minimalism started with clothing and shoes and keeps expanding through my house to cooking items, cabinets, drawers, and closets. My favorite tool for measuring progress (other than seeing empty space or neatly stored useful items in closets) is my own printed chart of 2018 things to declutter in 2018, inspired by the Nourishing Minimalism Decluttering Challenge of 2018. To the right is a photo of my progress by the end of August. Each colored box represents one item gone. YEAH! I tried changing colors each month, but there were a couple of deep-cleaning months and I felt I earned a new color halfway through. 

So… How does the yarn fit into this? Knitting and crocheting are my favorite hobbies. They’re also my work and two of my creative outlets. But sometimes looking at so much yarn makes me feel less creative. Less happy. Yarn that I’ve had for 10 years or a project that’s been sitting half done for 3 years don’t bring me joy. They make me feel burdened. Additionally, if I’m designing a project, I certainly don’t want to use a yarn or color that has been discontinued. I realized a few months into my light minimalism phase that I needed to take control of this aspect of my clutter as well. I love my local shops and want to support them and will continue to buy new yarn. But, as with all of my shopping during this epic decluttering, I bring a mindfulness to the store with me about what comes home.

To the left is a photo of my yarn cabinet after it was tidied two years ago. At that time, I had about 2 more cabinets worth of yarn in a storage room in my studio. Some of these yarns have been sold or donated and some have been knit. Some still sit there, waiting for their fate to be decided. 

 


I plan to chronical what I’ve been doing with my yarns to declutter and curate my stash in a few blog posts. Here are the first four steps towards this:

First step: Lessen the load. I’ve been destashing yarns in my Etsy shop. I have also been donating a lot of yarn, books, needles, etc. to the knitting group at my town’s senior center. They are loving it. Their joy in receiving items matches my joy in offloading them. How do I decide what is for sale and what to give away? If it's a valuable yarn (nice fiber, hand-dyed) or if there's enough yarn to make a substantial project and/or it holds some sentimental value for me, I try to sell it. If it's inexpensive yarn that costs more to ship than to sell or yarn that I only have bits and pieces of, it is given away. 

Second step: Knit the random single skeins of certain yarns and colors that you just can't bear to part with. Turn that love of the color or fiber or yarn into an actual project. What a concept. I began this process by knitting a hoodie cardigan for my son in some single skeins and odds & ends I had accumulated in Filatura di Crosa “Zara”. It's one of my favorite yarns ever, which is probably why I have so much of it. Yes, present tense. I still have a lot, even after finishing this sweater. 

About the sweater: I worked a basic top-down sweater with 8-row stripes of varying colors. I didn’t want to have to make the sleeves match, so I made sure that the stripes in the front of the body wouldn’t always match, either. Hooray for intarsia! I was able to use about 300 grams of yarn and I found ROBOT BUTTONS in my button stash (*in robot voice* PERFECT). This project was 100% STASH. It's probably going to fit him when he's 6.

Third step: Pat myself on the back!

Fourth step: Repeat steps 1-3.

 

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