The Challenge of Knitting from Stash

One of the greatest joys of knitting for me is perusing patterns, matching them with yarns and then dreaming of the lovely finished objects that will result from all the planning and work that goes into each project.  In fact, it’s been said – usually by me – that if I spent as much time knitting as I spent surfing Ravelry for patterns, I’d be a knitting machine. Never mind that these plans change dozens of times before a skein of yarn, you know, actually becomes anything!

I am somewhat impulsive about purchases; Ravelry destash is the enemy.  It seems I cannot pass up a bargain.  And I frequently buy beautiful skeins of indie dyed yarn that I love (indigodragonfly, I am looking at you!) and then I am afraid to knit with them because “ZOMG – so beautiful and what if I use it and then find the perfect pattern for it??  OH NOES!!”.  Yes, even my inner knitter is a drama queen.  As a result I frequently purchase skeins of yarn and/or patterns and then end up with a lot of seriously lovely stuff lying about, unused and not unloved, but definitely under appreciated for what they can become.  In the case of yarn and fibre, this also means that I have broken my promise to DH that my stash would stay contained to a single (albeit large) cupboard in the guest room.  Hell, right now, it’s not even contained to the guest room…but I digress.

So at the beginning of January, I presented myself with a challenge.  I was going to make somewhat of a dent in my stash in 2013…a “stashdown”, if you will.  I refuse to call it a “yarn diet”…I have been on enough diets in my lifetime and they lead to nothing but feelings of deprivation that make my inner 5-year-old throw a tantrum and scream, “Want, want, want!”.  But rather, I wanted to use some of my much loved skeins to make some beautiful pairs of socks, and some lovely items to keep me warm through the winter….plus whatever else struck my fancy.  And in order to keep from feeling utterly deprived, I have made myself a deal.  For every five skeins of yarn I knit up, I can add one more to my collection.  An arbitrary number, to be sure, but this will reduce my stash to some extent and still allow me to pick up a skein here and there, when one really calls to me.  This will come in especially handy for Knitter’s Frolic in April.

It is now the 25th of January and so far, so good.  Since New Year’s Day, I have added only two skeins to my stash: a skein I agreed to buy at Christmas and didn’t get a chance to pick up until last week, and a special discontinued skein of Malabrigo Arroyo to make DH a Man Slouch.

More importantly, I am looking at my stash with a whole new eye.  I am having entirely too much fun choosing yarns and queuing up various pairs of socks for upcoming Ravelry Sock Knitters Anonymous challenges.  I am also adding some winter accessories to my list, since it’s been below -10 for the past week or more.  This includes casting on a Rhossili Beach Watch Cap (my very favourite hat pattern…ever) in indigodragonfly MCN Worsted in a stunning colourway called Squid Vicious. It’s going to be gorgeous.

I am even tagging skeins that are already wound, in an attempt to use those up first.  This has been met with mixed results, as sometimes the best yarn for a project really does require the use of a winder and swift.  What can you do?

The one downside to this plan is knowing that, say, My Vampire Boyfriend absolutely has to be knit in something in the red family, but knowing you have nothing suitable in stash that’s not already assigned to a pattern.  I see yet another re-jigging of my queue coming…or a plan to use one of my “earned rewards” to buy a lovely skein of red sock yarn.

Soon, my pretty…soon.

2 thoughts on “The Challenge of Knitting from Stash

  1. Does adding to your stash by spinning count ? 😉 Great post, a stashdown is something I could probably stand to do as well! As always, I love your writing style!

    • Adding to my stash by spinning does not count…mostly because the fibre is in stash already too, and taking up a fair bit of space, I might add ;-). I am hoping that some of my fibre will eventually become bulky yarn, since my stash has a dearth of that, and I am more likely to do some good bulky yarn long before I ever get to good sock weight 😉

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