I DID IT!! I kept my New Years Resolution for 2017! (That’s a first 🙂 )12 MONTHS without buying a SINGLE SKEIN! I can’t believe I actually managed to do this and I must say I’m very proud of myself. (Applause, please!) Also I cannot believe that I didn’t try this before.
For all of you yarn hoarders out there, let me tell you what a joy this year was! And really easy, too! It’s definitely so much fun that I’ll continue with it until I really need to buy something – for a specific project only – and not just because it calls my name (they all do, don’t they? HOW ON EARTH do they all know my name??).
I wrote up a small guide on how to survive a yarn diet. Just in case you are wondering how to start one yourself (just for fun, I promise, you’ll find things in your stash that you never knew you had in the first place 🙂 How long is entirely up to you, but I wanted a whole year, just to see if I could manage.
What’s the benefit?
- You get to explore the depths of your yarn stash and give some love to long lost beauties hidden away for better times – what’s a better time than this?
- you get the satisfaction of using what you bought (because you loved it)
- make something beautiful without actually spending more money on it 🙂
- find new patterns that match your yarns and get to know different designers (or why not design something yourself?) – see the designer interviews I ran in December for more inspiration!
- use up scraps and bits that have been lying around for ages
- you’ll relieve the yarn of the big stress of being kept in a tight place for too long. Be fair to your yarns, they deserve to be shown off! 🙂
So here’s how I did it.
Step one: Get organised!
First of all I re-organised my stash into yarn weights and similar textures (fingering alpaca, sock yarns, cotton, DK mix, …), so that each of these drawers held only a specific yarn weight that could be combined for bigger projects if needed. No more excuses because you just don’t have enough yarn of thisandthat quality… Why not mix it with other similar colours? Or go completely nuts and make something colourful?
I gave away the yarns that I knew I’d never use (like some acrylics that have been lingering in my drawers for ages in th hopes to fine it’s way into my project bag or mohairs, which I don’t like) and kept only what I really wanted.
After organising my stash I organised my queue as well. Into
- things I need to knit (like kids cardigans, hats and such),
- things that eat a lot of stash and
- things I wanted to knit for a long time already.
I wanted to tick off something from each of these at least once before the year was over. And I ticked them off quite often!
Step two: AVOID TEMPTATION
Well, to be honest, this was the hardest part. I tried keeping away from my LYS (sorry, economy!) and yarn festivals for this year. As the year went on and I hadn’t bought anything yet and didn’t feel the need to do so, I dared to go to two yarn festivals and went through without buying anything! Instead I just collected ideas for projects that could be knit wit any yarn and didn’t call for a specific one.
The base rule was: Find projects for my yarn instead of finding yarn for my projects 🙂 And it works wonderfully!
Do you feel like you just NEED this skein? – do you? really? get it ONLY if you cast on a project with it right away. Or let it lie there for someone else and feel good about it. See how kind you are to others? 🙂
Did you do something incredibly brave or go through something difficult that calls for a treat? Go stash shopping and find the most beautiful skein in there and make something from it right away! 🙂 You deserve it!
Step three: KNIT IT!
Then I dove into my stash. There were so many beautiful yarns in there that I bought a long time ago and that needed attention! So why not use them? They deserve it, too. I bought them, because I loved them, after all. I knit 136 projects from stash this year!! I should have kept track on yardage or at least weight, but I was too busy coming up with new ideas 🙂 This is my plan for the next year. Keeping track of what I used up.
I even broke with my one-wip-rule and had several projects at the same time: One for train rides back and forth to work, one for sofa knitting while binge-ing series with my hubby (no brainers worked best, like hats , socks or scarves), and one for daytime, which could be a little more complicated. That way I was practically knitting all the time 🙂
Run out of that specific yarn? MIX IT!
Who said that one project should be made from the same colour? Or even the same brand of yarn? If you’re not sure if the yarns go together you could knit with two strands and mix it! That way you’ll have a yarn blend that is the same throughout the project and it looks great, too! For this Dragon Hat I combined leftovers from seven different balls of yarn into one lovely hat. Not so bad, huh?
In case you need more inspiration for what to do with you leftovers, see my suggestions for 20 free patterns for leftover projects and different techniques here.
And if you want to destash your leftovers AND do something good at the same time, read Of Scraps and Happy Elephants here
So, this all doesn’t seem to hard to do, right? And I promise you:; it’s not!
Funny enough my friends and family were laughing at me for my efforts to stash down for real. Some kept sending me their yarns and scraps that they thought I’d knit up (which I did, 100% to be exact!) This Bigglesworth the Bat for example holds all the scraps that a friend sent me, to the last bit! It has it all: An acrylic body, silk wingtips and alpaca ears 🙂 An my kids love him all the more for it!
My mother sent me a bag full of cotton yarns (which I use for toys, mostly) because she knew I ran out of some colours and wanted to restock my supplies (bless her!), so these six owls already hatched from them
As much as my husband laughs about my yarn craze, he also supports me a lot here. As he saw I was rock hard in my resolve not to buy any yarn myself he gave me the Opal yarn advent calendar as a birthday gift. How can I not love this guy?? See? Who needs to shop themselves? 🙂
I wish I would have taken some more before/after pictures but for this year I can only show you my Sockables drawer before
and after one year of knitting frenzy
And my fingering blends and alpacas before
See the difference? I sure do. At least my yarns can exhale now and if not move around freely, at least breath a little 😛 AND I managed to clear out one of the drawers with the bulky yarns 🙂 Hooray!!!
So to all of you hoarders, be fair to your yarns and use them! At leas a little 🙂 They also have feelings,, you know 🙂
Happy knitting, you all and we’ll see each other in the new year!
Doreen aka Mrsmumpitz