ONE YEAR OF YARN DIET? CHECK!
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
22 thoughts on “ONE YEAR OF YARN DIET? CHECK!”
Thank you for sharing! I really enjoyed your story and I am sure you will keep up your good idea😊
Happy new year
thank you! Let’s see what happens this year 🙂 Hope te Yo-yo effect won’t hit too hard…
Congratulations! I admire your resolve and I enjoyed reading the blog. My knitting resolutions include “more yarn out than in” every year. I have achieved this goal once or twice since I started keeping track (10-15 years).
Thank you! Well that’s a good start! Maybe this year the force will be with you 😛 Fingers crossed!
I destashed as well. Actually the second year. But this year was more successfull: I used over 12 kg yarn and bought about 7,5 kg I needed for my standard mittens. I haven’t bought yarn just for fun. Next year the goal is as well to use more than I buy.
Happy new year
wow! That’s a looooot! Great job! Happy new year to you, too! Keep it up!
Thank-you for such a constructive article! So many people are just scattered thinkers and give into compulsive buying, never really creating or accomplishing, (I speak from experience!) and that never really feels fulfilling! Here’s to using what you have! Slowing down and actually finishing projects. What a great feeling! Kudos to you!
thank you! It was a lot of fun to see this experiment work actually! I plan on continuing but I also learned what I like best and use most 🙂
I gave probably 30/40 skeins of yarn to a girlfriends daughter in 2017. She has taught herself to knit. My girlfriends husband passed away about 18 months ago after a LONG battle with cancer. She has 3 girls to raise so $ is tight. I did not do the “yarn diet” though. Maybe in 2018. I have just retired so it is an expense I need to eliminate.
but that’s great of you! What a lovely thing to do! I’m sure she was so grateful. Happy retirement! I’m sure you will find a lot of nice things in your stash and happiness in using it!
Wow! *Bows deep down in respect* I am impressed! I will try something similair in 2018 – though I will not Limit my self totally, but try to be more mindful and think of what I already have before buying new yarns. Now I am of to check your leftover suggestions.
thank you! Yes, that’s a good way, too!
So informative, enjoyable to read and inspiring. I wish I could see all your projects though. You have titillated the senses with your little tiles. Thank you so much
thank you! I added a link above the picture but you can see all my projects here
Many thanks :)))
I thought of doing this this year, but then my father asked me for a sweater and oops, my resolution was gone on the 10th of January 😀
haha 🙂 Well, TECHNICALLY you didn’t buy the yarn for yourself then 🙂
Thank you for your blog which I found at just the right moment (after a last big yarn order on 31.12.2017 :-)) – I was so impressed by your resolve and success and creative inspiration that I started my own challenge for the New Year: No more buys in 2018! Except for presents … I managed January and deleted tantalizing sales-offers in my emails …. trying to concentrate on all the wonderful yarns in my still unsorted stash!
Yay!!! You go, girl! I’m sure you can do it Happy sorting through your stash and I’m sure to keep an eye on your projects. Let me know how it goes! Viel Erfolg!
My husband has put me on a yarn diet. Now before the fem nazis come out, I do have a obscenely large stash. I’m pretty sure that I’d have more yarn than some yarn stores.
In 2011 my husband suggested that I start selling the blankets I was making and use the money to replenish my stash. I had no idea just how well my items would sell.
He emptied two 6ft tall bookcases for my stash. That filled up rather fast. I then started putting yarn in huge plastic tubs. They too filled quickly.
From there my yarn has gone under the stairs, my linen cupboard, my walk in wardrobe and in storage cubes in my bedroom.
Having read this article I’m hopeful that I can do this. I was thinking too of cancelling all yarn emails that advise of specials and deals.
It’s now 30th December 2018. New Years Eve tomorrow. How will it be at this time next year?
oh my, that sounds like a serious knitting project is needed 🙂 How about you join our Use What You Have KAL? You’re more than welcome to bomb us with lovely pictures of your stash and progress!