Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Being the Responsible Adult That I Am

Inspired by a question on the Knittyboard, I thought I'd consider my knitting goals for 2007. Here's what I posted there a day or so ago:

"I thought it might be a reasonable goal for 2007 to use up 10% of my stash.

Then I inventoried.

I have over 102,000 yards of yarn [actually, I was mistaken in my memory of the number; it's over 109,000 yards, but what's 4 or 5 sweaters' worth among friends?], plus the yarn for the 16 projects in progress, plus the yarn I’ve spun up this year (not much), plus about 250 quarts of random leftover yarn, plus the fiber I haven’t spun up yet, plus yarn on cones where I don’t know the yardage.


I may have a problem.

I think it may be realistic to aim for reducing the total yarn/fiber stash by 5% in 2007, not 10%. I think I'm getting close to SABLE."

So, experienced knitters, I need your advice. I'm quite serious about reducing the total size of my stash, because it makes me feel guilty, because it’s a waste of the world’s slim resources to have it sitting around doing nothing, and because I feel strongly about the distribution of wealth, but what's the best way to go about this?

Plan A: Give away as much as I can stand to. This will be easy to do for the few balls of fun fur I've accumulated (stariel, are you really knitting a fun fur log cabin afghan?), and I can steel myself to give away perhaps as much as 25% of the random balls of yarn I have (charity knitters, commence emailing, but I'll warn you I have no acrylic, mostly just good old non-super-wash wool). Maybe I could stand to give away some of the yarn where I have enough of one kind for a real project.

Plan B: Finish at least 1/3 of the projects in progress. This will be easy to do
for those projects that are slated to be Christmas presents this year, because I'm really pretty far along with those (which means, no doubt, that it's time for me to break a finger or two). Then I could order the remaining projects by the amount of yarn left to knit and start with the ones closest to completion. This assumes that I resist starting new projects. I suspect that will be hard to do, as the first, and I mean first, thing I did after completing the inventory of my yarn was start swatching for a new project. (In my defense, it was for the yarn that Sue gave me for my birthday, which was back in June. I mean, I'd look ungrateful if I didn't get around to using the yarn before my next birthday, right? Besides, I want to encourage her to keep up the good gift-giving.)

Plan C: OK, here's where I need advice - what kind of knitting uses up the most yardage for the effort expended? Lace, with all the yarnovers? I don't think cables are particularly efficient, although I know they use up a lot more yarn for the square footage produced than stockinette does.

Plan D: Resist acquiring new yarn. This will be hard. I live within an hour's drive of at least eight really good yarn shops, including WEBS. I went to Rhinebeck this year; I want to go back. Aha! Here's a thought: If I actually do reduce my stash by MORE than 10%, I could reward myself by splurging at Rhinebeck 2007.

Plan E: Get the county sheriff to assign me some inmates to help me knit.

Plan F: Learn to crochet. It's faster than knitting.

OK, I am going too far with that last suggestion, I admit. Yes, I may learn to crochet, but I think I'll still rather knit.

All suggestions welcomed. More on this later....


bitterknitter said...

I'd go with Plan B and E with a bit of A. Now I want to know how many yards of yarn I have, you can be assured that I will know as soon as I have time to get it all out :)

Good luck with it. I'm trying to not buy yarn and it is really hard even though I already have yarn for so many things that I want to knit.

cathy said...

Crochet also uses more yarn than knitting to make the same sized piece....

Plan G: have a yarn sale, on ebay or blog or something. Use the $$ to do somethign decadent for yourself.

Elizabeth said...

I was going to say what Cathy said about crochet: it gobbles more yarn and makes a thicker fabric than knitting at a comparable gauge.

Plan H: buy an LK150 knitting machine to speed up the stockinette parts of projects.

Using two strands of worsted together to make bulky gauge will use it faster, but do you like knitting bulky?

Try picking a few things you know you won't miss terribly. Scan the RAK thread on knitty board and see if you can offload anything on anyone there. Have a contest and use odd skeins as prizes. Once you start giving some away, it becomes easier.

Try not to feel too guilty about the hoard: it's not like it will go bad sitting dormant in your house a little longer.

I was able to get rid of most of my bulky yarn without a second thought. I realized I don't like working with it. I've targeted some other things, like acrylic-dominant blends, to give away.

Peck away at the WIPs and maybe allow yourself to start one new thing for every item you finish? That keeps things cycling along and can give you the motivation to have a finishing fest!

bradyphrenia said...

you could just let go of the guilt and realize that someday you will die "that crazy yarn lady."

then you can feel free to enjoy what you do knit and stop worrying about the rest.

Stariel said...

Yes, I'm really making a log cabin blanket out of fun fur. ;)

I think people have given great suggestions. RAKing some is always nice, contests are good (and improve blog readership!) and you could always sell some if it's nice stuff you're just not going to get to.

knit_tgz said...

And I thought I had a lot of yarn (I have 13222 grams of yarn, and more than 2 kg of unspun fibre)!

My plan to decrease my stash size is to knit big projects (now, a Lizard Ridge, aftewards, a cardigan). A simple blanket is a nice "watching TV" project, even a not-so simple blanket like Lizard Ridge is really not that hard, and uses up a lot of yarn. You could do like a knitblogger I found somewhere (Danish? Swedish? Finnish?) who has already knitted more than 100 simple blankets to give away to battered women shelters. Also, if you use thick yarn or doubled-up yarn, it can go fast.

Contests are nice and fun, of course, and I love them!

(Now I am curious about that fun fur log cabin)

Jennifer said...

Um....I may be willing to buy some off of you if you were interested. I'm building my stash for next year when I will be a poor college student.