Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Yarn Diet. Yep, I'm Going Cold Sheep.

I need to get something off my chest.

Are you ready?

I have a pretty good yarn stash. But it is at risk of turning into a good yarn collection unless I do something about it... and soon.

I have bought a lot of yarn over the last year and have, at last count, 63 items in my Ravelry queue. I have, probably, enough yarn on hand to make at least 25 (UPDATE: 32 actually, if I count socks I had planned) of the items in the queue and more than a few more items that I haven't even found yet.

My "problem" is that I am so excited by certain projects that I rush out and by the yarn right away. I panic and start to worry that I can always do that project later but that I must buy the pattern and yarn RIGHT NOW before either gets discontinued/removed/lost/sold out etc. I generally tuck both the pattern and the yarn away quickly and promise to do "that project next".  But it never seems to happen that way. I suppose I am a total magpie and I am always attracted to the next shiny object.

picture courtesy of: www.planetpurl.com

And it is getting a little out of control. So I need to do something radical (well, for me)... I need to go on a yarn diet. I need to use the fabulous yarn that I have and get to work on the projects I have planned already.

So, a yarn diet it is. I figured that I had better do this publicly and put it out there of what I have and the rules. This will also serve as a reminder to myself to be appreciative of the yarn that I have in hand already.

  1. I am going to try to knit from my stash until October 31, 2013.
  2. I am going to use stashed yarn for all projects from now until deadline.
  3. I am in one yarn club right now (it ends November 2012) but that will be the only yarn coming in. Incoming club yarn will be added to the stash totals.
  4. I will accept yarn or yarn club memberships as gifts. Hint, Hint. (Is it sad that I am already planning loopholes to my rules.) Those totals will be added to the stash.
  5. I would like to have under 52,500 yards by deadline. (That is 11% consumption. Which admittedly may be a pretty high goal.)
  6. Selling and trading yarn is allowed and will be documented accordingly.
  7. I will report monthly.

This is the whole stash.
This is the part of the stash that is accounted
 for planned projects.

As of today my counts are as follows:
WIP: 4
Total yardage: 58,419 yards
Items in Stash: 91

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A pre-Christmas panic attack

Breathe deep. Keep calm.
I CAN see the calendar.
Head between your knees.
I do know that it is only early October. 
Bring paper bag to face.
I can't seem to get Christmas off my mind right now. And I may be getting a little panicky about it.
Go to your happy place.
It seems ridiculously early but Christmas is front and centre in my brain right now. And the really odd thing is that I have sooooo many other favourite holidays that come first! (Halloween, Black Friday, Yarn Sale day etc.)
My recent panic attacks might have to do with a list that I made for myself of potential Christmas gift ideas for friends and family members. I make one every year. Typically this list includes things to buy for my loved ones.  But this one is a little different than in previous years. This one has a list of only knitted items next to each name.
It started simple, with my immediate family: my husband and my kids. That's 4 people right there and they all want sweaters!  I add my parents, my in-laws and I am feeling a little light headed now. Then I add my sister, her husband and their two sons that are both over 6 feet tall and my sister in law. Bubbles of hysterical laughter escape as I frantically look back and forth between my list and the calendar.
From here it snowballs... badly. I add our best friends,  my counsin's kids, a good friend with a benchmark birthday and my grandparents. I have drool frothing at my lips when I start thinking that I could pound out  6, maybe 8, of these really cute little stuffed apples for teacher gifts.
From Knit Simple, Holiday 2012
I need to go through my stash!
I need to get to the yarn store!
I need a sharp rap to the head... because it would take a fleet of about 5 professional knitters working full-time between now and Christmas to make this list happen! It's so ridiculous that I should be laughing about it instead of hyperventilating.
I do know that I can't possibly make something for everyone in my family between now and Christmas. So I wonder why I am spending time worrying about this. This may have been doable, maybe,  if I had started in January- of last year- and had budgeted a couple of small projects a month. But even then I doubt it.
Seriously, it is a really big list.
This might have something to do with the fact that I have finished more projects this year than I have in the previous 4 years combined. I think that I have recently jumped a skill level which has allowed me to hit a groove. As a result I have churned out some really nice projects this year. I have made a combination of small and big items.  I think this recent productivity has made me insane cocky.
Each month I review the newest knitting magazines and on-line patterns and the list gets a little bit longer. And I find myself saying "Oh, that lace scarf would be so nice for my sister-in-law. I think I have the necessary 1500 yards of lace weight in my stash!"  Or I remember that my friend has always hinted that he'd like a pair of warm cabled mitts and LOOK at that pattern, right there for the very same!
Flint Cabled Mittens,
Brooklyn Tweed, in Shelter
Never mind the trouble I get while on Ravelry. I currently have 62 items in my queue and those are only the items for me.
So why am I torturing myself?  It is simple really. As much as I am a process knitter I really like to make handmade gifts. I like being able to show someone that I care about them enough to have spent tens of hours making something just for them.
I am trying to understand this better but just because I can make something doesn't mean that I should. Not every gifts needs to be handmade. Something that I think is beautiful may not look the same to another. And not everyone values a handmade gift. This is a lesson that I have learned the hard way. Some people really do like store gifts better. Or cash. This is okay.
A gift, when given, should be more about the person receiving and less about the hang ups of the giver.
My rational brain knows that I should calmly put down my list and walk away. I should pick the few items that I can reasonably accomplish between now and Christmas and focus on those.
That sounds like a great idea but my knitting brain is still in panic mode.