Stash Enjoyment 2021

11 hanks of indie dyed yarn lie on a wooden backdrop

I recently found the GORGEOUS array of yarns in the photo above when I went digging through my stash for a potential project. My husband had asked for a stripey poncho (it turns out he actually wants a cabled hoodie, but more about that later!) so I set to work putting colors together.  He looked at these and said “woah, I don’t want you to use all your nice yarn up on me!” and I laughed. You couldn’t even see the hole in my stash from where I had pulled out these skeins. But, later, I started thinking about that interaction. That photo has at least a full blanket’s worth of yarn in it. A blanket takes me months to make.. and that wouldn’t even make a dent in my stash. That’s also about $350 USD of yarn in one photo.

As per usual, nearing the close of a year means I am taking stock of where my crafting journey has taken me over the course of the past year.

Because I am who I am, i’ve kept a yardage tracking spreadsheet in excel this year and have made sure to enter every single project into Ravelry. Here’s what i’ve got!

2020 Making Statistics (as of December 6, 2020):
– Number of projects completed: 30
– Amount of yarn purchased: 123, 650 yds (yes, you read that correctly)
– Amount of yarn knit: 7, 342 yds
– Amount of yarn crocheted: 6, 252 yds
– Amount of yarn machine knit: 2,449 yds
– Amount of yarn gifted to someone: 45, 556 yds
– Amount of yarn sold/stashed down 39, 268 yds
——————————————————————-
Total Yarn Out: 100, 867 yds
Net effect on stash: +22, 783 yds of yarn in 2020.
Total yardage currently in stash: 179, 922 yds.

So why am I tracking all this yardage? Because I want to know what my real buying and using habits are. It doesn’t take a statistical genius to see i’m buying WAY more than I can use in a year (16, 043 yds). This year alone I bought enough yarn to last me 7.7 YEARS. Is that scary to anyone else?

I literally have enough yarn currently in my possession to knit and crochet for over 10 years. So, something’s gotta give.

For 2020 my biggest crafting goal was to finish or frog any project started prior to 2020. For 2021, I want to build on that goal.

2021 Crafting Goals:
1. Finish all projects started prior to 2021
2. Finish or Frog projects so there are no more than 5 active WIPS at a time.
3. #StashEnjoyment2021

What is #StashEnjoyment2021? It’s my plan for actually using and enjoying the 10+ years worth of yarn in my stash! I want to knit and crochet as much as possible from my stash in 2021. I won’t say i’m forbidding myself to buy yarn, because this isn’t about deprivation or punishment – it’s about enjoying what I have. I bought these yarns because they’re beautiful, because I wanted to support the dyers who made them, or because when I saw them they made me dream of possible projects. But, then, I let myself get distracted by more new, pretty, potential projects and the “old” ideas fell by the wayside.

As I thought about it, I realized I’ve been therapy-buying a lot over the past couple years, because it *does* feel good to have a package show up with pretty yarn in it. However, it’s getting to the point where the yarn is overwhelming to me instead of enjoyable. When yarn purchases show up I think “rats, I did it again!” and chuck the yarn into my stash instead of enjoying the choices I’ve made. I don’t want knitting and crocheting to become something that’s unpleasant to me.

So, my plan for this year is to work on enjoying the stash I have. If that’s something you’re interested in doing too, I’d encourage you to share your projects made from stash on social media with the hashtag #StashEnjoyment2021

I decided that while i’d love to see others doing this too, this is something I plan to be doing whether y’all are or not. I’m not going to dangle prizes in front of you to attempt to get you to join in with me – if you want to do this it has to be a mindset change; do this for your own enjoyment and betterment if you want to.

What’s the criteria? How does it work?
You set the criteria for yourself.
For me, “Stash” will count as any yarn purchased prior to 2021.

For #StashEnjoyment2021 I will:
– Work from stash as much as possible. If I see a project I do not have appropriate yarn for, I need to ask myself if I absolutely MUST have this project, or if it is shiny new project syndrome and the desire will fade in a week.
– Not buy yarn I don’t need to make myself feel better.
– Share about my stash finds on social media, like the photo at the beginning of this post. Who doesn’t love a gorgeous photo of yarn?
– Get my WIP count down to 5 or less and keep it there. If I limit my active WIPS, I will both get more projects finished/frogged, and will be less inclined to buy yarn for a project I’m not “allowed” to start.

Does this mean I can’t buy yarn? Nope! And guess what? I’m not going to set specific criteria about when I can and can’t buy yarn (with the exception of the therapy-purchases mentioned above). Instead of limiting myself, I will remind myself that I have a goal of being more conscious in my making and that I want to enjoy the things that I have – to be content instead of constantly chasing the wind in the form of always buying something new for that momentary enjoyment.

If you’re reading this and going yeah… nope! That’s totally fine. We’re all at different places in our lives and I don’t expect that everyone will feel the same way I do. In fact, I know that being content with the yarn I have and not constantly chasing the newest and most popular yarn or patterns is extremely counter-cultural as far as the online fiber arts community goes.

If some part of this resonated with you, i’d encourage you to take stock of where you are crafting-wise and then make yourself some goals.

I will probably be doing a stash flash at some point in the near future, because I want to be able to physically see all of the yarn out in the open. It’s amazing how much yarn can hide in little corners and cubbies!

10 thoughts on “Stash Enjoyment 2021

  1. Oh boy, does this ever resonate here! Earlier this year, when things were just opening up a bit, my husband commented that I should probably be buying yarn so I would have enough going into the winter months (particularly if we found ourselves locked down again). I almost fell off my chair laughing. When I finally caught my breath again, I told him that it was very sweet of him to think of me, and as tempting as it was to take him up on his generous offer, I definitely have enough yarn to get me through the winter. So, yeah, I’m totally onboard for #stashenjoyment2021 🙂

    1. My husband has made similar comments – my stash is visible in the dining room, but he’s still said things like “I have the day off, would you like to go to the yarn store and stock up a little?” Now he’s seen the stash flash and understands why I laughed, while appreciating his kindness.
      #StashEnjoyment2021!

  2. I am definitely here for this. Thank you for the positive hashtag, this will definitely make it easier to knit from stash.

    I use yarn shopping as therapy as well.

    Again thank you

    1. I’m glad you like it! I definitely find that when I frame this to myself as “I want to enjoy the lovely things I’ve already bought” its much more positive and happy in my mind than something negative like “oh man, I bought too much! I can’t buy anymore!”

  3. Definitely resonates with me. I, too, have about 7 years of stash enjoyment available at my fingertips. Onward!

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