Stash Enjoyment 2021 – Making an Investment

A single skein on the left is blue with red and yellow sections. To the right, is a braid of mini skeins ranging from pale yellow, through purple, into blue. They are dyed by Gritty Knits, and are laying on a wooden backdrop.(Timebomb and timebomblets by Gritty Knits)

**This post is part of my series on using my yarn stash in 2021, and enjoying it! The first post of the series can be found here.**

When I made my initial Instagram post about starting Stash Enjoyment 2021, I got a comment I was expecting. The commenter told me not to feel badly about having a large stash because “it’s an investment and so good for your brain and soul.”

A large stash is an investment – no arguments there. It’s a financial investment, a spatial investment (cause you’ve got to put it all somewhere), an emotional investment (be honest – it is!), etc. But Stash Enjoyment 2021 is also about making an investment- an investment in the person you want to be in the future.

I’m not here to condemn people for buying yarn. I (obviously) love buying yarn. My goal Stash Enjoyment goals are not to shame others – they’re to motivate me and help me remind myself that I want to be able to feel like i’m the boss of my stash and not the other way around.

Buying yarn, especially indie dyed yarn, is also an investment into small businesses, often owned by women. A large portion of my current yarn stash is indie dyed and part of my past purchasing motivation has been that I want to help these small, women-owned businesses off the ground. But I think we’ve created an illusion in this community. We’ve created an illusion that there is flourishing market with a large demand; that anyone can become a successful professional yarn dyer if they just work hard enough. Speaking as someone who worked hard at it, I can tell you there’s more to success in this industry than simply dyeing yarn and popping it on Etsy.

I want to make sure that i’m not perpetuating a cycle that actually traps women in the illusion that they can create a successful business in this industry, and all they have to do to achieve that dream is start off working horrendously long hours, bringing in a very low profit margin, and turning themselves into workhorses instead of artists who enjoy their process.

This topic has also made me re-think the way I approach pattern design and the way I interact with pattern designers. You know who works very hard for an unreliable wage and under average pay? Knitting and crochet designers.

So, if I’m at the point (which I am) where I acknowledge that my current business model is more of an expensive hobby that occasionally pays for itself, that means i’m going to design patterns based on what I want to make and what I enjoy, rather than attempting to design things I think will be marketable or will sell well.

How does this relate to stash enjoyment? Well, it means that i’m designing from stash instead of constantly buying more yarn because I think to myself, “well, someday i’ll turn this into a design! It’s a business investment!” I’m attempting to take a more realistic look at how many items I can comfortably finish in a month or year’s worth of making.

What about you? Are you pretty good at knowing how much you can make in a set period of time, or do you tend to fall into the “buy all the things and start all the projects” trap I do?

If this post resonates with you, or if you’re joining in on #StashEnjoyment2021 please use the hashtag or tag @ruthbrasch on social media when you interact or join in. You’ll be able to browse the #StashEnjoyment2021 hashtag to “meet” other makers who are also working from mindfully from stash and enjoying it!

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