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Stash Enjoyment 2021 Reflections

A rectangular room filled with skeins of yarn

(Photo of Ruth's yarn stash in December 2020)


Postscript (written after substantial amounts of typing): I haven’t blogged in a while and have lots of thoughts about this topic that have been ruminating for a while. It’s ok if you don't agree with me about everything; this is where I am on my fiber and life journey; I don’t expect that we will all be in the same place.

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Numbers

For the sake of self-accountability, I’m going to post some of my stash tracking info here. I expect for some readers it will be excessive an to others it will be less than expected. We all see each other from the reference point of our own lives - please be respectful.

I track yardage in vs out in a spreadsheet, as well as whether the project was knit, crocheted, machine knit, woven, etc.


2021 Stats:

Starting yardage: 157, 139 yds

Ending yardage: 195, 426 yds

Yards in: 90, 846 (I think we see the problem right here!)

Yards Out: 52, 559

Net Yardage: +38, 287


Where did the yarn come from? As I look back through my spreadsheet, the three main culprits are subscription yarn deliveries, small business sales, and overambitious project plans - I bought yarn for specific projects, but wildly overestimated how long they would take to complete.


So where did the yarn that did go out get used?

Donated/Destashed: 30, 596 yds

Knitting projects: 10, 535 yds

Crochet projects: 7, 295 yds

Gifted to others: 3, 281 yds

Weaving projects: 852 yds


Total yardage used in actual completed projects: 18, 682

This rate of usage is similar to 2020 - I used approximately 20,000 yds that year.

So, at this rate of usage, I currently have enough yarn to last me for (drumroll please): 10.46 years


Reflections

Stash Enjoyment 2021 Reflections (Positive):

  1. I’ve done well with not buying types of yarn I don’t need, such as single sock skeins.
  2. I’ve done well with completing projects I start. A couple years ago I would have had literally 15-25 WIPs and now I have five (5) active projects and four (4) long-term scrappy projects, two of which only need assembly.


Lessons learned, potential for growth, and areas that need to change:

  1. Project Type: “Process” projects have become less enjoyable as my non-yarn life has taken on more responsibilities and my making time has decreased. I do still have projects I make because I enjoy the process, but I’ve moved to a smaller house and have less room to store FOs I won’t use. That means process projects are being gifted or not made. It’s also part of the reason I have fewer WIPs - I simply don’t have the space for them.
  2. Gifts: I miss making gifts for people instead of designs to sell. I used to be the sister/aunt/friend that made baby blankets for each new baby born; I turned my focus to design and told myself I “don’t have time” to do that anymore. I’ve learned this year that while it is true that I have a limited amount of crafting time, I can choose what I spend that on and probably need to choose a little more wisely than I have been.
  3. Impact: My children learn from my habits by watching me, so I need to model for them the values I hope they grow up to learn. That means that if I hope to raise children that aren’t focused on material possessions, I need to stop filling my shelves with more possessions than I need. During the opening of one of this year’s yarn orders, my 8 year old said to me, “more yarn, Mom? I thought you were going to stop buying it and use what you have.” Oof! I’m not going to lie, my first impulse was to get defensive and try to explain it away, but I realized he had simply observed my inconsistency and was asking why I hadn’t honored my intentions. I told him he was right, I hadn’t kept to my goals. We talked about building habits that eventually lead to the goals we want and that it’s not always easy, but that doing hard things pays off in the end. I also told him that sometimes people try their best, don't succeed, and need grace while they’re making new habits.
  4. Balance: When I made my stash enjoyment post last year I was asked “what about supporting small businesses? Don’t you know we’re essential to their survival?” I’ve thought a lot about that. Yes, every single purchase counts to a small business. If and when I buy I want to buy from a small business if possible, but It’s also important that I don’t guilt-purchase because I have in my mind that I am essential to keeping someone else afloat.


I don’t have all the answers. Last year when I wrote my blog posts I was asked how I could simultaneously support small businesses and not purchase to the point that i’m uncomfortable. The reality is that I can’t please everyone and I can’t keep everyone’s business afloat. As much as I would like to tell you that there’s a one-size-fits-all solution, there’s not.

Do you remember as kids how we would play on those massive see-saws? Piling kids on either side trying to find just the right balance? If one person gets off or jumps over it can upset the whole balance, but then you adjust and find a new balance. I’m working to figure out what that new balance looks like.

This is getting long, so i’ll pause here and link when I have my 2022 Stash Enjoyment Goals posted