I love Ravelry, and I use it extensively to look for patterns and inspiration and to keep track of what I have on the needles. Last night, I was browsing some projects to see how successful others had been at making toe-up versions of certain sock patterns, and I came across a mind-blowing revelation. You can use Ravelry’s project tracker for projects other than knitting! It seems pretty obvious, but I just hadn’t considered it.
What I found was a small community of people participating in an event called “Stashdown 2017,” which is a semi-public personal accountability project aimed at reducing the size of our yarn (or roving, or whatever) stashes. I had some clear goals for my own de-stashing efforts, but I hadn’t written them down or come up with a way to keep track of my progress. So I created a new project, and started taking stock of my yarn intake and output since the start of 2017. I tried to go back into my Instagram feed and my project queue to see what I’ve purchased, received as gifts, or otherwise acquired since January 1st, and account for what I’ve used up in projects since then. I don’t really count the leftovers as still being in the stash, though I maybe should- if I make a pair of socks that uses 3/4 of a skein of sock yarn, I just count that as a skein used- since when I use up that little leftover bit I certainly wouldn’t count it as being a whole skein. I don’t believe I’ve given away or donated any yarn since January, but I do have a bag of stuff that’s headed that direction and will account for it when it leaves my house.
I don’t think I have a really hard time with buying or otherwise accumulating yarn, though that may just be yarn-fume-induced delusion talking. I do buy new yarn, but nearly always with a specific project in mind, or because it’s sock yarn (which I know I will always find a use for). I don’t tend to take in orphaned yarn unless it’s of quality and I have an idea for it, and I make sure that my souvenir yarn falls into that category as well. I can’t help but participate in Fibreshare and other yarn swaps, but I try to use yarn I already have for my partners and give them handspun (when they’d appreciate it) in order to simultaneously lighten my load and do something extra special for them.
The photos I used for the project page are all relatively recent acquisitions, though many were from before 2017. In reviewing my Instagram feed for Fibreshare packages, purchases, and other various stash additions, I realized that a whole lot of what I’ve put in my stash is still there. It goes in, but despite the best of intentions, it doesn’t come out. I am happy to say that the weight of yarn that I have the most of is the weight of yarn that I use the most, which is good. Rather than a big ol’ stash of bulky yarn or even DK, which I would use only every so often, I have a good solid stock of sock yarn, and I’m always knitting a pair or two of socks.
This is the souvenir/sale yarn I bought the first week of January, when Wes and I went to Savannah. The pink yarn is all gone, and a chunk of the solid blue sock yarn has been used. I have plans for the rest of the blue and the yellow to replace the lovely but misguided colorwork socks I made back in 2014, and the two other skeins of sock yarn are just loitering in the stash. The yellow/green/blue multicolored yarn pairs fabulously with some kelly green sock yarn that will make excellent contrasting toes and heels, and the multitonal blue yarn will likely be socks for Wes. This is all eminently useful yarn, it just hasn’t been used yet.
My goals for this 2017 project are concrete, though the process for getting to that endpoint is flexible. I haven’t decided my tactics yet, whether I plan to knit like a demon, donate a ton of stuff, or post skeins on Ravelry for sale, but by the end of 2017 I will meet the following criteria:
All yarn fits in green dresser’s three drawers or equivalent; everything superfluous has been used, rehomed, or trashed.
All wool fits in blanket chest; everything superfluous has been used, rehomed, or composted.
All beads are in plastic tackle boxes; everything superfluous has been used (for sale or in classes), rehomed, or trashed.
Blue beadwork tub and any additional “catch-all” containers are empty; everything superfluous has been used, rehomed, or trashed.