But then it occurred to me: I'm going to knit (happy body notwithstanding). Moreover - I'm going to knit every last freakin' strand of yarn in my stash and document the whole process.
(On hearing about this, Scott suggested it might be vaguely more interesting for me to write about my stress.)
I'm also going to visit every awesome restaurant in TO - I've budgeted for this ALL summer while I have no kitchen - and I'm sure that will warrant some discussion.
BTW, they tell us that the duration of this project will be 4 months. I say that's high on drugs - though I desperately wish that I could believe them. Mind you, every reference (and I checked them all) indicated - with utter shock - that they came in on time to the day. Note: We're working with an independent architect and our scope may creep, as we say in the biz (it already has), so we may be advised about a longer timeline, before the shovels hit the ground, but our project manager has assured us that minor changes wouldn't add more than a month to the project. Let's just say I'll be happy if I have a finished reno, complete with new hardscaping in the back yard, by Thanksgiving (mid-Oct). I'll be fucking ecstatic if it happens by the end of August. (Our goal is to kick this off - permits and weather pending - in mid-April or beginning of May.)
But never mind that. This is where I introduce my Bust the Stash series. (Scott would also like you to know that he thinks knitters use crazy language and this puts him mind of drugs and police.)
Technically, I'm starting this process as soon as I finish that KNUS thing. I'm trying to like it but I have so many reservations that are only going to come out alright (or very wrong) on the blocking. So it's hard to slog away under those circumstances. Having said this, if it's all wrong, I'm ripping it out (ugh to ripping out dozens of hours) and turning it into viable stash for the Bust the Stash!
To kick things off, let me clarify that - by knitting standards - I am not a hoarder. In fact, here's what I'm working with:
Allow me to explain what you're seeing in that pic:
That's my entire stash. It fits into a fabric banker's box. Most of the yardage is made up of small remnants of yarn which remain after having completed larger projects. (You know you have to slightly overbuy or you run the risk of coming up short.) A couple of the largest yardages in my stash are gifts. In the bottom right you'll see some hearty navy Lopi (Icelandic) yarn from my friend Michael, who visited this summer and kindly brought back yarn for me! The gorgeous pink yarn, from my friend Ruth, is chunky alpaca - the most beautiful and soft fiber but tricky to use because it's very bright and rather thick.
I've got to say, I'm surprised. I mean, I realize that my little banker's box of yarn is full and I'm the one who spent an entire afternoon organizing it to within an inch of its life. But I don't buy indiscriminately. 90 per cent of the time I've got a project in mind when I buy yarn.
Alas, 99 per cent of the time I have remnants in the neighbourhood of (let me look at my spreadsheet for a moment) 30 to 200 yards. Not really enough to do anything with but too much to discard.
And while we're deconstructing this, 7500 yards will knit up into about 7 sweaters or 3 blankets. In large project terms, it's meaningless. Alas, 7500 yards of 50 yards of this and 200 yards of that is a bit of a dog's breakfast to utilize.
How I've been preparing:
- So... I spent last week (for hours every evening) going first through my "favourites" (a category in Ravelry) to determine whether I have enough yardage of various yarns to make things I keep on the radar. Unsurprisingly, the answer has been, generally, no. This is because I tend to prefer projects that use a lot of yarn and I don't think to "favourite" the stash buster patterns.
- What I did next was to use the advanced patterns feature to comb through hundreds of pages of potential projects requiring the specific amounts of yardage in my stash. When I found them, I faved them too so that I have all of my options in one place. It's tougher than you think because I'm very fussy about how I use yarn and there aren't a ton of things (other than baby garments, hats, fingerless mitts and cowls) to be made with remnants. None of these types of projects thrills me. Not to mention that one must comb through zillions of patterns just to weed them out.
- But here's the thing: Bust the Stash is not about making things for me specifically. It's about making things for whomever they suit. So I'm getting with the hats, mitts, cowls, baby stuff AND ornaments.
- The next thing I did was, strictly speaking, not necessary - but I'm happy I did it because a) I am an organizer's organizer and I love doing this sort of thing and b) it highlighted a few (admittedly small) errors in my Ravelry stash details:
- I reweighed all of my yarn. Yes, I weigh my yarn at the end of every project to see how many grams I have left but - till now - I haven't weighed it at the beginning. Alas, sometimes yarn labels indicate a certain weight/yardage but it's slightly off in the skein (up or down). In the future, I'm going to weigh my yarn as soon as I bring it home so that I can stash the amount correctly. As it is, I noticed inconsistencies of up to 10 grams - admittedly in rare instances. And the larger discrepancies were with the thicker yarns so the weight discrepancy is not particularly significant overall. Where it gets significant is when you try to make something with 100 yards of yarn (which is what the pattern calls for) and you only have 87. This process took hours because, while I have @7500 yards of yarn, they're all in little bits and pieces.
- My stash records 35 yarns but I actually have many more than that number in my banker's box. This is because, over the years, I've deleted the smallest remnants from my stash page on Ravelry, not wanting to confuse myself, at a glance, into thinking that I might have enough of a particular yarn to actually make something with. In a couple of instances I readded them to my Ravelry stash page (75 yards or more). In other instances, cuz I didn't like the yarn to begin with or because I cannot find a project on which to use it, I stored it in a Give Away bag. Note: That bag is currently sandwich sized. There aren't many of these remnants but I'm happy to send them to anyone who emails me. Shipping's on me. (Presumably the baggie will fill up as I complete the stash projects and have small remnants remaining from some of those projects. If you knit washcloths and tiny things, this may appeal.)
- I put stickers on all of my yarn remnants so that, as I pull them out of the bags, I'll know exactly what to do with them. Sure, Ravelry has all of this info captured. But my biggest issue is in determining which remnant is which (they all start to look the same when you only knit with 3 colours: blue, grey and beige - and 3 weights (fingering, sport and worsted)). That's why the sorting process took so long.
- The Wildcards: I will admit that a couple of yarns were a complete mystery and I don't actually know how that's possible because, even when I deleted a small remnant from stash to avoid confusion, I've documented EVERY project I've ever knit in Ravelry (on the projects page). So I should have been able to cross reference the yarn with my robust project details. This freaks me out slightly. In these instances, I have to guess at the yarn weight (prob fingering, sport or worsted) and the number of yards in the skein. Still, I may opt to use the larger remnants that fall into this category. It'll be a true adventure, if nothing else. From now on, I'm keeping the yarn tag and affixing it to remnants as, it would appear, I will not remember the details of a yarn remnant a year after knitting the original project.
- I used the Queue feature in Ravelry to queue up these projects so I can easily turn the queued project into an actual project with the click of a button. I'm going to make a variety of things multiple times because, frankly, I don't have a lot of choice and I'd rather make a project I can get with 3 times, than experiment with one I don't love just to keep it novel.
|I've put these labeled yarns back into the ziploc bags - in a colour coded fashion so that I'll easily be able to find what I'm looking for...|
|Here's a crappy photo (sorry about the quality - I was occupied!) showing how the colour-coded remnants have been returned to their bags in an easy-to-use fashion.|
|It took me a ridiculously long time to classify these. A couple of the wildcards, referred to above, are in this batch...|
Wanna Play Along?
- If you're interested in doing this same sort of thing (and I'm sure I'll eventually try to convince you to join me), why not start by visiting my Ravelry Favourites page. I have 199 patterns bookmarked and they span many yardage requirements. Dare I say it, my faves are excellent and carefully considered. You might opt to fave a few of them for yourself.
- The next thing you should do is to ensure your stash is cataloged - if not in Ravelry, then in some sort of way so that you can identify the yardages you have to work with. If you want more info on how to use the Stash Feature in Ravelry (it's as easy as you want to make it): Check out this very comprehensive post. If you're on the fence about the usefulness of investing the time, let me assure you, it's worth it. In fact, the more yarn you have, the more useful it is.)
Thoughts or feelings??