Sunday, July 24, 2016

6000 Yards

I tend to either sew a lot or knit a lot. These days it's skewed to the sewing with a sock or knit project completion on the side. I do find that socks are a perfect knit in the summer because they are light, easy to transport and enjoyable. So I don't know how (given that socks are largely all I've knit since the beginning of May) that my stash has grown exponentially.

You may recall that by mid-April of this year, I'd used up about 6200 yards of my stash yarn (of all different weights). And then I started yearning for something new to pet...

It started out with 600 yards of this:

Classic Elite Chalet - Bamboo and Alpaca in Stone, Slate and Charcoal
My parents bought this lovely chainette-yarn for me for my birthday when I visited in mid-May. It feels great, it looks great - it's got an ombre gray thing going on. I bought it having seen a knitted sample of the Color Block Bias Wrap. That is what I intend to make with it. I've just today started it. All good.

But then I felt like making a few things that required at least a bit of new yarn. That's how this, this, this and this (new photo pending) came about... Still good - buy yarn / use yarn. That's how it should work.

Then I got a bit sock-frisky and this, this and this were made - from newly purchased yarn natch. Note: I'm going to combine all of the remnants to make a 4th pair of socks. Again, not using stash - but all stash has been assigned to something I can make later. And 2 of these 3 pairs have already been gifted to Sandra and Nicole, to thank them for looking after M while she was sick and I was away. The third pair is technically only half finished.

I also allowed myself, in this grey-phase, to purchase a sweater's-worth of Chickadee in Kittywake (a version of grey). That's 1500 yards I haven't had a chance to use yet:

Quince and Co. Chickadee in Kittywake
I'm pretty sure I'm going to make the Sweet Jane with it. Just haven't closed the loop.

But somewhere along the line, I got a bit sidetracked. 

My goal is to a) be able to fit all of my gorgeous stash into one deep banker's box and b) to ensure that I can use up all of my yarn when I buy it (perhaps by buying more than needed for one project, but by having 2 projects clearly in mind).

The following purchases did not exactly come with that pre-awareness: 

Charlevoix Pure Laine in Grey and Cream
There was no way I was passing up some "real" Quebec yarn while I was in the land of sheep and cheese. I mean, I've never seen it before and I'm likely to have rare access to it. This is a fingering-weight that's purported to be great for socks. It's loosely-twisted 2-ply and it's very airy and it actually has some nylon in it, making it wash-and-dryable, I suspect.  While it's not a merino-bomb, it is rather squishy and soft. I bought 1100 yards. I figure it will make great 2-tone socks - like in a grey theme. You get? If I change my mind, I've got enough of it to make something substantial like a wrap or even a small sweater.

Then I found out that Americo is closing its bricks-and-mortar store (but not online store) and I felt compelled to buy some more tonal-taupe/grey fingering yarn in a chainette construction with lots of air. This is the 3rd time I've purchased airy/chainette yarns in 3 months:

Briza in Stone colourway
I got 4 skeins at 25% off. That's 1600 yards. I truly have no idea what to make with this. Any thoughts?? I'm listening.

And then Nicole went to Iceland a couple of weeks ago and bought me back some gorgeous blue yarn - the only colour I seem to like to knit with other than gray these days:

Istex Kambgarn in Indigo (942)
This is an unusual find - merino in Iceland. It's actually not from Icelandic sheep but from imported merino sheep. It is milled and otherwise processed in Iceland. The colour is gorgeous - not an indigo but not too light. It's quite soft but not excessively drapey. Of course, this is a super generous gift and I LOVE it. But no idea as yet what to make with my 1300 yards of worsted-spun, sport-weight Kambgarn.  It's  a good amount and great weight for a sweater. In truth, I much prefer its sturdy but delicate hand and drape over that produced by the woolen-spun Icelandic fiber. That stuff is interesting but its not my natural preference. Of course, learning more all the time, I have begun to realize my penchant neither for very soft/squishy merino/cashmeres nor the hairy, stiff woolen-spuns. I fall somewhere on the middle of the continuum. I suspect that most of us do.

So now I appear to have a) no room in the box cuz I've acquired b) 6100 additional yards of sport or fingering-weight yarn. Wow - that seems really out of line with "smart stashing".

Or does it? I've got 4 great batches of yarn in adequate yardages to actually think big(ish). I've been using most of what I purchase immediately, because it's set out for something specific. Even in instances where stash has preceeded pattern,  one batch I got on sale for a really good price, 2 others were actually FREE! One I bought to commemorate a vacation. Seriously, this could be worse. In fact, it was worse when I'd buy without knowing anything much about the properties of yarn I wanted or the needs of my projects or how much yarn one requires to do something specific. Also, keep in mind that I've bought and immediately used @2500 yards of yarn since I finished with the Stash Bust in April. That means I'm using the new stuff at a good rate. 

NO doubt, I'm not buying anymore yarn until I've used up another 6000 yards of my current stash. That could happen by next spring, conceivably. I'm  a pretty organized knitter and I do love an outcome. But till it does happen, I will not buy. I have more than enough yarn of the weights and yardages I often use to get me through the winter. Maybe this is my way: 6000 yards in, 6000 yards out. Seems odd but I'm willing to consider it.

But how about you? Do you serially stash? Do you organize and resist even on vacation? What do you think of my new yarns and my, um, rationalization sound argument for more sheep hair ? Let's talk.


  1. My stash currently doesn't fit in my stash box (an airtight half-size storage bin) because I recently added 3 skeins of Malabrigo Rasta--purchased with a specific pattern in mind--and that stuff is BIG. I've been vacillating between fingering-weight shawls and bulky-weight accessories, so I'm sure it will get crafted soon. In the past few months I've made 3 capelets/wraps, but the last two aren't really wearable (one came out too small, the other is itchy around the neck although I haven't tried it on after washing yet).

    Question: Do you frog finished pieces if they aren't suitable? So far I've just put mine away in a drawer if I don't have an immediate gift recipient in mind. I know it'd be frugal to reuse the yarn, but I tend to work with "sticky" yarn that's a pain to frog and I'd rather not undo all of my hard work when I have stash yet (always) to get through.

    1. Such a good question - I have written about the idea of frogging pieces that aren't worn. The Craft Sessions blogger is all for it. Me, not so much. But I'm trying to psych myself up to undo a bunch of sweaters that never get worn because the yarn is really gorgeous. Thing is, where would I put that yarn at this point?? I don't work with the sticky stuff often and I still cant stand the idea. So I might give the sweaters to a couple of knitting friends and ask them to do it for me :-) Keep on with your destash - and best of all, enjoy your wonderful knitting.

  2. I wouldn't have been able to resist those yarns either. They are delightful.
    I had a big destash a while ago and I know that new fabric has been sneaking into the house again. I came back with a couple of bags full from my Birmingham trip. But I'm finding I'm much more mindful of my purchases now. I'm thoughtful of colour and substrate and see that you're very much the same. I'm excited to get my new sewing room set up at the new house and can't wait to unpack all my fabrics and patterns and books. I can't remember half of what I have....I know its probably too much!

    1. I remember your terrific destash. Those were nice fabrics! But maybe we destash to restash (as part of the creative process). And we're not crazy, right? :-) I can't wait to see your new sewing room! Or mine for that matter. But yours will come sooner than mine...

    2. We are definitely not crazy....or at least, not that much! ;-)
      So glad you've postponed your reno.
      Our move is not being uneventful...