My Knitting Life List: 2007

Last year I published my knitting life list. I plan to reflect on it each November as a way to check in, celebrate what I’ve accomplished, and see what might need to be tweaked.

  1. Approach knitting like a hobby and not a project that needs to be managed. In other words, keep it fun.Well, knitting St. Brigid was definitely more like a project than a hobby, but I’m really enjoying the end result. This may just be the hardest goal on my list. I’m so used to managing things, making lists and planning out projects that it just comes naturally.
  2. Knit St Brigid or another Starmore aran. Done! When I wrote this list last year, I never dreamed that this would be the item that I’d cross off this year. I think I love St. Brigid now more than ever. Remember a few weeks back when I said I was bittersweet about it, and that there were things I’d do differently. Well, none of that matters now. It’s 30° outside and I’m warm. In my own handknit aran. It doesn’t get much better than that!
  3. Start off each year with less stash than I did the year before.Not even close. See below for more details on my stash. Oy.
  4. Knit something special for everyone special in my life. I don’t mean a pair of socks here. I mean something unique and treasured — the perfect thing for everyone who matters in my life. I’ve done very little gift knitting this year.
  5. Keep the stash organized and catalogued. Done better than I could have imagined. As of this weekend I have everything input into my stash page on Ravelry.
  6. Knit what I love, and love what I knit. I was faithful to this one, including frogging a few partially-knit project that I knew I’d never finish.
  7. Don’t forget to let go of the knitting occassionally. A corollary to #1.
  8. Go to camp.Not yet, but someday
  9. Knit a colorwork project. I’m not talking a hat here. Something large, but something I’d actually wear. Jade Starmore’s St. Aula (love the hood!), and Kaffe Fassett’s Brocade from Rowan 38 come to mind.I don’t think this will be in the next year. I need to get better with colorwork before tackling a big project like this.
  10. Share the craft with others. This could be through formal teaching, or helping out a friend, or even tutorials here on the blog. I’ve put together a few technique posts in the past year.
  11. Publish some patterns. I realized this year how hard this is while having a job that takes a lot of my focus. But I know if I don’t do this, I’ll regret it. It may not happen for a while, but I don’t want to lose site of the fact that I really want to do this.Not this year, but maybe next

I did pretty well with everything except #3 — start off each year with less stash than I did the year before. In some ways I did OK. I haven’t bought much sock yarn in the past year. But, I have bought several sweaters’ worth of yarn, and I only knit one sweater. When I have bought yarn they’ve been (mostly) better purchases that I don’t regret later on. And in the one case when I did regret, I didn’t let my guilt of exchanging it stop me (yes, I’ve kept yarn I decided I didn’t want because I felt guilty returning it).
But, I still have a lot of yarn. After returning from Rhinebeck this year I just couldn’t ignore it any more. I photographed and catologued everything in Ravelry. So, here goes. Here are my stash numbers:

November 1st

752 balls / 132,278 yards


723 balls / 128,719 yards

I am shocked at how large my stash has gotten. Back in February 2005 I catalogued all my yarn and I had 454 balls. That means I’ve bought approximately 100 balls of yarn per year more than I knit. What have I been thinking?!?
In the past month I’ve been stash swapping and selling on Ravelry, and I think this will be a big help. Firstly, I’ve both sold yarn and swapped yarn for something other than yarn (look at my cute little box bag!). I’ve also swapped yarn I knew I’d never use with things I think I’ll use. So, I have a little extra in my PayPal account and a little less in my stash.
Wanna see what I have up for trade? Go take a look at my trade/sell page.
Does this mean I’m declaring a yarn diet? I don’t think so. I know that may sound ridiculous but hear me out. As soon as I tell myself I can’t buy yarn, I become obsessed with buying yarn. Any yarn. All yarn. Sale yarn. Yellow yarn. Mohair boucle yarn. With sparkles.
Okay, maybe no sparkles, but you get the point. So instead, I’m going to be very mindful of what I’m buying. For example, in my last post, I pictured the start of Roam. Well, I’ve knitted about a third of a hank and have determined that there’s no chance I’ll have enough yarn. Instead of buying 2 more hanks, I’m going to frog the little bit I have knitted and save the yarn for something else (I’m thinking maybe a vest?). I think some of you may be thinking this is a bit extreme, but I have many other lovely yarns that I could use for Roam, and I don’t want to buy more yarn just so I can make it in the berry color. So, Roam will go on the back burner for now, and I’m just fine with that. Instead, I’ll daydream about different vests that I can make with the yarn instead (I’m thinking something with a colorwork band across the upper chest might me nice?).
I really do want to knit through more of my festival stash too (you can see it listed on my sidebar of my home page). Again, I’m improving, but I still have a long way to go.
So, if this year was the year I tackled St. Brigid, this next year will be the year I tackle the stash.
What about you? How do you feel about your stash? Any stash-busting tips you’d like to share?

22 thoughts on “My Knitting Life List: 2007

  1. It was great to meet you today. I didn’t realize that I was sharing close quarters with the legendary St. Brigid! 😉
    I would love to take on a project like that cabled beauty. I’m still quite a novice even though I have been knitting for several years now. I hope that some of your talent will rub off on me during our Saturday knitting meet-ups.
    See you again soon!

  2. What a great idea to have a list like that. I’d really have to sit and think if I was going to come up with one. I really admire you for keeping up with it!

  3. I’m afraid that I’m with you on eth stash problem. Trouble is, I mean, well. I don’t know what the trouble is, but having it all listed on a spread sheet in the car, and up a Ravelry should be a help to remember everything that already is there. Should be.
    My list would look an awful lot like yours, including the Starmore. Doing another one this year too, I hope.

  4. I think your update of your list is an excellent idea. I certainly enjoyed reading your progress (or not) in each area. It is a gentle way to provide a way to track your knitting path.

  5. Too bad about Roam, but I know you’ll find another project for that beautiful yarn! I haven’t traded or sold on Ravelry yet, I’ll have to give it a try.

  6. Your list is inspiring! And I know what you mean about the whole yarn diet thing… but g-d help me, I think I need to -not- buy yarn at all next year. Nothing. No exceptions. I’m too good with the damn exceptions.
    I have no idea if it’ll -work- but you know, I’m feeling full up on the whole yarn thing…..

  7. I love your posts that are so reflective on knitting! Makes me reflect too. I’m afraid that every year I knit, I’m getting worse with stash. I’ve only been knitting for about 3 or 4 years now, and it just grows. I set limits and boundaries, but I don’t seem to follow them.
    Right now I’m staying away from the Ravelry destash forum because there are so many yarns available there, and it got me into trouble for a couple months. I also need to be careful while traveling, I always “have” to visit the LYS and for some reason I’m mysteriously allowed to buy all sorts of yarn there as a souvenir. I have to stop that!

  8. I love your approach and your reflection. This is a very important and helpful exercise. This is something I should really try. Thank you for the inspiration (yet again!), Jody!

  9. This is a good post, Jody.
    I think my goal at this point is to catalog the stash. I have some of it noted in Ravelry but not nearly all and I have no pictures at all.
    I also need to give up on a few things that have been sitting for too long. I’ve got a baby blanket on the needles for a baby who is nearly 2 and a tank top that I’ve been working on (very little, obviously) for three summers. This doesn’t account for the the stash of single socks that have been sitting for years.

  10. I enjoyed your post today. I’ve been on a “stash diet” since January, for many reasons (not the least of which involve buying a house and going back to grad school!). My weakness is finding good yarn on sale. I have to keep reminding myself that (1) sheep are not an endangered species, and there will still be plenty of yarn when I need more later (2) it’s not a “good deal” if I buy it and don’t use it and (3) I have lots of yarn already, nearly all of which is earmarked for specific projects (except for the sock yarn and oddballs that I bought for swatching). Once I knit through all the “project” yarn that I have, I will be free to buy more yarn, but on a project-by-project basis — no more long-term stashing!
    I’ve also done some swapping on Ravelry, which has helped me to give good yarns that I will never use a more deserving home, and bring yarns that I will actually knit with into my house. This is how I got yarn for some of my gift knitting this year.
    I guess the one thing that has motivated my stash-busting above all else was the desire to buy a wheel this year. By cutting way back on yarn-buying, I could justify buying a used wheel and some fiber.
    It feels really good to make a dent in the stash. When we moved to our new house, I was able to allocate one room as the craft room, and give my stash the space it needs. I bagged everything by project in zip-locs and put it in a large chest of drawers where I can easily see it. It really helps to have it easily accessible — I can remember what I have, and can stir through it for inspiration.
    While I was planning to end the stash diet at the end of the year, I think I’ll keep it up until all of my project-designated yarn is used up. It feels good to not have the extra stash baggage hanging over my head…

  11. Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving! :) I’m kind of with you on the whole yarn diet thing. Totally doesn’t work. I’m just trying to find things to do with the yarn that I have. I’ve set a goal of knitting 4 sweaters before I buy yarn for something big, but that big thing is specific (the Ivy League Vest in IK) so at least I’m not going willy nilly. Good luck with your goals!

  12. I’m impressed with your list and even being able to accomplish part of it.
    My stash makes me feel bloated. LOL! I had a thought to NOT buy yarn until April and I’m going to put a lot up on Ravelry to trade/sell.

  13. Stash busting tips, pull out some yarn that you haven’t played with in a while and get reaquainted with it. Knit a swatch or a hat and play with it.
    As you make your hat or swatch, think of other things this yarn would like to be.
    My projects usually start with yarn fondling and then I find a pattern to suit it. After making a hat.

  14. I was just thinking that 2008 will be the year to make a dent in the stash. It’s not enormous, but we have a very small house and it’s overwhelming me a bit.

  15. Nice reflection. You’re making me want to think about my goals for next year.
    Isn’t it amazing that a year ago we didn’t even imagine something that would help us catalog our stash?

  16. A great list to re-visit every year…..
    I have some stash that I’d like to get rid of, and some stuff I’m looking for. I’ll see what you have!

  17. many of us can relate to your stash problem. and now that as of this year I’m in the knitting business (hand dyed yarn) it’s too easy for me to justify letting my stash grow.
    here’s the rules I’m trying to follow:
    1) do not buy yarn unless you plan to use it WITHIN 6 MONTHS
    2) always have a specific pattern and project PLANNED for any yarn you buy. don’t just buy generically for “a sweater” some day.
    3) keep reminding yourself that when you need it and are ready for it, THEN you can buy it. it will still be there!! or something better will be there then
    4) if you are not going to use yarn in your stash GET IT OUT OF THE HOUSE! give it away if you have to.
    5) if you have to keep buying new storage containers for your yarn, then you are going in the wrong direction!
    6) corollary to #5 do not buy any yarn that cannot fit inside your current yarn containers!
    Oh and all the above apply to needles too! And knitting bags!
    good luck! Jana

  18. What a great knitting list! I for one would love to see you knit Brocade – it’s a stunner (well, without the turtleneck).
    I’ve been sort-of on a yarn diet since MDSW, but I’ve been quite lenient. I’ve managed to mostly avoid my weaknesses (sweater-amounts of yarn), and I’m definitely not buying as much as I used to. However, I don’t see my stash shrinking to the degree that I had hoped – I have dreams of knitting through my sock yarn stash, but that’s not happening anytime soon!
    I also saw a shift in spending after the yarn diet – let’s just say that the fabric stash has been quite enhanced over the past 6 months!

  19. I don’t have anywhere near as much stash as you, but I have more than I’d like. So much of it is stuff I bought when I first started knitting – single balls in a particular yarn or several balls, but all different colours so none of it is really for a single project. I’ve been trying to be realistic about the trade/sell stuff and not hold on to yarn just because it was amongst the first purchases or because I like the colour. I will probably make myself a few hats and scarves out of the small amounts since I could use them – it’s just getting over the scarf hump (I find them boring mostly).
    Now if I could luck out with a trade for something cool like that bag!

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