2012 Year in Review: Surmount the Stash

It’s been just over a year since I first learned about Revelations of a Delusional Knitter and her Surmount the Stash challenge.

This has been an interesting year for me in terms of stash.  I started using Ravelry’s features more actively, which helped me track my stash more closely.  I also started working with Galler Yarns, and I received more yarn support for upcoming designs in 2012 than in any previous year.  In spite, or because of all of these things, I’ve actually been able to make a noticeable dent in my yarn stash and am definitely ending 2012 with less yarn than I started with!

In December, I didn’t finish many projects since I’m working on a very large secret project.  I did manage to use up 112 yards on little holiday projects.

I also added 79 yards to my stash in yarn support remnants.  I reorganized my yarn bins so that I could store everything in 5 bins rather than having a box of yarn support on the side.  Overall, not a very significant month in terms of my stash!

During the course of the year, I learned a few things that may be helpful to you if stashbusting is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions.

  • Talking about my stash helped keep me accountable.  I kept track of my stashbusting efforts through my monthly Surmount the Stash updates and I am also active on the Surmount the Stash group on Ravelry.
  • Tracking yardage was more effective for me than tracking skeins.  For my first few updates, I talked about the number of skeins I used up or bought.  Later I learned that I used a lot more yarn in partial skeins (especially for charity projects), so I decided to track by yardage.  I compared the yardage used to skeins of Red Heart Super Saver so I could still have a visual reference.
  • Be thoughtful about purchases.  I approached yarn festivals and yarn crawls with a plan, including a monetary budget or skein limit (or both).
  • Let it go.  While it would be nice to sell every bit of yarn I don’t plan to use, it was often better to take a loss on what was spent on the yarn in exchange for more space and less clutter in my home.  I donated yarn to charity and gave some away.  I sold other skeins at a discount to move them out of my apartment.
  • Don’t forget about trades.  I needed certain colors for a project for a swap over the summer, and I was able to get what I needed by trading and buying partial skeins on Ravelry.  I ended up with just the right amounts and for less money.
  • Remain flexible.  Your priorities may change as your stash shifts.  I wasn’t worried about yarn support when I started my stashbusting efforts but now I plan to track it so I can keep a closer eye on my stash.
For 2013, I’m planning to keep whittling away at my stash to keep it more manageable.

What are your stash plans for 2013?

 

 

Surmount the Stash – November Review

November was an interesting month, stashwise.  I actually made solid progress on stashbusting.

My accomplishments

  • I finished several gift projects made from stash, including two projects for my friend’s new baby, two holiday gifts for my dad’s siblings, and a gift for my dad’s partner.  I also made two little crochet sweater ornaments that will eventually become gifts, but I’m not sure who will be the recipients yet.
  • I made a wool-eating scarf for charity.
  • I returned an unwound skein of yarn I bought on a whim in October.

All told, this amounted to a destash of 2,382 yards of yarn, or the equivalent of 6.5 skeins of Red Heart Super Saver.

This giant scarf made with two strands of yarn held together used up 900 yards!

On the other hand…

  • I bought two skeins of yarn to finish up my charity scarf (420 yards).

Now, let’s pause for philosophical musings

I spent much of November working on projects for publication where I received yarn support (the yarn that a yarn company or publisher sends you for free when you are commissioned to design a pattern for them).  I don’t consider yarn support to be part of “my stash”  since I can’t use it freely for whatever I want, or give it away.  Some times, the leftovers are even supposed to be returned to the company.  If I considered it part of my stash, then I would have used up another 816 yards, but I also received more than 30 skeins of yarn support this month…  Hopefully, you’ll agree with my theories on yarn support (because otherwise my stash is dangerously out of control!).

While you ponder this, feel free to download the two free patterns from yarn support projects I finished in November.  (Click the photo to link to the pattern download.)

The All Weather Cowl, a Tunisian crochet pattern.

 

The Givin’ Me Fever Pom Pom Hat, a knitting pattern. (Photo (c) Kollabora.)

The Verdict

Assuming you agree with me, I used 1,962 yards more than I bought in this month, so I consider myself victorious over the stash.

December goals

During December, I don’t expect to get much done in terms of stashbusting since most of my crafting time will be focused on designs for future publication.  But I would like to come up with stash goals for 2013, since I want to continue to reduce my stash.

 

How are your stashbusting efforts going?

For more Surmount the Stash updates, visit the Ravelry group here.

Surmount the Stash – October Review

Perhaps this post should be subtitled,”How the mighty have fallen.”  After doing some supersonic stashbusting in September, I had an unusually high level of stash acquisition in October.

My accomplishments

On the other hand…

And four skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas cotton (Worsted and Multi) after the storm.

Although I had intended projects for these skeins, I definitely feel that the storm had something to do with it.  Beforehand, I imagined I would do a lot of crocheting while hibernating indoors.  (I actually spent more time online and watching the news.) After Sandy I wanted to support a local business when so many have been devastated, perhaps beyond repair.  Whatever the reasons, these excursions added another 945 yards (equivalent to 2.6 skeins of Red Heart Super Saver) to my stash.

The Verdict

I think it’s clear the stash emerged victorious this month.  I ended up with 3,375 more yards in my stash than I used this month – that’s like 9.25 skeins of Red Heart Super Saver!  On the other hand, I did such a great job of stashbusting during the year that all the yarn still fits into my plastic tubs, with space to spare!  When I started this challenge, I also had yarn stashed in bags and boxes because my bins were overrun.

November Goals

I would like to finish up my holiday projects using stash yarn, make 2 or 3 more charity projects, and get started on another scarf or cowl for me.  I love the one I made in October, but I also need something neutral that I can wear.

For more stashbusting updates, visit the Surmount the Stash group on Ravelry.

How are your stashbusting efforts going?

Year of Projects, Year 2: A quickie

This post contains affiliate links.I

‘m sharing a quickie post today because I’m running out to meet my mom and join the lines of New York City shoppers preparing for Hurricane Sandy.  Public schools are closed tomorrow, but I haven’t heard about the colleges yet, so I may or may not be going in to work.  I hope everyone in the storm’s path remains safe over the next few days.

On a lighter note, I did make one charity square this morning.

This is the Dog Rose from Granny Squares: Over 25 Creative Ways to Crochet the Classic Pattern by Stephanie Gohr, Melanie Sturm, and Barbara Wilder.  (I’ll be reviewing this book soon, by the way.)  I haven’t woven in the ends because many of the charities ask that you don’t – it seems that some people just “knot and cut” and to make sure your ends are woven in sturdily, the charities ask you to leave the yarn tails hanging.  It doesn’t make for a neat photo, though.

For more Year of Projects posts, visit Come Bl0g-a-long on Ravelry.

 

I’m  blogging daily throughout October.  Visit I Saw You Dancing for more Blogtoberfest bloggers and  CurlyPops for Blogtoberfest giveaways.  Search #blogtoberfest12 on Twitter.

FO Friday and I Love Yarn Day!

I’m excited to be participating in another I Love Yarn Day on my blog!  To celebrate, I’m sharing some charity projects and showing off some of my recent yarn acquisitions.

Finished charity projects

I’ve been working on some charity projects with stash yarn for the Hats 4 the Homeless drive at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio.

Men’s hat and child’s hat.

I had plans for more creative (read: flashy) hats, but then I remembered these guidelines on the Bridge and Beyond blog about donating handmade hats to homeless people:

Choose colors that don’t show the dirt, that are appropriate for the group you’re donating too.  Wild colors, bold stripes aren’t a good choice for homeless people…  Homeless [people] don’t like to call attention to themselves with wild colors.  Dark colors work for everyone, kids, teens, women, and men.  Light colors limit who can benefit from your warm hat.

With that in mind, I pulled out the charcoal yarns and went work.  I made both hats very bulky and warm so they will provide a little extra protection in harsh weather.  I’m also planning to make some scarves before the drop off deadline.

Yummy yarn stuff

When I wrote my post for I Love Yarn Day last year, I was already thinking about thinning out my stash.  This year I’ve been participating in Surmount the Stash and I started my own Holiday Stashdown Challenge, and I’ve made a lot of progress towards reducing my stash and increasing the proportion of natural fibers in my collection.  I’m not even going to enter the I Love Yarn Day contest where you can win 365 skeins of yarn.  Last year, I wouldn’t have been able to pass it up.  So what changed?

One of my best friends and I took part in the 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge with Frugally Sustainable in January.  As New York natives working in the public/non-profit sector and watching prices rise astronomically, we are always worried about our finances.

My frugality is still a work in progress – there is much that I haven’t changed yet – but I have been pretty good about keeping a 30-Day List.  Last weekend was the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival and the New York City Yarn Crawl, and I’ve been planning for months to go wild.

The yarn and roving I bought at the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival.

From top to bottom: Yarn Monkey Productions SuperSaki in Aella and in Anastasia, Studio Donegal Soft Donegal in Charcoal and Dark Red, and Ivy Brambles Romantica Merino Lace in Night Sky and Hand Dyed Merino Roving in Harvest Festival. I only had time to visit three of the ten yarn shops participating in the New York City Yarn Crawl last weekend.  (After all, I was in New Jersey for two days for the Festival!) My first stop was (of course) my favorite NYC yarn shop, Knitty City, where I picked up two skeins of madelinetosh tosh vintage. On Monday, I visited Downtown Yarns, my favorite stop for knitting needle shopping.

Believe it or not, I actually went there hoping they would have some super jumbo circulars, and I was not disappointed. (These are US size 50!)

I found this lovely skein of Dream in Color Everlasting Sock right next to the needles. My final stop was The Yarn Company.  I’ve done a fair amount of browsing in the shop since it came under new ownership and the vibe is much better than it was in the past.  Other than a few skeins of sale yarn that I bought when ownership switched over, I had never found the “right” yarn for me when visiting.  It is in my neighborhood and I appreciate the work the new owners have put into rebuilding the store’s reputation, so I decided to stop by during the Yarn Crawl.  And I wasn’t disappointed when I found this lovely skein of Miss Babs Yowza-Whatta Skein! in Violets in the Grass. I have ideas for these yarns, but honestly, I almost never make exactly what I planned when I’m buying the yarn!  (Does this happen to anyone else?)  By the time I get through the things I’m making now and the projects I have deadlines for, I’ll be interested in making other things.  At least now that I started using Ravelry’s stash feature (thanks to this tutorial from FreshStitches), I can easily scan my stash before starting a new project. For more I Love Yarn Day excitement, check out the inspiration webpagePinboards, and Facebook page, and follow @iloveyarnday or search #iloveyarnday on Twitter.  And for more Finished Objects, visit Tami’s Amis.

I’m  blogging daily throughout October.  Visit I Saw You Dancing for more Blogtoberfest bloggers and CurlyPops for Blogtoberfest giveaways.  Search #blogtoberfest12 on Twitter.