Friday, December 21, 2007

De-Stashing: The 3 Step Plan

I've been thinking about my stash. Among the many positive effects of Ravelry was the process of actually dragging my stash out from it's various hiding places under the bed, under the chairs, in the closet...errr....never mind. And even when I think I've dragged it all out to face the harsh light of the day, I still get the occasional surprise. Like this little gerbil that popped out the other day:

The first Christmas after learning to knit, I remember using some Fun Fur double stranded with Homespun, or maybe a Boucle, to make scarves for a few friends, co-workers, and a charity auction. And I'm sure I haven't touched Fun Fur since then, so this must be a leftover from that time. I really had no intension of revisiting that particular phase of my knitting so I have no idea what I'd do with it. I also found this interesting specimen:

Nope, no ball band to be found, it's nekkid as the day it was born. Where did I buy it? No freaking idea. So what the heck is it? Again, no freaking idea. But it's colorful. And it's sparkly! (What, that doesn't excite you? Me either.)

I know in a previous post I wrote about the kind of yarn I purchased when I first started knitting, and why, and other thoughts on the subject. But now as my knitting skills have improved, my interests have changed (for the better) and there are so many wonderful yarns that I want to try. But I just can't justify buying more yarn with all the old yarn lurking unused in the stash. Add that to my plans to attend Stitches West in February (the yarn market - oh gods!) and well...I'm in a bit of a quandary.

After much thought I believe I may have come up with a solution, and it can be summed up as a 3 step process:

Step 1 - Go thru all stash, loved, unloved, and everything in between. Anything that has relevance to a particular work in progress goes into a clearly labeled project bag. Anything that is intended to be a future project will also go into a clearly labeled project bag. All project bags will have the details of the project and any other supplies needed. Any knitting urges between now and Stitches West will be fulfilled by something in these project bags.

Step 2 - Any yarn that cannot be assigned to a current or future project will be stuffed into a USPS mailing box, and once full, will be labeled and sent to Interim House, a drug and alcohol residential and outpatient program in Philadelphia. They have a very successful knitting program and are happy to accept donations. (Thanks to Brenda Dayne for sharing the info on this program).

Step 3 - Use Ravelry's queue and other functions to prepare an updated wish list of specific yarns, tools, patterns of interest - sort of a shopping list. This last item is to exert some control over spending during the Stitches marketplace, so that I do not become overwhelmed and possibly blow money on things that I really won't ever use. (Flashback to the Yarnlady's annual bag sale.)

So that's The Plan (with a capital T and P) and it seems do-able. (Is that a word?) And other than buying the required supplies for the two classes I'm taking at Stitches, The Plan should prevent me from spending any money on knitting in the next two months, alleviate my guilt at all the "fun" novelty yarn going unused, and make room for new arrivals at the end of February.

Think it'll work? I'll get back to you in a few weeks and let you know how it's going!


Ellen Bloom said...

OK....get rid of the fun fur and sparkly stuff, but think first about getting rid of the perfectly fine acrylic, worsted weight and Homespun. There's a group on ravelry called "Love the Lion" for Lionbrand yarn lovers! Acrylic is great for charity knitting and baby stuff. I happen to like my acrylic knitted sweaters better than my wool ones, simply because they're lighter weight and more comfortable for our mild SoCal weather.
Congrats on your organizing plan!

mia said...

Fun fur :)

Good luck with the plan :)