A year without yarn explained

January 21, 2009

My name is Jean R., and I’m a yarn addict.

I’m an obsessed knitter; I love yarn and yarn stores. I love petting yarn and always have to touch everything when visiting a yarn store. I’ll even pet the plasticy acrylic Red Heart at Michaels if nothing else is available. I have a closet full of it – yarn I’ve bought for projects and have never used; yarn I’m planning to use for something someday; yarn I’ve bought from local yarn stores while on vacation; and a pretty large sock yarn stash accumulated during my sock phase. Really, it’s half a closet, but now the yarn has started to spill over into the other half of the closet (aka the “bag closet,” since the other half is where all our luggage and bags live).

I tend to just buy yarn when I need it, or think I need it. If I see a pattern in Interweave Knits, or Knitty, or somewhere else that I really like, I’ll buy the yarn at the time. Sometimes I manage to cast on right away and finish the item, but more frequently, I’ll cast on, decide I don’t like it, and never finish it. Once in a while, I just never get around to casting on in the first place because something more interesting comes along.

So, in an attempt to cure my addiction, finish some unfinished items, and to make room for more yarn, I’ve declared a moratorium on yarn purchases. I’ll try to go without buying yarn and knitting only from what I already have in my stash for one year, from January 1 – December 31, 2009. 

Well, more or less. There are, of course, exceptions (in addition to knitting, I also like to make little bizarre rules for myself). The exceptions are as follows:

1. It’s okay if the yarn is for an item that will be donated to charity.

2. It’s sort of okay if I have a gift card. Don’t go out and buy me gift cards, though – the point is to reduce the stash. I do have a $50 gift card to Knit Picks, but I’m planning to spend most of it on a needle organization system (more details later).

3. One of my traditions is that when I travel for vacation or work, I try to find and visit a yarn store in that city. Purchases in this case are allowed, as long as they meet one of the following criteria:

          a. The yarn is from a local source, or
          b. It’s a yarn that’s not available in my local yarn stores, and
          c. It’s a small amount – no more than the amount required for a scarf. So, a skein of sock yarn from a local dyer, or a couple of skeins of yarn that I haven’t seen in the DC area would be okay. Seven skeins of Cascade 220 – which is widely available – would not be allowed.

4. I’m allowed to buy yarn for one spring/summer project on my birthday (April 6).

5. Yarn purchases for gifts are allowed, but only if necessary. Generally, stash yarn should be used.

So far, it’s been 11 days without a yarn purchase. Hopefully, I can make it through the year without caving.