Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Stashdown 2012

Pile of SGY
I'm sure a lot of you are well aware that I've had yarn on the brain for quite a long time now. I'm sure a lot of you are sick and tired of me talking about my stash and how I am feeling a tad bit smothered by the sheer amount of yarn that I have in my possession. I'm sure a lot of you are wondering why the hell am I complaining about having this "problem". Some of you don't even consider this is a problem. Well I think it is. Not only is my stash getting out of control, but so are my spending habits.

I've been organizing and re-organizing, and then organizing the stash some more in fruitless attempts at Tetris-izing it all to somehow make it fit within the confines of the closets they've been designated to. And yet, there are still piles of yarn at the foot of the bed, behind the couch, and under the computer desk. Bags of yarn have been stuffed into all the crevices on my side of the closet and caution must be given to anyone who dares to open the closet in the Munchkin's room, as yarn has been known to spring out in an almost comical way. Basically, my stash is starting to become a physical burden.

Then there's the psychological side. Oh yeah, yarn likes to play mind games with a knitter. Having so much yarn at your fingertips could make a knitter go crazy. You're constantly thinking about all the pretty yarn that you want to cast on. Like, yesterday. Nevermind that you already have 6 projects on the go. Why not cast on just one more project? The (evil) yarn is calling and before you know it, the wool fumes have gotten to you and you find yourself casting on for yet another project. Crap.

There are moments when your stash makes you have temporary amnesia. You are planning for a project and all of a sudden you can't think of a So you go and buy some more yarn. You get it, knit it up, bask in the awesomeness, and then you see it in the corner of your eye - some yarn in your stash that is exactly like the yarn you just used. Or even worse, you see a gorgeous shade of yarn in a base that you know you'll just love. So you purchase some. Then when you go to dump it into the black hole that is your stash add it lovingly to the rest of your yarn collection, you realize that you already have 6 skeins of yarn that look exactly like the yarn you just bought. Want to turn it into a nightmare? That yarn you just bought IS the yarn that's already in your stash. Oh yeah. It's happened baby, and it wasn't pretty. Not pretty at all. You want to wake up screaming all sweaty? How about this: you.don't.return.the.yarn. You convince yourself that since you love the colour and base so much that you bought it twice, that you'll most definitely will be able to knit two (large) projects with it. I'm losing my freakin' shit here.

But then there are times where you don't even think about the stash. You have so many pretties that all of a sudden you get consumed with the thought that you need even more of the lovelies, which then turns into the crazed idea that you need to own ALL the yarn. Sharing?? What the hell is that??

Deep breath. See?? See?? What did I tell you? Yarn makes a knitter do crazy things. What's that? No, no...I'm not rocking back and forth, whispering all the names of yarn companies and their yarn-y line-up in alphabetical order. No, no. I'm just um...LOOK!! SQUIRREL!!!

Woah. Aaaanyways...

So what's a knitter to do when they find themselves in such a predicament? Well, in order for me to curb my yarn shopping and accumulating, I'm partaking in Stashdown 2012 (imagine a deep, Hulk Hogan-like voice saying stashdown, with the end echoing a bit...and maybe throw in the sound of something really heavy crashing down at the same time). What is Stashdown, you ask? Well let me tell you, my dear friend. It's dedicating a certain amount of time (in this case, the entire year) to whittling your yarn stash (or any other stash you may have...I'm thinking of also doing a fabric version) down to either a pre-set amount or percentage, or to as low of an amount as you can humanly do so. There are tons of groups on Ravelry that are hosting a Stashdown of sorts and I was thinking of joining as many as I possibly could in hopes that being in so many groups would help me in my quest to well, get the stash down. Then I realized that having too many groups to check in with throughout the year would just turn me off and I will most likely fail in the most epic way known to man in the end. I foresee it not being a pretty sight. So I opted to join only one group's stashdown in hopes of avoiding such an epic downfall. Stashdown hint: You know you need to do a stashdown when you start padding the stash in preparation for the stashdown. Seriously, WTF? Who does that? Me. And I'm sure there are a whole lot of other knitters out there that have done the same.

The group that I joined decided to not have any complex rules, just simple guidelines with the main goal to reduce your stash down to "slightly hoariffic levels". You set up your own goals and you be the judge as to whether or not if you're failing. Easy peasy, right? Well maybe all down on paper! As the cliche saying goes: easier said, than done. I don't really have a set amount of yarn that I want to get rid of per se, my main goal is to have more yardage leave the stash than enter by the end of the year. Think it'll be hard? For me, I think so (I know some crazy people ahemMaeahem, that can totally do this challenge. I'ma thinking that I'll need to channel their willpower throughout the year to help me out). In general my rule is to knit more, buy less! But to break it down even further, here are some goals I'm going to work towards:

- the months of January and February are strict No-Buy months.

- instead of trolling for more yarn, these months will be dedicated to nothing but knitting (although, I just discovered that I have one bag left in the shop so I'm going to have to use a few knitting days to replenish my inventory)

- I'm allowing myself to keep my yarn clubs and spending the money to renew subscriptions - but no new clubs, unless I have moved out a lot of yarn from the stash

- I can only buy yarn if, and only if I need it to complete a project

- with the last goal said, I know myself well enough that I can't go cold-sheep and tell myself I can't buy any yarn whatsoever. This will only cause me to fail miserably. Therefore I'm giving myself a monthly budget of $50 for yarn. I can roll over this amount to the next month and ultimately "collect" enough to spend on a sweater quantity, but I CANNOT borrow from the next month's budget. Again, I know myself too well to know that this will end up in horrible failure. You might think that $50 is a lot for a monthly yarn budget, but really, you can't get a sweater's worth of yarn for that much (unless there's an epic sale going on or someone is destashing their yarn to the point where they are practically giving the yarn away for free), can you? Because my next goal...

- absolutely NO Knit Picks yarn purchases!!! The only Knit Picks purchases I am allowed to make are for more cables, tips, and as a complete, total, and utter dead last resort for yarn when knitting something for Brett or the Munchkin. But seriously, what does Knit Picks have on Patons Classic Wool, Cascade 220, or even Berroco Vintage or Weekend?? Absolutely nothing. Well, other than the fact that it can be much, much cheaper. Yet I need to remind myself that: I still have copious amounts of City Tweed in a lot of sweater quantities, I do not need more; I have a lot of their sock yarns, and I'm not even a fan of how thin their sock yarns are...the colours is what sucks me in; and even though Knit Picks yarn is friendlier to my wallet and I feel I can buy way more than if I were to buy a more expensive yarn, I always feel horrible when I get my order because the quality really doesn't compare to some of my snobbier yarns. Knit Picks yarns can be totally hit or miss. So far, there's been more misses than hits. I need to remind myself that it is definitely worth it to shell out a bit more money on a higher quality yarn - it's all about quality, not quantity. Knitting is so tactile that when you spend hours, days, weeks, and sometimes months knitting with the yarn you would want something that you love to touch, hold, and ultimately wear. Like my friend Andi and I agree on, in the end it's better to have spent a few more dollars on a quality yarn that will look good, wear well, and hopefully will last longer.

- cut down on single yarn purchases!! Unless I am needing a skein for a project. I have so many solo skeins in the stash with more coming from the yarn clubs, that I have plenty for socks and shawls so there really is no need for me to be buying any more. This will help out my $50 monthly yarn budget and will help me to save up for a purchase of a really nice yarn for a sweater. It's a win-win situation.

- minis swaps are ok. Cause that means I'll be swapping an entire skein of something from stash for a bunch of mini skeins in a variety of yarns in return. This could possibly help curb my urges to purchase one skein of sock yarns with the idea of using it towards my Beekeepers' Quilt.

- actually, swapping is ok. I haven't been swapping much anyways since postal costs can really add up but swapping isn't adding to the stash...just switching it up.

- if I really must buy a sweater's worth of yarn and will die if I don't have the yarn in my stash, then I must get rid of an equal amount of yarn from the stash either by destashing, donating, or...a giveaway!

Reasonable and realistic goals, no? We're only four days into the new year, so I can't say for sure. Ask me again at the end of the month. I think the keys to my success will be to avoid going to my LYS "just to see what's new", avoiding all online yarn shops and all yarn shop updates (I'm looking at you Wollmeise!), and stop looking at destashes. I'll also forewarn you all right now too that if it's a bit quite around here this month, it's because I'm busy either knitting or sewing...and maybe dancing (that damn Xbox is luring my attention away from my crafty endeavours!), so please, no hate mail as to why I haven't been around lately. Ok?

To help me kick off Stashdown 2012 I'm going to do an impromptu quickie yarn giveaway! My yarn hoarding will be your gain! The yarns I chose for this giveaway is one that I love dearly. Alas, whilst going through the stash I realized that I had several skeins of a certain colourway and the other I have already knit a project with. I also chose this yarn because I know several of you have either commented on this here blog, on my Ravelry project page, or had sent me a PM via Ravelry regarding the fact that you have not yet knit with this yarn but would like to.

So without further ado, the giveaway and the deets....

SGY Giveaway

*** This giveaway is now closed...Thank you so much to everyone who entered! ***

The Prize: one lucky reader will win one of the above skeins! Those lovely skeins are, you guessed it, SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in colourways Boysenberry (left) and Nightshade (right).

How to Enter: leave a comment letting me know which colour you like the best AND what you would knit/crochet/weave with it.

The Rules: all comments must include either a valid email address or your Ravelry ID. Comments not containing either of these will be disqualified. Giveaway is open until Friday January 6, 2012 midnight PST (I told you it was going to be a quickie!). I'll contact the winner sometime the following day.

Good luck!


  1. I know exactly where you're coming from! In my case, I'm getting rid of all of my acrylic "I don't really like it but it's the only one available locally so I'll just buy 3 or 4 balls every time I see it anywhere because I'm a knitter/crocheter and that's what we do!" yarn by giving some to my aunt, some to charity, and making a rainbow-y ripple blanket with the rest. So far, so good!

    Both colors are pretty amazing..... however, I can see that Boysenberry on my shoulders as a fringed shawlette! I have a few pattern ideas in mind already..

  2. I must confess I’m glad I’m not the only one who pads the stash in preparation for a de-stashing exercise. While I haven’t officially joined a stashdown group, I have pledged to shop from my stash as much as possible for the duration of 2012 but given my stashing nature, how can I give up on the opportunity to win a skein of scrumptious yarn? Jane Richmond’s “Rae” pattern in that Nightshade would be lovely. You can find me on Ravelry under “StitchParade”. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  3. 2012 is stashbusting for me too..i have a bit of sweater quantities that i would like to unload and lucky for me i picked out the patterns and matched them with my stash i just need to find the time to knit it all :)..i decided that from now on i am only going to buy yarn that i cant live without(not the salmon pink yarn in the clearance bin..even if its only $2 a skein)..and that boysenberry colorway is just gorgeous!..its the perfect purple..i would make a these fingerless gloves with it

  4. I did this last year and got rid of half my stash but then Christmas came and more yarn went back into the stash. I think I may need to do this again. I want to make a big multi coloured granny square blanket to use up all the bits and pieces I have lying around.

  5. Boysenberry so I can knit a CookieA sock. Any of her socks would be delicious. My stash is not as out of control as yours but my spending habits are questionable. I was actually thinking of you the other day. I have one skein left of the Botanical in SweetGeorgia chunky and I was going to gift it to you. But it's only one skein. Would you like? Or pass? I guess I'm not helping the de-stash process.

    lynnettelawther on ravelry.

  6. I just love the first picture in your post! All that yarny goodness. I'm not quite ready to stop building up my stash, although my queue is growing far too big... tough choice but I'd probably pick Nightshade since it's a colour I'm more likely to wear (although the Boysenberry is gorgeous - I should step out of my colour comfort zone). Perhaps a shawlette, or a fancy pair of socks to show off?

  7. i know you can complete your goal of bustin' your stash! the really nice thing is that your stash has looovely yarns to choose from, so you have lots of options! woot woot!!! you know i'm in for this giveaway! i would totally knit another rae (cause i love jane's patterns so much... and then i'd probably gift the rae) orr socks! so far i'm loving this sock thing! and the colour? jeez so hard to pick.. ummm i like them both, but i'm drawn to nightshade. xo my rav id: gundyknitter way to take control of 2012! woot woot!!

  8. I’m currently on a yarn buying diet as well. My will power is going to be tested this weekend at the annual Belated Boxing Day sale at Three Bags Full. My goal is to only buy one large projects worth of yarn.

    Even though I have been eyeing up Nightshade for a while now I’d have to say that a skein of Boysenberry would make me very very happy. I think a pair of socks like Angee by Cookie A or Diagonal Lace Socks by Wendy D. Johnson would be perfect in Boysenberry.
    RavID: mayapof

  9. Great writing! I loved this post. I just started knitting last year so I've just started accumulating my stash. Oh how I wish I could spend money on a yarn club. Thanks for having a giveaway! I would choose nightshade to knit a pair of tangled vine socks.

  10. I found my way to your blog through Jane Richmond's post today...they say there are no I must thank you for your well-timed post on a subject that has been weighing heavily on my mind as well. Being an aspiring knitter I do not have the stash that many seasoned knitters have but I could seriously see myself headed in that direction if I don't set some stash acquisition rules now.
    Both of the yarns are beautiful but the Boysenberry colorway would make my first attempt at sock knitting extra special. Thanks

  11. I have a smallish stash but can't resist those bargains and often find a skein or two at the op-shop which I have to bring home even though I really have no idea what I can knit with it. I did do a huge giveaway of all my acryllic (back to the op-shop) and pledged to buy only good quality wool from then on.
    I adore both those colours but I think the Boysenberry just edges out the Nightshade. I have a plan to knit myself a shawlette/scarf for this coming Winter so that would be absolutely perfect for it.
    Good luck with your Stashdown....

  12. I helping my mom with her stash at the moment, next will be mine. I love the blue skein and it would look great as the Honey Cowl.
    Rav: zenitude

  13. oh I love both!! I think Boysenberry... but Nightshade is equally gorgeous! Thanks for sharing your overflow :-) I would like to make socks for my mom, since she's always making me pairs but I have yet to make her some! Ravelry id is Shanaynay.

  14. Good luck on your destashing - sounds like a tricky thing, especially when there are so many beautiful yarns!

    I would love that skein of Boysenberry - I've caught the bug for both knitting socks AND SweetGeorgia yarns! Tough Love Sock is probably my new favourite base, and the colours are just so divine!

  15. They're both just gorgeous! I think I might prefer the boysenberry. I'm finally starting to knit socks in earnest, and I *so* would love to try the Sweet Georgia yarn! Thanks for the opportunity! My RavID is sydneypaige.

    I love reading your destash plan, I'm trying the same thing - mostly because I am forced by budgetary reasons. These are great ideas! I'm also thinking of selling some FO's and using that money to fund my fiber habit... :-)

  16. I'm not allowing myself to buy yarn until the end of March, excepting the sudden need for baby gifts, so I feel your pain.

    I've recently decided that nighshade is the most perfect shade of navy, but, as I've recently used that color, I think boysenberry would be my choice. I think it'd need to be a hat. Or a shawlette. Something that keeps it good and visible!

  17. Great post!!! I discovered your blog last month and I can't tell you enough how glad I am that I did :). I love that boysenberry and have always wanted to try Sweet is on my to knit list in 2012 , as are I would do my first socks with that gorgeous wool. Thanks for the giveaway :)

    I am avasmom2007 on Ravelry

  18. Looks like you have a solid plan for your stash problem. SABLE is a known problem among knitters and crocheters.

    It is very generous of you to give away yarn. If I am the lucky one to win, then I would like Boysenberry, please.

  19. I can't believe I'm going to say this... I DON'T WANT THE YARN. AAAAHHHHHH!!! This is me holding firm and not adding to my stash :P Now please don't tell me I've won, because then I will cry!

  20. What a great giveaway! Super generous of you! I've never knit with any Sweet Georgia yarns before and felt like I'm missing out. The Boysenberry color is such a versatile gateway drug to the soon-to-be Sweet Georgia addiction. Thanks for the great giveaway!

    Ravelry ID: kellknit

  21. i, also known as daicheng, need the nightshade one so i can knit this and make all the non-english-speaking girls at work cry because i got me a totally sweet sgy cowl and they don't.

    btw you're very brave to promise yourself such stash-related promises and i wish you all the best of luck. god knows i've tried it too. but then the girls at work convince me to buy more, like this week i've already gotten 9 skeins and it's only thursday, which is why they should again be punished by giving me more yarn.

  22. You can so do this! And I laughed out loud when I found my name squeezed in there :p I happen to have just dug out ALL of my sock yarn stash to assign projects to in order to destash them and only came up with four skeins... Ha.

    I'll take some Sweetgeorgia stash enhancement for sure though! Boysenberry please! I would make another pair of socks, top down on dpn's of course :P (rav: knerdy, email:

  23. I love your de-stashing strategies! I'm going to adopt the $50 budget with roll-over option...with your permission of course :) One thing that works for me to tame the new wool mania, when I feel the resolve weaken I dive deep into my stash and re discover some irrestible yarn. Start planning a project for it right away and keep it in sight until you start knitting!

    I promise you I would never let the Nightshade get near the stash - onto the needles right away to knit up a little hooded Super Girl cape for my preschooler niece.

  24. Haha, I thought this might be coming... ;) I have felt a bit overwhelmed by my stash, too, especially since it has expanded beyond the capacity of its designated living space.

    I'm hoping that I will be able to just knit more this year to pick up the slack that way. It feels like I didn't knit much last year. Can't promise I won't buy a skein or two...

    Anyways, I'd love to try the pink sock yarn. I haven't tried this brand yet, except the mini you donated to the Blanket of Crazy Proportions. Which was gorgeous. And left me wanting more. ;) I'd probably say I would make a pair of socks with it, and then waver, change my mind, and knit a shawl. Because that's how I roll.

    ;) Jennifer / Legerdemain (on ravelry)

  25. Those yarns are gorgeous! I also need to whittle down my stash, though I haven't been quite as motivated to come up with a plan as you!

    I love both of the colors, but I think I'd have to choose the blue, simply because I wear that color more often. I think I'd probably use it to make socks, since I've been eying a lot of cute sock patterns lately. Plus, I've been knitting all big projects for the past few months. It'd be nice to have something wee to work on :-) bookgeekgirl on ravelry or bookgeekgirl at gmail dot com

  26. Reading about your destashing plans, I find myself full of hope I can do similarly. Here's hoping!

    I've not knit with SweetGeorgia yarns, but the colors are gorgeous. I think the Nightshade would really show off a complicated sock pattern like Cookie A's Baudelaire, which I've been wanting to knit for ages and just not gotten around to. I'm lizakessler on Rav.

  27. dude...i am dying! seriously frothing at the mouth with drool over your yarn stash. if you wake up one day and it's all gone you know where it we all know you prolly have one of the aweseomest yarn stashes around. ahhmazing. enter me into that bad boy, i'm crossing my fingers and my toes that i win some of that yummy yarn! pick me...purdy please? my stash is small it could use some pumping up.

    I know you can destash though. Just stay focused on all the gorgeous goodies you will get to make with all the equally gorgeous yarn! You can do it!!!

    p.s. one of my goals for 2012 - to meet you :) pick a saturday so we can all fawn over you at knit night.

    rav id: luvinthemommyhood

  28. Duuuuuude! You have turned a corner!

    I'd be more than happy to help you find a new home for that skein of Boysenberry. I'd knit socks. I'd usually gravitate towards the Nightshade, but with socks, I like a bit of pop in colour. I have a gazillion socks in my queue/mind to knit, but I've been hoping to cast on for a pair of socks from the Knitter's Book of Socks.

  29. Love the Nightshade! I think I'd go with a shawlette from Rose Beck, probably "Sugar is Sweet." I've been meaning to knit something from her for ages, but never quite managed it...

    Good luck on your stash down!

    -Megan (cleancup on Ravelry)

  30. Somehow, I've managed to build a stash that's 90% single skeins of fancy sock yarn, so I still buy lace, dk, worsted or sweater quantities of anything.

    I also still get yarn to make socks for my boyfriend, who is so supportive of my knitting that he deserves a pair of socks in Nightshade!
    RavID: woollings

  31. I love the nightshade colorway! I think I would knit up Jane Richmond's Rae with it. Good luck with the stashdown!

  32. Yay! Giveaway yarn for my budding stash. :)
    Even though I would normally have chosen nightshade, the boysenberry is too pretty to resist. So I would like a chance at the boysenberry to make myself a lacy scarf/shawl.

    ravelryid: wallower

  33. The pink one (gasp!) and I'd knit socks with it :-)

    Ursa (aka ThePaganKnitter - you know how to find me :-)

  34. Boysenberry and I would knit a sweater for my new baby girl. I love knitting sweaters for babies in sock yarn. Its the perfect weight.
    RavID: lilpixie124

  35. Somehow I missed this post, but holy crap I'm totally there right now! I looked in my laceweight stash on Ravelry today and realized there are 50 entries. 50. Oh my freaking lord, that is 50 shawls' worth of yarn, my head is about to explode. Onward to the yarn diet with me, eesh...


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