Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Goals & The Great Yarn Diet of 2014 or Enjoy What You Have, Silly Girl

January.  A fresh calendar.  Fresh snow on the ground.  A polar vortex to makes you wish you could hibernate like a bear.  Don't you love it?

The first full week of 2014 has been frigid.  Dangerously frigid.  Wind chills were down to -45 degrees F here and I initiated Operation Wear All The Wool.  Wool sweaters, hats, cowls, gloves, socks (all of the above sometimes worn in duplicate - 2 hats are warmer than one!). Goose down coats.  Layers galore.  Oh, and Carhartts. This is Ohio, after all.

While we spent as little time as possible outside, including avoiding errands as much as possible, we got a fair bit of cleaning & organizing done inside & had some time snuggled under afghans to talk about what we wanted out of this year.  We set some personal & financial goals for the year & this year, I intend to post those in a visible place in our home to help keep us mindful.  Goals can be revisited and revised, but it's good to have them nonetheless.

Cleaning/organizing & focusing on financial goals brought me around to a major crafty goal/realization of mine this year:  I need to go on a yarn diet.

I'm calling this a yarn diet for the same reasons we call a food intake reduction plan a diet - It's still going to happen, it just needs to happen in less quantity & more mindfully.  Rest assured, we're not in the poor house because of my yarn buying habits.  Nor is this a situation that is approaching Hoarders-esque proportions, with yarn stuffed everywhere and bags of yarn that I'm hiding from my husband, afraid he'll find out where I've really been going when he thinks I'm running errands.  I actually feel that I've expanded my stash quite responsibly:  I shop sales, I only buy yarns in large quantities that are proven winners, I take chances on new yarns in small amounts, and I'm realistic about my color choices.  While I love fuchsia, I already have one fuchsia sweater and no black or gray ones. (Inner monologue: Put down the entire bag of fuchsia and look for a more neutral wardrobe staple color.)  The hubs & I also have a discretionary spending limit that applies to any purchase where we don't consult the other, regardless of which account it is coming from & I stick to that when we're not shopping together.  There aren't any unhealthy habits surrounding my stash acquisition.

The point of having a stash is so you always have a great selection of yarns to work with when you're ready to knit something new.  I have achieved that.  I enjoy looking through my stash.  But you know what I enjoy more?  Wearing hand knit socks, sweaters, cowls and hats every day.  Before I can truly get the most enjoyment out of those yarns, I have to knit them (which I also enjoy - BONUS!).  So I want to enjoy my stash while knitting it & wearing it this year, not just pawing through it and saying, "Oh, I still want to make that sweater... and those socks... and that sweater... oh, and that hat..."

What I am not going to do is post any stash-shaming pictures.  Nor am I going to weigh my stash or add up all the yards of yarn in my stash and gnash my teeth and rend my garments and whine, "what was I thinking?  why did I ever buy all this yarn?" Who has time for that?  Shaming myself into getting rid of a bunch of stash will likely result in a similar fashion as crash dieting - a lot comes off up front, but then you rebound to more than where you started.  I bought the yarn because I liked it.  I still like it, so I am going to knit it.  No shame required.

I love structure.  I'm pairing that love of structure with this determination to enjoy what I have more, which should result in wanting what I don't have less. Sweater quantities of madelinetosh vintage, I'm looking at you!  This combination requires I set some boundaries to keep myself honest.  Here goes:

Yarn Diet Goals & Boundaries:

  1. Knit only from stash for the first half of 2014.
    Yarn purchases for gift knitting/crocheting are allowed, but I have to check my stash for appropriate yarns first.
    Commissions are also excluded.
    If I attend any shows, I'm allowed to purchase 1 golden skein per show.
  2. During the first half of 2014, move $40 into savings every time I'm tempted to go to my LYS or Etsy to buy yarn.
    My right brain just screamed, I'll totally be able to buy sweater quantities of madelinetosh guilt-free after this!!, as I typed that.  This is working so well already... The point of this boundary is make sure I don't spend my yarn budget on other things that we don't really need or truly have space to store.  I'm also planning to donate some of this squirreled money to the #podcasterthrowdown for Halos of Hope.  Win-Win!
  3. After the first half of 2014, new yarn can be purchased, but only in yardage amounts equaling what I've already knit in 2014.
    Sweater quantity knit into an FO -> sweater quantity can come back in, etc...
  4. Work projects that have been marinating in my queue before casting on ALL THE THINGS from a newly purchased/released book/pattern collection.
    This is to help me enjoy the pattern collections I've already purchased & are in my library waiting to be loved appropriately.
  5. Enjoy the process & the product!!
Because I'm an over-achiever, I have other goals, too!!

2014 Crafty Goals:
  1. 20,000 yards of yarn worked this year.
    I worked 19,000 in 2013 or just over 10 miles... I think this is doable!
  2. Learn two-at-a-time sock technique.
  3. Learn toe-up two-at-a-time sock technique.
I already have books sitting on the shelf for both of the new techniques I'd like to learn & part of the reason they are on the list is to knit up a few partial balls of sock yarn that I want to get every last bit of yarny goodness out of!

Next up - transforming this pile into a baby sweater for a former student's newborn girl.  Keep warm!

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