This 1 Easy Process to Keep your Stash Under Control

My yarn stash is out of control! My fibre stash is not! But what have I done differently? This simple process I have put together, if followed religiously, will help new spinners keep what is very likely to become a new addiction under control.

A few months ago a dear enabler friend loaned me her spinning wheel. As an obsessed avid knitter, dyer, and designer, spinning was naturally going to be the next vice craft for me to partake in. But with such an unruly exciting yarn stash, I could easily see fibre taking over following the same path.

Then an even worse thought entered my head! More fibre and more spinning, leads to even more yarn! Clearly this seemingly traditional and stress reducing craft has a dark side.

In 2014, before spinning, I decided to go cold sheep*. Bear with me here. For the uninitiated, this is where you buy no new yarn for a set period of time. Usually a year. You are allowed to swap yarn, but no newly bought yarn. Anyway, surprisingly, I survived the year. And I was OK about it. Don’t start building any shrines though. There were moments of weakness where yummy skeins of yarn were added to my cart, but no “Pay Now” buttons were clicked. By saying a 100% no, my self-restraint could cope. No was no.

Stash 2013
My yarn stash before the 2014 cold sheep experiment

This previous experience triggered an idea. What if I could buy a braid of fibre, spin it AND knit it, all before I buy the next braid of fibre? This would require a higher level of self-control. I would be allowing myself to buy fibre, but only under certain conditions. Though, would I start trying to justify a purchase to myself? I might start saying “but I need two braids to make the yarn to knit this” or “it might not be here next time”. I’ve been in this situation with yarn and I’ve caved into the little devil sitting on my shoulder before.

A few days passed and I was starting to think that, really, this is still a no means no situation. Which I succeeded at before. Why would this be any different? So I started. My first spinning was a braid of my own. A Polwarth and Merino D’Arles top in the colour Tropics. I finished spinning, I knitted it up, and I even gifted the item to my enabling dear friend. Then I purchased my next braid from Artist’s Palette Yarns. I spun it, knitted it up, and then went in search for my next braid. It was working.

Handspun Tropics-1.jpg
My first hand spun and knitted garment using the Whirl Me Away Cowl pattern

Today, I still have no extra fibre in my stash. I am waiting for our excellent post man to deliver my next parcel so that I may again repeat the process that is so far working for me. As with my year of cold sheep with yarn, fibre has made it into carts during moments of weakness. But no “Pay Now” buttons or credit cards have been handed over whilst I have not completed a braid in progress from fibre to finished item.

If you are new to spinning then maybe this could work for you too! If you are not new to spinning, then perhaps a tweaked version of this would work. Maybe you spin and knit two braids, before you buy the next one?

*I did allow myself one yarn purchase. And this was purely because our holiday that year was in Iceland and I was not going to be leaving the country unless I had some of the famous Icelandic lopi! I left with 4 x 50g balls of natural coloured lace and a pattern book of Icelandic lace shawls. That was it.

20 Random Facts from an Obsessive Knitter

Welcome to my new website and my first ever blog post! I’m an obsessive knitter, a yarn dyer, and a hand-knit pattern designer and I go by the name of Samantha (though I prefer Sam as it’s shorter). The yarns and fibre I dye are sold through my business Gradiance Yarns, as are my patterns. And I specialise in dyeing protein based yarns such as wool, alpaca and silk that have a gradient or ombré effect, because those are my favourite ones when knitted up. Some of you will already know about my business and me, but here are some things you may not know…

  1. I was born in 1988.
  2. My star sign is Cancer, though I don’t really know what that means.
  3. I was born in the Year of the Dragon, which again I don’t really know what that means.
  4. I have 3 siblings – 1 sister and 2 brothers. I’m jealous that my sister can crochet and I can’t, despite my numerous attempts to learn. But she doesn’t knit and I do.
  5. I rarely watch TV, because otherwise I risk making a mistake in my knitting.
  6. But I do like to watch films and the occasional TV series, with TV-friendly knitting.
  7. The first film I watched at the cinema was Jumanji and the crocodiles scared me.
  8. My favourite colour is purple, though I have phases of obsession with other colours.
  9. The photo is of me on holiday in Iceland, where my knitting was very useful!
  10. I enjoy eating my food and I don’t count calories. I apologise in advance if I get excited and share a recipe I love with you!
  11. I consider the traffic light system of food labelling to be the “Yumminess Scale” with red being the yummiest (though I know that isn’t strictly true in all circumstances).
  12. Fish and Chips is my favourite meal (though Roast Dinner is a close second).
  13. I once fainted after having my hair cut. It was a hot day and I had to stand up the whole time. Sadly I did not land on a soft cushy pile of yarn, but a washing machine. Ouch!
  14. My favourite animal is the manatee.
  15. I want a pet tarantula. But I’m not allowed one.
  16. I have two cats and some fish instead and I’m always pulling cat hair out of knitting.
  17. My favourite book is Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.
  18. My favourite flower is a lily, but I can’t have those because of the cats.
  19. I live in the countryside and enjoy spending time in my garden trying to grow vegetables and flowers (I’m not very good at it), even though it interrupts precious knitting time.
  20. AND I LOVE KNITTING AND YARN! (If you didn’t already know!)

So that’s a little bit about me, a slightly obsessive knitter. There are bound to be things about you that is based on your crafty obsession, so please feel free to share some of those in the comments. I’m sure we will have some in common!

Happy Crafting!