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hikingmommy
Chatty Knitter

USA
238 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2007 :  09:38:00 AM  Show Profile Send hikingmommy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've been reading about what large stashes many of you have. I'm fairly new to knitting, and while I LOVE looking at, feeling, etc. all the amazing yarns at my LYS and beyond, I've just been buying yarns for specific projects. I currently have yarn for enough projects to last me all year. I live in eastern MA, so I have no excuse for needing that much like some of you who live in rural areas. It's hard to resist when I see something I really like. I was at Webs for the first time last week, and bought yarn for 2 projects that I hadn't planned on making, but the yarn was cheap and so soft I couldn't help myself.

To get to my point, I'm curious about those of you who buy loads of yarn with no purpose for it. Do you buy it just to put in a basket and touch, squeeze, etc.? Do you buy it with the intention of using it someday? If so, how do you know how much to buy? Don't you worry that you'll buy too much and have lots of extra with nothing to do with it, or you'll buy too little and not be able to complete your project?

Thanks!
Jennifer in MA

YarnAndCoffee
Seriously Hooked

786 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2007 :  09:44:46 AM  Show Profile Send YarnAndCoffee a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Mostly I buy with the intention of using it some day and not just to squeeze it. Sock yarn is easy -- 100g per colorway, and you'll never have too much or too little. For laceweight, I try to get around 2000 yds -- you can do so many things with that. Same with DK or worsted -- it's better to have too much than not enough, and if you don't have enough you can do stripes. I usually buy yarn and then find a project to go with it, but sometimes I get the yarn with a definite project in mind. If you have something scrumptious like 2400 yds of fingering cashmere, it's pretty easy to find something to do with it.

-Elizabeth in Alabama
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Eiru
Warming Up

97 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2007 :  09:58:51 AM  Show Profile Send Eiru a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I used to buy yarn without a project in mind thinking I would one day find a project for it. I've learned not to do that so much. Now, the problem is more that I buy a yarn for a particular project and then I decide I don't like that project, or the yarn isn't quite right for it after all. Sometimes I'll buy yarn without a particular project if it is "special" -- such as hand spun from a local producer that I can't get just anywhere.
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knitwitt
Seriously Hooked

USA
700 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2007 :  11:37:49 AM  Show Profile  Visit knitwitt's Homepage Send knitwitt a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I buy yarn with a project in mind, although it isn't always a specific pattern - I might be thinking of a cardigan, just not "the such and such cardigan." This tends to keep my stash somewhat organized and not wildly out of control, but I also don't let it keep me from buying something truly special and unique, even if I wasn't looking to buy anything new. Here's an example:

I went to a LYS on Sunday that I had not been to before. The LYSO has a stunning collection of yarns, including some of the harder to find brands/lines, as well as handspun, hand-dyes, luxury fibers, and even has yarns custom-dyed for her shop. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, and had no new plans on the horizon. However, when I saw three 600 yard skeins of GORGEOUS custom-dyed alpaca worsted, there was no way I wasn't getting them for a sweater. I didn't need all three, probably, but I bought the extra for the just-in-case-I-run-out factor, and also because it was beautiful and I'd surely find a use for the ample leftovers. The LYSO had designed a pattern for it and everything, so I was all set with a new project that will probably be at the top of my list when I start something new.

Did I need it? No.
Did I have room for it in the stash? Eh, not really.
Did I need another sweater project in queue? Eh, probably not.

But for something beautiful that may never be produced again, I am willing to bend my rules a bit.

I'd like to say all of my stash is made up of yarn like this, but alas, it isn't. Wouldn't that be lovely? Sure, there are less exalted impulse buys in there, and yarns that, however much I like them, might not see needles in a long time, or ever. So, I periodically review and try to come up with a more suitable project, or find new homes for things if it comes to that.

In the meantime, I do think that the stash has inherent value:

As a collection (no one tells stamp collectors to use their stamps before buying more, right?)

As inspiration for projects, ideas, your own designs....

As motivation to keep knitting (as soon as you finish the afghan that's kicking your ass, you can knit ME!)

It is lovely to look at and feel, so it's worth having around. Not everyone feels this way, and that's totally cool. In the end, everyone needs to figure out and do what works best for them.

I know that my "if it is unique I can have it" thing could start a slippery slope of massive stashing, but I try to counteract it by not buying yarn without any project at all in mind, or just because it is on sale, or I am depressed and need a fix.

It's a pretty complicated subject, really.


--Jennifer

http://impatientknitter.blogspot.com
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sanity101
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
594 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2007 :  12:21:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit sanity101's Homepage Send sanity101 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And not *everyone* does it. I think we hear about it more because it's interesting to talk about, and not very interesting to talk about the alternative.

Sample blog entry: I didn't buy any yarn today. Here's a picture of my empty windowsill, because I did not put any new yarn there, and another picture of my closet, which is filled with perfectly normal non-yarn things. I think that I will not make anything with my non-yarn I did not buy. Here is a broken link to the non-pattern that I am not considering. It will probably fit much better than my last sweater, but I will have to wear a camisole under it to be decent in public. Tomorrow, I plan on not buying yarn again!

I have a few yarns in my drawer that are not part of a WIP, and thus definable as stash, but mostly I bought them with something in mind, then realized that that project wouldn't work after all, so they went to the back burner until I'm re-inspired.

While there are definetly some with pretty impressive stashes. I would reckon there are also a silent many without.

-C


blog: http://ellipsisknits.blogspot.com/
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kadiddly
Permanent Resident

USA
3076 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2007 :  12:49:34 PM  Show Profile  Visit kadiddly's Homepage  Send kadiddly a Yahoo! Message Send kadiddly a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't know. I don't buy that much yarn, and I don't have much of a stash, and I still find knitting things to talk about on my blog. I even get comments on it! I'd rather see people's progress and celebrations of FOs than constant supplies of yarn porn and "eventuallys". Of course, I'm poor, so I have to be picky about what yarns I buy, and when. I always try to pick the project first, wait until I'm actually ready to make it in the reasonably near future, then get the yarn. That way I know approximately how much to get. If the project doesn't work out, then the yarn goes into the stash until I can find something else for it or sell it. Sock yarn doesn't count, though

Anything is only worth what one person is willing to pay for it and one person is willing to sell it for.
Backstage Stitches
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minh
Permanent Resident and Destasher Extraordinnaire

USA
3458 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2007 :  1:15:29 PM  Show Profile  Visit minh's Homepage Send minh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
sanity101 -- Loved your sample blog entry! Don't forget "here are the knitting books that I am actually using to knit stuff from instead of just daydreaming about maybe, at some point, knitting the patterns".

http://minkyknits.blogspot.com
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imamshua
Chatty Knitter

USA
300 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2007 :  1:26:51 PM  Show Profile Send imamshua a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When I first learned about going to a LYS, rather than a craft store, I became totally enchanted with the lovely selection and immediately bought yarn for 2 or 3 projects. As I continued to go to the store, I would find other yarns that were equally as gorgeous. I resisted, because I was already working on a couple of projects, plus had some WIP's from the craft store yarn and besides, I could always buy it when I was ready.

Well, that was when I found out that it wasn't there when I was ready. The manufacturer discontinued, or the colorway was no longer produced, or it was handdyed - whatever. That was when I started buying yarn when I saw it.

As my stash grew and grew and grew I had another epiphany. While the particular yarn I was currently lusting after might not be available later, another yarn, just as beautiful would be. Does that mean I still don't buy yarn that might sit for months or years? Of course not, but not with the same abandon I once did.

Sally

If you think you're too small to be effective you have never been in bed with a mosquito - Bette Reese
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Mocha
Permanent Resident

Singapore
2903 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2007 :  07:35:45 AM  Show Profile Send Mocha a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sometimes I buy yarn for project and there's leftover.
Sometimes I fell in love with pattern and buy the yarn.
Sometimes I buy yarn because I want to make something with it.
Sometimes I see the yarn and I fell in love with it.
Sometimes, it's the sale.
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mwedzi
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
515 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2007 :  07:45:06 AM  Show Profile  Visit mwedzi's Homepage Send mwedzi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
sanity, that mock blog post was hilarious. though i understand kadiddly's point about wanting to see FO's. sometimes i google a yarn because i want to see how it will knit up, and the great majority of what i find is just yarn pr0n and it makes me wonder, will anyone ever get around to knitting it.

but yeah, i buy yarn with a general project in mind. no exact pattern, but there's always a pattern i can find for the yarn i buy.

the one thing i don't understand about the original post is, why does living in a rural area give one more of an excuse to have a lot of yarn?

--Nikki My blog:
http://knitensity.blogspot.com
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hikingmommy
Chatty Knitter

USA
238 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2007 :  09:08:54 AM  Show Profile Send hikingmommy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Mwedzi, I mentioned a rural area being a reason for a stash, b/c someone on an different thread said that she has a large stash b/c she lives very far from any yarn stores (rural Canada, I believe), so when she gets yarn from some place, it makes sense to stock up. For those of us who live pretty close to our LYS's, we don't have the same excuse. I can get to 3 LYS's and 2 big craft stores in 15 min., so I don't have an excuse to stock up.
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mokey
Permanent Resident

15375 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2007 :  10:02:27 AM  Show Profile Send mokey a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I used to hoard yarn until I moved and clued into how much space and money I had tied up in something I would never get any use out of. I now have a pared down stash and I find I am more creative when I can clearly see every ball of ayrn i own.

Brought to you by the tongue in cheek-y monkey
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Help me walk all over cancer
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WIPQueen
Warming Up

91 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2007 :  11:18:49 AM  Show Profile Send WIPQueen a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Nikki,

I don't know if it justifies having a huge stash or not (which I do), but I live in a rural community and the closest LYS is over an hour away. The only local source for yarn and/or knitting supplies is our WalMart and most of the yarn they have on stock is acrylic (Red Heart) or worsted weight cotton (Sugar and Cream). So there's not much selection there. I like to buy up quantities of scrumptous yarn to have on hand for when I get inspired. Having studied Maggie Rhigetti's books I usually try to wait until the yarn tells me "what it wants to be", rather than try to force it to be what I want it to be. I have also started designing some of my own sweaters so its helpful to have plenty of yarn on hand when I get inspired. That way I can feed the creative urge when it strikes instead of having to order what I want and then wait(and wait, and wait).

Never fear tho' I will not be "flashing my stash" anytime soon, I don't have a blog or a digital camera, so I doubt I will be contributing to the yarn porn anytime soon.

Happy knitting.
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knitterlady
Chatty Knitter

USA
129 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2007 :  10:34:15 AM  Show Profile Send knitterlady a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Count me among the knitters who view the stash as a collection. I like to knit scarves, shawls, and muffatees. I know how much yarn is required for these projects, so that guides how much I buy, but I don't always have a specific pattern in mind. Knitting is my primary hobby and I love yarn -- buying it, playing with ideas on what to make with it, knitting it up, keeping track of how patterns turned out, etc. I've stopped making excuses -- I just love the stuff.
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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2007 :  11:12:06 AM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
I've just been buying yarns for specific projects. I currently have yarn for enough projects to last me all year.


Trust my years of knitting experience on this one.

You have a stash. It is equal to enough projects to last a year.

You are still in denial about having a stash.

You will get it before the year is over.

Welcome to stash owners and enablers.

My stash consists of 3 parts:

Yarn bought for a specific project--the smallest portion
Yarn in basic colors for colorwork and children's items.
Leftover skeins consisting of l skein or less per type of yarn--the biggest portion.

fran

http://martianmischief.blogspot.com/
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hikingmommy
Chatty Knitter

USA
238 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2007 :  5:36:18 PM  Show Profile Send hikingmommy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Fmarrs, thanks for the welcomejavascript:insertsmilie('')
Wink !

I don't think I'm in denial. I'm quite proud of my small stash. It would be much larger if DH didn't pay the credit card bills!

It seemed from reading other peoples' posts that many knitters buy yarn simply b/c they like it, w/ no purpose for it in mind. From what people are saying here, they often buy a specific quantity with some purpose in mind, if not a specific pattern. I did this twice on my recent excursion to WEBS, and I'm already running into trouble. I bought 10 balls of Debbie Bliss alpaca/silk on sale with the intention of making a sweater for DD. I decided to make something for myself out of it instead, and I'm worried that I won't have enough to make the short sleeve sweater I picked out. So, I imagine this habit that many people seem to have of buying yarn w/o a pattern in mind beforehand can prove costly (buying too much yarn) or frustrating (not having enough).

Anyway, I've enjoyed reading all the replies, and I think in the future I'll try to have patterns in mind when I buy yarn so I get the right quantity. (Though I do understand the appeal of buying a skein of something really unique just to have it.)
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RoseByAny
Permanent Resident

USA
12598 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2007 :  5:43:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit RoseByAny's Homepage Send RoseByAny a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I never buy yarn without a set project in mind. The project may change by the time the yarn is used, but it always comes home with a goal. In my fairly expansive stash, I can think of only one yarn that didn't have a goal when I bought it (and I'll be using it next week.)

Fiber, I do buy without a goal, because so much more can change in the process. I'll buy enough for various projects (4 oz for small projects, or 1.5lb or more for sweaters) but the actual design isn't in my mind yet.

"Choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color. Choosing your socks by their character makes no sense, and choosing your friends by their color is unthinkable."
http://RoseByAny.BlogSpot.Com
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knit.unwind
Chatty Knitter

Singapore
169 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2007 :  6:06:34 PM  Show Profile Send knit.unwind a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Most of the times ,I buy yarn with a specific project in mind.But I had been weak at times and buy bags of yarns - just in case I need them. My stash is mdoest in comparison to many I seen online.

My 'To Kn it' List is quite long,and growing.

Knit to unwind
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Mama Cat
Permanent Resident

1223 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2007 :  6:38:18 PM  Show Profile Send Mama Cat a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have not intentionally built up my stash, and have tried from time to time to pare it down (sometimes with more success than others).

I have almost always purchased yarn intentionally - that is, I feel like knitting a particular item (maybe not a specific pattern though), work out what I need and go shopping. Sometimes the concept doesn't work out well and the yarn goes into the stash, awaiting a better idea. (I am currently crocheting a cardigan out of yarn that was purchased for a project over 20 years ago, and did not find its intended calling until about a week ago.) Sometimes I have a project in mind but just don't get to it right away, so it stays in the stash. And sometimes other projects intervene, sometimes for a long time.

I would say that it is rare, though not unheard of, for me to walk into a LYS and say, "oh oh oh I have to have that yarn!" It's happened maybe once or twice in my life, and in all such cases the yarn became a FO just as fast as my little fingers could knit (the muse, when she really grabs me, tends to take firm hold of my neck and not let go). My only really stupid impulse purchase was when I bought TWO big boxes of mixed-colors yarn (KnitPicks Palette) for reasons that are still somewhat murky to me. (I am now knitting a Palette Cardigan with one of those boxes. I'll probably destash the other box here after I'm done with that.)

Sock yarn is another story. Sock yarn is soooooo easy to get addicted to. I would say that my major "problem" at the moment is the sock stash. It's that magpie instinct ... all those bright shiny pretty colors are hard to resist.
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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2007 :  7:14:14 PM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I love it when knitters buy too much yarn. I purchase the extra from them on eBay at rock bottom prices. Last year I bought 6 cases of yarn (48 skeins per case) from a yarn hoarder in all different colors for less than $100. Love those women with more money than sense.

fran

http://martianmischief.blogspot.com/
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DoodleEwe
Chatty Knitter

115 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2007 :  9:50:24 PM  Show Profile  Visit DoodleEwe's Homepage Send DoodleEwe a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I buy yarn for three reasons mainly. The first being I have something specific in mind, and by that I mean pattern and all. The majority of this is sock yarn. Sometimes it's felting, particularly if I find a good deal on wool.

The next is I have an idea of what I want it to be, i.e. I have yarn in probably just about every shade of grey that grey comes in and enough of it to make a sweater, as grey is my favorite sweater color. I know, I should really be more adventurous but I feel good in that color so what can I say? Anyway, I have a rough idea of the yardage I need for a sweater my size and I'll usually buy an extra skein or two to be safe (one can always use a matching hat if there is extra right?).

The third reason I will pick up yarn is if I see something that reminds me of someone. I've bought Knitpicks yarn in a colorway called Pansy because pansies are my grandmother's favorite flower so ultimately I shall make her something from it. Mom loves bright colors and so if I see a ball or two of something decadent in lively colors it will usually find its way into a scarf or hat for her birthday.

In short I usually have a vague idea of what it will be for, other times it's simply who it will be for and the project will follow after.

Families are like fudge . . .mostly sweet, with a few nuts.
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