Sunday, December 17, 2006

Yarn Management and Containment

Hi, I'm mehitabel, and I'm a stashoholic. Knit Devil has posted stash pictures and is encouraging me to do the same, and I had to admit to her that I'm too embarrassed. I mean, I brought 6 tubs of yarn home from the storage unit, and they are in the garage for now. Yes, there is more yarn at storage (but not fabric) and I can get into a nice digression about how and why we acquired the aforementioned SU, but that would divert me from my plan for Yarn Management in the New Year.

Wendy has had an idea and has set up her rules for her Knit From Stash 2007 project. I read them and thought about joining her, but then I quickly realized that a Stash of Epic Proportions like mine can't be managed that easily. (Whether it can be managed at all remains to be seen, but I'm willing to try.) So here are my 12 steps (one for each month of the coming year, though not necessarily to be completed in the months that match their numbers) and I'm posting them here for all the internets to see, so y'all can keep me honest. I'm also planning to post updates frequently and if I don't you're welcome to ask for them, demand them, stamp your feet and make me give them!

1. Assess and organize. Knowing your enemy is the first step, right? Besides, it will be fun to meet old friends and maybe get to play with computer programs--I think Excel will work for this.
2. Purge. Ruthlessly. I don't think this step needs explanation. Maybe it would help to think of it as Sharing The Wealth.
3. Assign. Some things were bought for a specific pattern, so it would help to have the pattern and its source stored together with the yarn.
4. UFO Patrol and WIP roundup. Again, self-explanatory. I'm starting to think that a monthly repeat of this step would be really good for me.
5. WIPs get whipped into shape. UFOs get judgment: they are either going to become FOs or they are going to return to their roots, ie yarn balls.
6. Periodic evaluations. How well is this working??
7. Pattern round up and organization. All those lovely designs printed off the internet, especially the ones in the stack that the cat knocked over and mixed up. I've got notebooks and sleeves, so let's put them to work.
8. Books books books. Lots of knitting books, most of which are keepers. Gotta weed out the ones that aren't, make working copies of some patterns so they're handy for assigning to yarn.
9. Gift and charity knitting. This is one of the reasons I said these steps weren't being assigned to a particular month--I want to do this all year long. If there are going to be yarny gifts for birthdays or Christmas, then I should decide that early and get on with it! And I've sorta let the charity knitting slide, since my knitting time has been drastically shortened, but that's really no excuse.
11. Knit from stash exclusively. For this part I may follow Wendy's rules, except that since I don't knit socks, I won't need the Sock Yarn Exemption. I'm not even going to push for a Scarf Yarn Exemption, since I have lots of yarn that would make good scarves.
12. Review, Reassess, Re-evaluate. Frequently.

Oh, yeah. I am also planning to use this same treatment with my fabric stash. Buttons? Not so much. I've already been going through the "regular" books and magazines and moving along some old pals that are just not earning their houseroom privileges.

I'm thinking that for me, 2007 will be the Year of the Declutter. Oh, and what's with the All In Caps bit? I'm afraid I'm beginning to think in YA titles!


Sheepish Annie said...

I was thinking about taking on the whole stash-knitting thing for the new year as well. I don't have a huge amount of yarn put away, but certainly enough to keep me occupied for a while. And I'm wondering if this might push me to spin up the fiber that has been languishing around this place for god-knows-how-long!

Good luck with the organizational plan. It sounds like a winner!

Sheepish Annie said...

Oh yeah...HM has tagged you! RM is most grateful for your assitance in bringing this matter to some closure. :)

CatBookMom said...

I really like your concept of Stash Reduction, better than Wendy's, since yours allows for those anti-Reduction binges. I've already purged 75-80% of my charity acrylics this year; what remains are the best colors (lots of purples!) and future combinations for ahem, coff, cough, crocheted Red Heart lapghans. I shall share your list with friends who are also Stashaholics; we have many other sufferers of the addiction.

BTW, the multiple posts are due to your blog having been 'stuck' at the gorgeous first picture of Simon, so I've had a lovely 3-post read today.

Kate said...

I like it - 12 steps to stash control. When my printer comes back from the clinic (it was struck by lightning) these steps will be placed on the front of the Stash Cupboard/bags/overflow boxes as a constant reminder.

Madge said...

Your 12-step SMP (Stash Management Plan) sounds like a winner. And if you need help, count me in. It'll be fun, rounding up your rogue Rowan skeins!

Annette said...

I'm in with Madge! I'll help "sort" through your stash. ;) I like your plan for the new year. Sounds a lot like mine. I'm getting organized in '07. Or at least making an honest attempt at doing so.

junieann said...

Dear Marie:

Your 12 steps are just great. If anyone can follow through, you will. I joined Wendy's Stash 2007 too. However, I was careful to add a couple of things of a wooly nature, that I knew I would need in 2007. I have 1 more potential purchase but I think I will save that for my reward in finishing Beadwork. That might be 2009? (g)

Marji said...

I followed the link from the KBTH group to here.
You've got a good plan here.
I started where you are a year ago, and I stash yarn and fabric too (been stashing fabric for going on 30 years), and I'm about on step 6, and seriously considering another purge.
that first step, getting it all out and organized and catalogued - I used excel for my yarns, and an old fashioned pad of graph paper for my fabrics - that is the first crucial step. Seeing what you've got, sobering, at least for me it was.
good luck with it all.

Quickbeam said...

Thanks for this thread. My stash is so threatens the space time continuum. I am 100% committed to stash knitting this year. I'm working on a Wensleydale UFO right now. I also FINALLY located a place that will accept wool as charity knitting so I'm making hats. I'm not much of an afghan knitter but they can be a great way to slough through volume. OOHHH...I contacted my local Waldorf school and donated all my orphan skeins of wool. They love natural fibers.