05 February 2009

Thoughts on destashing

“Destashing” has been quite the buzz word in the online knitting community over the last couple of years. Seems every time I turn around, someone is putting their much-beloved yarn up for sale. There is even a blog devoted to destashing, as well as a Ravelry group with the sole purpose of providing knitters and crocheters a forum for selling or trading yarn, tools and books.

Once in a while, when I feel like window-shopping, I stop by the Ravelry group and browse the wares. I always tell myself that if something jumps out at me, I will buy it.

Thing is, nothing ever jumps out at me. I guess I’m more of a tactile yarn buyer. Seeing pictures of yarn is nice, but if I can’t feel the yarn – smell it, rub it against my cheek – then it’s just not real for me. And I always have the sense that pictures on a computer are not color accurate. I can thank my many years at a printing company for that.

So, I look at my stash and realize it’s really not that large. I hear of knitters who have whole rooms devoted to their stash. I imagine shelf-lined walls with cubbies full of all manner of fibers and colors. Such is not the case for me. I have 2 60 gallon plastic bins and 2 flat under-bed storage containers, and a couple of baskets of yarn scattered throughout the house.

When I decided to learn to spin, and picked out the wheel I want to buy, I started looking for ways to raise the money. Selling stuff seemed like the most obvious way to put some cash in the wheel fund, with the added benefit of reducing the clutter that is quickly overcoming my very tiny house. I have some jewelry that the X gave me that I am all too glad to get rid of (and it’s NICE jewelry – the man had expensive taste). There are a crap ton of books in the back of my car waiting to be taken to the used book store. I even sold a Longaberger basket on ebay a few months ago.

But what about the stash? I thought on it, and thought on it, and came up with nothing. Not only is the stash kind of small, but anything that I would want to part with is not yarn that a discerning knitter would want to purchase from me. At least, if I did get a buyer(s), the price I could get would probably not be worth the effort.

I discovered something about my stashing habits: I am a buy-as-I-knit kind of knitter. I don’t buy random skeins of yarn just because they’re pretty, or soft, or, well, “just ‘cuz.” When I decide on a project, I purchase the yarn and cast on. If I have any yarn leftover when the project is finished, it goes into the stash. It is rare that I decide to knit something, go stash diving, and come up with the appropriate yarn for the job. And because I knit so many gifts, I am usually buying the yarn just in time to start the gift knitting so that I can finish it before the gift-giving occasion. Depending on who the recipient is, I will choose a project and yarn based on how much I would spend on a store-bought gift. Since I'm not wealthy, I do a lot of shopping around for the best deals.

There are 2 occasions on which I will "collect" yarn: 1) When I travel. I like to go to yarn shops when I travel and pick up yarns that I cannot get at my LYS. This is souvenir yarn. And, 2) when Yarn Barn has their annual sale. Hey, it's only once a year, so I don't feel too bad for going a little crazy. I must say though that after buying a new couch for Christmas, I didn't even attend the Yarn Barn sale this year (held between Christmas and New Years). I haven't touched most of the haul from 2007's sale, so buying more didn't seem fiscally responsible.

So I guess I fall into the category of people who slowly stash, though not intentionally. That seems to be a popular concept so far this year, "slow stashing." Like completely destashing was too extreme, so instead, many knitters are committing to slowing down their yarn-buying rather than stopping completely.

What kind of stasher are you?


Blogger kemtee said...

With sweater quantities, I am definitely a "got a project, then got the yarn." The problem is, I've not often gotten around to the actual project.

With sock yarns, I'm -- for better or for worse -- an "ooo, shiny" type.

But hey, given current circumstances, it's working totally in my favor!

8:59 PM  
Blogger Disco said...

I bought a BUNCH of yarns in two big sales a couple years ago. Still have a lot of that left!!! And I buy the odd skein because it's pretty and soft, but not sweater quantities.

3:08 AM  
Blogger Brena said...

I have about 5 projects worth of yarn at any given time. I buy yarn with projects in mind unless I'm traveling, then I'm the same as you with "souvenir yarn". I really don't like to buy yarn without a project for it.

Most of my yarns and stash are actually gifts from Michael. He spoils me so much that I don't buy a lot of my own yarn (our finances are separate, it's so much easier for us!).

When I do buy yarn it's usually from Knitpicks. They have a great selection, I like their yarns, and I'm not breaking the bank!

6:00 AM  
Blogger TechGirl said...

You could raise money for your wheel buy making money from your knitting. One of my friends has shown interest in buying your socks. And mom seems to want to pay you to be her supplyer.

7:33 AM  
Blogger Mag said...

My yarn eyes are bigger than my yarn stomach. I cannot resist a half price sale on luxury yarn. I also have enthusiasm waning disease. I get all worked up for a project, order the yarn and after it comes, my heat for the project has cooled off considerably. I could comfortably sell off half my stash due to loss of the heat of the moment.
I flipped out buying/collecting colors of a certain sock yarn. It was crazy and I may sell it off.
Tip for the times: Hey, get those books off to their final destination. Hauling that extra weight around in your car is not free! :-0

9:53 AM  
Blogger IrishgirlieKnits said...

I named my blog incorrectly a few years ago. Its not...we do not have a knitting problem...its we have a stash problem.

I had a tough year two years ago where the $$ was flowing as was stress beyond imagine...that led to the its pretty I need it stashing. I've been trying to curb that behavior ever since. Technically, this year I haven't bought yarn (but you've seen new yarn...).

1:17 PM  
Blogger Batty said...

I think my stash is about the size of yours... instead of the underbed bins, I have two more "regular" bins in my closet. The only real difference is that I also have another bin's worth of sock yarn, at the very least. That, I'm actually trying to knit down, because that's ridiculous.
Most of my yarn (except the sock yarn) is bought with a specific project in mind. This makes it difficult to repurpose for another project. But other than that... I like my stash a lot. If our place weren't so small, it would be great the way it is.

6:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm also a buy as I go knitter. I almost always find a project then go find the perfect yarn. Whatever leftover yarn I have goes in the stash usually never to be seen again.

The exception to my almost all leftovers stash is sock yarn. I can't resist buying sock yarn. I know I'll always be able to find a pattern to use it with. The only problem is the time I have to knit socks never seems to catch up with the buying of the yarn.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

I can resist most yarn except sock yarn. I really need to stay away from the Loopy Ewe. Any other project I usually buy as I need.

5:48 PM  

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