For some, this determination is so strong, we take the cold-sheep vow and buy no yarn until the stash is reduced to a predefined size. For others, the commitment is more flexible, so we shop the stash first but buy yarn in whatever quantities we need, when we need it.
These different approaches are on my mind, because I'm poised to make several strategic yarn purchases. This is a carefully considered decision, but it took serious effort to wrestle it to the mat. Why?
Charlemont in action
Technically I'm not cold-sheeping, but for nearly four years I've bought comparatively little yarn. Those purchases were also carefully considered, but in examining my overall satisfaction level, three things became very clear. I've been happiest with yarn that allowed me to:
- Leverage existing stash rather than expand it
- Complete special projects or make a gift
- Test design concepts in a particular color, weight or fiber
When that urge strikes, I revisit my criteria and ask the tough questions: Will it help me use yarn from stash? Is it essential to make a gift or bring an active WIP to completion? Does it allow me to more accurately test a design concept?
One yes might prompt a purchase. Two or more confirm it's a Smart Yarn Buy, offering that magical mix of fresh fiber coupled with the irresistible prospect of stash depletion, project completion, gift giving and/or design realization.
Tern in action
Recent investments that met the Smart Yarn Buy criteria included fresh skeins of:
- Charlemont (Valley Yarn), which helped convert problematic variegated yarn into one of my favorite accessories, the Wineberry Wrap.
- Cotton Fleece (Brown Sheep), which helped transform umpty stash skeins into afghans, coasters, cloths, a cardigan and more.
- Merino 2-Ply (Morehouse Farms), which became a gift for a friend and helped me test methods for minimizing cable flare.
- Merino 5 (Crystal Palace), which helped finish a sweater. (Eventually it was frogged, but that's another story.)
- Tern (Quince & Co.), which became the Oyster Bay shawl and helped test a design concept.
Right about now, non-fiber folks are raising their eyebrows in skepticism, but we know it's true: Sometimes the best way to reduce the stash is to buy more yarn.
UPDATE 1 (July 17)
Bought the first batch, a baker's dozen of cream merino from the LYS, Knitting off Broadway. If all goes as planned, this versatile yarn will help transform twice as many stash skeins into real-life FOs.
UPDATE 2 (Aug 4)
Found the second batch of targeted yarn at Hampton Knitting, all of it destined for existing WIPs or projects in the pipeline.
UPDATE 3 (Aug 29)
Acquired the last batch: Some Cotton Fleece (a stash staple) and Valley Superwash Bulky for projects OTN or in the works.