Friday, January 26, 2018

Stash Yarns: The Game All Weavers Play

It seems that you are a brand new weaver one minute, nervously buying your first yarn for your first project. Mine was wound off into a cake as I couldn't afford the whole cone. What does the 2 in the 2/8  stand for? why does every type of yarn have its own measuring system?  (cue endless questions here!) ..... then suddenly twenty years (+)  has gone by and you basically have a yarn store in your closet, or bedroom, basement or where ever you have it squirrelled away!

Every yarn purchase was accompanied with a wonderful vision in your mind's eye of how the project would look, or could be. (well, in my case it was!)  It was tucked away and was waiting on the right time, the right weft yarn, the right draft and then forgotten in a bin.  The picture above was taken at our last home where my stash was pretty much out in the open and on display. That's just the tencel and a small portion of the cottons. There are also silks 3 bins, linens: 2 bins and a shelf, bamboo,  and exotic blends.  There's alpaca, and wools as well but not so much, and also some acrylic / cotton blends,  chenilles and.... well you get the idea.

I like to bead some of my hand wovens..... so that started the bead collection.  Now there's a dangerous stash!  They are so pretty, come home fitting discreetly in a purse and fit into a small drawer or case. The cases even stack together for convenience as they magically grow.  You are ever on the search for the right shade of red, or the new Japanese Delica seed beads.

I'm also a spinner so there is a fibre stash but that appears to be under control and I haven't made any purchases for that . Oops, told a lie.... I bought some Gotland fleece last May.  Oh, and a second wheel.....  Let's move on okay?

Then there are the Temptresses of Colour! The women who paint warps in gorgeous vibrant colours, all ready for beaming and you to create a masterpiece.  They call to you, much like chocolate or wine does until you give in.

painted warps from Blazing Shuttles

Since we moved  in late 2016, my stash is neatly tucked away in a walk in closet.  Acquisitions have slowed to a few  several  many additional cones of 10/2 cottons, some silks for commissions but over all there are much more that I can use in my lifetime.  

So I have been culling....

When you are new to weaving, any yarn enhancement opportunities are fabulous and eagerly attended.  Yarn swaps are great for this and from time to time, a weaver sells off their entire stock, or sadly has died and the yarn and equipment being scattered where ever it will go.  I have been culling yarns for the past 4-5 years now and it frees up space in the stash,  provides money and also feels great  to have only  the 'good stuff' you like left.  You have to be clear in your mind that the yarn can move on because replacing it will be expensive. 

Even with culling and reorganizing, the fact remains, eventually you have to start using the 'good stuff' over buying more.  😳  (sorry)

I'm a Ravelry member and belong to some weaving forums that have carved out niches there. One is Warped Weavers  and shortly after the start of the year someone suggested a weaving stash moratorium for 2018.  I read all their comments and it seemed like a good idea and so I have agreed to do my absolute best to use only yarns from my stash for this calendar year. 

There are some 'loose and fast' rules.
  • if you have a project in mind and you truly do not have anything suitable, then you can buy.
  • if you need a particular colour or are low  on the right one, then you can buy
  • if you are running out of weft (or warp) yarn chosen from stash then you can buy
  • if you are overwhelmed  and held hostage in a LYS, you can buy your way out! 😇
Okay, so there are no real rules or repercussions if you back slide...... but its simply group support to encourage you to focus on the commitment  and use what you have on hand first.

So, I'm going to give it try and my end of the year review will include a count of what came from the stash and where I fell down and succumbed to some yarn. 

If this sounds like fun, or is timely for you.... come and join the group. We'd love to have your company!

Silk wall at Diane Sanderson's Silk Weaving Studio


Peg Cherre said...

Although I'm on Ravelry, I admit that I don't go there often. I used to go to Weavolution frequently, but not that so much now either. Why? That darned Facebook!!! Sucks up time like crazy.

Anyway, I'm in on the try only to use stash yarns challenge. Sign me up. Too much yarn in the house, and since 2 members of our Guild have died in the past few months and we've been tasked with getting rid of their yarn, books, tools, and equipment, I know I do not want to leave my kids with that task. Buy what I need, use it up, then buy more. Get rid of the bins and bins of 'someday' yarn. Take what I know I'll never use to the Guild's auction; even though I won't get any money for it, the Guild will benefit, as will (hopefully) its new owner.

Karen Reff said...

It's too funny that the rules you posted are the same ones I've been Trying to live by!