I have. A lot. Of yarn. Two or three decent sized baskets of the stuff. Four years ago I don't think I remembered how to knit. I certainly didn't make anything with yarn. I doubt there were three skeins in my house back then. Today? There is an abundance. Observe:
A peek inside one of three bins of yarn in my craft room.
Soft and gorgeous hand-spun that I can't wait to use. I picked it up for me but Lupine has her eyes on it. Edited to say: Because I left it out after I took this phoot the kids just made the pretties trip line I've ever seen to capture Pete. I think its time to cast this one on before it all is used for mischief.
Four surprisingly soft, fine wools. The black is nice. I'm not sure about that '80's kelly green though. (Teal may be the only color I like less than this one for myself.)
Two small skeins of shiny cotton. Tank top or bodice of a dress for Lupine perhaps?
Three blues, one grey. Six big skeins. Sweater for Sage? (It's almost soft enough but not quite.) He just looked over my shoulder and vetoed that idea. Okay, maybe one for me. Overdyed with red to see what magentas/purples I could transform them into perhaps.
Another hand-spun that I love. Not sure why I hoard these. This one is baby soft. Cowl?
Four visually beautiful but texturally nightmarish hand-spun skeins. Like sandpaper on the neck I tell you.
And that's just the pretty stuff. There are dozens of half-skeins, plenty of my spinner-in-training yarn, and lots of other odds and ends.
I haven't been knitting for long. But in those few years I've become hopelessly addicted to yarn, knitting patterns, and the possibility they hold. This winter I've cast off nearly a dozen projects (many I have yet to share with you) and have more on the needles at any given time than I probably should. (I am not a linear project person. Five or six projects at a time suits me perfectly. It keeps things interesting.) Some of this winter's projects (my hat and cowl, Lulu's leg warmers) I bought soft new yummy yarn for, others (Pete's sweater, Sage's cowl, and my mittens) came straight from the stash.
Most of the yarns above I scrounged up second hand (rummage, thrift, various barters, and craigslist), a couple I have bartered for with hand-spinners at shows, and a few I've spun myself. I've lucked out and been able to build a stash for very little money. What a gift to have a box of useful yarn at my fingertips!
Which brings me to my dilemma.
I'm wanting to cast on a shawlette for myself this weekend and I was picturing something in a variegated pea green or perhaps a purple/magenta combination (my favorite colors for the past couple of years).
But, um, I don't have those colors in my stash.
Do I go to the knitting store? Or do I work with what I have?
This is what my sister would refer to as a "first world problem". And it is. For goodness sake I'm not unraveling my children's outgrown sweaters to make them a new one for next year. But oddly somehow that abundance is a bummer in and of itself. Because I don't feel like it's appropritae to buy yarn, yet I really want to. Because I have a magenta hat. A magenta scarf. And I thought: oooh! Magenta mittens. But then I paused. Because if I have dozens of skeins of suitable wool in the craft room, why exactly am I buying new? Damn ethics.
So I found two skeins of single ply black wool in the bin and cast on my mittens. Black is almost as good as magenta, right? And in fact, I love them – largely becasue these pretty mitts were essentially free and this season I'm trying to stay mindful of my budget. (The yarn came with many of the others pictured above from a rummage sale – $25 for a heaping large laundry basket full of wool yarn and roving. For you non-knitters – if you've somehow stuck with me this long – it's not unusual for a single skein of nice yarn to run close to that.)
So I've made myself a promise. I'm not buying new yarn for a bit. (I know. That was non committal. I'm going to try it on for a few weeks and see how I do. This is a big leap you see.) I'm going to work my way through a bit more of what I have first, even if that means changing the projects on my to-do list.
And to you I ask: what would you do with a milk crate full of scratchy wool? I'm open to suggestions.
What's on your needles? Do you buy new for every project or are you a frugal/thrifty stash builder? I'm all ears.