Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My 2011 "Yarn Out" Challenge

After years of denial, I am at last ready to admit that I have some bad habits when it comes to yarn. Did you know I have some yarn? Yes, I love the stuff, and I have a whole lot of it filling up bins and boxes on shelves in my walk-in closet. (That's not my closet in the picture above, by the way. I just wish it was!) I use yarn to knit and crochet, of course. However, I am at a stage in my life where I have far less time to indulge in these crafts than I might wish, yet, I still have all that yarn. And, until a few weeks ago, a lot more of it was coming in than was going out as finished projects.

Someone on one of the popular knitting lists long ago came up with a fantastic acronym that exactly describes the root of my problem: HALFPINT. It stands for "Have A Lovely Fantasy Project, but I've No Time." I always seemed to be able to find time to dream of new projects and even order the necessary yarn for them. Finding time to actually use the yarn and create the project was harder to come by. And with the yarn stashed in a bin in my closet, it was far too easy to forget what I actually had.

The time has come to finally take control of my yarn. This is going to be the year, my friends! Instead of framing it as a New Year's Resolution (does anyone keep those?), I've decided to give myself a challenge. I'm always game for a good challenge! And writing it all down where others can see it is a way to keep myself accountable.

Here are my rules:
  • Absolutely NO yarn "in" for 3 months. This will be effective from the date of my last yarn purchase, which was January 4th, 2011, so my target date is April 4th. At that point, I will evaluate my progress and decide if I need to continue the strict embargo, or if I can relax the terms a bit.
  • Catalog all my yarn using the incredible tools on Ravelry. Post an honest accounting here of what I have.
  • Catalog all my patterns on Ravelry.
  • Keep a queue of projects (also on Ravelry) in order to remember what I want to create!
  • Use up oddballs and leftovers by making doll clothes, blankets, etc.
The purpose of all the cataloging is for me to have easy access to the resources I already own. I'm hoping that being able to easily "shop my stash" online will help stave off the temptation of browsing for new yarn and patterns. (And if you are at all interested in needle/fiber arts, you MUST check out Ravelry. It is mind-blowing. How did knitters or crocheters LIVE before Ravelry?)

Once I know just how much yarn I actually own, I want to set a specific goal for how much of it needs to go "out". I've already started out the year with a gift-making frenzy (everyone seems to be having babies around here!), which has given me a great momentum. Here's to my 2011 "Yarn Out" Challenge!