Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Yarn Diets

I've been reading all over blogland that people are going on yarn diets. There even seems to be some kind of "along" for this. It makes me nervous. I don't judge anyone who decides to go on a yarn diet. I did it a couple of years ago. I REALLY did it. A whole year with no new yarn, no purchases, no gifts, no nothin'! I'm proud of it too. My concern is with the number of dieters and my concern is a selfish one. With so many people not supporting the fiber industry aren't some of the new sources going to dry up?

I've been revelling in the increase in popularity of knitting over the last few years. I've been tickled by all the new magazines, yarn manufacturers, designers and designs that have come along with the increase in knitting popularity. I feel like so many more people "get" me now. When I knit in public passers by are likely to say "I'm making a sweater for myself" or "My friend is teaching me to knit" or "I know someone that's a knitter." A few years ago if anyone even recognized my knitting as something harmless the best comment I could hope for was "My grandma used to crochet."

It's just that I can't get away from the ecconomics of it all. Supply and demand. If the demand slows down the supply is going with it. If yarn manufacturer's don't sell their yarn they can't pay their bills and they go out of business. I don't think the big companies will have any problems. It's the little guys that I'm worried about. It's the hand dyers, the small organic fiber farms, and specialty growers that will suffer, the people that offer the truly unique stuff.

I understand the pressure of having an overwhelming stash. When every room in your home hides or flaunts the object of our obsession, when you're at a loss for where to store the new purchase, when you don't know exactly how much yarn you own and you're afraid to try to figure it out, when you hide recently purchased, dk weight, pink merino from your significant other because s/he might ask why you couldn't use the dk weight, rose merino that's already in stash. I understand. Really, I understand. Yarn dieting isn't the only way to deal with this. There are other ways to address this problem.

Let's explore the weight loss analogy. If we want to lose weight we need to take in fewer calories than we expend. Theoretically, we don't have to diet to lose weight. We can eat the same as always and just exercise more. The same holds true for stash. You can reduce your stash by knitting more. If you are already knitting every spare moment of the day this may not work for you. However, most knitters can find a few more minutes each day to knit. Knit in the bathroom, knit in bed, knit while you're talking on the phone, knit while reading. This approach may require that you start a few more projects. You need an epic project to knit when you have the time to devote your attention to the lace or cable or shaping that is taking place. You need a mindless project to knit while watching TV, attending meetings, talking on the phone, reading, helping kids with homework or reading blogs and a small, portable project (socks, hat, scarf, babywear, etc) to accompany you when you are out of the house - waiting in line, waiting for kids, eating lunch in the office, waiting for the bus, riding in the car, bus, train or plane.

Already knitting at your max? Think about your intake. Step up the quality of what you're taking in. Take in a smaller quantity of the good stuff and use it more efficiently. Instead of buying a whole sweaters worth of the cheap yarn. Buy enough cashmere to make a pair of mittens, gloves, a scarf, belt, cowl or hat (a portable project!)

Okay, so you say you're already knitting every second of every day and you just can't squeeze one more ball of yarn into your house, car, office or storage unit? Be a responsible knitter and teach at least two other people to knit. Share your excitement and enthusiasm. Get them well and truly hooked so they can do your part to support the yarn industry!


Anonymous said...

I looked at the LJ along for this concept and there were flash/stash photos. It was interesting. I'm trying to knit from my stash but I'm still buying yarn. I've just changed the way I buy yarn. I no longer will buy 2 skeins of something just cause. Either its for a specific project, sock yarn or in sweater amounts. Which is funny since I've knit exactly one sweater;)

Anonymous said...

Good rationale! I'll have to share this one with hubby!

Theresa said...

Personally I don't think it will hit any of the fiber businesses at long do most people stay on food diets?! LOL Most people do not have willpower. Also most people doing this have exceptions like sock yarn and gifts don't count. I'm doing this because I have to...$$$ and space. We have 5 of us in 900 square feet and I just need to knit up or sell what I have so that my family has room to exist! Gee for some reason it's more important to take care of my kids than to horde yarn! LOL The one way I got around it though is that I'm in an exchange...I got to shop for her instead! That gave me my fix! :o)

Theresa said...

Oh, btw, the fingerless gloves are very warm outside, except naturally your exposed fingertips. I have not made the fingerless mitts yet to see if there is a difference. They are kind of fun to knit and gratifying because they are finished quickly.

HoJo said...

As a lyso, I've had many folks ask me if I'm nervous or upset about all the knit from the stash. Here's my theory - if you knit from your stash eventually you will need yarn again or you'll need yarn to go with your stash as you knit it or you'll just need that 1 special skein. So, knit from your stash, knit from the store, but just knit! I agree with your teach others to knit, they'll need to build a stash. Take a class to learn a new technique or to get that project done. Thanks for all the other suggestions, it is good to know that there are those that are looking out for the health of the industry.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you too. I knit and buy how and what I want and not because everyone else is knitting from stash. Those ladies will probably fall of the wagen sooner or later and buy more yarn. I agree-you should do it all in reasonable proportions and then you won't explode.
My stash is rather big, it's huge if you count my fabric too, and I live in a little tiny apartment with my two little kids and husband. That's ok as long as I have my sanity and can add to my stash. I'm one of those who buys with a project in mind, it just may or may not ever get done, although it usually gets done a while later than planned but that's ok too.
I hope you understand what I'm trying to say because it's really early here and I'm a bit groggy still. I agree with you absolutely. Knit and buy on!
OH and my 3rd graders are learning to knit this week if the yarn gets here in time. :)