We need to talk about yarn…

OK  so we’ve assessed the clothes/shoes axis (I won’t be buying handbags either btw – I’ve ‘only’ got half a dozen or so, but that being said, I only use one regularly…the others clog up the wardrobe. Sulking) – so let’s move onto yarn.

Now before I owned a wool shop I had a stash. This largely consisted of skeins of beautiful lace-weights that I was scared to use, left-overs from finished projects and bargain yarn batches that I hadn’t found a use for, plus maybe enough yarn for the ongoing project. It looked like a lot. My mum never had anywhere near that amount: just enough for her current project and a small bag of scraps. I read funny stories by the Yarn Harlot about stash storage, but couldn’t empathise – I could hide my stash in just a small corner of the wardrobe.

Then I bought a wool shop and little by little, some of the good stuff trickled out and began to fill storage bags in my house. I mean I didn’t go crazy-mad, I just treated myself. Then, when I knew the shop was going to close and that a fire-sale was inevitable, I looked around the shelves and thought, nobody is having this delicious stuff at knockdown prices, (and because it was 100% wool and a premium product, it hadn’t exactly been flying off the shelves in any case) so I bagged it up and brought it home. I am not ashamed. Nope.

So the picture below is my stash – or the vast majority of it: not included is a large box of shop haberdashery and an equally large box for my Sock-blankie 2 and its ton of sock leftovers. And there is another small bag of some quite horrid acrylic ‘Special’ DK that I bought under the influence of a very famous blogger. Some of it turned into a blanket, the rest is called upon to produce occasional samples and pattern tests. I cannot throw it away because, well, it’s yarn. But friends, I remain unpersuaded of its ‘special’ qualities.

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the full stash
sock wool
sock…
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..the special ones…

When I arranged all this yarn on the bed I felt a mixture of shame and pride: the former because that’s a lot of yarn for one person, and the latter because that is a lot of yarn for one person.

And I do not need to buy any more yarn – do I?

#nobuyzone -additions?

So having decided to take a holiday from buying more stuff, and auditing my wardrobe, what, if anything, do I need to buy in the remaining three weeks?

  • I have a passion for Converse & usually buy a pair each summer – though the last iteration made it through two (I bought sandals instead this year… worn 4 times. Stupid British summers). My current orange ones are looking a bit sad, so might need to be ‘pre-placed’ (which is a bit like being replaced, but in advance).

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    …my under-utilised sandals. 
  • I need a neutral grey cardigan – I was making one and it’s nearly there, but not quite…. it’s one of those projects that I keep going back to and tweeking, before adding it back to the ‘to be finalised’ pile. I’m not sure what I don’t like about it, so I’m not sure how to cure it. It’s nice yarn….maybe I should just frog it and start again…
  • I might need new trainers: the current ones are fairly new and due to being Limpy McLimpface I don’t do a lot of actual working out! But wait, what if I get operated on in the next few months, recover rapidly, take up exercise and wear those trainers out? Um, I think that under these slightly unlikely circumstances I shall allow new sports shoes as the ONLY EXCEPTION TO THE #NOBUYZONE rule book.
  • I might treat myself to new knickers – on reflection some of them are looking a little saggy!

Next time….we need to talk about yarn…..

 

# nobuyzone audit

Well that was ….um, not good.

Here are the results of the audit

…in addition there are 9 coats, about a dozen handbags (and yet another bag for the bloody charity shop)! Some thoughts occur.

  • My wardrobe is very dark, mostly black, some sludgy colours and navy. I don’t think this is a good thing. And I have a lot of stripe-y things.
  • My shoe collection shows an unwavering commitment to comfort and Converse.
  • I have too many things that rarely get worn – the reason for this is that they are designated for ‘going out’ in….and I rarely go anywhere that merits a complete change of clothes.
  • On the upside, a good third of the tops that I have – t-shirts and tunic style – are made by me and get worn a lot. Buying the over-locker was a good move and it’s now more than paying back its purchase cost.

#nobuyzone

Organising the final days of the shop, stashing the left-over yarn and finding places to store it in the loft has been a sobering experience. I’ve laughed in the past when I’ve seen a suggestion that knitting and buying/stashing yarn it are two separate hobbies, but that laughter feels a little hollow when I’ve got many years supply of yarn… and still keep on buying it.

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I love the promise of an un-used ball of wool. The gorgeous colours and textures of a particularly lovely skein of yarn are like human catnip for me, but I’m beginning to feel a wee bit guilty about buying more and more of the stuff – and only very slowly turning it into knitted things.

 

At the same time, the loft revealed that I have a problem with buying clothes and shoes too: I’m sure I’m not alone in wearing the same dozen items and two pairs of shoes and yet I have a wardrobe stuffed with clothes, drawers stuffed with clothes, as well as a spare wardrobe in the loft stuffed with clothes. I have boxes of shoes, miles of scarfs, crates of hats and gloves and bags. While we were sorting out the spider-strewn storage, I began to feel a wee bit sickly (and that wasn’t just because of the spiders).

Clothes and fabric are one of the biggest contributors to landfill, the chemicals used to produce, process and dye cloth are frequently toxic, and the garment industry has questions to answer about how much it pays, and how it treats its (predominantly third world and female) workers. The fashion industry drives a fast and furious cycle of what is ‘in’ and ‘out’ that could leave half your wardrobe redundant in less than a year.

Like most of us, I enjoy the real pleasure of combining colour and cloth, glitter and gloss for a night out, and I’ve spent hours looking for the perfect pair of life-changing jeans just like everyone else. But I need to jump off that carousel for a while – and closing the shop, losing my independent income and changing my life has given me a obvious incentive to do something a bit different for a while.

So this is the plan – and it’s a simple one. I’m not going to buy any more clothes, shoes, handbags, accessories or yarn for a whole year. As I can sew I have an obvious ‘get out’ clause, but I’m going to attempt a ‘one in- one out’ policy. I’m going to start by auditing the stuff I have and make sure that I’m not hanging on to things that could have a better home elsewhere (and to make sure that I have enough knickers for a year). My plan is to kick off on the first of November.

PS this is Villagewoolly central for the next wee while – it’s in the conservatory and as you can see, it’s a pretty nice place to hang out. Btw – I don’t ‘do’ minimalism!

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