With the end of the year nearing ever closer, I thought I’d do a mini-suite of posts on my crafting in 2014. Today, coldsheeping!
My first post about coldsheeping was only my third post ever on this blog, so clearly the practice has been an important part of my life for some time. For those not in the know, to go “cold sheep” is go give up buying yarn in order to use up some of the lovely stash that is slowly taking over one’s home. I have been more or less “on the sheep” since about December 2012, with mixed success. My total stash yardage kept climbing for the first half of 2013 and even though I made up for in the second half, I ended the year with only 300 yards less than I had started.
Overall, 2014 has been much better. More than half of the months this year went by without a single yard of yarn coming in to my apartment. I had only one major buying spree, at Rhinebeck, and before that happened I had reached an all-time low in stash yardage, 14 587 yards. Unfortunately I also seem to have knit a lot less this year, probably because I was focusing on smaller projects that used up partial balls rather than the large lace shawls I knit in 2013.
My current stash is 16 515 yards. This is only 800 yards less than I started with in January but I’m taking comfort in the fact that far more of the yarn in my stash has a planned project than it did last year. If I keep up the (mostly) no-buying policy for another year and stay away from Rhinebeck then 2015 may be the year I finally get the stash under control!
And my coldsheep goal for 2015? Well in 2013 I decreased my stash by 400 yards, and in 2014 I got down a further 800 yards. I’d like to continue the doubling trend, and decrease the stash by 1600 yards in 2015. That means I’d need to end the year with a stash below 14 915 yards, an ambitious goal but one I really think I can manage if I stay committed.
Here’s a nice shiny graph that shows my stash progression over the year:
I love graphs!
One thing this coldsheep exercise has made me realize is that I don’t want a huge room full of yarn and other craft supplies. Of course, I’d absolutely love a dedicated craft space with all the necessary tools, but having a huge supply of yarn or fabric just makes me feel like I should be using all of it, immediately. I’d much rather have yarn for my current project, maybe the yarn for the next few projects in the queue in case the current one gets boring, and a few partial balls for whatever charity project or colourwork needs pop up in the moment. I’m nowhere near that vision at the moment, but I’m glad I realized this early on, before I had 100 000s of yards of yarn to winnow down. That’s not to say that a room full of yarn is a bad thing (it would be fun to roll around in!) but it just isn’t right for me, right now.
This idea of winnowing down and having fewer raw materials (aka projects-I-haven’t-got-to-yet) hanging over my head has been something of a theme the past few months. I managed to go through a few areas of my apartment in a declutter/purging mood before I left for the holidays, and I have plans to tackle a couple more in January. I’d like to feel less like my apartment is bursting at the seams, and to have less of a “to-do” list. I’m looking to add a little room to my life, and the coldsheeping is one aspect of that. A big part of adding room is learning to say no to things, and coldsheeping has helped me do that for buying yarn. Hopefully as I practice the skill I’ll be able to extend “saying no” to other areas of my life as well. That’s the theory, anyway!