For those of you who: a) are just now reading your first knitting blog; and b) have somehow managed to miss every one of The Yarn Harlot's books; and c) have never spoken to, emailed, or otherwise communicated with another knitter, S.A.B.L.E stands for "Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy".
This was my stash in March of 2007, when I started blogging:
Two bookshelves, neatly organized. At this point, I only had two knitting books and no magazines. In fact, I had only just started to explore the concept of "stash", for which I totally blame The Yarn Harlot. Before this, I knitted for 20 years by buying the yarn I needed for the single project at hand, finishing the project, and then moving on (I threw out any leftovers). It was only after I read the first of the Harlot's books that I realized I could stock up on yarn, patterns, and books. You know, in case of an emergency or something. I seem to have embraced the concept with a certain degree of enthusiasm.
This is what I saw when I opened the stash closet this morning:
That used to be the floor of the closet. The bookcases from the first picture are behind that pile (still full of yarn).
This is the closet shelf, up by the ceiling, not visible in the last picture [actually, this is the closet shelf after I organized it. The before was embarrassing in a way that had nothing to do with a simple yarn addiction]:
That, folks, is a lot of yarn.
I think that is officially more yarn than I can justify. Several hours ago, when I opened the closet and saw the mess, I thought, "Hmmm. Maybe I ought to take an hour or so and get this organized and photographed so I can put it up on Ravelry. Maybe I could even see if there's anything to destash. That seems like the sort of thing a person might do on the last day of the year, if she were the organized, resolution-making type."
I got out my camera and a legal pad and set to work unloading, sorting, photographing, and cataloging the yarn.
My camera battery died. Twice.
I have six pages of the legal pad filled.
And, four hours later, I have only half the yarn cataloged.
I'm afraid drastic measures may be in order.
To begin with, I have identified quite a bit of yarn for destashing. I think it amounts to about a quarter of the total stash, and that's just the yarn I can destash without any discomfort. If I want to dig a little deeper, there are several more yarns that could go on the block. So, for starters, I'm going to put all that yarn up for sale on Ravelry.
Second, as a corollary of sorts, I am finally going to catalog all of my yarn on Ravely, so that I can see exactly what I have, and I am going to put up any new yarn I may buy as soon as I receive it. Forcing myself to keep track is, to my mind at least, a lot like keeping a running total in my checkbook; it makes it impossible for me to ignore reality. It also gives me a place to "shop" without spending any money. I love to look at yarn online and think about what I would make with it. If my own yarn is online, I can look at it anytime, and I won't be tempted to break out my American Express Card (hey, I'm trying, okay?).
Finally, although I don't believe in diets of any sort (they only make me crave what I've decided I can't have), some sort of yarn-buying reduction plan is clearly in order. I don't do New Year's Resolutions (see "diets" above), so let's just call this a little personal growth challenge. A complete moratorium is clearly not going to work. But for the next year, at the very least, I am challenging myself to buy less yarn than I knit. A lot less. My goal is to find the floor of the stash closet by the end of the year.
This is how that floor looks now:
Those two cardboard boxes on the right are destash yarns, and somewhere in there is a large bag of acrylic and cotton yarns that I plan to donate to the elementary school's knitting club. The rest of the yarn on the floor is the amount of yarn I will need to get out of the stash to reach the floor. I know you can't see it well, so you'll have to take my word for it: there's about sixteen sweaters' worth there, plus spinning fiber (which doesn't count as yarn, but still needs to find a place on the shelves before the end of the year, which means it will have to take the place of some yarn already on the shelves--see how it works?).
Now, I can't knit sixteen sweaters in one year, unless I give up certain other activities, like cleaning and laundry and speaking to my children. Even if I could, that would only allow me to reach my goal if I bought no yarn at all for the entire year, and we've already established that is unrealistic. But about a third of the closet shelf is also currently filled with destash yarn. I figure, moving yarn up from the floor to the shelf as I destash is fair, and totally in keeping with the goal of reaching carpet in 2009, as long as something is moving out of the stash in some way, right?
And now I'm off to make pizza and taquitos for the younger units so that I can send them and their friends up to the media room with sparkling cider, while hubby and I enjoy filet mignon and champagne downstairs. Happy New Year, all!