Stash Less is a series where we talk about having a thoughtful stash. You can find past posts in this series by clicking here.
On social media a few days ago the lovely Rachel of @droverandclasser posted a picture of her brand spanking new sweater. In said post she referenced an early Stash Less post that talked about one of my discoveries. The discovery was simply that in order to fool myself that my purchasing behaviour was not so “bad” then I would only buy a little of something at any one time - 3 balls to be precise (roughly 1 skein). This lead to a cupboard full of yarn that was not useable.
The result is that I am still living the hangover of this behaviour a few years on. I’m working on it by making many a scrap, or single skein sweaters for the kids. This is fun and taxing and exhausting and challenging and annoying in equal measure. Sometimes I wish that I could just make something that was a little simpler than a scrap sweater, to avoid the brain strain it takes to combine multiple stray yarns into something cohesive. Sometimes I think it is an interesting and fun challenge.
Anyhoo, on Instagram the other day Rachael mentioned that the sweater she was wearing was a direct result of the Stash Less SQ rule. I didn’t know there was a rule named the Stash Less SQ rule and so I asked her what it meant.
Of course SQ = sweater quantity which in this case = 5.
I'd written many times that this was one of the outcomes of Stash Less, that now when I purchase I buy only things I adore after careful consideration, and that I buy a whole sweater quantity of it. Rachael gave this behaviour a name which has made my heart sing for days.
The SQ rule - as it is now known - is so simple but so life changing. It has definitely changed my making behaviour. By making considered purchases of yarns I love in sweater sized quantities I now have a small stash that is filled with possibility rather than problems.
A Case study of my recent purchases.
Since I’ve been away I’ve purchased three sweater quantities of wool. A lot for me these days but all three were planned.
1. The Nunnaba White Gum Wool
This sweater quantity has been interesting in that I’ve broken the SQ up (in this case SQ =4) and am making two girl sized sweaters. This was not my intention as I was going to steal it for myself however there was begging. A lot of begging as this yarn is pretty. That said, this is one of the benefits of a SQ-sized batch. It can be broken into two for kids. However as they get older this is changing a little. Sometimes I’m needing to use some of my scrap skeins as additions on the second kid sweater. This works a treat as the body of the sweater is normally covered by the purchase with just the collar, cuffs etc being filled in with scraps. I adore this look.
2. Some stunning AVFKW Entwined yarn
I have lusted after Verb yarn for years in the stunning Mesa colourwary. This yarn is my favourite weight (5ply-ish) and in this case a SQ = 3. I want to sit on this one for a while as I'm not yet sure what it will be. This is good stash, rather than not-so-good stash, in that it is a yarn I adore, which is my favourite weight, in a colour I love, that I have wanted to purchase for years. A considered purchase and an exciting one. Who said that planning was boring.
3. Linen Quill from Purl Soho
I have been looking at this yarn in this colourway online since they launched it. In this case a SQ = 3. I don’t do much online purchasing these days, unless I have seen the yarn in real life, due to many a purchasing disaster back in ye-olden-days before Stash Less. The disaster was mainly due to the difference between what one sees on a screen and the actual colour of the yarn. I learnt this lesson the very hard way by doing it over and over again. When I knew I was coming to NY I agreed with myself that this would be my Purl Soho purchase if I loved the colour. I realise that it is fairly bloody privlidged to be able to see it in person so what I do when I won't get to go to the store in person is ask someone to send me a tiny sample by mail. Most shops are happy to do this. I can’t wait to see this knit up as a sweater – possibly another James as I am a creature of habit or a Gable as I love that shape. Again this was super planned and very exciting.
I love hearing your stories about how Stash Less (alternatively known as my trip through my chaos) has changed how you see your purchasing and your making. I’d love to hear if more of you now do this? Buy SQ worth? Or have you made up other rules that help you?
* I not-so-good purchasing I mentioned in the last Stash Less Post has already been knit up....