That’s all, how long can you go on working from your yarn stash and what will you do after it’s gone?
I’m sure I’m not the only person wondering what’s going to happen over the next few years. I’ve really been expecting this economic crisis since about 2014, so I am surprised a little at how much inertia the global economy has nowadays that it took until 2022 for it to actually start (and that too because of a war, not just the pandemic itself).
We can never really get too comfortable with living in a peaceful world because the world is not peaceful, never has been, the idea of global peace is just an illusion (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, look it up, there are currently 5 “major” armed conflicts, besides the tens that are more “minor”).
I guess it’s been a bad idea on my part to start a business selling patterns for a hobby right before a pandemic started, then to try and grow it during an economic recession.
But you know what?
So many people have stashes of yarn and fabric that they’ll never get to use that I don’t feel sorry about it. They need patterns and I can provide some of them.
I also don’t really have much of a choice either, being an autistic person just recovering from major burnout that would possibly have cost me my life had I gotten Covid just as the pandemic started (when I was the most burned out and the most vulnerable, “thankfully” I only got it one year later when my health was comparatively better).
Sometimes we do things because we really want to, sometimes because they are the only available option that doesn’t make us worse.
Getting back to the main question, let’s assume that the supply shortage will affect yarn. No more yarn reaches you from anywhere, be it a factory in China, Turkey, Italy or another major producer of yarn, your local mills stop selling because their raw materials are no longer available for one reason or another, how long will you be able to work from stash until you run out of yarn?
When the yarn stash runs out
What will you do when that happens? Do you have a plan in place for when yarn is no longer easily accessible to buy or find?
I’m not telling you to go out to your local shop and buy all the yarn, like some people did with toilet paper or sunflower oil in the very recent past (this kind of herd mentality only hurts everyone and makes the prices go up for commodities, including yarn!). On the contrary, I’m asking about plans because it helps to be prepared, mentally first, then in practice.
Now is the time to evaluate your yarn stash, your WIPs, abandoned or waiting to be finished, hibernating under the bed, in the attic, at the top of that very tall dresser, hidden in a purse you haven’t used for two months, in one of the 15 cloth bags hidden around the house.
Take a couple of days to mentally, if not physically, dig out all your yarns and sources of yarn and to make a rough list, I promise it will help in the long run.
When prices for yarn start to soar, go back to your stash. When that is gone, visit your local no-buy group to see who is trying to get rid of yarn, check local listings, visit your local thrift store and learn how to recognize things that can be safely unraveled (if it’s serged or overlocked at any spot that is not the shoulder seam, that’s not something you can unravel – I should actually write a guide about this, right?).
While working from your stash, set aside some of the money you’d possibly impulsively spend on yarn that you would later regret buying because there’s nothing specific for you to make with it, so it just lingers around, taking up space, both physically and mentally.
Keep this money in a separate “hobby” fund and when you find the perfect project that you really really want to make, you’ll have the money to buy the specific yarn it calls for or a substitute, even if it’s a little more expensive than you’re used to spending on the same kind of yarn.
Use that fund to treat yourself once in a while with nice yarn that you’ll love working with (that link is totally not sponsored, I am preparing a review for it because I am collaborating with Rachel, the lady who dyes the yarn, to make a pattern for it, and that specific base is the softest thing I’ve ever laid my fidgety hands on and is worth every penny). Something soft and silky or smooth or fluffy, anything that you love in yarn.
Oh, and make sure that you do use up that precious yarn, as the only reason for its existence is that you work with it and get all the joy from its structure and feel.
What will I do when my yarn stash runs out?
As for me, I am set for a couple of years (several, really), since most of my yarn is fingering or size 2 weight (don’t ask me why I mostly buy yarn in that weight, it doesn’t make sense to me either).
I have a few kilometers of gradients, a few of sock yarn in many colors, a few of special wool that I bought as souvenirs and never gave myself time to work with because they are precious to me and I don’t want to mess them up.
A few kilometers of yarn unraveled from sweaters and a few sweaters that still need to be unraveled, mostly gifted by my mom because she knows I like yarn and can’t stand still for 5 minutes.
Will I make new sweaters out of them? Possibly.
I also have some kilometers of cotton yarn that I am slowly using up in small projects, especially odd granny squares (they get turned into patterns most of the time, they are perfect for granny squares), several kilometers of thread weight cotton that I have no idea what to make with (one 100 gram hank I believe has about 1000 meters), a couple of kilometers of velvet yarn in many colors (those get turned into amigurumi), some felting wool, a few odds and ends and a whole lot of scraps or “unloved” yarn that I have no idea why I bought or accepted. Plus about 20 WIPs that I should really finish or unravel.
Oh, and let’s not forget about the mill ends on cones, there are a few kilometers of those in thread weight. The yarn can be used tripled up or as is to make extremely fragile Shetland-style lace which I am totally planning on doing. At least with one cone.
Wow, that is a lot of yarn and I haven’t even considered unraveling old projects that I don’t love very much and turning them into something more suitable for the yarn and for my current tastes.
How many of those do you have? Because I can count at least about 10 that I feel are not good enough to be given as gifts or to sell. I will not curse people with my unloved finished projects.
I must say that I also don’t have access to second hand stores, where I could find an infinite source of potential yarn, since Germans don’t like to buy stuff second hand, even if it’s awesome (I know, I will never be a true German, even if I do get citizenship sometime in the future after I translate at least a few patterns in German and pass some tests).
When you do have access to those magical places called thrift shops, you can unravel mass-produced sweaters that are just boring or badly designed and reuse the yarn in different projects.
This reminds me that I should finish up that button band on the oddly shaped cardigan my mom gifted me to unravel (I only unraveled the collar and shortened the sleeves and added sleeve bands). I should really finish up that project started in March and might even share some photos of the modifications I did if I can find them.
If you want to know when that is, make sure to subscribe to my email updates (and confirm your subscription to actually get my emails) and I’ll let you know.
See you soon and I hope you enjoy your yarn stash to the max.