Stashdown 2017: Q3

That’s quite a bit better! Yay for donating and destashing??

 

I have to say: I am quite chuffed at how well Quarter 3 went in terms of my Stashdown efforts. Look at those lovely green numbers!

I had not realized I bought zero ounces of fiber for a second quarter in 2017! It’s amazing how much my purchasing attitude has changed since last year. I seem to have finally reached a place where if I’m not spinning much, there’s no reason to be stashing. Most of that number out was spun during Tour de Fleece, but about 1/3 of it was destashed to a spinning friend who was running low on fiber… and I have so much excess. It felt nice to rehome it. I’m rather hoping Q4 can be another Impossible! quarter, and that I will end the year with quite a bit less fiber stash than I had at the beginning. (On a fun side note, this is the first time since Q4 2015 that I’ve had under 500 oz of fiber in my stash. That feels pretty shameful to admit, as 500 oz is  31.25 pounds. I still have a large 2-3 year old child’s worth of fiber waiting to be spun up. It’s ~ 125 braids of fiber, y’all.  Eeeesh. It took a long time to start getting that number heading back in the right direction, but I’m hoping it’s a trend that continues.)

I did very well on the yarn front as well, despite some big numbers in for blanket solids and handspun made during the Tour. Honestly, I would have been in the red had it not been for a large donation I made to The Lemonade Shop and her program to send fibery donations to those who lost their stashes in the hurricanes this fall. I know yarn seems like a silly thing to donate, but it’s something I have plenty of on-hand, and I know that I find keeping my hands busy with craft work therapeutic. (OMG. Am I secretly Cher donating my impractical sporting equipment to those in need??) Not a single yard out came from finishing a project this quarter; it was all donated, gifted as prizes for the podcast, or rage-binned after disastrous projects. So that part doesn’t feel so amazing. And despite all of this, I still managed to eek out a stash loss equivalent of only 2 skeins of sock yarn–which is very little space made in my bins.

Last quarter I discussed what my big goal is with all of my stashing down efforts over the last 7 or 8 years: I want all of my fiber and yarn stash contained in a single storage unit without satellite stashes throughout the house. My time line is slightly different now–we’re moving summer of 2019, not 2018 as hoped–but I’m still not optimistic that at my current pace this can happen in that time frame without some aggressive destashing. We will see what the end of this year and all of 2018 bring. Here’s hoping to an amazing 4th Quarter!

Are you stash tracking, kitten? How has yours been going? Do you have some other resolutions or goals you’re keeping track of that you would like to share?

Stashdown 2017: Q2

Maybe not the best….

 

Quarter One of this year’s Stashdown effort ended on such an optimistic note, but I was not able to keep the green going in Quarter Two. It’s understandable, but I am a bit bummed out by this if I’m being fully honest.

So let’s talk about what happened in the last 3 months.

Yarn Stash first. If you follow my Yardage Tally posts, you know a whole lot of knitting happened in Q2, but not a lot of those projects were finished,  so they could not count as stash out. Thanks to gifting several skeins of sock yarn to my mother and her efforts to become a regular sock knitter, I did have a fairly high yardage output. It wasn’t enough to combat all of the solid colored yarn I purchased from KnitPicks to go in my sock yarn blanket, however. Those little skeins of fingering weight yarn add up fast. Add some handspun into that equation and I had a pretty high yardage in number. (It’s about 3 times higher than in Q1 when my yardage in was almost entirely handspun, for example.) If I can keep up a steady pace on the blanket, I should be able to negate that number in at a later date towards the end of the year–blow it out of the water, really, as each square seems to be in the upper 400s/nearing 500 for yardage–but it can be frustrating in the present to see that red mark against me. I am still in the green for the year overall, but I will need some pretty big numbers out in Q3 and Q4 if I want to see much change in my yarn stash.

NOTE: I am doing this primarily to get all of my yarn and fiber stashes back into a single storage unit. They currently span two different ones in my craft room, a drawer in my living room, and some totes in our hall storage closet. I’m an hesitant to try and hazard a guess of how much reduction has to happen to get it all to fit into that single space, but I would say I need to use up 3-4 dozen skeins of sock yarn or some heavier yarns of similar volume, plus 4-5 pounds of fiber. So I have quite a ways to go, and the equivalent of 2-3 skeins of sock yarn every 6 months isn’t going to make that happen any time this decade. My original hope was to get this mostly done by the time we move–tentatively the summer of 2018. I have been starting to put more yarn up in my Ravelry destash section in the hopes that I can move a skein every so often and give myself a little push in the right direction.

Now, let’s talk about that Fiber Stash increase. In Q1, I had accomplished an amazing feat: not a single ounce of fiber into the stash. Nothing bought on destashes. Nothing ordered from any updates, despite the fact there is so much out there. I cancelled my fiber clubs last year to slow down in my fiber intake. I had hoped I would continue this trend in Q2, since I’m not spinning at the fastest rate these days and need all of the help I can get. You can see from the chart above that this is not how it played out. 8oz of that fiber was a special 10th Anniversary celebration colorway from Hello Yarn that I could not pass up. (I think it will be a gorgeous yoke and cuff details on a future sweater.) The other 13oz were 3 braids of 3 different colorways that I have been collecting to form sweater quantities. If I have to be honest, I do not feel terrible about this, only about the fact that I could not spin enough to negate it before June was over. I had hoped to end the quarter stash-neutral or as close to it as I could get. My final spin of Q2 could not be finished in June, though, so it’s the first fiber stash out of Q3. It still would not have been enough to get me to stash neutral, but 6oz gain feels a bit less awful than 11oz.

Despite these setbacks, I feel good about Q3. I know that my Yarn Stashdown will be pretty difficult. We’re finally heading into the hotter and muggy months of the year, and I’m not overly keen to be knitting larger projects. I suffer from sweaty hand syndrome and this is not conducive to knitting in the hot weather. It just feels gross. My big strategy here is to avoid any yarn purchases at all and just keep focusing on finishing up my current WIPs. (I do have plans to buy a small SQ of a lovely medium gray yarn to pair with some handspun I finished in Q2, but I will not be ordering it until I’m ready to cast on. Progress!)  I am still debating how I want to handle the individual squares on that blanket project, as I am not one to reclaim yarn even if I abandon a project. I may switch to a policy of claiming the yardage as I finish them up, rather than waiting until the end. My Fiber Stash I am not worried about. Tour de Fleece runs through most of July, and I have ambitious plans for the competition. (Which will, of course, wreck my Yarn Stashdown effort, but thus is the nature of the beast.) If all goes well, I should see between 1 and 2 pounds of fiber stash used up the the coming weeks. If I win some fiber prizes from the teams I participate in, I’m not going to sweat it.

So. If you track your stash, how did Q2 go for you? Do you have any strategies or tips to share? I would love to hear from you!

Stashdown 2017: Q1

2017, Quarter 1 numbers are in!

Well! This is a very positive way to start off the crafting year, if I may say so myself. If I can keep up this momentum the remaining quarters, I should have a healthy-though modest-stash reduction all around! Let’s look at those numbers.

My fiber stashdown effort was very successful this first quarter. My stated goal was the get 8 ounces out of stash per month, and I came pretty close! I managed to reduce my overall fiber stash by 20.3/24 ounces that I had hoped for. AND. For the first time since I started tracking two years ago, not a single ounce of fiber came in. After two solid years of buying, it feels nice to finally have a bit of a rest from it. I still have so much fiber stash to work through, and I’m already eyeing what I hope is my next project. It’s one that I prepped to spin over 6 months ago. I think the time has finally come for it. (To date, I have ~518.6oz of fiber still in stash: this is 32.4 pounds. There’s still a 2 year old hiding in there. By the end of the year, I’m hoping for a smaller toddler to be stashed away. Reverse growth. Or. Something. I’m not sure where I was trying to go with that, kitten. Please pretend I’m funny.)

My yarn stashdown efforts were equally successful! I managed to knit over 2.5yards out for every yard that came in (OK. There was a single skein destashed during this time, and I allowed myself to trash a partial skein from a flash-in-the-pan Indie that fades when washed, but that’s the only non-knitting help I got!), and the yarns I brought in are to work on projects I already have in mind. So I’m quite pleased on that account! Most yarn in was handspun, which isn’t something I can be angry about; why would I be?  The actual numbers themselves were small, but the ratio was excellent!

I hope to stay inspired to be equally green in this second quarter of 2017. Stashing is all well and good, but it’s nice to use some of those lovely yarns too!

What about you, kitten? Are you tracking any numbers? How have you been doing in your efforts towards your goals? Maybe you think it’s silly to track or that it takes the fun out of your hobbies?

February 2017: Wrap-Up

Yardage Totals 2017:

 January: 1,065yds
February: 1,075yds
March:
April:
May:
June:
July:
August:
September:
October:
November:
December:
2017 Totals: 2,140yds or 1.22 miles

It was another good month, kittens! Especially when one considers that February is so short compared to all of the other months.

February was another month of not knitting every single day; I am still struggling to not have entire weeks where I wrap in a blanket and just eat while feeling despondent. But I did manage to have more good days than bad, and I did manage to gain some momentum after I finished the sleeves on my Manly Maze Sweater. (That’s an FO for the month, in fact: I finished it with one day to spare in the month.) I also started a Find Your Fade shawl– which is super fun to work on and is my treat knitting for the time being– and I started my second pair of socks for 2017. They are a pair of socks for my husband, so they are huge and will take some time; I am knitting them in fingering-ish weight handspun on size 0 needles on 72 stitches to start out. If that doesn’t show how much I love him, I’m not sure what does.  After putting in nearing 10 hours’ worth of labor, I am  finally working on the heel of the first sock to try and get it right; the husband has a very wide instep, so I am working on ways to elongate the heel without having too many fit issues. I usually knit all of his socks in heavier weight yarns, so the row gauge is less of an issue than on this particular pair.

So. Let’s talk about those yearly goals that I’m trying to keep better track of this year:

Knit 1,000 yards per month : YES! I am absolutely on-track to keep this momentum up for the time being. Between my Fade and my husband’s socks, I should do just fine in March as well.

Find time to sew, X-stitch, etc: NOPE. I do not believe I did anything besides knit and daydream about having the will to work on anything else. I thought about it a few times?

Aim for 8oz out of fiber stash per month: Not this month. BUT. I also did not bring in a single ounce of fiber, so that’s a win in its own way? Now that my sweater is done, I plan to start a spin. Finally.

Aim for 750 yards out of yarn stash per month:  Yes! I finished February with -1298 yards in the yarn stash, so this is another very close month for that goal. I do not see any reason why I should finish anywhere near failing on this one, since I have no plans to buy any yarn in March and only plan to spin a little and finish up a couple higher yardage projects.

All-in-all, not too bad, I think. February, like January, just flew by. Did you happen to get much done during it? Any favorite projects you worked on? Here’s to a productive March!

Stashdown 2016: Q4 and Yearly Totals

Final totals for 2016's Stashdown effort. I failed. Again.

Final totals for 2016’s Stashdown effort. I failed. Again. Go figure.

So here it is: the final numbers for 2016.

I managed to just squeak by on my fiber Stashdown goal for the quarter; I spun and destashed just over 18oz out of stash when I was hoping for a minimum of 16oz. (I had an unofficial and unvoiced goal of getting down to 500 oz even before the year was over, but after Spinzilla, my spinning mojo deserted me. It can be a fickle thing.) I had high hopes to end the quarter stash-neutral–by my definition, +/- 200 yards of 0–but that didn’t happen with my yarn stash. I brought in two last-minute Lamby acquisitions and I wasn’t able to complete a pair of socks or the sweater I currently have in progress; the two together would have just about zeroed me out for the quarter, even with the extra yarn.  As you can see, for the year I’m in the red for both categories. *WHOMP WHOMP*

As usual, I’m not discouraged by this. Every time I fail to meet a goal, I view it as having learned a new way something didn’t work for me. I actually think this current method, but with some tweaks, is working out just fine. I really find the paper tracking useful and when added with a paper-tracked knitting goal every month, I found it easier to resist most yarny and fibery temptations. My ratio to yardage out to yardage in actually improved a bit in 2016 vs. 2015, and I’m still trying to figure out how I want to combat Lamby acquisitions and handspun coming into stash. A healthy portion of that number this year was those two things. 4,115 yards of the 24,010 was yarns from my own shop (17.1% of the total), and 4,427 yards were from my own handspun (18.4%). Over 1/3 of 2016’s acquired yarns were self-produced. The other just-under 2/3 were mostly to complete projects: I bought a large amount of yardage to finish my daughter’s blanket, I purchased odd skeins to pair with others in multi-colored shawls I plan to knit this year, but a good amount of the rest was Hedgehog Fibres and Must Stash self-striping yarns. I will never apologize for collecting either of those.

So for 2017, I think I’m going to stay the course, but have small, attainable monthly goals for both my yarn and fiber Stashdown efforts. I hope to knit 750 yards out of stash every month this year, and I’m hoping to spin out 8 ounces every month. This is the equivalent of 2 heavier fingering weight skeins of yarn and two braids of fiber, respectively, so I think they’re manageable. Of course, if I do better than that, I will not complain. I’m also dropping the idea of The Bins. They were a bit too restrictive, and I need more freedom in my crafting.

Very shortly here, I will be putting up a podcast episode and blog post detailing all of 2017’s plans. Talk to you shortly, kittens!

October 2016: Wrap-Up

Yardage Totals 2016:
 January: 728yds
February: 1,062yds
March: 1,042yds
April: 706yds
May: 1,922yds
June: 411yds
July: 869yds
August: 924yds
September: 947yds
October: 1,427yds
November:
December:
2016 Totals: 10,038yds or 5.70 miles

 

It seems impossible that October is already done, kittens. I swear it only just started. But here we are: the evening of the final day of October…and time for me to write out this month’s yardage tally post. It doesn’t include *quite* everything I worked on. There’s a small amount of blanket yardage missing from that number and the yardage knit into a toe cap, but those amounts will roll into November’s number. (I’m not a stickler for those things as long as it’s accurate in the long term. A little yardage in the wrong month never hurt anyone. It’s for The Greater Good. Or something.)

All of this yardage was knit fairly monogamously. I finished a shawl, then concentrated on some slippers, and lastly focused on a long term WIP I want to get finished in the first week of November. It feels good to be getting things off the needles–and having the opportunity to cast on a couple shiny new projects. And I feel that’s the way November will go: I will finish up the blanket, cast on a new, squishy garter shawl in all of my Spinzilla handspun from this year, work on and finish my current pair of socks, cast on some Giftmas ones (my goodness, we all NEED Christmas this year, don’t we?!), and try to start working on a couple of gifts for my children this year. It seems like a lot, so I’m sure I will not get to it all. But you never know.

You may have noticed, but I easily exceeded my 2016 knitting yardage goal of 5 miles or 8,800 yards! I feel really confident setting the bar for 2017 a bit higher (maybe 10,000 yds for the year…dare I reach for 12,000yds?) since this system seems to have helped me focus on getting knitting done. I believe this is the most I have knit in at least 3 years. It’s nice to have so many hobbies, but they can make it difficult to get much done. It’s so much easier to stash than it is to knit. I’m hoping with another year’s focus on knitting and trying to keep buying at a minimum will get my stash more to the size that I would like and make it manageable…but that really is a topic for a future-but-not-so-far-off blog post.

How was your October? Was it full of crafty goodness, knitting or otherwise? Did you spin for Spinzilla? What are your plans for November, if you’re the type to plan ahead?028043052blanket

Spinzilla 2016: Final Results

Spinzilla has come and gone yet again, kittens. This was my second year participating, and I did pretty well, if I may say so myself. I made one goal: double what I did in 2015, my first year participating. I came pretty darn close!

In 2015, I spun ~13.6 ounces of fiber, for just over 1,800 yards after plying credit.

This year….

017 025 037 044 061 068 075
I spun 22.4 ounces of fiber, for a total of 3,822 yards after plying credits were taken into account. 2.17 miles of spun wool, baby! The results of who spun the most and ranking order will not be announced until Monday, and I doubt I spun quite enough to make the list (I believe it tracks the top 20 or 25 spinners for both the team and rogue categories), but I’m still excited to see who spun what during the week. Who knows? Maybe I will get lucky and win a prize for my participating. The $10 entry fee was well-worth the motivation to get so much stash spun up in such a short amount of time, so I feel like a winner regardless of outcome.

Here they are before their bath: so much squishy goodness!

Here they are before their bath: so much squishy goodness!

Last year, in Episode 133 of the podcast, I made a list of some things I could do differently in the future to improve my productivity and buy myself some more spinning time.  The only one I really implemented this year was to have my main spin ready to go in advance, and when I started the second one, I had it all layed out and prepped in a short period of time. It allowed me to not think about the order of little nests as I spun them. But there wasn’t anything else I could have done that I did do, and several obstacles arose which ate up time and kept me out of the house and unable to spin for hours of the day. So. I definitely found more time this year, but I still could have dedicated much more to the event if I had chosen to.  I definitely plan to participate in 2017’s Spinzilla competition, likely still as a Rogue Spinner. (I prefer to not have anyone rely on me for results: I’m a lone wolf of sorts. Ha.) Depending on this year’s results, I think I’m going to gun for a spot on the list of top Rogue Spinners next year. If it’s obtainable and doesn’t involve never sleeping again.

Did you play along with Spinzilla this year? Were you on a team or did you spin Rogue? How did you do? Are you happy with your spinning you accomplished?