Spark Joy with Your Yarn

Wollmeise

Have you heard? Marie Kondo has a new series on Netflix. (That was a joke. Has anyone NOT heard?) You can find the link on her website.¬†This is a show that talks about the method she described in the book she wrote called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up back in 2014. A book where she asks you to look at each item in your house and ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?”.

Marie encourages people to only have things in their home that spark joy. If something does not bring you joy, should it be taking up space in your home? (Note – I can think of a lot of things that might not spark joy, but might need to be in your home. Like the washer and dryer, the vacuum, those accounting records, etc.) But overall, I think the premise is generally a good one. It’s nice to be surrounded by things that we love and that bring us joy. Which got me thinking about my yarn stash.

How does “spark joy” affect your yarn stash?

  1. It might not affect your stash at all. It all “brings joy” and it all stays.
  2. It might affect some of your stash. The yarn you bought on sale four years ago that you no longer even like. (Truth be told, you didn’t love it when you bought it, but it was on sale…) The yarn you have frogged four times because nothing looked right. The yarn that is not your color but you loved the feel of it. The yarn you bought because your friend was buying some. The yarn you bought in colors you no longer wear very often.
  3. It might affect a great portion of your stash. You’ve switched to different yarn bases or yarn companies. You’ve decided you don’t like the color palette you used to love. You no longer like to knit with acrylic (or wool, or silk, or bamboo). You’ve switched what you like to knit and you don’t need any more socks (or shawls, or sweaters).

Should you even have a stash?

Yes. (I love my stash!) A stash is inspiring and motivational. A stash is great for the times when you need a new project but money is tight. A stash is full of possibilities. A stash definitely brings joy.

In my stash, there are some skeins that I keep on my desk because they make me want to knit. They make me happy.

There are some skeins that I keep out on a bookshelf where I can see them often. They remind me to keep moving forward on my current projects so I can get to those new skeins and new projects.

Then there are skeins that I keep in storage tubs. I love going through them. It’s like having my own yarn shop in my basement. I have weeded out some skeins over the years, because I only want yarn in there that I cannot wait to knit up into a project (and maybe my tastes have changed). I just want to keep beautiful yarn that makes me want to knit with it now!

Should you be buying more yarn?

Oh, please do. ūüôā Colors and styles change, yarn bases change, new dyers come and old dyers go. Adding new things to your stash from time to time keeps it fresh and keeps you inspired. It lets you try out new yarns and companies (your very favorite might still be undiscovered), and I know that a Loopy Box of Fun sparks joy when you open it up. I’ve decided that with some yarns, even just having a skein of it brings me joy (and I’m feeling no guilt if it takes me a year, or ten or twenty to knit it up.)

The bottom line:

Keep what brings you joy.
Use what brings you joy.
Buy what brings you joy.
Stash what brings you joy.
Knit what brings you joy.

Luckily with beautiful yarn, that’s not hard to do.

Sheri whomightneedfewershirtsbutnotfewerskeinsofyarn

Do You Have a Yarn Will?

The subject of having a Yarn Will came up a few weeks ago and I thought it was an interesting topic.

Of course we all joke that we have reached SABLE (stash acquisition beyond life expectancy) many times over, but if you’re like most people, you continue to see must-have yarn that you want to add to your wonderful stash. So – the stash continues to grow (and we are always happy about that here at Loopy)!

First of all, why continue to grow a stash if you have “enough” yarn?

¬† ¬†(“Enough” being in quotes, because can you ever have enough? I think not.)

  1. New colors and techniques.

    There are different types of yarn, new things pop up all the time, and you want to make sure you have some of each. Striping? Solids? Semi-Solids? Tonals? Speckles? Cashmere? Bamboo? Rustic wool? Soft wool? There is always something fun and new to try out and collect.

  2. New dyers.

    There are a lot of new dyers out there. First of all, be careful to select dyers who have a track record. You want dyers who know what they are doing, and who are making colors that last! It’s fun to try a new line, and with most hand-dyed colors, if you see something you like, get it while you can. It might look completely different the next time it comes out of the dyebath. Most os us like¬†to collect yarn from different dyers and different companies.

  3. New projects to make.

    Are you still knitting the same types of things you were knitting when you first started? I started out knitting scarves out of worsted weight yarn. Then I was all about socks with fingering weight yarn. Soon I added in shawls in fingering weight yarn. Then I wanted to do sweaters in sport or dk. With each new type of thing I learned to knit, I needed different yarn (or different quantities). I found I had a lot of single skeins of yarn that were really only good for socks. I have learned to buy more than a single odd skein here and there, as having more yardage in my stash gives me more options. And of course I buy multiple skeins of the dk, sport or worsted weight yarn that I want to use for sweaters one day.

All that to say, we do end up with a lot of yarn over time. All well loved, and all full of endless possibilities. That’s one of the fun things about being a knitter. That ball or skein of yarn can become almost anything.

But what happens to all of that beautiful yarn when you are gone? 

¬† ¬† You have some really nice yarn and you don’t want it to all end up at Goodwill, right?

    Here are some things to think through when making a Yarn Will.

  • Do you have knitting friends who would love some of your favorites? ¬†

    One friend who likes striping? One who likes Wollmeise? One who likes anything with cashmere? Make a list of people you would like to pass yarn on to (and who would welcome it). Maybe you will leave a few special skeins to a few special friends and the rest can go to your knitting group to sort through. Write that down.

  • Sort your yarn stash into different bins. ¬† ¬†

  • Bin A = the really good stuff that will go to your knitting group or knitting friends. Favorite brands, favorite blends, favorite colorways. (Note – this also might be your favorite bin to knit out of. It’s not a bad thing to use up all of the Bin A yarn yourself!) Put a list of your knitting friends or knitting group in that bin.
  • Bin B = Good basics and good quality yarn. This is great yarn to donate to school knitting programs, church knitting groups, and retirement centers. They all should be knitting with good quality yarn, and they will love the donation. Put a list of local schools, churches, and/or retirement centers in that bin.
  • Bin C = The yarn you don’t really like any more, or yarn you bought on sale and now don’t know what to do with. I would like to make a case for donating that yarn to Goodwill right now! Why keep it? But if you still like having it on hand, then this is the bin for your family to donate to Goodwill one day. People are always looking for bargains and someone will no doubt be delighted to come upon that in the aisles. Put a note to donate that bin to Goodwill.
  • What about patterns, books, needles and accessories?

    Needles and accessories would be a great addition to most school knitting programs, as well as churches and retirement centers. Patterns and books are something that your knitting friends at your knitting group might like to look through.

It’s not something we really like to think about – a time when we won’t be around to use our yarn and a need for a Yarn Will. But with a little careful planning, your family will be able to give something special to¬†a lot of people through¬†the things that you purchased with love and great intentions.

Food for thought.

Sheri and The Loopy Ewe Crew

P.S. And then, of course, there is the fabric stash …. ūüôā

Organizing Your Supplies!

yarn and booksIt’s fun to get the different accessories¬†that go along with your favorite hobbies. And there are so many fun extras that are available. But organizing everything? Not always such fun. We had a blog contest about 10 days ago and asked you to share some of your favorite organizing tips. (Did you know we also have a photo gallery of organizing tips and knitting spaces? You’ll find that by clicking on this link. Feel free to upload photos of your own spaces and tips and we’ll add them into the gallery too!) I loved all of your ideas, but here were just a few¬†of my favorites:

wooden yarn bowlsHolly: Stores all of her sewing supplies in a large trunk that once belonged to her grandmother, which I think is great. I love pieces that come with a history and then can be repurposed in your home.¬†Emily: Stores some of her supplies in jars and project bags that belonged to her grandmothers, and keeps them inside her mother’s childhood toy box!

Savannagal: Uses press on hooks in her craft room for rings of stitch markers (and quilting templates, etc). She says it’s easy to just grab a ring of markers for a project.

Lauren: Uses an Altoids tin lined with adhesive magnets to keep her darning needle and stitch markers set.

Carri Ray: Uses a clear over-the-door shoe organizer to store (and keep on display) some of her prettiest skeins. Marianna uses her shoe organizer to store her circular needles.

Val: Keeps everything organized on Rav (and I know a lot of you do that as well), but what she also does is keep track of her needles in the needle tab. If she loans a needle out, she edits that note on Rav to include the name of the person who borrowed it and the date.

Robin and Lisa: Both keep their WIPS in bags and they hang them from a coatrack to keep track of what they have going on. (Plus you get to enjoy your cute project bags that way, too.)

Pam: Asks for 2-3 new pizza boxes each time she gets pizza, and uses them to keep all of her cut quilt pieces organized for her next project. Sheila uses 12 x 12 scrapbooking organizers for the same thing.

Mariela: Uses vintage train cases to organize her needles and accessories. (I love vintage train cases.)

Elizabeth: Writes her pattern rows on a card and then uses a paper clip to move down the side of the card and keep track of which row she is on.

Pat: Uses cord locks (4 for .82 at WalMart) to hold her needles together on projects in progress.

Jackie: Spends the last 5 minutes in her sewing room getting things cleaned up and put away. That seems like a smart thing to do.

Patricia: Keeps detailed records of her projects on MS PowerPoint. She adds notes, shopping lists and photos.

Robin and Joy: Use a fishing lure binder for their circular needles.

Bonney: Keeps one project bag filled with supplies and a wound up skein of sock yarn ready at all times, to just grab and go.

You can read through all of the comments with ideas – there are many more. I drew a name for the $50 Loopy Gift Certificate and that goes to:

Amy S. from Wisconsin. Congratulations, Amy! I’ve added the $50 credit to your Loopy account.

Thanks to everyone who shared!

Sheri whomayputafewoftheseintopractice

 

 

 

 

 

Organization Tips and a CONTEST!

Today I’m sharing some knitting and sewing organization tips that I use around my house, in the hopes that YOU will then share some tips that you use around your house! (Thus the contest. To get you to share!) Here are a few of mine:

I like old things, so I am always looking for jars and vases to keep things in. Like my knitting needles and my buttons.

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I also like interesting glass jars, which make the perfect storage for leftover balls of yarn.¬†You’ll also see I have a few of my favorite pattern books out. And my very favorite ones get spiral bound at the office supply store for easier use.

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Old cubbies are a nice way to store thread
, and I use the old heart-shaped cake pan as a magnetic board when I am working on a project that I need to keep notes for.

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I got tired of re-printing patterns that I wanted to knit again, and finally organized all of my printouts in 3 ring notebooks so they are easy to fine. (The bonus is that if I have used the pattern before, I’ve probably made notes on the pages which are helpful the next time.)

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I also got tired of always having to look up the directions for the Kitchener stitch, Judy’s Magic Cast On, and Wendy’s Toe Up Gusset instructions. And apparently I don’t use them enough to memorize them. (We’ll go with that. We won’t say I just have a bad memory.) So I printed them out, laminated them, and spiral bound them into a little book that I keep in my project bag.

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We carry three items that I use all of the time. Pattern Holders, Needle Tubes, and Piece Keepers for quilt parts waiting to be sewn.

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I gave up on the pretty needle organizers and got these hanging ones. Now I am very good about putting them away when I am done, instead of leaving them in project bags. (You can see that I left them in bags too many times and just kept buying new ones. I am a little overstocked ….) I did tuck them in a corner next to a big bookcase. They are not the prettiest thing to put on the wall, but they sure to help me to stay needle-organized. Let us know if you want to order any of these. We don’t regularly carry them, but I need to change that I think.

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So tell us your tips and tricks! We will draw a winner and will award that person a $50 Loopy Gift Certificate in a week or two.

Spring Fling Goody Bag Contest: We do have not one, but TWO winners of the Spring Fling goody bags from our last contest, because I ended up having an extra bag. These are shipping out to Enid in Michigan and Cindy in Louisiana. Congratulations to both of you and thanks to all who participated!

Sheri alwayslookingfornewtipssothanksforsharing

P.S. Due to the Memorial Day holiday we won’t have yarn or fabric updates this coming week. But we already have beautiful things in for the week after that!