The New Year is fast approaching, and I have been giving thought to my goals for the next year. Â One of them is to acquire less and use up more of what I have, both to save money and because I am rapidly running out of space to store things! Â I currently have 203 lbs of yarn, according to my yarn database, at an average weight of 10,000 yards per pound. Â That is two millionÂ yards of yarn, or 1,136 miles. Â It would stretch from San Francisco to Los Angeles not once, not twice, but threeÂ times!
Now, this isn’t as bad as it sounds; weaving with fine yarns rapidly plows through miles of yarn. Â I estimate that I go through about 30 lbs of yarn per year, typically at 15,000 ypp, so this is about a seven year supply. Â And many of the threads I work with are only sporadically available, so stocking up makes sense. Â That said, a seven-year supply seems excessive to me, so one of this year’s goals is to cut down.
Then there is the not-so-small matter of my tools-and-materials acquisition. Â One of the perils of being a weaver/dyer/surface designer/fashion designer/seamstress/fine artist/chocolatier etc. (lots of etc.) is the sheer volume of tools used in each craft. Â I have silkscreens, a Thermofax, stamp-carving stuff, stencil-making materials, a full dye studio, lots of weaving tools, fabric paints of all varieties, and bins of fabrics/ interfacings/ pressing tools/ etc. Â I have at least eight pairs of scissors (all reserved for different purposes). Â I have a full set of pastels, Shiva paintstiks, watercolor pencils, charcoal, graphite pencils, watercolors, and acrylic paints. Â I have tools for working with metal clay, and for metal-working. Â I have a chocolate tempering machine, chocolate-dipping tools, and a full set of chocolate molds.
In short, I have a lotÂ of tools. Â It’s basically a fully-equipped weaving, dyeing, surface design, and couture sewing studio, plus various fine arts materials, chocolate-making tools, and other miscellaneous crafts – whatever’s caught my fancy over the last ten years. Â It was not cheap to acquire, but it gives me tremendous multidisciplinary breadth. Â I don’t regret it one bit, but I do feel that I need to stop collecting tools sometime fairly soon – if only because I’m running out of space to put them!
But I’ve been having trouble coming up with rules for myself. Â I see the knitters on Ravelry vowing not to buy any yarn in 2012, and to knit solely out of stash. Â That works if you are a one-dimensional crafter – and I certainly do not intend to purchase more yarn in 2012 – but if you are weaving, dyeing, designing, sewing, and surface-designing your project, it’s a lot harder to specify how to “diet”. Â I don’t have all the tools, notions, etc. to complete Autumn Splendor, and it’s hard to anticipate what I will need in advance. Â Exploring different ideas naturally has waste associated with it – like the eleven muslins I’ve done so far – and so I often accumulate things that worked with the previous idea but not with the current one. Â (Five yards of silk/rayon velvet, for example, which was purchased for the collar, before I eliminated the collar from the design.) Â The question percolating through my head is, “What can I do to cut back without curbing the creative ferment?” Â It’s not an easy one. Â I expect to think about it through the end of the year.
Meanwhile, in creative-land, I have re-boiled the citrus peel, and painted four more knitted blanks. Â Tomorrow, after I get back from the farmer’s market, I’ll dye the panels for muslin #11.