No more damn yarn

At least, not for a while. I officially have enough yarn.

First off, I have about about five sweaters’ worth of projects lined up: enough for Tubey, Rogue (will my pile of Araucania “Nature Wool” work for that?), the Hourglass Sweater from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, and whatever projects will take up a thousand yards of glossy cotton and my precious, precious stash of black Noro “Cash Iroha” I shelled out too much for on eBay. Cash Iroha is my darling that I love, love, love, and it is discontinued, and I had to have it, cost be damned. Once it came in, the yarn spent a week on the floor next to the bed while I alternated between patting it lovingly and hiding it under clothes so it wouldn’t remind me I’d spent $75 I really didn’t have on a yarn I had no idea what to do with.

But it’s been a couple months, and I’ve matured, right? I actually didn’t buy anything on the big yarn excursion last weekend, and I like to think it was because nothing really screamed take me home and not because I only had, like, $2 in my pocket. But it’s true, nothing really made my heart jump. I base my claim of increased maturity on the fact that all shopping has been like that for me recently: I go to the store, I wander aimlessly around, I paw idly at the merchandise, I maybe pick up a couple things and carry them around the store for a while, and then I put them back where I found them.

Even thrift stores hold less allure, since after years of cruising thift stores that smell like old shoes, garlic bins and ancient cigarette smoke, I’ve landed enough awesome old stuff that new awesome old stuff doesn’t really register. Yeah, old fruit crates are great, but my bright yellow Coca-Cola crate is better. Sure, those old coffee mugs are amazing, but I’m only interested if I can get a whole set, and could they possibly be any cooler than my mid-’60s Franciscan ware teacups and saucers and creamer?

It’s gotten harder and harder to justify bringing home new stuff when I have so much great stuff at home. After a year of viciously weeding out sub-par and mediocre possessions, what I have left is pretty damn good. Sure, Rowan Cashsoft is great at the store, but I’ve already got all the Cash Iroha and a sweater’s worth of sport weight merino-cashmere blend at home, and in better colors, to boot. And I just realized that I’d forgotten about the merino-cashmere blend, which means I have six sweaters’ worth of yarn.

I’ve got impulse yarn, too: a whole milk crate of oddball and single-skein purchases from the deep-discount sales at the yarn store where I worked, in everything from superchunky alpaca to lace-weight merino. I haven’t added much to the box in the last several months, except for two perfectly reasonable skeins of Classic Elite “Inca Alpaca.” Staying out of yarn stores and staying off eBay helped with that, as did going back to school and not having any money.

With any luck, all this newfound, non-shopping, non-impulse-buying maturity has spread to other areas of my life, like knitting. Because with all this stash, and an entire winter wardrobe’s worth of yarn, and being a pretty technically proficient knitter who worked at a yarn store and helped out with knitting lessons, you’d think I’d have actually, y’know, knitted a sweater by now.

But I haven’t. Not one. Not one in the 2.5 years I’ve been knitting.

Why? No attention span. I cast on, I knit maybe an inch, I immediately ditch the project in favor of something fast and gratifying, like a hat. And then another hat. And another. It’s a good thing I have so many friends with cold heads and a taste for the skulls or animal ears that usually decorate my designs.

So far, I’ve had a lot of big ideas and bigger impulse buys and nearly no follow-through, which is kind of how I live lived my entire life. That way of living doesn’t fit so well anymore. I end up wandering around Goodwill, feeling restless, finally understanding that buying more crap doesn’t make me feel better, and potential doesn’t feel as good as accomplishment.

So no yarn-buying, at least until a couple sweaters from now. I’m making an exception for the sweater I’ve promised my boyfriend for Christmas/birthday, because he wants it in black and the only sweater’s worth of black yarn I have is the Cash Iroha, and he’s not getting it, no way no how. And more importantly, no squealing about yarn diets and de-stashing. No blog buttons, no -alongs, no overexposed snapshots of storage containers bulging with yarn, no transcriptions of conversations with incredulous non-knitters about my compulsive purchases. I don’t need support from others to keep my spending in check. What I want is awareness and appreciation of the things I choose to bring into my life.

I’m finding out, in small ways, what it feels like to live that way. Since I filled my little hand-bound recipe booklet a few months ago, I’ve been tucking folded-up, food-stained recipe printouts into it and thinking there must be a better way. A month ago, as I unfolded bits of paper looking for a cookie recipe I’d doctored to my specifications, I thought “Y’know, I’d really love to have one of those little metal recipe boxes for index cards. One of those little old-school ones they just don’t make anymore. Something kitschy, that even my mom thinks is old-fashioned.” I could almost picture it in my head, almost hear the solid little thunk the lid would make when it closed. I dug out the recipe I needed, jammed the booklet into the spice rack next to the garlic bowl, and decided not to change a thing about what I was doing until the right answer came along.

A week ago, at the Salvation Army, I found this:

Recipe box
The lesson: Hold out for what you want, and when it shows up, take it. Especially when it costs 50 cents.