Monday, January 12, 2009

Stash Busting: The 2009 Challenge

Happy New Year! While 2008 cannot disappear into the review mirror fast enough, it brought some challenges to the world that are going to show up, I'm sure, in 2009 New Year's Resolutions. The poor economy and lost jobs will encourage "belt-tighting" moves for many. When it comes to crafters, I'm betting lots of us are making serious pledges to work more out of generous stashes.

What does it mean to bust your stash? For many crafters, it means using what you have whenever possible without comprosing design principles. JudyL at Patchwork Times explained:
I will not spend hours trying to make something work that isn’t
working just because I’m insisting on using the stash. I will not run
low on something and feel stymied due to not having what I want to work

What I will do is try my best to use what I have here. There have
been occasions when I’ve started out wanting to use a blue accent
fabric and despite pulling dozens of fabric, nothing worked. I
might’ve switched to a red accent fabric and still couldn’t pull it
together; and then switched to brown and it all fell into place.
That’s the kind of things I will try to do in 2009.

Judy has invited quilters everywhere to join her in stash busting this year. She has a pledge you can download to state your own goals, plus links to other stashbusters you can contact for support.

AllenQuilts has been stashbusting for an entire year. This past December she posted progress photos of the change in her "supply closet":
Last year, I posted pics of my stash, when I first started this stash-busting venture with Judy.
I really can’t say you can tell a lot of difference yet. Maybe by this
time next year, I will have more space on my shelf for thread. I hope
so. I also hope someone straightens up those bottom shelves, and the
In the comments, Vickie Welch admitted to stashing about 85 yards this year, but admits: "I’m figuring that it was about 1%!

Barbara from Mainely Stitching put her philosophy for stash busting right out there when she wrote: begin as you intend to continue. Great advice. Begin the year by choosing a big project we've intended to work on. Choose something challenging and rewarding that you've been putting off.

When knitting, it's often imperative to find patterns that use small amounts of yarn. Thus allows us to use the remaining yard from larger finished projects or that single skein or two we just had to pick up at a YS sometime. SmarieK Knits has a number of free knitting patterns to download which take advantage of small supplies of yarn to create projects.

For myself, I started my stashbusting in December when I took two skeins of a Koigu handpainted wool out of my yarn drawer where they've dwelt for several years. I was never going to make them into socks for me (woe is me, wool socks are still too itchy!) and the yarn was too expensive to make socks for someone else. Instead I improvised a very simple fingerless glove pattern. Finished it up in just a couple weeks of knitting in my spare time (I am a very slow knitter). There is likely enough yarn left to make a second pair of these that I can swap or sell or use as a present. So the yarn isn't completely busted from my stash, but it's well on its way.

Have you taken a oath to bust some stash this year? Have you blogged this intention? Is so, please include a link in the comments. To encourage us and give us the excitement of sharing our accomplishments with friends, I've set up a Flickr group to share our stash busting efforts. Share projects in progress, projects as you finish them, items you've given up and given away. Anything that qualifies as part of your stash busting.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

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