Stash reduction

Last Saturday I gave a Rubbermaid chest-of-drawers to a friend. It was stuck in one of my closets; I didn't need it.

Yarn doesn't work that way with me. Nor does thread, buttons, beads, canvas, or anything else you can make something out of. The Oma who taught me how to knit always told me never to give yarn away, and I find that, except on rare occasions, I really can't. Make something and then give it away, sure, but not the raw product, not unless it's going to stay in the family.

So it works like this: if you know me, you know that I always have a perfectly silly amount of projects on the go. I've decided to knock them off in short-term plans. The main goal is to reduce stash.

Here, for instance, are the short-term knitting plans:
  • scribble lace jacket from the Debbie New Unexpected Knitting book: 100% stash. Unfortunately, it doesn't take much yarn.

  • birthday presents for a friend of mine (already late, but just wait on the photos for when they're done!). I still have the crazy idea I can do these this week and then post them to her on Saturday.

  • crocheted plastic shopping bags from Canadian Living -- despite carrying around a reusable shopping bag everywhere, I still have tons of plastic bags.

The name of the game is to avoid reverse stash reduction. That's when you start something to reduce stash, and think to yourself, "That's great! I just need to buy ------- to finish it, and I'll use up all this stuff!" Then you wind up buying more than you use up.

beaded necklace and earrings
This happened recently to me with a necklace and earrings set I made (sorry about the crappy photo -- the colours are much better in real life). I love how they turned out, but I wound up two vials of seed beads and assorted 4mm beads up in stash when it was supposed to be going down. I'm going to make a bracelet to match and another necklace of a different pattern, just to use up some more beads. It helps that I like jewelry, but hopefully you see the forces at work here.

The big questions are: how do we DIY without turning into the consumers we were at least partly hoping to not be? DIY is supposed to be about getting it your own way and (hopefully) saving some money by making something better than you can afford ready-made -- how did it get to be about buying more stuff?