Enough is (More Than) Enough


I was so excited around my birthday last year when a Jo-Ann store came to my town. When I first saw the sign announcing the store opening I posted with glee on Facebook “Sweet Crafty Jesus, we’re getting a Jo-Ann!”

And I’ve showed my appreciation regularly, buying up tons of fabric, yarn, notions and other supplies. I still shopped at Hobby Lobby (it used to be less than five minutes from my house; how could I resist?) and my local yarn shop (where I was an enthusiastic but infrequent shopper), but I fell hard for Jo-Ann.It probably had something to do with the coupons and the fact that something I wanted was pretty much always on sale.

Back in March we moved, and I was forced to confront my giant crafting stash, not that my acquisition has abated much since then. Still, the fact of my giant collection of yarn and fabric has been getting to me. Why do I need to have such a big bunch of stuff in my house? Isn’t it a waste of resource, and not just the limited resource of space in my house? Shouldn’t I be doing something more creative with this stuff?

Something has to give. I was contemplating a knitting book on working with your stash (it may still happen, but I have a publisher interested in a different book right now, and besides, Melissa Leapman beat me to it) but I think I need to do something even more dramatic.

So here’s my resolution: no more crafty shopping.

No more random yarn and fabric buying. No bringing home patterns I’ll probably never sew. Instead, I’m going to use what I have, make do and MAKE.

My plan was to make this a New Year’s resolution, but then I thought: why wait? So the unofficial beginning of my breakup with Jo-Ann and all the other purveyors of crafty goodness is Nov. 1, though really it’s already happened.

My farewell trip to Jo-Ann began out of necessity: I needed the interfacing and elastic to complete my daughter’s Halloween costume. But of course I couldn’t stop there with the prospect of not coming back in the foreseeable future looming.

So I bought a bunch of fabric for some projects I actually intend to make soon

fabric stash
A bunch of dotty fabric for a play tent, among other things.

and some yarn for some socks for me (I’ve been wanting to make these thigh-high striped socks approximately forever, or at least since 2004).

yarn for socks
An array of yarn for some super warm striped socks.

The one exception to my no shopping rule is notions (not fabric or yarn) needed to complete projects. For example, I need the poles for that play tent that fabric is for, and possibly some batting for the little mattress, though I can probably “make do” with something already in the house (and that’s exactly the point).

It’s possible I’ll need zippers, or thread, or more interfacing (I only bought what I need for this project) and I’ll allow myself to do those things if they help me get other things out of my stash.

This is about making room in my house and my life, but more importantly it’s about being creative.

All these amazing supplies I have really need to be used — they don’t want to be sitting in a box (or bag, or filing cabinet drawer) any more than I want them to be.

I hope my journey will inspire others to take a closer look at their own stashes and try to use what they have before running to the store.

Of course I will be sharing my progress and the projects I’m creating with all this stuff, as well as tips for clearing out your own stuff.

Anyone want to join in? I’m sure I’ll make up a little button you can put on your site if you’re playing along (and yes, you can wait until after the holidays, or start whenever you read this!). I’d love to hear if you are and why you want to start using more of your stash.

Let’s get in that stash, Make Do and Make! Who’s with me?

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