My current work in progress:

Tawney Sweater,by Jenni Barrett, knit from MadelineTosh Tosh Sock, using 3.25mm and 3.5mm needles.

Let’s Clear Something Up, Shall We?

Yesterday I decided not to talk about this on my blog, but other people keep bringing it up to me in comments and emails, so it’s time to clear the air once and for all about my “Knit From Your Stash 2007” project.

There are a few people who have expressed to me via email (and one in a comment) that they think this will ruin some yarn shops. One LYS owner (who I do not know or ever bought anything from) posted on her personal blog that if I were to do this, no one would buy yarn for 9 months and LYSs would go out of business and there would be “blood on her (my) hands.”

Let’s review, shall we?

If you go back and read my original entry about this, on December 14, you’ll see that I mention it as something L-B and I proposed to do, and at the end of listing our rules I mentioned that anyone who wanted to join us was welcome to do so.

I got a surprisingly large number of comments from people who said that they had been thinking about doing the same thing, or were already doing so. A lot of people asked me about the “rules.”

So in my next blog entry, on December 16 I encouraged people who were interested in knitting from their stash to make up their own guidelines with their own exceptions. To do what worked best for them. Not to do anything too drastic that would be hard to stick to. I mentioned “Knit From Your Stash” briefly in the next blog entry on the 17th, reiterating that people should make their own rules for what they plan to do and talk about it on their own blogs should they have them. I said I have no plans to start a blog or knit-along in conjunction with this.

And that’s the last I mentioned it on my blog, apart from something about sock yarn not counting!

The concept of a yarn diet is not new, and I did not originate it. I’ve seen “Yarn Diet” buttons on blogs for several years.

The bottom line? This is my idea for myself that I posted on my personal blog. I’m not advocating that people stop buying yarn altogether and put yarn shops out of business. I have a large stash of yarn, and it is my intent to use some of it up in 2007, with the exceptions that I have allowed myself.

If you look at my rules, you’ll see what I am proposing to do is to only buy yarn that I need for 9 months — and even then allowing myself the indulgence of buying sock yarn and spinning fiber whenever I want. If a business is going to fail because people are only buying what they need, well, there’s something wrong with that. Of the blogs I’ve read where people are proposing on knit from their stashes, not once have I read that anyone is planning on not acquiring any yarn for the period of time they set themselves.

Further, only a fraction of the knitters in the world read knitting blogs, and only a fraction of knitting blog readers read my blog. And only a fraction of those readers are planning on cutting down on their spending. So I don’t think yarn shop owners really have anything to worry about here.

The reason I posted about this in the first place was to put in writing what I plan to do — doing so makes it easier for me to stick to my resolve. I always find it easier to do things like this that require some level of willpower when other people know about it. It never once crossed my mind that anyone would think this would put LYSs out of business!

You know, in the past L-B and I have gone on a food diet at the same time so we had each other for moral support. Do you suppose if I had blogged about that I would have gotten hate mail from General F**ds and Kr*ft?


(Asterisks were inserted in the brand names because I read Cara’s blog entry today. A girl can’t be too careful.)

So, enough. Okay? Let’s move on to the point of this blog — knitting.

I’ve been knitting away on my Bohus — see?


I’ve got one more set of increases to do in the yoke, a few rows down from here. While I’m eager to be done with the yoke and start on the body, I’ll also be sorry. It’s so much fun to see the colorwork emerge!

The Other Reason for This Blog

That’s Lucy, of course.


Yesterday I mentioned to L-B that I had a bit of cashmere left over from a project and I planned to knit Lucy a new mouse from it for Christmas. This is what greeted me when I got up this morning.


That would be the leftover cashmere that Lucy has unwound. Clearly she approves.

Most Importantly

Check out the total for the Heifer Project!!!!!!


  1. Even before reading your blog I had decided to knit down my stash. Why??? To fill it back up by purchasing more yarn from my local yarn shop! Since I knit many gifts for family and friends, I’ll be still purchasing yarn in 2007. I will be clearing some drawers of yarn projects in waiting. Why? ’cause I can’t wait to see all that gorgeous yarn knitted into wonderful garments.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  2. Oh how I wish I could keep the promise I make myself every time I purchase new yarn for that project I just have to have. “this is the last one”, I say sternly. Yeah, right, that’ll be the day!

    Wendy, you shouldn’t have even felt the need to respond to the particular yarn store owner.

    She/he is obviously not a true knitter/hoarder, otherwise the comment would never have been made.

    Now, will my last purchase be the last? Only if I destroy my credit card and stop knitting!!

    Wendy, love your blog and your knitting and of course the beautiful Lucy. I very rarely post, but certainly felt the need to this time.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Looking forward to all your knits and news in 2007.

  3. Beth French says:

    Wendy, I have been reading your blog for many months and always enjoy looking at your projects and seeing Lucy. If you have enough yarn to knit for nine months (barring the exceptions), I say go for it! Where do these nasty people come from?!
    Love and Peace from Maine,

  4. Honestly, if that’s all LYS owners have to worry about! I completely agree with you and your personal goal. I’m going to knit a lot from stash in the coming years as we’re doing a lot of renovation that requires my yarn money! It’s a case of priorities. Having said that, we should all be giving more money to charity like Heifer instead of overindulging in more stuff we don’t ‘need’. We’re all guilty of it. More power to you!

  5. Geez, people can be such whiners sometimes, even when times are good. I spend an appalling – appalling! – amount of money in my several LYSes (I’m an hour from WEBS, for example) and I’ve resolved in the past month to reduce my stash by 10% by the end of 2007. An achievable goal, I think. That did not stop me from buying 2 projects’ worth of yarn at WEBS and 3 projects’ worth at my most local LYS in the past two weeks. If I (ever) stop buying yarn, it’ll be because I already own everything I want, which is rapidly approaching.

  6. I have to admit, I made a joke about your plan harming the textile industry … but it was only meant as a joke.

    You’ve got it right about the math … the percentage of knitters who read blogs, and of those who read yours, and of those who would participate, etc.

    Not only that, we’re all knitters. We know that no matter how many promises we make not to buy more yarn, no matter how good the intentions, yarn presents itself and we buy.

    It sucks people got so serious and gave you any grief. You just go girl, go.

    Merry Christmas too, by the way, to you and Lucy and the Daddy.

    Warmest regards,

  7. So lemme get this straight: someone thinks I shouldn’t knit up yarn that I own? That I should stockpile unused yarn indefinitely just so *their* store can stay in business?

    Wow. That’s just beyond stupid.

  8. I’ve been knitting 40 years, I’ve seen it come and go. Knitting is a huge fad right now, it will become less popular when something else takes over. There won’t always be enough demand to support all the LYSs there are now. I’ll be sorry to see them go, I love having nice yarns available (do you remember the Knit and Purl shop on P street near Dupont Circle? I used to walk there at lunchtime and shop.) Only the best will survive.

    I had already decided I needed to cut back on yarn, because I need to go on a serious money-spending diet, better yet, a healthy money spending lifestyle. I was delighted to see you post this, now I have companionship in my quest to just be happy for a few months with all the yarn I am fortunate enough to already have, not just buy lovely yarn, pat it a few times and stuff it away forever. This year I have been knitting for my infant grandaughter with yarn I bought from Martha Hall for a son who’s now 6’3″ – a couple balls of Baby Ull won’t quite cover him anymore. I have yarn my mother brought back from Ireland 25 years ago. Its time to free these treasures from the stash cabinet.

    Except I’m only aiming to abstain until early August, when I go to Maine. Because I ALWAYS buy yarn in Maine.

  9. That Bohus is awesome already…I can’t wait to see what the finished product looks like!

  10. Cuz you know no one can think or act for themselves…

  11. I have met you in person at a book signing (Philly). You hide your extreme powers very well. I had absolutely no idea that you have the power to put an industry (entire states worth of yarn shops) out of business.

    I am hoping that in the future, you use your powers for good. Oh, wait! You already are. Look at that Heifer total! Knitters rock. Some just seem to have rocks for brains.

  12. I laughed, and laughed, and laughed, and laughed!!!

    The idea that any change in yarn shops’ income can be attributed to one person – laugh…

    The idea that your public yarn diet will somehow affect yarn sales – laugh…

    “Blood on your hands” – laugh…

    I think LYSs should be more concerned about online yarn shops, who often offer better prices and larger selections… Not your yarn diet!!! Laugh….

  13. Brava Wendy. Well put. I rolled my eyes when I read the original comment but honestly couldn’t believe it had evolved into such a degree of paranoia.

    (And if any of my LYSes actually thinks that I’m not going to fall off the wagon with a thud that registers seismically, then they far underestimate my lack of willpower.)

  14. I decided on using the stash before I’d seen the blog entry here. My reason? We are trying our hardest to pay down our debt. To do that we are cutting down whereever we can and paying cash whenever we can.

    I’ve bought an enormous amount of yarn in that past couple of years (blush)and so much on eBay that I got a Christmas card from them this year thanking me for being a good customer. LOL!

    I’m sorry you had to get those un-holiday messages. Hope you and your family all have a warm and safe Christmas.

  15. Wendy,

    I can’t believe that way people react to your “personal” blog. You have a right to say and do whatever you want in this space, and if people don’t like it, they shouldn’t read it. I think that knitting from a stash for awhile is a good idea, and I agree that yarn shops should not rely on people having to spend wildly and get into debt for their spending just so that yarn shops can stay opened. No one would ever suggest such a thing for any other kind of store, so why should the LYS be any different.

    I am a great supporter of my LYS, but I have to be responsible about my own finances first and foremost. I also want to set a good example for my kids about not overindulging and about how to be happy with what one has instead of constantly looking for the next good thing to come along. It is fun to get something new, and everyone should treat themselves from time to time, but there is also something to be said for people looking at what they have right in front of them and realizing the beauty and worth in it. That is what knitting from the stash means to me. It is about living in the moment and enjoying it.

  16. Well said as always! Besides that person should know that yarn diet or not, we knitters are weak before really gorgeous yarn and it has a tendency to fall in our bags. The simple solution for her is that (after a time out) she needs to check her stock and make sure that it is ‘cheat worthy’. Just my 2 cents of course.

    Happy holidays!

  17. LOL, what a joke!

  18. There have been plenty of ‘knitting from my stash’ groups in the last few years. Your influence must be great if it will bring down all the lys out there.

    Granted, your influence on me is great, but that’s beside the point.

    The Bohus is beautiful – can’t wait to see how it develops….

    Go Heifer! That total is so awesome. They are my favorite charity.

  19. If the yarn shop owners would just realize that so many people fail at yarn diets they wouldn’t be so concerned. People take things too personally. Your Bohus is gorgeous. You might have inspired me to look into a project for next year. Congrats on the Heifer goal!!
    Have a very Merry Christmas with KOARC and Lucy!

  20. I really think that the idea of you “having blood on your hands” for talking about a yarn diet is rediculous. Knitters and knitbloggers stashbust all the time, it’s hardly a new concept.

    I know you’re aware of all of this, but I just want to show you my support.

  21. You go Wendy…….what’s the matter with people?I live in a small rural town with no LYS. I always have to knit from my stash until I can get to a large town to shop. I can’t believe that that person thought the whole world would stop buying yarn.

    Have a Happy Holiday Season.

  22. Let’s face it – people are strange.
    This isn’t the first time I went on a yarn diet and it sure as hell won’t be the last. And the last one didn’t bother ANY LYS in the least. My 2 favorite LYSs are the type you are made to feel at home the minute you walk into the place and have NEVER made me feel as if I had to buy anything to be able to leave. One even said it’s natural to just come in and pet the yarns. My comment about the LYSs was also a joke – lighten up – this ain’t brain surgery – it’s yarn. I’m positive that even if the LYS took your yarn diet to heart, there are enough knitters in the world ( or local vicinity ) that could keep them afloat ( if the LYS played their cards right ). So they need to get a grip.
    Gee, I wonder – if I quit working on my raw fleeces from my Shetlands, would that mean they wouldn’t make any more wool? That is as likely as a yarn shop going out of business because of knitting from your stash.
    Just my 2 cents worth.
    Chloe found some yarn she liked and had it strung ALL OVER THE HOUSE while I was going thru my stash. Luckily, she had a great time doing it because there were some nasty things said under my breath as I cleaned up her mess ( you wouldn’t think a 60 pound 14 month old pup could make a place look like a pack of wild cats had been in to visit. ).

  23. Your Bohus sweater is just delicious!! I did order a kit for myself and I am waiting anxiously for it to arrive!! Wooo hoooo!

    As always, Lucy pictures are precious. I have four cats myself and enjoy seeing Lucy.

    I won’t be checking your blog until after Christmas – – It will be fun to see where your at on the Bohus sweater. Knowing you – – I’ll see a picture of a completed sweater.

    You are the Knitting Queen!!


  24. I’ve just finished reading your book and discovered your blog. I’m amazed and envious at how many projects you completed in 2006. Is it all the time on the Metro that lets you accomlish this or do you just knit incredibly quickly? Your projects are gorgeous!

  25. L-B’s comment made me stop and think.
    I’m not getting any younger. I have a stash that is housed in TWO rooms of my house. What if I do pass on? My hubby would have no clue what to do with all that yarn.
    Is there an organization somewhere that would take yarn/knitting accessories and parse them out to knitters who cannot afford yarn to make themselves and their loved ones hand knitted goods?
    Just thinking.
    Congrats on the Heifer total!

  26. I had something similar happen to me this year – I decided to stop shopping at one particular store because of a series of incidents with the owner. She’s noticed and she has been pestering mutual acquaintances on why I don’t shop there anymore, so much so that those folks aren’t frequently the store either.

    However we love going to another store where the owner is delighted to see your projects and the staff is knowledgeable and friendly. The prices are a bit higher but there is so much less aggrevation.

    The store owner should never, never tell customers they are responsbile for a store’s survival. It’s not right or fair.

  27. Oh my. Such power you have, to control the fate of yarn stores with a single post on your blog. Sheesh!

  28. Alright for Heifer!

    If a LYS is going to go under because some of it knitters aren’t buying yarn just to have it for 9 months, then it is a poorly managed yarn store and won’t last in the long run unless the owner makes some serious cutbacks and changes.

    I wish you all the best in your yarn diet. Wasting money on stuff you are never going to use is like buying food then throwing it out after it goes off. If people think that is a huge waste, why would they not think that owning yarn they are never going to use isn’t just as much of a waste.

  29. I think some LYSs are concerned because of the power – whether you realize it or not – that you yield. Hey, you asked for donations for catnip mice and what happened? Send cash, and what happened. Yarn Harlot has raised about a $100,000 for Doctors Without Borders in about 2 weeks.

    Now your blog followers are spread out all over, so an individual shop wont suffer much if one of their clients buys a bit less this year.

    However, when you blog about a project and not only mention the yarn, but the specific online shop where you got it, I’m sure there is a sudden upsurge in requests for it. What about those fancy metal swirly dp needles? You are a one woman advertising machine. So when the advertising machine suggests that SHE isn’t buying, there is a fear that her minions will follow.

    Whether you want it or not, you have pull.

  30. Hi Wendy, All hail the knitting blog. This whole matter has proven 2 things-that the written word in a public forum-even though it is a personal blog-has Power. And the other thing-is that there is So MUCH PASSION for this fuzzy string called yarn. I am a proud shop owner and I am happy for that. I am excited about fuzzy string-so much so that my stash has grown into my business. I feel there is more going on here than just a yarn diet pitting yarn customer against yarn shop owner. I think this is a result of what has been going on all through the retail industry as a whole. At no time in history in this country has so much been available to us and we have all been on this buying frenzy-we drive larger SUV”S than we need, we have larger houses than a lot of us can really afford and we fill those houses with so much stuff. We are feeling a bit guilty about it. I mean-no wonder. The USA has 10% of the world’s population and yet we consume 40% of its resources. We have bought so much cheap Chinese cashmere sweaters that the Chinese landscape is becoming frought with dust storms because the grasslands are being overgrazed. What we purchase has an effect. What we say about it has an effect too. My part-I encourage knitting, crocheting and spinning. It brings pleasure to the knitter and to those they love. It provides a bit of peace and opportunity to slow down, meditate, take in the moment in this rush around world. I teach, I solve knitting problems, I take pleasure in customer’s accomplishments. I try to stock yarn that is diverse, and that provides a good living for farmers, and artisans here and abroad where maybe the standard of living needs a little help. So knit your stash-in fact-show off what you knit. Why hasn’t it been knitted yet? Perhaps the answer to all of this is that we need to find a way to work more knitting into our days. I’m for that.
    Thanks Wendy-you get us talking and no matter your thought-communication is a good thing. It provides insight and it is fun to share!

  31. I think the Knit From Stash idea is lovely. While I am completely new to knitting, I am a rabid cross stitcher and possess thousands of dollars of stash which is nearly spilling out of every creavice of my home so I can completely relate to the concept. That said, I am going to participate in my own way by only buying yarn for the projects as I knit them. I will be strong and steady until I can afford to buy yarn all the time.:)

  32. Three comments for you:
    -First, thanks for answering my ? about variegated yarns and lace knitting. I do think that the complexity of a pattern, perhaps embodied mainly in the amount of solid or open space, and the interplay between solid and open, has everything to do with how well any given yarn will work. But, you know that already. 😉
    -Second, good for you for writing up and pointing out the sheer ridiculousness of the complaint you received. Other luxury stores seem to understand that we can (and often do) live without their goods, and they still get by with the patronage of their consumers.
    -Three, I am adoring those cute purl-stitch O’s in the Bohus yoke. It is fun to see them finished, though I understand the melancholy of having that bit of fun pass by.

    Happy, warm and safe holidays to you, Mr KOARC, and of course, Miss Lucy. I look forward at the end of the day to checking your blog for new entries and fresh inspiration — long may you type!

  33. Hail from the UK! I have a stash that is beginning to take up too much room (which is why I’m interested in the stash diet) maybe the house sellers will be after me if I use up my stash, because then I won’t be up for buying a bigger house???? I love your blog, love the content, love Lucy, love the comments, love this openness and frankness…..yes it’s really dumb to suggest that the LYS will go out of business (most of ours in the UK disappeared years ago, they are no longer in every town, never mind on every corner!) WELL, we all cheat on diets, don’t we (come on, it’s NOT really just me, is it???)

  34. Obviously, Miss Lucy was trying to knit *you* a catnip cashmere mouse, but the lack of opposable thumbs thing got in the way.

    You and your blog always rock. Merry Xmas!

  35. I love the colours you chose for your Bohus. It’s knitting up beautifully.
    ps: Lucy has exquisite taste in yarn.
    merry holidays!

  36. I absolutley love your blog….I’m continually inspired to try projects I’d otherwise avoid because of “difficulty” level. I’ve knit socks! (I remember the fear of actually starting them and deciphering the heel and toe); I’m working on Alice Starmore’s Henry VIII. Before encountering your blog I probably never would have attempted this. Thanks.

  37. All Hail, Wendy!
    Wendy, All Hail!
    She who bringeth down LYS’s
    Withe but one worde!
    Ware, lest ye vex her!
    Ware, lest she incribe thy name!
    Such curses oft preceed vile illness
    (or annoyances of bodily humors)! 🙂

    FGS! These people are simply rediculous! You are a wonderful knitter, and I love the blog, but you certainly don’t control my yarn buying habits! I had debated joining you in KFYS 2007, but this clinches it! If my not buying yarn that I absolutely want BUT DO NOT EVEN NEED causes any particular person to fail in their business, well, all I can say is that they were stupid to base their entire livelihood on luxury product. Besides, if I do this and blog about it, I may become as powerful as you! I think that’s when they start burning us at the stake! 🙂

  38. Sorry, got carried away..
    I LOVE THE BOHUS! How incredibly beautiful!
    Can’t wait to see it finished!

    Merry Chris-mice Lucy!
    Hope visions of baby chicks dance in your kitty-head!

  39. Wow. I had to smile all the way through this post. Who knew you had that much power?
    Never in my wildest dreams had I ever imagined people would suspect you could actually shut down stores by not buying some yarn for a short period of time!
    Ever consider politics?
    The first knitter in the White House. I wonder what color you would paint it.
    Merry Christmas, Wendy!

  40. I don’t think anyone has pointed this out yet… but you always make sure to mention where a yarn is from, who designed the pattern, etc whenever you start something new, stash or not. In fact, I hope you keep doing this because I like to find out about new artisans and companies, even if I can’t buy! Whatever you choose to make, I’m sure someone out there will be inspired and choose the same yarn for themselves. (And I wonder if the LYS owner was being facetious… I’d be very embarassed if I made an admittedly stupid comment and had it taken completely out of context!)

  41. Barbara McCall says:

    What’s all this hoopla about the yarn diet? First, everyone knows that very few knitters can resist buying yarn for a prolonged period of time. At the first sign of a good sale, an enticing new pattern or a new yarn product, most of us will start to cheat!
    Second, even when YOU knit from your stash, you stimulate in your readers a nearly irrestible urge to purchase the same yarn and pattern and knit along.
    The only yarn stores that are likely to become upset about the yarn diet are those owned and run by non-knitters. Everyone else knows that a yarn diet is merely a periodic dream of all stash-holders.

  42. and how many ppl actually stick with a diet anyways?

  43. WOW!
    I love the idea of knitting form your stash!! ok, i’ll be totally honest here.. I HAVE to. I lost my Job of 14 yrs suddnely in july and were damn near homeless.I lost interest in knitting and then started knitting in a fever to keep my stress level down.
    I know the LYS isnt hurtiing from the lack of my business anyways.
    DESTASH Baaaaaby!

  44. You GO! girl! Knitters have the powah!

    We can and will knit from our stashes and donate to the Heifer Project.

    Knit on!


  45. One more thing: Bronwyn made a very good point. And I must say, you actually bring business to companies by the detailed information you give for each of your projects. Through you I have found and purchased the Wing o’ the Moth shawl, and will be purchasing the Alchemy Haiku yarn after Christmas (I think I’m going to go with either Mother of Pearl or Platinum). Methinks this can only be good for the LNS business.

  46. Oh for the love of Pete – people do get themselves worked up, don’t they. Although I’m not strong enough to participate in this event myself – I admire those who can knit from their stash and buy what they need – it’s something to aspire to.

  47. Karen Frisa says:

    As the commenter who wrote about the possible impact of the “knit from your stash” movement, I’d like to humbly apologize if my remarks were over the line or otherwise inappropriate. After reading your post and the “chicken little” comments today, I see your point. And even I think that the “blood on your hands” comment is ridiculous! Happy stash reduction!!

  48. If you (and L-B) are solely responsible for keeping LYSs in business (since apparently the industry will topple if you stop buying yarn and mention it on your blog), shouldn’t you get commission? Or something? Maybe some extra yarn tossed your way?

    Sheesh. Chicken Little indeed. Enjoy yourself, good luck on the stash knitting, and have a great holiday.

  49. Good grief! How in the world could 200,(give or take a few knitters),from all over the globe that have and will join this stash diet 2007, put any yarn business, Internet or brick and mortar out of business? It is just not logical.

    I fell into the Elann sale too. (g)

    The Bohus is beautiful. Great colors.