When Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and I were discussing her book Knitting Rules!, she mentioned she considered it her only truly useful book.
Quick digression: she also, in astonishing Sherlock Holmes fashion, deduced I was a gay Canadian within one second of having met me. A knitting luminary next to her (it was a book signing at the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival, it's not like all fiber arts bloggers are friends (which will never happen, not until Kate Davies apologies for her outrageous behaviour at Franklin Habit's Halloween bash in 2015)) had admired my coat, and I said "Oh, I picked it up at a Boxing Week* sale at Guess for only $89." And somehow, from that, Ms. Pearl-McPhee managed to correctly categorize me. Amazing!
Anyhoo, I imagine she thought it was a useful book because she sometimes explained how to actually knit, instead of just how it feels to knit. There are even patterns (some as simple as, I'm paraphrasing, "knit until it's wide enough, turn, and keep knitting rows until it's long enough." That'll get you a scarf, or a blanket, or a shawl--it's a very useful pattern and one I used myself many times in Uncle Stashley's early knitting career--I'm still using it now for a blanket for a friend's son.)
But in my opinion, the most useful (and funny) bit was a section where she essentially gave you permission to buy all the knitting magazines you wanted.
So, as I was standing in a local yarn shop (Baaad Anna's) on Saturday, trying to justify another yarn purchase, I realised I had come up with my latest blog subject: Reasons for Buying More Yarn. Oh, and here is the yarn I bought (it's sitting on top of a cushion I've sewed, yes, I'm just that talented, I can do two (2) things semi-coherently):
I've got enough yarn for 5-10 year's worth of knitting, depending how complicated I make the projects: a knit 'til it's wide enough then long enough scarf will go fairly fast, but Orenburg Lace shawls, on the other hand, linger. So I had to be pretty crafty to come up with a compelling reason, but luckily I have several, and now so do you!
Reasons for Buying More Yarn
It's for a project that's a present. This is a great reason that no one will blame you for. Nobody expects you to knit a baby sweater for that new special little guy in your life out of Cascade Eco + in the Rainer Heather colourway just because you have it in your stash. You have every right to go to the Local Yarn Shop and buy some new Sweet Fiber Yarns' Cashmerino 20 in Paperbirch so that baby will have the perfect sweater.
It's for practice. You're trying to learn brioche, or double knitting, or crochet, and you know (especially if it's crochet) that if you practice on lovely, fresh, pristine yarn, when you eventually unravel it you will be left with fuzzy, split, definitely sadder-but-wiser yarn. No amount of washing, drying, and re-rolling (which, let's face it, you aren't going to do anyway) will return this yarn's virginity. So buy some fun practice yarn in a bright, light colour (so you can see your stitches easily), and have at it.
It's for class. You've signed up at Three Bags Full to learn to knit a Fair Isle Knitting Hat, and it comes with a kit, or you can assemble your own, and that's a perfectly valid reason for more yarn. Nobody expects you to knit that hat out of dishcloth cotton just 'cause you have an oversupply of it. Nope, grab some Jamieson & Smith in a 2-ply jumper weight (in a variety of colours) and go learn your heart out.
It was given to you. You're not going to turn down yarn, are you? There's a possibility it's not even acrylic (perhaps it was mislabeled), and if it is acrylic after all, then you can use it to knit in front of your friends who think you're a bit snooty. Slight digression again: I was at a yarn estate sale, essentially--the woman ran a yarn business, so it's not as odd as it sounds--and kept picking up balls, reading the label, and putting them back. The nice lady behind the counter said "You seem like a high-end person to me. All the high-end yarn is over on that side," gesturing to my left. She was right. Bags and bags of hand-dyed artisan-spun wool yarn. Bliss! And I learned that even complete strangers can correctly identify me as high-end (as well as gay and Canadian--in fact, come to think of it, perhaps that's what "high-end" is code for).
It's a steal. At that price, you just can't not buy it. It would be a waste of your future money ('cause eventually you'll have to buy something like it) not to buy it now as such a ridiculously low price. All my high-end estate sale yarn came into my clutches for this reason, and every day, before I go to bed, I smile and thank myself for having given myself permission to buy it. (Slight digression: I actually left my ailing father in a bed in the Emergency ward to attend this sale. At the time it seemed reasonable, but when I see it in print it seems horrible. Either way, it demonstrates how committed I am to saving my future self the big dineros).
You don't have it already. This reason is a bit dicey. After all, you don't have most yarn already (I hope! Maybe your home resembled the Library of Congress, only with shelves of yarn instead of shelves of books, and if so, I'm available for adoption). But if you really, really don't have this yarn (maybe it's your first ball of lace weight, or you've never bought a hand-dyed before, or it's green and speaks to you when most of your stash is beige or grey), then sure, you should buy it. Uncle Stashley wants you to live life to the fullest!
You do have it already. See, between this reason and the prior reason, you can buy pretty much any skein you like. Why should you buy more if you have it already? Well, duh, so you'll have more of it. Now you can make a larger project than previously planned. Or you buy a different colour, so you can introduce a pattern into the planned project. Or even just for peace-of-mind, in case you feared running out after the front, back, and one and a half arms were completed. It's worth it.
Your existing yarn is all spoken for. This was one of my reasons for the ball of red yarn, above. I'm going to make a Red Cabled Viking Hat by Desiree Bowman, and, surprise, none of my existing stash yarn has been pre-assigned to a Cabled Viking Hat. If I were to borrow some of the yarn that's intended, eventually, one day, for my Hrim sweater, and make the hat from that, then when Hrim sweater's day finally came in 2023, gasp, I'd be short a skein, so no go. Now, the lovely thing about this particular reason is that you can invoke it almost always ... you may have a good 50-100 projects planned, but there are literally an infinity of other unplanned projects out there. So just pick one of them, and buy the yarn for it. All the yarn I bought for Sophie's Universe came with this justification, for instance.
You're on vacation. This was another one of my reasons for the ball of red yarn, above, except that I had to stretch the definition of "vacation" to encompass "have travelled slightly further in my own city than I ordinarily do." Your yarn is the perfect souvenir: practical, yet able to conjure up fond memories of that special, magical trip, when you travelled slightly further in your own city than you ordinarily did. Or maybe Paris, or Iceland, your vacations may be better than mine, I don't judge. Buy the yarn, remember the trip, knit something evocative.
It's Support-Your-Local-Yarn-Shop day. There was a sign at (Baaad Anna's) touting this, so that's reason enough in itself. But when I went to Three Bags Full they'd never heard of it (but told me it was local record shop day, so I learned something new). I think possibly their sign was lying to me, like the one at the breakfast place saying the answer to everything is "bacon." I tried it, and it fails pretty quickly. For instance, bacon didn't win the 2017 Oscar for best foreign-language film (it was The Salesman), nor is it a parallelogram with equal sides and angles (that's a "rhombus").
The yarn itself is a present. Like when you're trying to convince your nephew to knit ... you can't give them stash yarn, for Pete's sake (and besides, it's all spoken for), it has to be a new ball in their favourite light-but-bright colour. No one wants to learn to knit with Grandma's leftover Woodward's Sport yarn, I can assure you.
You need it for scientific research purposes. For instance, you're listening to a podcast about knitting, and the charming hosts start going on and on about something like Madeline Tosh, and you realise you've never actually knit with it. Well, go get some, and find out what all the fuss is about. That seems fair.
So when you're standing in the aisle of your local yarn shop, picture Uncle Stashley on your shoulder, and yes, of course you should buy it.
Apropos of nothing, it's spring time, and here's a picture of my garden in the early evening. Mostly I just want to be smug, in case you're from somewhere colder and not as green:
On the Needles
(I will mark with a ! when I have advanced beyond last mention)
!Cabled Viking Hat (On 3rd round)
!Sophie's Universe crochet project (Round 7 done). I got horribly stuck at Round 8 (I can't get my crochet hook through the back top strand of my chains) but Ravelry-to-the-rescue: I asked if it really mattered if I just went under both top strands instead, and other crocheters gave me permission to cheat.)
!GGN Norwegian Ski Sweater (basically knitting until it's 16 inches, and I'm more than halfway there)
!Vice Versa scarf (double knitting!) continuing the fourth row of squares
!Persian Dreams Blanket (row 29 of the second hexagon)
!A Random Blanket (about 1/4 through)
On the backburner:
Feather Duster Lace Shawl (I'm repeating, for the first time, the body section)
A Church Mouse sock (post-heel)!
World's Simplest Mittens (prior to thumb)
A Hitchhiker Scarf (started over a year ago. It's for when I'm needing mobile knitting and every other project is stuck at a complicated point. I will be in the middle forever, I guess)
Simply Ribbed Scarf (again, it's ancient, intended for emergency mobile knitting, and I'm in the middle)
*Boxing Week = the week after Boxing Day, a Canadian Holiday based on a forgotten tradition of boxing up leftovers, unwanted presents, and anything you want rid of, and giving it to the poor. It's been replaced by garage sales and overeating, but the holiday persists. Shops extend it out for a whole week and entice you to spend your Christmas-present money with them. Guess has the best sale.