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It has been one full week of my Stash Less 2016 project and I have been feeling the itch to buy yarn. This is interesting for me because there is no good reason why I want the yarn right now. I’m busy working on my WIPs and getting them done so I can work on different things. I’m also busy waiting for my last purchase of 2015 to get here so I can organize and update my stash on Ravelry. But, the urge to go out and buy new yarn is there.

I think I have identified two words that trigger me into wanting to buy yarn: exclusive and scarce.

Being the trained English major that I am, lets look deeper into those words.

Exclusive (adj): 1a not shared; 1b available to only one person or group

Exclusive is a negative word to most people because it alienates groups of people from doing certain things. On the other hand, it can be a positive word only when you are included in it. When you see the word exclusive, you want to be the one in on it.

For Knit Picks lovers, it is like when they discontinued Felici and we all thought it wasn’t coming back, then it did come back but only for a “limited time” in “exclusive” colorways. Which it had always been that way, but it just wasn’t labeled as such. That exclusive word is an immediate trigger for the feeling that something isn’t going to be coming back and it can make people anxious. This leads into the other trigger word: scarce.

Scarce (adj): deficient in quantity or number compared with the demand

Scarce is also a very negative word that implies exclusiveness. Usually it is used for an item that we need to live such as food or water, so when you brain links together that one item is going to be scarce it can trigger more anxiety. It can be a good thing, because you tend to work longer and harder at something to get the material you need, but when it is an item that isn’t necessary it can become a problem.

For most of us, I would say that we don’t need yarn to survive on a day to day basis. We have food, water, shelter, and clothing to suit our basic needs. Yarn just isn’t necessary, but we like having it around because we can make practical things with it that are also beautiful.

The main point is that unless there is an apocalypse* that comes down and completely ruins everything we have known, yarn just doesn’t warrant that scarce label.

Now, I don’t know about you, but thinking through these words has made me feel better about why I have the impulse to buy new yarn. Somewhere down the line (probably when I first started knitting and didn’t have much money) I had linked those words to all the “good yarn” that I had and the idea that the yarn was scarce made me not want to use it.

There are a couple of things that I have done (or will be doing) to help me resist the idea of buying new yarn:

  1. Unsubscribe to all of my yarn shop e-mails
  2. Stop reading the Flash Your Recent Knit Picks order from the Knit Picks Lovers group on Ravelry

I think removing those two triggers will help me remove the idea that yarn is scarce and that the colors are so exclusive that once they are gone, they are gone! That way, I can settle down and enjoy what I have in my stash instead of trying to hang onto it and not use it.



*And really, if there was a total catastrophe or your country was invaded and you are put in a situation that you live fear of your life, then yarn and hobbies would probably be one of the last things on your mind anyway.


All definitions come from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. It is a much better site now than it was a few years ago. I encourage everybody to go check it out!