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Knitting & yarn budget. WHAAAAT?

Updated: Nov 15

The very notion of budgeting when it comes to knitting and yarn is well, a little like clouds on a summer day — especially if one knits for creative expression. Who wants to think about setting limits on creativity? That said, with the wonderful yarn available at local yarn shops and online, for some of us setting a budget is a necessity to keep our stashes and our checkbooks in fair balance. So. How much is too much to spend?

If you are like the Newbee Knitters, you have the gift (curse) of seeing potential in just about ANY ball of string which makes it extremely difficult to be discerning in the face of yarn. Especially if the yarn has unique characteristics or colorways or (gasp) is available in sweater quantity. And we have made our share of mistakes.

Unbudgeted sweater quantity. Sits unknit.
Impulse, circa 2017. Bought with no budget in mind, for a long-sleeved sweater. Then I learned single ply pills. Still searching for a get-out-of-stash-free card.

Which is why we set about creating rules for 2023 to help curtail the spend and curate only what we really, truly must possess. Our top 5 rules are as follows:

1. Always precede a LYS visit with a stash review. You've forgotten what you have, trust us. If possible, catalogue using Ravelry stash. This handy profile tool reminds you what you have and provides links to what others made with it. Regardless, shop for what you DON'T have. Maybe the stash review will make your visit a browse, not a spend.

2. Set an annual budget that does NOT exceed the amount of knitting you can finish that year. If you are apt to knit one sweater per month (wow,) then set your limit at enough yarn for that level of productivity. This is hard, but be honest.

3. Buy for love, not price. Settling for a just-ok yarn because the price is good is a recipe for an unfinished object. We are firm believers in buying yarn that inspires, even if it is more expensive. There are limits to this of course, and what inspires one person is different from another. Regardless, checking the sale bin first is always a MUST.

4. Shop with a project in mind. When armed with a pattern, choosing yarn is a simpler affair. That single-ply, indie-dyed fingering weight might be gorgeous but if it isn't a practical purchase like, AT ALL, it'll end up in stash.

5. Set aside knitcon dollars. If you're attending a Sheep & Wool or a VKL, you'll want spending room. Start with a stash review. Then limit your spend to what is actually limited, or not available locally. Skip commercial and head to retailers you've never heard of, always wanted to meet, or indies who produced just for the con.

Other knitting budget ideas can be found here.

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