Dilemma: when knitting meets minimalism

I tried, I really did. When Jared and I first moved to Australia, I left my considerable yarn craft stash behind and vowed to never again accumulate a stash, and to only knit one project at a time. Ok. Two. Two projects at a time, maximum.

But then, we decided to stay a bit longer, and we moved to a nice new condo with so much space. I once heard someone refer to our living room as “the yarn corner”. At first, I ordered from stores like the wonderful Jannette’s Rare Yarns, since local options left much to be desired. Then a shop opened in my neighbourhood, better than I could have ever expected. Since I now teach at the Woolarium, my stash has increased by, ah, quite a bit.

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Ah, Sharron, I’ve just realised I still have your loom, tucked away in the back.

I left Montreal with a suitcase of clothes, just enough to take me through the seasons. When I first landed in Melbourne, it was late August, mid-winter, and I was wearing a jersey sleeveless dress and sandals. It was 17 degrees celsius, I was fine, but everyone around me was shivering in their winter jackets. I soon adjusted to this new “winter”, and added store-bought and hand-knit sweaters to my stash.

So how do I balance my love of acquiring beautiful yarns, and of making handknit wearables, with my desire for a simple, pared-down, clutter-free lifestyle? Do I give away my knits to people whom I love, but who might not appreciate the investment, both in time and in money, that goes into a handknit? I’m picturing silk-merino shawls thrown in the washing machine, cashmere hats dropped on the ground.

A third option appears: selling my knits, or knitting for hire. That’s quite controversial in knitting circles: knitting is skilled work, after all, and surely deserves a hefty hourly rate. Right? So would I dare charge someone $15, $20, $30 per hour for a sweater that will take upwards of 300 hours — plus materials? Would anyone even pay those prices?

But so little of knitting is about the finished product. For me, it’s all about the process. So why not knit for others, basically for free, if I can just enjoy the work that goes into it?

Ah, I don’t know, and I don’t know how others do it. So, dear reader: if you craft, if you make more things than you can possibly use up, but feel a compulsion to make, what do you do with the extra?