At the start of this year I made a goal to focus on knitting from my stash. It has turned out to be a more challenging goal than I'd expected and I've learned some painful lessons about shopping for yarn which I hope I can learn from when it comes to future purchases.
1. Yarn is discontinued frequently. If I'm buying a yarn with the idea of "try before I commit" I need to "try" the yarn almost immediately. There's a lot of single skeins of yarn I've left sit in my stash for a year or two and I've come to discover that even if I LOVE the yarn, I probably can't get any more of it. Case in point -- the tussah silk from ArtFibers was lovely to work with, but Artfibers is closed and I have no hope of easily getting more than the mere 300 sample yards (not even a full scarf's worth) I originally purchased.
2. Don't buy small quantities of yarn. Unless I know I'm looking for yarn for a "small" project, I need to learn to buy larger quantities of the same yarn (say at least 1200 yards) for the reason stated in #1. It's frustrating to decide on a perfect project for a particular yarn but discover you are hundreds of yards short for every pattern that appeals and the yarn or color or dyelot etc. are no longer available.
2. Laceweight yarn is best for, well, lace. For some bizarre reason I had loaded up on several laceweight yarns and I can only imagine this must have been before my first knitted lace project. I don't really like knitting lace. Projects for laceweight yarn that are not lace-laden are rare. I should avoid buying laceweight.
3. Light Fingering is not the same as Fingering weight. Pretty obvious to me now but clearly at some point in time I did not make this distinction.
4. Novelty yarns lose their novelty quickly. I'm looking at many of these yarns now and wondering whatever possessed me to buy them.
5. A stash needs to balance its' weight. Just because I'm attracted to skinny yarns doesn't mean I should buy them exclusively. Many patterns call for worsted or bulky yarns and having none of those weights on hand leads to an unbalanced stash.
6. A stash needs a broad color palette. Having yarn in colors that flatter me is great -- but if I'm gift knitting I might just need to knit in colors that will be appealing to my recipients.
So, how did you build your stash and what lessons is it teaching you as you knit through it?