More than a lifetime

Ravelry is great. A community of people who love to knit and crochet. They have all kinds of ways to interact with others and one of them is your stash pages.

I’ve recently updated my stash pages with just about every little bit of yarn I’ve collected over the years. Some of it I’ve listed in the trade/sell section and some is just in my regular stash pages.

Well– I’ve been collecting for over 30 years now, and as you might imagine, my stash was a bit out of control. The stash pages ask you information about your stash– kind of yarn, yards per skein, numbers of skeins, colors, etc. They also have the ability to download in excel format.


I finally faced the facts. I downloaded the spreadsheet. Calculated the total yardage of yarn I have by each yarn weight. I sampled how long it takes me to knit one yard with the project I’m currently working on. I figured that this was worst case– as its a textured stitch with something different every few stitches. I adjusted to take longer for the lighter weight yarns and less time for the heavier. So now I have an estimate of how long it might take me to knit– by hand– the yarn I have in my stash right now.

Guess how much time I have? 225 years !

Thats knitting textured stitch patterns every day. 2 hours a day. For 225 years. WOW.

Of course, there are plenty of ways to improve this number and make it work within my expected life-span. More hours per day. Stockinette stitch. Combining yarns and using larger needles. Working them up in simpler projects with little shaping. Using crochet rather than knitting. Weaving with some. Working some of it up on the knitting machines.

I admit. Part of my reasoning when I bought some of this yarn is to have something to do when I retired. Thats why I still bought yarn even when I was not finding time in my busy life to knit any of it up. Another reason I bought the knitting machines.

So– in addition to the thoughts above, I think I’m going to apply a wonderful technique from database performance (my other life) to this situation: parallelism! I love to come up with patterns. I love to do the math to figure out how to knit them in various sizes. I love to knit the samples up to make sure it works. Now, I’ll just have to up how many test knitters I have working on those at any one time– and use yarn from my stash. Lets see… if I can keep 10 projects going at any one time, then it should cut us down to 20-some years. That might make it even possible sometimes to get some new yarn!