I don’t know why I feel the need to do this, but I know that I’ve liked goofing around with numbers at least since the 2000 election. Although I have plenty of thoughts on that matter, I really have very little desire to revisit any of them, but the upshot of it was that I used the popular-vs-electoral-vote dilemma to figure out a way to retool the way we count votes, either reforming or eliminating the Electoral College. I did it for an assignment, not my own amusement, but it was one I actually enjoyed, for a class that I never thought I’d even take, let alone pass with a B+.

I love percentages. I could look at GraphJams for days. I’m pretty sure my affection for Jason Segel could be traced back to this moment:

tumblr_kv0f8ljMMM1qa6n9ao1_500At least half a dozen times, I’ve gone through my stash virtually and tracked progressive increase in quality of the yarn I buy, compared to the price. It’s actually doubly enjoyable, because I get to do some mathing and make a graph, and I also get to look at all the lovely yarn I own. I don’t do anything with the data – I don’t even save it anywhere – but it pleases me in some strange way.

What I never have done, at least until now, is actually calculate the yardage of the yarn I have stashed, the amount of yarn I knit in a year, and use that to determine how many years worth of yarn I could knit with if I had to stop buying yarn tomorrow. I guess I just don’t like to think about the idea of not buying any more yarn, because I love yarn. (I think that’s the simplest, truest reason I have so much of it. I would assume that’s the reason anyone who has a decent-sized stash has so much of it. Of course, there are other reasons, like wanting to squirrel it away for harder times, or just plain compulsion, or even in case of apocalypse. I’m sure outrunning zombies would put a damper on fiber acquisition. Then again, it’d probably also put the kibosh on fiber consumption.)

I know I’m not at SABLE levels yet. Well, SABLE is kind of an arrogant term… well, at the very least, an optimistic one. No one knows exactly how long they’re going to live. (Heaven forbid I fail to allow the perspective of the macabre.) However, given the average human life expectancy – okay, the average first-world life expectancy – and given the amount of yarn I go through in a typical month, I do feel reasonably assured that I won’t have to put yarn in my will.

So using a downloaded Excel spreadsheet of my stash, I have 71,724 yards in my stash. It’s not an exact count, although it’s getting more accurate as I go on. I have become a lot better lately about using precise measurements and weighing my leftovers to determine how much yarn I used, and how much I have left. Fastidious, maybe, but helpful when I’m looking at what I have and trying to determine if I have enough left to make a certain project.

And according to my projects page, I have knit 34,113 yards since I began knitting 3 years ago (almost to the day, now that I think about it; it was in November of 2010 when I started). This, too, is not an entirely precise count, since some of the projects have no measurement (most notably, the ones where I used mill ends or no-name vintage acrylic hand-me-downs). But averaging it out, I knit:

  • 1237 yards in 2010. This is about a month’s output (well, a month and a few days). So my monthly average for 2010 is 1237.
  • 10,699 yards in 2011, or about 995 yards/month.
  • 10,638 yards in 2012, or about 887 yards/month.
  • and 11,539 yards in 2013 (so far), or about 1049 yards/month.

Combining 2010 and 2013 (to make an entire year) gives me 11,539 yards and an average of 1064 yards/month.

This year, I’ve knit considerably more than the previous two, or so it would seem looking at the numbers. I attribute that to both diligent record-keeping and faster knitting, but I averaged all 36 months to even it out: 34,113 yards, or about 948 yards/month.

My stash is prone to some discrepancies too, for much the same reason: I just wasn’t as good at keeping track of the yardage at first. This was often a result of not inputting accurate yardage counts on my projects (Rav automatically deducts the amount you used from the amount you have stashed, and I used “remaining yards” to calculate what’s currently in my stash). Sometimes, though, it was just due to not knowing how much I had, and/or not knowing how to measure it. Mostly, this was the result of getting a large quantity of yarn with no measurements on it (mill ends, gifts). I bought one of those Boye yardage counters, but it was a piece of crap. I made a yardage counter out of a walking yardstick, but it’s heavy and bulky and prone to slippage, so I don’t use it much. The spreadsheet shows I have  71,724 yards stashed.

Dividing that by my monthly average of 948, I get 75.7 months, or 6.3 years.

So really, what’s one more skein?