There are two ways to buy yarn. First, you choose a project and buy the appropriate yarn.

The epitome of this is the knit project kit with yarn and pattern and perhaps notions as well. I buy these from la Droguerie, a knitting shop I fell in love with while visiting Paris with #2 daughter. This has the advantage of chic styles and materials, plus the pleasure of remembering that trip. There’s an example in the photo above.

I also buy them from Craftsy when they go on sale, which makes me feel thrifty. I value the convenience there, too, though my experience hasn’t been as good.

One step down is buying the suggested yarn for the pattern. Next is buying the suggested weight. I did this last week when I checked the Christmas project I’m making for #2 son, saw that fingering weight wool was called for, and went to KnitPicks to serarch “fingering weight.” I found a cashmere/merino blend , checked his color preferences by text, and am waiting for the box to arrive.

With this method, you have the right amount of yarn, the right kind of yarn, and you’re ready to go. This is how I used to buy yarn.

The other way of buying yarn is to buy yarn you love. Or souvenir yarn while traveling. Or yarn at Tuesday Morning at an amazing discount. Or at an annual sale at a favorite online shop.

Then you have to figure out what to make with it. You can’t be sure you’ll have enough. You can’t feel sure that the yarn is right for the project. The yarn may sit around for years before being knitted up, and it’s likely that there will be some left over… or that you’ll run out.

The charm and fun of buying yarn in this way is the good part. But there are bad parts.

So here’s an example of that. Rozetti Polaris, a discontinued yarn with sequins. I have three balls. I guess I was imagining a scarf… or maybe I wasn’t imagining anything.

Now I’m thinking it would make a fun top. But three balls won’t make that. It’s discontinued, so I don’t know how much it will actually take.

And I bought those first three balls on the cheap, but if I have to buy a few more to make anything, then I will have to buy them at full price or even higher since it’s discontinued.

On the other hand, having a lush stash, as I currently do, means that I can decide to make a project and most likely just go shopping in my stash and find the materials I need.

Either way, there are pluses and minuses.