So… Anyone who is into Knitting or Crochet will have a “stash”! And people usually treasure them because they are all the little yarn gems they’ve carefully collected. My yarn stash is bad but I guess it could always be worst. Anyway, I’ve just begun Sewing and now have to deal with a new stash already… So I had to do some managing…
All my yarn, and now fabric collections, take up a lot of space in my shoebox (albeit cute!) apartment. And I’m not a fan of hoarding or clutter either! So it takes some vigilance to manage these stashes that can easily grow out of control. Despite being as stringent as possible and trying to use up my old yarn for new projects before I purchase more, I still have a mountain of yarn.
You’d think you could keep it to a minimum by only buying and having yarns to match specific patterns. Once they’re done they’ll be “outta your hair”… But no. The reality is you must have some around for when the mood strikes you – for a quickie pattern or experimenting – or you will have some around when an abandoned project gets unraveled and yarn reclaimed for another project. Or perhaps you went gaga over that one you must have. And lastly, obsessing over yarn just comes with the territory.
But Fear not, it happens. And if it’s your thing then great! But this post is about ways to keep your stash to a bare working minimum without sacrificing too much. So here are some ways I try to keep my stash in check:
Purchase Yarn Only For Specific Patterns So find a pattern you’ll be making before buying your yarn. Then only buy yarn that can accommodate the pattern. The reality is yarns are very unique and hard to substitute unless you’re advanced. Artisan or handcrafted yarns are especially hard to gauge. Projects where size does matter will require you to knit test swatches for the correct gauge or even convert pattern instructions in order to accommodate your yarn. So be weary of impulse buying.
Keep A Yarn Book Don’t buy that “must-have” yarn yet. Instead, take down all the essential details first – Brand, Collection, Style Number, Color, Fiber Content, Yarn Weight and Gauge, Recommended Needle and Hook Sizes, Price, and the Store you found it in! Take a sample if the store permits.
Then consider researching some suitable patterns for it. Then a suitable purpose, will this be a gift? For graduation? Then consider how soon you’ll get to the project and when you’ll need it done. At least this will keep it from hanging around in your house! If the yarn is rare than use your best judgment. It’s probably expensive. So maybe it’s best to wait anyway!
Use the Yarn Book as an archive too. Keep your personal samples from previous projects here for future reference! I have a Yarn Bag actually. I save the yarn labels, tape yarn scraps onto the labels, and throw them in a bag. Then dump them out and wade through them when I need to take stock. When I’m done I just stuff them back in. Sometimes the labels even have the price tag still on them so I can get a general idea of prices. It’s quick and dirty but very effective. I don’t have to waste time copying down all the info either.
Organize and Protect Make it easy to know what you have. I like certain (utilitarian) things like tools and supplies well organized and loosely cataloged! Who wants to waste time looking for cleaning supplies, a screwdriver, whisk, or whatever?! I’d rather have more freedom with pretty/fun things. So try to keep your stash easily accessible by grouping yarns in a way most relatable to you. This is what I do:
I keep similar types of yarns together. For example – Lace Mohairs, Kid Mohair, Angoras together. Or all my artisans handcrafted wools together. All my Noros together. All my cotton baby weights. All my random or novelty yarns together. Etc. Whatever makes most sense to you and your stash.
Ziploc Bags! Then I use lots of large ziploc bags to both organize and protect. I put the above groups in large ziplocs. I leave the tags on and face them out so I can easily pick up a bag and see the label and its details. I even stuff the receipt in there in case I need to know what store I got it from. I also squeeze out all the air before zipping and it saves space! This also helps protect delicate yarns and keep them from unraveling when you’re digging through a mountain of yarn. This also make them easy to pull and look at etc. I just open up a box and rifle through to scan.
For my econo and mass market yarns like Red Heart Super Savers, I just dump into a box. They’re durable (and acrylic) and very easy to find online. Everything from yarn details to where to buy are right on the web. So there’s no need to waste effort on ‘cataloging’ them in this way.
Research and Design Projects For Your Existing Yarn Have lots of yarn lying around? Look up the yarn by name or by brand and check out the manufacturer’s website for patterns tailored to your specific yarn. Oftentimes the yarn or yarn website (even the back of the yarn label!) will have suggested projects just for it. Try to find a suitable purpose for these projects! Use your yarn to make them. Repeat!
If you’re comfortable enough, try to match other patterns that might be suitable for your yarn. Or come up with your own design idea to make use of your yarn.
Don’t Hoard It’s sometimes hard to let go of all those special yarns. Once used up, they’ll be gone for good! You may never find that yarn again!! Let it go. Instead, find a really special and especially fitting project for it. For a very special occasion. Maybe you’ll be excited to see your beloved yarn blossom into it’s full potential (ha!). Then get knitting so it can be properly enjoyed.
Keep a sample, scrap, or swatch in your Yarn Book! Include all the info I listed above for some added security. Truth is you can probably find a very similar and just as precious yarn in the future. As long as you keep the essential information. Simply shop around using that info and see what options come up!