Every now and then I “sort” my yarn stash. I get a “sorting” urge every few months or so as my cubes and baskets of yarn intended for designs fill to overflowing and start to make me feel a bit stressed. Mostly my yarn stash makes me very happy and I can’t imagine life without it, but what’s the best way to store our stash, and what can we do when it all feels overwhelming?
MY YARN STASH STRETCHES INTO SEVERAL PLACES; IN CUBES SHELVES NEXT TO MY DESK, SOME IN TUBS AND SOME IN BIG WHITE FABRIC BINS … OH, AND SOME IN BASKETS …
Once upon a time, my stash fitted neatly into one plastic tub and yet I remember having feelings similar to some of the feelings I sometimes have now. Those gorgeous skeins brought me joy, sparked my creativity but sometimes, when life got stressful they’d start to feel like an extravagance that I should hurry up and start using.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR STASH? DOES IT FEEL EXCITING, A BURDEN OR A GUILTY PLEASURE?
Do you go through phases of feeling excited, burdened or guilty about your stash, depending on what else is happening in your life?
Not long after I began designing, I started organising my yarn stash by weight to make it easier to see what I had. My system worked for a while but inevitably I ended up getting carried away making piles of yarn for design ideas and then stuffing it back into baskets every which way when I needed to quickly get on with the dinner, collect kids from school or when the reality of all the piles hit me.
These days, with a much larger stash, I’ve settled on a loose system that works for me and I’ve got a good feel for what’s there, even though it isn’t organised by weight or colour.
I’ve got a cube for sweater yarn, a couple for shawl yarns, random yarns that “I’d love to use” in another and big cream bins for yarn and design samples that are in planning or underway. I’ve got separate tubs and cubes for yarn I love but won’t use for designing. It’s simple but I can see everything easily.
My only problem is that when I’m feeling enthusiastic I often move yarn from a cube into a white design tub … and then I move more yarn … until I’ve moved more yarn than I’ve got hands for, and it all gets a bit much and I start to panic I don’t have enough hours in my life to get it all done!
THERE SEEM TO BE ABOUT AS MANY WAYS TO STORE AND ORGANISE A YARN STASH AS THERE ARE KNITTERS.
Some knitters arrange everything by colour, fibre type or purpose. Others diligently photograph everything and store it online. I still can’t get my head around keeping a digital record of everything, I’m a tactile knitter so I love to rummage in boxes and baskets, but I hear lots of knitters say how much they love digital systems for knowing what they’ve got where.
I’m sure that most knitters have no particular system and perhaps that works just fine for them.
IF YOU’RE KEEN FOR A CHANGE, HERE ARE SOME PLACES YOU COULD THINK ABOUT STORING YARN:
- open shelves;
- freezer bags – try some with zip closures;
- plastic bags;
- big bags that come with store-bought blankets and duvets;
- vacuum-pack bags;
Have I missed any?!
MY GUESS IS THAT ANYONE WITH A WOOL STASH (AND WOOLLEN GARMENTS) IS NERVOUS OF MOTHS AND OTHER CREEPY CRAWLIES THAT EAT YARN.
I sure am.
I don’t think there is a sure way of avoiding moths but I’m told they like the dark and dislike lavender, cloves, bay leaves, mothballs and cedar. I’m sure they loathe lovely smelly soap too, so I usually have a few bars tucked into my skeins (as well as with my knitted sweaters and shawls).
Letting air circulate through your stash and frequent dusting and cleaning is helpful to keep moths from settling and laying eggs. Scarily, moths can chew through plastic so even those skeins in zip lock bags aren’t always safe!
GETTING YOUR YARN OUT FREQUENTLY TO ADMIRE IT IS PROBABLY ONE OF THE BEST THINGS YOU CAN DO.
How do we manage to keep from feeling overwhelmed when we gather lots and lots of yarn and make endless plans to knit more than we’re likely to fit into our entire lives?
Because the beautiful skeins just keep on coming don’t they? There’s no chance that any of us will have to worry about never finding gorgeous yarn again. It seems there’s a never-ending supply.
One idea is to de-stash. Believe me, it’s harder than it sounds. Recently I filled a small tub with yarn that I “might” sell or give away. I found a home for a few skeins and then I put the rest back into another tub. It’s not exactly de-stashing.
A better method to approach a de-stash is to go through your yarn quickly and put everything that you don’t totally love to one side. Then take another look at that pile and put back a few things that are sentimental or maybe feel too expensive to get rid of. And then immediately put all the remaining yarn in bags to give away or sell. Be prepared to grab a few skeins back out of the bags when you show other knitters what you’ve got and they start oohing and aahing over it all!
MAYBE IT’LL WORK FOR YOU TO MAKE PLANS TO USE YOUR STASH.
It’s quite an inspiring challenge to restrict yourself to just using stash from time to time. Maybe try it and see how it feels?
Over the years I’ve enjoyed linking patterns with yarn and working my way through them. I usually find it easier to design patterns for my yarn than to fit my yarn to patterns I want to knit, so maybe it’s a good time to play around with making a pattern up yourself?
Perhaps you could try displaying your yarn like art – I’ve found that putting particularly special yarn on display takes away some of the fear of casting it on.
THINK CAREFULLY WHETHER YOU LOVE EVERYTHING IN YOUR STASH. MAYBE A DE-STASH OR “GROOMING” WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA.
At the very least I recommend getting all your gorgeous yarn out of it’s hiding places, taking a moment to enjoy it and remind yourself what you’ve got.
The pleasure I get from seeing and touching all the stunning colours and textures in my stash eases any stressful and guilty thoughts I might be having about having a large stash.
I like to think of my stash as a source of inspiration and immense pleasure – I hope you manage to see your delicious collection like this too.