Keeping Up With the Yarnstashians

Stash (noun): An accumulation of yarn – usually kept at home – which includes future projects, impulse buys, prize/gift yarn, yarn we’ve forgotten about, yarn we can’t stop thinking about, and – most of all – no regrets.

When it comes to yarn stash, we have a lot of feelings. 

“I should use my stash.”

“I really don’t have a stash.”

“I’m embarrassed at how big my stash is.”

“My stash is a mess! Don’t look! Okay, look. But don’t judge!”

“My big stash makes me feel abundant.”

“Not having a stash makes me feel free.”

Whether you’re nursing a stash-enhancement hangover, feeling great about your commitment to minimalism, or trying to keep your stash-envy in check, the way you feel about your yarn stash can affect the way you feel about your knitting. 

Love The Stash You’re With

Yarn stash is the result of decisions that seemed like a good idea at the time. Should I get this rainbow sparkle eyelash sequin-bedazzled lace weight qiviut silk blend? Your heart (or your friend Judy) said yes, and so you bought it. And now, four years later, you stare in disbelief every time you see it. What was I THINKING?

You were thinking creative thoughts while high on yarn fumes, that’s what. We’ve all been there.

But like fashion trends that cycle around every few decades, yarn has a tendency to do the same. It’s on trend, it’s out of trend, it’s on trend again. Just look at bouclé! 

Having a stash means you have something to turn to when you’re feeling creative, and not having a stash means you get to start with a clean slate every time you knit – either way you go, you win. 

The only time you don’t win is when you’re feeling pressure to keep up, to spend more than you can afford, or to take part in an unspoken stash enhancement competition just so you don’t get left behind.

5 Ways to Stash Yarn

(On your own terms)

  1. Buy what you love. Period. It’s easy to adopt a mindset of, “I have enough yarn – I probably shouldn’t buy this.” Hey guess what? If it makes your heart sing, you’ll find a way to use it. There’s nothing wrong with having a yarn stash filled with skeins you love. 
  2. Don’t just buy it just because it’s on sale. Granted, I’ve scored some incredible yarn in the sale bin, but before you bring it home – as yourself if you would have ever considered buying it at full price (if you could have). If you’re thinking I would never normally buy this, but it’s 50% off, then you might want to reconsider. Often our biggest stash regrets come from paying more attention to the discount than to what we’re actually buying. (I’m raising my hand on this one, because I’ve DEFINITELY done this. Many times.)
  3. Buy enough. This might sound a bit counter-intuitive, but there’s nothing worse than having a stash filled with oddballs and single skeins if what you love most is knitting sweaters. If you want to store yarn in a way that makes it easy to use, buy yarn in project quantities. My theory is to never buy a single skein of anything unless it’s fingering or lace weight and I plan on using it for a shawl or hat. When I started buying yarn with projects in mind (not necessarily specific projects, but general project types), my easier to use. And frankly, it’s a lot more fun to “shop your stash” when there’s enough in there for the project you have in mind.
  4. Get up close and personal with your yarn stash on a regular basis. Yarn needs to breathe and see the light of day once in a while (and this is a great way to prevent moths and carpet beetles). Pet your yarn, rearrange it, play with it, squish it. Don’t be ashamed of the yarn you’ve stashed away, love on it. The more you squish and rearrange it, the more inspired you’ll be to use it. (P.S. It’s hard to use your stash if you can’t remember what’s in it.)
  5. Be generous. If you discover that there’s something in your stash that you’ll never use, share it with someone who might love it. Organize a “trade your stash” party with your knitting friends, or create a grab bag of lovely stash yarns to share with a new knitter. Donate it to a good cause. Share with a friend who’s in hard times. I believe in knitting karma, and when you’re generous with your resources, that generosity returns to you in surprising ways.

Whatever you do, don’t try to Keep Up With the YarnStashians. How you fill (and use) your stash is a personal thing; no one else knows what’s right for your budget, space or creativity. Stash what you love, squish it often, and be generous when it no longer serves you. 

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