Every knitter and crocheter has one… it’s called a ‘yarn stash’. And, if left unchecked, your stash can quickly turn into an unkept mess that just seems to keep on growing (on it’s own, of course!). But don’t worry! I’m here with a step-by-step-guide to organize your stash and get it under control.
Finding yarn in your stash is the key to using it
How many times have you bought yarn for a project… only to later discover that you had a very similar yarn at home? That’s because if you can’t find a yarn quickly and easily, you’ll forget that it’s there.
So, organizing your yarn so that you know what you have (and know how to get to it) is key. I’m not going to go into details about a specific organizational system (bins vs. shelves vs. baskets), because you have to find what works for you.
I am going to show you how to go through what you own and get your yarn under control.
Step one: drag it all out and sort it
Now, I know that some of you with larger stashes are rolling your eyes right now. But seriously, how can you know what you have unless you actually get it all out and look at it?
You can’t just say, ‘oh, I know what’s in that bin’… because you probably don’t. So, get it all out.
Now that it’s out, sort it into piles. You’ll have to pick categories that make sense to you. Mine are: yarn for ‘real projects’ (i.e. yarns I have multiple skeins of), yarn for one skein projects (usually pretty sock yarn), yarn for custom stuffed animal orders (worsted weight yarns that are partial skeins), scrap yarns and get rid of.
It’s important to be honest about your piles. Yarns only make it into my ‘scrap yarn pile’ if it’s a partial skein that I would actually use to make a scrap afghan. Nothing under 20 yards. No laceweight. No eyelash. Be honest with yourself!
Now these piles may take up your entire living room. I know it’s scary… but you’re after something better!
Catalog, wind and store
Now that you’ve divided your yarn into piles, resist the temptation to just put it back on the shelf!
Is some of your yarn tangled? Were you able to see it in its old storage space? If not, it’s time to rethink your strategy. Here’s what I do:
Of course, we all fantasize about beautiful shelves that allow us to store pretty skeins in full view. But, many of us don’t have that kind of space, and need to use bins or boxes. So, it’s important to take note of what you have.
I love the ‘stash’ tool on Ravelry – it allows you to list the yarn that you have and even list it ‘for sale or trade’ if it’s a yarn that you don’t want anymore.
If your yarn is in full skeins, then it’s probably behaving itself without getting tangled. However, if you have partial skeins, they have a propensity to get themselves in knots.
NOW that your yarn is neat and cataloged, you can put it back on your shelf!
Sure, your yarn looks neat… but don’t stop there! Do yourself a favor and make plans with the yarn while it’s still fresh in your mind.
When I’ve gone through my yarn, I like to match yarn with projects. That way, when I’ve finished a project and am itching to start another… I already have one (that uses yarn from my stash!) set up. That keeps me from buying more yarn on a whim.
For example, I have 10 skeins of this yarn in a color that just doesn’t flatter me at all:
My plan is to over-dye the yarn in brown and knit a Buttercup. If I didn’t make the plan, I would probably just leave that yarn languishing!
Weigh your yarn for project planning
If you have partial skeins, it can be hard to know how much yarn you have- making it hard to plan a project. A real help is to weigh your yarn. I have an inexpensive digital scale that I use to weigh mystery bits of yarn. By using the information on the ball band, you can calculate the yardage… and plan a project!
Phew! That was a lot of work… but now you can sit back, knit, and enjoy your beautiful stash!