Almost like a Salad

Yesterday our internet was getting fixed, or changed or whatever it is that the guy and Joe were up to (there was much talk of firewalls and routers and I sort of checked out after that) and thus unplugged,  I commenced with the semi-annual Tossing of the Stash.

My stash is not an insignificant beast.  It’s also probably not as big as you imagine it to be, and I used to think that it wasn’t as big as I wanted it to be, but over the years I’ve come to think that it’s just about right.  Most of it is upstairs, in what we affectionately call “The Stashroom.” (The rest is downstairs* we’ll talk about that later.)

The Stashroom is a wee room upstairs at the end of the hall. It’s very small – if it had proper furniture in it, it would hold perhaps a single bed and a little bedside table – with no room left over for a dresser or anything. It’s tiny. It was likely built as a box room in this old house, and a few years ago I took it over for the purposes of containing and supporting the (upstairs) stash. (I took a few pictures of it way back when I first pulled it together.)** All my patterns and books are in there, and all the small quantities of yarn, and the spinning stash.  (Mostly.) It’s pretty orderly, but every time I need something, I go in and stir through the lot of it, and because I am a normal human being, I don’t always tidy up after myself – or I do tidy up after myself, but not very well.  I do things like buy sock yarn and toss it in the stash, not caring what cubby it goes in… or I go through the stash hunting for something and getting things out of order. I use pattern books and don’t put them back in the right place (I have kinda a knitterly version of the Dewey Decimal system going on for my books – and it is so much less neurotic than it sounded right there. I have hundreds of knitting books, magazines and patterns.  There has to be some way of finding things.) Essentially, the highly structured organizational system I have comes undone over the course of a half year, and I go in and put it back together, to try and prevent chaos from taking over the entire thing.

Tossing the Stash has benefits beyond tidying up – because I assure you that while I rather adore being able to go into that room and know exactly, precisely where to put my hand on a half skein of blue DK from seven years ago (which I had to do on Sunday and it only took a minute) that’s not enough to get me to deep clean and organize a room in the house twice a year. (If that were the case, the cupboard under the television certainly would not have any VHS tapes in it, which it totally does.) When I Toss the Stash – I do a whole bunch of stuff. I take everything off the shelves and out of the cubbies, and I give all of those a good wipe. Then I decide if the way I’m organizing things still makes sense, or if I really do need one whole cubby for self-striping yarn

selfstripestash 2016-03-09

(I do) or if it would make more sense to keep the conservative sock yarn away from the wilder stuff – so that I can see at a glance if it’s possible to make Joe anything. (That makes sense too.) Then I start putting everything back in, culling the herd as I go. That chunky mint-green brushed mohair?  Yeah. I’m not going to use that. Ever. I blame the 80’s for its existence at all. That sock yarn that I bought four skeins of – but then figured out that it’s so splitty that it makes Zsa Zsa Gabor look like she loves commitment? Gone. How about the skein that’s the really weird shade of pink that I would never buy but somehow own? I don’t even wonder how it got in there, I just help it find a forever home. Any particular reason I own three copies of The Knitters Handbook? Heck no. I think I keep rebuying it because I love it so much, but now two friends have copies too.  I’ve even started letting go of some of the magazines. It’s hard for me, because somewhere in the centre of my being is a bit that believes that I am probably the only person in the whole world who has copies of Family Circle Easy Knitting all the way from 2000-2005, but I’ve never used them, they’re taking up a lot of room, and someone else is going to have to have responsibility for curating that particular collection.  They’re out of here.

Everything gets a quick dust off, vacuum and inspection before it goes back in. This is Toronto, the moth capital of the world (I made that up, but for sure there are a lot) and this house is more than 130 years old. That means I have to think about the potential for mice and carpet beetles, both of which can live in the walls – along with moths. (Have I ever told you that many houses here in Toronto have wool as insulation in the walls – or plaster and lathe with horsehair are the walls? DELICIOUS.) All those beasts like privacy – dark, quiet, undisturbed places, and so pulling the stash out and putting it back in again means disturbing those places, and I will at least spot something bad before it’s really bad.  (I also mostly keep my yarn in ziplocks. All those beasts can chew through them, but at least it keeps dust off, and would slow them down.)

At the end of the whole thing, I have a more streamlined stash, and a safer stash, and a tidier stash, and I can find things really easily.  Things are sorted neatly into cubbies, beads are with the bead stash, buttons are in the button stash and I know just where my pincushion is, and there are no T-pins stuck in it. (They are in their proper spot with the blocking stuff.)  I look at that little room in its organized glory, and I love it. It’s not perfect, and it’s not a beautiful studio space with twinkle lights and a good place to keep an ironing board (dare to dream) but it is the corner of this tiny house that holds the yarn, and it will do neatly.

cornerstash 2016-03-09

It’s like having a yarn store that’s open 24 hours a day, is filled with only things I like (or liked at one time – I can’t explain the mint green brushed mohair) where everything is free.  Space was made, spiritually and physically, the yarn and I had a good visit, and it was fun. *** Absolutely the only downside is that having a really good look at all your yarn makes you want to knit it all – and it’s no cure for startitis, I tell you that.

*I keep sweater quantities, “extra” sock yarn (sorted by colour) weaving and spinning tools and basic worsted weight wool in lots of colours downstairs in my office. It’s a pretty big cupboard. I’ll show you sometime.

**Actually, looking back at those pictures, I can see that despite dedicated culling, the stash is larger than it was in 2010. Making a mental note to get a grip.

***Sort of.  It was still cleaning, so… you know.

162 thoughts on “Almost like a Salad

  1. My stash is out of control right now. My plan for last weekend was to tidy it up but I ended up knitting. And I, too, have a wicked case of startitis. Which is not helping in the least.

  2. I feel you. I have a huge pile of WIPs in various stages and yet. I want to cast on all the things and have plans to start the Boo Knits Danse Macabre MKAL and my very first sweater and I want to start a scarf pattern and and and….

    At least your stash has a nice order to it. I’d love to have a room to keep my yarn/fiber as it is they are all in zip storage bags and baskets and most of it is by fiber content and then I have my fiber basket and sock yarn basket, but a lot is not in any order at all and it is a lot and they are all jumping up and down screaming “Pick Me!” “Knit Me! Knit Me!”

  3. Organizing yarn sounds fun. My stash is currently contained to a couple baskets in the hall closet…Not too bad but also not too accessible. Hopefully my child will someday be old enough such that I can release the yarn stash from the hall closet without fearing he will unwind it all while I am in the shower to make a monster trapping device of some sort.

  4. I am fortunate enough to have plenty of space for fiber, but over the past few years, it has been revealed that I will take home any amount. Just happy to have discovered this personal flaw in time to be able to work with all of it before the end point of my life expectancy.

  5. Great minds think alike – I apparently tossed my stash at the weekend, without knowing that’s what I was doing – and feel all the better for it!

  6. We moved a couple years ago and I finally have a space just for knitting things. It is a nook, rather than a room, but I love it. It desperately needs a spring clean, though. Because bags of yarn are starting to pile up on the floor.

    Recently I heard a joke about this sort of thing, though.

    A woman says to her friend, “I can totally fit all my yarn into a box.”

    Her husband says, “stop calling our house a box.”

    It’s been making me laugh for a good week now.

  7. okay. when the hubby an I bought the current house I made sure I got “my room.” In it, desktop computer, bookshelf, and small walk in closet. I have lots of space to load my books, and yarn in the closet. The walk-in closet had shelves on both walls but the amount of books, boxes of yarn that were loaded onto the shelves caused the shelves to collapse under the weight. Who knew my rowan magazine in a stack weighed so much. Sadly the yarn has extended itself to the room itself. I can not say that my yarn fits in the walk-in closet. It did not when I moved into the house and even though I have given large trash bags (5!) to a fellow co-worker my stash exceeds all serious attempts at control and management. If you want pictures let me know.

  8. Last summer when so much of California was on fire, many of our fellow knitters, crocheters, and spinners lost not only everything they had made and were making, but their stash. That rattled a lot of us knitters one county to the southwest. Many of us when through our stashed and donated lots to a LYS that added a free pattern that went with the yarn and either knitting needles or crochet hooks to make the patterns (pretty amazing huh?). It was a wonderful way to pass things on with many of the receivers making hats, scarves, and gloves for their neighbors.

    So as you organize yourself and inspire us to, please consider putting some things aside for karma balancing gifts and donating things your friends don’t want to those who do a lot of charity knitting.

    • I love this! I do wish we had precise and efficient ways of matching supply to demand. One of the things that keeps me from getting rid of things is the fear that I am just padding the landfill. We’re nowhere near hoarders but could still part with some things if I could figure out a way to feel good about it. Maybe these comments will inspire some software genius somewhere to improve upon the current systems.

      • Do you live in the US? If so, search for free cycle and your city name. You can post offers of your old stuff and almost always someone will take it off your hands. I once handed over a good dozen, random leftover paint cans to an ecstatic Mom in the middle of what must have been a strange mural project. (Actually, you could check even if you don’t live in the US. I have no idea where all free cycle exists.)

  9. Organizing is such a trial for me, cuz it’s so completely opposite to how my brain works. I struggle with it.
    About buying several copies of the same book: I got an app for my phone that lets me store my entire library (of books at least. Not magazines sadly). I buy a ton of books used and that app has saved me time and again from buying books I already own.

  10. I recently did a big stash toss with my daughter (who is 6 and a relatively new knitter). She loved it, I think in no small part because I gave her stuff that I wasn’t ever going to use. But it is always a bit of fun to find the yarn you don’t remember buying or completely forgot you had.

  11. I did a major culling last year which involved giving away a yarn store sized inventory. It was such a relief to see it go. I still need to cull through some more so that I can even have my yarn in one place for a semi-annual visit like this. I do kind of blame you though Steph. Those big collapsible bins that were sold at the first Sock Summit are awful easy to fill up and hide away in corners under the desk.

    • Yes, I like the idea of Private Yarn Store better than SABLE also. My daughter likes to go shopping in my stash because I buy yarn that she loves but can’t make enough room in the family budget for more than a skein because of the prices. I love to share it with her and even make sure I find pretty DK and Worsted yarns for my granddaughter to “borrow”. The only rule is that if it has been put into a project bag with needles and pattern – it has to be cleared with me first before it heads home with then.

  12. That mint-green, brushed mohair would make a lovely bolero for you . . . 😉

    At least the cabinet under the TV doesn’t have any Betamax tapes — or does it?

  13. In order to make tossing the unwanted stash more palatable, why not find groups that want yarn? The bright colors could go to programs that teach children to knit, the other could go to a women’s shelter, or a group that makes chemo hats, or newborn hats. I used to make chemo hats and put yarns together in wild, beautiful patterns. The chemo ladies liked them. If you know your yarn is going to a good cause, you will be happier to donate it. BY the way, if you ever decide to downsize the needle stash, I am sure these groups would LOVE them too.

    • I meant that the multiple yarns in chemo hats were wild beautiful combinations (not patterns) Putting yarns together not only uses up the odd yarns, but creates absolutely beautiful original hats. I have a free pattern on ravelry that shows how to make chemo hats with multiple strands of yarn. If you are interested, the pattern is called “Quick Winter Hats”.

      Good luck with the stash!

    • Here in Portland, OR, Africa House teaches women refugees from many African countries how to knit. It started as English Language lessons, and the women (who didn’t have a common language among them) were so shy that the lessons went badly. But when they started learning to knit, and knitting together, they also started chatting and laughing. They love acrylic yarns in bright colors, so when my knitting group gets donations of yarns we wouldn’t touch, we know where to give them away.

      • Brilliant. This makes me so happy. Some of us used to knit with a diverse group of newcomers in Edmonton. Some of the women from different parts of Africa also showed us how they did their beadwork, it was very interesting.

  14. i try to sort through the stash at least once a year just to remember what I have and where it is. my yarn is mostly in clear plastic tubs (save from critters) so I can see what I have without opening it. acrylic is in the closet. sock yarn has it’s own cupboard, the rest is on shelves in the bedroom and living room. last winter I finally sorted through my magazines and found some dating back to 1970! if there was a pattern I really liked I scanned it and got rid of the magazine.

  15. I feel positively veracious with my yarn stash contained in a very deep drawer in a dresser. Ahem…we will, however, not discuss the quilt fabric stash that fills my bedroom with just enough room for my bed.

  16. There must be something in the air. I have a small room that now is my “craft” room. I like to say “replace the ft with a c and you describe the room.” So I am cleaning it up. You can now walk into the room and even see the piles of yarn! I take inspiration from you but I will never be THAT organized.

    Oh Presbytera, you make me laugh out loud. Thank you.

  17. I aspire to a well curated, nice displayed, inspirational yarn stash/knitting corner. My meager discretionary spending resources (i.e. spare cash) never seems to accumulate enough for the beautiful antique Chinese cabinet and wooden rice pails at Hinchcliff & Lee around the corner. In the meantime bins and bags under the billiards table will have to do…

  18. It’s like art on the walls I always think… I look at it all and enjoy it. Even if it does make me get all yearny. Just decided, though, I want to use it all before I lose my teeth. At least some of all of it. Then I bought 1,600+ 25 gram cones of Australian Tapestry wool (2ply) be a use I got it ridiculously cheap from someone who is downsizing, and there are 370 colours which I could sell some of surely? So you just have to take opportunities when presented. Trouble comes when you have mega-stashed for many crafts, but WTF, it’s my house.

  19. I retire from full time lawyering this August and right up there with trying out yoga, and walking the dogs every day is a big stash tossing like this.. I cleared out a lot when we moved 4 years ago but it’s not organized. And now not only do I have yarn, fiber, roving for spinning but I am now a weaver and have a beginning weaving thread stash with the big floor loom. Let me retire please!!!!!!!

    • oh definitely try yoga – I have been at it about 1 1/2 years now – what I call “easy” yoga, mostly stretching and slow flow and I cannot adequately describe how much better I feel and how much more agility and balance I have. Really a life changer for me.

      • Oh, I do hope your retirement will be full of knitting and weaving and yoga and other good things. Such a lovely prospect.

  20. You aren’t the only one with Family Circle Easy Knitting library. I have them too, and am in the Tdot…so if you fall into a panic after culling them from the herd, I’m your woman!

  21. Do you have any idea how many people have named their book “The Knitting Handbook”????? I just went over to to order it, since if it’s so good you’ve bought it 3 times over, I think I need to add it to my collection of books…there are zillions. Seriously. Who is the author of the version you find so essential, if you don’t mind sharing?

      • So in my “basement” stash, I found a box of my mother’s McCall’s N&C collection, 1969-1990. While I will likely never use any of the patterns (many older than me…), I still cannot image getting rid of them…

        Seriously though, thank you for the post and motivation. I will be moving in a few months, and, just this morning, I was wondering how I am ever going to manage packing up the stash (upstairs, downstairs, basement, plus a pair of socks/mittens in every purse/backpack…)!

      • Ha! I have Vogue Knitting Magazines from the 1940s,’50s and ’60s! Not all of them, mind you, but still quite a few 😀

    • Seventeen magazine Make it! Spring/summer edition, winter 1968 Vogue Knitting, and coats and Clark knit and crochet for children 2-12 , circa 1969. And I just finished a sweater out of that one.

  22. I need to take a day or two to do this with my stash. I have a closet (a full sized closet) with rubbermaid bins, plus my books on the bookshelf. I currently have a bag in there with my “I’m getting rid of you” yarns but I need to toss the stash and figure out what I have and maybe, you know, *organize* it….right now, it’s a rather large hodgepodge of yarny fibery goodness, though I have started a physical spreadsheet of my stash. I should get that finished. Maybe I’ll kick the boys out for a day or two and get it done. Or not.

  23. Is it safe to store your yarn for periods of time in Ziploc bags? I was told yarn would “rot” if I did that. Just curious.

  24. However, the other side of this coin is…that after a period of time I know where the various “out of place” items are; and, once I tidy and combine….I can’t find ANYTHING when I want it………

  25. I need to start putting my stash in zip locks too. Not that we have a moth problem, but it would probably just keep it (being a college student who moves back and forth once a year) from accidentally taking a tumble in a puddle during moving.

  26. I inherited the remains of my gran’s stash – mostly odds and ends which took me an age to sort and classify. Half the yarn was less than a ball (and without ball-band), and all the tiny little balls she’d saved as remnants from this or that project had decided to unravel and club together to form a Gordian knot.

    Now it’s untangled and sorted roughly by weight (4ply/DK/10ply/bulky) and dwelling in a variety of plastic tubs and shoe-boxes in the cupboard over my desk. What I’ll do when we move to a smaller house I don’t like to think…

    • What I did with a lot of that sort of stuff from my mom’s stash, was put it in two bags. One went to the daycare and one to the kindergarten, for crafts. Knitting time is too precious to spend on those bits and bobs, and the teachers were grateful.

  27. I do the ziplock bag thing too, as well as periodic shelf cleaning. I notice that Custom Woolen Mills in Alberta has some recipes for do-it-yourself anti-moth sachets, which I’ve been meaning to try. Wondering if you’ve ever tried something similar. BTW, the moth problem here on the north shore of Lake Ontario is nothing like the moth trouble we experienced while living in Wash, DC. Winter seems to be good for something!

  28. I have some wonderful cedar incense I burn regularly in my stash room to help deter beasties. It is infused with all those wonderful oils those bugs don’t like and I love it’s smell even though it’s not a sweet incense, (probably why I’m partial to it). It’s by morning star in case anyone cares.

    • …ditto! ALL of my handspun and purchased yarn is in ziplocks too! Yikes! I just fought an epic battle with a fly invasion in my attic!


  29. Shhh, don’t tell my husband, but you are not the only one in the world to have those Family Circle Easy Knitting Magazines (I also have all the Vogue Knitting as well).

    I really need to go through my stash sometime soon.

    God bless.

  30. I had a good laugh at the line about ZsaZsa and wondered how many of your followers know who she is. Yesterday I was having my hair done and told my hairdresser about a trip to Westport, Connecticut, saying to her, “You know, the town where Paul Newman lived.” She said, “Who?” You can tell she’s A LOT younger than I! LOL!

  31. The thing about having a stash is that I found myself spending more time and energy acquiring and maintaining the stash than I did knitting! Last January I gathered all the patterns I wanted to knit in 2015 and put them in Ziploc’s with the necessary yarn. I went through the rest of my stash and donated the majority to a local knitting charity. Since then I’ve limited myself to purchasing what I’m going to use next. I’ve saved a ton of money and I don’t have to worry about colors going out of style or my tastes changing. So far I haven’t wished I had anything back that I gave away. Might not be for everyone but it’s been really freeing to me!

    • my small walk-in closet (see below comment) has an old lingerie chest in it as well and has all my “kits” – yarn I’ve matched with patterns and into ziplocks. I have not gone so far as to give away everything else tho. yikes!!

    • I did this with quilt fabric a few years ago and didn’t miss any of it either. Now I’m a project knitter and not a stash knitter, purchasing what I need when I need it, except for a plastic box housing some soft and pretties I love to fondle. Much less fiber guilt and no huge legacy stash for my heirs to find a home for. Freeing, indeed!

  32. When I moved to Boise, a small bedroom became my craft room. One wall is windows (great light) and an old kitchen table with my sewing machine on it; one wall is two IKEA cubby bookcases which hold all my books, needles, my Koigu collection (don’t ask), needlepoint and cross stitch supplies. Wall 2 is my long desk/project area (Ikea) and drawers; Wall 3 is the closet door and an antique chest of drawers that has all my needlepoint canvasses. The yarn lives in the small walk in closet and is contained in plastic drawer tall thingeys, organized by color. I can see into the clear drawers, and finding things is easy. When yarn starts to pile up on the floor, I toss the stash and bag up unwanted yarn to give to my sil who makes it into all kinds of things that get gifted and donated everywhere! It’s a win win 🙂

  33. I also thrilled to the description of 24/7 LYS in one’s house. My favorite yarns right in my room makes me feel cozy. I also use zip locks and I also use lavender sachets in the various cubby holes. A few years ago I filled two black garbage bags (first culling) and gave them away to various shelters and homes for people. Since then I’m more careful with purchases (translates: I buy more expensive yarn)…. :]

  34. I’m sorry I can’t remember where I read it, but recently read about a program to teach knitting to prisoners. It was a uplifting read. They can always use yarn and needles, but the program requires certain type of yarn and size of needles. Anyway, another good charity!

    Thanks for the laughs.

  35. I’m going to try to toss my stash a little during spring break. Heck, even getting the “craft room” a little organized would be great.

    • I’m a knitter but also a retired librarian and an avid reader. I always investigate what books are on friends’ shelves. I own and love We Took To the Woods! Why is it with your stash?? Is there a knitting connection I’ve forgotten?

  36. Looking forward to see what startitis brings…

    Thanks for giggles Steph, I really needed those on my way into work today.

  37. No, Steph, you can’t fit a wee table and a chair in there, but you can — and SHOULD — have twinkle lights (by which I assume you mean the strings of tiny lights used on Christmas trees). Not only does a string of lights illuminate, it enlivens. And if you get the LED kind, it uses less than 5 watts for a 20-foot string. I plug in a string that runs from my kitchen through my back hallway at dusk each evening instead of turning on conventional kitchen or hall lights every time I’m just putting a glass back in the kitchen, taking laundry back to the bedroom, going to the yarn room for a skein to wind, etc. also lovely gloom-chasers on long, gray winter days.
    And if there’s no wee outlet in the wee stash room, there are solar-powered strings, too!

  38. Anyone who wants to destash and who goes to rhinebeck, let me know. I run a yarn, fabric, and craft supply sale at my library. People donate unwanted items from their stash and we hold a big sale once a year. It’s not far from Rhinebeck and I usually go and could meet you there.
    And just think, if you bring items to Rhinebeck and donate them to our library, you will have to refill whatever you brought them in AND you’ll certainly have room in your stash for Rhinebeck purchases!

  39. Last I checked people, Toronto was still part of Canada, not part of Donald Trump Land. U might want to change that on your Tour Schedule page

  40. My spinning stash that will not fit in the downstairs wheel room is in the attic. Went up there to get my sewing machine and found, crawling out of the only window in the attic..flies!! It was like a horror movie. Dark hot attic and flies crawling all over that window!! My spinning fleeces were right under that window!

    I almost shreaked!! I was unable to move or breath for a second. I ran down stairs and proceeded to take the only action possible. Fly spray! I moved my stash to a safe place and went to war. There were so many of them it too 3 tries to get the all. Now I have to investigate were they came from and how to end a second invasion. It makes me wonder what else is in this place. My spinning fiber is going to a new home..after a complete inspection of course!

    This is a new home we bought in Nov 2015 and it is beginning to reveal it’s secrets. This was one I am glad it told!


  41. I am curious about whether you keep a sort of yarn log? A book of quantities, type, colorway, lot, etc. and the end result? Or does the physical stash speak for itself?

    I keep track of yarn on paper, with numbered boxes. I cross off yarn and note the project that it was used for as I go. I also have project notebooks where I actually include a bit of the yarn, along with my notes. (It sounds very organized. In reality, it works some of the time… when I am consistent.)

      • I tried that: people kept asking to buy yarn I had in my stash there, even not marked “will sell or trade”. It was annoying to me. I feel that with it catalogued offline, it is my own. Selfish me…

          • I’m not sure why, either… or it could be that I had a low tolerance for it happening, even two or three times, as it was yarn I was really looking forward to using.

          • When you catalogue a yarn, you could put in the ‘notes’ section “Absolutely NOT for sale, under any circumstances!!!” Then you’d only get inquiries from people who really, really love a challenge.

  42. I really enjoyed this post. I also have been going through my crafting stash and getting rid of things that no longer appeal to me. And it feels good to pass it on to someone else to enjoy. Thank you for making me feel like it is a normal thing to do. I was beginning to feel like I was a bit OCD with my latest clean up!!

  43. I love how my stash is like a store. Sadly, this year our budget does not even extend to the upcoming Yarn Fest in Loveland, especially since the temptation to wildly blow the budget ($0) is too great to resist. So I have already designated one of the Yarn Fest days to reorganize my stash. It will be a way to shop and revel in yarn without spending. And it will be almost as fun!

  44. So I’ve just read all the comments. These are my people! We have a petite, retro, three bed semi. We co sleep with our two boys and so one of the bedrooms is our study/yarn room. Here in the UK there is a children’s cartoon called “Sarah and duck,” in which a character called scarf lady has a massive yarn room containing a friendly sentient tangle of scraps. My boys’ friends think it’s cool that I have a yarn room like scarf lady!

  45. I have every issue of Vogue Knitting from Spring 1986 to the present, except for one issue. I wish I knew where “Tale of the Tape” issue went. None of these I going anywhere anytime soon. I did give all my back issues of Gourmet to the Book Thing of Baltimore after they stopped publishing.

  46. My stash is somewhat organized in two big plastic bins and a basket. Most of it is in ziplocks and labeled with the pattern I want to use.

    Can you tell I’m left-brained?

  47. I have the book “We Took to the Woods” on my bookshelf too! I love reading that story. And yes, stash is stash. Somehow I keep thinking that when I retire I’ll have time to use it all! LOL

    • Dream on! When you retire you THINK you have more time, so you buy lots more yarn. But all those jobs you’ve been putting off during your working years suddenly want to be dealt with. I have LESS time now than ever. (But more yarn. ;o)

  48. WHAAAAAT?!?!? They can chew through the ziplocks?!?! Oh, I hate those little bastards. (Sorry, I toned it down, really.) My only regret is that when I find one and kill it I can’t hear it scream. I am a peaceful, loving person. But having to throw away perfectly beautiful yarn can turn me into something entirely different.
    Yours in eternal vigilance…

  49. Congratulations! My stash is so depleted that it actually fits in one dresser again (yes, in Ziplocs) so I am in the terribly challenging and awful, depressing, tough spot of NEEDING TO GO YARN SHOPPING some day very soon. Naturally, this is a very sad state of affairs. Seriously, the very second I get my tax rebate I am OFF to the races, shopping my little fingers to the bone, calloo callay!

  50. It’s a lovely place!
    I sorted all my yarn by weights in ziplocs in plastic bins for each weight.
    Ziploc just came out with an amazing plastic storage bin with a very secure locking top. It looks as if it would double as a life raft. Slowly transitioning to those bins.
    You can still have twinkle lights pet!
    Oh! And FYI-those cardboard magazine holders will take spray paint! Or fabric!

  51. One evening my daughter called on the land line and asked what I was doing.

    “I’m yarn shopping.”

    Long pause.

    I had to explain about my stash which I had spread all around the room at the moment.

  52. Inspired by your stash toss, I took a wander through my own. One large tote bag of things I’ll never knit (some of which I don’t even remember acquiring) is off to the donation bin at the LYS this weekend.

  53. Since arthritis took over and shots were needed to maintain my ability to use thumbs. (I am 43) I gave the stash away. I had to do it in 3 doses.
    1) A good friend took half
    2) A lucky non picky lady who’s husband was willing to come with totes, a truck, and a buddy came one day and took most of the rest.
    3) My beloved niece Gwen took the last of the long needles and a good couple of skeins and her first lesson. I am saving a first edition Barbara Walker for her wedding day, she is less than ten years old now.
    Today, my stash consists of one small bag of sock yarn, and only sock needles. I hope before long, I may pick up the needles again eventually. At least I am not going to push it and have to get rid of the rest of the yarn.

    • Arthritis is cruel. I am so sorry you have to scale back on what you love and pray you will be able to resume soon. What a generous (and positive) person you must be to have given so much away and with such thought. I have told my family at different times who gets what should I not be able (around) to use my lovelies, and they look at me like I am daft. I guess they don’t like to think about things like that. I however, think it is best to be prepared regardless of age. Blessings sent to you!

  54. A few years ago I started keeping track of how much yarn I bought, and how much I used (and how much it cost). It’s been really interesting. Over the past four years, my stash has grown 6327gr. I had more out than in, in 2013 and last year I almost broke even but bought yarn for a big order just before Dec 31. I brought in half as much last year as the first year (2012) I kept track.

  55. Last year a Chicagoland LYS had a yarn amnesty day. For every so many lbs of yarn you took in, you received $1 store credit. I took in over 35 lbs of pretty acrylic and novelty yarns I had purchased when I was first learning to knit. I was able to buy a cable for my Denise interchangeables, and I knew the LYS would be donating it all to various charities. Win-win-win – cleaned out stash, new cord, and donation to charities!

    • What a fabulous idea! My LYS has an exchange box. You can put stuff (yarn, needles, books) in for free or you can take stuff out and leave a donation in the can (money is donated to charity).

  56. Your stash room is so nice and the pic of the self-striping yarn makes me very jealous!

    I finally decided that I’m not buying any more yarn this calendar year and only shopping from the stash. So far, so good. If I still haven’t made a sizable dent in the stash by December, I may institute the policy of the clothes closet: if something comes in, something else goes out!

  57. I started stash tossing awhile ago but didn’t get too far. I don’t have a lot of yarn but it’s all so distracting. It all makes me think of making stuff instead of organizing and culling. My spring Startitis has taken a strange turn. I find myself wanting to crochet doilies and I’m not even a crocheter. I remember your words in one of your books: “the evil looped path of crochet.” Well, it has hooked me in, pardon the pun. I keep going to YouTube for more lessons.Where will this end?

  58. I was trying to remember the name of the yarn globe that holds yarn as you work on it (YarnIt). I did a google search on “yarn organizer” and the photos that came up are amazing! It was all I could do not to go over to Pinterest and do the same search. My stash is in big plastic tubs, stacked like I’m building a Lego fortress of shame.

  59. Awe…. The ribbon jar I gave you ages and ages ago (in Portland). I had a good laugh with my neighbor (who has since opened a yarn shop because I’m the luckiest). I was feeling a bit down because it was taking forever to get pregnant (six months so not really, but felt it at the time)…. Little did I know I would be taking a positive pregnancy test a few days later. And the baby knitting commenced! 🙂 My baby is seven now, ah time, that funny thing. I just had to post that. Seeing the jar there brought that night back so clearly. Happy knitting!

  60. Suddenly wanting to go through All The Yarn. Just to see it. Just to hold it, to knit every last yard of it all at once–alright you in the back, wait your turn.

    Thank you for the inspiration!

  61. As I get older, and have to admit that my knitting time is somewhat more limited than it was 20 years ago, and my spinning stash has “impulse” stuff that I will probably never spin [after all, I knit, spin, quilt – and will probably pick up another hobby or two as the years go on]. So I am starting to seriously de-stash. I don’t want to waste time on something I don’t absolutely love, and it’s time to get rid of “what was I thinking when I bought that”. Yes, I’ve got to clear out – I envy you your little room, when a space is small it just has to be fairly well organized.

  62. I recently did this myself because my accountant said I should take inventory (the horrifying boringness of it only being mitigated by the fact that I got to feel and look at my yarn for the afternoon). My “startitis” is compounded by the fact that my stash lives in clear plastic containers in my bedroom, so I get a good look at most of that yarny goodness at least once a day. (I go to bed in the dark to avoid waking my earlier-to-bed hubby.) Because MAN, I forgot how much awesome, beautiful yarn I have!! 🙂

  63. You are the only other person I have ever known to have a copy of “We Took to the Woods” and I am tickled that you keep it with your stash. I have always wondered what it would be like to have nothing to do for six months of the year but spin and knit.

  64. re the hoard of magazines – I bought one of those small auto feed scanners for my tax receipts but I also made sure it was big enough to accept magazine pages and I am in the process of culling all of my cooking magazines and pulling out and scanning the recipes I think I might make one day. The scanner makes searchable pdf’s so I can type in “apricots” or whatever and up will pop apricot recipes. Somewhat neurotic, yes, but somehow I think the knitters here will get it. and all of those magazines go to the program for artists – they might use the photos before recycling. Less crap in my house, art supplies, and then recycling – does my little do-good heart well.

  65. Wait….so there isn’t a law decreeing that you must knit any yarn you purchase (much like the one about finishing any book you start reading)?!?!?!

  66. Thank you so much for the kick in the pants I needed to go into my room and start cleaning and organizing. we moved into our home 2 years ago and not much is out of the totes. It seems that the other rooms in the house got priority over my room. Well no more! As soon as I get back to the house I will have to take inventory of what is needed to get the room organized. Once that happens then I may not be seen again. I might never want to leave. Oh I can’t wait!!!!

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