Stash Toss

Twice a year (spring and fall, as time permits, those are pretty loose parameters) I do a “stash toss”. A quiet, undisturbed stash is a grand home for all sorts of beasties, so I try and shake it up a couple times a year just to keep an eye out for problems. This bi-annual tossing of the stash also lets me visit with things I’ve forgotten I had, allows me to take the vaguest possible shot at organization (coughHOPELESScough), allows me to pull out things that are no longer to my taste and pass them on to someone else, and generally gives me the worse possible case of start-itis ever imagined on this earth.

I am, at this very moment, knee deep. This springs stash tossing was, ironically, sparked by the desire to find one particular skein, which, even though I have ripped up the better part of a small semi-detached home, eludes me yet. (Here’s betting that I spend eight hours today pulling stuff out, organizing it by weight and brand and putting it back, only to discover said skein sitting by the front door in a cloth bag…entirely divorced from the stash. (I actually checked all of the spaces that I put “transient stash” and didn’t find it, but you know how these things go.)

I’ve found some Briar Rose that I meant to make into a sweater immediately after last years Rhinebeck, and a couple (ok. Twenty) really, really juicy sock yarns that I can’t believe sunk to the bottom, and even some silk I was going to spin the second I bought it. Spinning stash in with knitting stash is actually a major offence in my rather loose stash management system. Usually they are separated, and the fact that fibre is in with yarn is a clear signal that sometime in the mad dash that has been the last six months, I have totally lost it in terms of organization. (Not that I had much, but what I did have was vital.)

Sorting through all of this has me thinking three things.

1. How many pairs of socks is it wrong to cast on in 24 hours? (Clearly I am done with being sick of socks)

2. This is a lot of yarn. I bet I have a smaller stash than a lot of you, and I don’t think of it as too much, not if you consider that I’ll be knitting for a lifetime (everyone is supposed to save for their retirement, and I don’t have more than a lifetimes yarn yet) and certainly not if you think of it as a collection of excellent inspiration and resources, but in terms of wanting to knit everything at once, it is a little frustrating. When I go through it like this, I find so much that I want to knit now. Right now. So many wonderful, wonderful things that I am overwhelmed. I keep thinking how everything in here was, when it came into my possession, something that was so brilliant that it was going to be next. I think I’ll knit from stash for a while after this, not because I think it is too much yarn, but because I want to play with what I’ve got. How do you prioritize stuff in your stash, be it big or little?

3. There has got to be a better way to store all of this. Right now the stash is ziplocked (allegedly by fibre weight, eg: bag of laceweight, bag of sock yarn, bag of worsted, and by project – a sweaters worth of yarn or three shades of a yarn that were to make a colourwork project are together.) Then I stack the bags flat in a closet, in a rubbermaid bin in the bottom of the closet, or on an old set of shelves that is dedicated to the purpose. Toronto is moth/mouse/carpet beetle central, and I live in a home that is over a hundred years old. (That means I’m extra vulnerable.) There is no chance that my stash will be wandering around without protection, so the ziplocks stay, but given those limits, can you think of a better way? How do you store your stash?