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The Great Stash Down of 2013

January 7, 2013

Stash Down Main

My big stash of yarn lived in a cupboard in the nursery. I knew the cupboard was going to have to move, so I decided to organize the yarn, which had fallen into a state of disarray after a year of shuffling, digging and general stuffing in. Also, I just discovered that if I enter all of my yarn on my “stash” page on Ravelry, it will tell me how much I have and how much I use for the year. Being a sucker for organizational tools and spreadsheets, I couldn’t resist. So, I set up my computer and got to work.

At first it was easy, most of my yarn is neatly wound and still has the little tag with all the important info attached. As I progressed I had to estimate how much was left of partial balls of yarn, remaining from previous projects. Then, it got more difficult, because some of my yarn was given to me with no tags or indication of fiber content, weight, yardage, etc whatsoever. So, I guessed. After about 2 hours I had 8 neat piles of yarn, organized by weight (worsted, DK, etc). I stood back, satisfied with my work. That wasn’t so bad! There’s not even as much yarn here as I thought there would be. I’m not a total yarn hoarder!

From left to right: Worsted, Aran, Bulky, Super Bulky, Fingering, DK

From left to right: Worsted, Aran, Bulky, Fingering, Lace, DK. Not Pictured (Super Bulky and scrap yarn)

Well, then I clicked the spreadsheet button on my stash page… It turns out I have approximately 35,651 yards of yarn to be used. And that doesn’t include any yarn that is currently being used (I have several works-in-progress) or any scraps that remain from previous projects that I considered too small to include in the list, but too big to just throw away. To put this number into perspective, I went through and did a quick calculation, adding up the amount of yarn I used for all of my projects in 2012. Last year I knit approximately 12,000 yards. So, if I continue at that rate and don’t buy a single new skein of yarn, it should take me just under 3 years to knit through all of the yarn I own. Chances of that happening: 0.

The point is, I have more than I need to keep on hand, without a doubt. Much of the yarn has no project attached to it, even in my imagination. Some of the yarn is special, but some of it is only okay or impractical. Some of my concern is the money spent on yarn not being used, but I only bought a little over half of the yarn myself. The rest was given to me by various people, so my spending is not a major issue in this arena. Nevertheless, if I’m going to keep all of this yarn, I might as well use it. And if I’m going to buy yarn, it should probably be pretty special, or intended for a particular project which I plan to begin immediately.

Thus, The Great Stash Down of 2013!  This year, I am knitting from my stash! Will I still buy yarn? Certainly. But this year I will not buy yarn because it is on sale. I will look to my stash before starting a new project, rather than just going to buy something new. I will consider whether a particular skein of yarn will improve my stash or simply increase it before buying. My ultimate goal is to finish out this year with less yarn than I start. Can I do it? YES I CAN!! I’ll keep you posted on my progress…

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Anna White permalink
    January 7, 2013 1:17 pm

    I’ve often wondered if I could my extra yarn to knit quilt squares and then sew them all together with either a punchy new kind of yard or strong thread. What do you think?

    • Anna White permalink
      January 7, 2013 1:18 pm


    • January 7, 2013 1:26 pm

      Absolutely! People definitely do that and it makes a fun, colorful hodge-podge quilt. Plus, it’s kind of a neat way to remember all the projects you did with each yarn. The nice thing is you can work on it as you go, rather than sitting down to knit a whole quilt at once. If you do decide to do that, I’d love to see it sometime!

    • January 7, 2013 3:06 pm

      Once upon a time, when I was in grade 8 or so and knew how to knit (I forget now), I did just that – although I turned it into a pillow. I even went as far as knitting a red sock-shaped thingy (as opposed to square) – for the centre part, so that the pillow was a xmas gist for my mom 🙂

  2. January 7, 2013 3:05 pm

    Looking at the pics, I wish I were a knitter… oh well, I have a stash of pencils, brushes and paints to make me feel happy 🙂

  3. Mary Kay permalink
    January 7, 2013 4:34 pm

    Only 3 years worth?? Not even close to enough!!


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