When I started knitting I bought yarn only as I needed it; bought one ball at a time for a scarf, bought another when I ran out in the middle. When I finished a project, I could start a new one. Sometimes I asked for yarn for Christmas or my birthday (I was in grade school when I started, so I didn’t have much of my own money to spend on crafts) so I had a small stash for the next 1-2 projects.
My most idyllic time in yarn purchasing was in high school when I had a part time job conveniently located next to a local, small time yarn shoppe. I was making my own money and had easy access to high quality yarn that would also benefit my local town economy. I priced stuff out carefully to strategically pick the best yarn for projects I planned. I also scoped out sales. That way I could buy artisan yarn that was going out of stock for projects. I got a few projects ahead of what I was actually working on. I also started working on several things at once.
Fast forward to getting my first real job. It was actually at a place where I could knit at work (THOSE were the days!). Then I discovered online yarn stores that had great prices and well, I needed to try ALL the different fibers. I attended yarn swaps with friends and yarn festivals. My little project bag grew to overflowing out of a pair of 10 gallon bins. Ah!
I’m going to be totally honest- I didn’t even know everything I had in the bins.
To clean this situation up I decided to get drastic. I took these three steps:
- Do a Yarn Fast
- Plan & Cut Down
- Put it on Display
From Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving, I pledged not to buy any more yarn. At all. *GASP!* Gotta stem the flood! That means stop buying yarn. No yarn. ZERO yarn.
Plan & Cut
I pulled out absolutely every ball, skein, cake, and cone of yarn. I tallied up everything and made a plan for all my favorites. A grouped projects needing multiple balls in separate bins or grouped together in bags. In a few, I printed off the intended pattern or wrote the name on a piece of paper so when I get around to it, I remember the plan.
I audited my less-than-favorites and remnants. There were a few things that were tangled beyond belief and not-that-great-quality of yarn to begin with that ended up in the trash. A few nicer balls in colors or weights I didn’t ever care to work with moved to a gift pile for fellow fiber enthusiast friends.
Part of why I had so much yarn was that I couldn’t see it. My more limited stash I divided up into larger projects (see above method) and put in fabric drawers that have clear covers. This protects them from dust, but still lets me see what I have.
The second storage method is my favorite. A rainbow display basket! For yarn with only 1-2 balls I arranged everything in a large wicker basket. I can look at and even better, can walk buy and feel the squishiness!
I cut my yarn budget. Now, when I peruse the yarn websites or cruise through the local shops, I don’t even want any new yarn. I LOVE what I have. I’m excited to start the new projects. Any last minute need I have, like birthdays or baby showers encourage creativity with what I already have.
What about you?
How many projects do you have planned?
How do you store your stash?
How much is “enough”?