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Spring cleaning… the stash!

April 26, 2017

Max is taking a bit of a stroll through Emily’s stash!

While we know some of you are diligent monogamous knitters, working on one project at a time, there is a segment of the knitting population who have amassed a stash… some beyond life expectancy!

As professional knitters Em and I each have a stash and constantly work to keep it inspiring and under control. Every year when Em comes to visit me from Edinburgh she shops my curated collection, finding new inspiration from skeins I had put aside. I often find myself re-inspired as well, seeing old things as new again! So, now that our woollies have been cleaned, stored, and cared for (all about Spring cleaning the knits here), it is time to set upon the stash!

For further reading I loved Hannah Fettig of Knitbot’s article about stashing yarn here.

My stash bins. Some have knit samples, most have yarn, and a couple have fabric in them.

There are so many reasons to give the stash a good toss every year, or every few months. It’s good to know what you’ve got, to gather some new inspiration for what to cast on next and of course, to keep moths at bay! While I have not seen a moth in my yarn bins, I know they are out there, lurking, waiting. The very best way to keep moths away is to go through your yarn often, moving it around and exposing it to light and air. I keep cedar balls or lavender in each of my bins as well. Keeping your yarn in sealed bins is a good idea if you have moth concerns.

Inside my bins I have yarn grouped in various ways. This particular bin has all of my lovely Sweet Fiber yarns in it.

The biggest debate I have is how to organize the stash. Some methods considered are:

  • By brand: I currently my yarn more or less binned by brand (with a few bins of ‘miscellaneous’); because this helps me to remember exactly which yarn is which and which colourway it is etc. but there are many ways.
  • By weight: weight is a good one, especially if you are the kind of knitter who finds a pattern first, then heads to the stash to see what’s there in the right quantity.
  • By colour: If you prefer to choose yarn first, project second, you might prefer to sort by colour, so you know what you’ve got in a blue at a quick glance.
  • By project: our lovely model Emily Read has her stash arranged by project. Each project has it’s own bag in her sealed bins, and I think she even has a sticky note with the pattern name with some of them. When she is ready for her next project she can head to the stash, simply pull a bag and she’s ready to roll!

Once you’ve tossed the stash and organized however you like best, it’s time to cast on! I mean, you just spent a bunch of time organizing, so it’s time to reward yourself in a knitterly way. Is there a skein of worsted calling out to be a new hat? Is it time to turn that SQ (sweater quantity) into an actual wearable sweater?

If you just went through your knits you may have noticed some gaps in the wardrobe. For example I know Bodhi’s mittens won’t fit next year, so I can cast on a pair for her for next winter right now. If you have a lot of those 1/4 balls lying around (as I have found I do), as well as a few lovely skeins, maybe a stash busting Marley blanket is just the thing to keep the stash manageable and create something beautiful for your home at the same time.

So tell us, how do you organize your stash?


TCK Knits to cast on immediately:

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2017 10:27 pm

    My stash is organized by color in clear plastic bins. I love seeing these rainbows. I still have to find a way to organize the remnants, for now they’re in tissue bags by weight, just in case I find the right idea to finish these odds and ends. Great idea to organize by project, when you know exactly what you want done with each skein.

  2. April 28, 2017 6:31 am

    Sadly, my stash isn’t organized and instead put hodgepodge in various places around my room and house. I really should organize this weekend…perhaps make another Marley with all that acrylic I have…hm…

  3. April 27, 2017 6:28 am

    It is so hard to decide what works best in organizing my stash. Recently, I moved from big totes and project bags into smaller clear bins (shoe box sized). This means I can organize by project. The scary thing was realizing how many projects I have on my needles at one time. The great thing is now I can see them all and I just grab a bin that I can work from when I change projects.

  4. April 26, 2017 8:54 am

    I organize mine mostly by weight in gallon size ziploc bags with the weight written on the bag. I have them on the shelves from lightest weight to heaviest. However, I need more storage because all of my recent skeins do not have a home due to not knitting from the stash. I hope to rectify that soon :)

  5. LoriAngela permalink
    April 26, 2017 7:53 am

    I have my stash in different sized bins by weight and still fight the nasty moths. I lately took over my daughter’s room and can have it sorted with the heavier yarns below and the lace weights on top. Large zip locks within the bins help keep sweater and blanket quantities corralled. Just having it all together and visible helps me knit more skeins than I have purchased this year. Now I have a box of dk to hack the Clayquot hat.

  6. smonakey permalink
    April 26, 2017 6:23 am

    My stash is organized a bit more randomly than I’d like it to be, although I do have most of my fingering weight yarns together, & my lace weight yarns in one bin. After that, it sort of falls apart with stuff not well grouped. I do try to keep yarns of the same brand together, but that’s hit or miss too. I have an Excel spreadsheet with most of my yarn in it. It has a column for bin #, but it hasn’t been updated in a while. I’ll have to update it the next time I dig through the stash.

  7. Kimberley permalink
    April 26, 2017 6:22 am

    My stash is organised by weight. I used to have it organised like Emily, by project with the yarn in a bag with a printed copy of the project. BUT, I quickly noticed that would not work as my tastes change and my weight changed and I couldn’t fit in what I had planned. So, I changed it by weight.

  8. Mel permalink
    April 26, 2017 6:19 am

    I love this post, I like to sort the stash for inspiration and tidying purposes every few months, sometimes this trips me up when I go looking in the place something was previously kept but not for long or very often. I like to sort my stash mostly according to type but my types differ, so I have a tub for Madelinetosh and a tub for Bendigo woollen mills so brand specific for those as they can often work together in projects but I also keep my sock yarns that aren’t in those brands in one tub, I also keep my non super wash together as it’s pretty project specific-this started when making woollies for cloth nappies and organic yarn for new babies etc.
    So to recap for a loved and frequent brand I sort by brand, for pretty sock yarn or non super wash they also keep their own segment as they are pretty project specific, I keep cottons and cotton blends in a tub together and I keep undyed skeins in a tub together :0). I so want to pull out my stash but my adult daughter has come back home to stay and so there is no room in which to play in the room the stash is mostly kept :0)

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