Answers to Your Knitting Struggles

Is It Time for You to Tame Your Crazy Yarn Stash?

Another eternal knitting struggle: the yarn stash. Do you need an intervention?

Could you have said any of these in response to “what’s your biggest knitting struggle”?

“Getting rid of the huge stash of yarn, too much yarn, not enough hours in the day to knit it all up.”

“Knitting down my stash.”

“Downsizing my yarn stash! I’m retiring and will be moving to a smaller apartment but take everything with me. I find it hard to say good bye to a skein of yarn or books that I’ve read (I read a LOT!)”

“Using up my stash!”

“Trying to figure out how I can live long enough to use up my yarn stash!! LOL I could donate it, but that would break my heart.”

“Too much stash – I need an intervention!”

“Dealing with my stash. There are so many beautiful yarns out there. I just can’t knit fast enough.”

“Large yarn stash presents storage issues. I see so many possibilities in the stash and charitable opportunities, it’s difficult to choose what to keep and what to donate…and then where to donate so that it will be put to good use.”

It seems almost inevitable: when you get hooked on knitting (or crochet), you also get hooked on yarn. I don’t know a single knitter who doesn’t also have some sort of yarn stash issue.

Where to store the yarn stash?

What to knit with this huge yarn stash?

How the heck does my yarn stash multiply when my back is turned??
(Don’t tell me you’ve never wondered this.)

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Where Did All This Yarn Come From?!

Why on earth do we accumulate so much yarn when we become knitters? I see many reasons.

  1. The honeymoon period. Especially when we become knitters later in life (like I did!), when you get hooked on knitting there are few things in life that give you such an adrenaline rush as buying new yarn. I mean… yarn holds so much possibility for a knitter!
  2. The donations. My experience has been that the moment people find out I’m a knitter, suddenly a multitude starts giving me yarn. (I suspect these are all former knitters or crocheters who have been just waiting for someone to unload their yarn onto.) And it’s even worse when they know you enjoy knitting for charity!
  3. The gifts. Of course, another thing that happens when you become a knitter is that your loved ones realize they now have fool-proof gifts for you forever: yarn. Or gift cards so you can buy more yarn. I mean, what are we supposed to do, turn down free yarn?
  4. The need. What else happens when people find out you knit? They want YOU to knit THEM things, of course. Sometimes (or maybe more often than that!) you find that you need to buy the perfect yarn for that project.
  5. The leftovers. Finally, this may be one of our biggest issues. How often do you knit every last bit of yarn when you finish a project? Hopefully, not very often. (I know from experience that this can actually be pretty nervewracking!) As often as we can, we try to buy more than enough to keep ourselves from running out of yarn before we’ve finished.

And when you buy more than enough? You get leftovers! And I also know from experience that when you have a bunch of tiny balls of yarn, it can be very challenging to figure out what to do with them.

What Do I Do with All This Yarn?!

Of course, we all know what we can do with all this yarn. That’s a silly question, right?

Obviously, there are three things you can do with all the yarn.

  1. Knit it.
  2. Donate it.
  3. Set up a lovely little apartment for it that so that you will love and cherish it always.

*cough* Sorry, that’s not what I meant… what I meant was…

3. Hang on to it until the Apocalypse.

*cough* Okay so maybe that’s not what I meant either…

3. Hide Hoard Invest in huge storage unit for Organize it neatly into a reasonable location.

You don’t have to choose just one of these, of course! You’ll probably want to organize it first, figuring out what to donate while you’re organizing, and once you’ve finished organizing, you’ll knit as much as you can.

Really, each of these deserve their own article! I have written about knitting with leftover/stash yarn before; in fact, there’s an entire category of this website for using up leftover yarn! You can peruse these patterns and find great ways to use up yarn.

I’ve written about organizing your yarn stash before as well. So have many others! If you visit these two articles you’ll find my own process for organizing my yarn (true confession: I probably need to do this again *cough*). You’ll also find a collection of great ideas written by far more organized folks than myself.

What I’ve never written about before, though, is donating yarn. And that is a topic I will address in the next “Answers to Your Knitting Struggles” post. Where you can donate your yarn, when you’ve finally decided you’re ready to part with it!

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  1. What a super article!! I need to tame my stash! I think the main issue is I have it hidden in many different places so I forget about what I have. I need to get it all out and have it on display organized by yarn weight.

    1. It’s definitely beyond time for me to reorganize my stash, Tamara, lol. I did organize it once upon a time, but I’ve gotten more yarn since then and so my stash has become disorganized again. I need a system for adding to my stash… but I haven’t quite gotten there yet! XD

  2. What goes hand in hand with stash building? Printing up all those darling free directions from the internet! Like some of my fellow knitters, I have at least a dozen notebooks chocked full of patterns I can’t live without and plan to knit….someday…using up that stash! And that doesn’t count to number of knitting books I’ve manged to accumulate. Seems that one thing just leads to another.

    1. Ohhhhh Claudia I hear you there!! I used to print out every pattern I found that I loved. I filled up a 3-ring binder. Then I realized I could save paper by bookmarking. *cough* Then I discovered Pinterest and realized I could use it as a visual bookmarking system. *cough* We need to come up with a term like “SABLE” that describes patterns. “PABLE” maybe? lol

      1. I’m showing my ignorance here [which is very easy indeed :-)] but I’m not familiar with the acronym SABLE….?? i assume the P in ‘PABLE’ would stand for Pattern? And yes, I’ve thought about bookmarking, etc., patterns I can’t live without, but I need to have the pattern available where I can mull over, compare to similar patterns, read it over a doz. times and then have it in front of me while I’m working on said project–if I ever reach that point. Plus I’m not real technology inclined so like the ‘old fashioned’ hard copy that for me is more easily accessed. 😀

        1. Claudia, “SABLE” stands for “Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy,” i.e., more yarn than one could ever hope to knit in one’s lifetime. So “PABLE” means the same thing only with patterns. 😉 I think our issues here are that you are WAY more thoughtful than I am when selecting patterns! I tend to impulsively pin patterns and then, if I’m lucky, I might revisit it at some point and actually knit it. More often, I tend to then start a whole new pattern search when I actually REQUIRE a pattern for something. My pattern-hoarding system is not terribly efficient. XD

  3. Here in Australia there is a great group that I give unwanted yarn to, knit4charities, they have members that do everything from premmie to dog coats, beanies to blankets, Australia wide.