Is it time to consider donating your yarn? Why that can be hard — and how to do it, once you’re ready
Please note: I’ve recently added two more Ravelry groups to the “When You’re Ready to Donate” section in the last third of this post. Be sure to check those out, if you’re looking for additional avenues for yarn donation!
When I first sat down to write this article a few years ago, it hit me that I had never actually donated yarn to anyone.
(Since then, that has changed… but I will admit that I still haven’t donated much of my yarn.)
In the past, when I have asked readers about their greatest knitting struggle, I saw many mention their gi-hug-ic yarn stashes. And, I often saw a variation of this sentiment: “I know I should probably give away some of my yarn, but it would break my heart.”
At first I thought, “Well that seems like an overreaction.” And then I looked at myself and thought, “Oh, yeah? Well I don’t see you donating your yarn, you hoarder!”
So, although I had first attempted to read other people’s minds and wonder why they might not want to part with their yarn, I thought, “Perhaps I ought to look at myself and ask this question!”
Why I Struggle to Donate Yarn
I really wanted to write a list here. Lists seem so logical. So organized. So precise.
But to create a list, one needs multiple steps or ideas or thoughts. And the problem is, I have only one real reason I struggle to donate yarn.
I MIGHT NEED IT SOMEDAY.
Ugh. Isn’t that depressing? I wanted to have deep, psychologically heavy reasons why I’ve never parted with yarn once I’ve obtained it somehow. But nope. There’s my single, solitary reason!
Here’s how I tend to look at my yarn stash:
- I see the insane amount of acrylic yarn I own and think, “I could make SO MANY blankets or scarves or hats or toys with these!!!”
- I look at my sock yarn and dream of knitting lots of gorgeous pairs of socks and some lovely shawls.
- I gaze lovingly at my DK to worsted weight wool yarn and think, “these could make the most beautiful hats and gloves.”
- I check out my novelty yarn and think “stuffed animals! Cell phone purses! Cute stuff!”
- I peer at the silly amount of cotton yarn I own and think “dishcloths! Washcloths! Hand towels! WEDDING GIFTS.”
Y’all, I’m hopeless.
And honestly? I’m pretty sure I’ve already reached SABLE (if you’re not familiar with this term, it’s an acronym that stands for Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy).
No, my yarn stash doesn’t fill a room or anything like that. But I have a lot of yarn and, while I’m a reasonably fast knitter, I don’t think I’m going to put a dent into this stash until I’ve retired.
In fact, I might not feel the need to start donating my yarn until I am retired.
(Assuming I ever retire. But seeing as how I have the best job in the world, will I? Um… 👀)
When You’re Ready to Donate
So suppose you’re not me (thank God) and you’re ready to start donating your yarn. I frequently hear from folks who want to unload yarn, wondering where are the best places to donate.
Here are some great ideas for places that you may find eager to take your yarn:
- Elementary schools. Many elementary schools use yarn for arts and crafts projects.
- Assisted living facilities. Many residents at assisted living facilities enjoy knitting and crochet, as well as other arts and crafts activities.
- Churches. Not only do many churches have knitting groups, but often church Sunday school classes for children use yarn for arts and crafts projects.
- Thrift/second-hand stores. This is an often overlooked place to donate yarn. I’ve seen (and purchased) yarn at thrift stores myself, and I’ve heard stories (and photos of finds!) from others who have found yarn here.
- Freecycle. This website offers a network of groups all over the world that allow you to post items you’d like to give away and items you need and would rather not pay for. This is a terrific way to avoid paying postage and find someone who could really use your yarn.
- Ravelry groups. There are three fantastic groups on Ravelry where you can unload excess yarn:
- ISO and Destash of Yarn–for people living in the United States
- Destash International–for people living outside the United States
- Yarncycle–a group where members can unload yarn (and/or pick up free yarn), based upon the principles of Freecycle
- In addition, the Charity Knitting forum now offers an “Items to Donate/Requesting Items” thread, where members can offer their extra yarn or supplies to anyone knitting for charity who needs it.
Note that both Ravelry groups have additional links to other Ravelry groups that also allow for exchanges of yarn and/or supplies.
Let’s hear from you now: do you struggle with letting go of yarn? If so, why? And do you have additional ideas for places and ways for donating your yarn?