Do you know that if you unearth all your yarn from the bags, baskets, and shoe boxes in which you have been storing it and then organize it and move it to a new spot, it's like having a whole supply of new yarn? I swear, I'm not making this up.
A very helpful person with whom I live jolted me from my yarn storage indecision by bringing home and installing two side-by-side sweater shelf hanger thingies, and then forcing me to put all my yarn on them immediately, even though it was 9:30 at night and I had just gotten home from work and was tired and cranky. But look- it's lovely and organized and fits behind a door!
There's a lot of guilt associated with one's stash, judging from yarn-related conversations in the world of knitters. Is my stash too big? Do I need to improve my stash management, or buy something in which to contain my stash? Oh, don't tell my husband/sister/boss/cat that I just bought more yarn! The "flash your stash" pics that people feel compelled to post (such as the one above) only add to the anxiety, as it inevitably results in comparisons, like so many teenage boys in a locker room. So-and-so has a bigger stash than mine, and her stash has gotten a lot bigger recently, does my stash look huge in this photo? and so on.
A while back, A Mingled Yarn published a post called "On Stash"
in which she listed some very helpful rules for keeping stash under control.
- Size restriction based on size of stash container. I can only now implement this, due the previously unorganized and uncontained nature of my yarn stash.
- Regularly prune stash. I have been heavily pruning (which in librarianship we call "weeding" - what is it with the gardening metaphors?) by giving away yarns that I have come to accept will remain unused as long as I own them. The drawback to this is that trading is a two-way street, but I am deliberately trading my yarns for more useful yarns or for knitting books.
- No unassigned yarns. My most important goal is to only own yarns which are meant for a particular project as I have always found having a stash stressful. When I have unused yarn sitting around I feel pressure to find a use for it, and one thing I have learned as a knitter is that I'm compelled to knit based on a pattern not on yarn. If I'm just trying to use up yarn, I most likely won't find a good pattern for it. I need to first figure out what I really want to make and THEN buy the yarn.
But what to do with leftovers from projects? I now have several partial balls of Reynolds Smile from my top-down raglan which I have no idea what to do with. And the Dr. Who Scarf resulted in many many balls of Nature Spun Sport sitting and waiting to be made into...what? An accompanying Dr. Who style hat? Dr. Who socks? There are entire books published containing patterns that use less than a ball of yarn, but most of those patterns don't appeal to me. Yet I can't just throw it in the trash. What do you all do with your odd amounts of leftover yarn? This mystery is the final barrier in my problem of stash control and I am determined to solve it!