I was reading through Twist Collective again, and read Ann and Kay‘s article on Stash. (Read it here – great article). Sidenote: am I the only one who clicks through the patterns and sometimes forgets to read the articles? I’ve been thinking a lot about stash lately. From how I want to store/display it, to how much I want/need to have and how it ought to be organized. Ann and Kay’s article helped me to figure out what I did right, what I did wrong, and where I want to go from here, in terms of stash-building. Here were their points:
1. “Don’t buy single skeins.” As a sock knitter, my stash is full (full full full) of single skeins. Not only are single skeins great for socks, but they also come in handy for scarves, mitts, cowls and hats. Single skeins are great. Having said that, I did purchase an expensive single skein of fancy-yarn-with-beads while on a trip, and it continues to sit in my stash more than a year later. I still love it, but I ought to have purchased two skeins in order to make something out of it. (It was too expensive. I would never have purchased two. Instead, I wasted money on one, because I’m smart that way. FPS…) I think Ann and Kay were speaking about this exact problem. Single skeins of sock yarn are A-ok. Single skeins of pricey yarn “because it’s so pretty and wouldn’t it be fun to make something with it but you have no idea what” – not ok.
2. “Figure out what your flour and sugar yarns are.” Now this was a great point. What are the yarns that you will use and knit for the rest of your life because they’re just that perfect for you? I have a good list of what these are for me. Each of us will have a different list. I do find that I tend to put more semi-solids on my list (or those yarns – like Dream in Color and String Theory – that have other colors in them but they knit up looking more solid than stripey or pool-y.). I will always like these colors, and you can’t go wrong with the yarn bases, either. I’ll go heavier on these in my stash, and a little lighter on the “seasoning yarns” – those that have multi-colors that might be popular now, but I might not like in 3 years. (Well, heck – if you hold on to your stash for 20 years, you know those colors will come around again eventually. Can you believe that 80’s styles are coming back into fashion this fall?)
3. “Don’t buy discontinued yarn.” I agree. Unless you really really love it and have plans for it right now. I’d go a step further and say that you ought to be very careful of sale and clearance yarns, too. (Unless it’s one of your flour and sugar yarns.) When I look at the yarns that I’m no longer happy with in my stash, 80% of them were purchased on sale and I bought them because they were “such a good deal and I know I’ll figure out something to use them for.” It’s never a good deal if they just sit there, taking up space. I’ve learned that the hard way.
Now that I have a game-plan, I am going to spend time figuring out how to make a better stash for myself. I have plenty to get rid of, some that I want to expand (I love the flour and sugar idea, and I’m always up for single skeins of sock yarn), and some that will be tucked into a “use or lose” bin for another 6-9 months. Now I need to do the same figuring with knitting patterns, books and magazines. Any ideas? And what are your flour and sugar yarns? Have you ever given it a thought?
Stash. I shouldn’t even talk about stashes! Mine is, um, large? I do collect sock yarn, but I love flour and sugar yarns, too. My flour and sugar yarns tend to be basic solid color wools — Cascade 220, Black Water Abbey, Beaverslide, Rowan, and the such.
Your post got me thinking, though, about using single skeins. It turns out that I actually do use all those random skeins some times. I even wrote a little something up on my blog with some ideas about how to make the most of them. Thanks for making me stop to think about this!
My sweetie has looked at the stash and said “I know there’s stuff in there you’ll never knit, (here comes the good part) why don’t you get rid of it and buy stuff you love?”
And that’s why I love him. 🙂
I need to sort through my stuff and put all of the “makes my heart happy” yarn together, and try to whittle from the remainder.
I started buying more than one skein, in the beginning. My sugar & flour yarns include DIC, some Fiesta Boomerang, some Mountain Colors, some Claudia’s, and some Lorna’s Laces. My one reservation on DIC is that you have to alternate skeins, if you need to use more than one skein in a project, because the colors may or may not match from skein to skein, even if bought at the same time. It would be nice if they had dye lots that we could count on.
BTW, I love your Happy Harvest fence with pumpkins! 🙂
Are you telling me that I’m not the only one with the stash problem? My husband keeps trying to send me to an AA group for shopaholics. I clicked on the link about stash philosophy and think it is fantastic. I have too much of that “what a great deal this was” yarn that is just sitting there, in tubs and tubs and tubs (I’m keeping Rubbermaid in business). Thanks for sharing – makes me want to go organize right now…..
And yes, I just look at the patterns too and not at the articles – thanks for helping me to change 2 bad habits of mine! 🙂