Tracking Your Stash

I cleaned out my yarn stash last week. Ohhh, it was a project! And when I say “cleaned out”, I mean mostly re-arranged. I did come up with a full garbage bag of yarn for charity knitting, but other than that, I kept a lot of my stash. I like my stash. It was interesting, however, to see beautiful skeins that I had totally forgotten about. Do you keep track of what you have? There are several options for that.

1. Ravelry. You can photo and upload your stash, and it auto-fills in the details (yardage, weight, etc). I did one day of photo-ing back when I first joined Ravelry, and haven’t added to my stash page since. I didn’t like having to set aside my new yarn until I could get a photo and upload it. But I have a friend who swears by this feature on Rav and wouldn’t do anything else, so I know some people like it. (And of course I regularly use all of the other awesome features that Ravelry offfers.)

2. Electronic Lists. I’m a list person, so I did catalog a few of my favorite yarn lines in Evernote, which syncs with my phone/iPad/computer. That’s handy because I can update my list here at work or home at night. I also have my list available on my phone if I’m out shopping somewhere and need to see what I already have. There are a lot of yarn lines that I buy and use (or stash) in one or two skein batches. I don’t keep track of those on my list. But there are a few yarn lines where I do stockpile a bit (ahem) because I want to collect and use the different colors over time. These are the ones that I typed up on my lists and am glad to have.

3. Journals/Notebooks. Some people much prefer writing these things down by Β hand and having a hard copy. There are all kinds of wonderful blank books out there, and I do like to buy them! I just like buying them more than I end up using them. (oops). If you like more structure than a blank book offers, you can get yourself a 3-ring notebook and print out pages to make yourself a Knitting Notebook. Here is a link to a website (Kathryn Ivy) that has some great, free, downloadable pages for a knitting notebook. You just print the pages as you need them. I have to say, I wish my grandmothers had kept a hard copy knitting journal like that. They were both knitters, and I’d love to look back and see all of the wonderful things they made over their many years of knitting, detailed in their own handwriting. You just can’t get that from an e-version, can you?

Do you keep track of your stash? Do you wish you could? What system appeals to you the most?

Sheri keepingtrackhelpstopreventdouble-purchases.

P.S. We have a winner from this blog post! Emily in PA has won 2 skeins of the Loopy Solid Series, and the book Sock Yarn Studio by Carol Sulcoski. Thanks to all who participated in the contest!


  1. Except for sock yarn, everything is bought with a pattern in mind. I have bins for the type of project and will put the yarn and pattern into a zip loc bag and then will go pull out the project that I am in the mood for. Sock Yarn is often pulled and I look at it for a week before deciding which one I am going to use for a pattern.

    Its the left over bin that I really need to go look at and see what I want to do with it. Sock yarn that has been used is bagged and saved for future darning or other sock repair.

  2. Ravelry. Everything that is staying in the stash goes into Ravelry. On the rare occasions that I buy something and immediately use it, I won’t bother but most of my yarn is purchased to be used in the future–even if I know the project– and it’s just easier to photograph it (even poorly) and get it in there. That way I don’t feel like have to go bin diving and I try to shop there first before buying new.

    Sometimes shopping the stash even works rather than reminding me of all the things I wanted to buy to round out my stash further :-p

  3. Tracking has never happened here.

    I once had put everything into bins according to yarn weight, except that which was related to a specific project. But then some was pulled out, and more was bought and donated, and now it’s just a big mishmash overflowing atop and around the bins!

    I am a charity knitter, and love to put bits and pieces together. However, I would love to put it all into some sort of system again, at least the full skeins.

    I do love the stash part of Ravelry, where you can query if others have yarn you want, or want to get rid of yarn in which you might be interested.

  4. Everything is on Ravelry. It was nice especially when we got evacuated for wildfires last year. I had everything recorded with pictures and price in case everything was lost. Luckily, nothing happened to our house.

  5. I rearranged my stash. I used clear boxes with lids. Different sizes but all one brand and they stack nicely. Two small ones ontop of a large one. I even used a labeler to print labels for the ends of the boxes, “sock yarn, worsted, silk lace, alpaca, some are full of one brand of yarn”.

  6. I keep my yarn in the glass fronted top of my china cabinet. I can see all my yarn at once and I could store up to 250 sock yard skeins, tho’ I don’t have nearly that much stash. I use ravelry for project tracking not for stash.

  7. I try to use Ravelry, but I’m woefully behind on updating. At this point, my stash is sorted by type (lacewieght, worsted, misc sock, brands I have a lot of like STR, self stripping, etc) in canvas baskets on shelves. Fiber is scattered in various baskets throughout my fiber room so I can see it.

    My insurance agent told me I should have it all on Ravelry in the event of a disaster at the house. That way, there is a complete record for insurance purposes. Yes, his wife is a knitter too!!

  8. I’d be lost without Ravelry! I have lots of yarn, and this feature is priceless for me. Everything gets entered as soon as it comes home. If available, photos are added at the same time. If not, I’ll just add a picture whenever I get around to taking one.

    What I love about Ravelry:
    I can link a project to a yarn stash entry and Ravelry automatically calculates the amount leftover at the end of a project. I can search and sort my stash by yardage, weight, color, and more! The export to Microsoft Excel spreadsheet function is also great.

  9. I use Ravelry for every single yarn purchase. I like that I can sort it by weight, by fiber, by yardage or even by color. Having all of my yarn in there (with photos) makes it so easy when looking at patterns. I can easily pop over to the stash to see whether I have enough yardage in the needed weight, and in what colors, fiber and brands. As well, each pattern page also has a “Yarn Ideas” tab that you can click to see what yarns others have used for that pattern. On that handy page is also a link you can click to see which of the yarns that have been used by others are also living in your stash.

    I also often come from the other direction where I have a specific skein I’d like to use but want ideas on what to make. It’s so easy to find the yarn in my Ravelry stash and then just click on the projects others have knit with that yarn to get ideas.

    Even if I’m using a newly-purchased skein immediately, I like to quickly log it in to Ravelry first. I’ve found this can help me later when I’m sorting through my bin of partial skeins. I can compare the now-tagless partials to my “Used Up” stash photos to see the weight and content of the leftover yarn. I can also weigh the partial and compare what I have to the original weight of the full skein to get a good idea of my remaining yardage. I’ve also been able to help out other Ravelry knitters who can see I have a partial skein of something left over that they happen to need to finish their project.

    Can you tell how much I love the Ravelry Stash feature?? πŸ™‚

  10. Too embarassing to show how much stash I have on Ravelry. Every once in a while I re-sort and tidy up the bins. I also keep a bin going for yarn I no longer love and will be part of a stash sale one of my clubs holds.

  11. I use Ravelry. I do tend to have a bag or pile of yarn that’s not yet cataloged – I take pictures and enter it every few months or so. If there’s an impulse purchase and immediate cast-on, it may not get cataloged.

    It makes other features on ravelry better – you can search for patterns by yarns in your stash, or look at the yarns used on a pattern in your stash.

    Also, during work downtime I can browse my ravelry stash photos and think about future projects!

  12. I have just started putting my stash in an Excel spreadsheet. I LOVE Excel, because I can sort, group and search for what I need. Considering my stash has it’s own zip code, it seemed to be the most efficient method. While I love Ravelry, it just takes too darn long to input something. And knowing me, I would lose or ruin a paper journal. But that’s the beauty of all these methods – you can choose whatever appeals most to you! Vive la difference!

  13. Oh, yes, I keep track of my stash
    However, it’s not all that much -snicker, snicker
    and Rav it great for having my inventory handy.

    I store it where I can see it several times a day.
    On the shelves according to yarn weight so I can see at a glance

    Scrap yarn? That’s a whole ‘nother story. But they are labeled and sorted, again, according to weight – – – – mostly


  14. I solved part of the Ravelry Stash issue by not photographing all my skeins. I write notes about variegated colors or special qualities, but having it all listed in one place is just great. Then when I queue a pattern, it already tells me if I have the right yarn or own the pattern already and that helps as well.

  15. Rav! The first initial input took some time, but now as soon as I get a skein, I take a photograph it, enter the details and tuck that yarn into the stash cabinet.

  16. Beyond the separate boxes for sock, fair isle, and my lusted after prism there’s no organization what so ever! πŸ™‚ I do rearrange it from time to time to remind me of what I have though

  17. I photograph every skein of yarn as it comes into my house and then post it to my stash on Ravelry. I also look at all the pretty skeins on my stash page periodically. This way I never forget about the skeins that have been hanging around for awhile. When I decide to stash dive for a project I do it online first then I go to the stash drawers for the yarn itself

  18. i use the “if I can see it I know I have it” storage method. IKEA Billy bookcases with glass doors. More expensive than bins but nicer for home decoration and has the added benefit of letting me see all the COLOR!!!

    I’ve tried Ravelry stash list, but I don’t stay caught up.

  19. I refinished and painted an antique old school house bead board cabinet that is huge. And with help of my grown children one day kind of filled it up. Some organization but I need to do what you did. Go through and unlove some yarn because even though this cabinet is 7 foot tall and 5 foot wide and 20 inches deep it doesn’t hold it alllllllll πŸ™‚ When I do the stash stuff one day soon will have to decide how to list and organize. I will try Rav and then maybe a spreadsheet. Just know I really need to do it.

  20. Absolutely! I track my stash using a Bento database on my MacBook. I also have the Bento app on my iPad and my iPhone. Whenever I buy yarn, I log it into the database. I track all sorts of data — Brand, Line, # of skeins, yardage per skein, total yardage, color, color type (solid, striped, variegated, shaded solid), date purchased, price, vendor, gauge, fiber content, project status, left-over amounts, etc etc. It goes on and on. And it’s cross-referenced to a project database, so I can look up additional details of the project the yarn was used for.
    Without this, I’m embarrassed to count the number of times I would have made duplicate purchases.

  21. I don’t keep track of my stash and really wish that I did. I find that I keep buying the exact same colorways from different handdyers. The Ravelry feature appeals to me and I’ve used Ravelry to track my books and patterns. The work invoved in cataloging a large stash sees prety daunting right now.

  22. Oh my. I’m glad there are a few unorganized types like me. A few months ago, I started a shawl. I can’t find the second hank to finish it. This shames me deeply, but not enough to start organizing. I try to keep some semblance of order with patterns, especially magazines or pattern books that have patterns I know I want to make. Also, once I have definitely decided what to make with the yarn, I put the pattern, book or magazine with the yarn into a zip-loc bag. Thank heavens for my Ravelry library. I used to print out patterns that I liked. Those that I had bought, I downloaded onto my computer. Not great, if you can’t remember the name of the pattern or find the printed copy. I started with 3 ring notebooks and plastic sleeves for the patterns, but I was always getting behind and needing to purchase more sleeves. I do need to organize. Maybe, if I saw all I actually had in one place, I would be more hesitant to hit the “place your order” button as much as I do. πŸ˜€

  23. I really need to organize my yarn stash. I have some of it listed on Ravelry, but very little.

    Thanks for the link to Evernote. Just today, I was thinking I need to find a place that works for me to keep a list of work “to do’s” I always revert back to paper lists, even though I know that an online list should work.

  24. I keep a notebook with a list of all the bins and what is in them. There is also the yarn in my room that hasn’t made it into a bucket yet but is just stacked around. I need to go through it and donate a bunch to a local senior home that has a yarn shop set up at the home.

  25. I haven’t tried ravelry yet for stash. I just may now from all of these great suggestions. I have evernote on phone and nook but haven’t used it much. I am in the middle of redoing the work room so some of the stash is in bins and bookshelves. When finished, I should be able to just go right to the shelf and see everyrhing. πŸ™‚

  26. Ravelry is where I keep it. Several years ago, when I was unemployed, I pulled all the yarn bins out of the studio and went through them and input everything into Rav. No pictures, just the list with descriptions. Let’s just say that unemployment didn’t slow my knitting, I just shopped from stash. I also took the opportunity to do the same thing with my library. Now nothing goes into the studio unless it has been input into Rav. It helps me keep my sanity.

  27. All of my inventories are in Excel. Sock yarn, Rovings, Lace, and all the rest of the yarn are in separate spreadsheets. No pictures yet. I even have one for “What Was I Thinking!”. I do have my patterns/books on Ravelry. And I have way too many of those too!

    But I need a place for ‘handspun’.

  28. I started with Ravelry. But I’m too concrete. I want to look at and touch the yarn while choosing. Last summer I did a major sort by weight and fiber content which resulted in ten well identified and neatly stacked 30 qt tubs. So now if I want a sport weight m/c/n, I look through that tub; a merino/nylon sock yarn; I go to that tub. The fun part is squishing all the yarn while selecting. And yes, I brush it against my face now and then πŸ™‚

  29. Although I have good intentions about organizing projects on Ravelry, I just don’t get the photos taken and the projects updated! The templates will be great for me — thanks so much for posting the web site for them! I have kept notes on some of the socks I’ve knitted for others, but for other projects, I’m not always good about keeping good information mods or changes.

  30. I love the Ravelry stash feature and really try to keep my stash there up to date. I love being able to search for yarn for a project in my own stash. I like that I can look it up on my iphone when I’m out shopping, and that it is available even if I’m away from home via any computer. And if I want, I can use the download feature on Ravelry to make myself a spreadsheet. How cool is that? Photographed the Loopy Yarn that arrived today with my phone before I wound the first skein and cast on — need to get it into my stash tomorrow

  31. I tend to sort skeins of yarn into project bags with the patterns. I hardly ever buy yarn unless I intend it for a specific pattern, and I know I’ll forget what I intended it for if I don’t sort it as it comes in the mail. (the hard part is not starting the project immediately when I get the yarn. This is how I ended up with twenty-eight project bags with projects I started and then put aside when the next batch of yarn came in…and then ended up with no needles because they were all lost in my “just started” project pile. It was a good excuse to expand my needle collection, though.) For the few skeins that are just “trophy yarn” I just keep them together in a bin and pull them out to see if they’ll work for something I want to make, and if not they go back in the bin.

  32. Double purchasing the same brand/color? Me? Never!!
    (Stop laughing, Sheri!)
    I had my entire stash in an electronic file, all neatly organized by brand name and yarn type. At least I did until I somehow inadvertently DELETED the entire file! [Moan]
    Oh well, it’s been fun to dig through my storage bins to recreate the inventory, and rediscover lots of gorgeous yarn I’d forgotten I had.
    I do wish Ravelry had an option to make a stash list that didn’t include photos; I’m such a terrible photographer that I long ago gave my camera away. I’d love to keep the inventory on Rav, in case of a house disaster, but …

  33. I keep an on-going list in a small notebook. When I see a pattern I like I just check the notebook to see if I have the yarn. It’s small enough that I can carry it with me to the yarn shop. Just because the notebook is small doesn’t mean my stash is. I write small.

  34. I have an excel spreadsheet. it works for me most of the time. I have the yarn sorted by brand. I tried Ravelry but it was too time consuming for me and I didn’t keep up.

  35. I use ravelry. I also make lists on paper, attempting to match yarns to potential projects. I rewrite those lists a lot!

  36. I organize my stash in order of planned usage (i.e. sweaters, blankets, other larger projects) These are in zippered project bags with the pattern and kept in large covered plastic bins. Same for shawls, wraps, other lace weight projects. All sock projects are kept according to Dyer in large project bags and kept in their own separate bin.
    I also keep one bin for immediate planned projects. Yarn, needle, and pattern together ready to go. I keep a list in a plastic sleeve on top of each bin so I always have an accurate account of what I have. With each change of season I purge the stash and give away what I won’t use or no longer care to knit with. I’m pretty sure we all buy things on a whim and then don’t really want it anymore.

  37. I agree with Hannah; I don’t really want to know how much yarn I have. I have been knitting from my stash lately and have been reminded of yarn that I’ve forgotten that I have. It’s kind of organized in bins, but, not written down or entered in any kind of computer file. Wouldn’t that be nice? Someday!

  38. I’m attempting to put my rather large stash on Ravelry but have only gotten through one (of 6) bins of sock yarn. All I need to do is clone myself to have the time!

    I do keep a Knitting Journal and have kept it pretty up-to-date for the past 8-10 years (since I really got back into knitting). I love being able to go back to a project and find out how I liked either the pattern or yarn and whether I thought it was worth making again. After my first few pairs of socks, I adjusted my needle size to get the negative ease needed for the foot. Without my journal I wouldn’t have done that. Yes, I can learn from my mistakes: I just have to know I’m making them! If it only worked for categorizing the yarn.

  39. I keep VERY CAREFUL track of my stash…most of it is in underbed, in flat storage containers, or in a couple of big bags in my closet, or in assorted knitting project bags, or (for the things I am knitting right now, two are in a box by my desk and one is on a side table where I sit in the evening. It’s a system, obviously.

  40. Since I’ve been out of work from my stroke I have been the organizing Queen. The whole house has been done except for my yarn. I just finished my books, patterns and needles. However, they need to be listed. I’m thinking of using Ravelry since it’s already set up. My yarn is already separated by weight and I would really love to list it out but it’s just mind-boggling. Maybe if I just take one bin at a time it would work. I’m up to 21 bins (really big ones) but I could get through one bin a day. The nice thing is that every thing already has a home in the studio. I just don’t know what’s actually here. I found some amazing books I didn’t know I owned. They were on my “wish list” on three different sites. Go figure!!! Have a happy Sunday – I’m getting a massage so I’ll be a total wet flannel blanket all afternoon.

  41. I would love to be organized, but it is not in my personality. I occasionally go through my stash and try to remember if I bought the yarn with a specific pattern in mind. Recently, while going through my stash I listed my yarn in a journal noting the weight and yardage. I keep the yarn in a camphor chest of drawers that my grandmother had made in Japan. I separated single-skein sock and lace yarn from DK yarns. I enjoy purchasing new yarn, but I realize I need to knit from my stash and only buy more yarn as a reward for completing a project.

  42. Ravelry, all the way. I love being able to sort by weight or by color, and see my photos to remind me as well as get details on how much I have and what the composition of the yarn is. Being able to do it on my phone when I’m out & about is an added bonus – but I even surprised a friend by doing it at our kitchen table while playing a board game, because we were talking about projects and it was more convenient than taking a break from the game to walk 10 ft away and rummage through my stash.

  43. It seems to me that since there is a pop up for patterns that lets you select which pattern if you type a name that has more than one designer, that maybe there could be one for yarn too πŸ™‚ My stash is a little overwhelming for me to think about taking pictures of it all…..

  44. Im with Sheryl! I put it all on Ravelry as soon as I can. If needed there is a feature that you can download your stash from Ravelry and it puts all the data into a Excel spreadsheet. But then you will really know how much yarn you have. Knitters who photograph there stash and projects have saved my butt many times from colorway issues and yarn dilemmas. I don’t know what I would do without it.

    I also keep a written journal of projects details, pattern changes, my designs, swatch notes and knit night quotes. I’m an artist so it’s my knitting sketchbook. I keep my stash in plastic bins sorted by fiber type. It’s dangerous to go into the bins cause cast-on-itis could catch me. It’s safer to look at the virtual stash, search for yarn and projects on Ravelry. I find it can curb the cast-on-itis most of the time.

  45. I use Ravelry to keep track of everything. I did big yarn documenting/photo session when I first added everything. Now I’m in ‘maintenance’ mode, and add as I buy. Now that I have in iPhone, it’s so easy to take a picture and upload it right away. I love that I can make a note as to potential projects and link the stash yarn to my queue/projects. It’s so helpful to be able to see what I have by weight. It’s nice to know if I have something suitable in my stash for a project or if I really do need to buy something for it. πŸ™‚

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