Stash Talk, Again

Stash.  Definition:  stash 1 |staSH| informal
verb [ with obj. ]
store (something) safely and secretly in a specified place: their wealth had been stashed away in Swiss banks.
1 a secret store of something: the man grudgingly handed over a stash of notes.
• a quantity of an illegal drug, especially one kept for personal use: one prisoner tried to swallow his stash.
2 dated a hiding place or hideout.

Of course, I am talking about a yarn stash.   I’ve talked about this before as well as talked about a storage area for finished objects and a set up for knitting engagement.   I’ve had conversations with knitters about their stash, most recently with Janet, otherwise known as danielsj on Ravelry.  The conversation really inspired me into thinking more on this topic.  Somehow, we can’t live with a stash, or least one that is out of control, and we can’t live without one.  We ask ourselves where the line is when building a responsible stash or realizing it has reached over capacity when it says “you can only breathe if you get rid of me”.  Yes, my yarn stash speaks to me.  Every knitter and anyone passionate about something in life knows exactly what I mean.

One goal this year was to knit from the stash.  Another is to not purchase any new yarn.  These recent weeks, somehow I have forgotten that second goal.  What can I say?  I am no different than anyone else and with the recent onslaught of new patterns being released with respective new yarns being introduced, let me tell you it has been more difficult than ever to resist that temptation.

I have never been a pack rat.  Clothes are organized and the garage cleaned out.  Literally, there is a spot for everything.  What I want to keep is what I/we use.  Even during employment years, this has been the case.  Just as a yarn stash grows, so does everything else we own in the house.  Stuff just accumulates!  Then, you realize that it is time to do something about it.  Or, at least I do.  As I get older, the desire to increase light and space as opposed to being the owner of ‘stuff’ is growing, so I’ve taken these last few weeks, a room at a time, and weeded out.  It was a snap to clean out the basement or clean out the kitchen cabinets or clean out the linen closet.  All had been going well until I got to the yarn stash.  Don’t get me wrong, yarn remains nicely bundled but these are the honest questions I was asking myself as I headed to the daunting task:

1  Do I want to utilize the convenience of the queue on Ravelry?  If so, do I want to organize my yarn to the patterns I’ve queued?
2  What are those projects doing on the project page of Ravelry that are not in the queue and not being worked on?   Where is that yarn?
3  Do the patterns I have still match my lifestyle?  Not, do I love them because I know I do but are some of the patterns too dressy?  Too youthful?  Too outlandish?  Too boring?
4  Do I have enough time left in my life to knit these things?
5  Is there ever going to be time when I will allow myself to purchase new yarn or to fall in love with new patterns?
6  Am I irresponsible giving away some yarn?
7  Am I willing to return some yarn if it is not too late?
8  Am I committed to completing projects I’ve started?  Like reading, do I need to read that book in its entirety?
9  What about time for planning my own designs?
10  What about time to knit for others?
11  How blasted long is it going to take me to be true to these goals?


Yesterday, I attempted to answer these questions (in order of thought):

One  I want my queue to be working in sync with my actual yarn stash.

Two  I deleted all projects that were not completed on the Ravelry project page.

Three  I deleted from the queue and in my head the patterns that were obviously not going to lend themselves to my retirement lifestyle.

Six  The Knitting Guild is having a yarn fest in May so I will donate yarns I am weeding out so, not only is it not irresponsible to give away some yarn, it may be helping another.

Seven I will be returning yarn this afternoon.

Eight  I have one project that has remained a work in progress for some time.  Remember, I knit   one item at a time to its completion.  I am considering giving up on it, sad to say, for reasons already stated (mostly, change to retirement).  That said, I am proud to say, I have only one project in this category.

Four, Five, Nine, Ten  I feel that if I am honest and faithful to the freshly reviewed and updated stash, then I will be surviving my stash.  I will have time to consider new patterns.  I will have time for planning designs, and I will have time for knitting for others (a goal I really want for my future).

Eleven is the most difficult to answer as there are too many factors impacting the future, those factors we can control and unfortunately, those that we cannot.  So, I will set my sights on these goals for this year and see how far my focus, energy, and determination take me.

Taking the time to reconsider, reevaluate,  and being willing to return bundles has revitalized my attitude.  But more importantly this effort has made my goals more attainable, and has given way to a bit of light and space between the bundles.


9 responses to “Stash Talk, Again”

  1. Really enjoyed your latest post on yarn stash. I have my yarn stash on Ravelry and have encouraged and helped knitting friends do the same. The best thing about Ravelry is that it gives you the ability to organize yarn entered into an excel-type spreadsheet, sorted by yarn weight; I also add a picture of each yarn/colour. This gives me the ability to quickly look at my stash spreadsheet on Ravelry to determine whether I have enough yarn in a certain weight to knit a project that excites me.


    • This is fascinating, Karen. There are so many organizational tools as part of Ravelry, only a few that I use. You are describing a whole other way to stay in control of your stash. I begin with the pattern and you are describing beginning with the yarn. As long as we have a method to our madness. :)


      • I also didn’t have a stash until after retirement, for 5 years I worked 1 day a week at a LYS; coincidentally, the shop closed in 2014 when we moved away to the Niagara area but my yarn stash increased steadily while I worked there!


        • I want to get to a point where I have only a minimal stash and am wondering if that is even possible. I can imagine how working in a yarn shop would inspire bringing some of it home. :)


  2. Funny, I was thinking about my stashbusting project the last few days. Good to take a moment to pause and make decisions on the stash front. I admire your will to return the yarn. I do a Ravelry queue reality check every now and then, and suffle things around, remove or add stuff. In the end, I try to find the right pattern for the yarn in my stash and do not even consider new patterns that will require new yarn, as much as I like them. This is my only option if I want to take control of it. Keep up the good stash work, you’ll get there.


  3. Thanks, Holly.

    Our discussions this week have prompted me to start using my queue, just to organize my thougths re my stash. So, I’ve reordered a few and deleted many from the queue.
    All of that is faster than the knitting and the writing.



    • And, when you bundle your yarn, you do NOT need to put any paperwork with the yarns as all the information is right there in your queue! Happy Knitting!


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