Yearn Worthy Yarn: Your Stash

yarn Stash Inspired by the first Carnival of Green Crafts and Yoel’s attempt at stashbusting I took a closer look at my yarn stash and encourage you to do the same.

There’s a reason you bought all that yarn in the first place, right? I know there is a plethora of your very own yearn worthy yarn, just sitting in your house waiting to be picked up and turned into an amazing project. Whether its a sturdy cotton blend, a fancy novelty yarn, or any one of the numerous environmentally friendly yarns we like to tell you about, your stash is a wonderful wealth of fiber. So use it!

Consumption is a sometimes tricky issue to tackle, because no one wants to be told that we buy too much stuff. But we do and we need to be doing less. Earlier this month I had the chance to hear Diane MacEachern, author of Big Green Purse speak on her book, consumption and purchasing power.

The big take away for me, was that first things first, we need to purchase less; consume less. Then shift some of our spending to the most environmentally friendly products out there.

Amy over at the Hook and I sums this up nicely:

Use your stash. Not buying new materials is probably the best way to reduce our environmental impact. It’s hard for me to say this–I love yarn companies and the people involved, many of them have strong environmental missions themselves, but it can’t be avoided that lack of consumption is better than consumption when it comes to the environment.

Thanks Amy! I have to agree. I have been tempted many a time by a particularly lovely fiber, that then just sits on top of my stash. If you are swayed by the powers of fiber and do end up purchasing some new yarn, have a project in mind that you will use and love once finished. It breaks my heart when you finish a particularly long and hard pattern only to find out at the end that either you didn’t purchase enough yarn or blocking goes awry, so it just sits there.

To help with stashbusting here are a couple of ideas:

  • Organize – sort through your yarn and organize by color and skein. Put all the same skiens in clear bags so it is easy to see their color and texture.
  • Storage – Have a place to store your yarn that is within easy reach and is not impossible to get to. If you put your yarn in the back of the closet, in a storage tub, under your suitcase, you’re never going to get through your stash.
  • Project Log – Make a list of all the projects that you want to do with your yarn. Record it in your journal and on note cards that you can easily slip into the bag of yarn that it corresponds with. If you already have a pattern to go with the yarn, slip that into the bag instead.
  • Miscellaneous Leftovers – Usually when you come to the end of a project you have a bit of yarn leftover. Here’s a great article on how to make Magic Balls of Yarn with those pesky little bits.

Have other ideas on how to get through your stash? Let us know in the comments!

More Yearn Worthy Yarn:

Image credit: splityarn on Flickr under a creative commons license

Written by Kelly Rand

Kelly covers visual arts in and around Washington, DC for DCist and is editor of Crafting a Green World. Kelly has also been published by Bust Magazine and you can find her byline at Indie Fixx and Etsy’s Storque and has taught in Etsy’s virtual lab on the topic of green crafting.

Kelly helps organize Crafty Bastards: Arts and Crafts Fair, one of the largest indie craft fairs on the east coast and has served on the Craft Bastard’s jury since 2007. Kelly is also co-founder of Hello Craft a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the advancement of independent crafters and the handmade movement. Kelly resides in Washington, D.C. and believes that handmade will save the world.


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  1. I’ve been doing that since the new year. I decided to buy as little as possible and use up what I already have. I bought some of the yarn so long ago, when I sell hat I’ve knitted from them, it’s almost like I make a 100% profit.

  2. Another idea for stashbusting: try out a new type of craft! If you only knit, try crochet, and vice versa. Or hunt down some other obscure craft you can incorporate your yarn into. Variety of technique can sometimes be just the thing to shake out a new use for your old supplies.

  3. Thanks so much for the shout-out for Big Green Purse, but more importantly, for helping to spread the word about reducing consumption in the first place. The way we spend our money — which includes not spending any at all — sends a powerful message to manufacturers to change the way they do business if they want our business! Plus, intentionally making our money matter is one of the most empowering actions we can take day to day… whether we’re buying a car or a skein of yarn — or not buying anything at all. I appreciate the suggestions on your blog and the added dimension they bring to the entire arena of sustainability.

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