So you want to be a stashdown superstar? Over the next few posts I’ll lead you through some of the approaches I take to reduce my stash. Getting to grips with your stash is usually the first step and that is the focus of this post. In later posts I’ll talk about how to make a Stashdown plan tailored to your needs, how to implement it and how to keep track of your progress.
Check out your stash – do you really want it to be smaller? Does it no longer fit in the box(es) it’s supposed to? Does it fall on your head when you open the wardrobe? Is it hidden in every nook and cranny of your home so your partner/parents/flatmate won’t realise how much yarn you have? Does it keep you awake at night with guilty thoughts or put pressure on you to be knitting or crocheting? Are there skeins of yarn that have lived with you longer than your partner? Whatever the reason it’s time to look it in the eye and get a handle on it.
Get a measure on it – Grams, Metres, Litres, Ziploc bags, whatever works for you. I like to measure my stash in metres because that gives the best indication of how long it will take me to knit it. If however your stash is taking up too much space then grams would be a better measure (litres are tricky!) One way to measure your yarn is to add it into Ravelry. This can take quite a long time but I think it’s worth it. Once the yarn is in the system simply click the little green ‘X’ button in the tabs on your stash page, it’s usually beside the ‘search’ button. This allows you to download an Excel spreadsheet of your stash. From there it’s not too difficult to add up the metres column, if you have any trouble please comment below or contact me on twitter.
When adding yarn to Ravelry I suggest adding a rough date or year to the entry if you can remember I really like to add pictures to my stash pages, even a phone pic or a picture from the manufacturers website. This is invaluable when trying to match patterns to stash, when queuing patterns or planning yarn purchases. If you have Ravelry on your phone/tablet it can stop you from buying yarn identical to what you already have. I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this! Also it means you can browse your stash for ideas wherever you are. Or simply admire your favourite skeins on your lunch break. You can even put your fibre stash on Ravelry too if you spin.
Organise your stash – If you’ve spent the day uploading your stash then you are probably surrounded by yarn. This is the perfect opportunity to organise your stash in a way that will help you use it. Everybody has their own way to do this, for ideas read the blogposts by Stew, Crafty Tails, the Fringe Assocation and I. I like to sort mine by yarn weight(lace, sock, 4ply, dk, aran & bulky). I have a box under the bed with lace, sock and 4ply in ziploc bags. Then two baskets in the wardrobe: one holds DK, aran and bulky and the other has all of my odds and ends, in bags together by weight, along with various tools. Any jumpers-worth are in a bag of their own in the press.
This is also the perfect time to assess your stash. Is it mostly jumper quantities or mostly odd balls? Do you have lots of sock yarn but rarely knit socks? Or, like me, do you have lots of laceweight but keep buying DK weight to make baby knits? Is it all the one colour? Is it all in your favourite colours, meaning you never have the right colour to knit a present for a friend with different tastes? What fibres dominate, is there too much cotton or not enough washable yarn? Looking at what you have, what you need, what you buy and what you knit will help you to shop smarter. Next time a special skein seduces you or the local yarn store has a sale, you will be better equipped to choose something that fits your yarny needs. You’ll be a savy shopper looking to enhance your stash with the right colour, fibre, weight and quantity of yarn.
Figure out how long it will take you to use up your stash, to check if you have reached SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy.) Just tot up what you used the previous year on Ravelry. This is easier to do after a year of tracking or participating in stashdown. For example last year I knit/crocheted about 11km and I have 28km in stash so it could last me 3 years if I never buy another skein! Fingers crossed I can increase my knit rate this year.
How do you deal with your stash? Are you part of Stashdown or otherwise on a yarn diet?