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Diary of a Knitter: Stash Storage, & Sharing Solutions (and Struggles)

Posted by Judith Enright on

by Kellen Chang
When I first moved to Canada, I brought almost all of my yarn stash up with me. Some of my friends were skeptical; they wanted to know where I would store all of it, how I would convince my partner that I absolutely needed all the yarn I'd hauled with me from Hawai'i, and Boston, and New Zealand, and Oklahoma, and a few other countries and states. It wasn't as tricky as they expected! I started things off by knitting her a hat (out of some of my nicest Malabrigo yarn, of course), then I got her started on crocheting, and the rest was history.

Now she's far outstripped me in the art of crochet and I haven't heard a single complaint about the size of my stash. Unfortunately that might be because we decided we'd have a "joint-ish" stash, which has been dangerous for our floor space and budget. Even if she doesn't mind me buying more yarn, much like I'm always excited to see her latest fibre finds, we've had to do some creative thinking to keep from being buried under yarn, going crazy over "Whose Yarn Is It Anyway?", and just in general, preventing ourselves from accidentally buying doubles of everything we like.

Here's hoping you can benefit from what I've learned!

1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Reduce space taken, reuse storage, and recycle old items into new treasures! We've reused the clear, sturdy, stretchy plastic cases that our comforters and pillows came in to hold some of our yarn, turned empty cardboard boxes into shelving displays, and stacked everything up high to fit even more yarn in.

2. Take Note - We're both guilty of buying yarn for a project, setting it aside, then completely forgetting what the project actually was once the yarn's blended into the rest of our stash. If you're worried about this happening to you (or you know it's already happened and you'd like to prevent it from happening again), start adding little notes to your yarn. A good time to do this is when you're caking a skein—add a note on the label, or put in a brightly coloured piece of paper that will catch your attention.

3. Get Creative - We have yarn literally everywhere. While some of that yarn is mess in progress, currently attempting to overtake the entire floor plan, but some of it is absolutely deliberate! When we moved out, some of our relatives gave us their old furniture, and we've turned a lot of it into decorative yarn storage. Our glass curio case is much brighter when its shelves are full of caked yarn, and we have plans to turn future wine racks into skein storage. Try basket stands to give your space a fun look, and test out which options show off your stash better based on how you prefer to store your yarn.

4. Get Connected - Ravelry is a lifesaver in general, but especially so when it comes to an oversized stash. It might take some time to inventory everything you have, but finding treasures you've forgotten can make it so worth it. Once you've set up your current stash on Ravelry (something Michelle and I absolutely still need to do), updating it with new skeins as they come in looks like a much easier task.

5. Inter-Stash Swappery - I've promised some stash sharing struggles, and so far, I haven't shared many. One of our biggest issues tends to be playing "Whose Yarn Is It Anyway?", a game that can lead to heartbreak or confusion when it turns out that the #&*% skein you've been tracking for the past week to finish up the sleeves of your sweater ended up as the pretty edging on that lacy top you've been wearing for the last month or so. Our solution for this has been to trade things out—if Michelle wants one of my skeins, she'll have to give me an equivalent one in return, and vice versa. 

As long as you can still see the floor, you definitely don't have too much yarn—after all, it makes for great padding and insulation!


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