Are you guilty of hoarding your yarn stash? It’s time to stop and take stock before casting on another project! Sorting out stray skeins, needles and tools ensures that supplies are easy to find and it’s much easier to imagine new projects. Have a clear out and spread a new light on your stash by decluttering. We’ve come up with six ways to go about sorting your stash and some top tips for storing it all.
1. Declutter and clear the mind
Knitters are notorious for hoarding, but 80% of clutter is a result of being disorganised – not lack of space. With so many innovative ways to store your stash, there’s no excuse to live amongst those piles of yarn that threaten to take over the house. Getting rid of excess clutter (even if it’s just yarn) can even eliminate the amount of time spent doing housework – imagine that! The first step to getting organised is to put all your yarn in plain sight in the middle of a room and start sorting! Separate into categories like WIPs, future projects, oddments, etc. Chuck out or give away things you have no use for, and be brutal! Use bags, tubs or shoe boxes to then further sort the piles into weight, colour or any way you see fit. A once overflowing, tangled stash can soon become a haven for creativity and relaxation.
2. Buy more yarn!
After sorting out what you do and don’t need, it’s time to shop. Do you have a project you would like to knit but don’t have enough yarn? Often by buying more yarn you can inadvertently de-stash, as you will then have enough to make something. Have a project in mind for everything in your stash, print off your pattern and store these together with the yarns for instant inspiration. Spring is here and in the knitting world we’ve seen some gorgeous new patterns and yarns. If you are easily lured by new stash and worried about the effect the new season may have on Operation Stash-Bust, limit yourself to only having a certain number of garments worth of yarn in your stash at one time. For example, invent a four sock rule whereby you can only store enough yarn for these projects.
3. Innovate your space
Crafters are geniuses when it comes to inventing new ways to keep things tidy with blogs, books and publications dedicated to the task. Get inventive with everyday items and yarn can soon become an interesting focal point in a room. And you needn’t spend any cash, finding things like decorative boxes and jars around the house for storage solutions can save a bundle. Creating a designated knitting area – even something simple like a comfy chair – can make all the difference to finished projects. We know it can be so frustrating to lose your pattern or, even worse, the whole project. Keeping knitting all together can save time and energy. Plus, you’re more likely to use up what you have if it’s easily accessible. It has been estimated that on average people spend up to three hours a day looking for things, think of all the wasted knitting time!
4. Give a little
Many charities require knitted items, from hats for newborn babies to blankets for dogs’ homes. Knit for Peace, our Charity of the Month, takes donations of handknitted layettes for newborn babies so if you’re looking to use up a small amount of yarn and make a big difference, visit www.knitforpeace.org.uk/projects-and-patterns and see how you can help. For more information on charity knitting projects, visit www.ukhandknitting.com/knitting_for_charity for a comprehensive list of projects. Charity shops are are a great place to destash and your unwanted scraps could help a new knitter find their feet. If you can’t bear to part with your yarn without knitting it first, then creating impromptu presents that use a couple of balls of yarn and storing them until birthdays can help get rid of those stray skeins.
5. Swap with friends
With the great knitting boom comes hoards of fellow knitters in the same situation… yarn overload! Holding a swap night with your knitting group can put you on the right track. Be strict and go with the old clothing rule that if you haven’t used it or thought about it for a year, give it away. Yarn swapping works on the principal that you come away with the same amount that you went in with and it can be a fun social activity. If swapping with real-life people doesn’t appeal, there are plenty of opportunities to swap online. Ravelry is a great place to start, you may even be able to switch the unwanted yarn for something that you need for a larger project. Swapping may seem a bit counter-productive, but giving away something that isn’t be wanted for something special refreshes the way you view your stash.
6. Get rid of scraps and start afresh
Often the answer to getting sorted is just knitting more. Dedicating an hour a day to your favourite hobby will cut down the amount of knitting paraphernalia in no time. Taking a ‘no new project’ plea for the month of March ensures that those dusty unfinished projects see the light of day again and finally get completed. We are all guilty when it comes to keeping oddments just in case, but it’s easy to find uses for those odd little bits of yarn. The trend for ‘scrapghans’ springs to mind, which are crocheted like a giant granny square, except they use small pieces of yarn and a new colour is joined when the wool runs out. Techniques such as intarsia, steeking and provisional cast-ons all require yarn scraps so holding on to some might be handy. Be sure to store these by colour or weight in separate bags or boxes to avoid a catastrophic yarn tangle!
Let’s Knit’s top storage tips
- Store all patterns and needles you’ll need for a project in a large zip-lock bag
- Use a wardrobe tidy to store yarn where it’s hidden from view
- Make an inventory of what you have and label everything that’s missing a ball band
- Separate yarn by colour, weight or by a way that is logical way to you