Things I Learned While De-Stashing

Until about a week ago, I had a stash of yarn and fibre so large I felt suffocated by it.  Does that make sense when you LOVE yarn so much you find yourself constantly day-dreaming about what you’ll knit/crochet/spin/weave next?

My stash started to grow when I discovered the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter’s Fair.   I would have to say that for the first three years at least, I came home each time with a trunk-load of yarn.  When that fair got boring, my friend and I started going to the Woodstock Fleece Festival.  Before I knew it, I had 12 bins of yarn and three Ikea under-bed storage thingies full of fiber.

When you come from a city that has no yarn shop and you’re suddenly exposed to all the goodies at a fair the size of KW’s, you go a little crazy.  I purchased ribbon yarn one year!?  What am I ever going to do with ONE skein of ribbon yarn?  NOTHING.  It sat in my stash for 10 years until someone contacted me on Ravelry to see if I would part with it.  ABSOLUTELY!  Thank you woman-who-knits-ribbon-yarn.

Here are three IMPORTANT things I learned last week:

1)       Store it where you can see it.  I had so much yarn I didn’t know I had.   And if I knew I owned it, I had to root through 12 bins to find it.  I really didn’t love that part – especially so because they were all stacked and crammed into a closet.  A few weeks ago, in preparation, I went to Ikea and splurged on a 25-cube Kallax so I could SEE all the yarn I decided to keep.  So amazing.  Now, every time I walk by my office, I can see all of my stash.  Everything is beautifully exposed.

2)      You don’t have to take everything.  People know I knit a lot.  This means that when people go through their recently deceased grandmother’s house and find some yarn and old straight needles from the 60’s, they save it for me.  How thoughtful.  Or they go to a yard sale and see a giant stash of acrylic and they spend $2 to get it all for you.  How sweet.  SAY NO.  You don’t have to take everything.  Or, if you feel badly saying no, take it and say thank you, then drop it off at the Goodwill.  Someone else will be glad to have it.

3)      Write shit down!  When I started going through my giant bin of handspun (yes, a whole bin of my handspun), I realized that I didn’t know what most of the yarn was.  OMG!  What have I done?  It gets worse: when I started going through the Ikea bins of fiber, I had bags and bags of roving and I have no idea what they are.  DAMMIT!  I found one freezer bag labeled “Really nice stuff from the fleece show.”  Really?  I’m kicking myself HARD for not writing down the type of fibers I purchased.  It’s not difficult to attach a little piece of paper (or a pretty hang-tag from Staples) to a skein you just spent hours spinning and plying.  It’s also not difficult to stick your receipt in the 5 pound bag of beautiful brown roving you just purchased to spin a sweater-quantity of worsted yarn.   DO IT!  Trust me.  You’ll thank me later.

Now that it’s all said and done, keepers in their case and the rest waiting for their new homes, I feel so much better and excited at the organization.  Every time I walk by my “office” I can see all my pretty yarn.


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