Organizing My Knitting Stash

Part of this whole knitting process has been to pare down my stash, but the disorganization of it was driving me crazy. I didn’t know what I had and was blindly grabbing when starting a project. Also, I’m not well-versed in textures. I know what worsted and fingering weight are, but I was a little unclear on sport and DK, and the difference between chunky and bulky when it came to matching yarn with a pattern.

On Saturday night, I finally pulled my stash out to organize and catalog everything in my Ravelry account. I haven’t utilized Ravelry much in the past, but it occurred to me that if I had a record of all my yarn, figuring out what to knit would be a whole lot easier.

A mess of yarn: my complete stash as pulled from my closet.
A mess of yarn: my complete stash as pulled from my closet.

When I first piled it on the bed, the project seemed daunting. I realized that my stash is nowhere near as big as those of some knitters. Mine fits in my closet, and I know people who have whole rooms dedicated to their stash. But I’ve developed a minor aversion to clutter, so even this little bit feels like it needs to be used.

The process really didn’t take as long as I thought it would. I found a process that worked for me, which included pulling 5 skeins at a time, taking pictures, logging them into Ravelry, then fitting them into one of my 2 bins. Some of the yarn, like the the scraps and acrylics, went into their own plastic bags and then into a cloth bag I had available.

The "after" picture.
The “after” picture.

Talk about feeling accomplished. The whole process took me about 3 hours, but there was also some time I spent winding some yarn, which, in hindsight, I probably didn’t need to do (and also triggered the idea that perhaps I could use a swift and ball winder sometime in the future). The challenge now will be to find projects to knit with the scrap yarn that I didn’t catalog, as I only put yarn I had information for in the Ravelry stash.

My organization project also yielded a bittersweet moment. Going through my stuff meant finally pulling out an afghan my grandmother started before she passed away. The partially finished granny square project and remaining yarn had been given to me, but I’d stored it away. At the time, the loss of my grandma was still tender, and I wasn’t ready to work on this.

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It’s been several years since she passed, but strangely enough, the afghan still smelled like her perfume. It brought back some good memories, but it also made me really sad and brought to the forefront how much I miss her and my grandfather. But now that the hard part of facing the project is over, it’s now in my plans to finish it up and keep it as a reminder of her.

I’m setting a stash goal for the year. By the end of the year, I’m hoping to have all of my stash pared down to just the 2 tubs (no bags), and that includes anything I pick up at yarn hops and our new yarn store, which I’ll talk more about after it opens up. Let’s hope my current knitting frenzy evens out but keeps steady so I can use up some of that yarn.

A.

Knitting Furiously

So I’m not really furious when I knit. In fact, I’ve been pretty even keeled lately, if not just slightly depressed due to winter weather and snow and cold, but that’s nothing new. As for any sort of anger or rage, that’s been pretty non-existent for a few months now. I get annoyed by things, but I made some good decisions at the end of last year and I’m kind of reaping those benefits.

“Knitting furiously” really just means that I’ve been knitting a lot. I hadn’t picked up my needles in a long time, and then all of a sudden it was like I couldn’t get enough. I think part of it is that I realized how much stash I had and I have a yarn hop coming up and in my mind, I can make a dent in my stash big enough to warrant buying new yarn.

I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen. In fact, my hop list doesn’t include any yarn. Instead, my focus will be notions, needles, and patterns. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try to get that stash down.

I offered a few of the finished objects up on Facebook to those who wanted them. Others I knit with specific people in mind, namely my nieces and nephews, one of which I will meet for the first time this coming summer. Because I’ve been in a “hat” mood, I figured that would be the easiest thing to kick out.

Slouchy hats for young ones.
Slouchy hats for young ones.

The slouchy hats above were super easy to knit and made for good knitting while gaming. I didn’t really have to think about them. The other hat I made was a little more challenging as I actually had to count, but it still wasn’t bad. I knit it up mostly during a knit-in-public night with friends where I consumed way too much coffee and ended up pulling an all-nighter.

Felber says it looks like a little raspberry.
Felber says it looks like a little raspberry.

Sadly, I can’t find the pattern I used. My phone apparently spazzed when I tried to add it to my Ravelry queue and now it’s not there. So if anyone knows where this pattern is, please let me know so I can give credit where it’s due and add it to my own Ravelry projects list. At any rate, this one is going to my newest niece. I’m just hoping it fits on her little baby head.

I’m currently working on a hat for my other nephew. I have two patterns I’m looking at, and I’m trying to decide which one seems more “him.” I might end up just letting him choose and pass along the other hat to someone who wants it.

Other finished projects include:

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Slouchy hat claimed by my friend L (modeled by the Felber himself). This will probably be a gaming accessory, which is awesome. I ran out of the striped yarn so had to improvise and Frankenstein this one together.
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Pain in the butt socks that I only just got lucky enough to have enough yarn for. They’re meant for a young girl, so they’re going to daughter of my friend, Terry.
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Double bump dishcloths going to Erica who was quick on the claim. Not going to lie…I love these colors. I’d had the yarn forever and have no idea where i got it or where to get more.
Scarf claimed by my brother-in-law
Scarf claimed by my brother-in-law. This was an easy pattern mostly…one row the whole way…but I did get tripped up and there’s a small spot that’s kind of a hot mess. I warned that perfectionists need not apply, but I think R will rock this no matter what.

I’ve been listening to a knitting podcast to keep me motivated. The ACTually KNITting Podcast is my current cast of choice, though I’m almost caught up, so I’ll be checking out something new soon . I’m really enjoying this podcast. The woman who does it, Michelle, is friendly and has a good radio voice. Listening to her is relaxing and interesting.

The only downside to all this knitting? My hands have been hurting a bit, and since I use them all day for work as well, I will have to take the occasional break just to let them sit and do nothing. Which fellow knitters know is really not that easy.

A.

Knitters are Yarn Magnets

I’m happy to report that I’m still picking up my needles daily, and the progress I lost from frogging my project has been made up. My decision was a good one. Knitting a project with no glaring mistakes makes a difference. 

Last week, a coworker asked if I wanted some yarn she’d inherited. Logically, I realize this is the exact opposite of the paring down I’m supposed to be doing, but as a knitter, I can’t say no.What if I declined and later found out I missed out on some prize yarn?

Being a yarn magnet is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because you’re always well stocked in stash yarn. It’s a curse for the same reason, unless you’re blessed with unlimited storage space. I already have two totes and a bag full of yarn, and my efforts at stash busting have been weak. Since we’re moving into a smaller apartment, storage is going to be a challenge.

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This gift also came with several pairs of straight needles, some circulars, and a set of metal DPNs. I think I might be more excited about the tools in this case, not because I need them personally but because I want to share them.  

I’ve had a few people ask me to teach them to knit, and one of my plans after moving back into town is to hold a monthly knitting get together. I like having extra yarn and tools on hand because the idea of letting someone take them as their beginner’s tools is appealing. They’ll upgrade eventually, but this gives them the chance to try it out without having to buy their own tools.

Plus, it has a “share the love” feel to it.

As for the yarn, some of it will be donated and passed on, but there is some nice acrylic yarn I’m keeping for frou frou projects (I’m  a fan of softer acrylics).

Now I just need to figure out where I’m going to store it.

Questions for my fellow yarncrafters: do you ever find yourself becoming a yarn magnet? Do you tend to accept or decline? Why? 

A.