On 'Stashbusting'

I started a new project at the weekend, a 'stashbusting' project, which got me thinking. Just a few years ago, when I began knitting and following knitting blogs, I didn't understand why so many people had a "stash" of yarn that they were attempting to use up, to get rid of, to "bust". If they didn't want the yarn, why had they acquired it? One afternoon in a friend's kitchen, as she revealed bag after bag after bag of beautiful yarns that were squirrelled away around her house, I made a personal vow that I wouldn't do that. No way. Not me. So why is it that such a short time later my own 'Year of Projects' includes, for the second year running, a goal of "stashbusting"? How did I end up with some of this stuff in the first place, and why am I trying to come up with ways to use it up? If I look at my yarn collection - which is not extensive but is not wholly necessary either - I can see that I typically 'stash' things which fall into five different categories.

1. Things bought for specific projects that are yet to be started, or which have been become the subject of procraftinationA perfect example of this is the King Cole Opium purchased for Rural Idyll. Love the yarn, love the sweater, but when I started knitting the size that should fit, it looked like a whole herd of something would be able to fit inside, immediately thwarting enthusiasm for the project. It's been sitting in my knitting bag since then, untouched. 
Stashbusting - yarns I'm hoarding right now.
2. The Sock-Yarns-For-Socks. I have a pair of 'handbag' socks on the go at all times, so these are generally purchased when a sale is on and I can pick up some bargains. I am perfectly happy with these and will continue to maintain a small stash for this purpose. It's the knitting equivalent to chocolate - comforting and necessary! 
Stashbusting - yarns I'm hoarding right now.
3. The 'Sock'-Yarns-Not-For-Socks. These are usually one-off skeins I just couldn't resist... but which are too nice for any old sock pattern. These are more likely to become shawls or scarves, or maybe a very special pair of socks when the right project comes along. This is definitely the most worrying category as it's generally the most expensive and least likely to be used. 
Stashbusting - yarns I'm hoarding right now.
4. My Handspun.  The most regularly enhanced category, but generally not enough meterage to do much with, so I'm stashing these until there is enough for something that might use up a load at once. Say no more. 
Stashbusting - yarns I'm hoarding right now.
5. The "I got carried away" yarns. Generally these are things which were acquired on a whim from a yarn show (when in an irrational buying-frenzy), or from an online retailer when the deal was 'too good to miss'. In this category you will find an eclectic mix of all things from bright pink acrylic (whoever called that one a "lucky" dip has a warped sense of humour) to giant fabric strips that are insufficient to make anything sizeable. 
So you see, even with the best intentions, it can happen to anyone. I'm sure you will be able to relate to at least some of these? What is it that you stash - do you have a few things you're crazy for, or do you stash a broader range so that you're always prepared? Perhaps you're someone who is able to resist temptation entirely. Please leave a comment to let me know. 


  1. I stash handdyed yarns but usually with a project in mind, e.g. socks, longies or a child-size cardigan. I stash lace yarn because it doesn't take up much space and I love knitting it. I also seem to have a acrylic stash for crochet blanket projects, I love having a wide variety of colours but wish it didn't take up quite as much space lol

  2. Most of my stash is part balls left over from some project that didn't need all that was bought but sometimes (like my recent holiday to the UK) I buy yarn because I like the look of it or want a sample from that region. Some yarn has also been given to me by that has either given up knitting and/or crocheting or inherited the yarn and just wanted to get rid of it.
    I'm sure I'll find projects for all my yarn eventually.

  3. I generally stash with a project in mind, even if it's only a vague 'that will be a shawl', but I get so little actual knitting done these days that I have drawers full of yarn I worry the moths will get to before me.

    But hey, there are worse things to collect than yarn ... and if I still haven't knitted it all up in old age it'll save me from blowing my pension on the stuff ;)

  4. Sock yarns are definitely my chocolate! There is something so comforting about having a sock in my bag at all times. And, I just like pulling out my stash of sock yarn and grabbing something that suits my current mood.

    What I really stash is spinning fiber!!! I have completely skipped the local fiber festivals this summer because my stash has become ridiculously large! Now that autumn has set in, I'm feeling more like spinning so I may begin to make a dent in the fiber pile.

  5. I think this is a great breakdown! I have 2 categories I would add to my stash logic: 1) gift yarn -- yarns I love to knit gift with, usually superwash wools (most of this is Malabrigo for me) and 2) favorites. I tend to hoard yarns I love (Blue Moon, Bugga) and collect my favorite bases in must-have colorways.

  6. When I had first started as a knitter, I only bought yarn for specific projects. Some of my stash is from projects that haven't been knitted. Then I started buying yarn because he yarn was soft and different. Now I have a stash that I should knit up! Sometimes I wish I had no yarn nor a knitting library because half the fun is shopping for yarn and looking at patterns.
    I wouldn't mind having a big stash of sock yarn. Your stash for that is great.

  7. Aaaaah mostly the same as yours! What I do with the half-used balls, etc - hook baby beanies from it to donate once in a while to hospitals. Also started to hook washcloths with it. Once in a blue moon I'll fine-comb the stash and take out those that I know I am REALLY not going to use, and will either make it available to friends, or donate to hospice or my domestic worker.

  8. I loved this posting of yours!!

    I have a stash the size of a yarn shop...and I don't care. None of it has been invaded by moths until recently and that gave me the willies, so I went through most and started placing smelly things in with the wools (cedar, herbs, etc) and also froze some to kill the little beasties. But yes, like you, I never have to look for a yarn in the stores/online, but I still do....

    I'm getting better at it though. I will add something to a cart to buy online and let it "sit" for awhile, when I've come to my senses and then I don't buy it. And my tastes have changed, too, and that's a danger. As one type of yarn that I bought years ago, I have no desire to knit anymore. I'm selling some and always ready to give away some to a budding knitter. Right now, my interests are in knitting lace shawls....using up the really good sock yarns (that I would never put on my feet anyway and always got a GREAT deal on). Before it used to be making felted bags/purses....I have SOoooo much wool for this!

    thank you for the beautious fotos! and writing

  9. All the above, except the socks and with the addition of the "online yarn shopping, post evening glass of wine, knew what I was going to make with it when I bought it but by the time it arrives I can't remember" category.


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