Crochet Spotters Share Stash Down Tips

By Caissa "Cami" McClinton – 18 Comments

Crochet Spotters always come through. When I wrote last week’s post about having a seriously large stash, I wasn’t prepared for the wonderful flood of responses I would get. Thank you so much to Maryisidre, 1001knits, Doug, Melissa, and Kim Domingue, who made me feel not so alone!

With your encouragement (and great ideas) I think I am (just about) ready to tackle my stash. I know how to do this in theory, but in practice it takes a bit more preparation, drive, and willpower. While I was not in my space, but had some free time, I imagined what I would do and how I would do it. I am happy to report that I have a plan (kind of) but I can tell this is going to be a serious undertaking. The plan needs a little more work, but in the meantime, I am honored to share the following:

Organizational Tips from Crochet Spotters

Kim Domingue shared a compelling tale of stash acquisition and how she reached SABLE, but then found the courage to pare down. The HOW?
– When deciding what to keep, she asked herself, “Do I still like the yarn? Its color, hand, weight, fiber content?”
– She went through her stash box by box and gave the cast offs to relatives, friends, and a church group that crochets lapghans for nursing home residents.

Melissa got rid of her stash. The WHERE? She donated to the local VFW Women’s Association. They make all sorts of things for veterans who are homeless or in hospitals or rest homes.

1001knits is a self-proclaimed yarn hoarder! (See? I’m not alone!) Great tips for destashing include
– Getting others involved in a yarn swap at your crochet group.
– Knowing what you have so letting go won’t feel so terrible.
– Using what you have and NOT BUYING MORE UNTIL YOU RUN OUT.
– Searching pinterest for easy stash down projects!

Doug organizes his stash by using Ravelry and has some great rules for that. He SAYS NO to free yarn donations unless something “jumps out” at him.

Maryisidra stores yarn in CLEAR tote boxes and sorts by EXPENSIVE/INEXPENSIVE. She suggests sorting by COLOR if one has space, or by PROJECT if appropriate. Anything extra should be DONATED!

Oh, man. Since I have so many great ideas so far, it seems like I will actually have to go through with this destashing idea.

Uhhh...

Uhhh…

In an effort to manifest progress before it has even begun, I shall chant the following affirmation at all times until I begin:

Oh darn! Oh darn! I must decrease my yarn.

I will. I will. I will stash down my till.

I shan’t. I shan’t. I shan’t begin to rant.

I can. I can. Fit my yarn in a van.

(Wait. What? Maybe that last one was a little over the top. I should probably quit while I’m ahead.)

Hi.

Can I Do It

I guess I have to remember that happiness lies in creating, not hoarding.

So what do you think, Crochet Spotters? Are these yarn organizers onto something? Do you think I can do it? What should I crochet once I figure out what exactly I have? (Remember, it has got to be quick and use a lot of yarn!!) Leave your ideas, thoughts, and words of encouragement or ridicule ;) in the comments below!

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18 Comments

  1. Susan Nash says:

    Hello :) Honestly, there are many of us who wish we had half the problem you have with having too much yarn! For new crochet lovers like myself, some of us have a hard time. I’ve been into crochet for almost a year into it now and I’m still working out of the 40.00 ‘bunch’ of misc yarns that I bought from a lady online 10 months ago, when I taught myself to crochet via youtube. I’ve bought only a little cotton yarn for dish and washcloths I needed since there was none in my ‘bunch, and my yarn is almost gone.

    I picked up very quickly on crochet last October, having hand crafted everything you can think of all my life, so I’ve already made a lot of beautiful projects, kept a lot, gave a lot, donated a lot, sold a little, and started a blog site about a month ago. I made a wrap while learning my 1st stitches, I thought ‘why waste time’?!

    I’m disabled and at home, unable to drive to go to thrift stores hunting down cheap yarn, but I desperately needed something wonderful like crochet to do to focus intently on to stop thinking about chronic pain all the time, and reading had lost my attention.

    I’m trying to help others learn to crochet like I taught myself, prove to them they can do it, and I bookmarked several hundred sites for using in my blog posts, along with using my completed work and every aspect of crochet that exists to get others on their way!

    I know I can help beginners learn more and even more advanced people can help me while they brush up on skills they’ve not used in a while. It gives me great joy to have found something I can actually DO, and so I do it!

    Yarn isn’t cheap, and disability is poverty, so I find that yarn isn’t exactly in my non-budget budget. I know there are others like me, that crochet is a therapy for. Maybe you could offer people like us some of your yarn at really discounted prices, and eventually we’ll be able to collect enough yarn to actually have a stash some day, and then pay it forward to help others before long!

    I just wanted to share my story with you, because while everyone knows that yarn isn’t cheap, it’s just more affordable to some than to others. I’ve been making small pieces since my yarn is low, although I’ve made a little of everything big a and small while crocheting daily. It IS addictive but it’s not always easy to manage to get the materials. thx for your time!

  2. Bailey says:

    Accept that it is an issue, because guilt generally doesn’t help us work to a solution. Then it also helps to try to decide what’s behind the hoarding. Mine started because I didn’t know what kind of yarn I needed. When I started crocheting I jumped from project weights so I needed different yarns. Then it was also a matter of cost and access. I bought it so I had it and the prices were more reasonable. Now I do have a hoard to work through and I’m trying.

  3. Kim says:

    I bought out a booth at an antique mall when the yarn went down to 50 cents to a dollar a skein, which started my yarn overrun. I also have bought many yarns off clearance racks and when on sale. But the problem I find is, when I find a pattern I want to make none of the yarn I have is “just right” and I end up going out and buying more. So I have started pulling yarn out of my stash and searching for patterns for that particular yarn (type, color, and amount) and that has helped me use up quite a bit of the stash. I am determined that I will only keep the yarn that will fit in one cabinet that sits in my hallway and I won’t buy more if I have yarn that won’t fit in the cabinet. I am getting much better about NOT buying yarn that tempts me when I’m out shopping.

  4. GLORIA says:

    I SAVE EVERY PIECE, I MAKE RUGS….ALL KINDS

  5. Judy says:

    I had my large stash of yarn divided by colors, each color in a separate see-through bin with a lid, plus another bin for all my cotton yarn, and another for all my Dazzleaire yarn. I decided to keep the Dazzleaire and cotton in their own bins, and then divided my stash by weight. That helped so much! I could see what I had that could be used for patterns I wanted to try. Then when I was down to an overflowing bin of 5 weight yarn – mostly eyelash yarn – I started making scarves and cowls/infinity scarves/neckwarmers. I now have 40 scarves and 25 cowls/infinity scarves/neckwarmers and 2 stoles. I’m currently photographing them to upload on my Etsy site. Then I will sew my labels into them, and attach paper labels with care instructions. I have a MUCH smaller stash now!

  6. cecelia knuckles says:

    Crochet mats for the animal shelter using three yarns held together….makes thick, soft mats and uses lots of yarn quick…and think how good you will feel in the freezing cold weather knowing an animal is not lying on hard, cold cement.

  7. Bonnie Banks says:

    Gosh! You young people move so fast. I hadn’t even gotten my reply into words when you publish a new blog. :) No one should let themselves by intimidated; I am retired which gives me more time, but I’m hampered by some chronic energy sapping conditions, so I had to take it slow and rest a lot in between organizing and crocheting, but I got it done. I now have a system of organizing/using up yarn that is now practically self-perpetuating. I feel less stressed and also feel useful again. Here are my steps:

    1) I researched charity groups and sorted which ones wanted items I had or wanted to make, colors, sizes, materials, acceptance dates, etc, I was drawn to several by their websites or recommendations by others (Bev’s Country Cottage was very helpful).

    2) To the organizations who needed yarn (American Indian Health Services, Lincoln Park Community Shelter, Heather Rauschenberger), I sent the yarn which was perfectly good but I knew I would never use. (Can’t tolerate wool or anything “scratchy” – princess, right?) So, for me, keep Red Heart Soft, but get rid of Red Heart Classic – I’m just saying.

    3) Then I sorted the rest of my yarn into colors – my son hung a large dowel between two wall cabinets in our craft/plant room (I know I’m lucky, but a closet would work, too) and got me 3 hanging organizers from Walmart. These are fabulous – yarn that previously filled 4 huge, unwieldy totes now hangs in plain sight and easy reach in an area only 36″ by 54″.

    4) I filled a zippered, anti-kitten “stash bag” with all my scraps and partial skeins, I made granny squares for Granny Squares of Love, Warming Families, and Angels Online. (This is so fun since I love squares, but joining and completing whole afghans is now too heavy for me.)

    5) Next, I made scarves for Operation Gratitude and Red Scarf Project; some hat/scarf sets for Crafty Angels, and recently some newborn hats for the Little Hats Big Hearts project.

    6) Upcoming projects include snuggle mats, collars and coats for the local Humane Society and cat-themed items for Animal Lovers’ Christmas fundraiser.

    All projects are quick, and any “leftovers” go into the scrap bag. Then I can begin again with granny squares. And when I shop for yarn, now I have in mind colors and weights appropriate to each of my “adopted” charities. It all comes together and keeps going around. I love it.

  8. Susie says:

    I just learned how to arm knit this weekend! 5 strands of yarn and 10 stitches per row….24 rows later and you have a nice cowl! Uses up lots of yarn and it’s fun! Plus you can make a cowl in 45 minutes- great gift idea!

  9. fleurdelis says:

    P.S. – Here is an idea. Visit the Crochet Spot free pattern section and look at all the little patterns and suggestions. I made the crayon color loop scarf and think a smaller version would make a great Christmas Tree garland. I made a crochet skirt and now want to make crochet motifs for our tree. If we start now we could be done for December.

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