Crochet Stash Too Large? Is That Even a Thing?

By Caissa "Cami" McClinton – 30 Comments

So here I am asking a question I never thought I would ask: Is it possible that I have too much yarn?

Image modified from CollegeDegrees360 via flickr license

Image modified from CollegeDegrees360 via flickr

I know, I know! It doesn’t seem like it could be possible, but since I’ve set my sights on downsizing and having a space for every little thing I own, I’m faced with an almost unbearable truth: I have a LOT of yarn. Probably much, much more than I should have!

Image modified from Katy via flickr license How could this be?

Image modified from Katy via flickr
How could this be?

It’s hard to accept the truth, but I have to admit it. Too much yarn is staring me right in the face and I have to do something about it!

I can find some comfort in the fact that I am not alone in this. In fact, there is even a term for people who collect a lot of yarn. No, I’m not talking about “yarn hoarder,” although that must be a real thing, right? I’m talking about people who have reached SABLE, which stands for “Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy.”

Have I reached SABLE? Although I have done no scientific analysis to assess this, I do NOT believe I have reached SABLE quite yet. However, I have absolutely no desire to ever reach SABLE, and I’ll tell you why. This would mean that I am taking more yarn into my stash than I am crocheting out of my stash.

Isn’t that kind of missing the point?

I mean, my stash is so disorganized and overgrown that I find myself wanting to go out and buy more yarn in order to complete projects I would love to make just because I am not fully aware of that yarn that I actually have!

This is a major problem, Crochet Spotters!

So here is my question to all of you – what should I do? I suspect that I am not alone in this. I would venture that at least a few of you out there also have large stashes that you feel you might need to pare down. The question is – how do we do it? I have made a commitment to at least begin this process immediately, and I need to follow through and be done before Thanksgiving so that I can have a calm winter holiday season.

What advice do you have for a crocheter who wants to stash down? How much yarn is too much? How much should I keep? How should I organize & store my yarn? Any advice, thoughts, or even commiseration would be very welcome in the comments section! Looking forward to hearing from you!

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  1. Kim domingue says:

    Okay. Cami, you did it. You made me snort coffee out of my nose and almost choke myself to death from laughing so hard! SABLE? Really? Is that, seriously, a thing? OMG! I’VE REACHED SABLE! Stop, my sides are killing me! Thanks, by the way, for the giggle fest. I, actually, went through what you’re going through about six months ago. I’ve been collecting yarn for about seven years. At first it was for loom knitting. I aquired quite a stash.Then I learned how to crochet. The stash grew. And then there were the going out of business sales. I mean, who can pass up a hank of nice yarn for 59 cents and still call themselves a bargin shopper? And, of course, since I had no idea what I was going to make with that wonderful, 59 cent hank of yarny goodness and being the prudent and forward thinking woman that I am, I bought them ALL…… of each kind and color way. And here’s the sad part…….I continued to buy MORE yarn over the next few years. I had yarn in every room, in every closet and under every bed. I had it spilling over from baskets in every nook and corner. And it MOCKED me. It made me feel bad. It was giving me an organizational complex! I spent a small fortune on storage bins to corral it all and moved a lot of it to my storage building. I had a ” come to Jesus” moment the day I went into the storage building and realized I didn’t have room for the box I had carried out there! The next day I waded into yarn sorting hell. My criteria were pretty simple. Did I still like the yarn, it’s color, it’s hand, it’s weight, it’s fiber content? I went through each box. Those that didn’t make the cut went to a cousin, a friend just learning to crochet, to another cousin to bring to her church group that crochets lapgan’s for nursing home residents……whew! Everyone was thrilled to get all of those lovely yarns. And I am thrilled every single time someone brings another finished project to show me that they made from those yarns! It’s being used to create beautiful things that are being given to lovely people but if I had hung onto it……..well, it would just stayed yarn in a box in a storage building. And I probably still have more yarn than I’ll stitch up in the next five years but at least I’m no longer at SABLE! Lol! Good luck! Can’t wait to hear what you decide to do to resolve your stash issue.

  2. Melissa says:

    Yup! It is a disorder, a sort of hoarders syndrome! LOL I know I had done this a long time ago. I donated to my local VFW Women’s Association to De-Stash, they make all sorts of stuff for Veterans who are homeless, in the hospitals, or in Veterans Rest Homes like the one in Oakland, near Pittsburgh, PA. This was the best way to De-Stash, because you know it’s going to be used……

  3. 1001knits says:

    I am a yarn hoarder myself, and I have some great ideas for you! Set up a crochet club and you can trade or give away your yarn ! If it’s too hard to let go you can have the club donate their projects to homeless shelters, that way your yarn was put to good! But of you can’t give away your yarn, at least organize it and make sure you know what you have.

    Once you see that you have 15 skeins of red heart black yarn, you may feel better about sharing your yarn. At the very least you may find out which yarns you can use for your future projects. Use what you have and don’t buy anything unless you run out. You’ll be surprised to see how manageable your yarn collection will become!

    Also, go on Pinterest and search yarn projects, there may be a bunch of easy things you can DIY!

    • Collette Griffith says:

      That isn’t necessarily possible…!! I teach a crochet club at our local senior center, plus belonging to a prayer shawl ministry. An easy way to get rid of excess yarn? You’d think so, wouldn’t you? Unfortunately, EVERYone in both groups is in the same situation as I am in!!!!! We’re all wading in yarn!!!! I’m even giving my yarn away to Good Will and Salvation Army!

  4. Doug says:

    Oh yeah.
    One thing I’ve done that helps is to enter my stash into Ravelry.
    There is a lot of old stash that isn’t there, but I make it a rule that I can’t un-bag new yarn until I have the photos to put into my Rav stash. They don’t have to be great photos, but I take about three of each skein, and a few close-ups of the label so I can read that without having to find the yarn itself. I try to do this when I buy the yarn, but I usually do it when I get it home. I had to get over fret’ing about the quality of the photos, the point is to just document that I have the yarn and what it is.
    As a member of the Three Rivers Crochet group in Pittsburgh, we often get donations of “Mom’s/Aunt’s/Grandma’s” yarn, and I’ve learned to say no unless a specific yarn jumps out at me.
    I plan to do what Kim did, go through and triage the yarn. We’re remodeling the attic and so I had to put my yarn in storage (temporarily), so when it comes out, I’ll do through each bin.
    Unfortunately I don’t know what I will do with the “give-away” since most of the yarnies I know through the group also have stash problems…

  5. maryisidra says:

    I am a faithful reader/lurker here but I felt I have to add to this conversation as it is important and a real thing this SABLE. Without being morbid, what in heck will my friends do with all my yarny stuff?I just bought more for Christmas projects! Ok I store mine in CLEAR tote boxes so I can see what I have.I store by type,ie: inexpensive and expensive. You know what I mean. If you have lots of room sort by color. Also sort by project for others and that just for you yarn that you bought for your self, for that cap or scarf or etc. (that is ok to admit that yes, some is just for us:) As for what to do with the extra,what the ladies above said and check with your hospital they often have a group that makes chemo hats and baby blankets and booties etc..Hope this helps, Peace my sister in all things Yarny 🙂 Your fan from Alabama…

  6. Carmen N says:

    Just in the last year I have given up a LOT of yarn and it feels wonderful! Last week I turned over a couple of bags to my LYS as they were having a “stash amnesty”; they would give you purchase “points” for every 5lbs of yarn you brought in. They also keep a shopping cart at the front of the store that you can deposit yarn anytime you want and people take what they want (all for free).

    I went through my collection and found yarns I really had no idea what to do with (many were gifted to me) and some that just plain made me unhappy. Many of the cheaper yarns I accumulated when I first started knitting/crocheting went to my mother and MIL as they both do charity work. I still have quite a bit of yarn and thread, but it’s much more manageable. My next step is to create project bags – to come up with ideas for at least 10 stash items, place them in a bag with the pattern and maybe even hook/needle so they’re ready to start!

    • Aunt Dee says:

      Then I am in trouble finding places to put the bags of projects to be done.
      All these suggestons are great and I have done some and need to do more. I am 73 tomorrow and I will NOT outlive my stash. NO WAY.
      What fun it is to look at and touch and plan for.
      I am getting ready to list some on my store on eBid and also on Listia.

  7. Susan Nash says:

    Hi! Besides organizing and the stash amnesty, another ‘charity’ type thing you can do is to offer some yarn, if not free, then at a greatly discounted price to beginner blog site crochet lovers who are blogging, teaching, sharing and learning to write their own patterns, and also need yarn. Most of us of have little to no yarn. Remember how hard it was when you first got started? I can’t ever imagine having too much yarn, but if I ever do, I plan to thank all those who’s sites & blogs I read, watched and learned from, and see who they know might be starting and can use some yarn & extra help! Not only is my yarn low, now my digital camera broke, what luck! I’m using laptop pics but will have to re-post a lot of pics soon. ( hope soon!). A pass it in idea!

  8. Roe says:

    You don’t want to know how much yarn I have in my home right now. And every time Goodwill has great skeins at an unheard of price, it comes home with me. In a two week period, I picked up 129 skeins of yarn. Not to mention what I buy (on sale and clearance) in the stores when I see it. The majority of my work is for charitable organizations and while the groups I am involved with provide yarn, I do use my own mostly. I will supplement their yarn (for some reason no one wants to work with those little rolled up balls of leftover yarn, they only want full skeins) so I take them home and add my yarn and do variations of granny square projects. I usually have multiple projects going at the same time, for some reason, I find it more productive since I switch from one to another and get more done.

    Anyway, happy yarn shopping!!! My name is Roe and I am a yarnoholic.

    • Aunt Dee says:

      That is so true about others not wanting to use used skeins.
      I have made some of the most interesting blankets with leftovers.
      God bless

  9. Twinkie Lover says:

    I have a closet and a half full of yarn in bins and I have had to just say “stop.” Like Roe, I am not a “yarn snob,” so I get tempted by the bags of secondhand yarn at Goodwill and the lots for sale on ebay. I mainly buy yarn at department stores otherwise and one of them has Red Heart Super Saver on sale right now and I thought, “Oohh…” No no no! I have already contemplated reaching SABLE and I don’t want to go there. When you forget what you even have, it’s time to stop buying and start enjoying what you’ve got. I have a friend who ended up buying an outdoor storage shed to “house” her yarn. Personally, I’d rather house something living like animals or plants. How much yarn can one person use? How much time would it realistically take you to use the yarn you already have? I know this is all in the spirit of humor, but when a collection of anything starts taking over your space, and unless you have money to throw away, it’s worth it to ask yourself these questions.

  10. pm henry says:

    SABLE gave me quite a lot of laughs too. Unfortunately I resemble that term too much to suit me. I have yarn in the corners of my dining room and on top of the piano in bags, boxes and totes.

    Just had all my yarn filled totes brought into the living room so I can (hopefully) add to and sort combining all those boxes and bags.

    First I will sort by weight sock, baby, worsted weight and so on. Then by color. At least that”s my plan. And then remove the totes to storage. I hope to make lots of charity stuff as well as stuff for family and friends. I just have to do get going on these things.

    Good luck to all of us

  11. Lisa Jackson says:

    My name is Lisa and I am a yarnoholic! After nearly 40 years collecting, I have yarn in every room except the bathroom and projects in most rooms. My husband built me a double floor to ceiling closet to store my yarn (haha), it’s full and I store yarn in my shed in airproof boxes. I crochet lots for charity, homeless, babies, the elderly, hospitals, battery chickens, cats/dogs and fundraising so I can never say no to yarn! But at least my daughter knits and will put my stash to good use lol.

  12. Rosina says:

    This was the best post on a blog I’ve read yet! Even the comments were spot on. I now have several new crochet terms to use, besides WIP’s! But to top it all was Roe’s comment :”My name is Roe and I am a yarnoholic!” Me too, Roe. me too!
    The best to you all, Yarnoholics!

  13. Darlene says:

    At nearly 76 I am afraid I am close to or at SABLE! I am in the same boat as you are, looking for ways to reduce my stash. Worse I live in an apartment and don’t really have room for all the yarn! Don’t even have room to sort through it all.

  14. Gleda says:

    Just like anything else, there is such a thing as too much yarn. However, I’m spreading my wealth to those who cannot afford yarn. I’m an “yarn angel” to others on a Facebook page. Receivers in this group are closely vetted to be eligible to receive yarn. Receivers are very appreciative.

  15. Twinkie Lover says:

    Not only do I have the yarn issue I mentioned above, I have a problem acquiring pattern books, leaflets and magazines. I also do other crafts besides crocheting, so it’s all multiplied. *sigh* At least we have something we’re passionate about, right?

  16. pat m says:

    Does anyone have a list of organizations who would like to have yarn? am currently (once again!) cutting down on my stash; yes, it’s very possible to reach the SABLE level! they are all so pretty! the colors, the hand, the textures; i think it is like a form of self treatment;unfortunately, it does work to just go and look at it–makes you want to say MINE! ALL MINE! you find yourself dreaming of georgeous sweaters, hats, etc.
    The only way i am able to deal with it is to put together a bag (large kitchen trash bag) a good size to start with! currently, i have one ready to go to the Senior Center, who provide a stash for members to make items they can sell. am also going to contact a home for children in the area to see if they can use yarn.
    lots of stuff to make up for charity–pet rugs, hats, scarfs,etc, I have also taken crochet books from the library and made up several projects that can then be displayed with the book–promotes interest in crocheting!
    good luck to all!

  17. jean says:

    Okay, For the past 3 years I’ve been stocking up on yarn and also crocheting a while lit while buying. I’ve been making kitchen sets, baby blankets,and baby hats and more items by request. Most of this yarn has been purchased on sale,and I’ve also been given large amounts. I just this past 2 months decided that I would take the time to sort by color in large plastic bins. Found out I’m not at SABLE! I do have it stored where I can pull it out easily what I want now…. to make lots of C2C corner to corner blankets for adults and babies. Haven’t purchased hardly a skein or 2 since then because now I know what I have now and can discipline myself to use what I have to make big projects to work it down.

  18. jean says:

    When I have works in progress I store them in a bag with a 3X5 ccard. On the card I write the size hook I am using and I put a copy of the pattern I’m using in the bag.I have several projects that I’m using the same size hook so I cannot store the hook in each bag.

    • Doug says:

      Great idea!
      I tried that (using those little paper tags with the string, like you see for pricing in some stores), but in the excitement of a new project I kept forgetting to put them on.
      Now I take a picture with my phone of the yarn, pattern, and hook. Unless I lose my phone before I upload photos to my computer, I’m good.
      Also, I try to create a Ravelry project right away so that I can record the hook size, yarn and any other notes.

  19. Trudy Mintun says:

    I decided that I had too much yarn. Way too much! I am now in the process of getting rid of my stash. I am only keeping enough yarn for the project I am currently working on and the next one. All other yarn is leaving my house. I am giving it away. I will never have a build up of yarn again. It makes me nervous.

  20. nolamay says:

    Hi ,all that pretty yarn and not enought time to use it all .Yes what to do as I”ve had and still have this problem sort the yarn into scrap for miult round rugs ie eveyr round a different colur There r plenty of patterns on free wedsites or put multply strands together and make floor mats.Then put full balls/skiens together either for just their colour or put them together for a rug put into plastic bag with pattern or copy if possible or a note saying what this bag of wool is for you might change your mind on this (that is u need some of the wool for another rug) .Dont have a breakdown be flexable its yoga for the mind .And now the killer try and not buy wool/thread untill you have done say 1-3projects in the line.Sales will negate all this immeditately . Hope this is helpful

  21. Diane says:

    Yes SABLE is real! I go to estate/yard sales all the time. This one estate sale I went to listed yarn in their ad. When I got there. They showed me this room that had 6 large(really large!) moving boxes full of yarn! Of course I bought it all(for only $50)! But it did make me realize that the previous owner did have the problem. There was even some UFO’s in the stash! It kind of made me a little sad. Needless to say, it took forever to sort it all out and I donated/gave away a lot. Now I try to keep my stash under control and I’m really trying to finish up my UFO’s.

  22. Peggy Smith says:

    There is no such thing as too much yarn, only too little space! I am in a nursing home, so my space is truly limited. I have more yarn than clothes, and about half the drawers in my three dressers are full of yarn! My son got me two hanging shoe organizers (made of clear plastic with cardboard dividers) that take up half my double closet — you want to use the ones that have a back so shoes (or yarn) can’t be pushed out. (If yours doesn’t have a back, buy a couple of yards of clear vinyl and staple to top and bottom of organizer.) The key to managing your stash is organization. I separate my yarn into four categories: full skeins, more than half a skein, less than half a skein, and not enough (considerably less than half a skein). Pay attention to the color and hand of each yarn — if you don’t like the way it looks and/or feels, get rid of it — you will never use it. Since I use worsted more often than anything else, full and partial skeins of the same color go in the clear shoe (yarn) organizers. Everything else goes into a plastic tote, along with a list that indicates type, amount, and hook size — along with a little snippet of the actual yarn taped next to the description. The yarn from the ‘not enough” category goes into clear, drawstring bags. When they are full, I start making granny squares (or rounds, or hexagons) which then can be joined for afghans, lapghans, baby blankets, etc. I don’t really have anyone I can donate yarn to, so I make baby blankets (24″ square to 30″ square) and donate them to my local hospitals for the babies who have passed away — these blankets can be made from any weight/ color yarn and you can use any stitch to crochet them quickly. Lapghans for nursing home residents are also a good stash buster as are afghans of any design.

  23. fleurdelis says:

    The small spare bedroom/office is now called the Yarn Room. Most of my stash has dwindled down to 1/2 and 1/3 hanks so I have come up with ideas to use and combine unusual textures to make gifts. I made 8 granny rectangle hat and scarf sets for my co-workers when I retired this year form 31 years of teaching. Then there is the tub of partial hanks for baby hats, wash cloths and cat toys for my grand cat. At this time I only have one bag of yarn that can be made into a complete project (afghan for my husband) and I am going through withdrawal. I have 12 Jo-Ann 50% off coupon commotion coupons that will expire on Sept. 20 and they are burning a hole in my purse. I can hardly sit still. I have to crochet sometime everyday and am tired of making hats for – who? But those haft doubles are so soothing to crochet!

  24. Varsha says:

    And what do I do with projects I have made to use all that yarn? Any ideas??

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