We’re here to set the record straight about yarn stashes. Despite what your spouse/housemate/financial planner says, when done right, they are not a bad thing. In fact, a well-planned stash can actually save you time and money. Really, you ask. Really.
You see, the perfect yarn stash offers knitable variety, so that you always have an available option when inspiration strikes. The perfect yarn stash is built on strategy and thoughtfulness, and has variety, balance, and purpose.
So, how do you build the perfect stash? Read on for our tips to filling your stash with yarn you will use. Plus, scroll to the bottom for free printables to help you manage your stash, needles, and project queue.
- Fill your yarn stash with a variety of yarn weights. We recommend that your stash have a sampling of the most popular weights – fingering, sport, and worsted – at all times. Of course, your favorite weight should receive the most real estate in your stash since you will knit with that the most, but keeping a supply of all weights will allow you to start a new project when you find that must-cast-on-right-away pattern on Ravelry.
- Choose tonals over speckles. Solids and tonals are great stash options, as they tend to work with most projects. Self-striping, variegated, and speckles are great fun, but often require specific patterns that play to their spontaneous color.
- Consider the skein’s yardage and buy enough. You may not have a pattern in mind when you fall in love with a skein of yarn, but before you buy, it’s important to consider what you could knit with it. With certain yarn weights – like DK or Bulky – one skein may not be enough to finish a project. And if you buy 1 skein with the intent to come back for more if you need it, you may be disappointed to find that that colorway or dye lot is not available. This chart offers average yardage needed for different projects, based on yarn weight.
- Establish an ebb and flow. Create a “what goes in, must come out” rule for your stash. Don’t purchase new yarn until you have used some from your stash. A stash too big can become overwhelming, which may lead to indecisiveness, which may lead to unused yarn.
- Consider your needles. If you purchase a skein of, say, bulky yarn and know you don’t have an adequate needle size at home, buy a pair of needles. Remember, we want our yarn stash to have purpose and be useful. If you don’t have the needles, you won’t be able to cast on, and that skein may continue to sit on the shelf. We carry with us a reference card that displays what needles we have at home, which is available as a free download at the bottom of this post. PRO TIP: each month, print out a new card and fill out your needle stash using two colors. Color A will indicate the needles that are currently in use, and Color B will indicate the needles that are available.
- Always document what you buy. Having your stash documented out will make you a smart, savvy shopper. Sure there are apps to log your stash, but there’s nothing like having a handwritten list to access when there’s spotty cell reception or when you need to see it all in a single glance. Should you get that skein of pink, fingering weight merino? No, because according to your stash log, you already have 4 similar skeins. PRO TIP: Write down the date you purchased the yarn. Then, give your stash an expiration date of, let’s say, a year. If a skein sits unused for that time period, pass it on to a friend or donate it to a deserving knitting charity.
So, let’s get to the main point: how does the perfect stash save you money? Here are some good talking points when you need to defend your beloved yarn:
- No more “shelf skeins.” You know those skeins you buy, put on the shelf, and never use? Those “shelf skeins” cost you money. And if you’re not using them, it’s wasted money. Building a purposeful stash like we advise above, means that you use what you buy. Boom – no more dollars wasted!
- You won’t pay unnecessary rush or shipping fees. If you purchase everything you need when you’re shopping you won’t have to turn to the internet where you may accrue unnecessary costs.
- You’ll make fewer trips to your LYS. The perfect stash, means fewer trips to the yarn store. And you know you can’t go to the yarn store without buying something shiny and new. The $10 pair of needles you went for, may just end up costing you $150 with all the extras you add to your cart.
If all goes accordingly, your new, perfect stash will make you a more efficient and savvy knitter. To help you start building the perfect stash, download our free 4×6 stash cards. Print them out and keep with you so that you always know what you have and what you need.
Have a pro tip that we missed? We’d love to hear how you manage your stash!