Tips, Yarn

Time for a stash sort out

With all the opportunities to “enhance one’s yarn stash” at this time of year at a range of yarn events such as Yarndale and the Knitting and Stitching Shows, many of us are wondering about how or where to store that extra yarn.

So what better time to have a stash sort out?

There is something very satisfying about pulling all your yarn out of its hiding places and reorganising it – it is amazing what you discover. I fully admit to finding some beautiful cashmere yarn I had put away so safely I’d forgotten about it. It was like getting a great present.

To help you avoid similar surprises, we have pulled together a few tips to help wrestle your yarn stash into submission.

It is easy for your stash to become disorganised over time
It is easy for your stash to become disorganised over time

Sort by weight and fibre

A good way of keeping track of your yarn is to sort it by weight – so all the 4-ply is stored together, the DK goes on a different shelf or in another box or bag, etc. This means when you see a pattern you like for a DK yarn, all your available choices are easily accessible in one place.

You might also divide each yarn weight by fibre, so you can easily find the cotton yarns rather than the wool.

Have a next project shelf

If you have a plan for particular yarn, why not sort it into a project bag with the pattern (and needles if they are not otherwise in use) and put it in a next project section.

This can help with that moment when you find yourself without anything on your needles, however, be warned, your next project shelf can get very full and it can be difficult to choose which is the real “next one”.

Keep a record of your stash

Keeping records sounds very serious and I know some people are a little scared to recognise the extent of their stash, however it can be very handy.

There are lots of ways to keep track:

  • Start a notebook where you tape a snippet of every yarn alongside a note of what the yarn is, including fibre content and weight, and how much you have of it.
  • Use the stash tool on Ravelry. One of the handy things about this is that when you browse patterns, you can filter the results to show patterns for yarn you already have.
  • Photograph your yarn. You can add pictures to the Ravelry stash tool, but if you aren’t a Ravelry user you can store the pictures in other ways. If you take pictures of your yarn with your phone, you can use a free app like Evernote to make an electronic notebook of your stash on your phone. This is very useful if you are in a yarn shop trying to remember if you already own some of a particular yarn. You can also store yarn pictures of Flickr or Photobucket.

Be ruthless

We all end up with a bagful of left over half balls of yarn and other orphaned wool. Be honest with yourself are you going to use these?

Some people save their leftovers for blankets or toy making. I find sock yarn oddments are great for crochet flowers that you can use to embellish anything from hats to bags, to a child’s hair.

But if you aren’t going to use all your leftovers, see if they are of use to someone else. For example a local kids craft club or a learn to knit stand at a fair might be very grateful for some extra yarn. And you will be grateful for the extra space.



6 thoughts on “Time for a stash sort out”

  1. I have a stash clear out in mind – so I’m really interested to see what you say, and found it helpful. I actually keep my yarns in sealable bags (moth-proof – very important!!) and sort them by colour. This is partly because I’m a spinner and have lots of left-over hanks and spins that wouldn’t easily fit into other categories. I do have some really dodgy stuff (pure acrylic – ugh!) that was given to me ages ago, and I must finally face up to the fact that I will never use this and pass it on – but it’s so hard! I am such a hoarder. Your best tip to me then is to remind me that there are lots of people who could make good use of what I am storing – right, up to my stash I go!!


  2. Like all horders I can’t bear to throw stuff away but am glad to pass it on if I can find someone who can use it. So, for those reluctant declutterers how about passing on your part balls and discarded projects to any of the charity knitters on the UK Hand knitting website. Personally, I’d be glad of the hard wearing, easy care, yucky acrylic as I knit dog coats to raise funds for dog charities, but would not use the hand spun hanks of quality yarn. Whenever possible I try to be green by recycling donated yarns, buttons and packaging- details on my website This is a hobby and I take no payment myself. Thank you. Lynn


  3. If you have yarn you do not want pass it on to Project Linus. They knit/crochet blankets for children from babies to teens who are in hospital or are ill or are in need of a comfort blanket. It is a worthy cause


  4. Thank you for all the advice. My shed is very disorganised and your advice will make me go for it. I wish I had more time to use my collection, and I’m getting too many blankets.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.