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All the yarn

Friday, 24 August, 2012

Earlier this week Charlie and I reorganized my yarn stash. It really didn’t need it, but it’s one of his favorite things to do. I took it as an opportunity to count up how many skeins and how much yardage I have.

The days where I buy yarn just because it’s pretty are long gone. Like a lot of knitters I know, my stash grew quickly in the first couple years of Ravelry, when I was introduced to handpainted yarn for the first time. Now I shop from my stash a lot more, and if I feel like buying yarn I’ll think on it for a few days before whipping out my debit card. Usually I decide I don’t need it.

We all have to set our own limits, but for me the time to reexamine my stash came when I realized how many single skeins of sock yarn I owned. A few years ago I went through my stash and counted up my totals: 54,000 yards, equaling 189 skeins of yarn, 92 of them fingering weight.

Here’s where I kept all my yarn then. Idaho, May 2009. For an explanation of the numbers, look at the first post I did on my stash.

And here’s now. Texas, August 2012.

It seems like there’s less, right? Three shelves (and a partially filled wicker box I didn’t take a photo of) don’t hold that much. Beforehand I tried to guess what my final total would be. 25,000 yards? Surely 30,000 at most. My yarn buying has slowed way, way down, I’ve destashed quite a bit, and of course all the knitting I’ve done.

Wrong. 47,440 yards. My stash has only shrunk by 6,560 yards.

This is going to sound weird, but I was disappointed. I am not a saver. I don’t like stuff. The way I casually toss things in the trash freaks my husband out, but I find the less possessions I own, the better I feel. It’s not like I’m hoping to have zero stash some day. Being in a house with yarn and books and little else is sort of my dream. But a stash with yarn only for my very favorite projects in my queue – maybe 20 or so patterns – seems like it would be enough.

Here is how my stash breaks down:

Bulky – 3 skeins/1434 yards

Aran – 10 skeins/1444 yards

Worsted – 42 skeins/9138 yards

DK – 24 skeins/3913 yards

Sport – 23 skeins/6345 yards

Fingering – 67 skeins/25,166 yards

Total – 169 skeins/47,440 yards

That’s right. I don’t own any lace. Used it once, and it’s not for me.

What my stash is telling me is that I still have far too many single skeins of sock yarn. And I’ve ended up with a weird stash of worsted weight yarn. It’s because I prefer short sleeved cardigans that call for less yarn. I think I have the stash for two, maybe three full-length, long-sleeved sweaters, and only one of those would be in worsted weight. And there are a lot of single skeins of worsted as well, collected because I love knitting hats and small cowls so much.

Top yarns:

Sundara Sock – 25 skeins/8750 yards

Madelinetosh Vintage – 20 skeins/4000 yards

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight – 10 skeins/3690 yards

Have You Any Wool Luxe Sport – 11 skeins/2750 yards

Madelinetosh DK – 11 skeins/2475 yards

I’ve been constantly destashing Sundara for a couple years and I still have way too much of it. And as much as I love it, I really need to lay off the Madelinetosh. I wish I had more handspun and BrooklynTweed yarns – both Shelter and Loft. Maybe it’s time to reexamine my sport and dk stashes as well? I have a lot of both of those weights and rarely knit with them.

I feel a destash coming on!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Friday, 24 August, 2012 8:52 am

    Whoa. It’s really amazing to see the numbers. Even though I’m scared to know, I think I need to do this as well. I know my single skein collection is pretty high. Also, I adore the picture of Charlie with the yarn. He looks so happy on the mountain of yarn!

  2. Friday, 24 August, 2012 11:24 am

    I’m fascinated by the numbers! I kinda want to do mine, now.

    I am one of those people who operates from little to no stash yarn. I buy sweater-quantities as projects come up, and my stash is mostly left-overs and one-skeins for cowls and hats. Last year I went through and cleaned it up and planned a bunch of Christmas presents around getting RID of most of it, but I feel like it’s still overwhelming!

  3. Friday, 24 August, 2012 1:22 pm

    I’m like Katie, little to no stash. Too much stash weighs on my mind! I can’t think in yards; the numbers would be overwhelming. Skeins are bad enough.

    I’m seeing lots of two color shawls; that may help you with the fingering weight. Knit on!

  4. Jessie permalink
    Friday, 24 August, 2012 3:16 pm

    Wow. I don’t think I want to know how many yards of yarn I have, but considering I have yarn matched to monthly sweater projects through next April, I am guessing it’s quite a bit.

  5. Mom permalink
    Friday, 24 August, 2012 6:39 pm

    I think you were switched at birth. Knowing what pack-rats your dad and I are it is difficult to hear of you casually throwing things away. If I remember right books and shoes were something that accumulated at your house. Love the picture of Charlie and love all the colors. Love you too!

  6. Saturday, 25 August, 2012 1:17 am

    A timely post as I’m continuing to wittle down my stash. Me and you a few years ago in the BMFA line at Sock Summit (do you remember?!) with our single skeins I bet! I did a big purge two years ago and I really thought I had gotten rid of a lot. The buying has slowed way way down….but when I did this last destash, I still have wayyyyy too much. I still have WAY too much sock yarn and I’m gradually going through it to destash.

    Ok, I’m shocked that number didn’t go down either. What the heck? At least it looks prettier on those shelves! I thought perhaps you had discovered lace and it went up that way, but nope, you didn’t. I have to say, knitting my sister’s wedding shawl in silk lace hooked me. I really enjoyed it. However, it is nice to be able to count the number of lace skeins I own…8 total.

    Charlie is just too cute with the yarn!!! And your mom’s comment above is awesome 🙂

  7. Monday, 27 August, 2012 4:55 pm

    I thought your before and after stashes both looked small and practical. So, for kicks I looked at my stash count on ravelry (where I actually entered everything but a few dish towel skeins and giant purple acrylic skein that I don’t like) and was surprised to see that I have less than you stored up. That made me feel better about my hoard, but still most of my yarn is cheap bargain store finds or odd bits of things. I don’t really think I’ll ever use a lot of it. I keep saying I need to give it away.

  8. Wednesday, 29 August, 2012 10:06 am

    I too am fascinated by the numbers and feel that you have to “face it to erase it” (a quote that I once read that applied to debt, but works for yarn stash too). It’s not a pleasant possibility, but a good exercise for the stasher!

    My husband saw some photos I took at the yarn shop and the Madeline Tosh caught his eye. He said, “I think I would like a sweater knit from THAT yarn!” Maybe if I told him how much 1200 yards of Madeline Tosh fingering weight would cost, he’d be okay with worsted weight Cascade?

    (An aside: I love reading the comments from your mom)

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