Stashbusting tips for your knitting stash

Midweek Masterclass: 8 ways to sort your stash!

Cupboards overflowing with dodgy skeins? Project wishlist as long as your arm but nothing to knit with? You need to organise your stash! We have some tips…

17th May 2017

1 Edit it, Swap it, Sell it!

Yarn swapping and selling picture

It’s time to be honest with yourself. Do you really need the purple fun fur you picked up from the £1 bin? That pure cashmere laceweight is beautiful, but will you ever knit it? If the answer is yes, great, but don’t keep yarn you’re not going to knit when you can sell it or swap it, making more room for you and potentially putting more money in your pocket. If you’re a member of a knitting group why not organise a swap party? You can also sell your yarn on
Ravelry.com for free. If you’re not already a member, joining is free and you can create a profile that shows the yarn you own. Just list your yarn in your Ravelry ‘stash’, put the price and postage in the description and mark it as ‘for sale’. Alternatively, you can list yarn on Etsy.com or ebay.co.uk – both charge a small fee.

2 Stashbusting Patterns

Stash busting patterns, example socks

For scraps you can’t bear to part with, you need a stashbusting pattern! Knit a stripy garter stitch blanket or crochet granny squares. You can use small amounts for baby bootees, mittens, hats, toys and flower brooches. Make stripy socks with leftovers or try Stephanie Dosen’s amazing The Beekeeper’s Quilt. Download it at https://tinyowlknits.wordpress.com/the-beekeepers-quilt. If you’re feeling daring, why not have a go at yarnbombing? You could even use your scraps to decorate your garden gate!

Stash busting patterns, example hexagon quilt

3 Give it Away Now

Give away your spare yarns!

Got unwanted yarn you don’t think will sell? Why not give it away? Lots of charity shops will take yarn and spare needles. Alternatively, ask your local school if the art department would like it. You can also give it to a scrapstore. These sell art and craft supplies to schools and voluntary groups at low prices. Find your nearest one at www.scrapstoresuk.org. Try contacting charities
who request knitted items to see if they have knitters you could send it to. Find out more at www.theyarnloop.com/knit-for-charity

4 Don’t Hesitate: Bag it up!

Bag up your yarn!

Now you’ve got rid of the yarn you don’t need, it’s time to get organised! First, go through your stash and work out what you have garment quantities of. This is normally at least ten 50g balls of DK or aran weight yarn. Keep these yarns together so that you don’t accidentally use them to cast on a hat! Then decide how you want to organise the rest of your stash. If your yarn was in a skein that you’ve wound, keep the label with the yarn. Pick a system that works for you and then split your stash up accordingly. Then the next time you want a ball of red sock yarn you’ll know exactly where you should look for it!

5 Keep the Moths out!

Keep the moths away from your yarn

Moths are the nemesis of knitters everywhere. They like dusty, undisturbed spaces, so if you’re going to store your yarn under the bed, make sure it’s well wrapped. Moths can chew through thin plastic bags, but won’t touch paper bags as they don’t like cellulose – the plant fibre paper is made of. Wrap in paper if you want, then thick clear freezer bags (the kind that press shut), and finally place in an airtight container. Make sure you tuck lavender sachets or cedar wood blocks into spare corners for extra peace of mind, as moths aren’t fans of lavender or cedar. You can buy either of these from www.lakeland.co.uk.

6 Avoid Fake Bargains

Be careful when yarn shopping

So, you’ve edited your yarn collection, and organised and safely stored your stash. But let’s get real: you’re going to want to buy more yarn at some point. Whether it’s a trip to your local yarn shop, a late night browse online, or even a visit to a show, there are countless opportunities and you should enjoy them! But before you splash out on your next purchase, ask yourself what you might use it for. If your yarn shop is having
a sale, avoid buying yarns in unusual weights or odd balls unless you have a plan for them, and instead buy a garment quantity of yarn you love.

7 Plan Ahead!

Plan ahead with your knitting

Now you’ve parted with your unwanted yarn, have a look at what you can make with what’s left. Use Ravelry.com to match your remaining stash with potential projects. You can search
by yarn weight, yardage, and free or paid-for patterns to narrow down your choices. You can then put patterns in a virtual queue, and link the yarn in your stash to them. Now when you’re not sure what to cast on, you’ll have the answer!

8 Essential Yarns to Buy

Want some great basic yarns? Add these to your basket…

Opal’s sock yarn

Opal's sock yarn

There are so many sock yarns out there it can be hard to choose between them. Opal’s colourways come and go,
but the base yarn is great quality and very hardwearing.

King Cole Merino Blend DK

King Cole Merino Blend DK

With a generous yardage, strong colour choices and a low price, this is a no-brainer for garment knitters! For a cheaper alternative try DROPS Karisma, which has fantastic colours too.

Cascade 220

Cascade 220

This worsted weight pure wool comes in more than 100 colours and can be used in DK, worsted or aran weight patterns. If you prefer your yarn in balls rather than hanks, try Rowan’s Pure Wool Superwash Worsted.

Need to know more? Find more of our Midweek Masterclasses right here!

And don't miss our Sunday Stitches series! We've got a free knitting pattern for you every Sunday, right here.

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