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State of the Stash: Can It Be True?

I went to my stash page on Ravelry, to look for my next unassigned single skein. And… there aren’t any!

Don’t get me wrong, I have a bunch of single skeins left. But I have projects in mind for all of them. Turns out that Henry’s Attic Peruvian Tweed was the last skein of yarn I had sitting around without a purpose.

It’s hard to believe! I’m fighting this strange urge to go buy a bunch of random skeins of yarn just because they’re pretty. Maybe something with sparkles! (Don’t worry – luckily, the state of my finances will keep this shopping urge in check.)

stash tally

As you can see, I’m down to “only” 26,213 yards of yarn. But it’s a very carefully curated stash. No dead wood; 100% awesome stuff.

At my current knitting rate (1,267 yards per month as averaged over the last 10 months), that’s 20.6 months of knitting. I could knit for almost two years before I had to buy more yarn. A little astonishing, no?

As knitters, many of us fear the prospect of running out of yarn. People joke (not really joking) about their yarn stash being their “retirement plan” or “emergency savings account.”

I can see that. And I agree, you should have some yarn on hand, to buffer against unforeseen circumstances. But how much buffer is reasonable? Six months? A year? Five years?

(Remember that we live in a world with “50% off” monthly coupons from Joann’s. A world where you can buy a five pound log of Red Heart Super Saver at Walmart for three bucks. Where you can buy a thrift store sweater and unravel it to reclaim the yarn. Where seriously, other knitters will give you yarn if you need it, because the knitting community is AWESOME.)

Personally, I would like to cut my stash in half. I think one year of knitting is about the right amount of buffer. Enough to have selection of each different kind of yarn, so I can just pick something out and start knitting whatever strikes my fancy. But not so much that I look at (e.g.) my collection of sock yarn and think MY GOD DO I REALLY NEED THAT MANY MORE SOCKS.

8 comments to State of the Stash: Can It Be True?

  • I think you raise an interesting question. How much is enough? I’ve spent the last three years or so only buying yarn if there is something specific I want to knit and I have nothing that will work. It’s still worked into quite a lot more buying than one would suppose, but my stash has still, over all, trended down a bit.

    Now we’re living through another tight year when my stash knitting has been more of necessity than crowd control. I’ve been so glad it’s been there. I think I’ll always want a bit of stash hanging around for times like these, but as always, one can do with a little less.

  • My Rav stash page is woefully out of date, but I’m pretty sure my stash has grown a bit since I last calculated. A larger % of it, however, was purchased with a specific project in mind, so I feel like the stash situation has improved.

    (I think you forgot to close the italic html tag at the end of your post. Or, more likely, WordPress ate it.)

  • Erika

    Whoops! That’s embarrassing, thank you!

  • Maybe not that many more socks, but there’s always scarves and mittens and shawls and hats and colorwork vests and sweaters and…

    I don’t look at the numbers of my stash anymore because of the horror-inducing size of it. Actually, it’s only 39,000, not as bad as I thought. I know I’m moving across the world in 18 months and there’s absolutely no way to finish all that I’ve got with me, so I’m starting with the bulky yarns and working my way down from there!

  • Xeres

    I love the geeky chart thingy. How do you calculate how many yards (or in my case, metres) of yarn you have? I should do that.

    Actually my yarn stash is really quite respectable, and I tend to smirk somewhat smugly when I compare my frugality of yarns stashed to many of my knitting friends…. However, where I fall down is the fibre. I have um …. probably in excess of 30kg of unspun fleece, comprised of 4 sheep, a box of alpaca, a large bag of grownup mohair and a small bag of baby mohair, oh wait and a lambs fleece, and the ever-increasing stash of Zorrobits (Zorro is my angora rabbit) … and that is not even counting the processed and dyed roving etc.

    Most of the projects I am mentally entertaining these days involve spinning the fibre, then dyeing it (or the other way around, depending on certain factors) rather than buying yarn. Which will be lovely, but seriously time-consuming :)

  • Northmoon

    I have way too much stash yarn (over 40,000 metres). Lately I’ve been looking at old purchases that I didn’t knit and trading them in for something specific I will start knitting right now. Luckily my LYS’s do allow this, if I can find the bill.

    I’m goint to try to ‘shop the stash’ for Christmas presents too, if I have time to knit them!

    I’ve still probably got 10 years of knitting potential!

  • Erika

    Xeres, I use Ravelry’s Stash feature to track all my yarn. The page lets you export everything as an Excel file, and I keep another Excel file on my computer that tracks all my monthly numbers.

    I talked about some of the details in a post last year.

    Obviously the biggest part of the whole thing is getting all your yarn into Ravelry in the first place! That took me the better part of a year off and on.