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The Anti-Stash-Along

I’m really glad that you all like the newly organized computer/fiber/book space. It feels great to have it done, I can tell you that.

I’ve noticed a theme that keeps coming up in the comments for this post, however. I keep hearing that I don’t have much of a stash. In my defense, I have to say that I have a difficult time buying yarn for which I have no plan. This is probably why I have so much sock yarn – you don’t need a plan for sock yarn. So, I am soliciting advice on how to buy yarn when you don’t know what you’re going to do with it. Those of you with big ole stashes, how did you accomplish this? And how do you decide how much to buy of a particular yarn when you don’t know what it’s going to become? Hmmmm?

In the meantime, however, I’ve been called an amateur! My stash has been labeled anemic! I’ve been ridiculed about the size of both my yarn and fiber stashes! I have been challenged to increase the size of the stash! Well, I’ve never been one to ignore an outcry of this magnitude. You all have thrown down the proverbial gauntlet and I’m grabbing it. I am therefore announcing a new program over here at Carole Knits, at the suggestion of Chris. It’s the Increase-Your-Stash-Along! My buddy Dave is joining me and he even created this nifty button:


(you know the drill, please save to your own server, yada yada yada)

There’s only one rule and it’s pretty simple. You must buy yarn.
Want to join us?

Edited to add: I’ve created a new blog page. Go check out Buy More Yarn for a list of rules and participants.

This Post Has 58 Comments

  1. WooHoo! You betcha. I have a bunch of overtime the next few weeks, and time-and-a-half is a LOT of yarn per hour. (How’s that for justification?)

  2. LOL. Ridicule is perhaps a tad strong a word πŸ˜‰

    As for buying yarn, other than sock yarn of course, I carry a file around on my palm pilot giving me an estimate of how much yardage for particular items based on the weight range of the yarn. IE A woman’s med sweater takes 1400-1700 yds of a sportweight at (5.75-6.5st/in) or a baby hat takes 125 -350 yards in a fingering. I look at the yarn and depending on the colors/texture/etc, I can tell if it would make a good sweater or should be a hat/mitten combination and buy accordingly.

    I’ll also copy yardage requirements for various projects I’ve seen on the ‘net or in knitting magazines to my palmpilot for when I’m going to be in the land of yarn so I can buy what’s necessary for that project to be. Of course too many other things waggle their ball bands at me and I take forever to get back to that stashed project (seen my queue recently? its been unchanged for MONTHS).

    I’m going to try and not Increase the Stash but really really want some Noro Silk Garden to make Klaralund and well, I just ordered some sock yarn that Deb posted about. Sigh.

  3. How do you know how much to buy if you don’t know what you’re going to make with it? Now there’s an amateur question if I’ve ever heard it! Pay close attention, dear. Here’s what you do:

    You buy as much as the yarn store has in stock, and then you knit a big sweater from it two years down the road, worrying that you might run out because you’ve substituted different yarn than the pattern called for. When you *do* run out, you will discover that the yarn is no longer commercially available, so you put out a blog post so that all your knitting friends can then search through their (considerable) stashes and come up with the two extra skeins, FedExing them to you in the nick of time. See how this works? It’s really quite simple.

  4. Risa and Snow are true professionals.
    I only buy yarn that has a plan. It doesn’t stop me from buying yarn as I always have a long list of things I want to do. Most of the not planned stash yarn is left overs or sock yarn (like yours).

  5. You buy twice as much as you think you would need to make a large sweater, plus a few extra skeins, just in case.

    You also figure you can always mix-n-match yarns and it will look like something out of Vogue Knitting, wait, that wouldn’t be a good thing, would it? But if you think monochrome knitting is too boring for words, like me, you are definitely up for buying one skein each of 43 colors of cashmerino at deep discount. (Except, if you are like me, you draw the line at lime green.)

    So what are the rules? How much yarn do I have to buy? You know I want it.

  6. Oh, Carole, you are getting some great tips here. Snow and Lucia are stashers after my own heart and are obviously extremely experienced professional stashers. When you get further along, we’ll all share stash hiding tips. πŸ™‚

    To start stashing, you should immediately grab your credit card and go visit Elann and WEBS. They’re sure to have something fun.

  7. I’m a moderate stasher. Most of my “sweaters worth” of yarn stashes had a project in mind to begin with, but I have yet to get to it. However, because I bought said yarn in sweater sized amounts, I can easily change my mind (and will, seeing as I won’t have the same taste by the time I get to it). You just need to know, as Risa pointed out, what general amounts certain projects take, then, ta-da! You can stash away.

    While I could not commit to the StashAlong (too scary for me – I need to be able to buy sock yarn on a whim, thats my mental saftey net) I also would feel guilty actaully committing to purchase more yarn (even though I know I will) so I’ll be sitting this one out.

    Spend away, dear, and have fun!

  8. I so don’t need any encouragement to buy yarn! I like to participate in stuff but I’m going to have to try to pass on this one.

    Good tip for stash increase: shop at a web site that gives you free shipping after a certain amount. You can’t help but spend enough in the effort to “save” money on shipping!

  9. you are a bad, bad lady. get thee and thy encouraging-me-to-do-something-i-really-really-want-to-do-while-i’m-being-so-damn-good-at-practicing-much-needed-restraint ways behind me!

  10. Oh my, you are hilarious! (So are the comments–I particularly liked Snow’s method of yarn-estimating). As luck would have it, I’m going to a new yarn shop on Saturday . . .

  11. Buy more yarn?!?!?!?!? Carole! You’re killing me, Carole!!! You’re so killing me!!! If only you knew…

    Hey–you gonna bring some of your spinning on Saturday? I really want to see some of your yarn. Please?

  12. Okay. This one is going to have to be in the form of a numbered list–I know you librarians dig that. Anyway.

    1. Yes. Definitely. Add me to your list.
    2. I should read more carefully. I did not, for even a moment, consider that that miniscule, tiny, little drop in the bucket worth of yarn was your STASH!?!? I mean….I think I figured it was your current projects pile. Or the recently purchased pile. I think either of those categories of my stash could take your entire stash in a fair fight.
    3. You should be careful. Have you seen how many people joined the knitting olympics? This has at least as much appeal.
    4. Let’s not be yarn-centric here. Spinning fiber (that will someday become yarn, when we get down to it).
    5. My first entry, today. I bought 4 oz. of cashgora.
    6. And I’m not too proud to admit it.
    7. Thanks.

  13. Okay. This one is going to have to be in the form of a numbered list–I know you librarians dig that. Anyway.

    1. Yes. Definitely. Add me to your list.
    2. I should read more carefully. I did not, for even a moment, consider that that miniscule, tiny, little drop in the bucket worth of yarn was your STASH!?!? I mean….I think I figured it was your current projects pile. Or the recently purchased pile. I think either of those categories of my stash could take your entire stash in a fair fight.
    3. You should be careful. Have you seen how many people joined the knitting olympics? This has at least as much appeal.
    4. Let’s not be yarn-centric here. Spinning fiber (that will someday become yarn, when we get down to it).
    5. What Risa said. It’s really very important to know how much yarn in various weights you need to make a sweater. If in doubt, the ladies at the yarn store always have a chart handy.
    6. My first entry, today. I bought 4 oz. of cashgora.
    7. And the other day I bought some socks that rock.
    8. And then there’s the romeldale for justine’s shawl that will be arriving from the processor’s ANY DAY NOW.
    9. And if the pefect aran weight yarn for FLAK or Am Kamin shows up, well, don’t say I didn’t warn ya.
    10. And I’m not too proud to admit it.
    11. Did I mention how close I live to Webs?
    12. And how I love to give tours of the warehouse?
    13. Close. And I do. I’m just saying.

  14. Really, I encourage this. Your stash is REALLY ANEMIC. Mine, however, is suffering from a condition known as polycythemia. The opposite of anemic. I have so much yarn I could start a yarn store. And I’m a relative newbie. So it was time for me to STOP. But don’t worry. I won’t be stopped for long!

  15. OK Carole, I’m so ready to start the buying. One yarn I’m trying to find and just can’t is Vesper Sock. Any ideas???? Also, do needles count or is this a yarn only deal?

  16. I know I won’t win on April 1 (I’m gonna need a shoe horn to get in my front door pretty soon if I buy more yarn!)but I’m definately in!! Since Jan. 1 I’ve already bought 4 skeins of Silky Wool, 4 skeins of Lorna’s Laces, a skein of Bearfoot and 9 skeins of Second Time Cotton!!! Yikes!! And I don’t even have an LYS!
    Even if I don’t buy another skank by April 1 (oh, sure!) I’ll lend my support!
    As far as stashing goes, I’ve been knitting 3 years and 90% of my sizeable stash is earmarked for specific projects. I have a running list of patterns I like and have bought yarn for. I can and do change my mind sometimes but I have the yardage I need to make just about any sweater in the required weight for fluffy me. The only “orphans” I have are yarns I love that I got at a killer good price (like Rowan Calmer at half price!)that I know I will use.
    Of course, sock yarn comes in under the radar. I’ve come to the realization I have enough sock yarn for ALL the feet in Florida πŸ™‚

  17. is it too late to save you?? those voices of ridicule are just jealous —- those of us who have stashes are in a quandry — what to do with all this f-ing yarn that we never had a plan for in the first place.

    Do Not Pick Up This Habit Carol!

  18. definately, buying more yarn is noooooo problemo !
    I need to go and check out your other blog page.. but this sounds like a GREAT idea to me!

  19. Oh, I see how it is–trying to tempt some of the on the fence Stashalongers with an anti-Stashalong πŸ˜‰ I would join but I think it would look bad if the moderator of the Stashalong actually jumped ship. In your defense, most of my stash is sock yarn as well(it’s the only thing I can remember yardage for and they are relatively inexpensive yarns to buy–compared to yarn for a sweater at least). Have fun–if you keep it going I may join you for the month of April πŸ™‚ Happy knitting!

  20. I totally didn’t believe that was your whole stash.

    Count me in for the buying! I couldn’t commit to the stash-along since I knew I wouldn’t last. My husband would like my stash to stay somewhat small, but since his stash (cooking supplies) isn’t he has decided not to bug me.

    I just bought five skeins of Koigu this morning and Tuesday I bought two balls of Lana Grossa and one of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino.

  21. Oh, dear. Now I’m torn between your stash accumulation along, and Kim’s stash excumulation along. What’s a grrl to do.
    But I must say grrlfriend, you DO need to add to that stash. On the other hand, I’m bursting at the seams.

  22. I can’t take it, I also have to do a list. Accountant you know…

    A stasher’s tip list:

    1. Ann Budd’s Handy List of Yarn Requirements, found here: It’s just like her books, with little easy tables by garment type, with garment size and gauge and the associated average yarn required. Best $6 I ever spent.

    2. Webs – sign up for the newsletter.

    3. Elann – ditto.

    4. 90% of my yarn came into my house with an actual purpose, believe it or not. So what if I have yarn for three completely different Rogues and two Ribby Cardi’s? They’re useful garments. I’ll make them several times. Right? Right?

    5. If it’s discontinued, buy it (KFI Cashmereno, anyone?).

    6. Don’t be afraid of the ‘Planned’ project list – as opposed to the current projects, or the possibilities list. Planned means that you have the yarn and the needles on hand and could cast on At.Any.Moment. Mine is currently, um, well…it’s long, and we’ll just leave it at that.

    7. Sock yarn doesn’t count against stash restrictions.

    8. Ditto lace yarn.

    9. You really don’t want my advice about fiber/fleece. I promise…..My husband promises. The four sheep in my house? Well, they’ll at least back me up.

    10. You know I’m in, right?

  23. I’d like to join, I started 2006 on Jan 1 by buying SOCK YARN! I increase my stash my buying enough yarn for a sweater-eventually it tells me which pattern it wants to be.

  24. I was so going to be in, til I got part way down your comments and saw the waaaaay head-start folks have gotten. Hee! Very fun anti-stash-along concept you’ve got here. I’ll sit back and live vicariously. After all, MSW is coming in May and I’ve already begun strategizing to order of booths/vendors and what I’m looking for.

    Oh, one more hint at increasing stash…whenever you go on a trip somewhere, it’s nice to support the LYS…plus, whatever you buy there is a souvenir. =) Sometimes I knit up what I’ve bought, sometimes it just sits there for me to look at…like a fridge magnet.

  25. Can I get in on this? I busted my stash a bit too much last year, and now I don’t have anything left to knit with. (Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it sure feels like that). I’m not sure I can keep up with everyone else’s rate of accumulation on my student budget, but I’ll sure as hell try.

  26. Right, I’m in. Not that I need an excuse to buy more yarn! The walk-in closet in the spare bedroom isn’t completely full yet…

    My LYS has a sale the entire month of January, and on Monday I completely failed to escape the lure of new yarn. Picked up Dale of Norway’s Falk in several of the neon colors for surprises for my clan, enough Svale for a summer sweater, a ball of kidsilk haze for a scarf for a charity auction, some yummy mohair/sparkle blend for wrist warmers for my “sister of the heart”, and a self-striping Opal sock yarn to make socks for “Bigfoot”. Will I stop there? Not likely.


  27. I really, really wasn’t going to comment, but I just have to say this….
    Don’t make me blog about hyper-consumerism!

    I may or may not be joking.

  28. Oh my god, this is so evil! I am so in! I just bought 10 balls of Cashsoft DK and 10 balls of Noro Lily. That’s 20, baby. And Stitches West is next month!

  29. I am embarrassed by my meager stash – even more when I have to admit that my mother has been gone for 20 years, and some of my stash was in hers, originally. So I guess the excuse that I’ll eventually use it for something is kind of rocky. (I won’t let that stop me.)

  30. I’ve got to join too! I have Valentine’s Day, my birthday and a trip to Florida coming up before April (well, on April 1st) where I forsee some yarn buying! Put me down for 5 skeins that just came in the mail today!

  31. Can I count orders that I have just placed but haven’t come in the mail yet? I don’t think my stash is nearly big enough! I mean, what if knitting is just a fad? What if in ten years all this great yarn is just not available anymore? It makes my stomach hurt to think of it.

  32. increase stash? Yahoo
    I’m in – in fact, my Dh is my best cheering section!!
    Ordered 6 skeins on line two days ago, and went and bought 7 skeins today for upcoming classes at Madrona Fiber Arts. Woo-hoo!

  33. I also have a small stash and have trouble buying yarn without a project in mind. I envy the “stashbusters” and their AMAZING stashes. COunt me in for buying more yarn! Can I count what I have purchased this month? If so it is 5 skeins of Arcaunia Magallanes, 2 skeins of Cherry Tree Boucle,and a skein of Caron Jewel Box.. This is a great idea!

  34. OK, so you know I’m in, but I really really don’t want to win this one. (I’m just in it for the sport of it.) So, put me down for 6 balls of Plymouth Brushed Alpaca and 4 balls of Reynolds Andean Regal Alpaca.

    I stopped at the Wright Outlet in Sturbridge on my way to Vermont…

    By the way, what’s the official start date of this puppy? The 19th? (Just asking.)

  35. I need to tally up today’s purchases from the shopping excursion will fellow stasher Deb. Ummm, what is the start date that purchases after count? I can’t count stuff I bought last week that arrived yesterday or can I? πŸ™‚

  36. Hi Carole,

    I’d like to join. I’m a new knitter, so my “stash” would be laughed at too. I’d love to have a “real” reason to buy yarn (you know, because I’m in the Buy More Yarn thing – I have to!). πŸ™‚

  37. What always gets me is novelty or scarcity of yarn. When I heard that NoNo Kitty was gone, of course I had to go to Kpixie to buy some! And then of course I had to buy more than just that one since it’s a flat rate of $5 for shipping …

    So, put me down for 5 more as of today! I think I’m going to create a Flickr section like Lu for my new yarn.

  38. Oh, I’m definitely in on this one. On what date can we start adding up our purchases?

    You have already received some good tips on increasing your stash. I too have a hard time buying larger purchases of a yarn without something specific in mind. Although I don’t seem to have this problem with fiber. But after saying that, I definitely seem to have a stash – sock yarn, yarn for scarves, shawls, hats, mittens and some sweaters. Also baby stuff – you don’t need a whole lot for a baby sweater.

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