February 8, 2017

Where's all that yarn?

My yarn stash. The closet is in the back. Yes, it all fits in there.
 You may be wondering about my yarn stash. When I remodeled the craft room, I didn't mention yarn storage. Maybe you aren't wondering about it, but in the event that you are, rest assured that it is all in the craft room.

Part of the point of the craft room was that my stuff was sort of stored all over the house (sound familiar to anyone?). I had fabric in the linen closet, yarn in my clothes closet, yarn in the makeshift craft room (at the time) and yarn in baskets -- just everywhere. It needed to be consolidated into one location, where it could be accessed easily, and seen, too. No one wants to have to dig through their entire stash of crafting supplies to find a single skein of yarn or a pair of scissors. Enter Ravelry's stash storage page!

Ravelry is such an awesome website -- and web community -- for so many reasons! Indexing one's yarn is only one of them, but it is one of my favorites. When my craft room was done, I went through my entire yarn stash (Well, almost all...I left out 2 Rubbermaid totes of acrylic yarn that I use for prayer shawls/slippers for Christmas. I know which bins they are and the contents pretty much stay the same.) and catalogued every single item.

This took a separate weekend, and I used the time during some recent snow to do it. It was a total of about three days. I photographed all the yarn in groups (unless I already had it in the stash, then, in some cases, I left the original photograph), I recorded how much I have and for a lot of the entries I also included my intentions for the yarn.

It was a great exercise to be reminded of why I bought certain things, and to be reminded of projects I wanted to make. In almost every case, I still want to make the projects. Now that I have a lot more experience with knitting, I feel more ready. I used to spend a lot of time fretting over if I "ruined" a project, but I had spent all that money on yarn! Oh, no!! (I'm over it -- mostly) It would also be fun to complete old project ideas to feel like I did it and for the nostalgia of remembering how wide-eyed I was then about knitting. Nothing wrong with recapturing the magic!

When you record your entire stash on Ravelry -- and use it correctly afterward -- you will enjoy a lot of other benefits besides rekindling your original yarn-knitter relationship.

Ravelry Yarn Stash Benefits

  • Ravelry will help you keep track of your stash yardage when you draw from the stash for each new project. To do this, create a new project page and say you are using "stash yarn." There is a button for this midway down the project pages under "Yarns." Didn't do it originally? Not too late. Go back to any project page and put it in there! It will ask you how much you used. This takes a little effort on the part of the knitter, but I think it is well worth it. If you do this, you will only ever need to touch the stash page to add new yarns. 
  • Having a complete stash record is great, too, when you look at patterns. Pull up a new pattern you are considering and the pattern page will automatically tell you what ideas for yarn you already have. You'll quickly know if you need to head to the store, or if you can pull from your stash. Knitter's choice to ignore this one and head to the yarn shop anyway. 
  • Do you have a hard copy pattern in your hands and need yarn for it? You have a couple of choices. If you look up the specific pattern on Ravelry, you could look for yarn that way. Or, you can go to your stash and filter it using the little drop down menus at the top of the page. One says "sort by name" (of yarn) and one says "filter your stash..." . Both of these contain all manner of filters for use when you are looking for yarn. 
  • One drawback: I noticed that when I filtered my yarn for weight recently, it did not include all the yarns I thought it would. For example, I wanted a bulky weight yarn that would get me 3.5 stitches per inch, that's pretty specific. But I started with a "bulky" filter. It left out Lamb's Pride, which was one I had in mind. Turn out the filter considers Lamb's Pride Bulky to actually be a super bulky yarn. I just fixed this by adding a couple of more weights to my search, like aran and super bulky. No system is perfect, and, in the end, you still have to swatch and really see what works in real life. 
  • Finally, it is just fun sometimes to peruse your stash and see what you have, what you might need. Or what might jog your memory: Oh, yeah! I forgot I had that! This is a little easier than digging through multiple boxes and baskets, searching for yarn. Though on a rainy day, that is a fun activity. 
My yarn is in the closet in the craft room and there is a bit of overflow in the room itself, with 2 towers of Rubbermaid bins against the wall, next to the bookcase. I personally keep all my yarn in clear Rubbermaid bins (bugs hate the sunlight, I hear) and this time going through my stash , I also packed my wool into ziplock bags, some in groups, and some individually. We don't have a huge bug problem here in the Northwest, but there are those carpet beetles. I hate them like no other! 

I rotate my wool-containing bins in and out of the closet, so they all get some sunlight time, but not too much so as not to fade the yarn. To further deter the insects, I put little bags of crushed, freshly dried lavender on the walls behind my yarn bins, and I keep little cedar blocks at the bottoms of my yarn baskets. I haven't had a bug eat my yarn since I did all these things. (To be fair, bugs have only eaten my yarn once: It happened to some sock yarn that was sitting in a basket that was sitting wayyyyy too long on a wool rug by a frequently opened window. That incident was enough to cause an overreaction on my part! Protect those yarn investments!!)

A lovely time to stay indoors and count yarn! This is the view from my upstairs craft room window. We look over the
street, as from the "top." All the forced-air furnace steam makes me think of the rooftops of London. I know. It's a

The snow was so lovely...

Until it wasn't. Dang rain!!

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