I, like most knitters and crocheters, have a love/hate relationship with my stash. Well, hate is a very strong word. My stash is comprised of yarn and I find it hard to hate yarn. We’ll call it a love/wariness relationship.
Even when I wasn’t really a “Knitter with a capital K” and my stashing was basically accumulating yarn as needed for a project, it had its problems. Not the size, but the management. Where do I store it? What do I do with leftovers? What was I thinking when I bought Lion Brand Suede?
But at the heart of the matter, I love my stash. I love to feed it new yarn. I love to rummage through it. I love re-discovering deep, deep stash and getting excited when I see it, like it’s a new-to-me acquisition. I love to gaze at the yarn I’ve put on Ravelry and dream about what I’m going to knit out of it.
I also love to organize and re-organize, which is part of what we are doing for Stash Flash month here at Must Stash Podcast.
About a year ago, I migrated my stash to this armoire:
Previously, it was living in large, plastic storage boxes that I kept in random places throughout my bedroom and closet. Having it all in one place has been helpful to me.
I initially had it organized like this:
Wait, did I say organized? I promise that it looked nicer when I first did it. This picture is right before I re-organized yet again.
It was arranged pretty much by weight. But things were actually hard to access, especially those storage bags, and I felt like I wasn’t maximizing the space to its full potential and I was quickly running out of room. I was also noticing something. The “under-the-bed” storage bags that I had some yarn in wasn’t ideal for my situation. I would pull the bag out every time I needed fingering weight yarn and the friction of the yarn all jumbled together was causing some pilling and I was worried I was doing damage. And my fiber shelf was EXPLODING out of its allotted space.
My house is a small house, so expanding my storage space was out of the question. One day I will have a craft room, but until then, I have to make do. I also don’t have room for more furniture. I had to make this particular armoire work if I wanted my yarn all in one place.
My first step was to empty everything out and measure my space. Then I went shopping. I went to several stores. I measured various plastic tubs to see if they would fit. I bought some. I returned some. In the end, I bought from Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco and this is what I wound up with:
I now feel like I have maximized the space without compromising accessibility. My most frequently used yarns are kept up top or on the bottom shelves where I can quickly pull them down. Things I don’t use as often are near the center. I moved (almost) all of my tools out to give me more room and I decided to keep all of my WIPs elsewhere. Let’s take a tour, shall we?
Let’s start with the bottoms shelves. There, my sock yarn/fingering weight/sport resides. These are the bins I pull out most often, so they have to be the most accessible. I separated the tonal from the more variegated, since for me, they call for different types of patterns.
Look at this yarn:
I can’t wait to use it! I bought it at Stitches Midwest last summer and I’ve had a pattern picked out for ages now. I really should just cast it on.
Self-striping has its own bin. I’ve actually used up quite a bit, don’t you think? There’s certainly room for more! Shopping, yay!
Now, let’s jump up top, to the next most-accessible: my “Sock Bits” and my lace weight.
I actually think it’s a little sad that of all my leftovers, my sock yarn needs its own bin. And it is jam-packed! This is a trouble spot for me, because I don’t use up these bits nearly as fast as I knit socks. That’s something I have to work on this summer. I’m very quickly running out of room and it’s becoming a problem.
Less of a problem is my lace weight. Lots of room there! This is on top of the stash, not for accessibility, but for size reasons. I have quite a bit in relative terms, because yardage is crazy for 50-100 gram skeins, but lace really doesn’t actually take up much room, so a small box up top made sense. All of my significant amounts of lace leftovers also live here in a ziplock bag.
Below that, I have sweater quantities.
I don’t actually like to have that many sweater quantities on hand. Sweaters are an investment of time and money, and my taste changes pretty often when it comes to color and sweater types. I prefer to buy sweater quantities as needed, so I can buy colors as I crave them and exact yardage per project, and I’ve deviated away from that more than I would like. This box is too full and I do plan do something about that this summer. You can also see, I have a few projects that need to be frogged.
This sweater yarn is next for me:
Below that, I have my fiber box. This is the biggest box, so that my fiber doesn’t get too compressed.
I thought I might also store handspun here. I tried keeping it in a large bowl as decoration, but I was worried about dust and little, sticky kiddo hands. This box needs to get stashed down to make room for new acquisitions. I’m a fairly slow spinner, so my lovely fiber doesn’t get used as fast as I’d like. (Note: my punis are kept elsewhere, which I’ll get to. This box is for braids and roving. I no longer have batts, but if I did, I would probably find a different way to store them, for compression reasons.)
Below the fiber, I have yarns that I really don’t knit a whole lot of — all my random DK-Bulky that isn’t enough for a sweater quantity. Some of it is yarn for projects for my kids or other smaller projects I thought about doing. Some of it is random. I don’t knit lots of projects that aren’t socks, shawls, or sweaters, so I don’t touch this box very often.
And below that is the bits and bobs from the previous box. Very exciting — haha:
Now, let’s move to the top of my armoire. I like to maximize space and try and make things a little pretty:
Gorgeous, right? Ok, it’s a bit of a mess. I’m trying to keep it real, y’all! Clearly, I need to straighten up a bit and dust.
I have jars of punis:
You’re not supposed to compress punis, even though they are rolled tighter than rolags. They can be a bit delicate, also. I like to keep them in glass jars so that they don’t get jumbled too much and they provide a bit of eye candy for me.
The jars on the end contain some skeins of handspun, handspun bits and bobs, and behind the bits and bobs, I have a jar of hexipuffs:
Now, on to tools. This will be messy. Prepare yourselves.
I moved almost all of my tools out of the armoire to make room, but there are a few that stayed. My niddy noddy, swift, and ball-winder all live on the bottom shelf. First, they are long and I needed the deep shelves for them. Second, my swift and ball-winder are used very frequently, so it made sense to have them right there. I also have my wire blockers in the bag on the top left and my sock blockers hanging top right.
All the rest were moved to this:
This small chest of drawers lives in my bathroom. Yeah, it’s not ideal, but like I said, my house is small and I have to make do with the furniture I have. The top drawer is a HOT MESS full of random papers and junk. It’s my knitting junk drawer. Best not to open that drawer. 😉
The other two drawers hold my needles and other small tools and, shamefully, some spinning. That needs to move the heck out of the humid bathroom, ASAP. What was I thinking??
Honesty, y’all. I have it in spades.
My goals for these drawers are very simple: Straighten up and throw away trash. I keep thinking I should destash my older interchangeable sets, since it turns out I’m totally a ChiaoGoo girl, but I don’t know if I’m ready for that yet. Every now and then, I need to grab a pair of KnitPicks when I run out of ChiaoGoos.
And finally, here are my official Stash Flash goals:
- Update my Ravelry. I’m lacking pictures on some FOs, some spinning, and some stash.
- Though I recently organized, I could probably do a bit more to get things to fit better. I should re-arrange individual yarns, especially the fuller boxes, and make sure all my sock bits are in plastic bags (easier to manage that way, trust me.)
- General cleaning: Straighten up that mess on top of the armoire. Maybe figure something better for my handspun. Straighten up my tools.
- STASH DOWN! I’m doing Stash Dash, hosted by The Knit Girllls, so that will help so much. I need to make room for future acquisitions and use up older stuff before I no longer love it. Plus, all those sock bits need to turn into blanket squares or hexipuffs. It’s ridiculous.
Alright, that’s the current state of my stash. I wish everyone well on their Stash Flash journey and remember, the most important thing is to EMBRACE your stash. Whatever gets you to the point where you can love your stash, do it! And have fun with it!