Stash dive

So you know how I said I was doing things a little differently this month?  The idea was to take some time off.  So far I seem to be completely failing at that.  I took time off from bringing out new patterns (I’m doing Summer School and showing off some old ones instead).  But instead of actually not working and instead relaxing, all I can think of is all the new stuff I want to make.

But that’s part of the fun, right?  And as part of that plotting out new schemes thing, I did the occasional full toss of the stash.  Here it is in it’s gloriously purged and sorted state.

The big bin has scraps that are big enough to be useful (I’m digging my scraps bin lately, it’s where things like the stars and hearts and acorns and cupcakes come from, and I have several more tiny bits projects coming up…all hail the scraps bin).  Then I have four medium bins (currently divided into solids or semi solids, multi colors, single ply, and yarn from Seven Sisters Arts/String Theory because yes, yes they really do make up that big a chunk of my stash and that totally makes sense).  Then there’s a tiny bin of whiteish yarn.

And yeah, I realize that these are not exclusive categories.  That the white yarn is solid, and some of it is single ply.  And that the single ply yarn is sometimes solid and sometimes multi color. But it’s what works really well for me.  I know just which bin something will be in (and just which bin new yarn goes into), and it helps me find what I’m looking for when I have a project in mind.

How do you like to organize your stash?  Do you ever dump it all out at one time and go through it all?  Is my stash the size you thought it was (everyone always assumes I have a yarn shop in here…but really it all fits in part of one small closet, so I don’t worry about it too much)?


Those of you who have not had the distinct pleasure of living with me may not know one of my dirty little secrets.  I am a stress cleaner.  If I am feeling frazzled, I tidy things.  And, conversely, if things are untidy, I feel frazzled.

So yesterday, when I went to put something in my office closet and took full account of the mess in there, I sort of snapped.  I decided that I simply had to take an hour or two out of the day and purge the stash.  It was a fairly brutal purge if I’m being honest.  (Yes, yes I did throw away yarn…it’s ok to throw away yarn if that’s what you need to do to bring order to your world.  Same holds true for other stuff cluttering up your life, too.  You’re not obligated to re-home it, you’re allowed to just ditch it if that’s what you need to do.)

And when I was done, this is what was left.

DSC_0650That’s my personal stash.

Now, before you panic, there are a few caveats.  Book yarn (meaning yarn for books in various stages of production) lives somewhere else.  It takes up about one of those smaller bins worth of space.  I’ve also got another small bin worth of leftovers.  And I’ve got one more small bin of prize yarn (meaning yarn to be used as prizes for various knitalongs and upcoming giveaways).

But as far as my ‘hmmm, I feel like making a project, let me consult the stash’ yarn, that’s it.

The alarmingly attentive among you may notice that the front bin is made up entirely of String Theory and Quince yarns (I swear I could knit with nothing but those two for 90% of my knitting and be perfectly happy).  It seemed the best way to divide the yarn, given that those two account for more than a third of my stash.

So now it’s your turn to fess up.  How big is your stash?  Is mine excessive?  Or must I hang my head in shame until I can get a real stash?  And how do you like to sort it?  I considered ‘gray’ and ‘not gray’ but this seemed better in the end.

Rank Amateur

I am a crap spinner.  No, really.  Crap.  I have no skill.  I have put in very little practice.  My approach to date has been ‘pretend…I’m sure if I just pretend, I’ll grasp it by instinct without the application of any effort.’  So far, not much success, but it is amusing.  This usually does not bother me much.  One of the benefits of this method is that I don’t spend any time spinning, so my deficiencies don’t have much opportunity to trouble me.

But this Saturday I decided to clean out the stash.  One of the things uncovered in the stash was some spinning fiber (really rather a lot of it, given that I don’t spin).  The vast majority of it went right back into the stash to continue lowering at me from the corner of the closet.  But there was one wee bit I couldn’t resist.

I think I bought this back in 2009 at the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet festival.  I don’t remember who sold it or precisely what the fiber content is.  The only thing I remember is that the label said the shimmery bits were milk fiber, which I thought was hugely amusing.

So what I found in the closet were two singles already finished and sitting on toilet paper tubes (I put them on my ball winder and wind off my spindle onto them…keeps tension in the center when I take it off the ball winder), and one partial one that was spun…differently.  It loooooks (and really, this was years ago and I have no memory of doing it, so I could be totally wrong) like I divided the fiber into quarters, spun two of the quarters into two skinny(ish) singles, and intended to spin the other half into one fatter single.  I was half way through that fatter one.  I wanted a distraction from the final steps of the stash clean up, so I thought I’d give it a try. This was the remaining fluff.

It was oddly easy.  An hour later, it was done.

I took it all of my spindle and took the other singles off the toilet paper tubes, just to get a sense of what I had.  I gave it all a bit of a soak and a hang (no idea if it’s ok to do this with singles, but since this had just been taking up closet space for years, I’m obviously not all that invested in it).  Now it looks like this (still slightly damp).

That’s two skinny (ish) and one fat(ish) strands.  I’ll jury rig some sort of lazy kate (no really, it involves a plastic storage bin, knitting needles, hair elastics, and toilet paper tubes, that’s the kindest term you could apply) and see what happens.  I’m predicting heartbreak and profanity, but it should at least be amusing.