Secrets of The Yarn Collectors


That's how many there are in response to Monday's post. (Actually, they are still rolling in…here comes number 1569, from Isabeau M.!) That unprecedented amount of feedback has left me somewhat stunned. I read through the first 200 or so, laughing and reading them aloud to my also-stunned husband, and then I realized I had meetings to go to and a post to write for today, so had to put them aside for a bit. I will read every single one of them myself, I promise—I wouldn't want to miss a single hilarious story about how Candi can justify buying yarn because her husband just bought himself a plane, or how Fiberlicious has 46 sweaters' worth of yarn and her friends are on their way to do an intervention.

Fleece Artist SeaWool, since you asked!

There is one comment, however, that needs to be addressed. Folks, we need to do a Knitting Daily Community Intervention for Vanessa, who says that she does not have a stash and thus does not know how to be a yarn collector:

I will browse for hours and never buy anything. Thing is, I start to look for a specific project and then I get sidetracked and start looking at yet another yarn and in the end I have nothing accomplished. Either that or I just don't know between which 2834382 yarns to choose! I need to be told HOW to be a yarn collector!

Vanessa, we are here to help. Here are some of our secrets to building a great stash, er, collection:

Basic Techniques of the Yarn Collector

1. Petting the Yarn
Reach out and lightly stroke the yarn with the fingers of one hand. Don't use too much pressure, just pet the surface so you can feel the yarn's softness and texture.

2. Cheek Testing
Quickly, so that no one can object, pick up the skein in one hand and rub the yarn lightly against your cheek. Tilt your head slightly so that you can get the most facial surface area against the yarn. If you find yourself quietly humming or purring during this activity, go with that. It is a natural reaction to piece of yarn art. (The knitter-yarn bond is beginning to form at this point.)

The knitter-yarn bond in action

3. Color Admiration
Hold the skein out in front of you, moving it at different angles as though it were a crystal and you wished to see the light reflect off of it from different angles. Walk to the window and admire the color as it looks under natural light. Hold the skein to your skin and notice how well it looks with your coloring.

4. Content Test
Read the label (don't let go of the yarn itself, keep stroking it with a finger or thumb); coo over the various lovely things which have made up this wonderful skein.

5. Distance and Resistance Test
Put the yarn down where you found it and walk away. Watch every other person in the store like a hawk to see if they go near your yarn. If someone looks like they are going to pick up Your Yarn, swoop in and grab it and say something like, "oh THERE it is, I am so glad I found one more skein of the EXACT SHADE OF (insert yarn color here) for my mother's birthday sweater, Whew!" This tactic tells you how much you really want the yarn: If you cannot stand to see another knitter even hover next to the shelf your yarn is on, you need to buy the yarn. If you can tolerate another knitter walking around the shop with your yarn, pick another yarn and start over. (It wasn't meant to be.)

Other Advice For the Blossoming Yarn Collector

Start small.
Sock yarn really doesn't count as stash, as many wise knitters in the comments have pointed out, so that's a non-threatening place to start. Pretty colors and reasonable prices; and you may even actually knit a sock out of it someday.

Bring a yarn friend.
A yarn friend is someone who says things like, "You deserve a little treat today," or "That is so beautiful; I bet you won't find one of those again anytime soon" or "It's just one skein of yarn, it won't kill your budget"–encouraging phrases that help you break down your resistance to buying non-practical collectibles such as Yarn. Art objects are for the soul, for the joy of the heart; a good yarn friend can encourage you to follow your heart and not your head whilst in the yarn shop.

And finally: The most successful yarn collectors have stopped asking themselves "But what would I make with it?" every time they see a skein they love in the shop. They buy for the love of the yarn, for the fuzzy delight the yarn brings to their lives. Yarn isn't just the project you can knit with it; yarn is its own joy, in and unto itself.

Or at least, that's what I'm learning from your comments. Yarn Collectors, Unite! Do you have any yarn-collecting secrets to share? Any tips for beginners? How do you decide whether a yarn is worthy to be collected or not?

And just for kicks and giggles, I put together a list of the free patterns on our site which require just a single ball/skein of yarn just in case you are inspired to use some of those onesies in your stash.

Projects Requiring One Skein
Garter Mug Cozies
Mesh Gloves
Fingerless Silk Mitts (Crochet)
Feminine Mittens
Slanting Stitches Hat (Crochet)
Quick Cuffs (Crochet)
Crocheted Lamb
Lace Cap (Crochet)
Get The Skinny Scarves (Crochet)
Knitted Cuddlies (solid colors)
Vine Lace Baby Hat
Better Than Booties Baby Socks
Traveling Rib Tie

Tomorrow (Thursday, April 24) is the LAST DAY you will be able to download the Garter Mug Cozies, so if you haven't gotten your copy, download it now!

Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

What's on Sandi's needles? A bit more past the hem of the New Skinnier Gathered Pullover.

Other Things You May Like to Check Out:


Knitting Daily Blog

266 thoughts on “Secrets of The Yarn Collectors

  1. Watch out for that Better-than-Booties Baby Sock pattern! I’m already 10 pairs to the wind – and they keep coming. I can’t stop my addiction to the baby socks – and friends keep having babies! Am I being enabled, or is this just the universe’s way of saying, “Buy more yarn!”?

  2. Another story…
    I just became a share-holder of the wonderful CSA Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm. Susan Gibbs, owner, placed 12 skeins of freshly spun yarn on etsy – natural color. I bought all 12. I just couldn’t wait for the fall shearing. Any suggestions?

  3. Perhaps I’m alone in this, but I don’t think people should touch yarn to face until they *know* they’re buying it. Many makeup formulas stain, and most acne and anti-aging formulas contain acids that can cause bleaching or color distortion that don’t show up until after the material (or yarn) has been washed. I’d be really sad to buy special yarn and discover upon washing my finished object that areas of the yarn were bleached or discolored. It doesn’t even take a visible amount of rub off to cause the damage.

    So, I suggest checking for softness on the underside of the wrist or arm. Stroll about with it in a ‘football hold’ if you’d like. Still sensitive skin, but much less likely to damage the yarn.

  4. Who cares what you make it’s all about the color and texture. I lie to myself and say I’m going to make that vest or sweater and sometimes I do but when that yarn speaks to you Watch Out! I just wish there was a more space for me to store more. By the way, Littleknits sold out of all the creme yarn, it’s your fault you naughty girl. It just so darn soft and has depth of color.
    M. Anderson

  5. Vanessa –
    Ask for yarn gift certificates for important occasions (birthdays, etc). Buy or borrow knitting books that feature delightful patterns for one skein delights(you may need to start small).
    Pick the softest skein or the most beautfiful colourway, and BUY IT. JUMP RIGHT IN.
    1500 + comments from those of us with STASH can’t be wrong. GOOD LUCK.

  6. Oh, heavens! You’ve outed me. What’s worse, is that my compulsion extends to fabrics. Over the past 49 years I have amassed huge collections – could tell you EXACTLY what I intended to make with each piece, have save scraps with as little as 1 sq inch for the quilt pattern “Young Man’s Fancy” (still have a bag of 1″ squares.”

    I gave away all of the collection except for some treasured silks I bought in China to a community in Russia that was suffering, as I was about to leave my home for theological school.

    After theological school – yea, even in the midst of it – I indulged my addiction by beginning again. My closest friend, who knew I wouldn’t leave the books to celebrate Thanksgiving also knew that I’d jump in the car if she said “I’m driving to Michigan Fabrics – Want to come along?”

    It really, truly, is an addiction! Arising out of som primal fear that some time in the future I won’t have enough clothes or blankets, I suppose. My “sin” of “greed.”

    With a chuckle –

    The Rev. Louise Ulrich – currently in the land of more wooly beasts than you could count – Scotland.

  7. If I buy anymore yarn, I might have to buy a new house to store it! I need to learn how to knit faster so I can keep up with my every-growing collection!

  8. I’m with Vanessa, I don’t usually buy anything when I go to my LYS because I’m not sure about project, quantities, gauge, how it will knit up, etc. But I also do justify what I DO buy because my husband owns a sailboat. He spends money on morage every single month and in the end, he’s got nothing to show for it. I figure I get to match him dollar for dollar!

  9. Don’t forget that many collectors get their start on eBay!
    You can browse for hours without anyone hovering over you, either to sell you a skein or to snatch a potential keeper out from under you! In addition you can shop 24/7 in your pajamas if you wish.
    Jacque Mannakee

  10. What my family does is get together and trade yarns or call each other to see what we have when we find a pattern we want to make, that way we spend less with trading we also buy in bulk in rummage sales and resale shops. or going out of business sales.

  11. This was great for me to read because I must admit to being a beginner collector myself. I’ve got all the steps down right (especially that step 5… I can’t stand seeing someone try to hone in on MY beautiful yarn!), but my problem is justifying the cost! It’s a horrible thing to admit to before other knitters and I hope I’m forgiven!

    I’m a full-time student and right now my budget just wont allow me any collecting, but soon, I promise, very soon I will be an avid collector!

  12. I am a 65 year old book collector who has recently learned to knit. I soon learned the necesssity of ‘stashing’ yarn in a way that the number of skeins, hanks, balls, WIP wasn’t visible to an unappreciative non-knitter. When the bookshelves are deep and the books are flush with the front edge of the shelf there is a cavity created behind the books that makes for a great place to ‘stash’ yarn. Often I put the yarn behind the book that has the pattern that I want use. This way I cleverly keep the two together. Well, I think it’s clever.

    Susan Edwards
    Elora, Ontario

  13. Suggestions – don’t let my husband or son know I am going to a LYS. They call themselves the yarn police. Little do they know how many places one can find to hide yarn in a two story house.

    I remember many years ago – before I knew how to knit and became a self proclaimed yarn-addict… I was in a fabric shop and an elderly vertically challenged man asked his wife (also extremely vertically challenged) “is it necesary for you to touch every piece of fabric in the store to which she promptly replied “You should be glad I want to touch everything – it is a sign I am a truely sensual woman.”

    That story told – I love your coaching for Vanessa! Yarn too is a sensual experience! KNIT ON and more importantly let the collecting continue!

  14. that poor, poor girl… tell her to start a single skein pattern collection, using ravelry’s fab search engines, and the many ideas out there.


  15. Sandi, loved your analysis of all “collectors” – I have nothing to add except that something stirs in me when I see a beautiful color, or feel how a certain yarn feels and then I hear myself saying “ah this is it” and its mine!!

  16. Naturally I haven’t read all the posts (yet), so I don’t know if someone else has this suggestion to offer: have a friend give you all the yarn she has just been given by a friend who once owned a yarn shop. Do this twice. Then find a huge box of yarn at the local thrift shop and buy it for next to nothing. Do this twice. Thirdly, go to work at your LYS and use your discount every week when your paycheck comes in. Use it all. Fourth: Have a standing order for your favorite yarn when it goes on sale anywhere. Lastly, acquire a very indulgent husband (or none at all) and store your yarn neatly so it doesn’t show how much you have. I subscribe to all of these techniques and not only have a respectable stash, but I can actually knit something out of nearly everything I own. Oh! I forgot one more usable trick: Swap yarn regularly with knitters whose stash is more appealing than your own. (This is always be the case BTW.)

  17. I think that my yarn is a hedge against inflation. When everyone else is moaning about Christmas next year, I may bestoy a favored skein here and there. Knitted socks and scarves- I will be ready!

  18. To be a collector, one needs to know oneself. Are you:
    Visual? – go for color
    Tactile? – go for feel, fiber, softness, slipperiness, something unusually textured, etc.
    Kinesthetic? – go for fiber to spin or some big chunky yarn that needs to be manueuvered when knit.
    Most of all, have fun and keep knitting!!!

  19. 1) Imagine all the the wonderful items you could make to wear or give. 2) Live in the present. Totally ignore how long anything will take to make, how many items are on the needles or in a queue waiting to be made. 3) Tell yourself it’s on sale and you’ll never have this opportunity again (so true for yarn).

  20. Always visit the yarn stores when you are on vacation with your family! My hubby is even more generous (read: I don’t need to try to sneak new yarn purchases in with the groceries)when we are traveling.

    Last summer we spent a week in Maine, and my daughter and I spent a most wonderful afternoon at “Pine Tree Yarns” in Damarascota, visiting with the very personable owner and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over her samples and hand-dyed yarns, and buying waaaay too much. She even shared peaches from her garden in the back.

  21. I started by collecting yarn in my favourite colours in all shades. I think you could start that way too. Then of course it varied greatly once my children were born. My goodness once the shops have sales I can’t seem to stop ‘collecting’

    Also I found out I was a real collector when I moved house and find that you’ve stashed yarn in just about every single room in your home. I had to dedicate a whole tea chest to my stash. I was able to cram a whole lot into it too.

    Have fun! And Happy knitting!

  22. I LOVE this newsletter, it so funny and fabulous and I read a lot of them to my Mister because it’s too wonderful not to share. Concerning yarn stash, mine is quite modest at this point since I’ve been a thread crocheter for years and do have quite a bit of mercanized cotton in lots of colours (doesn’t really count as yarn tho). I’ve only this year come to knitting, because I had a yen to knit socks. The first one was quite medieval since I didn’t follow the directions right the first time I tried the kitchener’s stitch. The Mister proudly wears that pair. I can manage much better now, and actually knit him a pair of kilt hose that he loves. This brings me to my actual response, which is, thus far I havnen’t contributed a lot to my stash, because the Mister is the one that stocks me up. He loved the kilt hose so much, he bought me tons more of the same yarn in different colours, all in hope no doubt to inspire me to knit him some more 🙂 Maybe if I ever knit him something cuddly in some really lucious yarn, he’ll start frequenting the yarn shops and fondeling the fibers and bringing things home for me 😀

  23. Poor Vanessa. She needs a mentor, perhaps several. I find that reading good knitting blogs has been very helpful to building my stash, so does reading good knitting magazines. When I read about an interesting yarn and then find it in a yarn store, it always seems like a good idea to have a skein (or 6) in my stash, after having felt it, stroked it, etc. When I find a unique fibre (made of lobster! or bamboo!) I must buy a few skeins to bring home and show off to friends. Then, of course, there is shopping online: buying Fair Trade recycled sari silk yarn benefits women in other countries, so I am helping others by buying that yarn, and it’s lovely and feels good to boot. Of course, then there’s always finding yarn on sale. . .
    I hope that these methods are helpful to others!
    Karen, Warroad MN

  24. Why is it a good thing to buy yarn? It’s a patriotic thing. We are infusing capital into the economy and thus contributing to the well-being of the country. That’s my story & I’m sticking to it.

  25. Re. yarn stash collecting:
    Stalk the remainder bin. Pick out a variety of yarns. Knit swatches on different sized needles, measure and wash. See, feel and remeasure to find out what you like.

  26. I knew you would get several tons of responses on this topic, but after reading today’s I had to add mine, Sorry. My mother, now 88, taught knitting and crocheting for almost 30 years. She would take her students on field trips to a large knitting store, they gave her enough yarn for a project with each visit. This spring Mom and my sister decided to clean out the closets. Because I’m the knitter I was gifted with 4 large trash bags full of everything from ribbon to wool all at least 20 years old. Add to that the 2 trash bags, (I’m talking 40 gallon here folks) of white mohair a teacher ressurected from the trash at her school, and you can imagine what my stash looks like now. Suppose I should admit to the 5 under the bed storage boxes and two trunks I alreaqdy had full…. treasures, everyone.

  27. I beg to differ on the subject of yarn practicality! It is practicle. During winter you can save on heating costs by knitting sweaters and afgans, if you don’t feel like knitting it, you could just bury yourself in yarn and stay nice and toasty. Also, because of the fallinf price of the dollar, you can invest in yarn and count on a good retun (unless it gets eaten by moths or destroyed by a fire, but if taken care of properly this should not happen). Currently, I am putting 1/2 of my earnings in yarn as a college knitting fund because I probably wont have the money then to buy the yarn I can now. Thus yarn is much more practicle than say, glass figurines or yard ornaments!

  28. I would love to help someone lessen their unwieldy stash! My husband and I are going through some financial difficulties so buying yarn is definitely NOT in the budget. Bugger!

  29. Sandi, I have two words for you, to help you with your isolated yarn skeins: Kaffe Fassett. I have been knitting his multi-coloured sweaters for years, and have a HUGE stash of single skeins! The sweaters are easy, and fun…the thrill of mixing a bag of a bunch of yarns together (I’ve used as many as 80 individual yarns in a single sweater) is fabulous. Also, I’ve discovered it’s a great way to use some novelty yarns–they would look kind of too much in a whole sweater, but as a little accent are really interesting. You’d be surprised how many different colours will work together–go for it!

  30. You neglected to mention yet one more all-important step in Basic Techniques of the Yarn Collector: smelling the yarn! There is nothing quite like a hand-dyed vinegar smell! (*sigh*)
    -Krysti Burger

  31. I admit it, I am a collector. Whew, what a relief to finally admit it. Funky yarns, pretty colors, whims, sometimes yarn just jumps right into my shopping basket off the shelf. I always think, “I’ll make a scarf with that.” Yeah, right. But today I started putting some of it to good use by making afghan blocks for a charitable organization. All I have to do is use all the yarn before my husband sees it – he doesn’t know about my addiction yet. Shhh.

  32. keep your yarns safe! I have a walk-in cedar closet, or it was before the moving basket trolleys took over, for the wool; another closet holds all the lovely frou-frou yarns; but then you must play with them. Sort them by color and next month, sort them by texture or weight; and the next month, sort them by potential project. Each skein needs loving attention!

  33. Here are a few questions I ask myself when I’m hunting yarn:
    -Do I love everything about it?
    -If I’m at a far away yarn shop, does my lys carry it and what’s the price difference?
    -Will I ever use it?

  34. Eh. I would actually tell Vanessa that it’s OKAY to not be a yarn collector. I tried to be for a little while, but I’m just not. Indeed, there are people out there that don’t collect yarn! Gasp, shock! But as I had the experience of beginning to knit something I just bought only a few days after buying it recently, I realized just how much I like buying yarn to knit more than buying yarn to buy yarn.

    And this, coupled with my super-slow knitting, means I’ll keep the yarn budget low for a while. (I’m a student [at a very high-tuition college]; this is a good thing.) 🙂 Which also means that I WILL splurge for the next project.

    I guess that means I’m more for the overall experience rather than the spending high. It lasts longer, anyway. 😛

  35. The size of yarn stashes seem to be a hot topic. But what I never see addressed (I have searched on the internet and found either very little information, or conflicting information) is how to safely store yarns for long term storage. By safely I mean whatever it takes to avoid any kind if yarn damage, coloration, weakening, etc.from either the storage materials themselves or from critters. Is there/are there safe ways to store stashes? I’m totally confused in how to do this, and I’m sure we’d all appreciate any help. TIA.

  36. I am another yarn collector, especially right now, sock yarn. But for the beginner, you can get some great deals on eBay. That’s how I started. I know you can’t pet it, but you can still look and drool over it. And it’s really neat to get a package in the mail. Anticipation is a wonderful thing! I have so much yarn that I bought cubes that stack to put my yarn in by color and project too. I can’t resist a great buy. I usually buy enough for a scarf or something bigger, like a purse. I probably have enough yarn for 50 purses. Kathy

  37. I must confess that I was unemployed from November until this week. I was going to make extra money by knitting and selling items on eBay. Of course I ended buying more yarn to make these items and ended up getting a job and now have more yarn than before. Isn’t life great!!
    From gwest1955, Goshen, IN

  38. I was soooooo glad you put a name to it! And I am equally glad that so many others have this ‘connection’ to yarn. Good for us.
    I think I am going to go dump all my yarn on my bed and just enjoy looking at it. Thanks!

  39. #3 should be to smell the yarn (can actually be done discreetly while touching your cheek to feel the softness). Sniff out the silk content which smells like nothing else, the wool, (does it have lanolin in it?)
    then you can confirm the label contents. I once bought Anny Blatt silk ($17.00 each retail), unlabeled, at 35 cents a ball. It squeaked when I squeezed it (a must to squeeze yarn)so I knew it was cheap acrylic or pure silk! The smell confirmed the fiber content. Such a find!

  40. We would not expect a stamp collector to use their precious and valuable stamp, so I do not see any reason that a yarn collector should have to use their collection a.k.a. stash. Just enjoy your yarn whether you use it or stash it!

  41. My best yarn collecting tip: Start knitting freeform!

    That way, you can ALWAYS justify buying one more skein.

    Come to think of it, I’ve never seen freeform knitting discussed here. I’d love to hear more about it from Sandi and other addicts.

  42. You must SMELL the yarn. If a yarn doesn’t smell quite right, I won’t be able to thoroughly enjoy it at home.

    Also, pick up all the skeins you want, set them on a table, and step back. Look, pour over every one. If one looks like you can live without it, put it back. Eventually you’ll have the 2, 3, or 10 skeins you just have to own, no matter what. You’ll be the happiest that way.

  43. I have discovered the joys of knitting “small fluffies” (as my husband calls them). I started with dishcloths because I could pick them up, and put them down again, without fear of forgetting where I was or waht part of the pattern I was on. Then I found knitted flowers! They are fast, fairly easy and make wonderful additions to almost anything. It started with a capelet that I made. It was lovely but had no decoration or embellishment at all! I started looking for something to knit, as I don’t crochet at all. The rest is history! Jim says it was just another reason to buy more yarn(s):-)! I have also finally started using yarns that I have been moving around with for 25 years! So he doesn’t whine too much. How much yarn? I have two large rectangular totes for my non working yarns, and one medium large for my WIP yarns. I also have several (5 or 6?) tote bags that contain items in various stages of completion. I get bored after a while and then I work on something else. It confuses everyone else but I am HAPPY.

    Cherye-Monique Edgar
    Osgoode, Ontario

  44. You say “petting”, I call it “fondling”. I have a great friend who greets each skein with “Oh! Hello Baby!”….like an old friend. She is “charmed” by everything and is a wonderful facillitator for my collection (and hers).

  45. Many many years ago, after a male friend watched me rip out some knitting he’d seen me start and rip and start and rip at least 3 times before, he got an “ah-ha” look on his face and announced, “NOW I get it! You’re not knitting to make clothing! You’re knitting for the colors!” He was partially right — I also knit for the textures. A few years after that, my husband returned from a business trip and caught me sitting on the floor in the hallway where we had an 8-foot long closet he’d never seen open. All around me was yarn, yarn, yarn — I was in heaven. He was shocked! Thank heaven he’s so fascinated with watching me turn “string” (his words) into fabric.

  46. People who don’t want to acquire yarn (and needles) and more yarn (and more needles) are not knitters. They say they want to knit something, and then they keep frogging because their first attempts are not “perfect.” (They are also the kind of people who borrow your needles and don’t return them. Aargh!) They ask you for suggestions about which yarn to buy, then they buy something completely different. They walk around yarn stores empty-handed. Nothing tempts them. Every time you knit with them, they aren’t any farther along than the last time. A year later, when you ask about their projects, they say they’ve just been too busy with other things. People who don’t LOVE yarn are not knitters.
    PS: I also think people who don’t like the “aroma” of very sheepy yarns aren’t true knitters at heart either!
    (Unless, of course, they are allergic to wool!)

  47. First question when considering a yarn purchase would be – would you want to knit with this yarn. Second question would be – are you buying it because it’s a good deal. I’m discovered that many times those good deals aren’t such good deals. There’s a reason the yarn is on the sale table.

  48. I used to have yarn and unfinished projects hidden everywhere, under the bed, in the closets for example. I’ve finally been reorganizing and decluttering by using what I have and putting some in clear plstic shoe totes for easy access. I even sold some in the fall to make room for yarn that will be used. People buy me yarn as a gift so it tends to add up quicker. To put those single skeins to use I make scarfs and small items. I also crochet so the ideas are endless. I love yarn even though there are other types of crafts I do as well. I love to knit and crochet the most. Today I bought a big plastic utility bin with rope handles to put all those extra skeins in. I’ve run out of shoe totes and had to compromise. That way I can just grab the bucket and go. My guy he gave me a funny look raised an eyebrow when I walked in the door with the tote and asked me what’s that for? I said yarn. smiling sweetly and trying not to dance around like a happy monkey. I also brought home a new yummy skein of merino wool yarn for a skinny type of scarf. It was hard to resist buying more but this was for a specific project and I already made one and wanted another. Guess what he said when I told him about the skein I just bought. Wow you only bought one!! ha ha ha good for you. I’m starting to gain control over my yarn obsession and he’s proud but also at the same time doesn’t mind me being a collector. He’s also been known to add to my stash every now and then. When he needs a hat etc. I let him pick and chose right down to the style.

  49. Ah, If sock yarn is exempted, then so are ALL decorative yarns!!! Afterall, you only need a skein or two to embelish a sweater, or baby blanket…or even felting!
    Plus, buying a skein of handspun/handdyed is “supporting the local artisans” Especially if you travel from far away to find it.
    Yea, I’m an addict!

  50. I do #’s 1 thru 4 but I put my ‘maybe’s’ in a basket until I am sure (don’t want to risk losing that skein). I took a friend to yarn store to try to get her interest in knitting – she wanted to know “what’s a skein?” She really needs help-so of course I helped her. It works the same way you get someone to eat sushi. I swore I never would eat sushi, now I am addicted the same way I am to yarn buying. Once, on the way home from picking up a new baby for my stash, I was so excited about explaining to my sister, the exact color of the copper fiber running thru the dark blue mohair like the sun set in a blue sky I drove all the way downtown which was way past my exit off the freeway. Believe me the sun was setting by then. I have never done that before, but that’s how excited we can get about adding a new baby to our stash. Now I have a closet, including shelves and bins devoted to my yarn supplies. I like to ask other shoppers what they like about the yarn they have in hand or cart and I learn alot about a yarn I didn’t know about before. That also helps me to decide. People ask me the same or what I am planning to make with my yarn selection & I am always glad to share. I also have a sushi buddy and my yarn buddy and there’s nothing like stretching your legs after knitting and going for a walk to my favorite sushi place. Sometimes we take a project along and knit together while sipping tea – so FUN!

  51. This poem (author unknown) is how I validate my yarn buying. “If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft, and in thy meagre store two loaves alone are left. Sell one and with the dole buy hyacynths (yarn)to feed thy soul.

  52. I love your stash story and the resulting comments. I have yarn going back 30+ years and I know that one day I will use it for something. I identify with evrything about how to become a yarn collector.

  53. You TOTALLY forgot the Sniff Test! As you are giving the yarn its very first “cheek rub”, surreptitiously look around to see if anyone is observing. If no one has noticed you caressing the wool like a kitty with a catnip mouse, then go ahead and quickly nuzzle your dainty schnozzle into the center of that soft explosion of color and breathe in deeply…from the depths of your tummy. A grand bit of wool has a scintillating aroma that beckons to you long after the feel has left your cheek. Sigh…ummmm.

  54. Tell Vanessa if it looks beautiful just buy the yarn, either 1 or more skeins and worry about the pattern later. I have a roomfull with many tote bags full around the house and notebooks full of patterns from the net, one day they will all be knitted into beautiful things or inheirted by the little girls next door that I have taught to knit.

  55. I have over 1000 skeins of yarn. That’s crazy, so I decided to go on a yarn diet. Initially I was just going to not buy any yarn, but after a couple of days, I just couldn’t take it anymore, so I came up with plan. Here’s how it works. For every skein of yarn I use, I pay myself the retail price of the yarn. I also pay myself for completing projects. For example, for completing a pair of socks I earn $5.00. For baby sweaters I earn $10.00. So, if I complete a pair of socks with Noro sock yarn, I earn $26.00. Now, here’s the fun part, once I have $500.00 in my cash register (yes, using a toy cash register!) I get a $100.00 yarn shopping coupon and I can then go to a yarn shop for more yarn. Here’s the problem, it’s taking me forever to earn $500. I have completed 4 pairs of socks in a few weeks, but I’ve earned only 100 bucks so far and used only 4 skeins of yarn. Not a very successful stash-busting plan, huh? Plus, I still feel deprived from yarn shopping. So, now I have added a credit card (aka IOU) to my personal yarn shop. I’m now $200 in debt to myself!

    Oh, well…

  56. My advice is to pick a hat pattern with a not too complex stitch involved. Then go out and buy a skein of cashmere or some baby alpaca, something really soft. Your hands will have a great time working with something like that, and a simple pattern will really emphasize the texture and feel of the yarn instead of any details. I know I had a problem buying yarn at first, but I got over it after I bought some baby alpaca and made gloves. I can’t stop buying now. =) Good luck!

  57. After reading these posts I am suddenly feeling like i’ve been through a support group and “everything is going to be ok”. I thought I was the only insane fool who felt the need to rub the yarn on my cheek. By the way I would NEVER risk damaging such beauty by rubbing a make-up laced face on it ARE YOU INSANE. The first time I walked into the “good” yarn store (meaning no acrylic in site) I felt drunk. the smells of the fibres in this old refurbished barn/yarn shop took over my body, mind and soul. The day I discovered that wool, real WOol could be soft was the happiest day in my knitting life and began my obsession to see what other wild and new fibres were available.

  58. this is perfect – it’s a yarn collection not stash… my husband needs to read this, then he will understand my obsession, I mean my collection, much better.

  59. A hint for the non-yarn collector: I usually buy two skeins of any yarn that I don’t otherwise have a use for. That way, if the skein’s too small to make a scarf with, I can make it long enough with two. If one skein’s enough, maybe I can make two scarves, or use it for fingerless mitts or a hat!

  60. My husband…like most nonknitting men… cannot fathom the sheer joy of bringing home beautiful orphans to join the family stash. “What do you need that for?” he’ll ask from the lastest ball game on TV. “What does need have to do with it?” is always my response. Be damned with jobs to be done and deadlines to be met. In a frenzy I’ll pull down bulging cartons and fondle and coo and get my yarn fix and add the newbies. Will they ever be knitted? Who knows…who cares…some will…some won’t…but they’ll all be cherished.
    Jayne Davis

  61. Last year a local yarn shop had a “garage” sale of stash yarns. All one had to do was pack up the yarn, identify type and number of skeins or yardage, price and deliver to shop. I took advantage of this great opportunity, and really depleted my stash — making $160. This was wonderful, because now I could buy more yarn! This is something yarn shops should do annually!

    Betty Carson
    Portland, OR

  62. The cheek test reminds me of my favorite test. The neck test. My friend Kathy often gets involved in this one. I like to use her as my test subject. If a yarn is so incredibly soft on your neck that you want to wrap it around you, that’s the perfect yarn for a scarf to keep out the winter chill our a sweater with a high neck. There’s nothing worse than realizing the pretty yarn you chose will leave an ugly red rash around your neck.

  63. I have a wonderful yarn stash … voted one of the best around by my fellow addicts … everything from the ball of cashmere I found at a tent sale for a song to home spun Samoyed and French Angora. I have lots of one skein wonders and all sorts of roving displayed as art in my living room like some people would display paintings and sculpture. My “art” is free for the touching and is not breakable, which makes it especially fun when hanging out with my nieces and nephews and our needles. It also handy when one of the teens I work with asks if I can teach them how to knit. I simply ask what color is their favorite, find a suitable skein and soon a scarf emerges. Fiber and knitting are good for my soul and connect us all in amazing ways. I am so glad you’re all out there and even happier that you “get it”

  64. Vanessa needs to know that it’s okay to have both a yarn *stash* and a yarn *collection*. I have managed to develop both over the years. My *stash* consists of the yarn I have bought for various projects (as yet unused) or been given to knit for charity (still unused) or that goes with WIPs and UFOs, or is left-over from projects now completed. On the other hand, my *collection* consists of single skeins or balls (sometimes two) in more luxurious yarns (usually silk is in the mix somewhere, and/or they are hand-dyed or hand-painted). You know, the ones you can only afford one of, and therefore can use for only small projects, or to pet, look at, fondle, cuddle and/or admire. 🙂

    — Marg in Calgary

  65. Thanks to all of you for sharing…I am laughing my head off over this post…nice to know my knitting friends and I are not alone…Sandi hit it right on the head…this isn’t just “yarn”…this is art…it’s good medicine for the advice for Vanessa except to say “have patience”…you too will eventually travel our path…it’s like potato chips…you can’t have just one…
    I have an even bigger problem…I live in a tiny tiny NYC studio apartment… my stash is out for all to see…have discovered if you pile up two or three of the boxes and throw a knitted shawl over them, they pass for reasonably attractive cocktail tables…sometimes even a chair…!!!!….all the best to all of you and thanks for sharing your stories…

  66. You speak of hoarding wool/yarn or the stash…… Mine I could open a wool shop and have lots of fun selling it or giving it away. Yes there are kilograms and kilograms of all sorts of yarns from pure wool, alpaca blends, silk blends, cashmere blends, novelty yarns and baby yarns. Have I painted a good picture yet? I have 3 camphor wood chest of yarns, 3 blanket boxes of yarns and uncountable numbers of yarns in various sized garbage bags etc. My husband says I can’t leave this world until all is gone so I guess I am here for a long long time. Anything left when I finally depart for that wondeful wool shop in the sky

  67. Well, it all started with just one skein of yarn, and then it grew, and grew, and grew….”the stash” has taken over my house…therefore, my wonderful husband just purchased a 35′ camper trailer to move my “stash” into. Isn’t he wonderful?? =) I think so too. It’s a great idea for the yarn collector that just can’t stop stashing. It really is an addiction. I’m just happy that all of my wonderful skeins of yarn have a new home. =) Laura in NC

  68. I got cut off so I will continue …. My husband almost quivers when I come home with a shopping bag and say I just bought some wool for whatever project I am working on, and he says but isn’t there something here that will do? He just misses the point. And the best bit is that I am totally blind so I need a friend to hunt me down whatever I am looking for. Why not the husband you say …. he just can’t get his head around the many hues and blends of colours so if I say I want pink, I get given to me baby pink instead of rose pink, bright pink, american beauty pink etc. But God bless him.

    Lindy O’Neill

  69. I’ve always been addicted to collecting raw materials – it’s the promise of what can be done with them that is addicting. I used to collect fabric (when I sewed), and now that I knit I find I have to have yarn. It’s a response to the colors, the textures, the creative potential. I’ve given in to the need. It’s not the worst habit you could have. I have so much I can go shopping in my own house, and combine colors and textures with multiple yarns with what I have. I buy a lot online – usually I can tell just from the pictures if it’s something I want. I’ve made some mistakes, but more often I’ve been delighted and found some real treasures. I also spend enough at my LYS. I need improved storage, though.

  70. I have read the secrets and this is what I do in the store, with a yarn friend. I see something so nice and won’t buy it unless I have something to knit with it. I don’t know how to collect. Probably in part that I don’t like to collect things. And I LOVE yarn – the smell, feel, colors, everything about it!!!!!

  71. I sell yarn on eBay and have an entire room–my former crafs/sewing room–full of it. I have accounts so I can buy it wholesale, the plan being, of course, to re-sell it at a profit.
    I can admit here that a large portion of that yarn has gone into my personal stash, which was huge to being with– having worked at a couple yarn stores– and I harbor fantasies of winning the lottery or something and so I can justify not selling it any more. It will all be mine–MINE, ALL MINE!
    And like you, I’ve one or two skeins of many different yarns I couldn’t pass up–not enough to do anything with–just purchased for the sheer beauty and the pleasure it brought me.
    It is a harmless addiction–and I’ve made my husband promise that when they finally take me to the nursing home, the first thing I want packed is my containers of yarn.

  72. One more important thing in being a yarn collector is to smell the yarn. I often walk away from yarns that may be pretty and feel great but don’t have any unique lovely yarn odor.

  73. My yarn obsession has carried over to spinning fiber too. When I know I need to purchase something is when I feel a little lightheaded, all time seems to stand still and I don’t hear anything being said to me by my friends. Then I know I can spin that fiber into yarn for hours.

  74. I feel Vanessa’s pain and am willing to help. One thing that is unaddressed in this post’s description of becoming a yarn collector (while an entirely valid and accurate way to start!) is how to deal with indecision. Questions in one’s head such as: Should I buy the blue silk for my mom’s _____? Or the red wool for my _____? Should I plan big – like a sweater? Or maybe a small scarf? Or would this be a good holiday gift for my best friend? All of these questions can torment a budding collector while in a yarn shop, and while the obvious solution is to say yes to them all, pesky things like budgets can interfere mightily with this process. Even as a veteran stasher (I mean collector) I still struggle with these thoughts. Is there no way out?

  75. I had a terrible/wonderful experience on Tuesday (payday!!) I walked into the LYS with the intention of only grabbing what I had ordered the previous week when I saw the most beautiful, perfect yarn (Mirasol Cotanani)for the project I bought yarn for last payday. I must admit I was feeling a little emotionally fragile (never go into the LYS feeling like this!!!!) and fell like a big sucker for the Peruvian shepherd’s children’s school sob story but it is so lovely!!!! But that wasn’t the terrible bit…. I walked up to the counter where the girl knew my name!!! and grabbed my order and said, oh, you’re becoming one of my regular faces!! to which I replied, I can’t!!!! I’m a student!!!! and from the depths of the shop, came an errie, knowing laugh of someone who had been in my situation and never escaped……… There is no way I can keep up with my current yarn addiction without turning to a life of crime!!! 🙁

  76. I like to find a pattern that I just can’t live without and then buy the yarn that is suggested usually on line. From there it is so easy to begin a stash. I currently have 17 clear plastic bags with the pattern and the yarn in each. If you want to knit prayer shawls or friendship shawls just start ordering yarn in all colors. I love this website. Keep up the sharing. K

  77. I didn’t collect yarn until a few years ago. I joined the local spinners & weavers guild (plus knitters) and learned about ‘stash’ for the first time. I got it! It has been liberating. . .collecting yarn the same way I’ve collected recipes for years. I won’t live long enough to try it all!

  78. I didn’t collect yarn until a few years ago. I joined the local spinners & weavers guild (plus knitters) and learned about ‘stash’ for the first time. I got it! It has been liberating. . .collecting yarn the same way I’ve collected recipes for years. I won’t live long enough to try it all!

  79. I collect yarn like some people collect postcards. It reminds me of my travels!!! My 5 kids accuse me of planning family vacations based on yarn shops or fiber destinations. Well yeah, guys….. duh. Good observation….

  80. I love my yarn stash. I do not buy via the internet though, I like to see, touch, smell, pat, squeeze … The ultimate stash hider would be bean bag couches (without beans) just stuff full of yarn, use and replace to keep furniture firm! Besides there are worse addictions!

  81. I see having a stash as “therapy” without having to put gas in my car I can fondle, dream about what it might work for or what I can combine to use 3 or 4 of the one ballers! It is far cheaper to go to my stash than go to a therapist at $150/hr. and when I get done with a project I have something other than a cancelled check.

  82. While on bed rest with baby #2 (for 5 months) I morphed into a self-taught knitter. I have definitely found a new calling but am clearly still a “newbie” to knitting. (Still on hats, scarves, small purses/wallets and lately, felted bowls.)

    Sadly, like Vanessa, I have no “stash” but I relish today’s post on how to start my own yarn collection. Thank you for such a terrific post – I’m so happy to have found your site!

    JB/Go-Go Mommy

  83. I don’t need to bring a yarn friend – if I do, my stash wouldn’t be as big as it is! I’m good enough at convincing myself that the yarn is never going to be found again & not at that price! Signs of a true yarn addict – but it makes my soul sing through my creativity! Then I hide my stash in boxes away from my hubby! 🙂 I’ve yet to set up a spreadsheet to keep track of my expenses but am procrastinating as long as possible to continue to live in denial of my addiction! I too love purple… but have lots of different colours + aim to get soft organic yarns, and usually buy for specific projects, and enough to make quick knits (scarves, doggy jumpers, etc). I was buying yarn from eBay for a while and there are some really good bargains to be found occassionally. Anyhoo… best get back to the real world. Then tonight: knit, and dream again of yarn…

  84. Sandi (and all of the commenters), thank you, thank you, thank you ALL soo much! It was a pleasant surprise to open up this post and see my name right there. And you know what? I will try these suggestions starting next week (or maybe this Friday on my lunch break?). I’m ready to not only have tons of knitting magazines & books and needles in every size and type (which is depressing because I can’t use them if I don’t have yarn right?!), and start a stash/collection! Maybe I’ll even buy a skein or two of one of the yarns I’ve been drooling over for months online right after I write this comment! 🙂 But I think the steps in this post will be most helpful in getting me to buy SOMETHING… especially seeing/feeling/(and sniffing!) Thanks everyone!

  85. I am a yarnaholic…a yarn whore…a “round heels” for a soft, smooth, nubby, slubby,jewel-toned, neutral, pastel, rich, pallid wool, cotton, bamboo, merino, cashmere, corn, musk-ox,linen,quiviut yarn — in other words, if it’s spun and wonderful, I want it. I used to be concerned that this was an illness…an addiction, if you will. I spent hours thinking about it and then decided that it’s OK to be addicted to yarn. I can quit any time…really I can! I just have to get that really gorgeous purple mohair blend for that afghan I might make sometime after I retire…and wouldn’t that look terrific with that lavender merino…and that sky blue pink stuff over there and a few skeins of that wonderful color over here…and…and…. But I know it’s all right. I’ve totally rationalized it all. It’s much better than any other addiction I might have. This is a professional opinion, you see. I’m a psychiatrist and my yarn-related behaviors are perfectly normal (no matter what other people say!) Excuse me. The voices are telling me to go buy some more!

  86. If my dear hubby had any idea how much yarn I have I don’t know that he would do!!! YARN STASH is a good name because my yarn is STASHED all over the house. Rhe best idea I have found is empty suitcases or duffle bags. I try to sort by colors, then thought maybe sorting by fibers, wool, acrylic. I have a jumbled assortment of 350-400 skeins. Duffle bags/ suitcases are inexpensive and bug proof.

  87. I have been reading the posts on yarn collecting I resemble every statement!! I have worked in yarn shops for many years and loved every minute. I never brought home a pay check!! I bought when something was being discontinued; I bought
    when new things came in; I bought at Sheep & Wool Festivals. With abandon-totally shameless. And then we moved!! OMG, it was absolutely unbelieveable. I even had a sale–it didn’t make a dent. I vowed to mend my ways and actually finish a few things. Alas, I
    am sneaking back into the yarn shops and trying to sneak more plastic bins into the house……… is a
    glorious addiction!

  88. I always buy enough of the beloved yarn for either a sweater or an afghan. Then, when I finally get to it(I have a gigantic stash!) I may end up making a dozen pairs of mittens out of the same yarn or three baby sweaters out of the same yarn! I hate when I forget what I was going to make with the yarn in the stash! Lol!!! Maybe someday I will open a yarn shope called Sue’s Stash!! ~ Sue

  89. I must admit, even though I didn’t comment on the last post, I, too, am a yarn collector.

    In response to:

    “2. Cheek Testing
    Quickly, so that no one can object, pick up the skein in one hand and rub the yarn lightly against your cheek. Tilt your head slightly so that you can get the most facial surface area against the yarn. If you find yourself quietly humming or purring during this activity, go with that. It is a natural reaction to piece of yarn art. (The knitter-yarn bond is beginning to form at this point.)” I must share this story. I recently received a package in the mail that contained 2 skeins of yarn that I had never used. I was not expecting the package. It was a a “thank you” from someone that had received a “difficult to acquire” skein of sock from me. I first reaction was to smell the aroma and rub the yarn against my cheeks. Later, when my husband came into the room, I showed him the skeins of brightly colored yarn. He proceeded to take the skeins from me and immediately rub them on his cheeks. I almost fell out of my chair, I was laughing so hard!

    Oh, and you are totally right, sock yarn does not count as stash…

  90. I have a serious wool allergy, so your #4 is always #1. (I learned this the hard way!) I like to take a friend yarn shopping with me. When I’m tempted to reach out and put a pretty skein, they intervene, read the label, and then let me know if I can indulge, or have to settle for just looking.
    After I’ve established that it’s non-wool, though, I enjoy all of the things you’ve mentioned. Pet, brush against cheek, oh.. gentle “squeezees” for those incredibly soft yarns. I like to pick up several colors and try to decide which color I love the best, and what I might make with them. Then definitely walk away and try to shop for something else in the store, if you’re mind won’t focus on anything but that yarn, and the endless possibilities for projects, go buy some.
    I bought two lovely little skeins this evening! Just to look at, and swatch, and dream about.

  91. I enjoyed the article on Yarn Stash and could relate to it as so many of my friends in the Victorian Handknitters Guild can as well. I purchase for the colour and then the feel but never sufficient to finish a garment. I then go and purchase yarn that will complete the stash I have loked at, promptly buy another lot of yarn which I could not resist, therefore starting the same circle all over again. Lucille

  92. My yarn collection consist of project undone.It is something about the pattern that intriques me and sends me in search of yarn. sometime the hunt is successful and i find the yarn that will work in he pattern. yea . i buy just a little too much to make a scarf or.

  93. Tip for buying – Online sales. “Look at that great price for ‘x’ number of yards of ‘y’ yarn. I better get that.” And of course you can’t see if anyone is looking at the yarn, like you could in a brick and mortar store, so they might be, so I better get it while I see it. Has the big advantage of ‘something’ coming in the mail, so two pleasant moments in one!

  94. I agree with Elizabeth W wholeheartedly! As a LYSO, I cringe whenever I see someone rub yarn against their face…believe me, as oily as my face is, you would NOT want to buy a skein I had rubbed against my face!!! And I wouldn’t want to buy a skein with makeup, perfume or ??? on it, either! I really, really wish you hadn’t made it seem to be ok for your readers…

  95. I still have a very small stash but it gets fed regularly. when I buy on impulse I tend to buy enough for a sweater project if I see something I really like at my LYS or other shops (it’s a habit from quilting where for fabric stashing I buy 0.4 of a meter or a 1/2 yard to have enough for a patchwork quilt). To do this I always take a yarn requirements guide with me and buy one more ball/ skien than listed so I definately have enough. If they have no measurements of yardage on the lable her in Australia they say so many balls makes a size 12 I’m a 16-18 so I add 3-5 balls to that number. I live in the middle of no where so you have to buy up enough when you find it cause you won’t have access to more.
    Shopping on line I do a lot of although usually for a specific project as I can’t touch the stuff, I tend not to impulse buy on line for yarn.

  96. Oh, and I forgot…I’ve collected yarn simply for the sake of collecting yarn (usually 20 balls of anything so I could make whatever I wanted) since well before a shop was ever even an idea. I had 39 bags (10 hanks ea) of my most favorite yarn ALONE!

  97. My mom taught me to be a “touchy-feely” person when it comes to yarn, and that’s something I’ve shared with the friends that I’ve taught to knit. Some yarns have surprised me though. They may not look like they’d be soft, but when I picked up the ball it was so yummy! The first time I picked up a ball of Rowan Kidsilk Haze I literally started drooling. Felt the same way about Sockotta sock yarn too.

    Be a “touch-feely” person when it comes to yarn. I find it’s one of the easiest ways to justify adding to your yarn supply.

  98. My ‘match-for-match’ with my husband is model train ‘stuff’. My goal is to find something beautiful to touch, and my criteria and method is to stick a finger in each end of the ball, or into the center of a ‘hank’, and feel the texture between fingers and thumbs. (this may be a local technique–my LYS owner does the same thing–we both did it before we knew the other one had the same method). Any way, my husband’s most costly brass locomotive was in excess of $350. Don’t you think that is a great goal to match? Just waiting for the right sweater yarn!!!! of course i’m not counting the $100+ for a Berroco Silk Garden sweater that is on the needles now.(if it’s on the needles it’s not STASH, is it?) This is a great topic, I’m so happy to know
    that I have so many sisters who know how to ‘stash’. Carol R

  99. First of all you have to make sure the conditions are right for developing Yarn Deprivation Syndrome. You have to have NO chocolate in the house, the Husband/Boss/Children being difficult and all gone to bed, no wine in the house and a computer with an internet connection. Visit Ebay and plug in “sock yarn” for starters. Follow up every single link from every single Seller. Drift off into a Google Search for “hand painted yarn” and visit every link. That will start off your stash. Google “yarn shops” in your area and mark them off on a map. Then take a day off, take a train and go visit every one on the list. Remember always, YOU are worth this, YOU deserve a little luxury in your life, YOU can have this itty bitty bit of yarn forever in your life. AND – this is the cruncher – it won’t put weight on your hips, you won’t get accused of seeing another man/woman/chocolate shop. It will not give you cancer. It will not keep you out all day any later than the shop closing hours. This is an innocent pleasure. Go forth and indulge, Sister Women, everywhere.

  100. Buying yarn on sale, or from someone who is destashing, or for a good cause, doesn’t really add to your stash total. You HAD to buy it. No yarn may be orphaned and left to languish in a yarn shop. That’s how I get most of my onsies and twosies. That said, I do in fact have ample sweater stash. My ‘mistake’ was subscribing to monthly yarn samples. I still look forward to knitting that yarn, but it makes me wish I had held back because there is new and more desirable yarn all the time. Must.knit.faster.

  101. You omitted the “I’m not looking at you, I’m not buying you” technique where you spot the yarn out of the corner of your eye, spend the next hour drooling over everything else in the shop and then, just as you have to go because your parking ticket has expired, dash over and grab enough skeins to knit a sweater for a small elephant and just pay for them and GET OUT! Then you can be in denial about having bought them for at least a few hours. Fliss

  102. Gawd Sandi!

    You really gave me a chuckle over this article and FRANKLY I miss these types of articles from you! But tell me where can I find my very own “yarn friend” ? LOL

    Analisa in Dubai

  103. OH MY !!
    I feel better knowing I am not alone. I have used storage bags, you know, the kind you suck the air out of to make them smaller? Well one night in bed I heard the most scary sound coming from my wardrope…liek 1000 little animals moving aroung…it went on for about an hour before I plucked up the courage to look….after a loud sream,Iwas hit on the head with one of the two bags which had decided to expand itself and almost scare me to death. I would love to hear how others disguise the quantity of stash bought.
    From “SS..secret stasher”

  104. what is this sock yarn you speak of that doesn’t count as part of your stash? i’m a beginner and a UK based one at that. If there is yarn out there that doesn’t count i feel i really do NEED to know how to get hold of it!! (not sure my partner would agree here, but he spends hundreds of pounds on bicycles, so i’m fairly certain he doesn’t get a say in the stash building process!!)

  105. Hello there I live in the UK and have been a yarn collector for 30 years now, some in my stash are literally 30 years old!A lot were more recent as I statred a crochet obsession in 2005…! Luckily I do both now: I buy 7-10 or 12 balls /skeins of yarn if it’s a bargain or just irresistable and I DO buy these to go with a pattern or with a defined project in mind but then there are all those irresistable lovelies that are amazing colours or softness or texture or just so unusual and FUN looking that I buy just the one to ”try out” at home and then they linger in assorted bags in the attic for years and years…..
    I have had some disasters where I did try out the yarn; LOVED it and then could not buy anymore to make a project as either it was discontinued or I had bought it abroad or on a trip and then I spend hours or DAYS on the internet trying to get some more of it!!!!
    On my blog I have also done a post on what can be made with one ball/skein…. see
    I have also sorted mine into colour groups and yarn thickness- luckily there’s LOTS of DK!!!!aND WITH THE PINK/REDS/PURPLES colour group- HUGE- I plan to make a freeform crochet cardigan/jacket/coat one day SOON!!!!
    Ditto for the black/greys/whites/silver group and you can see a scarf made from this on my blog as above, but the yarns for the scarf actually created this stash as I bought too many yarns when I was planning the scarf!!!
    Then there’s endless blues and turquoises and again I did make a jumper/cardigan with some of these and this in a very early post on my blog as I finished it in Fall 2005….From a fabulous pattern by the FAMOUS SYLVIA COSH?!!!!
    I haven’t dared cost my stash ”habit” as it would be a bone of contention with my beloved – especially as my knitting magazine ”habit” is quite bad too……We’re running out of space for them all!!!
    Happy hooking and CARRY ON STASHING!!!

  106. 1. Hide your stash-Rubbermaid storage bins are the best-out of site-ohhhhh you need more.

    2. When specialty yarns go on sale buy as much as you can.

    3. I need 20 ozs of each color to do this project, but somehow the project only takes about 15 ozs.

    4. Buy it when shopping alone, and hide it when you get home. (see #1)

  107. I confess that I am new at this, only been knitting less than 2 years. Problem is, I can’t figure out – if you buy the yarn BEFORE you have the pattern, how do you know how much yarn to buy? So, with that in mind, I search patterns first, but I have sooo many patterns and they’re not necessarily for the same gauge, or the same type of yarn, so I have to organize my patterns based on gauge, and then, by that time, I can’t find the yarn I want! I search online for hours, but the yarns I find in my price range do not fit the patterns….oh, I’m tired. Time for a cup of coffee.

  108. Just one reason, ahh rationalization. I also collect fabric (quilter). One little plain (I live close to Lancaster, PA) store has these signs printed up: I am a fabric (yarn) collector. You wouldn’t ask a stamp collector to use his stamps to mail a letter. You wouldn’t ask a coin collector to use his coins to pay the bills. So why do you think I should use MY collection???

  109. Hello! I?m Sandra from Germany and first of all I have to apologize for my bad english. My last english lesson at school was many many years ago…
    But in spite of that I?d like to put a comment to this topic “stash”:
    I startet knitting again about 6 years ago, and since that time I collected about 75 kg yarn. Most of the yarn is bought for special projects from knitting magazines, and other yarn is bought for my own creative creations. I do ever buy more than enough for a sweater or a cardigan or what ever I have in mind for this special yarn. So I have a statistic about my future projects, and I achieved the highest point in march 2008: there are 99 big projects (pullover, cardigan, twinset..) waiting for me and my time!!! Furthermore there are 15 shawls, another 15 lace-shawls, 30 pairs of socks.. to knit. And because I ever buy MORE than enough, I think there are at least 30 projects to craft with all the rest-yarn from my main-projects. Let?s say I can knit 1 pullover or anything like that in one month, so I will need 8 years and 3 months to work off all pullover-projects WITHOUT buying any more skein!! Waahhh! To be honest, I do not know, if I ever get my stash-situation under control, but I?m still optimistic!!!
    Best wishes and greetings to you, hope you could understand what I wrote,
    hugs and kisses, Sandra

  110. If you have trouble buying yarn at a local yarn shop, be sure to travel to a few other yarn shops. Then you know they have stuff that you won’t see at home and if you don’t buy it now you won’t have a chance again. Justify it by saying you can always make a scarf or hat out of it.

  111. You absolutely HAVE to think of the grandkids for stashing yarn, OMG wouldn’t that make the cutest “whatever” for so and so and that is absolutely his or her favorite color. I have to tell ya, I purchase ALOT of yarn that is presently stashed because of my grandkids!! And also because they are all eager to learn knitting, which I am thrilled about

  112. I am a new member and I was totally overjoyed when I read the secrets of a “stasher.” I am blind and I am so glad there are actually sighted people who feel the same about touching yarn and wool. I can of course do that for ever! And some privilige blind people have over sighted is that we can “see” a colour in our heads that makes it much more interesting than for sighted people. Colour gets to it’s most important the day you can not see it any more.

  113. I am so glad to know I am not alone!! I truly belive yarn sitting in baskets, fabric boxes, on the table, in several knitting bags makes the whole house seem more cozy, so I collect for my family. They need a cozy, warm feeling home, don’t you think?

  114. For some reason the month after my 54th birthday I went yarn mad. According to Ravelry I have 30.27 miles of yarn in my stash. All kinds, cashmere blends, 100% wool, alpaca, silk blends. Many sweaters in the queue. May I live long enough to knit it all and God help me refrain from buying more until I have. JR

  115. My cats are the final judges of the quality of my stash. If they try to bury a skein of yarn, then I know I have wasted my money on it. So, in the store, I try to imagine them kneading the yarn with their front paws, closing their eyes, and purring. If I just can’t see it with this particular yarn then it goes back on the shelf. Of course, since they’re color-blind, I do get to pick the colors myself.

    Leslie Thullen

  116. I can’t help myself when it comes to yarn collecting…I just can’t seem to bring myself to use the yarn I bring home. I love colors and painting and when I arrange the yarn on shelves – there you have it – a beautiful painting you can touch. I need to get out my One Skein book and starting wearing the art – just wear the art….

  117. My Mother taught to knit wheniI was 7 yrs old. She now only crochet’s so I got all her left over yarn. I have bags in the garage. My secret is find osmall projescts to use up the extra yarn I have. It has worked I am using it up. Barbara Benson

  118. If you wear face makeup, don’t rub the yarn against your face. It isn’t nice for the yarn, cuz it gets all gunky, and yarn shop owners don’t like it.

  119. It’s the Fiber Arts Fair that you need to run toward (uh, or avoid at all costs)… Last year I saw this gorgeous naturally ‘green’ organic cotton – hanks and hanks of it in this amazing sage tone. Extremely soft; I did the face rub – the woman whose booth I was at noticed and said those fateful words…”I have more of that if you like it.” *Sigh* I came away with three huge hanks of the softest yarn ever. I petted it for months – it just felt so good. Finally I knew I had to make something out of it for ME – that I could wear. I now have the softest scarf and hat that I wear almost daily in the winter (and sometimes fall and sometimes spring).

  120. Wow, how blessed are we! I also collect purple of any kind, and some chartreusse, and then when I need to knit a special comfort/prayer shawl, I cast on to knit a shawl length wise [130 – 160 sts] and create something unique and lovely. Of course I also collect lots more for the same reasons as all that have posted …

    This morning as I read an article on ‘amazing antioxidants,’ without my reading glasses, I scanned the listing of such by colors, and under orange, the list ended with mangoes, papaya, yarns ~ whoops! That would be yams!!

    Sandy B *~*

  121. Your Comment: Okay… 1. I’m not a knitter. I crochet and taught myself back in the 70’s with a book my father gave me called, “Readers Digest Guide to Needleworks.”… 2. It’s no secret ? my “stash” is all over my house! I guess you could say that I decorate with it. It’s in pretty baskets and pots and cloth bags and straw in every room (except the bathrooms and kitchen)… I love to walk from room to room and see my soft fluffy gorgeous colors and combos and dream of what I might make out of it. Sometimes it’s just one skein. Sometimes it’s 2 or 3 and sometimes, it’s up to 12 or 20 skeins ? depends on my budget and the price of the finds I like. Some friends say my house looks like a country home craft magazine… others just look at my stash all over the place and ask, “What are you going to do with all of this yarn?” I have to smile about the first comment and laugh at the latter! They don’t have a clue. They are not crocheters or knitters. Therefore, they cannot possibly understand the importance of the creative thought processes that go on in my mind when I display my stash in a decorative way for my designing mind to take hold of and fly away! When I use up a displayed stash in a bag or basket… I replace it with new. I’d just go mad if my stash was packed up somewhere in a closet or chest where I could not see it!!!

  122. Well Sandi, I just have to say that as I usually read these posts after everyone has gone to bed; that I live in danger of being committed for hysterically shrieking with laughterin the middle of the night! what a Hoot! I must confess to a modest stash, some of which I get my family to contribute to at Christmas when they ask what I want. I have it all figured and ready( especially for large items like sweaters and afghans. Along with the impulse onesies, I must confess to a addiction to lovely pattern books, and frankly am running out of room for them. I’m glad we at least have been sanctioned by a pastor AND a psychiatrist, what more could anyone want? 🙂 MaryL

  123. I have about 400 lbs of yarns. In fact, I am having a yarn studio built to house it all – displayed in glass cubies so that I can see what I have!! Yarn – better than smoking!! Better for your lungs!

  124. If the yarn is found at a festival or event (sheep dog field trials, spinning exhibit, etc.) then the yarn is not going to be available for en extended period, therefore it is worthy to go into your collection. If it is at your LYS you have a couple of days to look at it, visit it, pet it, carress it, admire it’s color, and then decide if it is cost and quality worthy to go into the collection, but don’t wait too long because others are doing the same thing. This is a tricky aspect of the LYS. Just because a yarn is in the store does not mean you have an unlimited time to process or justify the purchase. Although it does cause one to get creative in smuggling the frequent purchases inside the house to become acquainted with the rest of the collection.

  125. Okay, I’m jumping in a little late, but I just have to ask Sandi this question, based on the “helpful hints:” Are you a member of the “Selfish Knitters” group on Ravelry? All of these suggestions would certainly fall into their criteria. 🙂

    I don’t have a huuuge stash, based on the newly-learned fact that sock yarn doesn’t count. I will occasionally buy a bunch of yarn I don’t need if there’s a really good sale, but for the most part, I have tried to get myself into the habit of taking a list of what I need for such and such a project. And, Ravelry has been great because the last time I went to my lys, I looked at my queue while I was in the store and found the yardage, etc. that I needed for a particular project I wanted to do. I can certainly empathize with Vanessa, especially when my husband stops the car at my lys and says, “Why don’t you go in and pick out some yarn for yourself?” (yes, he really does do that). With no clear goal in mind, I become very easily distracted, my eyes start to glaze over, and I go straight to the Malabrigo shelf.

    I have built somewhat of a stash lately based on my husband’s need to keep things “fair.” He has a fishing obsession (and a boat, and a membership in a local club that fishes several tournaments a season), so I have reaped the benefits of said fairness.

  126. Just tell yourself you can use it as an accent yarn in another project! If you really love that particular yarn, you’ll make a way to work it into some project sometime!!

  127. As an addition to start small….. Go ahead and buy that really nice sock yarn, 10 balls should be enough for a sweater……… Oh, and if the yarn is in a store out of town, be sure you get lots, since you know you can not get back there any time soon!!!
    Alicorn – been there, done that

  128. You have to also consider where you’re going to hide it from your husband. Most knitters who hide yarn are running out of places to hide it! Prepare for new acquisitions!!

  129. Oh, but don’t forget to smell it as well! Years ago I was a fabric collector. The problem there was that 3 yards of a beautiful fabric held unlimited potential, however, once the 1st cut was made, those possibilities immediately narrowed. The beauty of yarn is that even if you spend 3 weeks knitting it into some useless creation, its unlimited potential continues simply by rrrrrripping!
    Martha in Baltimore

  130. My two biggest kinds of yarn purchases are “OS” and “velcro” yarns. If I pick up a skein of yarn and love it, and then see that it is On Sale (“OS”), that’s an automatic green light to BUY! And ahead of the distance/resistance test, of course, goes that skein that is so wondrous, so scrumptious, so once-in-a-lifetime that once you pick it up you are literally incapable of putting it down again (the “velcro” yarn). These tend to be the dead opposite of the OS yarn, in that they are usually the most expensive yarns in the place. But once they’re stuck to you (or more correctly, once you’re stuck to them), what can you do?
    Deb F.

  131. To me yarn is a tool. Just like anyone that works on cars or builds furniture knows, you must have tools! So I guess with the comment of sock yarn not really being stash, then a screwdriver really isn’t a tool. But we all know we need lots of both! And my stash has lots of sock yarn and lots of just lovely yarn that someday will become a gift for someone. Having a stash enables you to knit those emergency items. Like when my friend broke her foot and I knit a couple of cast socks to keep her toes warm. Gotta have stash!

  132. Like Candi, I can easily justify buying yarn because my husband also owns a plane and is constantly looking for the next one (faster, newer, more technology, etc.) Even adding in my golf clubs and greens fees doesn’t come close to his spending!


  133. Yarn Stashing 101: (for Vanessa)
    1) If you have ever bought a skein of yarn and loved it beyond reason, then go out and buy 5 more skeins of it in different colors.

    2) After years of knitting, I know that my favorite needle size is #3. I shop in the fingering weight section of my LYS and I won’t leave without at least 3 skeins of something.

    3) Discount yarn is sometimes yarn that is going out of circulation, never to be seen again, and therefore has more potential and value than new yarn, so stock up.

    4) Having stash saves friendships. Imagine your knitting buddy is short just one skein of something, if you had stash you might find that one skein and be able to save that’s buddy’s project while adding value to your friendship.

    5) Lastly, there’s something wonderful about knowing you have stash. It’s your little secret (even though others may know about it). They can’t know the joy of ownership, the pride of possession and the wonders and potential of that yarn. It’s like magic! From a skien, to your hands, to your needles and with your love and efforts, it becomes a … wow …

    But it all starts with buying yarn, so get busy Vanessa!

  134. I am a yarn collector. However, I actually collect yarn projects. I buy enough yarn to make a specific sweater. Since there are very few yarn shops in my area, I order a lot of yarn on line. So I will order a project and while I’m waiting for it to arrive, I am feaverishly trying to finish my current project and what do you know, I find another project to order and so on and so on. I have slowed down a little in an effort to actually try to get to my waiting projects, but I’m not having too much luck. Karen from CT

  135. I started collecting yarn before I could knit; I had to learn to knit because I couldn’t justify buying yarn with nothing to do with it. I buy enough to make something which is a bit pricey and requires a fair amount of space so that keeps my buying under control.

  136. I have a different approach to Vanessa’s delima over buying yarn. I feel the same general confusion when I try to shop at a Mall. I can spend hours and go away with nothing. I end up buying all my clothing at a single store that offers help. So I have two suggestions: 1) go to a store with with kind folks on a quiet day and let them help you go through magazines and books to identify a likely project and get their input on the right yarn. But here’s what I actually did when I was in Vanessa’s condition…I started attending Sheep & Wool Festival or Fiber Shows. You get to meet the people who are producing the yarn. The yarns are a little less “standard” than yarns sold in store and (this might be the best part) the runs a couple of days and then is gone until the next year so you kninda have to get down to business. Besides, you can make some great friends and end up with a truely unique yarn.

  137. Re your suggestions on how to become a collector — only persons with no make-up or guaranteed not to smudge/run make-up should put the yarn against their face — nothing like finding a lovely ball of yarn with someone’s powder or make-up smeared on it!!!
    Very fine shawl yarn is a good colectible too – it doesn’t take up much room, and it is gorgeous.

  138. My husband said I had too much yarn back in 1980 . He said I could stock a shop so I did and was in business with a weaving, spinning and needlework shop for 18 years until the joys of being female caused my body to reject working every day all day. I never had anything but handspun for myself and I knit from feel and by eye as to gauge. Now that I’m repaired with a new hip, shoulder,knee and 3 year survivorship of breast cancer.. I’m knitting “store bought yarn” and can not find the correct gauge, needles, or patterns to really get going again. I must go back to my wheel and make new handspun yarn from the 97 bags of roving hanging in the basement.. along side 4 looms and assorted other yarn shop leftovers….. Now I agree with my husband I could open a yarn shop !
    Mary Ann

  139. I believe that Vanessa is just missing the visualization part of being addicted to yarn. When I see and feel a skein, it BECOMES something for me (or even simply see one on a website). This is how many crafters build a stash of materials. The sock yarn is SOCKS, the silk is a SUMMER TOP, the Shetland wool is a FAIR ISLE sweater. One of the cool things about having that stash around is that you can come back later and CHANGE YOUR MIND and it becomes something NEW. It’s a lot like an artist’s kit. Your needles are your paintbrushes, and all of this lovely colored yarn creates your masterpieces. And I can play with my yarn at any time to visualize new masterpieces.
    Thus the addiction is fueled.

  140. If I have any doubts about buying a wonderful, soft, colorful yarn to add to my stash (after, of course, following Sandi’s advice to pet, cuddle, and otherwise adore the skein), I tell myself that I am supporting a traditional livelihood that is fading, that I am helping some sheep (silkworms, llamas, alpacas, etc) to lead happy agrarian lives of purpose, and that I am maintaining an ancient and honorable craft. Then I pay really quickly before I can change my mind! –Laurie H.

  141. A good way to convince yourself to buy that single skein of specialty yarn is to have a particular small project obsession that only uses a skein or two of yarn. For example, my current obsession is fingerless gloves. I have patterns that use anything from lace weight to bulky and from 50g to 100g. I always have an excuse to buy that $22 skein of alpaca/silk hand painted yarn even if I don’t have a specific pattern in mind. Other folks I know are obsessed with scarves, shawls, socks, hats, etc. Got to go now, the compulsion to shop for yarn has now taken over…

  142. One of my major mistakes as a yarn collector in a small town without a real LYS was I got caught up in the fuzzy novelty yarn craze a few years ago. What was I thinking? I have no idea what I will do with al of it. But now we have a real LYS and I could almost live there, I want to take every class, buy every book and sample all of the yarn. I have more of their bags than they do. I’m glad to know that sock yarn doesn’t count, that would reduce my stash cound significantly. Seriously, knitting is the most relaxing hobby I have ever had.

  143. Sandi and other dedicated knitters — I have never written before but must share now: I am an avid collector, follow the steps outlined in your post. But I am reminded of visiting a yarn shop in Paris some years ago, and attempting to feel, stroke, hold to the light. The sales person intervened and insisted I not touch the yarn!! I had to walk out and never bought a skein of that brand of yarn again.

    Ann H

  144. Wow, this was so much fun to read and I feel so validated. I just love yarn and I also have a stash of books on knitting. I just have to have them when they come out. It is my personal creative resource.

    Sock yarn is definitely a stash item. I have lots and lots and knit socks all the time as it is a small portable project – great for taking on a plane, train or bus. I especially like when I am the passenger in a car – great knitting time. I am actually making “wedding socks” (so you do not get cold feet) for all my daughter’s engaged friends.

    I often “allow” myself to but one ball of yarn just for the color. I make lots of sweaters for children and use lots of colors. I do think that color is my passion.

    I especially enjoy a sale. Recently, a local shop was going out of business and I bought a whole bag of bright sunflower yellow dk yarn. When I got home I said – what amm I going to do with this?

    Well, I went thru my stash and found some royal blue, spring green and white with flecks of primary colors all in Dk weight and VOILA – a new baby sweater is on the way. I just make up the pattern – stripes and intarsia patterns of color as I go. I feel so creavtive.

    Jill K in NJ

  145. I used to add up how many sweaters I have yarn, catalogued re pattern etc but I am way beyond that. I estimate 80 or so sweaters itching to be made. I keep telling my husband they are insulating the house!

    Yarn Lover
    London, Ontario

  146. What do you MEAN: “Sock yarn really doesn’t count as stash”! I’m staring at $400 worth of sock yarn, and that isn’t a stash? It’s stash when the knitter believes it’s stash. My drained stash fund, pile of receipts and sock yarn are proof!

  147. Vanessa- I am just starting my stash, and let me tell you all it takes is one skein of baby alpaca or pure silk and you’ll be hooked. You can always find patterns later but you may not always be able to find that oh-so-soft just-right-for-whatever yarn.

    Jessica, AR

  148. I just had the opportunity to read your post and laughed til I cried. I consider myself a “fiber whore”. I cannot stop buying yarn, in fact my daughter has asked that my collection be willed to her when I die.
    While I’m aware of my own idiosyncracies in regard to yarn, what struck me was your list of behaviors. I do not rub the yarn on my cheek, it has to be across my upper lip. The yarn also has to be a natural fiber. Wool, alpaca and blends are the best. The color is also critical, jewel tones, rich and beautiful. The self talk is another step which can’t be left out of the list.
    Your picture sums it all up, perfect.

    Joan in Warsaw, IN

  149. Poor Vanessa. I can’t decide if this advice will actually help her, or if it was like teaching a sweet little kindergarten child their first swear word.

    For me, my hoard of yarn first got out of control when I started to discover big bags of yarn at yard sales being sold for a dollar! I was like some one person humane society, rescuing yarn from unappreciative owners; Bagging up ends and notions as though they had no REAL value. Really, the gall of some people!

  150. This is the funniest thing I have ever read. My original thought when I read this was “doesn’t everyone have this secret addiction” but today my first thought was, “just buy them all” I also find myself wandering through the yarn store(s) petting, cheek testing and finding projects (in my head) that will work for all of the yarns which pass the touch test. Addict with many baskets of yarn, yess but I also hide them in covered storage baskets in the basement, in the trunk of the car and in decoratving hat boxes in the corner of the bedroom. All of these secret beauties waiting for their turn to become something else truly wonderful. Back to corporate world…dreaming of being home yarning….

  151. I’m first a spinner, then either a weaver or a knitter. So, my stash consists of fiber: angora, mohair, cotton, linen, yucca, silk, quiviut, alpaca, llama, superwool, sheep (all breeds) and dog. I also buy out yarn lots cause they’re either pretty, unique, or cheap. It’s taken me 25 years, but I now have a room totally devoted to my stash and my equipment. Can’t get into it but it’s nice to know it’s there. Have many spinning, weaving, knitting how-to books and, one of these days, I’m going to devote all my time to doing something. Actually, I have made quite a few beautiful garments and been able to sell them on a need-to-have basis.

  152. My coworkers and I often make shopping runs together. The guy amongst us asked, “why do women have to to touch everything?” We all rather jumped on him “You must touch”, “tactile is part of the experience.” It became an anthropological discussion: Consider our hunter-gatherer tribal ancestors. Men hunted, distance vision and running. Women gathered, close vision, detailed examination, pick it up, squeeze it, smell it. Buying yarn goes back to atavistic impulses. It’s like collecting berries from bushes. And, aren’t some of those hand-dyed yarns just as luscious as berries, absolutely yummy! BTW My male coworker now always allows additional “petting time”, as he call it, when out with women.

  153. You mean there are rules for yarn collecting? Heavens, I hope I haven’t been doing it wrong all these years. I just go into the store and gaze and graze.

    Unfortunately I am allergic to wool and must confine my tactile urges to the acrylics, silks, and the like, but I love the colors and the variations. I’ll buy one skein just because I think it’s a great color.

    I’ve attempted to organize my stash ~ attempted being the operative word here. I have see-through bins and I sort by colors of the rainbow. That’s as close as I will ever get, folks.

    But I have to admit it is nice to know that I am not alone in this passion aka addiction. I’m just worried about following the rules. Are deviations allowed?

  154. I am a single mother with an autistic child so money is very tight. I felt so guilty about my “stash” of yarn and my inability to stop purchasing more that I started a knitting circle with handicapped children. It is very slow going as they can sometimes only work on a few rows at a time. But with patience they are doing great. We knit for charity and it feels good. Now I can buy more yarn and not feel guilty.

  155. To excuse yourself to a husband or despairing family members let them know that your stash is multi functional on many levels. it costs less than smoking or drinking, keeps you amused for far longer.It exercises your hands as well as your brain as you work out patterns, stitches and is one way of creating unique gifts and clothing that actually fits.It can help other people when knittd into blankets and clothing and toys for charity events, farmers need to sell the fleece, yarn stockists need to have a good turnover to remain a viable business.Knitting keeps you sane. It feels GOOD. It is your duty to buy beautiful yarn. If you need to hide your stash, spare pillow cases are very useful as a disguise for bags of yarn they also double up as emergency pillows too.

  156. In the vein of collecting yarn as art, it also helps if you have lovely objects in which to store your stash. Last fall I emptied out my big utilitarian plastic bins and put my stash into lovely big colorful baskets (with tops) that I placed on a glass-shelved bookshelf. I sorted the stash by content and put cedar balls in the baskets with wool to protect against moths (which is the excuse I used to give myself for the plastic bins). So the art collection is appropriately displayed.

  157. I think when you are first beginning to buy yarn, don’t buy something simply because its cheap or a good deal. When I first started, I was so sticker-shocked at the price of wool that I bought 3 bags of realy ugly yarn just beacuse it was a good deal. I still have 2 of those bags, 5 years later, and one was so bad I just tossed it. Buy yarn that you really truly feel connected with in color and texture, and make sure you have enough of it to make *something*. Sock yarn is a good start because the skeins are small and you are guaranteed at least one project form one skein. If its a heavier weight yarn, I try to make sure I buy at least 400 yards.

    Also, keep a special stash for all of your favorites. I have a sock yarn drawer that was a former panty drawer. When I’m feeling uninspired I open that drawer and it is like falling in love again.

  158. Firstly, OMG, you describe perfectly the steps to stash building. The petting, the cheek…My friends are not “yarn friends”, they’re straight up pushers. Like I was buying an 8-ball or something. Too funny. My yarn-collecting secret is to not go into your LYS without money to spend. However much you know you can spend. Frugality is not the goal here. Simply enough to buy at least 3-4 skeins of some choice yarn. At least one of these skeins is bound to be sock yarn. Nevertheless, with money in wallet, I scour the store for the new stuff, the stuff that I can’t stop petting, the stuff that catches my eye, and then I get that…and allow myself to spend at least $20 over what I brought in. That way, there’s no way I’m leaving my LYS without some choice fiber.

  159. I justify my collection (to myself) by telling myself that I am collecting for retirement because I wont be able to afford the nice stuff after I retire.

    I will soon be found out though because we are selling our home and building a new one. I have LOTS of yarn that is visable but I’m going to have alot of explaining to do about all the yarn thats NOT visable.

    Any suggestions?


  160. How to get into yarn collecting – hang out with expectant mothers who don’t knit and casually state that you do. Soon the requests for sweaters, booties, etc will come rolling in. And since they take so little to make, you will have excess, and the collection begins. Also, think pretty scarfs for Christmas presents, let your imagination roll from there.

  161. My yarn collection advice is how to destash. Move some of your stash to one of the sock knitters listed on ETSY! You destash and get socks! What could be better?

  162. Another hint for the beginner would be to wait for a sale. Pick up ONE skein on Monday and make something small to see if you like how it works up. If you like how it looks and feels, and is easy to work with, go back to the store and buy at least 3 skeins of each available color. That way you have enough for a small single color project (bigger than the single skein scarf or whatever) or for a multicolor sweater or even and afghan. That is why I now have over a thousand skeins in my stash.

    Diane, a crochetaholic

  163. In your yarn collecting advice, you forgot to tell her to smell the yarn. If you don’t like the smell, don’t buy it. I love the smell of wool yarn.
    Donna McC.

  164. Sometimes you need to carry the skein(s) around the store with you. Eventually, you’ll have too many to carry in your arms. Baskets, carts and helpful friends can’t be assisting. You’ll soon have skeins to keep and skeins to put back. I do this in book stores and sooner or later my arms give out or common sense wins. Happy hunting.

  165. Vanessa, I don’t know where you live, but my best “stash” yarn has come from small shops that I visit here in Chicago that carry the hand dyed yarn and the yarns you usually only visit on the internet (talk about soft –alpaca, bamboo, oh my). One shop I visit about 3 times a year (I don’t go often because I never walk out without at least a $100 bill) knits up swatches of the yarns which I find invaluable in getting an idea of how they knit up. Also, come late summer and fall they will have scarfs or hats done with their more expensive yarns so you can purchase 1-2 skeins and then they give you the pattern free. I have knit up some beautiful Xmas presents for my family (and me) and quite a few projects in the wings.

  166. I was asked to speak to a Rotary club about the history of fiber arts – I took about 30 skeins of yarn from different sources, plant and animal. At one point I passed them around the big table and asked them to guess the source. Zip, zip, hand to hand they sped until they got to one woman who let them pile up while she stroked and contemplated. After the talk she came up (still petting everything) and with big puppy dog eyes, said I just got a wheel but I don’t know how to spin.” I recognized a sister.

  167. My stash keeps growing because I ALWAYS order more than $50 worth of yarn to avoid the shipping charges. I have an entire room that houses my 6’x7′ lace frame, my ball winder, my umbrella swift, and a shameful amount of Addi Turbos and bamboo circulars in all sizes and length. Yarn? Well I have about 6 shawls, and 10 pairs of socks, not to mention sweaters, and one EZ Aran Coat to knit before I would get close to the bottom of my stash. Am I happy? Oh, yeah.

    And I’ll probably order more next week.

    Sherry in Indiana

  168. I was discussing Vanessa’s problem with some of the staff at Imagiknit in SF just last night, and we were all stunned; this is not a problem any of us have. The best tool in your stashing kit, however, is a sense of adventure. Every ball a possibility, each skein someone’s dream come true, any given cone the key to making your day better. The stash is the embodiment of what could be. How can you not welcome that into your life with open arms? Talk to the staff of your LYS about what they love and the horizons fly right open. Don’t get stymied by the overwhelming options, get lost in the promises. Don’t feel you need to justify your love, craft and art but remind your nearest and dearest about their stake in textile love. Finally, don’t go to the LYS if you still have a rent check to pay. Go the next week.

  169. I recently discovered that having a yarn stash is not something new. In making a kumihimo braid (another great way to use yarn), I finished off a ball of yarn my mother recently handed down to me. Imagine my amazement when in the middle of that ball of yarn I found a small sturdy strip of paper with my great-grandmother’s signature on it! She was an amazing crocheter, whose works including crocheting The Last Supper in filet crochet twice–once working horizontally and once working vertically. She has gone to that great Knitting Shop In the Sky some 35+ years ago. I treasure that signature from my great-grandmother, along with my memories of her. And it has taught me this: knitting friends–we did not invent the stash!!! –Nancy

  170. I might not remember what I had for dinner last night, or my sons’ names, but I can pick up a skein of yarn and recall where and how I bought it. My yarn stash represents most of my travel momentos from Paris to Peru to St. Cloud, MN. When I’m tired and devoid of energy, a visit to my stash closet invigorates me – petting my skeins and imagining all my planned projects (through age 98)is like a shot of adrenilin. Some people go to therapy and I buy yarn. At least I’ll have something to show for it in the end.

  171. If you don’t have a stash, then what are you going to do when it’s 8:30 on a Sunday evening and you absolutely HAVE to start knitting something RIGHT NOW? Plus, just because the pattern says you only need seven skeins, what if you are long-waisted and need to make sure you don’t flash your belly constantly? My grandmother made a couple of drop-dead gorgeous sweaters out of thousands of odds and ends, so someday that’s what I’m going to do with all of mine. See, if you have a definite project in mind then it’s actually quite practical to have it on hand — and it costs less than a high-def TV!

  172. Some times the most obvious things are missed! Use your stash as home decor in bowls, vases, baskets, books shelves anywhere they will fit. The colors are beautiful and textures are great!

  173. My comment is for justification. I have learned to LOVE small clutches, bags, hats, skinny scarves, etc. This makes it easy to pick up a beautiful skein of yarn and not have to worry about a current project, as I have books upon books of ‘one skein’ projects, so ALWAYS NEED MORE YARN!!! BWAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHA!
    Err, um, anyway.. that is how I look at it. 😀

  174. LOL!!! OMG Sandi! reading this post just made my morning.

    I personally recommend all of your suggested methods for starting a stash. I guess I innately do all of those things. I’ve been know to actually pick up a single skein just because it was the last one, beautiful, and sad. I feel I need to adopt the yarn orphan. Sometimes it’s just too pretty or too soft to pass up. If it is within my limited price range, and meets all of my requirements for excellence, I tend to bring it home with me.

    Part of my problem is I’m a collector in general. As a designer, I tend to justify purchases as necessary for making that next pattern, or garment for display, or project for my portfolio, or just because. I not only have an amazing yarn stash, I also have a large collection of vintage kimonos, Japanese cottons, silks purchased on buying trips to LA…I’m a true textile junkie, properly educated through design school and life to appreciate all sorts of crafts.

    Maybe she should join a knitting yarn swap. Then she’d be forced to buy a guilty pleasure yarn for someone else and get some nice pieces from someone else. Or she should maybe purchase her christmas knitting early, thinking about how much she’d be willing to spend on each person and investing that much in high quality yarn. Much of my original yarn stash was remnants of projects for other people. I find I can often spend more on others than on myself–feels less wasteful and selfish.

  175. I want to know how your husband feels about your stash now! I’m not sure he feels any better now that he knows how many people out there share the need to go to YA (Yarner’s Anonymous)!

  176. Become a freeformer. We collect single skeins of yarns to use at a later time. A big stash is needed when you only use bits of skeins.

    My husband once complained about the bins of yarn (and he could only see a portion of my stash). I told him that I didn’t have to build a barn to store my hobby in. He collected antique tractors. He didn’t have as many, but they were more expensive and took a lot more room and maintenance.

  177. After moving my 21 yr old son into the 14 x 14 room, so my yarn could have the 14 x 28 room , I realized I was a serious art cllector. I have no shame. I buy yarn with no pattern, no project in mind. I have a particular weakness for hand dyed yarns that are not likely to ever be exactly duplicated again. I am obsessive/compulsive over my yarn and I’m proud of it. And when I want to make a specialproject, I go shopping in my “stash room” any hour, day or night. I have the best selection in town. I have brought yarn home from every state and every country I’ve been to, sometimes that was all I bought. In retrospect, I think I am shamelesssly indulging myself since I have finished indulging my 6 kids, who are on their own. Yarn Art Rules.

  178. After moving my 21 yr old son into the 14 x 14 room, so my yarn could have the 14 x 28 room , I realized I was a serious art cllector. I have no shame. I buy yarn with no pattern, no project in mind. I have a particular weakness for hand dyed yarns that are not likely to ever be exactly duplicated again. I am obsessive/compulsive over my yarn and I’m proud of it. And when I want to make a specialproject, I go shopping in my “stash room” any hour, day or night. I have the best selection in town. I have brought yarn home from every state and every country I’ve been to, sometimes that was all I bought. In retrospect, I think I am shamelesssly indulging myself since I have finished indulging my 6 kids, who are on their own. Yarn Art Rules.

  179. Okay, I have to interject on the cheek rubbing of yarn. Yuck. Not that I don’t like to do that, but….. think of all the skin oils you are leaving behind. And, if everyone does it well, when I go to buy I get a ball of greasy, slightly makeup covered yarn.

    Yes, I know it is tempting to rub your face but how about the inside of your arm. Much less oily and keeps my eventual yarn stash purchase nice and pretty.

  180. I’m thrilled to find out that sock yarn doesn’t count towards my stash! Since I have plenty and keep telling myself that I don’t need any more, it’s definitely been a hindrance to buying more yarn. Now I feel free to keep shopping.

  181. Occassionally I work in a knit shop. Bonding was undoubtedly going on between a knitter and a specific skein of very beautiful, very expensive yarn. She deliberated and debated because she couldn’t afford more than one skein and couldn’t think of what she would do with only one skein. I told her that yarn was so beautiful and I could tell she liked it so much that all she had to do was hang it on a nail on a wall and consider it a piece of art. Sold!!

  182. Hello! I am currently teaching myself to knit SOCKS, and never having knit before….well, it’s just plain hilarious. I bought some inexpensive baby yarn….and away I went. Even though my project is only slightly resembling a sock, it’s good to (in my mind, anyway) all the mistakes out in one piece.

  183. I laughed out loud all the way through this article. It was nearly spot on! But you left out the *real* step one: the “woo”! It has to be said with big eyes, and possibly a Garfield-style grin immediately thereafter. Of course there may be subsequent “woo”s once the other steps are worked through… Luckily my husband and I also own about 2,000 Warhammer (and other) miniatures, most of which are of course not even assembled, let alone painted. So I have a *long* way to go before my modest wool hill can rival that. Plus I do actually get through my wool more than I paint our miniatures, even just due to portability. Can’t really paint on public transport. It was while trawling for wool on the Internet that I came across the Interweave Knits website, so how can that be wrong?!

  184. I am a newby to the “Yarn Collector” thing, but have a good start. You see I am a Quilter and have been practicing the procedures you listed with fabric for years now. I am an excellent “fabric friend” and aspire to be the same with yarn. Actually, I am president of a quilt guild and would love to read your “collecting procedures” at our next meeting, of course, with your permission. They pertain to fabric almost as well and I am sure all will see the similarities.

  185. I can’t resist when yarn calls to me! I solve the issue with ” oh, I’ll make SOMETHING out of it. I’m up to four baskets and five drawers in the kitchen.;-) island!

  186. Oh what to say It’s under my skin.From when I was 5 years old I have always loved it .It comes naturally.I have yarn from when I was 8 yrs old and now I’m 46 so just think how much stash!!!!!About husbands i told him all about this and he isn’t astonished .He just said when I read the comment about making a sweater for the house ,he said I could make an afghan for Ayers Rock!!!!!!!!And he doesn’t know anything about the yarn in our bedroom!!!!!!!!

  187. Here is a surefire way for increasing your stash; it has worked for me! Be sure and buy any yarn that’s on a good sale. Even if you don’t really like it all that much. Convince yourself that you should get (at least) 2 skeins in each color so that you can make scarves for all your friends. Don’t worry that you are currently in the middle of two sweaters as gifts, and two different pairs of socks. The yarn is a “steal” and you must not pass it up.

  188. I have a rule when shopping at the yarn store with my friends that does a lot for stash building: if you pick it up more than three times during the same trip, you MUST buy it!

    I like to rub my new yarn on my upper lip, it’s more sensitive than my cheek.

  189. I like to spend hrs. looking at different yarns and needles,patterns etc. I only buy what I think I’ll use. I would like to buy the whole lot. I have trouble finding the right yarn texture for the pattern.C an you help me on this?

  190. All thru the years I have been purchasing & collecting all types of yarns. It first started with the thought that this way when I retired I would have yarn to keep me busy. Then, all the new yarns started coming out. The ribbon yarns, the ladder yarns, the eyelash yarns, so on, and so on. There is not a time when I go to the store and I don’t come back with more yarn for my stash. Not only am I now retired, and knitting a storm, I have closets full of yarns, all classifieds and separated. I hope I get enough time to finish all my projects and yarn. I think that if I go before my husband, and he has to clear my yarn stash I will not be able to rest in peace for his comments.
    The Knitting Lady

  191. Get a spinning wheel or drop spindle and make your own yarn. That way you are now being enterprising, interesting, and learning a new skill. Or just buy some yarn already made (for inspiration) – and decorate with it.

  192. I’m sorry–but I crocheted with store bought yarn for 35 years…I learned to spin several years ago and now GREATLY ENJOY the wonderful world of my very OWN yarn!
    (I also have enough fiber stashed to build my own flock!) Now I also knit and have been having a wonderful time spinning,knitting and crocheting with handspun.
    I also love getting a daily dose of K.D.–Sandy you’re doing a terrific job!

  193. Forget e-bay until you are an expeirenced yarn-a-holic. Your LYS (NOT Hobby Lobby or Michaels) is the best place to explore your un-tapped, undiscovered addition to yarns. Watch what other shoppers are looking at. (I’m partial to finely spun bamboo, silk or alpaca – they crochet up with the loveliest drapes!) If you see petting and stroking -‘caseually’ meander over and check it out. If nothing excites you at one LYS, check out the next nearest LYS – It helps to keep a phone book in your car for this purpose! (My hubby laughs at my LYS List that lives in my wallet – I had to add Shuttles Skeins and Spindles after a very worthwhile 45 minute drive to check it out – thanks Sandi!!)

    Enjoy getting to know your inner yarn addict! Before you know it, you’ll also be looking at plastic bins and tubs, thinking how nicely your collection can be organized in them – or which yarns to display in a basket with knitting needles, just for show!!

  194. Heaven help me, I have a stash and I’m going to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival with a knitting pal in my Volvo stationwagon next week.
    I have already warned my husband the car will be packed to the roof.

  195. I actually would recommend rubbing the yarn against your neck – it is more sensitive than your cheek! (That’s why kissing your boyfriend on the neck is so much more seductive than kissing him on the cheek!)

  196. The first thing, in collecting, is color, it should irrisitably draw your eye, next is texture, the feel of the yarn, the face test, surreptitiously, sticking a couple fingers into the skein to see how it feels – after steps one and two a craving feeling should be setting in – now, check the price – if it’s too expensive just buy one skein, you justify this by telling yourself you will make a scarf, better yet, a scarf for someone else. In fact it may never leave your stash, but everytime you look at it or touch it, it will give you inspiration and pleasure, what other motivation do you need to buy a skein of yarn? If you think in terms of “just one skein” nothing is out of reach and so the collecting begins! I always knit a swatch or two with different sized needles (someday I may make a quilt out of all the swatches I’ve knit “just to see how it looks!”) All this skein buying and swatch knitting also helps me determine the yarns in a more reasonable price range that I may want to buy for an actual sweater. ALWAYS watch for sales, this is when you build your collection of yarns that actually have a chance of being used for a wearable project.

  197. I have a 27ft caravan and several cupboards and shelves and the floor and other surfaces of yarn which I have just seen and fallen in love with. Can anyone beat that for collecting.

  198. I’m not a full-time yarn collector, since I’m barely even an adult, and I have to save my $ for a car and schooling, but I always manage to squeeze yarn in somehow. I hardly ever leave a store that sells yarn without buying any! I never buy much more than 1 or 2 skeins, but, if it’s really cool, I usually end up buying it. My sister with whom I share a room has told me to deplete my stash before it takes over the room. Hehe.
    Great post btw!

  199. Favorite thing to with yarn (other than knit): On a rainy day get a big bag of yarn (I sort mine by specific yarns) and play with all the colors and knit swatches.

  200. One thing I really want to know…does ANYONE ??? when starting a new project, reluctantly bypass their favorite yarn (which they are keeping for a “special” item day?????

  201. Space bags, space bags and more space bags! For those of us who have yarn that has had..yarn and has more yarn children on the way, you must invest in a supply of those bags that you can suck all the air out of with a vacuum cleaner. That way you can shrink your stash so smaller dimentions and then the stash can continue to reproduce itse…yourse…uuuhh..well you know what I mean 🙂

  202. No No No, please leave this dear soul alone, leave her to the peace of not having to hide, conceal or be in denial to this addiction. Vanessa, it’s okay. It’s best not to start…if you want to knit…just buy one skein, go home and finish the project….no need to buy more. The yarn store will still be there tomorrow…no guilt, but enjoy your freedom with out compulsion.

  203. Another great small project is a short scarf. I make short scarfs and then fasten them around my neck with a shawl pin. They are great for in the house when it is cold and you want to warm up but dont need a long scarf flopping about. Also, with the shawl pin, I can keep the scarf nice and snug around my neck.

  204. I never go anywhere without a small project in my purse to work on. Whenever I find myself in a line, I pull it out of my purse and say thank-you for the wait. I started this practice when shopping with my daughter and just expanded it to any time that I have to wait.

  205. OH GOSH,

  206. Poor Vanessa may be a product of bad genetics (and perhaps even worse marriage). Knitters, this is a sign of moral decay and we must teach our daughters and sons to knit and yes, stash! I am lucky to have married into a family of stashers, even if my dear husband does not approve–it’s his heritage!! Felt a project in front of your children or grandchildren, so they undersand the immediate need to go out and buy more! Knit a chemo cap that takes 1.2 skeins so you have to go get another when you find out another friend will lose their hair so you can use said 0.8 skein! Offer to make your freshman son a hat or scarf in his school colors only to find out that the texture is not quite right, can you use this instead? In short, lose your fear of knitting and … just do it! And yes, I still have some of my 25 year old stash of synthetic yarn, partly because I don’t know what to do with it but also because it justifies the rest of the stash! Teach your children well!

  207. Poor Vanessa may be a product of bad genetics (and perhaps even worse marriage). Knitters, this is a sign of moral decay and we must teach our daughters and sons to knit and yes, stash! I am lucky to have married into a family of stashers, even if my dear husband does not approve–it’s his heritage!! Felt a project in front of your children or grandchildren, so they undersand the immediate need to go out and buy more! Knit a chemo cap that takes 1.2 skeins so you have to go get another when you find out another friend will lose their hair so you can use said 0.8 skein! Offer to make your freshman son a hat or scarf in his school colors only to find out that the texture is not quite right, can you use this instead? In short, lose your fear of knitting and … just do it! And yes, I still have some of my 25 year old stash of synthetic yarn, partly because I don’t know what to do with it but also because it justifies the rest of the stash! Teach your children well!

  208. Tips for starting a yarn stash- My favorite trick is to buy some yarn on a fantastic sale, then figure out what to do with it. Example: 14 skeins pink eyelash at a dollar each. So then I have to buy some yarn to marry it with other yarns. This works well for me! Laney

  209. First off… I had to comment since the person who didn’t know how to collect yarn shares my name!! LOL

    Hello. My name is Vanessa, and I am a yarn-aholic. Umm.. I mean, yarn collector.

    One key to a truly ridiculous stash/collection I have discovered is this: when you get a really enormous pile of yarn, it’s time to buy a plastic tote. Now once you get the yarn in the tote, and the tote stowed out of the way, you discover that you need more yarn!! You’re lonely because it’s all out of sight.

    Trust me… as the proud owner of approximately 16 totes (58 gal each), you can really accumulate a LOT of yarn this way. But it’s loads of fun to drag it all out and pet it!

  210. You said you don’t have beige in your stash, only purples and relatives of ~, but in two of your articles you were wearing stunning knitwear in ….beige, off white, call it what you will. Are you trying to minimize the actual extent of your stash? 😉 P.S. I’m thoroughly enjoying this online mag. Thank you.

  211. Vanessa: call me, honey. We need to talk. I will be your private tutor (free of charge)and will teach you how to become a truly obsessed yarn collector/hoarder.
    Kathy B.

  212. Count me! Count me! It is like coming out of the closet! – a closet full of yarn! The best justification is that yarns go “out” and how can you even substitute for it if you don’t know what it was like?! A skein represents possibilities – and when it is not yet knit, the possibilities are endless! I must admit to some let down once a ball has been knitted and frozen into a sweater or sock. The skein itself is the magic. I know I should by “enough to complete a project” but that is 1) expensive and 2) limiting. When I go home with a skein or two, I tell myself I can always go back and buy more if I need to – although life has not supported that delusion! In days of limited funds, sitting in my room with bags and boxes of yarn spilling out around me is pure heaven, and never fails to get my imagination flowing. If only I had time and ability to accomplish half of what I imagine – and purchase!

  213. I hide my stash in plain sight. Leave yarn around in baskets and it becomes part of the landscape … and my husband has no idea how much yarn I have! Hey, he has bought an entire bookcase of CDs and movies.

  214. I’m still laughing at the number of responses that you received, and I thought it was perfect to help Vanessa. Collectors love help and love giving help – until they begin to fight over the same ball. I will provided some comments after I have my moment of laughter. The reason I am writing is to tell you my knitting husband’s response to your two articles. “Thanks for the onesies, but what about the twosies?”

    Thanks for the smiles and describing very acurately the joy of fiber shopping.

  215. RE: Intervention for Vanessa

    OMG! She doesn’t have a stash? I started my modeled after my mother-in-law, who was responsible for reinstating my love of yarn crafts. I had learned to knit and crochet as a teenager but had put it aside for ?other youthful interests?. After getting married and living in the basement apartment of my in-laws, I discovered mom?s stash by accident, stored in a cedar chest she had put downstairs. She too had knitted and crocheted years earlier and had put it aside after her efforts for knitting hats and socks for our war heroes, specifically when my father-in-law was off fighting the Big One. My finding the yarns brought back many memories and encouraged us both to pick-up the crafts again. She crocheted and I knitted ? creating a beautiful lasting relationship between us two. After a few years, my husband and I were able to buy our own place. What was one of her housewarming presents? Her cedar chest, filled with some of her vintage yarns; it fit perfectly into a closet in a spare room. Now, after her passing and some 35 years later, I still keep it fully stocked with a variety of yarns. My greatest pleasure today is making baby outfits, sweaters and blankets for my extensive family of nieces, nephews and grand- nieces/nephews. No grandkids yet, but I?m hopeful I will be putting some of those great yarns to use very soon!

  216. I’ve only been knitting for a little less than a year, and already I have a stash…varying from acrylic yarn from the 1960s inherited from my grandma to a deliciuos skein of beaded silk I visited for weeks before purchasing. I can’t say I was un-experienced in stash methodoligy, as a costume designer I have enmassed a repectable and somewhat embarassing closet of fabric yardage over the years. If anyone gives you grief over space for your yarn stash, tell them that fabric take up more space.

  217. Every time you feel guilty, remind yourself that every purchase helps the economy. It’s not an indulgence, it’s an act of patriotism! Traveling? Each ball of yarn can be a souveneir, a wonderfull momento of your journey. Works for kneedles and hooks too.

  218. Hello fellow yarn lovers,
    I knew that I could not deny my addiction any longer when I spent grocery money on must-have yarn. When I confessed to my husband he replied, “Well, I hope that you can knit us up some dinner.” Silly husband.

  219. My secret is if the yarn reaches out and grabs you and begs to go home with you, it is meant to be.
    Is it true that lace weight can be lumped in with sock yarn and doesn’t count as stash? I just ordered enough for two shawls and a scarf. Oh, the sock yarn was on sale also. The lace weight colors were just what i’d been looking for. I was waiting for the sock yarn to go on sale. There is no end to the truly valid reasons to buy yarn. We can always come up with another good one.
    Another suggestion. start small. Go to your LYS and look for a skein to make a scarf. There will be at least one skein that will speak to you. Take it home,Sandi is right, pet it feel the fibers. Start knitting your scarf. Wear it when it is finished. When people tell you how much they like your scarf you will find yourself back in front of the bins of yarn looking for the next perfect skein. That is how an obsession starts. Have fun.

  220. When reading this article, I was SOOO glad to see I was not the only person to rub the yarn on my face! My mom laughs at me at my LYS. (She is my yarn friend. She does not knit, but she loves to add to my stash.) It just has to feel right on my cheek before adding it to my stash.

    One thing you may have forgotten is SMELL…
    I love the way yarn smells. The earthiness of wool is intoxicating. Cotton’s smell is pure, like spring rain. And the candle I am burning while I knit will forever stay in my head each and every time I wear the object. Always smell the yarn. After rubbing it on your cheek while no one is looking, of course.

  221. The other suggestions for stash-building are great, but does anyone else feel the need to RESCUE that pretty but lonely ball or three that are sitting in the discount bin? I feel very virtuous knowing that I’ve rescued another ball from the dreaded anonymous scrap heap where there might be no-one to love it as it deserves.

  222. I have a piece of advice for novice stashers. I learned the hard way not to leave my yarns and other knitting supplies all over the house. It took me seven hours of hard work to collect, organize, “withdraw”, and put away my stuff all in one place. I’m much happier now, though. I found that sticking yarns of the same color or type into clear plastic resealable bags is a great way to go. You can squeeze the air out of the bag before you seal it up; it will take up much less space than loose yarn. And you can SEE what you have. Lacking shelves, I put most of my yarn in an empty file cabinet. We knitters know how to improvise! -Jude M.

  223. OMG I’m 68, and have yarn from my teenage years! Yarn from Scotland in the ’50’s (I’m finally knitting some of it into a shawl), and on and on. I love the sense of my history in my yarn, and the “enthusiasms” that I’ve had–lots of wool still for “afghans for afghans sweaters, baby yarns from when I was going to sell baby things to local fancy gift stores….PLUS all the lovely yarn I have collected over the many years.

    I am so glad to be “outed” by Sandi’s post, and Vanessa’s sad plight! I didn’t know I had so many kindred spirits! Yarn is to love.

  224. I find that I want 1 of all of them! I think quality is important. Color and the way it feels when you touch it. Yarn is my hobby and if I buy quality I won’t lose on it. I can usually pass it on and get my money back out of it.

  225. I have 2 comments:

    #1: Have a budget. Then you can buy anything within that budget without guilt. Doesn’t matter how much you have at home – you have a ‘fun’ budget and you can do with it what you will.

    #2: Fall back on the “cheap entertainment/therapy” argument, which has been elucidated elsewhere quite well, but sums up to the idea that when you add up the amount of time you are entertained by the yarn, it is quite inexpensive per hour (as opposed to going to the movies/theater, etc). If you mess up ad have to frog and reknit, it’s even cheaper entertainment! So don’t feel guilty – it’s cheap! 🙂

  226. Comment by: Barbara R | April 24, 2008 on space bags….OH! did you see my experience with them?
    Comment by: Maz P | April 24, 2008 [ctrl/f]it.
    I am so glad I am not alone.
    Would have been better off buying a flock of sheep!!

  227. I don’t know if this technically falls into the unfinished projects category or if there is a dual category for people who buy yarn because they love the yarn but somehow never get around to making the project but can’t part with the yarn! This is an extremely fast and easy way to accumulate a formidable yarn stash! Now I do have the best of intentions but just not enough time in my lifetime to make all of the projects that I so adore. I believe there is hope for me though because I keep looking at my stash trying to move things along, I have not given up and I refuse to ever give up. I do hope this helps!

  228. When I opened my yarn shop, my husband jumped for joy. He thought that all of my yarn was going to the shop. What he didn’t realize at the time, was that all that yarn (a whole room) was my stash! I didn’t have any inventory yet. Shane

  229. I’ve found that I need to download lots of free patterns from the internet for the “some day” when I start to tackle my yarn stash. At this point, I think I’ll need to keep knitting until I’m 214 years old to use it up!

  230. I have to explain my method of justifying my stash to my husband. Yarn dollars. Yup, that’s right. I figure it costs me about $100 on average for each sweater that I knit, so when my hubby comes home with a motorcycle, an unneeded lawnmower, or anything with a motor, I translate the cost into yarn dollars. His motorcycle ($20K) justified 200 sweaters’ worth of yarn!!!!

  231. Oh, Anne C, thank you! What a lovely quote.
    My stash is almost all *fluff*, so I get multiple joys… the sheep, the fleece, the washing, the caressing, the spinning. Sometimes, I spin up a small sample & put it into my pocket, just to feel it.
    & after all that, I get to KNIT it! or weave it! Pure bliss. Jennifer

  232. How to collect yarn: start at the clearance basket; scoop up anything that you think you might use and that there are several skeins of; then dig for the odd balls that will go with it. If that hasn’t busted your budget, go to the hand-dyed yarns and choose a few that speak to you… favorite colors or ones that reflect your mood. Next find the novelty yarns, the furry, fuzzy or fluffy ones that dare you to take them home like a lost puppy. If none of those have satisfied your craving, check out the lace weight or the ever-growing variety of sock yarns since they are the same approximate weight and can be versatile in many projects. Lastly, stock up on the ‘gotta always have on hand’ worsted weights for the sweaters you see in the many great knitting magazines and books. Books? Did someone mention books? Well, that’s another fetish for another post.

  233. I run a small hand dyed luxury yarn internet site. When I was setting up the business, my business advisor asked me to describe the sort of person who would buy luxury yarn, this i did in great detail, when he asked me how i knew this, I told him that I stepped thro a door in my head and held the conversation with myself.I have my business’s yarn and I have my personal stash, they are completley separate (in my head anyway) my husband says this is totally illogical. And his point is what exactly? At exhibitions, I can’t wait to set my stand up so’s I can race round and see if there is anything I can’t live without for my personal stash, it itches away at me that I might have missed something. Do I need help/therapy ooh I don’t think so.
    Eirwen South Wales

  234. Yes, Oh Yes! I didn’t realise there were so many people out there like me! I feel totally at home! As for a comment posted earler about financial problems, I’m on unpaid leave at the moment and have taken to doing the same thing with second hand sweaters and unpicking them to start over! Also, My husband won’t allow another bag of fleece through the door!

  235. I know that this site is mostly for Knitters (and I have been one) I am now mostly crocheting, but we also are yarn stashers.

    My big question and couldn’t find where I was to start a new topic is why does there seem to be such a large divide between crocheters and knitters?

    Next question: What is the difference between a forum and a blog? (Sorry, I am new to both)

    I have a subscription to Interweave Crochet and would love to see some patterns with both knit and crochet instructions for the same article like the hoodies. I just love them and can make them so much faster in crochet. My Mother was a beautiful knitters, but I didn’t have the patience and hated it when I made a mistake and had to take it all apart.

    I can’t draw, but the colors, feel, etc of yarn and fabrics, makes me feel like I have artistic ability also.

    Thanks for letting me comment.