I suppose, in all honesty, I'm not a less-is-more type of person. I've tried many times to be a minimalist but my earthy Taurus nature has me accumulating things, wanting them around me. Two years ago, we replaced the carpeting in the bedrooms with hardwood flooring. Since we had to remove everything for the installation, it gave us all a chance to really see how much we own. When moved back in again, I set up a narrow table to be used as a bit of a workspace. Underneath I put some old metal and wood milk crates to house my yarn. I told myself I would only ever keep a stash that could neatly fit into that space. It didn't last long. I've spilled into other corners of my home. But as long as I keep it all neat, I don't feel overwhelmed by it.
You always hear knitters talk about de-stashing or stash busting. We don't talk too much about stash building, at least not in a positive way. Building your stash is a great thing. A fun thing. The trouble lies in when that building gets out of control and you end up spending more energy buying yarn than you do knitting.
I know a lot of knitters only buy yarn when they have a project in mind and ready to go. These knitters and I are from two very different planets. Unless it's a big project, I often buy yarn with no specific project in mind. I might see the color or texture and think what category it'll end up in (i.e. hat, shawl, cowl, socks) or a person who would rock that specific color, but often nothing definite. I've bought yarn with one project in mind only to have the yarn sit in my stash for ages. Sometimes I (embarrassingly) forget what I originally got it for but a different pattern always comes up.
Reason to defend stash building:
- You never know when you might need a quick project. Having some staples in a variety of colors and fibers is smart for those last minute gifts.
- If done right, you can actually save money! Sign up for newsletters from your favorite shops and keep an ear to the ground at your LYS for their sales.
- Doubles as home decor! Display your yarn in pretty baskets and stacked up on shelves to show you're a fiber-friendly home. (And hygge the shit out of your place.)
Ways to keep your stash from getting out of hand:
- Stick with your color palette and/or buy neutrals. I know I go on and on about gray, but it really is a great choice. I don't know anyone who wouldn't want a pretty gray hand knit hat or mittens.
- Budget yourself. Set limits. How much can you afford each month or year?
- Set a space limit for yarn storage. Only these few totes. Just this closet. Only what fits in this basket. You don't want to crowd yourself out to the point where the yarn piles around you distract you or overwhelm you.
Where do you stand on your yarn stash? Are you a hoarder or only buy as you knit? Why?