Elizabeth Street

Stash Less Challenge #1

Creative InspirationLiz TubmanComment

The Craft Sessions blog by Felicia is one of my favorite online reads.  Last year, she wrote about a personal project, Stash Less, where she went through her personal stash of yarn and fabric and broke down the how, why, and what of building her stash.  The goal was to accumulate less and challenge herself to use (and build) her stash more thoughtfully.  Read all of Felicia's stash less posts here!  I loved reading her thought processes, especially her post on desire and why we want to accumulate things

Last month, she issued a stash less challenge to her followers to do the same and I knew I wanted to join in.  The first step was to simply take stock; look at & record all of what you actually have and how you came to have it.    

I'll be honest, I didn't actually write down every scrap of fabric and bit of yarn that I have, but I have started keeping general records of what I own.  Below are photos of my yarn & fabric stash in my actual closet. (Yes, in among all my other random boxes and bags of stuff.) 

My yarn stash feels HUGE to me.  I think that's because I went from a new knitter with one bag of skeins and leftovers to what you see in the photo (plus another couple containers) almost overnight.  After my grandma passed away, I inherited all her leftover yarn and a number of unfinished projects.  Inheriting a stash has been helpful in a couple ways.  

One, I feel more connected to my grandma using her supplies.  I didn't start seriously knitting until after she had passed away, but I very clearly remember her always working on something.  She would bring a pair of socks or a scarf when she came to visit my family, and she would always show my mom and I her latest projects when we visited her.  She had serious skills and good taste, so I feel honored to carry on her handmade legacy.

Two, all these supplies were the catalyst that started me on my fiber journey.  It let me jump in with both feet without spending really any money on more yarn or supplies because I already had it!  I knit my first sweater from some "vintage" Green Mountain Spinnery wool that had been sitting around for ages.  Getting to bring that to life was wonderful.

The one downside I keep running into is fitting patterns to yarn.  So often I have a pattern I want to knit, but not the yarn either because of quantity issues or taste (color, fiber content, etc).  Because of that, I do still buy a fair amount of yarn but when I come across something that fits my stash I save it if I can't knit it right away. 

As far as recording my yarn stash, I entered all the larger quantities into my Ravelry stash.  There are quite a few single skeins or leftover partial skeins that I didn't bother adding because, one, there were no ball bands left on them to ID them, and two, the quantity was so small.  Lots of my leftover partial skeins, inherited or bought by me, end up in my weaving basket (shown above).  I got a kit for my birthday and it's a great way to use up and still display those beautiful fibers.

My fabric stash on the other hand, feels totally reasonable!  I've only been seriously sewing for a year or two, so almost all of the fabric I have is leftover from a specific project.  That being said, I never have enough fabric on hand to whip up a pattern which is sometimes a bummer.  However, when I do buy fabric, I don't feel like I'm being wasteful since I know what it's being used for right away.  I've also been dipping my toes into quilting, which has a whole new world of possibilities for using up those leftovers!

I don't have a list of fabric per say, but I am trying to come up with a system of keeping track of patterns that I own and what format they're in.  I also use a notebook and my Fashionary to keep track of projects.  

There you have it!  If you're a crafter (of any kind, not just knitting or sewing!) I highly recommend taking the time to take stock.  You'll be surprised by what you have and all the new possibilities you find for making!  Find the original post on Stash Less Challenge #1 here!