Culling the Stash

I did something I thought I would (or could) never do:  I reduced my considerable fiber stash by about one-half.  Yikes.

bagyarn1I couldn’t have done it without my daughter’s help.  She made it a fun experience, and I shed no tears.  It turned out to be 2 hours of “Wow, I remember this!” “Mom, can I have this?” “Remember when you knit me 6 sweaters in 3 months my first semester in college?”  You get the idea.  🙂

We made 2 discoveries:  Forgotten yarn and – more importantly! – my daughter’s knitting bug.  We filled 7 grocery bags/boxes with mohair, wool, and silk and, to a lesser degree, linen and cotton, along with two very large balls of rowing (one undyed, the other dyed jewel tones), and a length of silk roving.  Being a life-long fiber snob 🙂 all these yarns and fibers are high-quality.

Of course there was the question of what to do with it all.  I decided to give it to a young blogger in the San Francisco Bay Area who is building a knitting design business while she attends college.   (Two of my favorite markers: fiber & college!)

Why have I taken this “drastic” step?  (1) I am involved in a startup and thus am short on both time and space.  (2) I’m giving it away (instead of selling), because in my youth I met many generous experienced fiber artists who freely helped me – they gave me their time, advice, and supplies they no longer needed or could spare.  (3) I decided I was nearing an unhealthy hoarder status as I knew I would never use all the yarn … so why not give it to someone who could use it?!

cryingIf earlier today you saw a tall, silver-haired lady in a red knit jacket weeping in a parking lot as a Jeep stuffed with bags and boxes of fibers drove away, that just might have been me.  🙂

Has anyone else taken this big leap?!

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About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
This entry was posted in Fibers, Miscellany. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Culling the Stash

  1. Pingback: Stash-busting Knitting and Crocheting: Declaring done with the acrylic stash and some lessons | Fibercrush

  2. fibercrush says:

    If you google “yarn donations wanted California” or whatever your state or province name is, you’ll get a list of possibilities. Often church groups, seniors centres and hospital volunteer groups are looking for yarn to knit or crochet into scarves, hats and baby layettes.

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  3. I might be the only person in this part of California who has a closet stuffed with woolens! 🙂

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  4. Northern Narratives says:

    We use wool here in northern Minnesota. I know some other places only want machine washable.

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  5. Years ago I tried to donate some yarn to a charity knitting group, but they wouldn’t take anything that wasn’t machine washable – and that I rarely use.

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  6. Now there’s a good use – insulation! 🙂

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  7. What a great rule for stash busting!!! I am trying to pack my remaining stash into one very large chest. 🙂

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  8. I wasn’t REALLY crying … Besides, my granddaughter was with me. Between the day with my granddaughter and the joy of the young woman, I had a very happy day.

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  9. You could also post a notice on your blog for fiber artists willing to meet you locally?

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  10. What a great way to use leftover bits!

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  11. Giving to a school knitting teacher would be good too! Yes, “purposeful” is the right word to use. Now once I work my way through the remaining stash (which is considerable), I can buy new yarn. 🙂

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  12. You’re right … there is indeed a feeling of freedom. Once I work my way though the 20 or so projects for which I have yarns carefully stored, then I want to do what you do!

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  13. Northern Narratives says:

    Do you have a knitters guild in your area? They might know local places where you can donate.

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  14. Northern Narratives says:

    Yes, I took the big step about 6 years ago when we moved. I cut my yarn down by half and being a yarn snob, I had some very nice stuff. I gave it away to a local group that knits for charity. I do knit mittens to donate to children but it will take years to use up my current stash. One women showed me a cute baby sweater that she made from my donated yarn. It really took away the pain to see my yarn put to such good use 🙂

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  15. ethgran says:

    I recently was given a load of really old and gross acrylic yarn when a friend’s schoolteacher neighbor (she had used it for craft projects not knitting) cleaned out. I took it and thanked her for it and have now bagged it up to take to Goodwill – people like to gift rather than take to charity places – makes them feel better about getting rid of a useless stash. If we hadn’t moved to Florida and no longer have an attic, I might be tempted to add it to insulation – great idea! ;o}

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  16. caityrosey says:

    What a generous thing to do . It sounds like mistymtndesigns appreciates your gesture very much. And even better…you did it now, while the fiber is still nice and usable, rather than in 50 years. We’ve all seen what can happen.

    I imagine the firemen finding me in my attic at 102, dead as doornail, surrounded by the old horrible acrylic I couldn’t bear to get rid of…apparently i decided to use it as home insulation.

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  17. salpal1 says:

    I feel your pain! I was so lucky to inherit the stash of my mother’s cousin. She had a knitting business, and like you, very nice quality stuff. But it arrived in FIVE vacuum packed large boxes, which once I opened, I could not closed. Adding this to my already extensive stash would have meant adding on to the house. So I went through it ALL and was brutal in my honesty, what would I really use? The rest I packed up, invited all of my aunts, cousins, sister and sisters in law to a “yarn bash”; after all, she was their cousin, too. We dug through it all, everyone was in fiber heaven, and when we were through, we STILL had a large garbage bag of yarn to donate. I have been diligently working my way through my remaining stash because I have a stash buster rule – for everything I make for myself or as a gift for family and friend, I make a hat or scarf to donate to charity. It keeps things under control. As does the self imposed one closet for the fabric/yarn stash. Can’t fit anything more in it, so I have to use stuff up before I can buy more. But it is so hard!

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  18. tgonzales says:

    Oh Karen!!!!

    You are so generous and kind to give some of your stash away to that lucky college student. And oh my gosh that silver-haired lady part was priceless and made me laugh, but I can imagine how you feel! 🙂

    Hugs,
    Tamara

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  19. I am planning to do this too but don’t have anywhere to donate the yarn to except Goodwill type places. I wish I knew someone near me who wanted yarn. The store don’t take it to give away either. Glad you found a home for your leftovers!

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  20. I love the way crafivists have such generous spirits. Inspiring. I personally make a lot of amigurumis so my stash never gets very big!

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  21. What a generous gift and the best way of clearing! I did a bit of yarn clearing when we moved from London to Oslo and gave a big bag to a friend of mine who teaches knitting at the Steiner School in London. It is important that it finds a new purposeful home! And I feel so much better for both clearing and for giving it to someone who will put it into good use!

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  22. textileshed says:

    Well done, you! I have done it once – but I was forced, due to a move without much notice. So it was not as voluntary as your stash culling. But it made me feel FREE and I still feel free, having only ever 3 – 4 project’s worth of stash around me… I only buy when I have a real purpose in mind and when I don’t have too many things in the cue. Yepp, it makes me feel free to chose what I want to do next, and not obliged to knit things I thought were great years ago…

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  23. And they were both having a fun day!

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  24. It probably seemed like you had two children with you, a giddy twenty two year old and your grand daughter hehe

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  25. It probably would have been, at best, self-indulgent and, at worst, selfish of me to hang on to all of it! 🙂 I’m just glad it has such a good home!

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  26. I wasn’t really crying … 🙂 How could I cry in the face of your obvious pleasure and joy?! 🙂

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  27. Nicky says:

    How very, very kind of you!

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  28. Nicky says:

    How very, very kind of you!!!

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  29. Thank you so so so so so so much and I’m so sorry you were weeping! lol Trust me it has such a good home! And I’m still giddy about it. Thank you thank you thank you!

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  30. She was pretty happy, which told me I did the right thing! 🙂 I hope she gets many hours of joy from the stash! Now if I can resist the urge to fill my now empty bins!

    ___________________ Sent from my iPhone

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  31. kiwiyarns says:

    What a generous gift! I am sure the young blogger is over the moon! I know what you mean though. I’ve been looking at some of my stash thinking ‘hmm’. I might be tempted to do something similar soon. Think of it this way: now you have room for more stuff that you love! 😀

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  32. Yes, it was a big step – as any stashaholic knows. 🙂 My loom (a Mighty Wolf), had previously been owned by a very talented weaver who owned something like 7 or 8 looms. She was going to buy another loom but couldn’t fit it into her weaving studio so was forced to give one up. She wanted to make sure her loom got a good home. It did; I still love that loom! I feel the same way about the young lady who now has half of my stash! I am sure she will put it to good use. 🙂

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  33. What a huge step! The recipient will be so happy. We all have the goal of sharing our beloved crafts and keeping them alive and you have certainly contributed to that goal!

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