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How to Host a Yarn Swap

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How to Host a Yarn Swap

Leave some stash, come home with more stash!

© Sarah E. White, licensed to About.com, Inc.

If you have the feeling that you have too much yarn in your stash and are never going to use it all -- both because you have too much to use and because there are things in there you honestly are never going to knit with -- it might be time to host a yarn swap among your knitting friends.

A swap is a great way to get a peek into other people's stash and to get rid of some yarns you won't use in favor of some that, hopefully, you will.

If you have local knitting friends, a Stitch 'n Bitch group or even some friends who do other yarny crafts, gather a few together for an evening of snacks, drinks, crafting and swapping.

Planning a Yarn Swap

The first thing you will need when hosting a yarn swap is a good location. There need to be tables on which you can spread out the yarn, as well as good lighting so people can really see what they're getting. The local bar or coffeeshop where you usually sit and knit probably isn't the best choice, but maybe a meeting room at the local library (if you don't want snacks) or someone's home would work just fine.

How many people to invite? You want to have a nice number and a good mix of knitters, with similar tastes but not so similar that there will be yarn there that no one wants. Depending on how much yarn everyone is bringing, five to 10 knitters should be plenty for a good swap.

Then you need to decide how much yarn you want each person to bring. It's probably a good idea to swap single skeins rather than enough of each kind to make a big project, but hosting a yarn swap might get some side swaps going if a couple of people want to trade enough yarn to make a sweater.

How much yarn you want people to bring will depend on the size of participants' stashes; newer knitters might not have as much to offer. For your first swap you might want to have everyone bring just two or three skeins and you can host a bigger swap later if you have more yarn you want to get rid of.

Then, of course, there's the fun part. If you want to have snacks you can plan them yourself or make it a pot luck. As with any time food and drink are around knitting, it's a good idea to limit the items that will stain or to make sure the food comes out after the swapping is done.

The Swap

Depending on how friendly your group is and how sweet some of the skeins on offer are, you might need to have some ground rules for your yarn swap. Everyone gets as many skeins as they brought, of course, but you can either do the swapping in a free-for-all style or draw numbers and let people pick one at a time.

Hopefully everyone will be happy with what they receive. But if you want, as the host, you can bring a couple of consolation skeins from your stash that people can choose if they don't like what's left when they get to pick. Any unclaimed yarn can be given to charity.

Adding to the Fun

It would be fun to turn your yarn swap into a knit night and provide some one skein knitting books for people to look at for ideas of what to do with their new skeins.

You might also throw in an element of charity knitting by having each person knit up a swatch with one of their skeins, which could then be made into a baby blanket that could be donated somewhere (of course this only works if everyone happens to end up with a washable skein).

You could also do a king cake style thing where one skein might be marked in some way so that the person who gets it later learns she has to host the next swap. That way the fun -- and new yarn! -- never ends.

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