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Dealing with Stash Guilt

Getting Over Your Glut of Yarn


A small portion of the stash.

A small portion of one day's stash building.

(c) Sarah White licensed to About.com, Inc.

As I write this, I just got back from a sale at my LYS and I came away with a lot more yarn than I intended to buy. Again.

While I usually don't feel a lot of guilt about my stash, because it gives me lots of options for providing you with free patterns, it is getting to the point where I don't have much more space for yarn.

Here are some tips for getting over any yarn guilt you may be feeling after a similarly large trip to the yarn shop or your favorite online outlet.

1. Get something on the needles.

Probably the easiest way to alleviate yarn stash guilt is to start knitting something from the yarn you just bought as soon as possible after walking in the door with your new purchases.

If you need to do a little research before picking a project, do so, but try to have some of your new yarn on the needles before the end of the week, even if it's just playing around with stitches or making a gauge swatch.

This gets your brain thinking that the yarn you just bought wasn't to go into your stash at all--you're actually using it!

2. Practice the one in-one out rule.

This is a really difficult concept for knitters who love to stash, but if you're running out of space for your treasures, take a rule from the clean closet crowd and vow to always get rid of something when you bring something new into the house.

If you've been stashing yarn for long there's no doubt there's something in your stash you aren't proud of or would never use in real life. Post your castoffs on Freecycle (or sell them on eBay), give them to a friend who is learning, or find a knitting charity or community group that will accept your extras.

3. Go on a diet.

Yes, you've binged on yarn and you're feeling bad about it. One interesting way to alleviate the guilt is to stop buying yarn and start working projects only from your stash for a predetermined period of time.

Going on a yarn diet can be a challenge, particularly if you need to knit a gift and don't have the right yarn in your house. But if you find yourself thinking that you own more yarn than you could possibly ever knit, take some time away from the yarn store and see what you can do with the yarn you already have.

Check out some of the one skein pattern books for ideas on how to use even small quantities of stash.

4. Try a swap.

If you have friends who knit and who also have large stashes, try a yarn swap. Everybody brings, say, 10 different skeins of yarn they'd be willing to part with, and then all the yarn gets mixed together and people can take what they want.

If you don't have knitting friends, see if there's a local Stitch 'n Bitch or other knitting group you can get involved in. We knitters need each other!

5. Knit more.

Just like people on real diets need to exercise to see results, people on yarn diets need to work the needles to see a reduction in stash. Try not to just get projects on needles, but to actually finish them as well.

6. Get over it.

It's a shame to have a lot of yarn that isn't getting turned into beautiful objects, but if just having the yarn brings you happiness, that's good, too.

As long as your yarn budget isn't eating into your food budget and your family members don't need to fear death by a tidal wave of wool whenever they open a closet door, feel free to stash away.

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