The Growing Stash: Becoming a Yarn Snob?

In my entry called Beginner Crochet: Ten Tips I Wish Tutorials Had Taught Me, I said:

Make it a rule for yourself that you’re not allowed to get more yarn if the basket is full.

At the time, I’d just purchased a fairly large wicker basket to stash my yarn in. I had more yarn than I expected and when I was done putting it all in, the basket was full. I wrote that quote above with the best of intentions and figured it’d be reasonably easy for me to keep to that rule, mostly because I’m primarily interested in crocheting amigurumi and one does not really need a lot of yarn for that.

In that entry, I also said:

Fact is, unless you are remarkably strong-willed (but just assume you aren’t, it’ll be easier in the long run), your stash won’t be confined to that small space for very long. There are just too many pretty yarns out there…

Pretty yarns indeed. I now have direct evidence to support that, like many other people, I am definitely not strong-willed. I have succumbed to the lure of pretty yarn! I am not ashamed of this! But now my stash doesn’t fit in the basket, not even close. It got to the point where the basket was an overflowing mess that was taking over the living room. While organizing it, I started to wonder if I’m becoming something of a yarn snob.

How did this happen? I had to go to the store because I was running low on the cream colored yarn that I use for fair-skinned Pod Pals and the like. I said to myself, “I just need one or two skeins of this color,” which is true: one or two would be enough for upcoming projects.

What actually happened? I walked out of the store with seventeen skeins of yarn. Seventeen.

"I won't buy any more yarn until I use up all the yarn I have at home," I said. Then I laughed and I laughed.
I've laughed that laugh.

Why? Because as I rounded the end of the aisle that led down to where they keep the yarn, I came face to face with a display of gorgeous little skeins on sale for a dollar each! I groaned and squeed at the same time. WHY, YARN GODDESS, WHY! Such temptation! But OMG they were such brilliant colors, and such cute little skeins that would be perfect for amigurumi projects, and who can resist just a dollar? (Not me.)

A yarn display in Michael's for $1 miniature skeins of yarn.
One dollar sales of pretty yarn are irresistible!

Then I noticed they were the Colorwheel label from Loops & Threads, and my squee got a bit more excited. This is a new yarn that has been mentioned a number of times recently in some of the blogs I follow, and the commentary had made me want to check it out. Possibly, the sale was fate because when I felt the yarn’s texture my brain went ooh. This yarn is nicely soft! My skin is sensitive so if the texture of a yarn doesn’t hit me right I won’t use it no matter how fancy it is or how much I like the color, even if the finished item won’t be something I’m going to wear. Fingers that are raw from crocheting with scratchy yarn are definitely not ideal!

Snobby? Maybe a little. No, not that yarn, it’s not good enough for my delicate little hands! Ooh, but this yarn, yes yes yes!

After I’d finished failing to limit myself to just ten dollars of the Colorwheel yarn, I hunted down the other skeins I had actually come in for, forced myself to go to the cashier before I ended up buying the entire display, and went home. That was when I discovered not one but two, um, large bags of yarn that I’d completely forgotten I’d bought on previous occasions hiding quite nicely behind a large decorative plant that sits beside the wicker basket. Yikes. Where was I going to put all of this yarn?!

As I looked through my stash, I noticed specific brands and labels kept coming up:

  • Bernat, particularly Blanket and Satin Solids
  • Lion Brand, particularly Scarfie, Shawl in a Ball, Unique, Vanna’s Choice, Vanna’s Glamour
  • Loops & Threads, particularly Facets, Woolike, and now Colorwheel
  • Red Heart, particularly Boutique Unforgettable, Soft Solids, and Super Saver

I also have some skeins of Caron Simply Soft, some miscellaneous Patons, as well as additional miscellaneous labels from Bernat (Boa Variegated, Galaxy, Giggles) but haven’t worked much with them specifically. The ones in the list above suddenly feel like my “go to” choices…yarn that I’m likely to return to more and more as I continue to crochet. (Although, I can see Super Saver dropping off. That yarn is pretty scratchy as compared to the others!) Who knows? As my preferences develop further, I can see myself gravitating to just one or two brands or labels to use exclusively. (I’m even tempted, just a little, to donate or trade all the unknown and leftover yarn in my stash simply so I can get started with all this fabulous pretty yarn and make room in my stash in the process!)

Yarn snob? Yarn snob.

All of this made me wonder how I could better utilize the Ravelry stash feature, because the thing I find most frustrating is not knowing what brands/labels a yarn is that I like working with. When I first signed up at Ravelry, I took pictures of just about every ball of yarn I had on hand at the time, laboriously uploaded those pics, tried to figure out what brand and colorway the yarn was (most of those balls no longer have labels)…and then promptly ignored the Ravelry stash thereafter. I’ve rarely bothered to assign any of that digitally stashed yarn to my projects and I never tried figuring out how much yardage I’d used for something (what a hassle).

Bags of yarn piled on top of a wicker treasure chest basket which is also full of yarn.

Now I’ve decided to use it as a reminder list of the yarn I enjoy working with the most. I’ve deleted all the unknowns and created new entries with just the skeins that already appeal to me or still have labels and might appeal to me in the future. Going forward, I’ll assign these yarns to the projects I use them on so that when all I have left is a small ball without a label, I won’t have to try to guess what it was originally. Assigning them to projects will also help me keep track of the specific colors I’m making use of most often, again so I can see which ones are my favorites and which ones aren’t. If I work with a yarn and decide I don’t like it? Off it’ll come from the stash…or maybe I’ll keep it but make unhappy notes about it. Perfect!

In the end, I put my oldest yarn back in the basket, left the newest purchases organized in the bags they were already in, and piled it all up together. Eventually it’ll all fit in the basket. One day. Maybe. Or maybe I should just buy another basket!

Mom says I’ve definitely become a yarn junkie. She probably meant yarn snob. >.> Honestly, either way I can’t say I disagree!

1 Comment

  • Stargrace

    I recently downsized my yarn collection from two bins to – one – bin. Yep. All of my yarn fits into a single giant plastic purple bin.

    I also LOVE tracking and keeping everything neat and tidy, so my stash on Ravelry is up to date and I input everything I use (granted I’m not doing a lot of smaller pieces) and keep track of it all. I love having an entire history of knitting on there, from my very first projects to my recent ones. It’s a reminder of how far I’ve come being self taught in two years (less knitting this year because… things are still crazy at home).

    There’s NOTHING wrong with being a yarn snob (as I write this, you’re squeeing over another purchase, and I love it, please post about it!) and discovering which yarns are your favourites! As long as it makes you happy… and.. well, you can always crochet yourself a place to live if the yarn takes over ;)

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