Wow, I can't believe it's all gone! Six and a half months is a long time, but I guess not remotely as long as how long I held on to the stash. I know most people actually enjoy having some stash around (see here for an extreme example), but for those of you looking to de-stash or at least clean up a little bit, I thought I’d share some tips over the next few posts.
The most important step is organization.
Step 1: Frog all WIPs and UFOs. Really, be honest. If something has sat around unfinished for 6 or 12 months or more, you’ve become a better knitter than you when you started it. Would you start that project today? If not, ribbit, ribbit!
Step 2: Put all the yarn in one location. Sort by weight, including the sub-skein amounts--put all the baby yarn together, all the worsted together, and so on. I had all my worsted in a couple clear boxes, fingering in another, all the “big” bundles of yarn in a few more, but kept everything visible. Look at how much space it takes up. This is real estate you’ll have back when you’re done (to fill with new yarn, eee!).
Step 3: Catalog everything. Ravelry is great for this, because you can tell the yardage of something immediately by entering the weight, and you can see pictures of everything at once. I recommend getting a good scale (accurate to at least a gram) to accurately measure how much yarn you have. I lurve mine!
Step 4: Sell or give away anything you will not love knitting. I really didn't enjoy knitting with the brown acrylic yarn, and it felt pretty awesome giving away one (of 3) of the skeins. I wish I’d given away more! Destash is a place to do just that, or donate to a local charity. Ravelry has made it possible to see who has the same yarn (even the exact lot number), so be an angel and offer to give or sell your yarn to other knitters.
Step 5: Set a way to track your progress, however minute. I am a big dork and kept an ongoing excel spreadsheet / graph to track everything to the gram. A big pile o'yarn looks like a big pile o'yarn, and it’s good to know you’re actually progressing.
Step 6: Set goals. Set long-term goals ("I'm going to finish my yarn this year" or "I'm going to finish this sweater by 3 months"), broken up into some short-term goals ("I'll finish 3 skeins this month"). Set yourself a reward for each goal met.
Step 7: Make a project wishlist. What do you want to make? You need to include big projects (sweaters, blankets), medium projects (socks), small projects (hats), and wee projects (dishcloths). This can include specific patterns or a general idea (ex "hat for aunt"). What will make you happy?
Step 8: Match your yarn to the projects, at least the bigger bundles of yarn. Save the big bundles for big projects. Don't waste larger bundles of yarn on wee projects, because you might run out just before finishing a larger project. Not like I know from experience or anything.
Step 9: Start knitting. Try to vary large projects with small projects, otherwise you’ll get depressed. Have a couple going at once if you want: a mindless large project, a small portable project, and a challenging one to keep things fun. Remember, this is a hobby.
Step 10: Stop buying yarn! This is the hard part, and in fact I bought some yarn (to save gas, really) before finishing the stash, when I was passing by the faraway yarn store. But don't touch it! Put it away carefully. This is your reward when you finish! If you must, buy needles, notions, books, etc to feed the addiction.
Next in stashbusting: giant bundles of yarn