Stashbusting in 2018: Making the Most of Your Yarn Stash

We know that some of you may be “cold sheeping*” in 2018, but even if you’re not, we all have yarns marinating in our stash that we’d like to use. Today’s blog post will talk a little about how to use your stash, with a look at a few ways that Ravelry can help you make the most of your precious skeins.

Better Stashbusting Through Ravelry
First, we'll look at a few tools on Ravelry that can help you find the perfect match between yarns in your stash and patterns to knit with them.

We recommend taking the time to enter ALL of your stash into Ravelry - even those skeins lurking in the very bottom of the bin! While this may take an afternoon of your time (or perhaps several afternoons), it's worth it if you are committed to stash-busting.

You can easily go to the Stash tab in your notebook and see what you have already entered into Ravelry, and also use the Add to Stash button to enter your yarns into your stash.

If you decide at some point that you want to knit with a specific yarn in your stash, you can click on that yarn entry, and then view projects that have been made with the same yarn. This may help you narrow down your choices for that perfect pattern!

Perhaps you'd rather start with the type project you want to make and then figure out what yarn in your stash you'll use for it - Ravelry makes that easy, too! First, go to the Patterns tab, and then click Pattern Browser and Advanced Search. You can now sort by a variety of factors: pick the kind of project you might want to knit (hat, scarf, shawl, sweater, socks, etc.), and then you can scroll down the page and on click the menu option Yarn in My Stash.

If you want to narrow down the pattern by what weight of yarn you have and how much you have (for instance, say you have 1,000 yards of worsted weight yarn in your stash), then select the appropriate parameters and Ravelry will find patterns calling for just that amount of yarn.

Mixing Yarns in Your Stash
Sometimes there are a variety of skeins that appear in one's stash that are all different weights and fiber types - have you ever wondered if you could use some of them together? In general, you may not want to mix yarns of extremely differing fiber types or weights within the same project because they may detract from the finished object. For instance, you might not want to mix merino yarn with a cotton yarn because the merino will be soft and stretchy and bounce back into shape, whereas the cotton may not have very much give or might get stretched out of shape more quickly. Or you may not want to knit a striped project out of a fingering weight and a worsted weight because there will be such a variation in your gauge between the sections.

However, you may want to explore projects where yarns of different fibers and types are worked together. Kobuk by Caitlin Hunter is a hat that is knit by holding a lace weight strand of mohair together with DK strand of merino yarn to create a super fluffy and warm hat. Stephen West designs a large number of his patterns to be knit with yarns of multiple weights and fiber compositions, and his latest Marled Mania theme is all about holding two strands of different yarns together for the effect it creates.

Do you have a ton of leftovers in specific weight(s) of yarn? Perhaps you knit socks like crazy and always have odds and ends left over, or maybe you love to knit hats and lots of little bits of worsted weight yarn lying around. If so, you might consider the following stashbusting projects:

There are many, many projects on Ravelry that can be knit with leftovers of various types. Scrappy sock blankets are a popular project now. Try the Sock Yarn Blanket by Shelly Kang, Memory Blanket by Georgie Nicholson, or Barn Raising Quilt by Shelley Mackie & Larissa Brown, all of which can be knit with sock scraps, or adapted for any other weight yarn. Another pattern to keep in mind is Stephen Wests' Garter Squish pattern, which is available for free and could be adapted for a variety of yarn weights and yardages. If you’re a crocheter, you might check out patterns by Lucy of Attic24 which incorporate a variety of stripes and colors into fun afghan patterns.

Colorwork Projects
If you’re feeling adventurous, you might check out patterns featuring colorwork to use up your odds and ends of leftovers. This works best if your leftovers are solid, but we have seen some beautiful projects out of variegated colorways as well. For this you can use the search parameters we discussed above and select what you might like from the Colorwork folder under Attributes. Then you can add what weight yarns you’re looking to use up, and determine what might be your perfect project.

Reclaiming Your Stash
We all have those unfinished projects, you know the ones that we were so excited to cast on but are now languishing in project bags out of sight and out of mind. You might try rediscovering those yarns and repurposing them for other projects: Frog that sweater you started 2 years ago that is now too small for the recipient (here's a great tutorial on the Knitted Bliss blog)! Don’t like knitting with lace weight as much as you thought? Use the tools above to find a project where you can combine it with another yarn or hold it doubled and select a fingering weight project that shows that beautiful yarn off. Or just use the pattern search to help you find different patterns that catch your fancy. Don’t let those beautiful yarns go to waste!

We hope the stash busting ideas and tools we discussed above will help you make the most of your stash. Please share your stashbusting projects with us on Instagram by using the tag #knitterspride. We look forward to seeing what you create!

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*Cold Sheeping: Trying not to buy any new yarn!

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