Have you ever really looked at your stash? I know some of you are good, organized knitters who only buy the yarn you need, when you need it, then use it all up or use most of it, and then knit something for charity with the remainder. However, I am going out on a limb here to say that if you are one of these knitters, you are probably in the minority. Most of us have a stash. Some of us are quite proud of that stash. Some of us think it's a contest that we plan on winning. But I digress. . . .
I ask the question about looking at your stash because recently, I had the opportunity to touch just about everything in mine when I moved it from the disaster area to a nice, clean, organized room. Don't applaud just yet. The room is organized, not the stash. And that brings me to asking about how you look at your yarn.
When I looked at my yarn, I started to ponder the different ways it could be organized, should I actually get my act together. We had a program about this a couple of years ago at the Northern Lights Affiliate. One woman showed us her container with everything organized by color. She only bought one ball of this or that and swatched it up and made notes. I was so envious of her dedication to the scientific approach. Another woman described her yarn room as having tote upon tote filled with yarn. That seemed to overwhelm me with the sheer volume she described. At the time, I had a giant mess on my hands (see the Summer 2010 Cable Gram about “the great yarn room clean up”) and I had no idea where to even begin, much less consider some kind of organization.
When I moved all of my yarn, roving, patterns, books and magazines, I did take the time to log all of my books and magazines into Ravelry. I felt quite accomplished when I did this, but I didn't go so far as to enter the big stack of vintage patterns I collect. I also managed to get most of the yarn contained into a dresser, a couple of baskets and four small photo boxes. The sock yarn is living together, as is anything that belongs to a WIP, so that is a start. The rest of it rests in the drawers, roughly organized by the amount I have should I need a specific amount of something for a pattern. The problem is, the gauge and amount rarely jive with what I need for a project and the whole beautiful, ugly cycle begins again. So much for immediate downsizing.
I have a few days off coming up. What I should do is scrape the outside of the house in order to prep it for painting before the snow flies, but what I suspect I will be doing is combing through my beautiful fiber and getting real about donating and organizing. It seems like a good thing to do as we move towards fall and serious knitting for the holidays.
You may think this article is about to tell you to do the same. It isn't. We all have ways of making things work for our particular approach to our craft. Someday, despite the fear of moths, I will have my stash up on the wall in bins yarn store-style. Some people would consider that messy. I consider it an opportunity to be inspired by it every time I walk in the door. What are your dreams for your creative space? This is the challenge I present to you. You may end up organized beyond your wildest dreams or you may end up with a bigger “mess” on your hands, but if it stimulates your imagination, then it works for you.
And if, while you are designing your space, you happen upon yarn you know you will never use, give it to someone who will. It will free you up and allow creativity to blossom.