Jul 12, 2015

Stashbusting? 3 Reasons to Buy More Yarn

Many of us share a staunch determination to knit down our stashes.

For some, this determination is so strong, we take the cold-sheep vow and buy no yarn until the stash is reduced to a predefined size. For others, the commitment is more flexible, so we shop the stash first but buy yarn in whatever quantities we need, when we need it.

These different approaches are on my mind, because I'm poised to make several strategic yarn purchases. This is a carefully considered decision, but it took serious effort to wrestle it to the mat. Why?

     Charlemont in action

Technically I'm not cold-sheeping, but for nearly four years I've bought comparatively little yarn. Those purchases were also carefully considered, but in examining my overall satisfaction level, three things became very clear. I've been happiest with yarn that allowed me to:
  1. Leverage existing stash rather than expand it
  2. Complete special projects or make a gift
  3. Test design concepts in a particular color, weight or fiber
As restrained and mature as this sounds, this system is far from foolproof. Sometimes the stash grows stale and I itch to buy something new and delectable. (Remind me to tell you the tale of the $500 sweater.)

      Morehouse Merino 2-Ply in action 

When that urge strikes, I revisit my criteria and ask the tough questions: Will it help me use yarn from stash? Is it essential to make a gift or bring an active WIP to completion? Does it allow me to more accurately test a design concept?

One yes might prompt a purchase. Two or more confirm it's a Smart Yarn Buy, offering that magical mix of fresh fiber coupled with the irresistible prospect of stash depletion, project completion, gift giving and/or design realization.

       Tern in action

Some recent investments that met the Smart Yarn Buy criteria included fresh skeins of:

Right about now, non-fiber folks are raising their eyebrows in skepticism, but sometimes it's true: The best way to reduce the stash is to buy more yarn.

UPDATE 1 (July 17)
Bought the first batch, a baker's dozen of cream merino from the LYS, Knitting off Broadway. If all goes as planned, this versatile yarn will help transform twice as many stash skeins into real-life FOs.

UPDATE 2 (Aug 4)
Found the second batch of targeted yarn at Hampton Knitting, all of it destined for existing WIPs or projects in the pipeline.

UPDATE 3 (Aug 29)
Acquired the last batch: Some more Cotton Fleece (a stash staple) and Valley Superwash Bulky for projects OTN or in the works. 


  1. Reminds me when I used to tell my husband, "I've got to spend money to save money." He was dubious, but it is true in some situations. Great post, that every avid knitter and crocheter will relate to - and learn from. Oh, and please do soon tell the story of the $500 sweater. ;^)

  2. I whole-heartedly agree. Mostly because it confirms my decision to add a couple of balls this afternoon in order to use up about 8 partial balls in my stash :)

  3. No I think that makes sense. I'll knit from my stash first and at the moment I'll try to choose projects that work with my stash because my yarn budget is not huge but I don't think there's any good in shoehorning and project and yarn that doesn't quite fit. It's a waste of good yarn that would be perfect for something else and the end result is never quite how you wanted it. Better to buy the right yarn and wait for a different project.

  4. "Sometimes the best way to reduce the stash is to buy more yarn." TRUTH!

  5. now you have to tell the $500 sweater story!!!!

  6. Haha...I see, I want, I buy....which is why I am SABLE several times over....I have tried going cold sheep....tried....I applaud you...and can't wait to hear the sweater story...

  7. I totally agree. I love Brown Sheep. I make stockings with it, and they are so cute!

  8. I am trying very hard to go cold-sheep, but most of my stash is DK or Aran mix, and all I seem to want to knit is 4-ply or 100% wool aran for soakers! Gifts don't count, I buy new yarn for gift knitting.

  9. I just found this blog comment… via one of those early morning meanderings on the computer which begin in one spot and wind up in another. But these comments on stash reduction really strike a chord with me. I know I must deal with my little yarn problem… it's truly out of hand… but I keep banging my head against a wall because of my vow to go cold turkey and not buy any more yarn.

    I've also found I don't have quite what I need for projects since I usually buy a variety of yarn, not all the same weight and brand, so the usual scrappy stash busting projects just don't work out. But now, the lightbulb has gone on above my head. I need to buy more yarn to bust my stash ... not random "oh, I love this yarn and it's on sale" purchases ... rather the acquisition of a few very specific skeins that will allow me to complete projects. Ideally, this smart buying tactic will stay controlled and I'll use up more than I buy, one project purchase at a time. So thanks for the insights and suggestions.


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