Everyone who knits or crochets should know what yarn stash-busting is. Yarn stash-busting is the equivalent of a colon cleanse for your yarn closet/drawer/room. The outcome is hopefully more attractive but just as satisfying. You will have room for more yarn and have a lovely project to show for it!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO THIN THE YARN HERD:
- A yarn stash (any knitter or crocheter worth their salt has a stash.)
- A scale capable of weighing in ounces or grams. I just use a food scale I purchased at Aldi, but you can find them in any department store. I paid $10 for mine.
- Calculator, abacus, pencil and paper or your fingers and toes. Whatever works for you. No judgement here.
STEP 1: EXCAVATE YOUR YARN STASH
Peruse your stash and find a likely candidate for yarn stash-busting. As you can see by the first picture, my stash is pretty sizable, but not as big as some. Look for some yarn that you have enough to make a small project, yet not enough for a sweater or anything big. (One or two small balls or one larger ball.) After sifting through my choices, I honed in on some pretty red self-striping yarn. The down-side with this choice is that I did not keep the ball band. ROOKIE MISTAKE! Always keep the ball band as long as you keep any scrap of yarn. Furthermore, it helps to know the fiber content as well as the care instructions. The band also will tell you how many ounces and yards per ball. In addition, it will allow you to calculate how many yards you have by simply weighing your yarn!
STEP 2: CALCULATE YOUR YARDAGE
If you have your yarn ball band, congratulations! You are miles ahead of me at this point. If you are in the same boat as me, you can try to find your yarn on Ravelry, which is what I did. I was pretty sure it was a Premier Yarn so I started a search in the Yarns tab and whittled it down until I found the right yarn and weight.
After that was established, I was able to find the ounces and yards per ball. The equation to use is (yards per ball) ÷ (ounces per ball) = yards per ounce. (My yarn – 2.29 ÷ 185=80 yards per ounce.) Now you need to weigh your yarn on your handy dandy food scale. Multiply the weight of your yarn in ounces x yards per ounce and you have the yardage of your leftover yarn! (Example: 4.3 x 80=344 yards of yarn to play with!)
STEP 3: FIND A PROJECT
Now that you know the weight and yardage of your yarn, it’s time to pay a visit to our favorite knitty/crochety website, Ravelry! Click on the Patterns tab and if you already know what you would like to make, just type it in the search bar. If you are feeling adventurous, click on “Use the pattern browser & advanced search. On the left side of the screen, click on all of the important criteria:
- Yards: Check the yardage you have to work with (err on the side of underestimating to save you frustration of running short. I’ve been there and it is a b*tch. My calculations estimated my yarn at 344 yards, so I checked 0-150 and 150-300 yards.) You can also enter a custom amount if you’d like.
- Category: If you have an idea of what you want to make, check that category as well as any sub-categories. Or don’t check anything if you want to take a flyer and live life like a wild-child. I knew I wanted to make fingerless mitts, therefore I checked Accessories and sub-category Hands etc.
- Difficulty & Craft: Select accordingly. Hook size: Don’t bother. Has photo: Yes (kind of hard to pick out a project if you don’t know what it looks like.)
- Attributes: If you have something specific in mind, have at it.
- Meterage: Yardage, but for you metric folks
- Ravelry designer: I don’t select anything
- Availability: I usually leave these unchecked. Free is nice, but I have no problem with purchasing a pattern from a designer. This is their art and it has value!
- Language: You know the drill.
- Weight: Select your yarn weight
- Needle size & Fiber: I usually leave these unchecked
- Gender / Age / Size / Fit: If you have any specific requirements, go ahead and check the appropriate catego!!ries and sub-categories.
- My Notebook & Pattern source type: I usually don’t check anything.
- Pattern Rating: You can select the four and five star patterns for the tried and true, however there might be some amazing patterns that are new and haven’t been rated yet. I usually don’t check anything here.
Now you get to sift through all of the fun patterns at your fingertips and get ready to create! I found a pretty snazzy fingerless mitt pattern with some twisty cables that I liked.
STEP 4: KNIT/CROCHET THAT MOFO!
This is the fun part where you actually get to make something out of that lump of yarn that’s been sitting neglected in your stash! I really like how the mitts turned out! As luck would have it, I’m hitting one of my favorite little yarn shops in a couple days. Guess I need to fill that gaping hole in my yarn stash!
Thanks for hanging out with me! I hope this inspires you to paw through your yarn stash and make some kick-ass projects with your orphan skeins of yarn! I would love to hear from you about your projects! Check out Boom Shawl, and more knitting projects to follow.
OBSESS WITH ME! THE BEST IS YET TO BE!