Cleaning out my Stash

Over the weekend, I decided it was a good idea to clean out my yarn stash. Essentially, my stash had exploded out of the closet and onto the bed while all the designated yarn containers were full. Nowhere to stash the stash?! Impossible. So, it was time to clean.

I started by opening up a 40-gallon storage bin full of acrylic and I dumped it in the Donate pile. It felt good. See, I’ve been a kind of Safe Haven for yarn. I’ve hosted a few yarn swaps and ended up with the leftovers, mostly acrylic. Looking through the yarn hank-by-hank I had to decide if I really hate acrylic. I can confidently say that I do. I can’t stand the stuff. I’ve had some of that yarn in my stash for over a decade because I had deluded myself into believing that I would eventually make a blanket for couch snuggling and general feelings of coziness. Not only have I neglected to make blankets or even sampler squares, I make an icky face every time I THINK about using the stuff. I am really not a fan. The tough choices had to be made: I resolved to get rid of ALL the acrylic and to be honest with myself about the probability of using any given yarn.

Going through the stash was a trip. I found a bin dedicated to projects I want to frog, some yarn hanging out in the wrong weight bin, and all the project bags and assorted tied grocery bags, Ziplocs, and totes that were smuggling yarn. And, of course, the Evil Blanket. Oh, the Evil Blanket. In fact, it is not really Evil. I should rename it but Reaction-To-My-Parents-Separation Blanket is long and a bit of a turn off.

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I designed the Evil Blanket as a bedspread for my mom when she moved into her new place in 2005. I decided to make a Queen-sized blanket representing the four seasons. Don’t ask. I got through Summer and Fall, and one-third through the other two seasons before I kind of quit because replicating a free-knit design was a little more stressful than I had anticipated. I made a very large schematic I constructed out of graph paper and tape to make things easier. I kept a hair pin in the row I was replicating when I lost and eventually threw away the schematic. I had my Husband sketch out a leafless tree as a reference but it intimidated me more than it inspired. Then it just depressed me and I folded it up with its live stitches and all the attached intarsia skeins, stuffed it in a bag and stored it until I was ready to deal again. I took a look at it five years ago and resolved to finish it then. I think we all know how well that worked out.

Back to my cleaning binge, I had this large blanket with HOURS of work already dedicated to it and I had to decide if this was the end or if I could muster enough mental strength to finish it. After staring at the blanket for a solid 10 minutes, I decided I could finish it. I kindly shoved it back in its bag and set it aside to work on later, like over the summer. I saved out a few other choice pieces for frogging, and sorted everything else I wanted to keep by weight.

My plastic tower of yarn. And 40 Gallons to Freedom at the bottom used to house all the acrylic yarn. It is now used for worsted.

Though it doesn’t really look like I got rid of a lot of yarn, I have, and it all fits into the storage containers. Mostly. I don’t like to keep all my yarn stashed away. I like to keep some in a large yarn jar so I can look at current inspirations and future projects. Other than that, everything is contained. And because it is contained so well, it looks like I won’t be buying any more yarn until I have completed more projects. It’s not a yarn fast per se. My past fasts have been strictly based on my lack of funds. This is based on my refusal to purchase any more containers to harness my yarn. Actually, I’d be elated if I could use up enough yarn to justify reordering my stash again and getting rid of a bin or two. Future goals, right?

But, what happened to the acrylic and other donation yarn? It was donated to the local Senior Center. My husband dropped off three LARGE bags to some very happy volunteers. It was so much it earned a donation slip. I didn’t even know they did that. Hot damn! Everybody wins.

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