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Destashing and Why It’s a Fantastic Idea Right Now

by erin on May 15, 2013

The other night I was puttering around my house, putting on my wet suit, getting ready to go diving.  Stash diving.  Deep, deeeeeep stash diving.


I opened up my closet door and began the process of gingerly pulling the lids up on my rubbermaid bins of yarn, trying to peek in and see what was in the bins rather than hauling them out and threatening the delicate eco-system that is my (and my husband’s) closet.  It is delicate because we live in a small  place, and the clean folded sheets for all our beds are perched upon the bins.  If you are lucky, you can lift a lid and peek in without having 47 pounds of linens falling like a soft avalanche to the floor.  I was not lucky.


See all my delightfully fuddy plastic bags for keeping yarns organized? So chic.


So now the gloves were off, and I was wading through sheets, pulling out bins, looking for something in particular.  I was struck by how much yarn I have.  I cannot, just CAN NOT, say no to yarn.  Especially pretty yarn.  Especially soft yarn.  Especially yarn that is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, etc etc etc.  ESPECIALLY yarn that someone else gave to me because they do not want it anymore.  I must have it all.  I might NEED it.  I also don’t think that I am the only one feeling this way.  We knitters have acronyms for these things.  SABLE, anyone?


(SABLE = Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy, by the way.  Do you qualify?)


I mean really, I have yarn from strangers who saw me knitting at my son’s preschool last year and destashed what they had saved for decades.  Yarn I might not even like, I will save.  I have yarn in colors that would make me look like I need a kidney transplant if I made something for myself out of it, but I will not get rid of it.  I keep it.  I don’t knit with it.  I keep it.  For the first time, it really struck me how crazy that is.  It reminds me of the scene in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels when Steve Martin is touring Michael Caine’s wine cellar.  Michael Caine will not open the wines to drink them, they’re far too valuable, and he won’t sell them, because he wants to keep them, so they just sit there, year after year after year.  Some of my stash almost has the quality of a fossil dig.  Do you hear what I’m saying?  Are you nodding your heads out there?  Do you have a similar situation going on?


Yarn vomit.


Of course, there are ways to combat some of the problems of…shall we say…an overabundant stash.   One such project is Susie Rogers’ Reading Mitts, which is lovely.  Another one is 198 yds of heaven.  There is also Multnomah.  A perfect project for stash busting multiple skeins of sock yarn is the Linen Stitch Scarf.  Do you have a random skein of two of worsted weight yarn?  How about knitting up a hat?  Perhaps Koolhaas or a Cinchy hat?  You can also try a cute pattern from our local designer Sarah–the Bull City Scarf.   I am really looking at casting on for that.  That can definitely tame some of the stash.  But sometimes more is called for.  But what?


This idea came up and walloped me over the head.  What if I destashed?  What if I made room for new stuff?  Stuff that was in those current colors I’m drooling over?  Exciting fibers I’ve never tried before?  What kind of creative energy could I unleash if I get rid of the stagnant stuff that isn’t (and hasn’t been) doing it for me?  I know it’s crazy, bear with me, I have had an excellent idea.


What if we all did something daring?  What if we trusted that making room in our stashes by getting rid of the yarn that’s lost that loving feeling (hello Righteous Brothers) would bring about something good?  Something freeing?  Dare I say, something even a little exciting?


“But, Erin,” I can hear you thinking (I’m a mother, of course I know what you’re thinking), “destashing?!?  What knitter in her right mind would want to get rid of any yarn?”  Let me tell you why:


Mary has always been willing to take donated yarn and deliver to it a cause that’s close to her heart:  Our Children’s Place.  It is a private, nonprofit agency committed to the children of incarcerated parents.  These women greatly appreciate the yarn and knit and crochet with it.  The children directly benefit from the work of these incarcerated women.


I do enjoy the feeling of warmth I get when I do something for others.  I also have a fun-loving side that wants to take this idea and go big with it.  I want to make it zippy, fun, exciting.  I want to encourage others to try it.  How can I make the concept of destashing fun?  Get ready for it….




There is going to be a contest going on at both Yarns Etc in Chapel Hill and Great Yarns in Raleigh.  Knitters (and crocheters and crafters of yarn) can bring in their yarn, even their unfinished projects, and donate them to the cause.  The fun part?  Each donation will be weighed.  We will keep track of your donation, its weight, and any other donations you bring in all summer will be weighed and tabulated.  For each pound of yarn you bring in, you will get a $1.00 credit to spend in the store.  There will even be a grand prize of a $25.00 gift certificate for the  knitter/crocheter/crafter that makes the donation that weighs the most, and this is in addition to the credit earned by making a hefty (wink wink) donation.


Yarn I keep having plans to do something with…yet never do.

The contest will run from June 1st through to June 30th.  You can donate as many times as you wish.  The more you donate, the more you get back, on so many levels.  The deeper you dig into that stash, the lighter you will feel, the heavier your donation will be, the more you credit you get (in your heart and in the yarn store!), and that fuzzy, woolly goodness will roll through so many people’s lives.  Who wouldn’t want to help change somebody’s life?  We can do that by simply letting them transform an unused skein of yarn getting dusty in our stash into a creative outlet for a someone who desperately needs that.  Best of all, that further becomes a resource to aid children who are vulnerable and need help.  They need our help.


What could you lose?  By giving something away, you will get back a lot.





{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa Radcliff May 15, 2013 at 2:58 pm

What a great idea for a contest! I just posted something to our Facebook page and will think of some other ways to get the word out. You folks are the best!


Jane Tuttle May 15, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Erin, you have given me the kick in the backside I needed to get rid of A LOT of yarn. Yarn that just sits there doing nobody any good. Besides, this will make more room in my plastic bins( cleverly labeled by yarn weight) for more exciting, newer yarn!
Let’s go, people! Start looking through your stashes and lightening the load for yourselves and others.


Robin June 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Okay if I send this out to the CH Library charity knitting group email list?


erin June 23, 2013 at 11:33 pm



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