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How To Budget Your Yarn Spending

I am a confessed serial yarnaholic. I have never been able to control my yarn buying, no matter how hard I have tried. If I see a project I want to do, I buy the pattern and the yarn – I can’t help myself! I’ll get to it eventually, right? So in an effort to try to curb my yarn hoarding, and to help you do the same, I’ve turned to my fellow yarn crafters and asked them what has worked for them.

An overwhelming number responded about working on your yarn organization. If you know what you have and where to find it, you’ll be more likely to seek out projects that will use your stash rather than forcing you to buy new skeins. By keeping your yarn visible, either physically on shelves or virtually via a cataloging site like Ravelry, you can easily look and see what you have before the intense impulse to buy hits. Taking the time to photograph and upload your yarn collection to a site like Ravelry will also help you truly see how much stash you really have.

Many also hinted that coming to terms with the fact that stashing the yarn and not using it is a waste of not only the yarn but also your money, and admitting that is an important step in curing your yarnaholic ways. Allow yourself to buy yarn ONLY when you truly do not have a suitable solution for the project in your stash and ONLY if it is a project that you are starting right away. If you are going to be putting the yarn on the shelf to work on “soon,” resist the urge to buy.

Speaking of your stash, why not challenge yourself to a stashbuster project? Your bed needs an afghan, right? Big bold stripes, chevrons and granny squares use up plenty of yarn! Don’t forget that there are also whole forums dedicated to “stash challenges” where everyone posts goals and shares project ideas.

If you haven’t already, consider joining a local crochet group. I am in a few different groups and we often have “swap nights” where everyone brings in stashed yarn and comes armed with projects planned for the very immediate future. Chances are high that someone will have a yarn that is perfect for a project you have in mind and will trade with you. If you don’t have a project in mind but still want to swap, be sure to keep in mind what the bulk of your stitch projects tend to be and choose appropriately.

Finally, step away from yarn store. Just don’t go in. Admit to yourself that you go in just to “see what’s new” but then walk out with single skeins because of how pretty they are. Unless that single skein is enough for an immediate project, resist the urge! Trust me, you have enough yarn. Use it!

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  • Laughed out loud as I read this article. I reached the SABLE stage quite some time ago and decided to organize my stash. I took over our guest room and zip tied many milk crates together. I started by sorting the yarn by weight then color. Unfortunately, I only had room in the crates for the worsted/4 and the DK/3 yarn with a little room left over. In those spaces I put the little bit of variegated I had (at the time, ahem). The other categories went into their own clear bins. The problem is, I didn’t stop buying AND I didn’t find all the stuff I had stashed through out the house! I was also gifted a couple of big boxes by a friend. I can hardly walk around in the room now and I have still NOT moved all the yarn from where it was previously stashed! I had to laugh about the suggestions to “resist” buying without a specific pattern one plans to work on right away. If I could just resist, I wouldn’t have this mess to start with! What I really need is something like an ankle monitor like is used to keep felons from leaving a designated area or house. My monitor should set off an alarm whenever I get within a designated number of feet. Something longer than arm’s reach! That would at least stop the in-store buying; don’t know how to handle the internet purchases! (Although my husband has threatened to take my phone away). That would kinda work but has some real downsides. Still giggling just thinking about it ????

  • Deborah S.

    You all sound so determined to stop. I, personally, will not. In my cache, I have around 800, assorted size, skeins of yarn in gauges 1 through 7. I also have thousands of patterns. My cache consists of yarns, threads, & patterns much older than I am, 69. Some of it was my grandmother’s, some my mother’s, & some my aunt’s, all inherited. Then I have what I purchased, at least 10 skeins of one color at a time whenever I see one I like & a project in which it would sing pops into my head. Not only do I crochet, I also knit, embroider, crewel, cross-stitch, and sew. I also have daughters & grandsons who enjoy the same projects and have access to my cache for their use, if they get to it before me. Otherwise, they will inherit the cache. Then, there’s the crafting side of the room….we all contribute to it. Believe it or not, all these items come in handy sooner or later for use by one of the family or if we know a school class or group or other type of organization who can use it for a project they have but need supplies. My suggestion is don’t be in such a hurry trying to stop adding to your cache. I enjoy mine.

  • Claire S.

    A friend of mine commented the other week that my situation is known as YSELD – yarn stash exceeds life expectancy….I’m only 41! I couldn’t stop laughing, but it did make me think about how much I have and how much I needed each type when I saw it, but never got around to using ….. Every so often I take on a huge yarn busting project …. And then collect more!
    I will absolutely be looking further into the Revelry suggestion, that sounds like a brilliant idea!

    • Barbara B.

      (Laughing) I’ve heard that the term for too much stash is “SABLE”: Stash Availability Beyond Life Expectancy! Such is the case out in my garage!

  • Jennifer H.

    I’ve only been crocheting 3 months but already have a ridiculous amount of yarn that will take me a WHILE to get to… glad I read this early on because I already have a yarn problem.???? Thanks for this article!

  • I have plastic bins marked with the size of yarn on shelves in my garage , plus shelves in my bedroom and in my moms room ! Thru past mistakes , I now copy a pattern that I bought the yarn for and put it with the yarn .
    I went to Joanns the other day to pick up ONE skein I needed to finish a project. Came out with 4 more . Told my husband it was his fault, I was left u supervised !

  • I love crocheting so much. I have made so many people afghans and I found that I had lots of extra yarn so I made another one with that yarn. Everytime I go to Walmart I end up in the yarn section looking to see if they have new colors or styles. I buy yarn without knowing what I want to make out of it.

  • Philenese S.

    Thank you for all of the excellent suggestions. Organization is exactly what I need!

    Recently I have been making small, brainless projects to use left over yarns. I have one crate-full and am currently sidelined working out a new pattern. Don’t tell anyone but I had more time to do fancy projects when my kiddos were little than I do now as fill time caretaker for husband (snickering).

  • Sylvia H.

    I recently had to seriously downsize and move house. Was horrified to see how much yarn I had bought over the years, as all my yarn now in one place, am having to grit my teeth and resort to selling it off. I must now actually get a pattern first and then find the right yarn, love yarn colours so much have been doing it
    the wrong way round for years! Glad I am not alone.

  • Shirley M.

    I made a stash buster scarf. I figured out how many yards of yarn needed to go the length of the scarf plus fringe at either end. I put odd amounts of yarn in a bag—weight doesn’t matter. I used all wools and alpaca or you could use all acrylic. Grab a ball, crochet a row leaving a fringe at either end. Avoid using a single weight for several rows together. Mix it up. Love that scarf.

  • I love all of these ideas. I recently created a crochet journa. I lwent through all of my yarn stash (stuffed into fabric shopping bags and stored in the attic) and my saved patterns (that I deemed I would get to “soon”) and designated all of my yarn to a specific pattern. My journal now has WIPs and Projects in Queue, with names, yarn colors, and patterns attached to each entry. My yarn is all separated into bags with the name of the pattern written on a slip of paper and slid into the bag of yarn. Now, all of my yarn is neat and ready for the next project!

  • Audrey F.

    This article hit me where I live. Thank you so much for the ideas. I cleaned out my garage and found three boxes of yarn that was purchased for a project that I have lost the patterns for. I love the idea of cataloging your yarn and once I have figured out how much and what I have I will get to doing just those things. Thank you so much for the ideas.

  • You can sell unused yarn on Facebook Market place or better yet donate it to a yarn ministry at a church. Now if only I would follow my own advice!

  • I buy yarn “Just because it’s pretty” Then have to find a project on which to use it..

    • I do the same thing, I have to admit. Most of the yarn that I’ve bought is enough for one skein hats or mitts.

  • Crocheter E.

    Beautiful idea for a yarn buyer! I believe keeping your yarn visible helps a lot from buying unnecessary more yarns! Thank you for sharing.

  • Dottie T.

    I am so overwhelmed with yarn. I was taught by a dear second mother years ago. Back then I only bought yarn when I had a project. But then I started collecting yarns whenever new ones were introduced. I became obsessed with “yarn cakes”. Thank goodness I’m not a fan of the new “donut rings” that are out now. Then life got busy with marriage, raising 3 children and working. But I kept buying yarn knowing “one day” I would I would be able to sit and crochet and make all those projects that I have yarn stockpiled for. My stash could put the yarn aisle at my Joanns to shame. Now I’m semi retired but have now idea why I bought certain yarns-other than I just had to have them. Unfortunately I never wrote down/printed the pattern I bought those yarns for. I thought I saw somewhere a site you could enter yarn name or weight# and the amount of yarn you have and it would match patterns/projects to what you have. If you know of this site please let me know. And thank you for the ideas of taming your yarn stash. This will be something to work on after the holidays during the cold winter days. Thank you again!

    • Sheila M.

      Ravelry will help you by suggesting patterns for yarn and amount you have. See also yarnsub as well

    • I hear you! It took me from1978 to 1992 to make my first afghan. From then until now I made 3 more. I am now retired and determined to use all the yarn I have collected through out the years. However, there are so many beautiful yarns now. I can’t help but to buy. Then, I found marketplace on Facebook. I bought so much since August. I am purchasing Premier Just Yarn Flowers. Apparently they are scare so I have bout 18 skeins including on Ebay. I am so obsessed. I want to make me a long sweater with hood. I recently discovered a temperature blanket. I selected all the colors last night and ordered on Joann’s website. They were discounted plus 25% off for curb pickup. The charged me a higher price so ai need to call a manager. But $2.62 for a Caron Simply Soft Yarn was such a good deal. Couldn’t let it go by.

  • Dottie S.

    I really appreciate this article. It’s all so true. I recently organized my stash to see it all better. That has been a big help. For two weeks now I’ve resisted the urge to buy some Anniversary Cakes which are on sale at a fabulous price. I also loved the group swap idea and will propose it to my club.

  • One problem during the pandemic and still exists is that if you don’t go into a store you need to accept at least 3 skeins of yarn when you only need one. The other problem is that some types of yarn are different in thickness or color which you don’t see on the screen . Our local Michael’s doesn’t have the in store stock that they had two years ago. We find ourselves ordering online when the best way to judge the yarn that you are buying is to visit the store with a must have list !


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