I recently learned about Surmount the Stash, a project that is being done over at Revelations of a Delusional Knitter, and I knew that it was something that I needed to take part in. Here’s a little more about it, why I’m joining and what my plan of attack is going to be.

Surmount the Stash

Delusional Knitter realized that it would take her about 18 years to knit up just the fingering weight yarn she has in her stash, let alone the other yarn and roving she’s got. That’s when she decided that she must get her stash under control. Her plan is to really get to the root of the problem, assessing why she has so much yarn and yet continues to collect more. She has posted a linky for anyone who wants to join along and she’ll be doing a monthly linky so we can all help keep each other on track with our stashbusting goals.

Why I’m Participating

I have a good sized yarn stash that’s manageable mostly because I have decent organizational skills and I live alone. I don’t mind having lots of extra yarn around. Actually, I enjoy having a lot of yarn options. I keep them on display in my house for inspiration. I go shopping in my own stash when I need inspiration for a project. Additionally, I do yarn reviews here on the blog and I love supporting indie yarn sellers in that way. It’s important to me.

So, if it’s okay with me that there’s lots of yarn here. So why am I participating? There are a few reasons:

  • If I continue to acquire yarn at the rate that I did in 2011, the stash will no longer be manageable.
  • My budget seriously requires me to limit my yarn spending right now and there’s no justification to be spending tons on more yarn when I have lots of perfectly good yarn here at home.
  • I often find myself acquiring “crap yarn” (perfectly good yarn really, but just plain old whatever yarn in whatever fiber and color) and then using that instead of using all of the great yarn I already have. What’s the point of that?
  • I have lots of yarn-related stuff that needs to be organized and de-stashed including photos of my work, finished products, clothing that is hanging around for embellishment, etc. That mess must be dealt with.
So basically I’m participating to get a better sense of why I have the yarn I have, why I use what I use and how to control my purchases in the future so that my yarn stash is absolutely filled to the brim with yarn I love.

My Overarching Goals

I have a few goals for this project that are designed to guide the whole thing and then I’ll be setting some monthly goals as well. My overarching goals to Surmount the Stash are:

  • No more buying cheap yarn. I buy it because of the price, not because I want it, then I use it instead of using yarn I really love and there’s just no point. There are two exceptions: free yarn and quarterly visits to Scrap. I haven’t yet figured out how I want to handle free yarn since I do use it and it seems silly to not accept it. So I’ll just have to see how this goal develops over the course of the year, monitoring it. And I absolutely love going to our artist’s thrift store where there are great bargains on cool yarn that I might never get otherwise so that’s a joy I’m not giving up but limiting to four visits in 2012.
  • Barter before buying yarn online. Every once in awhile there’s a specific type of yarn that I do want for a specific project so I immediately hop online and order it (usually over-ordering). In 2012, I want to make an effort to barter yarn I have for that yarn when that situation arises.
  • Seek out yarn support for design and review projects. Now this seems counterintuitive since it means I’ll be getting more yarn but that’s not actually the case. Number one, it solves the biggest problem which isn’t that I have too much yarn but that I spend too much money on yarn. And number two, when I go buy yarn for projects, I often end up getting lots and lots and lots of options whereas this way I’d get what’s right for the project.
  • Set specific budget goals before all big events. Where I really get lured in is at craft sales and expos and fiber farm events. I love supporting the sellers, buying fiber direct from the animal’s owner, etc. And I don’t want to stop that. I do, however, need to set a specific realistic budget before each event and stick to it.

My Monthly 2012 Stash Busting Goals

Okay, so that covers the main goals of the project but to stay on track with it I’m setting some monthly goals and targets. The ones for the latter months will likely need adjusting as the project continues but this is what I’ve set so far.

  • January. Take a complete inventory of yarn stash. Delusional Knitter really inspired me with this one because of her realizations when it came to the true length of time that it would take to use the yarn in her stash. I want to gain this kind of perspective about my pile as I start the project. I’ll probably use the Ravelry stash tool to do this since I’e already started it there.
  • February. Get all existing finished items listed on Etsy. I don’t use my Etsy store much but I want to start doing quarterly updates to the store with big sales to destash the ridiculous amount of finished objects I have here.
  • March. Set up a print and/or digital scrapbook for all crochet projects. I used to do this and it’s the best way I’ve found to stay organized with everything from yarn I’ve used to patterns to a recollection of what I’ve made. I want to get back into it.
  • April. Declutter my clothing closet. This may seem unrelated but it’s not. I have tons of clothes that I don’t wear but I’ve kept them because I’m planning to alter them using crochet. In April I’ll declutter, set specific goals and get started or else the clothes get donated.
  • May. Sort, organize and de-stash all of my crochet magazines and vintage crochet books. I may want to keep them or I may not but I need to take a look at them, ask myself honestly what I’m doing with them, etc.
  • June. Mid-year check in. I’ll take June to catch up on anything I haven’t finished. I’ll also recap what I’ve spent so far on yarn throughout the year to see how that’s going. Generally: review the situation, adjust any goals for the rest of the year, etc.
  • July. Update to Etsy. There will be more finished items at this point to make sure to get up on the site. Maybe it’ll be time for another big sale. We’ll see.
  • August. Assess my art project yarn situation. I am working on a large scale crochet art project called Swaddle. I often throw unfinished pieces, random yarn stuff, etc. into a pile for “the art”. If it hasn’t been done yet, I’ll use August to deal with this mess and make some tough decisions about where this is going.
  • September. Updates. I’ll use September to make sure that I’ve stayed on track with everything in terms of keeping my inventory up to date, photos of my work organized, budgets in order, etc. I know that it’s easy to fall behind so even though I have a June check-in, I think it’ll be good to do an update month in September.
  • October. Collect all WIPs and finish them.
  • November. Plan my de-stash giveaway for December. This year I did 31 Days of Crochet Giveaways in December. Next year I also want to do some type of big holiday giveaway. In November, I’ll assess my stash to see what I can contribute to that. I’ll also start planning the event to make sure that people know about it.
  • December. Complete the giveaway. Do a 2012 review and set some 2013 stash goals.

If you want to join in the fun, you can get up your first post about it and then use the URL to join the linky in the Surmount the Stash link at the top of this page.


San Francisco based and crochet-obsessed writer, dreamer and creative spirit!


  1. Marie/Underground Crafter Reply

    Wow, I am so impressed. You have definitely inspired me to say more about my goals for Surmount the Stash! I totally agree about an events budget – I usually do that anyway or I’d really be in trouble :).

    • Kathryn Reply

      @Marie … I am looking forward to being a part of this throughout the year. It’s definitely good for me to get organized with this stuff!

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